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Please help me to stop being such an idiot - married man

(147 Posts)
idiotme Sun 25-Aug-13 14:24:57

I work with him, for a long time I didn't think of him like 'that' at all as we were both married and I didn't find him particularly attractive anyway. Somehow though over a period of a couple of years of working closely together (during which I had a messy divorce) it got to the stage where we'd built up a friendship that was a bit too close, he quite obviously flirted and could be quite suggestive. I naively told myself that I'd although I liked him, I'd never let anything happen as I didn't want to get involved with someone who was married but I think I'd already allowed myself to get sucked in and started to rely on the contact and attention.

Eventually after a work event we slept together - I was very drunk, he didn't force himself on me and I could have (and obviously should have) stopped it but I feel he did take his chance and slightly take advantage of the situation. Afterwards I told him I regretted it, he said he didn't and since then he's carried on as before, continued the flirting and makes comments that suggest he'd like it to happen again.

I've told him it's not going to happen again but the problem is I keep getting sucked in. I can keep my distance and keep it professional for a while but then if I spend any period of time with him he seems to be able to win me around and it goes back to the overly familiar/flirty stage (although nothing else physical has happened).

I know I'm being a fool to let him use me like this and to be doing this to his wife - he doesn't even make any secret of the fact that he just wants something on the side, he doesn't really pretend to particularly care about me and has never suggested that he's not happy with or doesn't love his wife.

If I'm honest with myself I know it's probably a self esteem thing and I just don't want to let go of the attention but I know I need to for my own sanity. What can I do to stop getting sucked in and put a proper stop to this? There's no way I can get out of working with him although I have stopped attending any events where drink is involved and avoid being alone with him.

I know this isn't the place for sympathy, with all the horrible stories of people being hurt by their husbands and people like me but I just need a good talking to to snap out of it and put a proper stop to this.

Fairenuff Fri 30-Aug-13 10:49:34

He seems to have no guilt or concern over it - it's like he sees us completely separately and doesn't relate what has happened between us as anything to do with her.

Have you spoken to him about this? If he says something inappropriate to you have you said that you don't want to hear anything he wouldn't be happy to say in front of his wife?

If so, how does he react?

idiotme Fri 30-Aug-13 19:15:04

I just ignore it if he says anything inappropriate now as he doesn't really react when I remind him he has a wife and shouldn't be saying it.

When I said I felt guilty about what had happened and said surely he regretted it too he just said that he should but he didn't

rootypig Fri 30-Aug-13 19:19:36

OP inappropriate comments if you've made clear they are no longer welcome ARE harassment.

Letsadmitit Fri 30-Aug-13 21:24:25

Hey, what a chauvinistic thread! The man is harassing this woman, he is in a position of power and ignoring her pleas to leave her alone. The bastard took advantage of her being drunk which could be classed as rape. And some people here are placing the blame on her because she can't refuse him strongly enough????? WTF?

She is the victim, and is in no way responsible for him being faithful to a wife he doesn't respect. Grass him to human resources he is sexually harassing you. You are the victim here, not Mr. Family Man. Yeah sure, his family will be upset but HE should have thought about it before harassing you in such way.

MadBusLady Fri 30-Aug-13 21:41:40

Letsadmitit I disagree. Harassment and the possibility of reporting him was referred to on page 1. I don't think that angle was neglected.

However, I think it's fair to say the OP's early posts gave the impression (to a great many posters) that she was responding favourably to the flirting (I can provide quotes if you like, but I'm sure you can see them). That's pretty much the first hurdle you have to clear in any situation dealing with a sleazebag - make it crystal clear where your boundaries are. So that is what she was advised to do.

She has now posted explaining that she IS putting clear boundaries down. So yes, now is definitely the time to take it to official notice if he carries on.

Letsadmitit Fri 30-Aug-13 23:03:49

I agree with you wholeheartedly, but I still think that there are far too many people in this thread placing the blame solely on her, when in fact, it is the guy who is more at fault here.

swallowedAfly Sat 31-Aug-13 09:52:55


harassment is still harassment if the person on the receiving end is confused as to how to deal with it, respond etc especially when it's someone in authority.

the onus is upon people in authority not to do it not for people without authority to know how to stop it.

Letsadmitit Sat 31-Aug-13 12:15:36

Exactly, if both were single, the advice would have been very different but because he is married, she is the one who gets the blame and has to ensure that in addition to repeatedly ask to be left alone, tthere are strong boundaries around to prevent him from hurting his wife and marriage? What a load of tosh.

She has set the boundaries already and he is ignoring them. It is not about asking the person in the more vulnerable position to make those boundaries stronger, she needs help to stop this guy.

swallowedAfly Sat 31-Aug-13 12:28:46

yep it turns into being about the marriage and people's attitudes towards marriage/affairs/OW etc rather than the issue.

FrancescaBell Sat 31-Aug-13 12:30:40

I disagree.

If a single woman posted that she'd had regrettable sex with a single work colleague, didn't want to pursue it further but kept engaging with him because she was enjoying the flirtation and the attention, most posters would point out that she was giving the man mixed messages and therefore needed to 'shit or get off the pot'.

Harassment is defined as unwanted and unreciprocated attention

The early interactions don't meet that definition at all.

It's a different matter now that the OP has communicated clear boundaries. Any attention from this man would now fall into the 'unwanted and unreciprocated' category and would be grounds for harassment.

swallowedAfly Sat 31-Aug-13 12:30:45

i was amazed at the amount of people telling her to leave her job! why on earth she should have to change jobs because a senior colleague shagged her whilst pissed and is continuing to sexually harass her despite her attempts to stop it (regardless of how good you think those attempts are) i do not know.

Letsadmitit Sat 31-Aug-13 13:17:44

Yes, but she was not asking for help about the early interactions, she was asking for help to stop him after she was setting boundaries and he kept ignoring them.

I don't get why people were suggesting her to leave her job either, obviously if there were thousands of jobs around so she could get one at the same level/salary/location in order for this jerk to leave her alone I would understand, but not in the current economic climate.

Everytime a man takes advantage of a drunken woman, people are up in arms calling rape. But because he is married, some way she called this onto herself? hmm

Fairenuff Sat 31-Aug-13 13:23:08

I think OP should tell HR everything that has happened between them. I think she should explaiin that, at first, she enjoyed his attention but now, having thought it through a bit more she has decided to end the 'flirtation'.

However, having told him that, he is not respecting her boundaries and continues to pay her sexual attention which is neither wanted nor reciprocated.

She should ask to have this put on record and for someone to speak to him, in her presence, to make sure that he understands that any further behaviour like this will be considered as sexual harassment.

FrancescaBell Sat 31-Aug-13 13:26:45

The poster got lots of advice about reporting him for harassment actually.

In reply, the OP said that she didn't think it was harassment at all because everytime she asked him to desist, he stopped.

But then after a period of sanitised interactions, both got back into the habit of flirting.

It's not unreasonable at all to advise a poster to stop flirting back and stop engaging. She seems to have taken that advice now and got what she needed from the thread.

I agree that resignation calls were ridiculous though.

swallowedAfly Sat 31-Aug-13 13:33:12

she didn't say 'both' got back into the habit she said that he'd start again.

everyone inferred both due to the whole married man bad girl thing.

the reality is he has never stopped, he just steps back a bit then starts up again when he thinks he's gotten away with it.

FrancescaBell Sat 31-Aug-13 13:49:36

if I spend any period of time with him he seems to be able to win me around and it goes back to the overly familiar/flirty stage (although nothing else physical has happened).

If you've assumed that the OP remained silent or changed the subject when this man started flirting again, I think that's erroneous given the above, especially as the OP also talked repeatedly about the man 'sucking her back in' and 'getting inside her head again'.

OP isn't shirking from her responsibility in this. Can't see why people want to victimise her and infer she has no agency.

yellowballoons Sat 31-Aug-13 13:59:02

swallowedAfly, I was one of the posters advising her to quit.
But I was advising her to quit, for her to be able to control the emotional situation.
Now that she has told him to stop hitting on her, then yes, he could be the one to quit.

Not sure though, as Francesca says, that the op has actually quite stopped the flirting. I am not sure she is quite at that point yet.

idiotme Sun 01-Sep-13 13:19:59

It's difficult to explain when I don't really understand it myself

I have stopped the flirting, my concern is that I find it difficult not to be drawn into it through and I suppose i'm worried how long I can keep that resolve.

I know it's stupid, I know he's just using me and i'd be a fool to get sucked back in but just need to keep telling myself how much of a bad idea it is.

And need distractions I guess.

yellowballoons Sun 01-Sep-13 15:49:39

You need a boyfriend.
But not him.

Am I right in thinking, that if you had someone else, he wouldnt have an emotional hold on you?

idiotme Sun 01-Sep-13 16:44:57

probably, but getting back into dating again scares me aswell

yellowballoons Sun 01-Sep-13 16:57:26

why? [not done it myself though]

yellowballoons Sun 01-Sep-13 16:58:15

have you got a friend you could do it with?
make it be a bit more of a laugh?

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