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Is my married boss crossing lines?


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doingtherightthing

Hello guys, 

I am a single woman (30s) who began working in a new place a few months ago. My boss is a married man (30s)seemed to be happily married or so I thought and has a newborn. I never  paid attention to my married boss in any romantic sense. 

The lines I began noticing that my boss was crossing were lingering touches and very intense eye contact, also some inappropriate sexual innuendo about his” touch” or how his touch feels. I began having a gut feeling that this man might be coming onto me or just passing his time at work and playing with my mind or to see my reaction. I couldn’t put my finger on it and didn’t want to assume. 

I began feeling uncomfortable so I decided to confront him. I asked if he’s “trying to hint at something to me during some of our exchanges” to which he said that he is committed. However, he did admit that he’s flirty and that’s just his personality. 
 

I was somewhat at ease and saw our interactions as platonic even though it was definitely unconventional but I like my work place and I do enjoy somewhat “closer” relationships with people at work. This is something I also want to work on as I don’t have many close friendships in life. 
 

After my confrontation, it seemed that my boss did everything in his power to make me feel that he’s not “attracted” to me. He would tease me in a mean way. Also, he would almost go out of his way to point out irrelevant things that I may not be doing or doing at work. I’m a hard and a dedicated worker. I know that even though due to his confusing and borderline inappropriate behavior towards me , I still remained dedicated to my job. So, his comments about me “not doing” my job began to irritate me. He also, is very hot and cold when it comes to how he feels about my job performance. 
 

I am beginning to think that his behavior now is somewhat a retaliation or that he’s trying to make me thing that he never was  and will try to come onto me to lower my guard down. I found myself wanting to “ prove” myself to him ie I’d apologized to him after our heated moments. I also had initiated more of a closer physical contact (hugs) as he did with me in the past , in hopes that he’d just stop with his unfair treatment with me. 

Recently, I’ve had enough with this up and down rollercoaster and I’m not even sure what he “wants” from me? It’s starting to feel like he wants me to act a certain way. Perhaps, when I come into work and don’t pay much attention to him (only means I’m being professional) , he tries to act that it doesn’t bother him but then I get scolded and chastised in front of other coworkers. 
 

Am I overreacting and what do I need to know from other people's experiences and perspectives to be well prepared to whats to come? 
 

P.S. I have no interest in pursing anything other than professional , platonic relations with this man. He can be at times very charming and he is not bad looking , and also close to my age so there are many similarities between us so my predisposition to him is amicable. 

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MsJayne

Start keeping a diary of times that he touches you and any suggestive comments he makes, and respond to his flirty comments with cool disregard. I'm biased because people with flirty personalities get on my nerves, they're usually shallow and fake, but, whatever, he's making you feel awkward and uncomfortable in your workplace. Obviously you confronting him made him realise he'd overstepped the line and he feels embarrassed at what is a type of rejection, hence the mean teasing - a juvenile reaction to being called out for his behaviour. He probably saw you as a potential Office Bimbo who he could carry on with behind his wife's back, and got a shock when it turned out you have a brain and a moral compass. 

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basil67
1 hour ago, doingtherightthing said:

After my confrontation, it seemed that my boss did everything in his power to make me feel that he’s not “attracted” to me. He would tease me in a mean way. Also, he would almost go out of his way to point out irrelevant things that I may not be doing or doing at work.

Is he singling you out for this treatment, or does he nitpick everyone? 

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doingtherightthing
5 hours ago, basil67 said:

Is he singling you out for this treatment, or does he nitpick everyone? 

He’s singling me out and the reason I believe it’s just me , hence I’m not always around him at all times to see if he does it to others,  however  coworkers haven’t shared anything with me to make me think that he’s nitpicking at everyone. Also, he’s kept workers  that have “harassed” other coworkers off site and workers who kept breaking rules over and over again. 

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doingtherightthing
6 hours ago, MsJayne said:

Start keeping a diary of times that he touches you and any suggestive comments he makes, and respond to his flirty comments with cool disregard. I'm biased because people with flirty personalities get on my nerves, they're usually shallow and fake, but, whatever, he's making you feel awkward and uncomfortable in your workplace. Obviously you confronting him made him realise he'd overstepped the line and he feels embarrassed at what is a type of rejection, hence the mean teasing - a juvenile reaction to being called out for his behaviour. He probably saw you as a potential Office Bimbo who he could carry on with behind his wife's back, and got a shock when it turned out you have a brain and a moral compass. 

I’ve keep journaling ever since the confrontation  because I needed an outlet to process and reflect what I was feeling and how I was being treated. And yes, he’s putting an act as a “nice and flirty” guy is very shallow. It drives me nuts because it has made me lose respect for him as a boss and as person in a lot of ways. 

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Wiseman2
10 hours ago, doingtherightthing said:

 . He can be at times very charming and he is not bad looking , and also close to my age so there are many similarities between us so my predisposition to him is amicable. 

Please be careful as far as your crush on him. Be as professional as possible. What do his looks and charm have to do with this?

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doingtherightthing
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Wiseman2 said:

Please be careful as far as your crush on him. Be as professional as possible. What do his looks and charm have to do with this?

I don’t have a crush on him, I have mentioned this because his charm and flirty personality works on other coworkers and even clients. One of the younger coworker actually has a crush on him and tried to act on it. 

Edited by doingtherightthing
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doingtherightthing
44 minutes ago, happyhorizons said:

The OP is without a doubt a victim. The OP’s boss is a manipulator and the worst kind man (using his power dynamic against a subordinate). 

 thank you! 

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doingtherightthing
3 minutes ago, ironpony said:

Can you be more specific about the lingering touches, although they do sound inappropriate for sure.

Sure, high fives that turn into him playing with  my fingers while keeping an eye contact. One time, he caressed my fingertips when passing by. 
 Caressing his fingers into the palm of my hand with an eye contact. We all know what that sign is.
He actually have walked so close  behind me and I felt you know what. 
Ever since confrontation  , he’s turned down a lot of it. I thought it was platonic on his part and other incidents were just accidental this whole time. 
His retaliation towards me is making obvious that he’s hurt or his ego is hurt that I called him out. That’s not fair to me. 

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He sounds like a complete sociopath. Not only is he inappropriate he has no empathy for others and gathers (keeps workers) who are just as sociopathic and who are bullies. If you know this company is run like this why are you still here? Start brushing up your cv and apply elsewhere. 

Part of your major problem is you seek validation and don’t have a strong support network or feedback system (ie friends who stand by you). You need validation from people like this and even if it’s inappropriate you’ll give in because it’s still filling a void in your personal life.

Id change jobs, seek therapy immediately, join local interest groups asap and be involved in your community. Volunteer, meet likeminded people with a big purpose. You’ll leave this garbage place behind in an instant.

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doingtherightthing
6 minutes ago, glows said:

He sounds like a complete sociopath. Not only is he inappropriate he has no empathy for others and gathers (keeps workers) who are just as sociopathic and who are bullies. If you know this company is run like this why are you still here? Start brushing up your cv and apply elsewhere. 

Part of your major problem is you seek validation and don’t have a strong support network or feedback system (ie friends who stand by you). You need validation from people like this and even if it’s inappropriate you’ll give in because it’s still filling a void in your personal life.

Id change jobs, seek therapy immediately, join local interest groups asap and be involved in your community. Volunteer, meet likeminded people with a big purpose. You’ll leave this garbage place behind in an instant.

100 % agree. I am in therapy and am seeking another job even thought it’s a pain. I wanted to be well prepared for what’s to come or at least know best way to make the remaining days more tolerable. I really thought that his behavior was just super friendly platonic and it was in my head. Yes, he did use my vulnerability and a need for validation. Because of therapy , I have the tools to speak for myself and recognize this behavior. 

Edited by doingtherightthing
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6 minutes ago, doingtherightthing said:

Sure, high fives that turn into him playing with  my fingers while keeping an eye contact. One time, he caressed my fingertips when passing by. 
 Caressing his fingers into the palm of my hand with an eye contact. We all know what that sign is.
He actually have walked so close  behind me and I felt you know what. 
Ever since confrontation  , he’s turned down a lot of it. I thought it was platonic on his part and other incidents were just accidental this whole time. 
His retaliation towards me is making obvious that he’s hurt or his ego is hurt that I called him out. That’s not fair to me. 

The guy is a creep and he THINKS that he’s smooth.  What stinks is that the OP likes her job and this creepo is forcing her to look for another job

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doingtherightthing
1 minute ago, happyhorizons said:

The guy is a creep and he THINKS that he’s smooth.  What stinks is that the OP likes her job and this creepo is forcing her to look for another job

Omg this! Thank you so much for seeing me and hearing me! I was super excited about my new job, it’s so close to me and it’s perfect hours for me and the pay is pretty decent. I want to stay, and really need to find a way to talk to someone else or confront him again. 

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6 minutes ago, doingtherightthing said:

100 % agree. I am in therapy and am seeking another job even thought it’s a pain. I wanted to be well prepared for what’s to come or at least know best way to make the remaining days more tolerable. I really thought that his behavior was just super friendly platonic and it was in my head. Yes, he did use my vulnerability and a need for validation. I am in therapy and have been for years , otherwise I wouldn’t even have the tools to speak for myself or recognize this behavior. 

You’re doing it again. “Make remaining days more tolerable”. No. It is terrible and it will remain terrible. Set your sights further and please be more far sighted with your goals. Instead, start making a list of goals for a year , two years from now. Ask yourself what you’d like to see in your social life. Maybe you’d like to also upgrade your skills and do part time schooling. You keep circling back to this little sh-thole but it’s over. You’re moving on so move on with those applications. Do your work reasonably well but stop letting these people get to you. You can’t change the way others behave if they’re that fundamentally screwed up. 

As I said refocus on building a solid life outside of work. Volunteering is a good way to connect with the community and think bigger outside of what’s in your head. 
 

Edited by glows
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Just now, doingtherightthing said:

Omg this! Thank you so much for seeing me and hearing me! I was super excited about my new job, it’s so close to me and it’s perfect hours for me and the pay is pretty decent. I want to stay, and really need to find a way to talk to someone else or confront him again. 

Sadly, the Boss(and I use that term lightly) needs someone to EXPLAIN things to him. He should be ashamed of himself for treating the OP like this

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doingtherightthing
1 minute ago, glows said:

You’re doing it again. “Make remaining days more tolerable”. No. It is terrible and it will remain terrible. Set your sights further and please be more far sighted with your goals. Instead, start making a list of goals for a year , two years from now. Ask yourself what you’d like to see in your social life. Maybe you’d like to also upgrade your skills and do part time schooling. You keep circling back to this little sh-thole but it’s over. You’re moving on so move on with those application. Do your work reasonably well but stop letting these people get to you. You can’t change the way others behave if they’re that fundamentally screwed up. 

As I said refocus on building a solid life outside of work. Volunteering is a good way to connect with the community and think BIGGER outside of what’s in your head. 

Agreee. One of the reasons I got this job and liked it was because the hours were flexible to be able to do part- time school. You’re right, I know that there’s no way I can change his behavior and it’s just the way it’s going to remains until I quit or get fired. Perhaps, I wanted to double down on him. However, it’ll be more reasonable for me to find a new place of work with same flexibility of hours. 

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doingtherightthing
2 minutes ago, happyhorizons said:

Sadly, the Boss(and I use that term lightly) needs someone to EXPLAIN things to him. He should be ashamed of himself for treating the OP like this

Yes! Unfortunately, I took a liking to him as person at first and really stood by his side and explained a lot to him , gave him constructive feedback to improve the workplace and his treatment towards subordinates. It goes in one ear and out the other. 

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1 minute ago, doingtherightthing said:

Agreee. One of the reasons I got this job and liked it was because the hours were flexible to be able to do part- time school. You’re right, I know that there’s no way I can change his behavior and it’s just the way it’s going to remains until I quit or get fired. Perhaps, I wanted to double down on him. However, it’ll be more reasonable for me to find a new place of work with same flexibility of hours. 

If those are the qualities you want in a job(flexible hours) then negotiate in your next job interview and make sure you put down that you’re in the process of advancing your career through schooling while working. These are usually all things that can be negotiated and employers(the good ones) will look favourably on. You may have to compromise what days those flexible work hours are but it’s worth being open about if you’re serious about upgrading your skills. 

This issue isn’t just one man(your boss). You have indicated it’s a systemic issue and the staff working there are similar to him. I think it’s very naive to believe you can change a rotten company or one with deteriorating values and work culture. I know you’re angry but don’t use that anger towards this dope. Take that energy and motivate yourself to aim higher and do more. I think you got too comfortable at this position and that’s usually also a good time to ask yourself if you’re primed for something more challenging and adds to your career growth. 

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3 minutes ago, doingtherightthing said:

Yes! Unfortunately, I took a liking to him as person at first and really stood by his side and explained a lot to him , gave him constructive feedback to improve the workplace and his treatment towards subordinates. It goes in one ear and out the other. 

Well, I was thinking 🤔 of something entirely different 

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What's been holding you back from going to HR?  The lingering fingertips would be enough, you don't even need to go any further than that.   He would surely be officially warned and the chances are good that you'd be free of this creepy loser's slimy advances and attempts to intimidate you.

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It's really disgusting behavior.  The OP loves her job and wants to do great work and has to deal with this CREEP.  It really makes MEN in general look so bad.  It really is horrible.

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1 hour ago, happyhorizons said:

 It really makes MEN in general look so bad.  It really is horrible.

Only if you're into gross generalities or hating on men.   I would argue that the act makes the individual look bad

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