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Quietly persistent OW--how to handle?

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ReconcilingWife posted 8/7/2014 14:45 PM

My DD was May 30, 2104. WH had a 2-month affair (emotional and sexual--they had sex five times). Since then, he's done everything right, and we are making great progress towards reconciliation. We are both in IC, and we are also in MC. Although it has been the worst period of my life, I am cautiously optimistic.

But I would like some advice on how he should handle the OW. They work at the same very large institution. On DD, he cut as many ties with her as he could, including restructuring things at work to make sure their official contact would be extremely minimal. She knew he was married (had met me and our children, in fact), and he was apparently upfront with her from the start about his intention that this be a fling, and that he had no intentions of leaving me. She professed to be horrified at herself for participating in an affair with a married man when I found out.

For three weeks after DD, she adhered to his no-contact demand. Then she called him one day at the office. She seemed to be accepting that it was over, but wanted to know if he had had real feelings for her during the affair. He was curt with her. Three more weeks with no contact, and then she started frequenting the employee lounge closest to his office--as she had done for a long time before the affair, but had ceased doing after DD. The first day she appeared there, she asked him, in front of a colleague who doesn't know the whole truth but knows there was inappropriate behaviour, what his schedule at the gym is, so that they could be sure not to run into each other there. He answered, curtly, and left. (And yes, he did afterwards second-guess saying anything at all.) Any other time she's been in the lounge, he's avoided it.

About a week after this encounter, she began turning up at the gym at the time he normally works out. He saw her in the distance, but gave no sign of recognition. This week, she's ramped it up. He always does the same thing at the gym. Two days ago, he got on his usual machine, and then realized that the woman beside him was almost certainly her. He didn't turn to confirm--just ignored her. Yesterday, he realized she was there again as he was approaching the machine, so, without her noticing, he turned around, dawdled until she finally left, and then did his workout.

This is pretty pointed: in the year and a half he knew her, she never worked out. Now, she's asked for his schedule, turns up at his workout time, and has progressed from being at a distance to being right beside him--knowing where he would be, and waiting there for him. I fully trust his resolve right now (longer term, I don't know, but for now, absolutely), so I'm not concerned about this materializing into something. But what is the best way to handle this? Should he change his schedule? Or is it better to give her truly no response at all? Would changing the schedule he's had for years be a sign that she was getting to him, and therefore provide some satisfaction, and so would it be better to carry on as if she's not there?

We lean towards sticking to the usual schedule and not giving her any sign that he is noticing her or affected by her presence. Does this seem like the right approach? We would both really appreciate opinions!

918Mama posted 8/7/2014 15:19 PM

He needs to either find a new gym, or stop going altogether. Sorry...consequences of infidelity.

I'm sorry you're having to deal with this!!

Furious1 posted 8/7/2014 16:09 PM

It seems like he needs to write a strongly worded NC letter. He needs to restate that the affair is over and that any and all contact be strictly work related and only what is necessary for for work. He also needs to address that any and all further contact from her outside of what is required for work will be considered harassment and reported to the HR department. A copy should be sent to HR so that there is a paper trail in case she tries to flip it around and accuse him of harassing her. If that fails to get her to back off, I suggest having him file a formal complaint with their workplace.

wk55hn posted 8/7/2014 17:08 PM

They work at the same very large institution. On DD, he cut as many ties with her as he could, including restructuring things at work to make sure their official contact would be extremely minimal.

She has as much right to use the gym as he does. She has as much right to the break room as he does. You have leverage with how he acts, but not with how she acts. Not much you can do to stop her if she decides to use the gym at the same time as him or take her breaks in the same place and time as him.

I take it that the gym is at their place of employment? I guess that's one perk he'll have to do without from now on. He'll have to re-structure things a little more so he doesn't work out at the gym where she also is a member, and doesn't use the break room that she has every right to be in. That's just another part of the price you pay for cheating.

LA44 posted 8/7/2014 20:38 PM

You have leverage with how he acts, but not with how she acts.

I agree with ww55hn. He can either continue going to the gym and carry on as if she is not there. If she speaks to him, he ignore - just get off the machine and leave. Or...he finds another place to work out. Working out is a great outlet for him right now (and would be for you too - so stressful!) so I hope he keeps it up.

Was a NC letter ever given? If she approaches him at the gym, or in the break room again, I would probably write one - you can jointly sign it. If he has written a letter, then I would not write another. She is not actually making contact in the gym - we both know why she is there but he can't stop her. He can stop himself tho - which is what he should have done in the first place.

bionicgal posted 8/8/2014 08:04 AM

Sounds a bit like my H's AP. Sneaky weasels.
Ok, the thing that has worked so far for us is him/us letting her know there is no more "them." So, when AP emailed him, I answered. When AP trawled him on LinkedIN, I emailed OBS and her. I go to the gym with him that she frequents, 100% of the time.

So, can you go to the gym with him? Any way that you can show that there is no more dark, and no more secrets, can help. You guys are a team, and she is on the outside. She'll get tired of that. My unsupported opinion is that women take longer to defog than men, and I remember AP showing up all over the place, desperately trying to get noticed, in months 3-6 after dday. I have no doubt it will happen again.

But should he continue to go there alone, without you? I don't think so at this point.

ReconcilingWife posted 8/8/2014 08:33 AM

Thank you so much, everyone.

He has written an NC letter, and she knows that I now have his passwords. Hence calling him at the office, something she'd never done before--it was the one way she could get round me. (He reported the call to me immediately.)

I agree with wk55hn that she has every right to be in those places--even though, as LA44 says, we know why she's there! (The gym, at least--reverting to her old socializing patterns in the lounge could well be more innocuous.)

Initially he felt the gym at work was his one safe place--the one place at work he didn't have to fear running into her. I do think it's important for him to be working out. While it's not comparable to what's happened to me, this has taken a toll on him--he's lost over 20 pounds from not eating (and he wasn't overweight to begin with), looks haggard from not sleeping, and so on. I do think it's important for him to have that outlet and to look out for his health--for our children's sake if nothing else!

I can't work out with him, alas. We always worked out together pre-children, but they're 4 and 8, and I can't easily scramble up childcare. Sometimes in summers past we sometimes met him at the gym at the tail end of his workout for all four of us to go in the pool together--the kids would certainly love it if we started doing that again. It would probably give her a jolt if she were to run into the three of us in the change room, as unpleasant as that would be for me! I wouldn't be in the equipment room with him, but if she was aware that we were all there at the gym, perhaps that would send a signal. So I could do that.

If the consensus is that he needs to avoid running into her there, a change in schedule would do the trick: it would be somewhat inconvenient (but as several have said, that's a small price for infidelity!) but it's certainly feasible. It wouldn't be easy for her to figure out when he was there (or even if he was still going), and I don't think she has as much flexibility in her work schedule as he does--it might not be as easy for her to change her workout time. So I think it is manageable for him to keep using the gym without encountering her.

My reservation about this, though, was that perhaps changing his routines (either changing workout time or abandoning the gym altogether) would send a positive signal to her, in a way ("look! I'm having an effect on him! He's noticing that I'm here!"). On the other hand, it would also send the signal that he really really does not want to be around her..

Hurtbuthopeful35 posted 8/8/2014 08:41 AM

I would suggest that he changes gyms. At the very least, change his routine. He could even make his routine less predictable to an outsider. The same for work.

He told her: NC and by taking extraordinary precautions, he sends the message: I don't WANT to see you. I have made a PROMISE.

Plus, you'd be more at ease if he didn't see her at all, wouldn't you? And he would he less likely to relapse if he never sees her.

Another thing he could do is confide in a trusted coworker about what has happened and ask them for help. They could help him escape awkward situations and you'd feel better knowing someone was keeping an eye on this at work.

ReconcilingWife posted 8/8/2014 08:55 AM

Funnily enough, this gym thing seems to make him even less likely to relapse. He finds it creepy. (I do have concerns about future relapses with other women--will he get back into the mental state that made this possible? So it's not that I've buried my head in the sand--it's just that I really don't think it's going to happen with this one again.)

On friends, yes, restructuring roles at work meant telling two trusted work friends, both of whom know me well and were genuinely devastated on my behalf. In September he may not be able to avoid a few social events at which she will probably be present (he is trying hard to get out of them, though), and it really helps to give me peace of mind to know that two people who are extremely supportive of me/reconciliation attempts will be present.

Hurtbuthopeful35 posted 8/8/2014 09:04 AM

Think of it this way:

Even if he isn't "inspired" by her gym visits, every time she lays eyes on him, calls him, etc., she will begin HER withdrawal process again. The less contact they have, the less reminded she will be. Cutting ties not only stamps out his urges but hers as well.

ReconcilingWife posted 8/8/2014 09:13 AM

Great point, Hurtbuthopeful35.

Thanks again so much, everyone. A friend pointed me to this site just after D-day and I read a lot, but this is the first post I have made, and I appreciate your input so much.

JustWow posted 8/8/2014 09:16 AM

If she calls him at work again, he should put her on hold and conference you into the call w/o telling her. That little surprise might be a strong clue to her that he does not want to talk to her. What she is currently doing is called sexual harassment, and most workplaces would take action against her for it. Would he call HR on her if she continues?

ScarlettA1 posted 8/8/2014 12:33 PM

I just wanted to say thanks for the post. I've been avoiding AP and don't ever want to see him or his family again. I think your husband is doing a lot of right things. I think the idea of doing the conference call is great. My husband answered a phone call and email to m AP when he tried several ways to contact. It worked!

ReconcilingWife posted 8/10/2014 20:02 PM

JustWow and ScarlettA1, your suggestions really prompted some thinking and talking around here. I have been invisible in this whole process. I have felt that for me to intervene at all might send the signal that he was of two minds about ending the affair, and so on.

But your posts have both made me think that maybe she actually needs a clearer sense that we are a TEAM--not that he's a lone wolf who might still be pining for her. Thanks so much for your perspectives.

Today, as we usually do on one of the weekend days, the children and I met him at the gym for swimming after his workout. Although it's only his workday schedule she knows (and seems only to be working out for proximity to him--she's never shown any interest in working out until the last few weeks), it was unlikely she'd be there, but I was still very paranoid about running into her in the change room--in my bathing suit no less!

Fortunately, she wasn't. But I think it's worth risking--if there are any days this week that he doesn't change his schedule, I think the children and I will join him for a swim. I'm very certain she doesn't want to encounter me. And seeing us there might help to send that TEAM message, which we both think might be helpful at this stage.

By the way, I'm wishing I had a less naive sounding handle here! While I am optimistic, ReconcilingWife sounds almost cocky. I tried a whole bunch of things that were already taken, and was too impatient to think of something more creative. Ah well.

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