My husband of 20 years and I have one son. I’ve never met his ex-wife – they divorced after five years together with no children but she’s since remarried and has grown kids.
Recently, out of nowhere, she started phoning our house, asking to speak to him. I ask who’s calling, she says her name, I hand him the phone.
The calls are “remember-whens” – once, it was about her birthday, and the next was about what happened to a mutual friend.
My husband’s always polite but curt. He said “that’s nice, happy birthday,” then excused himself. On the next call, he said he already knew about the friend, thanks, but he “had to go” and hung up.
I respect his good manners, but the calls upset me.
If she’s unhappy in her second marriage, or frustrated being home with kids, that’s not his (our) business.
Do I tell her so next time? How do I handle this?
Talk to your husband, not to her. Since you don’t know her, you can’t assess her state of mind, or whether pills or alcohol fuel her intrusions.
He has a better chance at recognizing her tone.
Talk to him about this and explain that while you trust him, you don’t feel certain that you can trust her.
Calls starting from “nowhere” still have some background motive. Even if it’s that she’s unhappy and wants comforting, it’s not his place to provide it.
Since they haven’t maintained a friendship, it’d be misleading for him to even try.
He should tell her to make these calls to her closest friends, family, or see a counselor. Not him. Period.
I’ve liked my job of eight years. However, my co-worker who started a year later needs constant attention and is intrusive.
She constantly stops by my desk and starts telling me how to do my job.
I have an excellent work record but she acts as if she’s superior.
If she walks by while I’m talking to someone, she takes over the conversation.
I try to ignore her by not talking to her or by keeping busy, but she doesn't get it. I don’t like her.
This situation is causing me much distress and I feel emotionally drained and helpless. I need my space from her.
I don't want to take the issue to the management level, but I want my peace of mind at work.
Hounded at Work
Employee management is there to help you keep working at your best capacity. Letting this woman’s continual interference upset you, isn’t only emotionally unhealthy but is affecting your effort at a job you like.
It’s time to make a truthful, accurate, and respectful case to human resources.
Point to your own good work record, mention your enjoyment of the actual work, and then raise the increasing intrusion of this co-worker on both your time and space for doing your job. Keep a week’s record of “visits,” as example.
Be aware that one of you will likely have to be moved to another location, perhaps even a different job in the company.
If you’re not ready for this, then gather your strength and speak up to the co-worker yourself.
When she approaches, say you’re busy and don’t engage. If she interrupts a conversation, stop her early and say it’s a private chat, or strictly between you and the other person.
Do this carefully, as you don’t want to send her complaining to management.
FEEDBACK Regarding the long-distance relationship boyfriend who’s been secretly bisexual (Mar. 5):
Reader – “Suggesting to this heartbroken woman that reconciliation is possible now that his secret is out, will eventually destroy her again.
“He has complete freedom in another city. He's already deceived her and now that his secret is out, he's going to feel less guilty about his homosexual desires and carry through with them, if he hasn't already.
“It's human nature. I thought you knew more about that.”
Ellie – I know this is about human nature – not everyone deals in absolutes – especially not when they love.
This man swore that he’s never wanted a gay relationship, he communicated with gay men online but didn’t meet them, and he saw it as “porn.”
She’d broken it off but was devastated without him. I suggested she give the relationship a “try” now. I said and believe that she’d soon know whether she could live with the bisexual knowledge or not.
Tip of the day:
How to end phone calls from an ex? If kids aren’t involved, a polite but firm, “Don’t call me.”