Helping Mums Embrace Gentle Living & Easy Journaling

Problem Corner – Inappropriate relationships No2

Agony Aunt for Mums
Agony Aunt for Mums
Agony Aunt for Mums

I’ve had a long email from a wife asking for some more help having read my previous post about ‘Inappropriate Relationships’.

My answer is basically ‘Yes’ that woman is a wrong un, but I thought I’d include the whole email with my comments all the way through in red to help guys understand the general nuance when dealing with situations like this:

Email 1

I came across your website when looking for information on cross sex relationships as my partner of 25 years has recently struck up a friendship with a female co-worker, he has known her for couple of years but has only just recently got to know her better and she has also recently confided in him with a lot of her emotional problems. When the friendship first became known to me I wasn’t sure what to think as I did not know this girl he has befriended but he told me that she was confiding in him about her marital troubles and was telling him personal things that she did not share with her own husband.  He also told me that she confided in him at work about her life and problems initially also and that they had the occasional work lunch out of the office, although my partner tells me he does this occasionally with other work colleagues too.

OK so generally it would be crazy to say that our guys can’t have female friends, plus there is some sense about talking to a guy about marital problems for their different perspective.  But there is a limit to it – so it’s about the quantity of the asking for help that starts to fall into problematic waters here.  

Lunch out – hmm I would say that as a one off that’s OK, but frequently it would be odd to go out with only ONE person for lunch regularly if they were of the opposite sex.

The biggest NO NO is that she is confiding in him and NOT her own husband.  Without meaning it your husband is therefore worsening the problems with the husband.  She should have been talking to her OWN husband.

My partner has said that he has best advised her on her marital problems as best he could but has learnt that he can only say so much and now says that they are past those issues and have more of a normal friendship now that doesn’t involve so much talking about her problems.  In the meantime though, they both text message each other regularly and have struck up a friendship separately from me because they go running together after work, where they go for a casual run and chat and then a further chat and drink after before he comes home to me.  A few weeks ago, I did meet this girl and her husband and we all went out for a meal together and since then have also been on another night out but my partner arranges to do ‘runs’ with her and then includes me or me and her husband for the rest of the evening to do something all together.

Running I get, but going for a drink with a woman – again is something I wouldn’t be comfortable with.  If he wants to go for a drink with her, I would wonder wether it would be an idea for you to ‘pop down’ to meet them.  Show her that you are aware that he is of value – just a very gentle ‘female territory marking’ situation.

I like the fact that you have all been out as a foursome though – but that isn’t any kind of ‘protection’ from trouble.

Re the text messages, if it is every day, and first thing in the morning or evening, then it definitely isn’t quite right.

I just wanted to obtain some advice on whether I should be worried or not about this relationship that has formed between this co-worker or not, because initially I felt this woman was vulnerable because of her marital problems and the fact she has confided in my partner.  He was also trying to make her feel better by the way he spoke to her in text messages and I felt it should be her husband talking to her like that and not my partner.  I have told my partner that I feel uneasy by some of the words he was using and he has said he will be more careful about that.  I did read up about emotional cheating also though and did feel and wonder if that was what she was doing by befriending my partner in this way.  To give you some ages, I am 42 years old, my partner is 48 and the married co-worker is 29.

Hmmm that’s a big age gap. 

I have felt like the text messaging has become way too invasive, she and him would text every couple of days and felt like he was always checking his phone for messages.  He would tell me this is how you maintain friendships though and she was just a texty type friend.  I have since asked him to share what the messages contain so I do read them now and although they are just chit chatty messages a lot of the time I don’t fully understand why she has to text him quite so much and often late in to the evenings, in the mornings and have found it annoying when I’m out with my partner for a meal and he is there texting back to her all the time.

OH NO PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN HERE!  I don’t care who is texting him, he doesn’t reply when he is out for a meal with you! 

When I confront him about this, he says it is not harming our relationship though and she is simply a friend.  In my head I have been worried that by letting him have one on one time alone with her though, that this could develop into something more.  I used to see him come back from doing his runs with her and he seemed to be on some sort of emotional high, he would then text her and says what a great time he had enjoyed with her.  I felt hurt when he said this, even though he says she is just a friend.  When I ask him about the risks of having such a close personal female friend, he says that he is in control of his feelings though and knows what he wants (that he would never ‘go there with anybody else because he is happy and secure with me’,) and that although he thinks she is an attractive woman, he would never let anything happen and says he doesn’t get any vibes off her whatsoever that she has any romantic interest in him either.  He is therefore telling me that I should have faith and trust in him and that it wouldn’t be fair of me not to let him have a female friend because of what happens to a lot of other people who do become romantically involved through similar friendships.  I have said to him I would be fine to go out in group situations, but that I don’t like it when they arrange to perhaps have lunch together at her house and I still don’t really like the fact that she asks him to go for these runs with her and he seems to have all these happy fun times with her.

The whole ‘you should trust me thing’ – that’s messing with your head, so suggest he doesn’t say that one again.  Tell him instead that it just means that you are not taking him for granted, and that it is healthy for you to be aware of the fact that he is an attractive man.

Lunch at her HOUSE – no no no!

He is not understanding the female rules of territory – this woman is crossing them big time!  Explain to him that she is dodgy – no woman would think that it was OK to do this.

Am I being unreasonable and paranoid for no good reason.  My partner is a good man and I do trust him, but I still feel uneasy about this for reasons I can’t explain, my partner just thinks I’m being jealous of their friendship!!

That’s fine – a bit of jealousy is wise.  Just own up to it and don’t try to pretend that you are not.

Thanks for any help…

Other info as requested on your site about me:-

I am 42, reasonably fit, gym 2 or 3 times a week, my partner is fit too although losing lots of weight through his gym work and running…

I don’t work but my partner works full time, we don’t have any kids, just our house-bunnies!!

This concerns me a little, as it leaves you very reliant on him.

Have been in relationship for 25 years, sex life has been difficult as I’ve had some issues and got an awful condition called ‘vulvodynia’ a few years ago which has been a battle to get over, I believe I am doing well at the moment but not completely cured yet.

Ahh I can understand you being a little insecure due to this.  I would concentrate on yourself and getting healthier.

We are  ok financially, neither of us excessively drink, we do drink lots of water, sleeping patterns usually fine and both healthy except for the above condition for myself and my partner has medical condition called ‘Colitis’.

He needs to be careful with the weight loss and the Colitis – that’s a tricky illness.

Email 2

Firstly, my partner is still very much friends with this female co-worker, but last week he told me she confided in him again and told him she had been having an affair quite recently.  Apparently, she had been talking about the male in question previously and kind of sub-consciously told my partner that this is what she had done but without saying the actual words.  She went and told him he was absolutely correct in his thinking and that she had in fact had this affair with another man (who is married also and with kids).

SEE!!! Sorry I didn’t reply before your second email – SERIOUSLY – she is a VERY Selfish woman if she has messed around with a married man with kids.  I think that she is a bit of a victim.

I was horrified to hear this and told him what I think about her, ie, that people like this are out to potentially destroy other peoples marriages and although he agrees how awful it is, he seems to be able to put all this negative aspects of her aside and still says he likes her and wants to be her friend.

Fair enough, but hope he now sees that there are reasons for you to not trust HER and that there should be clearer boundaries on where and when they meet.

She actually came round to our house last week also as my partner still does ‘weekly’ running sessions with her (one-on-one time) and in the morning on the day she was coming round, I discovered a note my partner had put in our bathroom cupboard for her.  The note read ‘ How well do I know Thee’….  I felt my blood boiling up and the note annoyed me so much to think he had put this in a cupboard in our bathroom for her to find.  He knew she would be using our shower later after they had done their run.  I rang him up at work to explain the note and he said it was a jokey note to make her laugh as she had previously said how she apparently goes nosing round other peoples cupboards, so, the thought it would be funny.  I felt so mad with my partner, not only for writing what he did but for then also saying he wanted to make her laugh or whatever as it’s like he wants to have this private joke thing going on.

The note is funny, it’s the use of the word ‘Thee’ that is worrying.  I do think that he is overly fond of her.

He is on a work course this week and parks his car at her house and walks to the course with her in the morning, he said yesterday she confided in him again and wanted to talk about her problems.  I have a big problem with this as it just sounds like she is pouring her emotions into him all the time.  A while ago, my partner said that bit was over and they were more just friends again, but this is clearly not the case because of what she has just told him and how she keeps confiding in him.

Hmm she is relying on him a lot – where are her female friends?  Why doesn’t she have any?

On top of all this, she invited him to stay over at her house this Thursday as both her and my partner are attending a Works Christmas Party and they are getting taxi back from the place to hers.  Her husband is apparently there too, but I also hate the idea of them both having fun, drinking etc and then going back in a taxi to her place as I do not trust her and not sure I even like her that much as a person now anyway… She also gets repeatedly drunk and told my partner she was hungover this weekend also after attending a party on Saturday night.

Alcohol is a real problem.  I know of people who managed to be unfaithful in the same house as their partners.  He needs to come home honey. 

I’m not sure I see her situation improving as my partner tells me she is still in contact with this married man she had an affair with (although she thinks he won’t leave his marriage and kids) and she’s not happy with her husband and apparently threatened to leave him at the start of this year.

To be honest, I’m not sure there is much to like about her and I don’t like her hanging around with my partner, but he still declares he likes her and because of their shared running bond still wants to continue their friendship.  He says he is being even more guarded with her because of what happened but I just feel uneasy about it all.

OK so to summarise …

Tell him that she is really crossing lines that women know not to cross.  It is very worrying that she doesn’t have girl friends to rely on, and she has shown herself as lacking a value on marriage.

So if he wants to remain friends with her fair enough.  But he needs to make it MUCH clearer that there is no chance of the friendship changing by being clearer in his ACTIONS.  So no meetings for lunch alone or drinks – that is unsuitable.  Reduce the texting and make sure that it isn’t interrupting your conversations.

What could you two do in the evenings that might curtail his time with her?  It sounds like he wants to be needed and looked up to.  How could you fulfil that need in him?  Could you guys do more together?  What exercise could you enjoy together?  

Also, I wonder wether you are sitting at home for him a bit too much?  What do you do for your fulfilment?  I would like you to concentrate on you a bit more – show him how valuable you are, and that he wants to come home to YOU.  Be a bit less available for him honey – he is taking you for granted a bit.

Also stand up for yourself a bit more.  It’s OK for him to say that he feels a bit unhappy about you questioning him.  But he is not allowed to make you question how you feel – that is a no no – he is making you question your sanity and that is NOT allowed.  In fact he owes you a bit of an apology now that she has shown herself to be untrustworthy.

I really hope that this helps?

Please can you update us in a little while to tell us how you are doing?

** UPDATE **
There have been so many hits on this post this year and so many comments, that I don’t feel I can give the required attention to.  If you are reading this and need more help, please do feel free to get in touch via my Facebook page – I can always do a session with you via Zoom (a lot of my clients are international).

11 thoughts on “Problem Corner – Inappropriate relationships No2

  1. Update from the wife who left the question …..

    I actually have a further update because other things have happened since last week. My partner and the female co-worker both attended their works Christmas Party last week and as I mentioned she had invited my partner to stay over at her house and my partner had accepted. I did tell my partner I wasn’t happy about this, even though the husband of the female co-worker was there too. I also told my partner not to drink too much and to be aware of his actions, especially as I knew they were both going to be drinking and because of her drinking reputation!

    The next morning my partner came home earlier than I was expecting him and he was looking very shaken up!! He told me she had gotten overly friendly with him when they had returned to her house last night. Apparently she was hugging him in their kitchen whilst she was making late night drinks for them and then they were looking at some photos (including some my myself that my partner had with him because they were using them at work earlier in that day). She moved to sit closer next to him in their kitchen and then she started to plant kisses on his mouth as they were still looking at photos… Next thing, her husband came in to the kitchen to get a drink and she muttered something like, ‘god, don’t know what’s going to happen with him now’ , so, I’m guessing he may have observed or knew what was going on!!

    My partner said, they had better call it a night and asked her to show him to his room, so they went upstairs but she was apparently still hovering and chatting to him before he insisted he was going to bed. The next morning he told her ‘she was out of line’ and that he had only cared for her in a ‘sisterly’ type way!! He then left their house and came home, but he then told me I was right and he should never of gone back there….

    I told my partner I knew she was going to do something like this, because I’d sensed it and could also sense she was jealous, this is aside from the fact that she had been pouring all her emotions into him for weeks!! My partner kept saying he felt so ‘disappointed’ and said he felt like he had been through emotional turmoil!!

    I have told him to now cut her off as a friend as it’s gone too far and she’s acted totally out of line!! I know they still have to work and have communications there, but that’s as far as it should go! Having talked to my partner about it again, he knows he’s got to cut the friendship, but he is still disappointed and has said he still feels like he’s abandoning her and has felt the need to take care of her. He has been back in to work for 3 days this week but she has made no contact with him, only some work related e-mails but he is saying he wanted a bit of closure on the matter and just to know she is okay.

    So, this is where the situation is at present, I am just hoping she stays out of our lives now as like you have said she is not a trustworthy person and I do not find her a nice individual at all, I believe she is very manipulative also and just out to get what she can for herself with no thoughts for others. I hope I don’t ever have to see her again!!

    ((Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, I will definitely be taking your advice on board, as well as making sure I take care of myself too as I do want to get myself completely healthy again!! The past couple of months hasn’t helped with the stress of this friendship going on, but obviously hoping to put that well and truly in the past, where it belongs!!!

  2. My reply ….

    Ahhh so we were right – it’s one of those situations where it is not actually nice to be proved right.

    I’m a little concerned that he should have left that night – I’m assuming he couldn’t because of drink. I hope that he has apologised BIG TIME to you for questioning you and making you think that you were being out of order. Make sure that you NEVER let him do that to you again and make it clear to him that it was not right to make you second guess yourself.

    He now needs to make things up to you, which means NO contact with her. He doesn’t need closure with her. He doesn’t owe her anything. You are his wife, which is more important that a friend. No running. No lunches to make sure she is OK. Nothing. At all.

    No texts. No phone calls. No answering calls. No emails. No Facebook friends etc etc etc – you get my message yes?

    Harsh, but fair I think.

    Here’s to a great 2014 for you both without that woman causing you trouble and worry!

  3. Great advice Lisa, I couldn’t agree more! Hope the wife and husband can get over this and have a wonderful 2014 without the jealous, manipulative woman 🙂

    1. Thanks @andi, she has promised to let us know how she is doing in January (anonymously), so lets hope it is good news!

  4. Just an update from myself, the original poster!! The female co-worker and my partner are still friends, she e-mailed him when she returned to work after Christmas and they had a chat about the incident that happened in December and they both agreed that it was ‘a moment of closeness’ that just happened because they were both a bit drunk after their Works Christmas Party. She apologised profusely and they both agreed to put it in the past and my partner does not believe she was ever attracted to him and was just a silly moment that happened. I, however, do not believe this because of the way she singled him out to confide in and from watching her body language with him. She also left a top covered in her perfume in the room he stayed in at her house last month. I did ask my partner to stop being friends with her on social media sites too but he considers this to be too harsh and still thinks of her as a close mate despite my on-going concerns about her and he knows how I feel about her, I’ve told him I never want to see her again! I know he has to work with her but have told him not to communicate with her from home, he has however, continued to have close chats with her at work and she is still pouring out her troubles to him. She told him she didn’t want to lose him as a friend and says she can’t confide in other people about the affair she had as she’s too ashamed! So, the friendship has continued but to a lesser scale, my partner knows to keep his distance with her and I’ve told him not to keep advising her so much, but I think he is still offering advice to her. He says he knows to keep his distance with her after what happened and I know there is not a physical attraction to her from his side but I still think he cares about her too much and as he says himself he thinks of her as a little sister! I feel that she is still very manipulative and it’s almost like she can just say she is sorry whenever she does something wrong and then she gets what she wants, she also tells my partner via e-mails at work when she is feeling sad and down and is like she wants sympathy all the time. Ideally, I wish the friendship would end as I just feel happier when I don’t have to keep hearing all her problems and troubles and I ask to hear about it because I need to know what she is saying to my partner, given the fact, my partner is reluctant to completely desert and put an end to this friendship completely! Am I in the wrong to think they should still just have a pure works relationship now and stop these close chats at work. I did not want to have to worry about it anymore this year, but it feels like I don’t know what to expect next from her, it’s annoying to me that she thinks she can even worm her way back in to being friends with my partner, I will just never like her!

    1. Hi Susan
      Yes, you are quite right – she is manipulative.
      To be honest I’m not happy with the lack of respect that your husband is showing you for your opinion, or the lack of remorse. He should be begging you to forgive him for not listening to you.

      However, lets move on from that. I think that we need to take a different tack. We need to get to a point where we out manipulate her – it’s not nice, but it’s the female thing to do!

      STEP 1
      STOP talking to him about her. Slap yourself when you think about it. The problem now is that it’s going to make you anxious and actually cause a problem between yourself and your husband.
      You can take note of things, but don’t mention them and stop yourself from dwelling on them all day.

      STEP 2
      FOCUS on yourself:
      So we are looking for a big focus on your confidence levels, and how you feel about yourself:
      – Be slightly less available for your husband.
      – Get a hobby that means you are out some evenings.
      – Join a new club and start talking to more people.
      – Put a little extra effort into your hair and makeup and clothes
      – Have some pampers – either in house or out of house – to make sure that your skin is glowing and you are feeling loved
      – Have some fun and giggles – I personally recommend things like belly dancing classes, zumba, pole dancing – anything very feminine and very funny
      – Then start meeting him for lunch sometimes – maybe because you will be out that evening and thought it would be nice to have a treat
      – Pop into work – be polite, but icy if you see her and make sure you do it dressed so that you feel wonderful – show her that you are marking your territory and willing to fight if she goes near him again
      – Send him texts when he is with her – funny jokes, things that will make him laugh, or to let him know about stuff
      – Be a bit naughty – send him a naughty text in the middle of the day to let him know that you fancy him still and are thinking of him
      – Maybe go away for a short weekend break – somewhere that works for him with lots of running or wonderful places to walk, but also where you can reconnect and snuggle
      – If there is anything that holds you back mentally or emotionally or affects you confidence, then deal with it – get some help (I can give you tips if you need some).

      It would be easy for you to think that because you are at home you shouldn’t take care of yourself and to delay things that you need doing in order to feel at your best. I think that it’s an utmost priority to get yourself feeling wonderful at the moment.

      I hope that this gives you some ideas honey.

      1. Thanks Lisa, I do feel I am spending too much time thinking about what she is up to, but obviously I have a big lack of trust in her and know what she’s capable of!! I do think she has him wrapped round her little finger at work a bit also because she has entrusted him with this big secret of hers (that she had an affair) and refuses to tell anyone else but my partner! However, will try and take your advice on board and try not to dwell on anything, my partner does bring her up in conversation though and I think he does want to tell me now when she has e-mailed him at work or talked about her home life to him, although obviously I don’t think she should still be doing this and I’ve made that clear to my partner too.

        Thanks also for the tips above to concentrate on myself more and also to out manipulate this other woman, that is a good way of thinking!! I will take your advice on board and definitely try some of your ideas, we do text each other a lot in the day, but I have never popped into his work to meet him for lunch or anything like that!! I think some evening activities would be good for me too!!

        Will update again soon, am so grateful for all advice!!

  5. Update in May from the wife:

    Sorry for delay in giving you another update!! Things actually weren’t going too badly, but my partner has also recently been under a bit of stress as he had to go in for a 2nd colonoscopy a couple of months ago and he’s been really worried and anxious about the results which we still haven’t received yet.

    I was managing to put his female co-worker out of my mind a bit better and tried to take your tips and advice on board and for a while did manage not to let myself think about her too much or affect me. My partner told me some odd updates about her and I was aware they were still texting from time to time and communicating on network sites still, but still tried putting her out of my mind!! Because of his health worries, my partner is no longer running at the moment so hasn’t been engaging in this.

    To sum things up anyway, I was a bit happier, but prior to going away on the 8th May to France, I noticed some more chit chatty type of texts again on his phone again with the co-worker and then on our holiday, I felt really mad with him, because she texted and interrupted a dinner on our balcony in our apartment to basically talk about herself and how she had some great revelation that she was going to tell him about when he returned to work – ((in her words, over lunch))!!! They were texting back to one another for about half an hour!! I told him I was not happy about this and how I still dislike this woman, but he said he texts lots of other people like this too, there always seems to be an answer from him as to why it’s acceptable for her to text like this. I thought after my reaction to her texts that night, that would be the end of it, but I discovered last week a message on his phone from her and told him I wanted to read his latest messages. I then discovered a load of ‘Whats App’ messages and pictures that he had been sending and some she had sent to him practically every day or so of our holiday. They were just mostly chit chatty messages about wine being cheap and she had asked him to take some back for her but I had no idea they were chatting like this. She also took part in a Run for Charity which my partner was also supposed to do but had to cancel because of his health issues, she had sent him a picture of the event and put ‘Miss you’ on it. They also exchanged pictures of what they were having for their teas on particular nights!! She also apologised for the evening she interrupted our dinner, but I am still not impressed. That’s her all over, messing things up for people then says she is sorry after and expects everything to be ok still, she is just so selfish!!!! Again, I say to my partner how much I dislike her still and despite the fact he has made things up with her, my lasting memory of her is of how much she stress she put me under last year and the distraught him that came home the following morning after spending that night at her house!! He says that he doesn’t find the texting ‘Significant’ though and doesn’t let anything about his friendship with her affect him. He just says he communicates to other people in the same way, although admits that this is a closer friendship than with others and that she is a chatty and texty type person!! I’ve told him I don’t have a problem with other people, it’s just her that I have a problem with!!

    I kind of feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall with him because he isn’t seeing why there is a problem!! I did have a better chat again with him at the weekend though and I’m hoping he’s getting a better idea, but I really don’t know. I am ok with work related texts as I know they have to chat because of work, but I’ve also told him I don’t see them at work and don’t know what she is saying or acting with him because I’m not there. I know they are in regular contact at work as he has told me if they haven’t spoken for couple of days that she will send him a piece of music or something. He says they are ‘wired’ the same way too! A couple of months ago I had to ask him what this CD was that he had made as it said ‘Music to Make Jennifer Happy’ on it. When I asked what that was about, he said she had sent him some depressing music and he had made this Cd of happier music for her. Unfortunately, I could not do your suggestion of popping in to his work as he works in a factory and cannot get past security there and transport is actually a bit difficult too as don’t have car at moment to drive to the town where he works.

    One more thing to add is that if I do bring her up at anytime and start talking about her or my dislike for her, he doesn’t want to talk for too long about her and will say, ‘I don’t want to talk about her anymore’, like he wants to brush it aside. He says he deals with her, then forgets about it.

    Feeling at my wits end a bit with it all, I don’t want to feel like I have to keep checking his phone and checking to see what she is saying etc. I’m not sure it’s fair to have this type of friendship with someone else when you are in a committed relationship???

    Needless to say any further advice/opinions you can offer would still be appreciated and to say thanks for reading and giving of your time once again!!

    1. Here is my reply:

      Apologies for not getting back to you earlier, but life has been very busy.

      Basically I feel that he is keeping his options open a bit and being disrespectful to you. You are the one in the position of less power, asking him to stop and he is the one not interested in the fact that you don’t like her. It should be you telling him now, and him feeling apologetic – it is concerning that it isn’t.

      I wonder wether you could really do with someone you could talk to face to face for a couple of coaching sessions, as I could be missing something on your side or his, as we are communicating via email/comments.

      But what I would say to you is – don’t tell him you dislike her. Tell him how you feel. Check out my post ‘how to teach people how to treat you’ again and read Dr Phil Mcrgraws ‘Life Strategies’ – you need to tell him that when he is in touch with her you feel hurt because it interrupts your time together, and that it feels as though he is being disloyal because all girls know that what she is doing is crossing boundaries. Explain that you feel that he cares more about upsetting her than you. (Read that post and the book in order to make sure you come across right).

      I hope that all the tests have come back clear.

      Do keep in touch with me – but also I do recommend that you get some help, as I think that you need someone near you who can support you more.

      1. I know these are old but in a way I can relate. It is to late for my marriage but one thing I have learned…. If your husband, wife or your partner is doing something that makes you feel the way the lady in the blog did… I really could feel her pain and hurt. Then it is an inappropriate relationship. He should be able to see and feel her pain if he is truly in love with her and he should want to stop just for her. This story really got to me sorry!

        1. @Krystin I totally agree with you – no one who loves you would want you to feel bad, they would be mortified to think that they were doing that.

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