Monday, November 05, 2007

Pretty/Unpretty

Posted by Anonymous.


For a flirty girl, I never felt very pretty. I was one of those girls that was just sort of there, friendly to everyone; never a threat to the other girls, because the boys never really considered me as dating potential. I wasn't ugly, but being good looking was an afterthought (as in "Oh, she's such a sweetie, and she's really funny. Is she pretty? Yeah, I guess she is. I hadn't really thought about it")

I met my husband when I was 20, and was just coming off of a really bad time in my life. We've been together through job searches/changes/losses, through health scares (mental and physical). We've had over ten years of marriage, three children, the buying and selling of two houses. He still makes my heart jump when I see him in a tuxedo, and he likes the way I look in my low rise jeans since I made a decision that I needed to start exercising more.

But there's this guy at work. I thought the initial attention was what I had seen so much of in high school and college- more of the joking flirting that happens when both parties don't actually expect anything to develop for real. But after a few drinks together at a conference, he told me that he was willing to take things wherever I wanted them to go. Whether I wanted to leave it at a few cocktails when we were two time zones away from the office, or whether I wanted to take it to another level. And, then at least, I was too taken aback to even consider the options.

And more than a year has passed. We've had happy hours where we've barely spoken two words because there were so many people nearby. We've had highly charged chats where the only thing holding us back from making contact was the fear of someone walking into the cubicle. A few weeks ago, we ended up at a co-worker's party, each of us alone (his wife and my husband both declined to attend due to work commitments, but encouraged each of us to go on our own and have fun.) We left the party as part of a small group, but lingered together for awhile before parting company, and we went out for drinks last week, just us, to a bar near the office, but in the opposite direction from the regular haunts. He's put the offer on the table, if I want it, that we can go away overnight and he will take care of the details under whatever cover story I want to use. But I'm not there.

The reason I need to get this out, the things I can't say on my own blog, have nothing to do with needing advice about what to do. Because, seriously, I know how much I have to lose and what I can't do. What I need to pour out is my frustration, my anger, and my disappointment that no matter what happens now, things have changed. It was flattering to have someone find me attractive just because. Not attractive, despite having given birth three times. Not attractive with the strings of having taken care of him when he's sick and supported him in his career. Just attractive. Period. For a couple years, there have been people who hinted at us having chemistry between us. But because there is that chemistry, we have to avoid each other. The interactions I have with other people in the office, the jokes and the smiles and such, can be perceived differently now. So, whether I do something that could damage my marriage or whether I don't, I've lost a friendship because of what it might look like.

And that is a bigger blow to my self-esteem that being the "not pretty" girl ever was.

15 comments:

flutter said...

don't do this. Just don't.

Anonymous said...

Having "been there, done that", please walk away. It's not worth it, and it will only snowball on you. I had a "fling" with a co-worker - he ended up leaving his wife. We were all friends, his wife, him, me, my husband, so we lost that too. I had to quit my job. Almost quit my marriage. I was in the same place as you - comfortable, but the thrill of having someone else take an interest was too much and I acted on it. Fortunately, my husband was patient and willing to wait out the storm. That was 10 years ago. I'm still married to my husband, mostly happily, sometimes not, but I guess that's life. Every now and then (well, actually, a lot of the time) I think about "him" and what's going on in his world. And occassionaly, when we talk/email, I get that same rush of feelings. But at the end of the day, you have to decide what's more important - losing his friendship, or losing your husband, your children, your family, your friends........knowing now what I wish I had known then, I would never have gone down that path. So please, think long and hard before you do anything. It's just not worth the heartache.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. My situation is so similar, except that I have an open marriage and in a perfect world would be able to have a fling without hurting anyone... but the person who expressed an interest in me is married.
I had to stop us before it could go too far. I had to listen to the phone ring, knowing it was him, and instead of picking it up I wrote myself a stern little note about his wife and kid and how their needs were more important than my wants.
I so understand the allure though--the simplicity of attraction between two individuals feels like such a refreshing change from the complexity of marriage. I am lucky that I could tell my husband about it. You are lucky you can talk about it here. And we're both going to be happy, once the dust settles, that we didn't do anything dumb.
I know what you mean, though, about the friendship. I don't think I can get together with him for drinks any more, knowing what I know now. I'll miss him.

Anonymous said...

Last year I found myself with an intense crush on a mutual friend of me and my husband. There was plenty of sexual tension between us, but we both knew absolutely that nothing we would gain would be worth the destruction of his friendship and my marriage, not to mention my husband's trust. It would have broken his heart.
The oucome of the story is, I held my peace and after about six months it dissipated. I got to know the friend better and convinced myself it never would have worked between us, and stopped pining away for him.
Just wanted to let you know that it gets better :) and before long this will just be a memory.

Anonymous said...

I've been there too, though not with a work friend but with an old flame. Fortunately my marriage did survive, but I did end up feeling less attractive in the long run (despite that little thrill during the time when the feelings were intense).

I will say, though -- and it may not make you feel better, but it's the truth -- although you will miss the "friendship" with the other guy, it sounds like it was never truly a real friendship. No offense, but it sounds like he was looking for that one thing all along, with the flirting and all that.

Things would have changed one way or another with this -- once he laid the cards on the table initially, his ulterior motive was clear.

But I'm really, really sorry. It does suck.

Anonymous said...

Give yourself no ways to secretly find the guy. Tell your husband about this!!

Monsters live in the dark.

When it's on the table you've taken all the 'what ifs' out of the equation

Anonymous said...

I'm the original poster.

Please be assured, I'm not going to do anything. What has me upset is that now I have to avoid other situations (lunches, happy hours, hanging out at conferences), even with a group, because of appearances. We were friends for a few years, but now we have to studiously avoid each other because of possible rumors when nothing is even going on. And that stinks.

Cathy said...

Maybe it's better that you will be forced to avoid each other ... ?

Because at this point, it seems like maintaining a friendship would be extremely difficult — even without factoring in co-workers and their perceptions.

I wouldn't worry so much about appearances, but rather the temptations you would face by continuing to socialize with him.

Anonymous said...

Hi
I think it took amazing courage on your part to walk away.
Do realise sometimes the reason why a person is excited is also because they are so "comfortable" in their own marriage/relationship that the external attention feels wild and free.

Anonymous said...

So it sounds to me like you can't socialize with coworkers if he's there because your coworkers are suspicious that something might be going on or might have gone on in the past?

I am trying to be understanding here, but I've never been in your situation. I encourage you (as did everyone else) not to act on these feelings, and I agree that if he kept making the propositions, he really is just out for one thing.

The one thing I think you need to get over is the frustration you feel over someone finding you attractive just because and not being able to act on it. I've been married for 17 years, and I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to have someone other than my husband tell me I'm attractive or flirt with me. Not that I'm not, but I don't give off those kinds of vibes. If I sense someone getting even a little flirtatious I back off. Why? Because I respect my husband too much to even flirt with someone else. Anything more than a casual glance from a stranger is too much. Maybe I'm a prude, but at least I've never been tempted that way.

I think you need to create distance between yourself and this guy, and if missing office functions is the way it has to be done, then so be it. Have you thought about getting another job? Is your employer big enought that you could transfer to another department?

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

You are doing the right thing by walking away. I left my husband and my office relationship helped me do it but looking back I have caused so much hurt to everyone involved. It was not worth it and I've learned so much. I hope you dont have to go through what I have gone through in the past two years. It's a small sacrifice to avoid office functions compared to what you could really lose.

Homemaker said...

Echoing an earlier comment: Tell your husband. Once you *counsel* with him about the situation, the anxiety will dissapate. Perhaps you two will decide that you should tell the other guy that you aren't interested in anything other than a working relationship with him and that *your husband and you* chatted about the situation and he gave you "X" advice.

If you approach your husband in honesty and respect, he will treat you equally.

dkaz said...

Don't succumb to the temptation. Just try to imagine how you would feel if your husband did this to you. You know with your head that this is wrong on every level. The relationship wouldn't last and you would be the cheater. You will lose all that is important to you, and for what? To make yourself feel better because you felt overlooked as a teenager? If you are seeking that kind of attention, enter a beauty pageant or something. Better yet, volunteer at an old age home. The older gentlemen will give you plenty of compliments, and you will feel great that you are doing something you can be proud of instead of something to be asshamed of.
Best yet, woo your husband. Try to transfer the passion of your illicit flirtings with this coworker to your relationship with your husband. It is worth it for your sake, for his sake, and for your kids.
Don't cheat - you will be sorry. And by the way, if you have to avoid any extra-curricular contact with him now because the suspicions of your co-workers have been raised, then you probably weren't as 'innocent' as you think you were.

Anonymous said...

Hey, from someone whose family was busted up by this kind of thing before she hit her third birthday, I'm impressed. Truly. And you still get to count as attractive without the destruction of other people's lives.

Stefan said...

good Job! :)