When you $%@# where you eat...

QUESTION: Hello guys,
I found your blog and felt like it is the best place to ask my question.

My husband and I work at the same place. Before I joined the company he worked in the department that I am working in now. Just before I got the job he resigned from his position and joined a different section of the company.

So about 6 months ago my husband and I separated to be divorced, it is mutual and we straight away started telling family & friends but not people at work as we decided to take it slow and get used to the idea of us being apart, etc. We still live together (separate rooms) due to financial reasons. We have two children 3 & 11

Then I noticed this guy at work, he was always polite saying Hi and calling me by name even though we never spoke, eye contact but no conversations, he is really quiet and kind of a loner. He got my attention and I started to like him. We would say hi to each other and I was drawn to him, wanted to talk, etc.

So I felt that we should start telling everyone at work about our separation as I was sick and tired of the situation where everyone assumed we were happilly married but in fact our marriage was over. So I spoke to my soon to be ex-husband and we decided that there was no need to keep it a secret and slowly started telling people at work.

At the same time I was falling for this guy really badly. But since we work in a really big place and very often we have different breaks and there are always other people around all of whom know my husband it was almost impossible to have "one on one"conversation. Once we flirted and it was obvious there was chemistry there. After that we still looked at each other but there was a little tension on his part but I felt he liked me he was just more aware of the attration, but I could be wrong of course. He knew then that I was married.

Once we happened to be sitting close together with no other people around and I started casual conversation with him, he responded well and then I said that he probably knows my ex-husband he said yes he knew him and then is eyes got wide and he asked me three times whether he heard me correctly about the "EX" part, then he said he did not know that we were no longer together and pointed out that I still used my married name, I said I was not
going to change it as my maiden name was really long. We talked more about other things and had more smiles and eye contact after that. Of course I started that conversation to let him know I was separated and available. I think I did a good job as it came out naturally.

It was more than a month ago and since then we had somewhat conflicting schedules and saw each other only in passing and when I did see him I did not get the usual vibe from him, or maybe I was just waiting for him to ask me out and now I am feeling disappointed overanalyzing the situation. I have no idea I just cannot get him out of my head. It seems he kind of shut down and if we have breaks together he sits in his corner rather than in the area
where we could interact, I just took it at the face value because it seems he is avoiding me, but at the same time I can see he still looks and responds if we happen to talk. We are attracted to each other, I know it and I feel it.

So I noticed that on breaks when there are other people around he is not seeking any attention from me. He just sits there or reads a book, but he knowa where I am because I know he keeps an eye on me. But when we at work he openly stares at me and smiles and tries to communicate.

Then it hit me, the reality of the situation:

We work together, I have baggage (soon to be divorced and 2 kids), AND my EX is in the same workplace

He is a good looking, single guy... he likes surfing, etc WHY on earth would he want to go out of his way to pursue me? He personally knows my ex and he probably regards him well as many other co-workers do, I have kids, the break up is recent.

He might find me REALLY attractive and have a naughty fantasy here and there BUT he would never ever consider making the move, ESPECIALLY if he does like me; we will end up in bed and then what??? Will he want us to come out as a couple & get the remarks from his mates at work? Does he want to know and consider my children and have my EX in the picture as there will be kids drop-offs and pick-ups and then run into my EX on his breaks at work where the three of us could be sitting at the same time???

Guys am right?

Is it possible for a man to have strong feelings towards a woman but NEVER do anything about it because of her baggage?

I think I should push for divorce ASAP and take my maiden name so it is obvious that I am single.

Please give some perspective on my situation. I REALLY like him

GARLAND: Thanks for your question. I started to ask you to scale it down some and send it back to us since we don't edit - sometimes people have a general question and in the effort to give supporting information, they start to vent and the real question is lost. But, I decided to go ahead and answer since your question was pretty clear at the end.

In my honest opinion, this new guy isn't worried in the least bit about your kids or your quasi-divorced status, per se. Your baggage is probably irrelevant. What is stopping this guy is this: He sees what you are doing to your soon-to-be-ex-husband and he knows that you are more than capable of doing the same thing to him.
It's probably no secret at the job that you came to your husband's workplace, in the very same section! I don't blame him for giving up his job and going to another section - THERE IS SUCH A THING AS TOO MUCH TIME TOGETHER.

But like I said, if you will come to your husbands job and start flirting and hitting on men that have known and respected him for years, you make yourself look very bad and you disrespect him. BOTTOM LINE. I'm sure there are plenty of other men in your town or city, but you come to the place where Your Children's Father earned the living that helped pay for your lifestyle and you start chasing after men right under his nose and right in his face. You make yourself look cold hearted and thoughtless.

Sorry to be harsh, but I'm not going to sit here and lie to you. This blog is about honesty.

As I read your question, you seem to throw around your 'separation' as if it really means something. You ARE NOT available. YOU ARE NOT DIVORCED. So, not only does this guy not want to look bad to all of the men and women at the job that respect and care about your HUSBAND, he doesn't want to be an adulterer. Dealing with you, is dealing with a MARRIED woman.

Even if you did get divorced, this guy would probably still steer clear of you because if the two of you broke up - his co-workers won't like him because of what he did to your HUSBAND, and since you don't mind fooling around in your ex's face, he knows that the next guy you'll be hugged up on in the corner at lunch time will probably be someone he's known for years - then he looks stupid on top of everything else. The risk isn't worth the reward.

Sadly, you are in a bad place trying to find love or sex or whatever in the establishment that your husband has fostered friendship and respect in for years. My advice is to look elsewhere. You are not painting yourself in a good light.

Good luck...

CHUCK: Hopeful, I'm not going to chastise you too much for how or why you have become attracted to this man. We can't help who we're attracted to. And we/re around our co-workers so much throughout the days and weeks, attractions are bound to come up. So you're not a bad person for being attracted to this man. But you will probably need to understand why he is not, or is choosing not to be, attracted to you.
It sounds really altruistic to think that he may be holding himself back from pursuing you because he is considering the feelings of your soon-to-be-ex-husband and your children. It might even be true. But most likely, his primary reasons are self-based.
He does not want to offend your husband, sure, but most likely, he doesn't want to be dodging haymakers from the angry hubby in the breakroom, either. You say that this man is a kind of quiet loner. As such, he may not want to be the subject of hot gossip as part of an office love triangle. Things like that could have a negative effect on his personal and his professional life.
It goes without saying that you should be concerned about these things, as well. I, for one, would not care to walk in a room full of people who were talking before, only to be faced with awkward silence. This man may have taken the time to do an assessment on the pros and cons of getting to know you better, and decided that it was best to keep his distance. There's nothing wrong with that.
What I think you need to do is start to move on with the next phase in your life. Get that divorce finalized. Get a separate residence, not just a separate room, from your ex-husband. Focus on yourself and your kids, and not necessarily on who you're going to be dating next. And definitely, look outside of that office when you're ready to start dating again. There's some nice guys out there, too.


Clarice said...

G I have to give you mad props for an on target response. I read this and had to re-read this - because I was amazed at how clue free and self centered but unself aware this woman is. Breaking it down woman to wanna be woman - to the writer - not be harsh; however what are you thinking?! Where is your self respect? Your sense of pride? Are you that desperate? Grown Up! Get a grip! This man maybe interested - your baggage is not the issue - but he does not want to complicate his life nor does he want his life to be the train wreck he sees in front of him. The writer is on the all about me show - never-mind who gets hurt. No self respecting man wants to put his business in the street and he darn sure does not want a woman who will put hers and by default his in the street - disrespecting herself, her kids and their father in the process. It is about respect plain and simple. Your soon to be ex is making the best of a bad situation and keeping quiet - everyone knows you guys are getting a divorce but he is not making moves on others or playing out that drama in the work place out of respect for you, himself, the kids and the other people who have to work there who do not want or need to know the details. Whereas the writer is openly flirting - about a subtly as a freight train and this man validly thinks that if you are that blatant in a situation where discretion is key he is staying clear regardless as to his level of interest. Maybe it is the current culture of oversharing or extreme narcissism of thinking the entire world cares what goes on in every breathe taking moment that folks are willing to share or immaturity - but actions have consequences and intelligent people recognize that and are judicious in the amount of information they disclose to avoid unpleasant consequences to themselves or others. In terms of consequences one could be the loss of employment. Some companies have policies against dating co-workers in the same department because they want to avoid legal complications others just want to avoid mindless drama overlapping into a place of business. This man is thinking yeah she is cute but why borrow trouble; she is in the midst of a divorce the ink has not even dried on papers that has not been signed and she is shopping for her next victim - no amount of chemical attraction is worth this much hassle. If he wants a fling there are far less complicated less potentially costly ways to have one. If he wants something serious he wants it with someone who has the sense and self respect not to complicate his life by putting his business in the street. He wants to be respected and respect himself when it is all said and done and can't do that if he disrespects another guy in this really big really public way or goes along with the writer in her public display of disrespecting herself and everyone involved. I have to respect this other guy for having the good sense to walk away from that and for respecting the writer more than she respects herself and taking advantage of her selfish stupidity. Get head on straight, complete the divorce, heal yourself and your kids - then decide what you want in a relationship and what you have to offer to a relationship and then get involved. Respect yourself and your kids enough to take the time to make intelligent, self aware decisions rather then self serving self indulgent ones that meet an immediate need.

Chuck and Garland said...

Hey Clarice... why don't you take a second and tell us how you really feel : )

Great comment, I'm with you 100% AND thanks for the mad props!

I know that sometimes I can be a bit harsher than Chuck, and I was trying not to bite this questioner's head off, but I wanted her to understand that it wasn't all about her, at least not in the real world. Thanks for your comment, you said plenty of things she needed to hear too!

Anonymous said...

Hi Clarice,
Thank you for your comments.

I feel really misunderstood, but it's ok.

Just a question though, how do you know how my soon-to-be ex conducts himself at work? There are about 1,500 employees on premises any given shift so we are not talking small-office situation.

Another point is that I've been married for 14 years (met my husband when I was 18) and for the last two years he's been having a relationship with another woman. No amount of therapy could break it off, he simply found his match, his soulmate. We have two kids and he has been honest to me about his feelings so we have been separated-under-one-roof for about a year and when it was clear that we will not be able to make it work we slowly started telling people.

So Clarice, I work full time fully contribute to paying the bills, we are committed to our children and we do not hate each other, we are on good terms but it is clear we cannot be husband/wife anymore.
Yes I found myself infatuated with another man. Gosh, where is my self-respect???????

Honestly, all this guy can say about me is that I am fun and he sure know I like chatting to him if I have a chance. I have NEVER made it obvious that I want a relationship outside of work, I have never embarrassed him in any way.

But yes, of course I want him but maybe because i DO have some self respect I am not going to pursue him as in asking him out or indicating in any other direct way that I like him "that way".
Hence my posting here, when you want to get a perspective you try to write honest account of your feelings and to get bashed for it...especially when you throw in "facts" you do not know anything about.

Yes, sure there won't be any relationship as we work together, etc i agree, but please do not attack me after 14 years of marriage I am not looking for my next victim. It is amazing how judgmental people can be.

You are right I will take my time and heal and maybe posting on Internet is not the best way to go for me. But, hey, therapy is not much fun either. ;-)


Chuck and Garland said...

Hey there, Hopeful -

I took down your other comment, you accidentally typed it under your blogger ID, and you certainly deserve your privacy with such a personal question.

I clearly see that there are many other circumstances in your marriage - I kinda' suspected that. With this blog I've come to learn that I have to accept that we really only see one person's side of a bigger / deeper situation and even then, we're only getting a fraction of THAT PERSON'S perspective.

While your husband may be a cheater and a dozen other things that are terrible - the quality of your relationship; or the size of your job; or the quality of his work performance where not issues in the answer to your question. (in my humble opinion)

You asked, "Is it possible for a man to have strong feelings towards a woman but NEVER do anything about it because of her baggage?" The answer was YES. But in your case BAGGAGE is not the issue. Your husband's low-down cheating ways are not the issue, the issue is - THIS GUY DOESN'T WANT TO GET INVOLVED WITH THE WIFE OR EX-WIFE OF SOMEONE ON THE JOB.

In your opinion, you're worried about drop-offs, and getting to know your kids, and coming out as a couple and all of these scenarios. To a man, and to THIS man that is now backing away from you - he's just thinking about his reputation and he's thinking about what might happen if he gets too close to you. In your follow up comment, you now say that you've just been a casual chit-chat to him, so if this is the case - Why are you so upset that he isn't seeking your attention?

I think you may want to look again at what really IS and ISN'T going on between the two of you.

As a guy, he's not trying to get involved with the ex of someone at the office, or the plant, or the factory. I work in a building with well over 5000 people and even in my dating peak I would have probably not bothered with the ex wife of somebody that worked here.

It's not about your kids and your status, it just not a good situation - bottom line.

Again, good luck and I know that right, new guy for you is out there away from work.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chuck and Garland,

Thank you for your post.

I get the feeling you are spot on. It is a bad situation and no relatonship can come out of it.

You asked: "Why are you so upset that he isn't seeking your attention?"

Well, pobably because we have a lot of odd eye contact going and the chemistry is so strong. He does not seek my company on breaks, but when we are "on the job" his eyes are on me and he never misses a chance to make some sort of comment. I know he is watching me when I work and if our eyes meet, he does not look away.

Well, anyway, I'd better drop it and stop waiting for the miracle, ain't gonna happen...
The problem is I see him almost every working day.

When I am out and about I do not even notice other men. Tis guy is what I want now.

I hope that with time my feelings towards him will just die down. Can't wait...

Not so Hopeful any more ;-)

Clarice said...

Did not mean to sound harsh - however the way you wrote the letter and going on only what I saw there. It did not make you look at all good. Step back and read it like it were about someone else and you will see.

Knowing what you added in the response well the picture is clearer. Neither party is a saint -no one is and that is all the more reason to not go there at work.

It will only get messier and more complex. It sound like right now a bit of clarity, space and distance with time to heal before getting into another relationship in order to preserve your self respect and sanity would be best. I wish you the best.


Anonymous said...

I am not saying you are looking for your next victim I certainly hope not but the possibility exists - that that is how it will be perceived. Fact is that there is a double standard and women do not have the advantage. It's not fair it's not right - it just is. I did not mean to be judgmental, despite how it sounded. I really just do not want you to further complicate your life. I have two very dear friends who are going through something very similar and it is a mess. I had to give them the same talk I did there to shake them out of it and help them see that regardless of the truth that is how they would be perceived.

I know like you based on the additional info provided they ae hard working women and deserve better; but the reality is that perception matters and that fair or unfair can influence the outcome especially in the work world. Unfortunately especially, at work perception is often viewed as reality. Once they realized that they were able to protect themselves.

I am sure you will too.


Anonymous said...

Hi guys,

I am writing to thank you again for all your previous replies and give you an update on the situation. My original post: “When you $%@# where you eat...”

Thanks to your input I was able to look at the whole thing (my crush, my failed marriage and insecurities) realistically. My soon-to-be-Ex and I entered into mediation and came up with sound plan for our post-divorce living arrangement, co-parenting, etc. We are civil towards each other and it is clear our marriage is over in amicable way.

I did some inner work in regards to my intense feelings towards the guy at work (see my original post) and decided to let it go meaning that I am not considering him as a possibility at all, just a good looking person of opposite sex whose company I enjoy. I am friendly and chatty but I do not have any expectations, on the contrary all I can see is how many obstacles are there (working together, my ex, etc).

Having said that the guy made a U-turn about a month ago, his eyes are ALWAYS on me as if he is expecting something from me. His glances are full of lust (he even pouts) and now he touches me as well. It is never rude or invasive but gentle and light, not like between just friends. He goes out of his way to say hi and to say bye, he is always in my face now. Recently in a conversation he told me that he was single and kind of lonely looking straight at me also he shares info about his family, dental appointments, what he does when he is off, etc.

At some point it felt so natural for me just to give him my number but I stopped myself from making ANY moves because I think he should approach me if he wants to take it further outside of work. I read your replies to the post “Is you is, or is you ain't my baby? “ and I think it applies to my situation as well. The line: “I think this guy is torn between the image of dating you; the reality of dating you; and the possibility of not dating you at all.”

So I am going to do nothing, if he wants me he will pursue.

Please tell me that I am right and not being "old school". The guy is like 36 y.o. it is not like he does not know how to go about it!?

Cheers, Lona
Still hopefull but NOT desperate

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