The arm touching is a HUGE trigger. Ugh
But aside from that, what should he do? He did tell me right away and left the pizza party. She is a supervisor, I believe. Obviously he can't change what just happened, but how should he handle this type of thing?
I have a few thoughts but would like some ideas from the community as well. He is still at work right now and has to work tomorrow too.
By the way, I'm super proud he told me even though he knew it would upset and trigger me. Honesty.
Currently in Limbo, possible R. WH says he wants R. I'm not convinced.
I get that touching is a big trigger. Remember, though, this time your H responded well. As his boundaries get stronger, triggers will be easier to handle, because you'll have a recent history of handling incidents effectively.
I'd recommend his staying away from her, so maybe he should not stand alone at these sort of things, but if he's an introvert, that's probably impossible for him.
If he's an introvert, maybe he should teach himself to say that. If the woman is just an honest extravert, with no agenda, that might do the trick. OTOH, this woman sounds like a real PITA.
We have had to deal with chicks like this at crazz's work. It's depressing that when a man asks a woman to behave professionally most people get confused rather than supportive. I think he should email her and ask her to only interact with him professionally and never touch him again. I can give you a better blurb with HRese later but I'm at work right now and plinking this out on my phone. She will likely be embarrassed and scared and may lash out, but he will have covered his bases and HR will side with him if she decides to be an idiot about it. (((Bbf)))
As for your H, it sounds like he handled the situation really well. Going forward, if he doesn't want to be straight forward about it since she's a supervisor and all that, he could just back away a bit. Every time she comes a bit closer, he can back up a little. If she ever questions it, he can just say he lives personal space.
That's a super non-confrontational way to go about it, so depending on just how aggressive this woman is it may or may not work.
Jrazz, if you have anything good to email, we are all ears. One thing that is tricky is that it's a job where if they don't have enough work, they "flex" people - send them home. Which means they don't get paid. She's not really in charge of that, I don't think, but possibly? I don't know and we can't afford for him to get flexed often. He's been there a year now and doesn't get flexed much, but I remember last year during the holidays there was a lot of it, and it was pretty tough.
I don't want to make a bigger deal than necessary. He's been working hard to just do his job quietly and come home. I just don't understand why people want to push people into being "friends" at work.
Thanks for those ideas. I definitely think he can obviously put more physical space. This time caught him off guard I think - he was in a chair reading on his phone and she came up behind him.
I keep trying to think of something he could say directly that doesn't sound super confrontational. Along the lines of "don't touch me" but not that.
Also, this is the second thing that has bothered me - the other day she asked him to do something and then said "Thanks, hon." as she walked away. At the time I said we could wait and see if it was a slip of the tongue. I mean, I have called my students the same names I call my own kids before, so I get it. Now I think she was just being inappropriate.
I think he has said she is that way with everyone, but still. It bothers him too, by the way. So I'm glad, but again, huge trigger. He used to come home all the time talking about OW and what a cool friend she was, how nice, blah, blah, blah. Then suddenly he was leaving me for her.
I feel like a pattern for my H is that he will be sort of withdrawn and there are types of girls out there who feel like they can be the one to pull him out of his shell. Almost like it calls attention to him in the "mysterious" way. I know his intention right now is just to avoid people like that, but I know that sometimes it becomes a challenge.
I don't know if this is that but I feel like that is how the OW started. I mean, WH was the one who started the A, but I do think she made it clear she was interested. I always got the impression that she wanted to prove she could get him, even though he was married. He made it clear she could, she made it clear she wanted it, and he pursued her until he got her. She made it a challenge.
God, I'm all triggering and feeling gross about it today.
I've run this through my head and what might I do if it happened to me, the next time. Since she's done something twice that made him uncomfortable, he wouldn't be jumping to a wrong conclusion the third time.
Say the situation was similar where she came up to him with a question or comment, and touched him or called him a pet name again. He can step back and politely answer the question. Then say "I need to address something here. I have a rule of no physical contact or calling coworkers by anything other than their professional name. It makes me very uncomfortable and I'd like you to respect me on this".
I'd document the conversation, date it. And if needed, take it to. HR. She's the one doing wrong and your WH has every right to be respected here. You also need to see him take further precautions and defend the two of you. I know what I wrote may not exactly flow when saying it in, person. I'm just saying he should say something if it doesn't stop.
Can he just do a quick, gentle smackdown next time?
"Out of respect for myself and my wife, please don't touch me and I'd like to keep our conversation strictly professional. Thank you for understanding."
Some people might be offended or abashed. Others might see it as a challenge. If he can find a way to succinctly tell her no until she backs off, that may be the way to go to start. If it dials up I'd really recommend involving HR. If you ever decide you need to have HR involved, PM me and I will copy our letter out for you. It seems excessive, but DAMN pushy bitches! Back UP!
[This message edited by Jrazz at 10:14 PM, August 24th (Sunday)]