Long post with background of the sitch. Posting here because I'm WW/MH and don't know if it goes in General? Definitely not JFO. Kinda a similar situation as Sammich, but complicated more by my A.
My A has complicated work life *world's smallest violin* . Monday I had to go in for meetings and lab stuff. H was triggered. Then he had lunch with his "gal pal" J and unblocked her. Now they're texting like teenagers over one of her colleague's sexual harassment lawsuit involving... her COW's A with the CEO of J's company (she doesn't work with my H anymore- not for over 2 years now)!! H got his lawyer sister to send him the filing, which contains all the gory text messages, cringey emojis and all. Ugh. Talk about a trigger there with my A. H and J started texting back and forth lines from the filing to each other and laughing emojis... after H made it clear he had left the window open on his screen hoping she would text him. Like they were starring in their own little fantasy play. The kind of banter we don't have and haven't had in like... never.
H needs to read, "Not Just Friends."
Younger, blonder, childless, early 30's, teeny tiny petite well dressed designer label woman. Who likes to trash "friends" behind their backs, makes "friends" with people in A's (there's another gal from her work who ran off to Mexico w/ her lover ) and then MOCK them to H as a way to gain ego kibbles. Typical play from the mean girl playbook. What a B. Likely had an A with her BF and broke up his M. They started dating RIGHT after he D'd his wife... he's in his mid 50's. Talk about a sugar daddy- she lives rent free with him and he buys her purses when he hits her (according to what H tells me she shared w/ him). I've told H to be careful- if she's mocking them, she'll be mocking you. He's not too emotionally invested in her, it's more a banter thing to keep his mind off us and himself entertained. Thing is, she's like instagram- the more he's talking to her, the more discontent he is with his life and situation. And the less invested in the M he is too.
Doesn't help that H is displaying the same behaviors my dad did with his A with our family friend- right in front of my mom. Also, J doesn't know he's married to me. Or at least she didn't while they were having their 3 vodka tonics at weekly lunch just the two of them the year after Dday. H doesn't mention me at all. Not badly (which is a HUGE red flag for an A), but not positively either (orange flag). I've asked him to drop me into their conversations so I could feel more respected and safe, but he doesn't.
H is defensive around his relationship with her. Just like I was prior to my A's with my "friends." Am I paranoid? Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill?
I've communicated all this (mirroring my dad's A, her unkindness, my unhappiness with him texting her). He disagrees that there's anything wrong with it. Reverse back to me (anyone play Uno here?).
Says I still go to work in the same building as my AP, so he understands where I'm at but doesn't see a need to stop talking to J since I haven't stopped going into work. I have a responsibility to go in maybe 1x/2 weeks, AP works in a lab away from my areas that I can avoid. Oh, and AP disgusts me. And I've let HR know that on no uncertain terms is he allowed to contact me. They said he will be disciplined if he does. Also made it VERY clear to HR that by them moving him to MY facility (I moved campuses 1st to get away) and NOT TELLING ME, they created a HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT. Basically, if AP crosses a line, I'm going to sue. And probably have a good chance at success But I'm not... until he does. I like my job, company and creative freedom I have. It's definitely what I've worked my way up to my entire career and not something I'm going to let go of in the absence of equal or better work. Oh, and I have looked.
Anyway, deflection on H's part- well played, manipulation there, well played. H hasn't worked with J in almost 2 years, and he's attracted to her (has told me he likes her figure, her blonde hair and how she dresses and SMELLS). Also wants me to BE MORE LIKE HER: wear heavy perfume, designer clothes and be more snarky and "fun". But, yeah, no reason to worry or be jealous. Or for me to be concerned after he told me 2 weeks ago that he wants me to compete against other women for his attention like I apparently did in college. SOOOOO... he has absolutely no responsibility to be with her at all. He's deleted texts from her before (several months ago was the last time to my knowledge) and has started hiding his phone when I approach with guilty, furtive movements.
Hmm... yeah... and he's told me a month ago that I've got to December to make him happy in our M.
I'm not my mom. As much as H likes to compare me to my mom negatively, I'm NOT her. I'm not a narc and I sure as hell am not going to walk around like her in perpetual victim mode. I'm not going to end up like my mom- disrespected, betrayed and a laughing stock of my father.
Yeah, I'm not doing too well either. I've decided to temporarily 180 him until he gets his head out of his ass, off his phone, into a book (NJF is a good start) and back into IC and MC. We were doing well for a while, but seems like each time we have a few good days and some good sex sessions and some laughs and bonding on dates and good communication around finances and kids... yeah. Brick walls up, and now he's throwing grenades. His emotional brain is equating my work with his EA.
But it is my fault, per H. I was the one who went to work and I know how that feels, so even though I have a responsibility to my job... I could just get a new one. After all, EVERYONE says I need to go full NC with AP. Well... I did. Switched campuses, positions, WFH 90%, nearly sued company for hostile work environment, made it clear to HR that he's not to talk to me (HR made it clear to them) and I WILL SUE if he so as much as TRIES to talk to me.
But you know, H can still get all chatty chatty with blondie because it's no where near as bad to me as my going into work is for him. Yah, you know, starting an A with a younger woman isn't as bad as the 2x/ month I have to go in to DO MY JOB and pay bills that BUY YOU WATCHES. Whatev.
Doesn't help that I went to MC alone today because H wanted to visit his old watch salesman in his new position selling lab equipment to a plant he doesn't have direct responsibility in. Priorities. I enabled him though? Maybe? I told him I would prefer he come, but understand he wants to see his friend. They really are friends, and he's a great kid who was selling watches to get himself through college.
Old strategy: blow up, tell H what to do and make demands.
New strategy: talk calmly, tell H how I feel, why I feel it and let him make his own choices.
I'm in this to fight for it. I'm doing the work, showing up, going to counseling and making bids for time and attention. H is not doing that. Frequently when I offer to do things he wants to do with me (basement refinishing, shooting clays, going to fancy places), H either finds himself too tired or it's too expensive or he'd rather take the money and buy a go-pro with it. Then goes back to me and expresses his discontent with us not going to the expensive places and complains about how MUCH he DOES for EVERYONE and how he just WANTS to be TAKEN CARE OF. And how LONELY he is. UGH, get out of your own way!
He tells me he's where I was at the year before my A. I know the territory very well. This time... I know myself much better and know what I will and will not tolerate.
Ugh. I don't want a cold war. I don't want to 180. I'm afraid if I do, he's going to go further into his hole and have less reason to be in the M. If I don't I'm going to keep trying to compete with a 30something woman with no financial or family responsibilities, a nasty personality and few morals for my H's attention. Just writing this makes me wonder why I'm hanging in here anyway if HE is that kind of prize. What do I really do? What kind of things? Soft 180 for a soft EA?
I have no fucking clue what to do with this here. I'm trying to let go of the outcome- let him carry his own weight, see what he can can learn on his own about himself and me too. He has to decide what he wants out of life. Right now that looks like flirting with J and avoiding internal reflection or MC.
I'm so torn though- I am 100% both oars in the water wanting to fix this. BUT, when H is bantering about and entertaining himself with J and distancing himself from me, do I have anything to really R with? We are offered R as a gift and I've definitely done what I could to trash that gift. Isn't doing a 180 a contradiction to that? Or will this be a good way for me to let him grow and do what he can do for himself (and get us out of codependency)? I've pushed rope a lot lately. Doesn't help it's A season either.
I told H the only competition I'm going to have for him is a competition to be better than my old wayward ass self. I'm seeing more and more that I am a very flawed individual, yes, but I AM A PRIZE. I'm 40 years old, have proven myself as a mother, career woman and am now proving to myself what kind of human being I can and want to become (with LOTS of work to go!! UGH- that's a post for another day). I'm smart, sexy, pretty, got a low tolerance for mean people, enjoy building others up and making connections between people, a good mom (now my wayward head is out of my ASS) and gosh, I think I may just be a good friend too.
See how demoralizing this is? I have to use my anger to build myself back up. Sucks. I'm sorry all you BS's out there that had to go through a triple decker club sandwich of what I'm having right now.
Sometimes I think God is asking me to stay in this because I need to learn empathy for the other side to truly heal and truly "go and sin no more." That and a huge helping of humble pie too. You are what you eat. Humility and patience are virtues, right? And empathy is a good thing to have more of, so... bring it on? Sigh.
Please give me some perspective here, mind is spinning and didn't get jack shit done today at work.
For now, I'm going to do things for me for a bit and do what I can do for H during A season... without condoning or enabling the J thing. What ever the hell that looks like in action.