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Meeting OW in a professional context?

(20 Posts)
whatnowitsoverseekingadvice Tue 11-Aug-20 16:35:38

STBXH and I are currently splitting up after our teens found messages between him and another woman which made it clear they were involved in a long-standing sexual relationship.

He and I work in the same profession (as does she) and I'm now being drawn into a piece of work that she will also be working on an aspect of. This is likely to mean we will be in the same room in a professional capacity over the next few months.

Most of my colleagues now know that we are splitting up and a few colleagues who are also friends know that it was as a result of him having an affair but not with whom. I really don't want it to be widely known for the sake of our teens and also I have to work in this environment for another 15 years or so. I have also heard since from some well-meaning colleagues that there were rumours about him and her and about him with someone else before.

I am finding it difficult to make any decisions at the moment even though the shock has worn off. But I have no idea how to manage this new spanner in the works.

I could choose to not participate in this project but the colleague who is leading it is lovely, knows nothing about any of this and would really appreciate my involvement. It's also something I am known to be interested in. Her professional expertise is only needed for one element of it - could I prevent them from using her at all and if they do, how do I manage meeting her in this capacity.

Emotionally, I am so over him, she is welcome to him, although I don't think they are still involved now he is available. For info she is also married with teens. But I am angry and if truth be told a little humiliated that others knew before me. It is also unlikely that the others in the room on this occasion will know any of this....

Any advice or insights welcome.....

OP’s posts: |
NextName2020 Tue 11-Aug-20 22:11:56

Wow - I really feel for you. Would you have to meet her on your own, or would others be there?

AuntyFungal Tue 11-Aug-20 22:21:29

Could you confidentially explain to the lovely colleague that you’re happy to help either ‘off the books’ or no face to face meetings / direct contact.

PegasusReturns Tue 11-Aug-20 22:26:46

If there is a relationship of mutual respect between you and the project lead let her know.

She may well decide not to use the OW which presumably would be best case scenario. If she wants to proceed with her then she’ll be sensitive to your needs if she is as lovely as you say.

Yellowshirt Tue 11-Aug-20 22:38:40

Can't you just slap her and walk out?

whatnowitsoverseekingadvice Wed 12-Aug-20 11:21:11

Thanks for the benefit of your thinking - it hadn't really occurred to me that I could speak confidentially to the project lead (who really is lovely) and ask that we not have to attend the same meetings. That is an option - sometimes you can't see the wood for the trees. I don't really mind the project lead knowing that I'm uncomfortable having to work alongside this person. However, they both work within the same organisation - is it very unprofessional of me to undermine the OW in that way in a work context when it has nothing to do with her work....I have no guarantees that the lovely project lead would keep that to herself....would it be unreasonable to indicate to her that I have a personal problem with the OW and not tell her what it is or do I look very unprofessional in that scenario....?

OP’s posts: |
PegasusReturns Wed 12-Aug-20 21:16:35

I think it’s absolutely fine to have the conversation with the project lead and I don’t think you should consider it in terms of undermining the OW. That might be the case if you were mindlessly gossiping but you’re not.

You have good reason for not wanting to spend time with the OW and her behaviour is absolutely relevant in a work context if it impacts on people she had to work alongside.

If you do decide to tell the project lead I’d tell her, why you have an issue. Saying you have a “personal problem” with her is a bit wishy washy and could reflect badly on you if you’re perceived to be overacting.

Stating she slept with your husband makes it clear that you’re being entirely reasonable in not wanting to be near her.

FinnyStory Wed 12-Aug-20 21:31:47

I don't think this woman should lose a piece of work because your husband was unfaithful. Is his career ti suffer as a result too?

Hard as it may be, I think you just have to be professional about it.

PersonaNonGarter Wed 12-Aug-20 21:42:25

Have no concern for how it looks re the OW. Just focus on you. Speak to the lovely leader person and all will be well.

BooFuckingHoo2 Wed 12-Aug-20 21:46:40

I don’t think you should say you have a problem with this woman and not give context because it could make you look petty/like you have an unfounded grudge.

I absolutely think it would be ok to tell the project lead (assuming you have a good relationship) the circumstances and I’m sure she would understand.

So really you have two options: either tell PL the truth or say nothing and try to rise above it. But please don’t step away from a project you want to do because of her!!

AmelieTaylor Wed 12-Aug-20 21:55:23

is it very unprofessional of me to undermine the OW in that way in a work context when it has nothing to do with her work

No, telling the Lead in the project isn't unprofessional & Why would you care about undermining her? She was knowingly fucking your husband...Undermining is the least she deserves - her husband should know she's running around behind his back too.

circumventgatekeeper Wed 12-Aug-20 22:17:14

You might feel over your ex but seeing her may well be a shock to your system.
I'd tell the project lead that you are happy to work on her project and will be 100% professional with all colleagues but that you cannot work directly with this woman and why.

TorysSuckRevokeArticle50 Wed 12-Aug-20 22:23:23

I'm taking a different opinion on this but I think the best approach would be to just work with the woman in a very professional manner.

It will feel horrific and I am so sorry that your ex and she have put you in this position, but it isn't professional to refuse to work with someone and it could lead to the question being raised as to whether you should all work for the company and if not who should go.

Cuddling57 Wed 12-Aug-20 23:17:16

Hmmm very tricky.
I think I'm with @TorysSuckRevokeArticle50 on this one. Will the person in charge really want to get sucked into personal problems?
But only you know what your organisation is like and your position in it versus this other woman.
Where I used to work the people in charge would have wanted the company put first and the attitude would have been you are being paid to be here so 100% no emotions - just professionalism.
Where I work now I'm valued highly and they are more personal so I'd have a say in who I work with.

whatnowitsoverseekingadvice Fri 14-Aug-20 11:20:51

Thanks to everyone for your responses - having given this a bit more thought I feel on balance that although I work within an organisation that would prefer us to leave our personal lives outside the door and my preference would always be not to compromise my professionalism, in this case the lovely project lead could be trusted. I'll get involved with the project and it will be a few meetings in that the OW's part would arise. In that time, I'll find an opportunity to ask that I not have to attend any meetings she's at and why - no-one else need know. Her role and mine don't need to be in the room together at any point and with the PM in the loop that can be handled without anyone knowing. This time it will be ok; there may well be other occasions though and I'm not much closer to figuring out how to handle them....

OP’s posts: |
HollowTalk Fri 14-Aug-20 11:33:46

Speak to the project manager and ask her to not talk about it to others. She will understand. Poor you - it sounds horrendous.

HollowTalk Fri 14-Aug-20 11:35:43

The thing is that this woman has stabbed you in the back. Why would you want to work with her?

Bloomburger Fri 14-Aug-20 12:04:30

is it very unprofessional of me to undermine the OW in that way in a work context when it has nothing to do with her work


It's also very very unprofessional to start a relationship with a married colleague and in most companies you're not allowed to have relationships with colleagues regardless of their marital status.

She should have thought about the negative impact on her career before shagging your husband.

Talk to the PM and explain. If it were me I'd completely understand why you don't want to be in the same room with her.

FelicityPike Fri 14-Aug-20 12:12:21

Channelling my inner Queen here OP.....”AW HELL NAW”!!
Tell your coworkers, especially the lead person. Explain that you’re more than willing to contribute to the project but really would prefer not to have contact with the hussy other woman.
Good luck.

Cuddling57 Fri 14-Aug-20 13:29:49

Good to hear you are going to take part. YOU shouldn't have to miss out.

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