Relationship expert: Office romance and love trouble
Intuitive counsellor Susan King offers her seasoned and insightful spin on tricky romances.
Q: Last year, I started dating a man I’d been friends with for 13 years. At first, I resisted getting together because I didn’t want our friendship to suffer if we failed as a couple. There’s an added hitch: I’m his boss, and our company will not approve of us seeing each other. We sense that our colleagues are getting suspicious, and it’s creating tension between us. He’s pulling back a bit, although he says he wants us to be together. He doesn’t want either of us to leave our jobs, but at some point something has to give. I don’t feel that he’s interested in resolving this dilemma. It makes me angry because he was the one who started this in the first place. Any advice? – Weary
Dear Weary: Yes, you’re correct: Something does have to give. You’re lurching toward the proverbial brick wall at 100 miles per hour. I suggest that you broach the subject of him looking for other work. I think you’ll be surprised and disappointed by his reaction. You’ll see a new and decidedly less flattering side of him: He’ll have a Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde mood shift that will shock you. Is this the kind of guy you want to be with? My advice is to safeguard your position at work. You’ve worked hard for what you have, so, please, be cautious and protect your interests.
Q: Shortly before I got married last fall, I noticed massage-parlour numbers on my fiancé’s cell. I asked him about it, and he told me that he’d been going for massages after his karate classes. I found it hard to believe that this was the only service he’d been paying for. Heartbroken, I suggested that we see a counsellor. We both felt that the counselling helped, so we went ahead and got married. It’s been rough, however. He often makes cruel and hurtful comments, and I found out that he’s been engaging in sexual behaviour on the Internet. I think he’s a compulsive liar. I’m willing to leave if need be. What do you think? – Depressed
Dear Depressed: I’m sorry to hear that you’re experiencing such disappointment so early in your marriage. I suspect that your husband strikes out at you verbally because he feels trapped. He is frustrated about the situation but doesn’t understand what’s behind his hurtful behaviour. He also feels guilty about his actions and copes with this by pushing you away so that he can avoid being confronted with these emotions. I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you that you shouldn’t let this go on. You need to have an honest conversation with him. I’m sure he’ll get angry and deny any wrongdoing, but we know different. You must ask yourself what you want from your husband and then consider whether you’ll ever get it. I think that in your heart you already know the answer, and so do I. Confront him: Make a plan and execute it. There are new moonbeams on your horizon!
Photo by Norbert Mayer