GF's ex-fling offered her a job (and he's the boss)
December 12, 2015 2:47 PM   Subscribe

Before we met, they had a thing. He's offered her a (admittedly amazing) job, but I'm freaking out because she'll report to him. How do I deal?

So my GF has been offered an incredible opportunity. She's been paying her dues in an underpaid position for years and has worked hard to make a name for herself in her field. This new job was made just for her, at the pay and level of responsibility she deserves. We're excited. The job is across the country and she wants me to go, and I'm OK with relocating.

The only problem is that she had a fling with the boss shortly before we met. They will be working directly together. This is freaking me out.

She told me a sanitized version of their history one drunken night (she said he flew out to attend an event with her, made a pass, and she turned him down). I later learned that they had been hooking up, and he was actively trying to date her exclusively (she had an email open on her computer, I couldn't resist reading it). She doesn't know that I know that much.

I'm not normally jealous, but I am really concerned about this. I've got a sickening feeling in my gut. It was really hard to stay cool when she flew out for the interview. They had dinner together, got drinks, stayed at the same hotel, and had an all-day interview the next day.

I don't want to move across the country to get my heart broken. How do I stop freaking out about this? Confront her and potentially weird her out by being that jealous boyfriend-type? Trust, but verify? Forget about it and try to make quiet the suspician and bad feelings?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (48 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You need to talk with her about all of this. That is not the same as confronting her. You can say "I feel weird and I am scared of moving cross country with you because I'm worried what will happen if our relationship doesn't work out." You should probably also tell her that you read the email. She deserves to know what you know. It will be impossible to have an honest conversation if you're not being honest about everything related to the issue.

The fact that you snooped also is something to consider before you talk with her. (Reading an open email is snooping.) People don't generally snoop unless they think there's a reason to do so. That reason can be internal, or it can be external, but in any case it's something about which you might want to think, particularly with respect to your motivations for doing so.

Best of luck. Intimacy is so darn scary. I know. But if you're thinking about moving that far away with her, you are going to need to be intimate with her about what is happening in your head.
posted by sockermom at 2:54 PM on December 12, 2015 [11 favorites]

Maybe I'm a worrier, but "They had dinner together, got drinks, stayed at the same hotel, and had an all-day interview the next day " already reads inappropriate to me. I think your instincts are right. Talk to your girlfriend.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:55 PM on December 12, 2015 [40 favorites]

From the brief above-the-fold question, I was ready to say "Don't be paranoid, if you basically trust her and you're sure it's over, let her go for it." But your further explanations make it sound dubious indeed. Trust your instincts.
posted by languagehat at 2:55 PM on December 12, 2015 [21 favorites]

Nope. Either she has the self-awareness to know the possible pitfalls and doesn't trust you enough to share them with you (and thus strengthen your relationship as a team), or she doesn't have the self-awareness and thus the tools to prioritise your relationship. I'm sorry, I strongly suspect that if you have an honest conversation about your concerns she will choose this job (and him) over you. But if you relocate with her are you okay with living suddenly not having somewhere to live/someone to love?

You've gotta have an open conversation (personally I wouldn't divulge the source of your information - it makes no difference if it was a mutual friend that told you for example) because otherwise the conversation will get sidetracked into "violating my privacy is soooo much worse than me lying" and the focus should be on identifying this pitfall and how you guys as a team will approach it. The fact she flew out there without you (and without having told you the whole story herself) makes me think you should verify absolutely she says.
posted by saucysault at 2:57 PM on December 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

I think you need to provide some more details like: how long you've been dating, if you live together, and how you feel about this woman. That is going to (or should) help guide responses here.

Because without that information, well, on paper this does not look awesome. She lied to you about her relationship with this man. She's still lying. She is suggesting she move across the country to work for him and that you pick up your entire life to go with her, still without coming clean on the previous relationship.

Confront her and potentially weird her out by being that jealous boyfriend-type?

Have you guys only been dating like, a couple of months? "Weirding her out" by calling her on her super-shady continuing bullshit is not a thing you should be worrying about here.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:58 PM on December 12, 2015 [19 favorites]

She lied to you. She continues lying to you.

Do you like being lied to? If so carry on with your relationship.
posted by srboisvert at 3:00 PM on December 12, 2015 [10 favorites]

You must have an actual, honest conversation with her now. It will be uncomfortable, but not nearly as uncomfortable as getting dumped in a strange city will be.

The whole thing sounds incredibly shady to me, but even if it didn't you would still need to have a difficult conversation about it. That is, the conversation is necessary regardless of whether or not I agree with your feelings - your concerns need to be open on something this big and central to your life together. You're a team; you need to know you're on the same side.
posted by SMPA at 3:03 PM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Like a couple of the other posters, I was ready to be all, "you're making too much of this," until I read that the version she told you of her past relationship with this guy is different than what actually happened. That would make me extremely cautious about trusting her on other things. I think you have to bring up what you know and see what she says. (Without the conversation derailing about your snooping. You guys can have that conversation later. It wasn't right of you to snoop, but that doesn't make her lying to you right either.)
posted by MsMolly at 3:13 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

I followed my husband's career all over the place. He was in the military and we lived all over the U.S. and spent some time in Europe. But we were married.

If this were my relationship, I would only follow her to the new place if I really, really, really wanted to relocate to the new place and did not care if we stayed together and was blatantly using her to get a leg up on relocating someplace I wanted to live. But if the point of relocating is to be with her because you are that committed to the relationship, welp, she doesn't sound that committed to you.

So unless your eyes are lighting up with "I can put up with her shit for a while longer and then, no matter what happens, I get to live in NEW CITY!!! Fuck Yeah!!!!!" (HAPPY DANCE!!!), it is probably time for a serious heart-to-heart. If your only reason for going to New City is to be with her, that only makes sense if that level of commitment is a two way street. And it isn't really sounding like it.

It is probably better to get your heart broken first and let her leave without you than to keep mum and hope for the best, follow her out there and have it all fall apart where you have no friends, possibly no job, no safety network, etc. That sounds like a recipe for being intentionally stupid and refusing to see blatant indicators of infidelity because you don't want to look the fool, don't want to be thrown out into the street with little more than the clothes on your back, etc.

In some situations, it is better to fail earlier rather than later. If she is likely to end up sleeping with this guy, it is probably better to have the big talk sooner rather than later, even if it costs you the relationship.

I am so sorry you are dealing with this.
posted by Michele in California at 3:15 PM on December 12, 2015 [6 favorites]

Trust your gut. She's lied to you. She's probably already cheating on you. I think you should break up with her before you get hurt.
posted by a strong female character at 3:25 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

Context makes a lot of difference. How long ago was this fling? 2 years ago or 15 years ago?

I don't necessarily admit every detail of my past sex life to my partner unless it's somehow their business. I have a friend who I have known for 25 years who comes to visit me regularly and stays at my apartment. We slept together 18 years ago, twice. I wouldn't feel the need to confess those hook ups to my current partner either; I would simply say it was an old friend and it would be the truth. But again, context is everything here.

Come clean, tell her you read the email and ask her to talk to you about it. That's the only sensible thing to do, I think.
posted by frumiousb at 3:32 PM on December 12, 2015 [8 favorites]

We really need to know the time frames here, both for how smart it is for you to move and so we know how long ago this "fling" was.

But my gut feeling is that moving would be the worst mistake of your life unless you actually wanted to move there independently of her.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:58 PM on December 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'm confused as to why he would need to stay at a hotel, assuming that she flew to the city where the company is located...? Anyway, I agree that it sounds a little shady. That said, I once worked for someone I'd briefly dated and it was completely fine. It entirely depends on the people involved, and it's fair for you to tell her you're worried about it.
posted by three_red_balloons at 4:06 PM on December 12, 2015 [11 favorites]

While I agree with frumiousb that not every previous sexual partner needs to be discussed in a relationship, I think in this specific example the GF should feel obligated to confess it and talk about all possible ramifications. I think you have to point blank ask her "did you have sex with Boss" and if she lies, tell her you know the truth. Even confess to the snooping. If this weren't a cross-country move, I might be less adamant on this, but what everyone is saying about potentially being stranded in a new city with new friends? Totally spot on. AND, it's possible that from her perspective this thing is long over and she's committed to you, but if the boss decides he wants more and she says no, are you BOTH then going to be stuck in a new city with no jobs and no friends? Lots of potential issues here.
posted by clone boulevard at 4:17 PM on December 12, 2015 [9 favorites]

Oh but I don't think you need to play the jealous boyfriend type of card at all. Also rather not the "you lied to me" card--it only makes negotiations messy. Just try to find out what's going on.

It's better to sort out stuff now. Even if you're not going to get your heart broken, moving across the country is a heck of a lot of a hassle, so it's paramount to have you on board in the entire enterprise. Besides, if something yummy is going on between your girlfriend and her ex-not-so-casual-fling-now-likely-boss, it's in her interest, too, to have things sorted out now, right?

Just ask, so how is this going to work? Let's rationalise ourselves through a bunch of scenarios here...and take it from there, whatever comes out of the hat.
posted by Namlit at 4:43 PM on December 12, 2015

I believe that people can have totally fine platonic or professional relationships with exes or former flings, but only if both people involved have closed the door and moved on. It sounds like this door is wide open and your girlfriend keeps peeking through it.

If she hasn't already cheated on you, it's only a matter of time. And whatever happens - or has happened - anything she tells you is likely to be heavily edited.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:54 PM on December 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

In addition to the bit about why he was at the hotel, I'm suspicious that the "perfect" job offer just happened to come from someone with a very vested romantic interest in her, who has already done over-the-top things to woo her.

Is she suspicious of this? Is she worried about working for this overly-interested guy? Because she should be, and if she isn't, you should be doubly worried.
posted by Dashy at 5:03 PM on December 12, 2015 [26 favorites]

> In addition to the bit about why he was at the hotel, I'm suspicious that the "perfect" job offer just happened to come from someone with a very vested romantic interest in her

Yeah, I had a good friend who was wooed (in the academic-hiring sense) by a department head way across the country; it was such a good offer she grabbed it, and only when she got there did it turn out she was expected to be his mistress. When she declined, all those wonderful classes she was promised were given to others and she was given intro classes to teach. Too good to be true is usually too good to be true.
posted by languagehat at 5:10 PM on December 12, 2015 [7 favorites]

Sometimes a duck is just a duck. And sometimes a fling that has runs its course has run its course. I don't agree that she lied to you, rather what came before isn't a matter of concern for either of you. And as for your snooping, well, you asked and you got. The best thing you can do now is to tell the woman you love and spend your life with, what you have already told the internet. If you can't tell her you read an open email, you're probably not ready to move cross country. If your relationship cannot handle the read of an email, then what does that say?

Are you afraid of getting the wrong answer there? That if you say, "Hey I saw that email. I didn't mean to, but it was there." That she will say, "I think about him every day and I don't love you anymore." If that's true, rip off that band-aid and get on with it. Most likely, it was a fling, and sometimes a duck is just a duck, and you're more bothered about than she is.

In terms of the boss, and the job, he may have ulterior motives, and he may not. This may be the greatest opportunity of her life, or it may not be. You will not know the future until you get there. For your own sake, you do need to have the discussion about what happens if he makes moves. What if you want to leave and she wants to stay? What if you want to stay and she wants to leave? What if you both want to leave? What if no one wants to leave and it's just weird?

Basically, there are three different watch areas here:

1) You don't trust her completely. Because of an email you read. An email that you are discussing with me and not her. You need to start there, because that is at the root of your issue. The easiest way is to give her an out and see if she takes it. "Hey I saw that email. You sure you're not sweet on him?" If she is, then c'est la vie. If she's not, then you either trust her or you don't. You've had heaps of other interactions with her, and trust is a portfolio valuation.

2) You're ambivalence is blinding you to either A) the truth of the situation, B) how you really feel about it, or C) what you really need to do now. You sound like you want to be angry about that email, but then you defend that she's worked so hard to get where she is. You cannot bring yourself to be angry that potentially your girlfriend lied to you about a hook up, and then went to another city with the man she lied to you about that hook up with. Now, that's not what I think happened, because I want to believe this is all just a misunderstanding, but at the same time, you cannot take both sides of it. Either you support her and can laugh off the bygones, or you get mad and you have the chat. Sitting in the middle looks like you want to "confront her" (your words), but you're afraid of getting an answer that you won't like. So you sit with the private knowledge that there may be a problem with your relationship, but then again, you defend your partner's right to live her life.

That ambivalence seems to me to be why you are here with us, rather than there with her. You are afraid of the answer. Well, the answer is what the answer is. So you can either dance around it, and in the meantime not have the answer. Or you can have a real conversation with her and take the answer. If it sucks, then it sucks. I'm going to continue to believe that you're shadowboxing because I want this to work out for you, and an old email is not exactly the most damning thing in the world.

3) The job and the boss. What is she is using his affections to get ahead in her career? What if she is playing on that like a savage professional? What if she doesn't really care what he says, she wants the pay package, and deeply loves you and wants to go for it? That's the point of number two. You feel on the back-foot here, and therefore, you're already in a negotiation position with yourself, playing the defensive posture.

Warning to you there is that you can readily create the situation that you do not want to have on your hands. You get ambivalent, she reacts to that by reaching out to this dude, and now they're hooking up because you distanced yourself from her because you were afraid of getting hurt. If you want to keep this relationship, talk about the email, ask her if she has feeling for him, when she says no, believe her. Support her in her new kickass job, and don't be the dickhead that gets passive aggressive and pushes her away (and into his waiting arms).

In the seduction community, there's a technique called the boyfriend destroyer. They talk about it as if it's some kind of a magic ray gun. It's not. It goes something like this. When you're with a girl that has a boyfriend and you want to take her off him, pay attention to her and treat her like she is the greatest woman in the world. Because chances are that a woman who is going out with a man while she has a boyfriend is no longer satisfied in the relationship. And why is she not satisfied in the relationship? Because her boyfriend is not treating her like she is the greatest woman in the world. There's no secret – and that's the secret. In the boyfriend destroyer, the boyfriend effectively destroys himself.

So if you really love your girlfriend, then all you have to do here is be her boyfriend. Not a jealous, passive aggressive boyfriend looking to confront her, but her partner. The partner who can say, "Hey, so I saw that email that this guy really wanted to be with you. How do you know this job's not going to go south and waste both of our time?" And then trust the answer and live happily ever after.
posted by nickrussell at 5:15 PM on December 12, 2015 [9 favorites]

I would trust your gut on this one. Are you moving across the country just to be with her? She has lied to you. You feel uneasy about this situation. Is this someone you truly see a future with? My last boyfriend constantly lied to my face and cheated on me. Before I found out about his lies and unfaithfulness, he kept trying to convince me to move to another state with him (not across country but still pretty far). I am so glad I found out before I made any decisions to move. I would have felt so alone in a new state without my family and friends. I would think long and hard about this one. It's a big decision.
posted by Nicole21 at 5:36 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm also going to address this, putting everything else aside, no matter how awesome this job is. no good can out of taking a job where you'd be supervised by a former fling.
posted by KernalM at 5:50 PM on December 12, 2015 [5 favorites]

(She turned him down for exclusivity before so in a way it doesn't sound like you have a true romantic rival here).

If she's not going into this job with a strategy as to how to maximize the career opportunity while fending off this man who was and likely still is much more interested in her than she has ever been in him - then at best her judgment is very poor. That she would not discuss this with her serious boyfriend who is thinking of moving out with her - also poor judgment.

A person without good judgment is not a good bet for uprooting and intertwining your life. That would not show great judgment on your part. And that's your best case scenario.

Alternately, she may be willing to have more flings with him and enjoy the job opportunity.

The fact that this is eating you up may mean that this whole episode is an indication to you that you don't know her as well as you thought you did. It seems to me that, to the extent you want to give her the benefit of the doubt and/or you think that these are blindspots in judgment you could live with, it would be a great idea to invest some effort into getting to know her better. A good place to start might be risking letting her get to know you better, by sharing your concerns, what you know, and how you know it. I think those conversations will put both of you in better positions to make decisions about your futures.
posted by Salamandrous at 5:53 PM on December 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

All day job interview? After having had drinks the night before? Nope. Even if nothing physical happened, this is too cozy to be a strictly professional relationship.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 7:14 PM on December 12, 2015 [13 favorites]

Let's say she's 100% up front now (ignoring for the moment that she straight up lied to you before). She's putting your combined livelihood under the power of a former fling who may or may not have your best interests at heart. Do you want to be in that position? What happens if he makes a pass, she rejects him, and he fires her?
posted by instamatic at 7:15 PM on December 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

Does the new boss know you'd be moving with her, or is he going to be pissed off when he finds out she didn't just come to the city alone for this? I just see so many scenarios in which either the job is sabotaged, or she's put in a position of either choosing between you and the job(and possible semi-blackballing in the industry or whatever if she chooses you) and you're fucked and now stuck across the country.

Jesus i have so many questions here, but i really think you just need to sit down and go "hey, so i've become kind of concerned about the exact specifics of how this would work out. I know you guys had more of a relationship than you let on" and just sort of let her reel some rope off the spool on that one.

For what it's worth, i personally know someone who took a good job(when they really needed one, and it was also just generally pretty solid all around for their qualifications/a resume builder/etc) from someone who they had a weird semi-relationship with.

When they closed the door on the relationship, they were run out of the company on some trumped up bullshit.

How portable is your job? Can you get a job at a similar level of compensation/title/etc in your industry there? Hows the market there for your field in general?

She would have to have a seriously awesome answer i completely believed in for me to even consider going along and those qualifiers would have to be fulfilled. This sounds way too much like she's trying to get a decent job and continue her not-relationship with this guy. Three shitty outcomes shine so brightly in my mind:

1. You go, she rebuffs his advances, she gets railroaded into a deadend do-nothing meh job that pays sort of ok but will never go anywhere and probably eventually gets laid off. Most of the promises of what made the job good get completely deflated(as someone else in this thread mentioned about the academic gig)

2. You go, she rebuffs his advances, he fires her(and possibly tries to create a bunch of other drama for her if his company/position is meaningful in this field and he has connections), you're now out on the street in whereverthehell-ville

3. You go, she doesn't reject his advances. She kicks you out or just brazenly cheats on you. You're either homeless there, or stuck in a place there with her until you can figure your shit out in an awful situation.

Straining my brain to the max, i can't think of a positive outcome where she takes this job.

Seriously, ask about the really long interviews after drinks in your whole conversation. Especially if you can do it really calmly. The sequence of events and explanations that make this totally ok and platonic are ridiculously complex and unlikely. This is one of those occams razor points to bullshit, not complicated "it's not what it looks like!" sort of situations.
posted by emptythought at 8:42 PM on December 12, 2015 [7 favorites]

Bonus idea: if you DO go along with this, how about she moves and then you move a couple months later? Come up with any good excuse you can think of that you can make legit. Say, employer paid certifications/training, finishing up a big project at work so you can get a letter of recommendation from some high-up with a recognized name who would be bummed otherwise. Or a project you could get a big bonus at the end of. Maybe even just job searching and doing skype interviews and stuff. Maybe family shit. Maybe find some stunning good but short term contract gig that would really beef up your resume after you move(assuming this is applicable to your field)

Just make up an excuse to stay behind for a bit when she moves. See how it plays out. Maybe even visit if it's not financially awful.

That is seriously the only way i'd go along with this without an explanation so amazing it would make a good book.
posted by emptythought at 8:45 PM on December 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

It really depends on the position and with whom she met. When I interviewed for my job I flew out to several interviews and had dinner with people from the company. I also did full day and multi-day interviews. Even the staying at the same hotel thing didn't bother me as long as he doesn't live in that city. My boss and I travel together and stay at the same hotel a few times a month. Reading your question, I did not see anything untoward about the interview process.

The bottom line is you don't trust her or you don't trust your relationship. Otherwise you would be snooping in her email. If she wasn't moving, then maybe you could work on that.

She should take the amazing job and you should stay put.
posted by 26.2 at 9:43 PM on December 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

Jesus i have so many questions here, but i really think you just need to sit down and go "hey, so i've become kind of concerned about the exact specifics of how this would work out. I know you guys had more of a relationship than you let on" and just sort of let her reel some rope off the spool on that one.

I like that plan, except I wouldn't lead with the "I know" part. That's an auto-derail (how do you know? etc.) I'd make that a question, "I'm not especially comfortable with this and the relationship you guys had previously, can you tell me more about that?" I'd probably also ask specifically "did you sleep together?" (Bonus question: "when was the last time you slept together" because that interview experience sounds super-shady the way you write it.)

This is the kind of thing where the answers to those questions might tell me everything I wanted to know without even a "confrontation" about the email. A good thing to say (if true) is just an open-ended "I don't feel like you're being completely honest with me about this."
posted by ctmf at 11:57 PM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

On the lying: did you discuss being exclusive from your very first date onwards? Probably not. She might have been ending it around the time or just before you guys got serious, and played it down to avoid hurting you unnecessarily. Because

(She turned him down for exclusivity before so in a way it doesn't sound like you have a true romantic rival here).

is true, she chose you. And, she could have just broken up with you and gone for the job + the ex-fling, but she doesn't want to do that. To me, it sounds like her intentions are in the clear. She wants you, and she wants the job.

Not at all sure about her new boss, between his active pursuit of her, the interview, and the fact that this job was "made just for her".

I think she's probably getting played. But I don't know how you can talk about that. She really wants this job, feels she deserves it. She might not take kindly to the suggestion she might not have gotten it 100% on merit.

Or, she might have an idea about it, and might feel that she can handle it. But she's got no leverage, and you both have a lot to lose if things go wrong. 2nd Salamandrous and others questioning her judgement for taking this role. OTOH, if she's been working hard with little progression for years, I can see it being extremely hard to say no.

You might wind up getting called a knuckle-dragger for suggesting it, but the thing is she is actually really vulnerable here, and so are you.

I'm guessing you probably weren't a jealous boyfriend - because you sound like you're trying hard not to be - until details came out that night that conflicted what you'd thought before, and planted the seed of doubt. In hindsight, it would have been better for her to have come forward with the full story at that point. She was probably still protecting you, in a way, and probably avoiding conflict. She couldn't have predicted this offer would come and force the issue, certainly.

- I wouldn't worry overly much about the lie. It was a white lie, imo, and the events happened before you were exclusive (not really your business, and wouldn't be now, if not for this job offer).
- Trust her intentions viz you vs. this guy, she doesn't sound into him.

Come clean about the email, start with that. Talk about how it never came into your mind to worry about this guy until the night she told you he'd pursued her, because it differed from what you knew before. (I think this is probably true.) And about how with developments since, and the interview etc., you've been feeling more and more uncertain about how this situation might unfold. And about how that worry drove you to acting like a bit of a jerk and snooping, and now you don't know what to think. Ask her how sure she is that he doesn't have ulterior motives, and how you'll both handle it if he does.

2nd emptythought on staying calm.

Good luck.
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:06 AM on December 13, 2015 [4 favorites]

She has already lied about her relationship with this guy. IMHO lying in a relationship, even "white lies", is a sign that something is very wrong. But you've also lied by snooping on her email and not sharing your feelings about this whole boss situation. Honesty will set you free.
posted by deathpanels at 4:17 AM on December 13, 2015 [3 favorites]

A couple of mitigating factors here:

* It is normal, and expected, for people to be less than 100% candid about their past relationships, especially confessing all their flings to their new non-"fling" boyfriends/girlfriends. It doesn't mean she'll materially lie to you or cheat on you going forward.

* She may not be being honest with herself. It's extraordinarily validating to be offered a job that is a big step up in status. It is very hard to admit that it might being offered not because of her professional achievements and potential but because new boss wants her romantically and thinks this is a good way to go about it.

The way to deal with it is not to move with her right away. Let her go out there for a few months, and watch the situation play out while you have a LDR.
posted by MattD at 5:36 AM on December 13, 2015 [3 favorites]

Hang on a minute. Sure, she didn't give you the details of their previous hookups. Which happened before you met. She turned him down - he wanted a relationship, she didn't. Well, not with him. She is now in a relationship with you. A relationship that she is treating seriously enough to ask you to move across the country with her for a new job.

It sounds like you are assuming that the only reason she has been offered this job is because this guy wants to get into her pants. Seriously? She turned him down. Maybe, just maybe, she is just awesome at her job and despite the fact that she doesn't want to be in a relationship with him, he still thinks that she is the best person for the job. (That really should be your first assumption, if you even have the slightest amount of respect for her)

If she wanted to be with him rather than you, this would have been the perfect opportunity for her to end your relationship. But she didn't do that. She wants you to move with her, she wants to continue your relationship, she wants you by her side. She chose you.

Yeah, maybe he still has hopes of getting together with her. But that's his problem.

Talk with her, be open and honest, but listen to what she says, and ignore what you think the new boss wants - he is irrelevant.
posted by finding.perdita at 5:49 AM on December 13, 2015 [5 favorites]

I agree that you're being asked to take considerable risk here, and what makes me even more uncomfortable is that she is too, and form your description does not seem to appreciate the fact. The stories above about "great job until the affair ended / was rebuffed" -- besides being he kind of undistilled sexual harassment that sadly goes on too often -- mean that she is proposing uprooting the both of you for a job in which, and the bare minimum, the relationship is not strictly professional.

(I'd also chime in that an "all day job interview" sounds sketchy -- I've been on several long interviews that involved meeting many team members and touring the offices, and the longest lasted half a day tops, and yes, some involved travel.)

It sounds like she is either oblivious to the risks she's taking -- she should be wondering if the job offer is legit and what happens if things don't work out -- or at best throwing caution to the wind. The time has definitely come for a serious discussion.
posted by Gelatin at 7:05 AM on December 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

In this wretched economy I think it's completely plausible that she is great at her work and completely deserves a job like this, but the reason she is being offered this particular job is because there's a person in a position of power who is romantically interested in her and has questionable business and personal ethics.

If she decides to go ahead with this job, with or without you, she needs to be very very careful. This is not my area of law and this is not legal advice, but I think she should first find a really good employment lawyer, in the state where the job/company is, who has a lot of expertise and experience with sexual harassment and sex discrimination cases.

She should consult the lawyer right away and pay them a bunch of money to keep them on retainer for follow up questions, consultations, etc. She should explore with the lawyer what she should be doing from day one to protect herself: paper trails, record keeping, and tape recording - depending on the rules of the jurisdiction; what she should tell him and how she should speak to him about her concerns, if anything; how she should respond to him if/when he makes an overture; what she should do to build strong relationships with other people in positions of authority in the company; and how she will make a decision, if/when push comes to shove, about whether to take some kind of formal action with the company, and what kind of formal action, or whether to walk away - considering all the potential gains and losses, including the vulnerability of her reputation in the industry. Then she has to actually follow the lawyer's advice, even when it's a lot of trouble and a pain in the butt.

Sure everything could go great. The two of you could be inviting the boss and his wife over for networking dinners and have a great old time. If so she'll have had some good advice and she'll get back her retainer in due course. But to me this a powder keg situation and if she's not willing to go to the time, trouble, and expense to be over-prepared, she's being naive.

Speaking of which, I would be very interested to know whether the boss knows about you. Did she mention to him, and when in the course of the informal or formal phases of the job offer process, that she has a serious live-in boyfriend that she is hoping will move with her to the new place? In the course of an ordinary job process, this would be nobody's business. But in this case, if he does not already know and *especially* if part of the reason she didn't mention it is that she had any inkling at all that it could affect his enthusiasm for arranging this job for her, it should be a huge red flag for both of you about what you can look forward to if she takes this job.
posted by Salamandrous at 7:32 AM on December 13, 2015 [3 favorites]

There's something sketchy about this whole situation.

1. There is no fantastic job I could be persuaded to take if I had to work for a former hook-up.

2. While no one owes you a detailed sexual history, omitting the fact that they hooked up in this particular case is pretty huge.

3. You aren't communicating honestly with your GF.

4. Where are you in your relationship? Partners? Living together? 6 months? 6 years? Thinking Marriage?

Before you move across country, you need to fully discuss the future of your relationship. Personally, I wouldn't move unless I were married to the person. I want legal protections that help me put my life back together if things fall apart.

If you wouldn't marry this woman, don't move across country for her. If she wouldn't marry you, don't move across country for her.

The rest is static frankly.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:49 AM on December 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

Followup from the poster:
OP here. I talk to my GF last night...

First off, to give some more info: we've been together for 6 months (exclusively for 5). Their fling occurred 9-10 months ago. We moved at a fast pace, but it's been flowing naturally are we're both into it. Honestly this is the healthiest relationship I've ever been in, friends/family support it, and the love is deep.

I stay at her place at least 4 nights a week. We've spent a lot of time together (even spent a week playing 'honeymoon' at a Caribbean resort). We had a talk pretty early on about leaving current city for this job opportunity (it's a new department and took some time for the pieces to fall together).

I went to new city with her for a few days so we could check it out together, as we had never been. We got a feel for the neighborhoods, checked out some apartments, and tried to figure out if we'd like the place. I was at the hotel when she went to HR for a short meeting, and based on the paperwork she brought back I can definitely confirm this is a legitimate job. She reports to him, they both report to someone more senior. She also brought back an itinerary for the following day: back to back meetings and interviews with the department, nothing funny there. Boss works remotely in a different city, company sends everyone to the same hotel (this is very much like what 26.2 experienced). I flew back home the night of their dinner/drinks, and she had the interviews the following day.

Last night I told her I was feeling uncomfortable, and asked her if there was ever anything more between her and the boss. (following ctmf's advice). She immediately said no, there was nothing ever there. After a bit more discussion, I told her I didn't believe she was being completely honest (did not mention the email). She kind of broke down at this point, and said, "*If* anything had ever happened, would that even matter? Even if the worst case scenario *actually* happened between us, I turned him down, and I am not interested. Nothing is going to happen from my end."

She said he's been professional throughout, and even showed me some of their recent emails. Over drinks he asked if they needed to 'discuss the elephant in the room'. He assured her that it had nothing to do with the job, that it was purely based on her merit. She told him about me, he told her that he's seeing someone, too.

So... all is well, right? Why do I still feel like poop?

throwaway email:
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:27 AM on December 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

You feel like poop because 6 months is an awfully short time for the kind of commitment you're contemplating, even if the love is deep and the sex is good. Add a move across the country and a bunch of real or imagined elephants in the room, and you sure will feel like that, easily.

Now, it's equally clear that the concept of "this is the healthiest relationship I've ever been in" can contain true value, and could be a thing worth to cherish.
What I think you need to do, if you don't want to let this whole thing go, is to establish a private plan B for after the move. No idea what that would be (you don't mention specific locations), but you absolutely need to have an alternative route ready that brings you personally forward, for the worst case that things don't work out between the tow of you. Even without that elephant-boss, you ought to work on that.

And for the notepad:
"friends/family support [the relationship]."
It is sure complicated if friends/family don't support a relationship. But it is not principally a good sign of a relationship's functionality, nor is it intrinsically better for a relationship if friends/family do support it. They always go away at the end of the day, and you always stay.

"... and the love is deep"
You should be looking for the word "sustainable" here.
posted by Namlit at 11:48 AM on December 13, 2015 [8 favorites]

Reading your update, I think it's helpful that he works in a remote city and not in the same office she would be in. That's not to say you should automatically feel comfortable about this or decide to move, but I think it makes it less likely that your girlfriend will be tempted to do anything untoward, and helps mitigate any potential awkwardness she might experience if they were always in the same office.
posted by three_red_balloons at 12:17 PM on December 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

Been there, DISASTER. I don't doubt your love, but this is a big step and a lot of weight to put on the relationship. It's a recipe for resentment unless you genuinely would move there anyway.

I don't think the issue is this guy. I think the issue is that your gut is telling you that you don't know her well enough to do this, but your heart feels like it'll break if you can't be with her. I'm sorry for that. But I'd go with your gut here. If your love is that strong, you can move in 6 months, right?
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:37 PM on December 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Even if the worst case scenario *actually* happened between us, I turned him down, and I am not interested. Nothing is going to happen from my end."

Yeah, this is the main point. There's nothing to indicate she's got an interest in him. (You didn't tell her you snooped?)

Update makes the boss look better. (I don't think anyone doubted there is an actual job, fwiw.)

Why do I still feel like poop?

Because there was a past between them that you didn't know about. IMHO, it's ok that you didn't know about it initially; it only became an issue when a) you snooped and b) this job offer emerged.

Sometimes people have irrational responses to perceived romantic competitors, even to exes and ex-flings they've been told about - especially if they feel those exes or ex-flings have a leg up on them in some way. (Do you?) I think you need to try to get over that, though. If you don't, this isn't going to work.

Without a bit of faith in her, and clear and honest communication going forward, on both sides, you guys are going to have problems. Because how is she going to be able to talk to you if something does come up, if she thinks you're going to be accusatory?
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:39 PM on December 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

The fact that they can discuss the elephant in the room is a good sign. I would be far more worried if they had not had that conversation. Inability to discuss it or denial between the two of them would worry me a lot more. Combined with him being her remote boss -- it is a lot easier to choose to not act on temptation when they aren't right there in physical reach.

I am not the sort to follow someone I have been with for just six months to a new city without being married. The idea makes my blood pressure rise. But that's a separate issue from the question you asked and only relevant if you believe her working for him is a doomsday scenario. It isn't looking like one at this point. So you should make that decision based on other particulars.

Also, given the short time span of your relationship, she doesn't owe you more particulars. Love takes time. Intimacy takes time. No one needs to tell you every single detail up front. I highly recommend you watch a few romantic comedies, starting with Shrek. They all seem to have some freak out moment based on partial information, wildly inaccurate assumptions, and one person "hiding" information for totally understandable reasons given the context.

Best of luck.
posted by Michele in California at 12:40 PM on December 13, 2015 [3 favorites]

Why do I still feel like poop?

Because you're in a crappy, anxiety-inducing 'never-be-sure' situation either way. Either you trust your GF and always have a nagging wonder if you're being a naive sucker, or you put some brakes on this for your own protection and have a nagging wonder if you're sabotaging your relationship by your own insecurity. It's normal to feel that way, and it sucks.

For what it's worth, your update helped immensely. You're able to talk about your feelings with her, she and the new boss are able to have that conversation, the interview doesn't sound as shady as it did initially, she made a clear acknowledgement and promise to you that it isn't what it might look like, and she won't be working side-by-side with the guy. Me, I'd make the conscious decision to believe and trust her 100%, even knowing that I was taking a risk. I'd give it a go, rather than regret not taking a chance the rest of my life.

I'm not you, of course. What you probably can't do is half-ass it: go, but be Mr. Suspicious, Jealous, and Snoopy, because that won't work.
posted by ctmf at 1:17 PM on December 13, 2015 [4 favorites]

You should let go of your attachment and go for it. Sounds like you have a tight relationship with a lot of upside potential. People can and do hook up, then get over it and go on to be friends or associates. And their partners can become friends with the ex as well. It happens. I'd say you're probably testing your own social consciousness and wondering if you should feel shame or rejection of your partner. Well, it was before she met you, right? That's none of your business. It didn't affect you in any way except that you are now in judgement for something that is part of reality. Get over it. Enjoy your partner. Quit snooping. If there's something to worry about it will make itself apparent with big flashing lights. Make a clean decision to move or not and let this part of it be a non-issue.
posted by diode at 3:07 PM on December 13, 2015

I agree with ctmf: given your update, I'd take a deep breath and go for it. Doesn't mean you should, but it certainly sounds less dubious than it did.
posted by languagehat at 3:32 PM on December 13, 2015

This entire situation is sketchy as hell. "I don't want to talk about past relationships, because they're not relevant" is perfectly acceptable. Lying isn't, especially when you're uprooting your life for it. You're literally going to move across the country for someone who is taking a job from someone she slept with and then flat out lied to you about it repeatedly. Is this literally the only job in the country? It seems like a terrible risk, not to mention how it makes you feel. The chance of this ending badly seems much greater than it ending well. NOPE NOPE NOPE.
posted by cnc at 9:13 PM on December 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

Six months? No way.

Don't care about the rest of it. Give it another 6 months as an LDR. See if it's sustainable, see if it can survive day-to-day. In her new role, she won't have time to nurture you in a strange new city and devote herself to truly getting established at work.

The 'slept with the potential boss' thing doesn't even factor into this decision. You don't move across country for someone, unless you have been in a long-term committed relationship. Full Stop.

What kind of disaster would this be if you broke up for a reason completely non-related to your girlfriend and her boss? You'd be no less screwed.

If this can't be sustained for a few months long-distance it's too precarious to move for it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:12 AM on December 14, 2015 [3 favorites]

You know, one thing jumps out at me here. Given your update, I really, really do not think there is anything shady going on here.

But the fact that she did not fully disclose her past with her potential (probable?) future boss gives me pause. Again, I don't think there's anything shady going on here. I also think her initial white lie about it was totally understandable. And if she weren't asking you to move across the country for her - if, say, this were a job that she was considering in her current city - I'd say she doesn't need to disclose every single detail of her past and you should give her the benefit of the doubt.

However, given the stakes here, given what she is asking you to do, I think full disclosure is warranted. I honestly don't know if you should go or not, but I suspect this is part of the reason why you still feel like poop.
posted by breakin' the law at 11:54 AM on December 14, 2015 [3 favorites]

I kind of feel like an asshole here in light of the update(although, given the information originally provided, i still think i gave it a not totally unreasonable reading).

I basically came back to say what breakin' the law said.

Boss works remotely in a different city

This stuck out to me though. And i'm confused, do they not even work in the same office? I feel like that would make not bringing this up even more understandable. If they're literally not working in the same physical space that's a bajillion times less weird or sketchy. Seeing eachother at some Big Meeting every month or two is not the same as working together every day, and erases a lot of the reason that this was weird(although the custom-job-offer-from-him itself is still sort of slimy)

For what it's worth, i have similar skeptical thoughts about moving across the country for a six month relationship as other people... But... Is this an interesting city to you, in addition to what i said before about your career being portable to there? Multiple good friends of mine ended up in my city moving for and with relationships that fell apart not long after and are so happy it made them pick up and move, and didn't go back. They've been here ever since and it was actually a positive change of scene and "reset" on their life. Many of them re-involved in music/art/hobbies they had kind of been neglecting before and are now kicking ass at those things.

I'm way less hesitant or flashing-red-warning-sign after the update. Pretty neutral actually. But Namlit has the right idea. You don't have to call it a plan B or an exit strategy, but start figuring out what you will do if you go there. Where would you work and what does it pay like there? What's rent like in the neighborhoods you checked out and liked(in general, but also say, for a studio). What clubs/events/spaces/etc exist for stuff you like doing? What's the local craigslist look like if you want to buy house stuff? Lump this in with figuring out transit and other living in said city things. This is all good stuff to know even if it works out, but having a clear "this is exactly what i'd do" in hand would make me feel a lot better about this.

When me and my partner moved in together, it was officially "just for like a month or something" while i found a new place. In retrospect, part of what made it work out and helped it be relatively low stress was that i was actively working on a plan B and had it right there. It might feel a bit shameful in retrospect, and in this situation, but i think it's a pretty damn fair thing to at least look in to if you decide to do this and are actually moving to the other side of the country.

It's not like you have to act on that info, but it sure would be nice to have if you don't. And it doesn't read as a demonstration of bad faith to me or anything to at least think about that stuff even if it might upset some people.
posted by emptythought at 2:15 PM on December 14, 2015

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