I dated somebody who was utilizing me to get again at his ex-wife … who turned out to be my boss — Ask a Supervisor

A reader writes:

I’ve a query about one thing that occurred to me quite a lot of years in the past. Every now and then, I keep in mind every part that went down and I ponder to myself if I reacted the correct method or how issues may have been totally different.

I used to be about three months in to a brand new job and actually having fun with myself. I labored on a separate ground from the chief workplace and by no means actually had a lot alternative or cause to work together with them, as there have been about 4 ranges of hierarchy between us. A couple of weeks after being employed, I additionally began casually relationship/sleeping with an older man. He had pursued me fairly intently on two totally different relationship apps — this turns into very related.

After a couple of weeks of seeing him, one morning I woke as much as discover that he was taking selfies that included me sleeping subsequent to him. He tried to brush it off by saying that I appeared cute whereas I used to be asleep, however after bringing it up a couple of instances over the subsequent few days, he lastly relented and informed me that he was initially excited about sending them to his soon-to-be-ex spouse (!!!!!) as a result of their divorce was acrimonious and he needed to taunt her by exhibiting that he was sleeping with somebody youthful. Ew ew ew.

He assured me that he thought twice and he by no means despatched them, however clearly I instantly ended issues. In fact I additionally immediately launched an FBI-level investigation into his whole historical past on-line and managed to discover a image of him and his spouse at a charity occasion.

Think about my shock once I realized that he was nonetheless legally married to the chief director of my division! At that time, I solely knew her by title however we had by no means met. All of a sudden every part fell into place — one of many footage on my relationship profiles confirmed me in entrance of a window with a really distinctive view from our division’s workplace. You wouldn’t be capable to acknowledge it until you had been in that room earlier than, however it will be unmistakable to anybody who had hung out there. He after all acknowledged it and deliberately pursued his spouse’s new worker to get again at her, or attempt to put her in an ungainly state of affairs, or god is aware of what. I used to be mortified and ashamed and afraid.

It got here out by way of the grapevine that that they had a really messy divorce and that she was extraordinarily embarrassed by how publicly he shared very private particulars of the proceedings. She was noticeably emotional from time to time and it was clear that she was very strongly impacted by the entire ordeal. Everybody within the workplace knew that the subject was to be averted fully.

I used to be completely terrified about what this could imply for me on the firm, however she was a consummate skilled in each interplay I ultimately had along with her. That mentioned, she was very awkward and stilted in each one-on-one dialog we had, in ways in which she wasn’t with friends. She was recognized for being heat and convivial with employees, however after we spoke it felt very halting and like she was being overly cautious with every part she mentioned. She was all the time fast to finish our particular person interactions. She by no means noticeably withheld alternatives or did something to influence my profession, however the relationship was positively strained and uncomfortable.

It goes with out saying, however I by no means introduced up the truth that I had been concerned along with her then-husband, and naturally neither did she. Nonetheless, I can’t assist however to imagine he really did ship these footage to her. Who is aware of what else he despatched, particularly since he clearly didn’t see something flawed with taking footage of me with out me understanding. Once more — past ew.

I ended up leaving a couple of years later however our relationship continued to be pressured and awkward all through my time at that firm. Wanting again now, I’ve to surprise if there may have been a special final result. The skilled facet of me rings alarm bells on the considered bringing one thing like that up at work, however now that I’m extra mature and am married myself, my coronary heart aches for her and — on a human degree — I want we may have spoken about it.

I suppose I ponder when you may see a situation the place it will be acceptable to have that dialogue. Girl to lady, I want I may have reassured her that after all I had no clue that they had been married, that I by no means would have dreamed of going out with him in any other case and that I used to be completely revolted by his actions. It kills me to suppose that she might have questioned if I knew and didn’t care, or that I’ll have been pulling some bizarre Machiavellian stunt to take her down a peg or … I don’t know. I simply really feel gross and unhappy for each of us and want that we may have hashed it out.

Ugh, I’m so sorry. None of that is your fault. You had been used and manipulated by somebody with a twisted agenda, and it’s unfair that years later you’re nonetheless carrying the emotional burden of that.

As for whether or not you might or ought to have mentioned one thing to his spouse/your director on the time … you didn’t do something flawed by not speaking to her about it.

May she have welcomed it? Possibly, however perhaps not. It may have gone both method and also you had no method of understanding which it will be. It may have introduced her an infinite quantity of aid, or it may have brought on her extra turmoil and made issues extra awkward between the 2 of you at work. Hell, it may have introduced her an infinite quantity of aid and nonetheless have made issues unbearably awkward at work. To have any confidence deciding, you’d have wanted a information of her as an individual that you simply didn’t have.

Speaking to her may need fully cleared the air; she may need been grateful on your candor and relaxed round you solely. In essentially the most excessive good final result, it may have even made you professionally shut. Or you might have talked to her and the awkwardness may have been an excessive amount of and she or he may have ended up appearing out of ache or discomfort in ways in which harmed you professionally at that firm, even when inadvertently on her half.

One of many many, many issues flawed with what this man did to each of you is that he placed on you the burden of needing to determine the reply to this unknowable dilemma: Do you communicate up as a result of it would clear the air and is the correct factor to do? Or will that make it worse? And which path is least prone to hurt your profession? Will you profession be affected both method? What’s most secure for you? What is correct for her? These aren’t questions you need to be pressured to untangle, and attempting was an unimaginable process.

So I don’t have a solution for you, as a result of I feel there is no actual reply. You had been put ready you by no means requested for and didn’t need, had been violated by somebody you trusted, and had been used to hurt another person with out your information or consent. It’s simply … all-around terrible. It’s okay that you simply weren’t capable of finding a strategy to repair what he did. All of it’s on him, even the after-effects, and I hope you’ll launch your self from agonizing these a few years later that you might have executed one thing in a different way.

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