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Ask Lisa: My boyfriend’s older co-worker is putting the moves on him

My boyfriend has recently started a new position in his workplace. His job is team based so he’s met a few new people and got closer to them as a result of this promotion. However, the woman responsible for the initial training of the new starts has took a liking to my boyfriend. She is 35 years old and he is 22 and very handsome. She has two children aged 17 and 4. The new employees had to give out their contact details in case of an emergency and since she’s had access to my boyfriend’s phone number she has been texting him on a very friendly/flirty basis, including once at 8am telling him how great her night out was and how sore her head was and another occasion sending him pictures of her drinks when out with her friends at 12pm.

My boyfriend himself was confused by the texts. Since starting the new job his seat is next to hers and they are in the same team so they talk regularly in between calls and walk to their cars together after work. She has shared a lot of personal information with him including her recent split from her partner and how devastated she was by this.

I trust my boyfriend completely and acknowledge that she has initiated the majority of the contact but I can’t help but feel uncomfortable about the relationship and it makes me nervous thinking that they’re together all day, which is not in my character at all! I just want the texting to stop and I feel that that won’t happen until my boyfriend stops replying and giving her the attention that she wants, but I’ve mentioned how I feel to him before and don’t want to cause an argument.

Lisa’s thoughts…

Something just feels icky doesn’t it?  Whether or not your boyfriend is doing anything he shouldn’t be, there are clearly some boundary violations and questionable behavior by his coworker.  The good news here is that you trust him which is a good start.  This must mean you have a strong relationship foundation and no questionable historical incidents undermining your security.  I imagine there might be some politics involved in this and discomfort in setting boundaries with her but it’s up to him to do this.  Tell him that you trust him but her behavior is making you uncomfortable and it would feel better to you if he was more assertive in laying down the line.  He should be clear that he is in a relationship and not open to contact outside of work.  This might be uncomfortable for him but the sooner he is clear the better.  Perhaps all it would take is to responding to her texts outside of work but handling it directly is usually the best.

You have a right to state your discomfort with this situation.  Ask him how he would feel if the situation were reversed.  I suspect he wouldn’t like it so much.

If your relationship is as stable as it sounds to be, he will hopefully do what’s right for the both of you, take a deep breath and nip this situation in the bud. Otherwise, it will continue to undermine your sense of emotional safety, lead to resentment and be a recipe for even bigger problems down the line.

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Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT is the creator of LoveAndLifeToolbox.com with emotional and relationship health articles, guides, courses and other tools for individuals and couples. She is a frequent consultant for the media having appeared in CNN.com, HuffingtonPost.com, MensHealth.com and others. Lisa has a private practice in Marin County, CA and offers Emotional Health and Relationship Consultations via email, phone or video conference.

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