I made the very classic mistake of sleeping with a coworker and now trying to pretend nothing happened. What is the protocol for this, because I have suspicions she is breaking it. Medium-long post.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (36 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I slept with a coworker 3 times at my small company over the course of November and December last year. I have been at the company for 1.5 years and it is her first job out of college. She is very flirtatious with everyone at work, which I found to be pretty bold for someone just starting their career.
During her first two months there, she would aggressively pursue me while I was dating someone else - asking me out to get a drink after work almost every week for a month (I'd decline, "Hey, I'll have to take a raincheck but I'll see you at the group happy hour friday", etc). She would also text me and chat with me online every day, all the time, extremely mundane things like "I'm sooo hungry!" or certain inside jokes we shared.
When things ended with the person I was dating I decided to take her up on her offer for drinks and, almost like clockwork, hooked up afterward - confirming my suspicions that she wasn't "just being friendly" when she flirted at work. After we slept together we discussed that this needs to be very casual and very private. I agreed to this. I am all for casual relationships. We go on another "date" the next week and hook up again.
What I didn't realize that to her, "casual" meant getting together solely on her terms and me feeling like a complete idiot if I dared make my own move. The next friday I texted her after work (she still texted me every day) to see if she wanted to hang out she would say really strange excuses like "you don't want to come here, my roommates boyfriend is over and he's really weird"...and when I'd say, "oh, well if you're trying to get out of the house you're invited to come out with me and some friends" she'd just flat out not respond, then text me the next morning "hey sorry, I fell asleep really early!" (at 7:30pm?).
She did the same thing the next week when there was an organized happy hour and I asked if she wanted to hang out afterward...radio silence, then, "I don't know what I'm doing afterward," then she tried to change the subject to something work-related. I figured, okay, obviously what happened was a one time (er, two time) thing and I'm making an ass of myself now - if she were interested she would have said Yes, simple as that. When I left that happy hour early because I made other plans, she texted me "leaving so soon?" and when I said yup, she said "oh. are you going home?" I told her I had other plans. I was extremely confused as to why she was texting me.
The next weekend she texted me and asked what I was up to that night, and I took it as an opening and said, "nothing, want to go out"? She said sorry, she has others plans. I was confused - what was she doing, testing me to see if I'd ask her out? I decide that this is obviously over, time to move on.
Except after another group coworker happy hour the following week (it is now a month later), she sleeps with me again, this time very spontaneously. I offered to drive her home thinking I really was just giving her a lift and she invited me inside afterward. We go to work the next day and pretend nothing happened.
The same cycle continues - I try to initiate things again a few times, she declines (without being straightforward in any way, of course). The last straw is when she invites me out at a bar in my own neighborhood, then "forgets" to call me or check her phone when she gets there - basically flat-out flaking on me. Maybe she was afraid I'd try to initiate something. At this point I decide I'm done being flirty with her at work, responding to her mundane texts, gchatting, etc. It's over. She's not into it. Time to just go back to being coworkers. This was about a month ago.
Except it's not over - it's been about a two months now since anything physical happened, and she still texts me all the time. She tries to gchat me when she's bored at work ("I'm sooo tired"). I ignore them, and she has noticed. And even despite investing in a good pair of headphones, she STILL comes over to my desk, pulls up a chair and says things like "Hi! Whatcha doin!" or if she sees me casually chatting with another coworker about non-work stuff, she'll find a way to butt into our conversation. It's gotten to the point where she mockingly says things like "HI ANONYMOUS!" or "ANONYMOUS IS IGNORING MEEE" in a patronizing, jokingly over-excited way when I walk by her desk or pass her in the hall. The worst part is, we work at a very small company (20 people, no real HR) so there is no avoiding this. We even work together as a team on a certain project.
Sometimes I give in to this type of flirtatiousness - I'll try to stay stoic and professional, but will end up giggling along with her by the end of our interactions because I can't help it. But I don't want to. It's getting to the point where work is becoming dreadful, because of her. I want to set boundaries with her, but am afraid it would seem really out of the blue for her and immediately make things more tense than they should be.
What do I do? How do I interpret her behavior? How do I respond?