Harmless fun or a workplace romance?

Last updated 05:00 01/06/2011

Today Aunt and Uncle Agony look at the workplace and the issue of what to do when your partner is friends with a younger co-worker of the opposite sex.

Keep your problems coming to theagonys@stuff.co.nz Those who followed James' predicament last week over his ex and whether to try and rekindle the romance will be glad to know he followed popular opinion and has bowed out.

"Thanks to the people who gave sound advice. When you're in a messy situation, it consumes you...," James @60 wrote.

"It's over and I realise I just need to take a different perspective on the situation - see it as an opportunity to meet new people - have new experiences, rather than just dwelling on the past."

Back to today's dilemma:

My husband and I have been together for close to ten years. He works in a small company with two other guys and a female who is much younger than them. 

Like most people who would read this blog, he looks at his Facebook page at work when there's slow periods. However, because everyone in his workplace can use the same computer, he is regularly getting his facebook hacked by the woman at his work.

He forgets to logout, so every time she goes onto the website it automatically goes to his page and she "frapes" or facebook rapes him. She writes things like "[her name] is soo cool" on my husband's facebook. It happens about once or twice a week. It started as a joke between them because my husband did it once to her, but now she won't stop even though my husband hasn't done it anymore.

I have asked him about it and he just says she's just being stupid, or silly or immature.  But I don't think he's ever told her outright to stop it. I haven't really had a good chance to talk to her because she's only been at the workplace for a few months. 

Now I'm starting to notice other things (but maybe cos I'm getting paranoid). If I go to have lunch with my husband at work some days, she will regularly be in his office or she will have shouted him lunch already. 

He's described her as "just one of the boys" but now I'm getting paranoid. I can't help thinking she's got a thing for him. I don't know what to do - I don't want to cause a fuss and make a big deal out of something that might just be a normal thing for their workplace.  

Any help would be great!

Confused

Aunt Agony replies:

Dear Confused, Firstly you're not alone in this. Many husbands/wives worry about what their beloved gets up to with their colleagues at work all day long - particularly if a co-worker is young, attractive and single.

Workplace flirtation is also common - it helps pass many hours trapped with one another - and this could be what your husband is indulging in when he allows his co-worker to "frape" him, (I've never heard of this term before - am I the only one?), but I question whether it's necessary for him to do this.

It's obvious you're feeling unhappy with the situation. Have you told your husband that his office interactions are making you feel uncomfortable? If not I suggest you do. It's your husband's issue and most certainly not his younger female colleague's problem, as your marriage and commitment is to one another - not her.

If he tries to brush you off, question why he is disregarding your concerns so quickly. If he listens and then spends time reassuring you it's just a workplace friendship and you feel okay about this, then back off - quickly. Misplaced jealously is destructive and can destroy relationships if it's unfounded. Good luck.

Uncle Agony replies:

I don't know who I'm most annoyed with: Aunty Agony or the skanky office trollop she's defending.

She's on his facebook, she's buying him lunch ... she's not "just one of the boys" love, she's on the prowl 1) for a man, and 2) probably for a promotion.

Unfortunately, there's no solution to this quandary; either your husband's going to succumb to the lure of her efforts and screw the crew, or he's going to see her for the horny little home-wrecking ratbag that she is. But, as I say, it's pretty much just a wait and see game.

You're soon going to find out your hubby is one of the good guys or you're going to find out he's not. My bet (based on your intuition and the hard-to-resist call of a loose woman to a red-blooded male) is he's probably not.

Uncle's advice: Get your house in order, prepare for the inevitable and start secreting money away in a personal account. 

- Love them or loathe them, vote for the Agonys' blog in the 2011 NetGuide Web Awards

80 comments
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John   #1   07:15 am Jun 01 2011

What SHE does on HIS facebook page is none of YOUR business. That's up to him to deal with. You are married, not the same person.

However, I agree that your relationship and comittment are with each other. Talking to her will get her back up and make you look like an interfering, insecure wifey.

But talking to your husband, if you have serious worries, is worth it. You love each other, you express how you feel to each their, and the spouse helps you with that, listens and tries to halp you feel better.

If not, maybe the relationship isn't what it was any more. Lifelong universal monogomy isn't natural.

peter   #2   07:22 am Jun 01 2011

he forgets to log out? once or twice a week? yeah right. he's playing the game with her.

DanM   #3   07:31 am Jun 01 2011

Uncle Agony, as always, is a douche. Aunt Agony is right. Sit him down and talk to him. Where you go from there is up to the two of you. It's all about trust and honesty. If you think either is missing, your relationship is on the downward spiral.

Lee   #4   07:39 am Jun 01 2011

Sorry I have to agree with Uncle Agony - get your house in order as soon as possible. I too have been in this situation but the woman was older.

While my husband and I tried to work it out inevitably after 3 years (yes I held in there for 3 years) it came to down to me or her - she won. 2 years later we are still trying to sell a house and move on.

The sooner you sort this out the better.

Erin   #5   07:53 am Jun 01 2011

You're being far too paranoid. Fraping is generally just a joke - and if someone leaves their facebook logged in, its just what people do. It happens in our flat all the time. Furthermore, buying a colleague lunch may not mean that she's "on the prowl". My dad and his workmates each take a day where they shout lunch for the others (it's a small business). It's sad that society sees single women as predatory, and a man-stealing 'threat'... it just a way of making us police each other and not trust each other.

Take a breath, and let it go. If you make a deal out of it, it will make things worse - especially if you are totally wrong. He's allowed to get on well with a female colleague.

Retract your claws, maybe get to know her!

Art Bennett   #6   08:19 am Jun 01 2011

Ah Uncle agony is right....at some stage a line will be crossed...The thing that makes me laugh here is "two so called experts" are so far apart in their opinions..and what sort of guy is he if he's on facebook all the time...wow...

Lex   #7   08:21 am Jun 01 2011

I'm going to have to go with Uncle Agony on this one, although I think a discussion between yourselves is in need.

I seen flirting in my office all the time, I don't think it's harmless. Especially at Friday night drinks. The girl wants a challenge and hubby is just a challenge. Overly flirtatious girl with an older married man? Challenge.

I'm not an overly jealous type and I actually like some of the girls my partner works with, but they are most certainly not going to be buying him lunch or "fraping" him without me getting a word in!

limeyman   #8   08:26 am Jun 01 2011

@Erin #1

It's also sad that society sees single males as predatory, horny, sex obsessed fiends...

Curtis   #9   08:33 am Jun 01 2011

If your anxiety level is elevated, then you may be reacting to other fears. Maybe you feel your relationship with your husband is not as fulfilling as you imagined. Maybe you've been wishing you had some younger male friends. Maybe you would like a bit of flirting (or even more). The appearance of this young female provides a focus and a target. Is the relationship you have with your husband the one you want? This is probably the question that is really nagging at you. This may allow you another way to approach the problem--ignore her and focus on evaluating your relationship as it is now. Make improvements. Re-affirm the things you love about each other. Everyone is flattered by the attention of a younger, pretty, flirty co-worker. The best thing to do is recognize that the attention is nice, but the years put in to the foundation of the marriage have their own worth. If one were to start over again... well you would have to cover all the same ground again and end up in the same place 10 years later. Decide what you want.

Makk   #10   08:33 am Jun 01 2011

The facebook thing is completely irrelevant. He did it to her and now you want him to be a hypocrite and tell her not to?

If you really are worried about his faithfulness, get your hottest friend he doesn't know to hit on him in no uncertain terms and see what he does. If he passes the test you are worried about nothing and owe him for your mistrust.


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