Newest Member: mollylynne

Bor9455

Myself - BH & WH - 35 years (05/24/1985)Her - BW & WW - 34 years (05/25/1986)<P>D-Day for WW's EA - October 2017D-Day no it turned PA - February 01, 2020

AP attempting to break no contact

In the complicated journey that my wife and I as madhatters have been on, this has been a tough week both for my professional situation (work has been extra this week) and personally. Note: I changed the names to protect the innocent.

Storytime (lol):

We've been in Florida now since 2016, but prior to that we were living in Alabama from 2013 to September 2016, where we had relocated from Nebraska, where I was raised and where my wife and I met and called home for the first 6 years we were together prior to and after we married/had our son. Any who, a former colleague in Nebraska is why myself a number of others from the same company in Nebraska eventually relocated for jobs in Alabama. So, I was close with my colleagues from Nebraska who were in Alabama, it was our family away from family kind of deal. With everything going on with my wife and I the past few years, one of the things I did was to nuke my social media presence on Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat. It has caused me to lose touch with some of the guys I used to see at work regularly and so I didn't know what had happened to one of our friends. One of the guys, let's call him "Steve", him and his wife moved back to Nebraska when the place closed and I learned a few months ago that his wife cheated on him, left him and now after divorce has married another woman, leaving Steve with two young boys to raise and 100% custody of his boys. One of our former colleagues was telling me all this over the Thanksgiving break, so naturally, I felt like this was a huge WTF moment because him and I used to be close, so I reached out to him with a couple of texts checking in to see how he was doing, etc.

Tuesday night of this week, Steve responds to my text and he thanks me and apologizes to me for not getting back to me sooner. What he tells me completely floored me next. That one of our former female colleagues at the job in Alabama was earlier that day reaching out to him, let's call her Sarah. The backstory with Sarah and I is that when I started working at that company, she had a workspace right next to mine and when I joined the team, it turns out that our teams tended to take breaks and lunches together. I worked closely with this woman and we became friends. There was a time that she would text me after work hours and respond to her and of course there was some personal stuff shared. At the time way back in 2013 and 2014, my wife was not comfortable with this friendship and she told me. Our friendship continued and it wasn't until I did the little quiz as part of "Not Just Friends" that I realized that my relationship with Sarah could easily be characterized as an EA. I never once laid a finger on the woman and I never intended to do so, but yes, I was sharing a bond with Sarah that was stealing from the relationship I should have had with my wife. I didn't realize it at the time, but my wife did and she was right. My wife was saying that I was not picking up the signs to the blatant overtures from this woman. She is right, I have been oblivious to that my whole life and I'm trying to get better at it.

So when my wife and I began to unpack and deal with everything from my EA and her EA/PA about 3 years ago now, one of the things that happened was going NC with Sarah and I was 100% fine with that. Again, I look back on it now after what I've learned from self-reflection, work with my IC, learning from all of you here on SI, that my relationship with Sarah was in no way appropriate for a married man to have, so in my mind I had two EAs and not one. So when Sarah reached out to Steve, Steve struck up a conversation with me about his situation and we chatted, but when he mentioned that bit about Sarah, someone I haven't had any contact with for years now, it hit me like a ton of bricks. When I got done talking with him, I let my wife know the situation and unfortunately I reconnected with a friend of mine because of an AP, so it certainly felt dirty/tainted.

Making matters worse, yesterday morning, I'm in a meeting with the CEO of our company and my phone goes off, it is LinkedIn letting me know that Sarah had sent me a DM on LinkedIn. Now, I know what some of you who have been around here may be thinking, that I never went NC with her because she was able to reach me on LinkedIn, but man, this was an absolutely genuine oversight and mistake. See, I had been connected with Sarah on LinkedIn for a number of years, like maybe going back to 2013 or 2014 when I joined the company. At the time in December 2019 when I nuked all my socia media, my LinkedIn account was on a hiatus. My wife knew that and remembered that I have put my LinkedIn on hiatus a number of times for long stretches because I get very tired of all the recruiters trying to get me to take a different job or the types who run contract firms and want to place contractors in my current company. I grow so tired of that incessant crap that I just de-activate my account for long stretches. It has been going on for years and it so happens that in late 2019 through late 2020 I was on a long hiatus when I was going NC with my other EA AP and I had blocked Sarah's number and emails. I reactivated it sometime in December 2020 after I was promoted earlier in that month, but it was down for a long stretch until this past summer when I started using LinkedIn to look for another opportunity outside my current company. I don't use the platform much and my wife knows that too, so it came to me as a genuine shock and disappointment that she was able to reach me on LinkedIn. The message came through while I was in front of the CEO and he knew something was wrong, he said I lost the color in my face and asked if I was feeling okay, etc. Yeah, hit me like a ton of bricks. In all my diligence to be NC and stick to it, I had completely overlooked the only social media platform I have and I think comparing LinkedIn to Facebook, Instagram, etc. is not the same, but contact is contact.

Where this story at least has a positive ending. When I left the meeting with the CEO, I texted my wife the situation, told her to call me if she wanted. She said no need. I had left the message unread and told her that when we are both home at night, we can decide what we want to do here together. So my wife, while obviously not thrilled that this happened, understood and could see that I was A) honest and transparent with her and B) I wanted us to work together to resolve this. I handed her my phone and said, do what you think is best here. We talked about it and I had just ghosted this woman and I reminded her that with the other EA AP we sent a NC message and deleted/blocked the contact. I left it up to her to decide and she deleted/blocked her with no response and that was the end of that. We talked through it more and she said, "well clearly she is trying to reach you by any means possible, using Steve to reach out to you and then she found you on LinkedIn because she couldn't find you on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or via text/phone" and I love that my answer to that was, "you very well could be right dear, since I haven't had any contact with her in 3 years, I got no fucking clue why today, why now, what she has or hasn't done to try and reach me. Frankly, I'm glad I don't know any of those details because they do not matter to me and I'm sorry that I brought these crazy women into our lives."

In a weird way, I guess I'm here beaming with pride on my humblebrag that I handled this completely differently then the old me would've a few years back. When I first saw that notification come through on my phone/Apple Watch, I lost all my color because in that moment I realized that I forgot LinkedIn and that my wife is never going to believe me. This could've been a totally different situation, but I had been honest with my wife the night before about what Steve told me and I also put in text messages to him to please not share details of our lives with Sarah and as my friend he felt bad, because he genuinely didn't realize the situation my wife and I were in. My wife thanked me this morning for being honest and trusting her to work through this with her and so that will give you a little extra pep in your step when 24 hours ago I was dreading how things were going to go because I know how things could've looked to her.

4 comments posted: Thursday, December 1st, 2022

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