I’m a middle-aged woman, single many years. I met a middle-aged man who works in the same building, different company. He asked me out for coffee.
I suggested that we chat on the phone to get to know each other before going out. We made plans for a Saturday dinner 10 days away.
After nine 40-minute phone calls, I realized he was very nice but not what I was looking for in a potential life partner.
He still lived at his childhood home and was much less mature then his age would suggest.
We weren’t looking for the same thing in a partner. I felt that as a mature divorced woman he was too immature with little life experience.
I wrote a sweet email to cancel our date, explaining that although he was very sweet I didn’t feel a romantic connection and I wished him well.
Four months later, he still sends me constant emails and texts (no phone calls), and either ignores me when he next sees me, or repeatedly asks me to give him a chance.
Recently, he left me a sealed letter at the security desk.
When he passed by, I handed it back unopened and asked him to please stop contacting me.
Fifteen minutes later he was back, teary, asking to please speak with me.
He’s never rude or violent. But I’ve gotten very rude and uptight. As a still-new employee (six months) I’m embarrassed and now want to change jobs.
How can a man I never dated act this way? How do I get him to stop contacting me?
You’re being harassed, and it must stop. If you like your job, you shouldn’t have to leave.
You can ask a lawyer to send a registered letter insisting that he stop contacting you, or you’ll have to ask for a restraining order from police, which could affect his own employment.
If his harassment continues, you must alert police, to protect yourself.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman whose mother disbelieved that she’d been abused by her grandfather (May 6):
Reader – “From your reply: "Although your grandfather shocked and upset you.... he apparently didn't touch you." I don't think this came across the way you may’ve intended.
“A child made to help her grandfather to masturbate is still being sexually assaulted, whether he actually touched her or not, because she had to touch him.”
Ellie – I agree completely, the young girl was sexually assaulted.
I mistakenly thought that was an obvious fact when I wrote to the now-adult letter-writer that her mother “should’ve … reported your grandfather” (as an abuser).
However, though I wrote that her grandfather and mother had both failed her and traumatized her, I didn’t emphasize that what happened to the child is defined as sexual abuse, a crime.
In my response – the letter-writer is now a young woman with a partner - my intention was to express concern for her in the present, as an adult, urging her to leave her toxic mother’s presence. That was her stated point in seeking advice for her current situation of still living at home.
It’s very important as you and others have noted, to stress, that at age “five or six,” she’d been sexually abused by being forced to “help” her rum-breathed grandfather to masturbate.
Nothing about that disgusting event made it any less life-affecting, as evidenced from the depressions and suicidal feelings which she wrote that she’d suffered while growing up.
Readers’ Commentary Regarding the young man who admitted that, when drinking, he may have once slapped a random girl’s behind (May 4):
“Though there’s never any excuse for doing that, would you have given the same response if the genders were reversed?
“I’ve had a similar experience at work by a woman, without alcohol involved. My female manager told men not to get a "hard-on" when they disagreed with her.
“Women report such encounters, men don't.
“Society seems to think that only men can be sexual harassers, or do wrong/inappropriate things.
“But the media and feminist movement never mention both sides of sexual harassment, nor show that women do the same inappropriate things that men do.”
Ellie – Yes, I would’ve written the same response about a drunken woman’s unsolicited grab of a “random” man’s behind.
I’ve also published #MeToo letters from men, and urged more men to come forward with their stories. You’re right that they need to be heard.
Tip of the day:
Harassment is unacceptable, worrisome, potentially dangerous. If it persists, seek legal and/or police help.