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Question - Working Boundaries & Affair Proofing and Perception

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LostTime posted 4/25/2014 09:08 AM

I have shattered any trust with my BS. We have been separated but really just beginning the work and just starting a transition to physical separation.

I am a real estate broker and probably more than half my new inquiries are from women. Initially I won't necessarily know whether they are single, married, divorced, separating, etc.

My question is what are reasonable expectations. Because of my cheating and lies, my BS had said that if we were working on something towards reconciliation it would be a huge problem me working with a woman just on her own.

My work has been sporadic over the last 2 years because of everything that has been happening. I have to focus and get my business on track, but I want her to know nothing is more important than her to me.

What is reasonable to expect here?

Do I just turn away or ignore every potential client because they are female? I need to increase my income significantly at this point we have 5 kids and it's an extremely competitive industry. I can't hire someone to tag along with me at this point like an assistant, but I don't know what to do here... I have caused my BS to feel this way and I do not want to dismiss how she feels yet I have to work.

Any advice or experience is appreciated, please

hardlessons posted 4/25/2014 09:15 AM

Lost Time, women are freakin everywhere so bottomm line is you have to focus on you and your boundaries. You have to sit down with your BS and establish what she is ok with, understanding that her "ok" will change from time to time. Bottom line, it wont matter what your boundaries are if she doesn't feel safe.

You will need to offer her proof of what your doing and where your at, text pictures of your location if need be, really depends on her expectation. Find out what hers are and more importantly what yours are of yourself. How do you deal with women in the workplace now?

somethingremorse posted 4/25/2014 09:24 AM

Tough issue. Some suggestions that either have worked for me, or have come out of my reading this forum:

- I know I cannot go to lunch/dinner/drinks with a woman. This is going to play hell with my business, but I'm going to make that boundary stick.

- One thing that gets repeated here is that I don't have personal conversations with women. I know that you need to know their personal lives, but they don't need to know yours. You'll need to discuss this specifically with your BS.

- Transparency is huge. Text your BS often. Maybe before you show a house and right after you are done. That, combined with a phone tracker, will account for your time and location.

- You're going to need to prove to your BS that your contact with clients is purely professional. That means she needs to be able to see your texts, emails, phone records, etc.

- Start with a plan, but be willing to alter it. If you start working with these kinds of promises, remember to check in with her to see how's she's feeling. Maybe she'll say that she's anxious about something that you can change. Hopefully, you'll both be able to get to a point where it is not all or nothing, but it's an evolving approach.

Good luck

BrokenButTrying posted 4/25/2014 09:39 AM

Women are not the problem, you are (were!)

I agree with SR, everything with work needs to be an open book. Call her, show her emails and texts. Show her that your professional relationships are only that, professional.

Sit down together and work out a contract, a list of rules that you will abide by that allow you to continue earning but still make her feel safe.

LostTime posted 4/25/2014 11:12 AM

Thank you for your feeback and comments.

Hardlessons - you're right I can't hide from women or stick my head in the sand. She doesn't or can't feel safe with me period right now. She has said I'm going to do what I'm going to do and assumes I will relapse or fall off the wagon.

I did huge damage at the beginning of the separation when the sh!t was hitting the fan and I had my head up my ass and was in denial of everything. A woman emailed me looking for a condo and the tone of her emails quickly got flirtatious and suggestive - I latched onto the attention like the selfish POS I am and betrayed my words and promises again allowing and pursuing the attention, getting personal and going underground. So saying I'm working means less than nothing to my BS - I cheated and was sex chatting, etc when I was supposed to be working over the years so why should she believe I'm actually working now? She can't. I've given her no reason to and every reason not to.

The fact that I know I am not going to cross that line again means nothing when I can't prove it to her.

Somethingremorse - she has access to my phone, emails, phone account, facebook and social media but it doesn't mean anything now. I didn't offer it all up at the beginnning so she feels it means nothing now. I put details of meetings in the mutual calendar - who I'm meeting, where, contact info. I have forwarded email conversations with clients, text her when I get to the appt and when I'm leaving or on to the next.

I am working with a female client now looking for a new place and just found out she's separating or divorcing from her husband when asking about selling her current home. I told my BS now that I know so she's aware of what I know. She said, so what you want to date her? I just wanted her to be aware of the situation as I am so there's nothing hidden or she finds out after the fact. That would be worse. This information doesn't change my perspective or how I will deal with her as a client, but my BS says it absolutely changes things.

How do I deal with this? I told her to be open - I don't expect a glowing response of appreciation but now it seems to have made it worse.

I like the idea of a plan or contract/list of rules I am living/working by. I had sent her an email of my commitment and personal intentions to her before so I suppose this would be a professional intentions.

BrokenButTrying - you're absolutely right - I am/was the problem. But at this point she's scared of me, scared of more hurt and pain and betrayal and I don't think it's possible for her to let herself feel safe.

SpotlessMind posted 4/25/2014 11:46 AM

How much of your business comes from separated/divorcing women in an age range similar to your AP? Would it be possible to hand those clients over to another realtor? Bc unfortunately, based on the way your affair played out, that will be a huge trigger and trust issue.

If not, calling immediately before the appt and immediately following might help a bit. Taking photos of the property while you are there, to prove your whereabouts. Can you handle paper meetings with these women from a home office?

Show your wife you are working hard to change your boundaries. Read books--Not Just Friends, etc--and discuss with her. Go to IC and discuss with her. Do any and everything you can to make her feel safe.

gahurts posted 4/25/2014 12:19 PM

Two suggestions:

1) Can you bring you wife with you when you are showing property to a female client? Or to all your clients? Does she work? Can you make her a pseudo employee who accompanies you to the locations?

2) Since you are now trying to build the business back up from a lull, can you switch to commercial/industrial or business real estate? I would assume that this would skew the clientele to a more male composition or at least equal distribution. Not trying to sound sexist just realistic as to who might be buying commercial properties. I sincerely apologize if I am off base here.

HopeImOverIt posted 4/25/2014 13:23 PM

My MC told us of a WH who was in a continuous hours-long speaker-phone call with his BW whenever he was away from her. I assume it was a spare cell phone and an unlimited-voice-minutes plan.

Obviously she didn't spend all day listening in on the call. But apparently the knowledge that she COULD listen in at any time was reassuring to her.

soosorrymom posted 4/25/2014 17:54 PM

I can relate !! I am a realtor and my BH hates my job says it gave me the freedom to come and go as a please .
He wasn't so much worried about my clients just where I am at .i try calling him before and after appts showing and telling him my schedule and email so he can see I'm not lying.
At first he said why are u showing me now It's too late.
Now 4 months later I think he appreciates a little the transparancy even though he doesn't say it .

However all that being said I am regretfully giving up RE full time . I know u as broker and head of household can not do that!
I don't know how u can weed out the clients or if that even makes sense .
I think setting clear intentions and full transparancy will help.
And time ...
Good luck !

hardlessons posted 4/25/2014 21:41 PM

How do I deal with this? I told her to be open - I don't expect a glowing response of appreciation but now it seems to have made it worse.

LT, first you shouldn't have any expectations of any kind. How she reacts or doesn't shouldn't determine your mood or reaction. Second, boundaries have really nothing to do with her and everything to do with you. Your actions good or bad will impact your BS and her reaction has nothing to do with your efforts. For me that was huge in understanding that my actions and consequences were mine and hers were hers. It helped stop the whole cycle of act/react.

LostTime posted 4/27/2014 11:23 AM

Spotlessmind - It seems lately there's separated and divorcing people everywhere but i'm sure that's just because of what I'm dealing with.

I work independently so I don't have a partner or colleague like that to refer them to. Trouble is, I don't necessarily know their full situation until after I start working with them. It would be good to have a system to deal with those situations better and not just turn down potential income, but right now I need all the business I can get.

I have to move out of our house at the end of the month so having a home office to do paperwork is irrelevant now... I will continue to tell her where I'm going and when I'm done, but it will be that much harder because I won't be allowed to be around. She wants me out of the house but then the comments of you'll be free to have your whores don't stop either. So it is a lose lose scenario.

Thank you for your words and suggestions - I have buried my future with past lies. She thinks I lie to my IC too. I am just carrying on and living consistently and hoping it will mean something eventually.

HopeImOverit - that's interesting, I haven't heard of anything like that before. Something to think about. Thank you

soosorrymom - thanks for your encouragement. It is the worst profession to be in for this now. She assumes I'm lying about everything that clients aren't clients and there is no trust.

Hardlessons - you are right and I can't have any expectations. I am doing this for me too. I know each day I am living honestly and trying to follow my IC advice of staying out of my BS head, but it's hard. My issues yearn me to be accepted and acknowledged and it will take time to self validate.

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