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To wonder if DH is having an EA

(204 Posts)
youvegotmail Tue 30-Jul-13 21:27:30

I've never heard of an EA before being on Mumsnet, but now I'm wondering if DH is having one.......

He's had a friendship with a woman he works with for over a year now, and I've never been totally comfortable with it, but I thought I was a jealous hag (she's young and bloody gorgeous of course)

She and my DH get on really well - they work in different offices for the same company, and he is senior to her. They met when he was doing her induction and he came home and told me they'd hired this great person for the role and how pleased he was, how lovely she was etc (so not hiding anything). Then their contact from then on is mostly through email although about six times a year they have to do presentatons together in the same place. I know they email a ton and it's not all work related - lots of jokes (like ones between just them - stupid stuff) and chatting as they like all the same things - I thought DH and I had shitloads in common but now I think they have more. I know this because his work emails come through to our iPad so are open for me to see - he's never hidden them. It pisses me off though to see a string of 10+ emails over the course of the day just chatting and making stupid fucking jokes. Theres an accasional Facebook message too.

I have said something about her a couple of times to him, when the friendship/EA/whatever really seemed to be taking off and the contact was high. I said that he was being unprofessional and inappropriate and that they were getting too friendly and I was uncomfortable and he didn't agree but both times he then totally toned it down for a few months and went all brusqueu with her, but then it builds again.

I've met her three times at work functions and I'm quite ashamed to say that I was not friendly - in fact DH afterwards said he was embarrassed and that I made it very awkward for no reason. She does seem really nice - but I can't get over the feeling she's getting too close to my husband and shouldn't be emailing him in a friendly way - he is her senior at work and they are both married (we have 3 DCs age 17, 15 and 11 and she has a very young DC not sure of exact age).

There is never anything at all flirty, sexual, suggestive or even much personal in their messages its more just the sheer volume of them and the fact that he clearly thinks shes really funny and clever - their banter really gets under my skin.


TallulahBetty Tue 30-Jul-13 21:30:28

Doesn't matter if the content isn't incriminating. Any contact that isn't work-related, and makes you feel uncomfortable, is unacceptable IMO.

LalyRawr Tue 30-Jul-13 21:32:57

Forgive me, but this seems more your problem than hers or your husbands.

I have male friends/work colleagues who I am close to. We have inside jokes, we text/facebook outside of work. Just because he is married it doesn't mean he isn't allowed to be friendly.

You say yourself, he is open, there is nothing flirty or suggestive.

I would be pretty pissed off if my OH was openly rude to my friends and demanded I only be cordial to them only speak about work things.

celestialbows Tue 30-Jul-13 21:35:35

Ah I don't know the answers but I agree with the above poster, if it makes you uncomfortable your dh should respect this. The trouble is that if it is innocent and he's worried about upsetting you he might start hiding stuff and making things ten times worse. Can you post in relationships as well? Hope it's all above board x

phantomnamechanger Tue 30-Jul-13 21:37:11

I would feel as you do OP.

To the poster who said its just banter between colleagues, nothing more than being friendly - this is only true if there is a similar amount of interactions with other (male) colleagues.

Several interactions a day, just because, does seem like a hell of a lot to me.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 30-Jul-13 21:38:53

I think if office banter is taking up home time then it invades your family life to an extent.

maddy68 Tue 30-Jul-13 21:46:32

Tbh I think it's you with the problem not your oh. If he is openly leaving messages where you can see them this is just a friendship.

I ae similar emails from my (male) friends at work. I would be livid if my oh was rude to them or thought they were inappropriate. These are my friends as I assume she is his friend.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 30-Jul-13 21:52:49

They are friends. She can't help that she's a woman or that she's younger than him, they obviously just get on. Do you really think it's acceptable to be rude to someone on the basis that they are a friend of your husband? It sounds to me like either you have low self-esteem, your husband is doing a really bad job of making you feel loved, or this woman is being a bit snide to/ about you.

Hemlet Tue 30-Jul-13 21:58:41

I would be uncomfortable with my husband having that kind of relationship with another woman. I wouldn't like it and I know he wouldn't either if the roles were reversed.

Do you think he'd have an issue if you had a male friend you bantered with so frequently?

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 30-Jul-13 21:59:17


But he can help that he's upsetting his wife.

And if I were her I'd want to make it clear that I was a friend of him as a whole person, a person who is married and has a life outside of work. I think not being a "friend of the marriage" is dodgy.

A new friendship, in this context would worry me too.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 30-Jul-13 22:00:06

.. by her a meant the friend, not the OP.

youvegotmail Tue 30-Jul-13 22:00:07

Ok, but why are they friends? He is her senior - does nobody else find that inappropriate? Would you all be ok with your husband chatting to another woman all day including sometimes in the evening from home sending a message or two. I know my dh too and know that hes spent time thinking up the clever jokey emails to her as I can tell from the way hes worded that hes trying really hard to impress. Sometimes he tells me funny or interesting things shes said but more often than not its all private from me and he doesn't let on that they are such good friends. He doesn't know I look at his mails on the ipad but hasn't locked them or anything either so don't know if he's totally open or just doesn't think Id check.

Maybe i'm just jealous but I can't help feeling that this young, attractive woman who clearly likes my husband an awful lot - its often her that takes the subject away from work - and who my husband thinks is so great is a threat to my marriage.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 30-Jul-13 22:01:47

OP I would.

I've been with my DH for 20-odd years and a new friendship with a younger woman would make me suspect that he is feeling quite flattered and putting emotional energy into someone else.

Morgause Tue 30-Jul-13 22:05:52

It's the 21st century now so I don't think it's in the least inappropriate. Workplace friendships are a good thing and break down barriers.

They aren't hiding their friendship from you, because there's nothing to hide.

My DP and I both have friends of the opposite sex - it's normal.

TiffanyAtBreakfast Tue 30-Jul-13 22:08:10

I'm on the side of those who wouldn't be okay with it. I have male (and female!) friends from the office and they are exactly that - Friends from the office. When I get home I don't keep emailing them. Occasionally I might every now and again, but certainly not numerous times a day.

Just because the flirting is not sexually suggestive and is open to viewing doesn't necessarily mean the OP has to feel alright about it.

dementedma Tue 30-Jul-13 22:13:16

Oh dear. My male boss is 10 years my senior and we email out of work time with jokes etc. We have a great relationship but there is nothing inappropriate whatsoever. We just get on well.
Totally disagree with the poster who says if it is making you uncomfortable then it is unacceptable. Why? Do you have the say over who your husband can or cannot be friends with. I lost a very good male friend because of a very over-possesive wife...pisses me off that people are so bloody suspicious.

youvegotmail Tue 30-Jul-13 22:17:07

My dh also has other female friends and im fine with it. I don't know why this one feels different. sad On the occasions when they do have to get together they sometimes go out for lunch or drinks (again hes open about this) but I just keep thinking that something could happen between them. I stalk her on facebook through my DHs account (again, open but hed probably be annoyed with me as it wouldn't occur to him id check) and on here (which she knows he can see) and in the emails she does mention her own DH and DC and seem happy so I should feel ok about that. Its just reading their strings of emails....... it just seems like two people working really hard to impress each other. A few times shes said stuff like 'oh you're so nice' or 'thanks for being so lovely' when hes helped her with work stuff but he never says anything like that to her. They have bought each other small gifts before - they both have the same hobby (can't say without potentially outing myself!!) and have got each other something the other one wanted cos they saw it.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 30-Jul-13 22:18:55

I think all of this would be OK if I felt as much attention was being paid to me, and me to him (if it was my DH).

maddy68 Tue 30-Jul-13 22:19:49

Well actually I'm the boss of one of my male friends who has been texting me random bantery stuff and also on our Facebook pages. Nothing inappropriate and all in the open

Beastofburden Tue 30-Jul-13 22:25:56

I don't think you can control where people meet new friends. We all make close friends every so often and sometimes they are of the opposite gender, sometimes not. You can't expect him to have no emotional investment at all in any of the people he works with, ever.

Try to forget she is female. There is no suggestion that he is going to get off with her. As for friendship, close friends do matter and it should be ok to be fond of them.

I would suggest that you normalise this relationship. Have her and her DP and DC to a family lunch. On your turf. Let our DC be lovely to her little one, and you can be nice to her DP. Let her show that she respects your place in his life and is not trying to compete with you. Let her DP see her with our DH so she has to behave in a way he is also happy with.

I know we all expect to be our DPs best friend, but we can't expect to be their only friend. I am sure your dp is upset that you are upset, but it is a lot to ask for him to drop a friend because you are irrationally against the friendship.

Sorry, OP, with every sympathy for how you feel, I personally think you ABU and that you can make this whole thing go away by accepting the friendship and having it out in the open, both families together.

maddy68 Tue 30-Jul-13 22:27:12

I'm even more convinced its just a friendship after your last post. Be careful your doubting him doesn't affect your relationship because if I found out that my oh was Facebook staking or checking my emails as if they doubted me that would seriously be a game changer for me...
They are clearly just friends.

AnyFucker Tue 30-Jul-13 22:27:46

it doesn't matter what any body else does, and how they have all these fabulous mixed-sex friendships that would never develop into anything else, woopy-doo-dah

what you know is that your husband is saving the best side of himself for a woman that is not you

that's gotta sting, and personally I would not be standing by and watching it happen right under my nose

in plain sight does not = undamaging and respectful

BergholtStuttleyJohnson Tue 30-Jul-13 22:30:54

I'm not sure OP. I don't think I'd mind if my DH did this, he has male friends that he emails/texts several times a day, not every single day but certainly a lot. I don't see how this is any different, she's just a different sex that's all. I tend not to differentiate much between men and women though and I don't get jealous. I think Yabu because he hasn't done anything wrong as far as I can tell from your op. This sounds like your issue rather than his.

SmiteYouWithThunderbolts Tue 30-Jul-13 22:33:33

Unless he is sharing deeply personal and intimate information about himself with her and not with you, I don't think I would call it an emotional affair tbh. Nothing you've described goes beyond friendship.

Maybe I'm biased because I have male friends I'm this chatty with and DH has female friends of the same ilk, and vice versa with friends of the same sex. It's just a non-issue because nothing ever crosses over into that "this is stuff I should only share with a significant other" territory.

I just can't see how the husband in this instance is behaving disrespectfully towards his wife. I DO see an awful lot of insecurity in the OP which is being projected onto a perfectly innocuous friendship.

youvegotmail Tue 30-Jul-13 22:35:48

wow, really mixed responses.

Those that think he's doing something wrong - what should I do? I've tried telling him I'm not comfortable with it and he just says that there's nothing to be in the least bit concerned about and even kind of says that shes a bit full on and over friendly and that hes just being friendly back (ie its her pushing it not him but im not sure).

Its hard to invite her for lunch because she lives far away but I guess I could try socialisting with her at the next thing. Last time I was cool to say the least and kept dh away from her and then when I went to the loo I came back and they were chatting and I just went in and 'borrowed' him (but it annoyed me he went to her when my back was turned). I know there's an element of jealousy as she is a real looker but I don't think its just that, its more about how close they seem. there is a real affection between them I feel. sad

I have had a bad experience in the past which may have affected me but I sort of cant see how a young, gorgeous woman who he has tons in common with and contacts several times a day and makes lots of effort to be jokey and friendly with is not going to make him think of her in 'that way'??

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