Bizarre Love Triangle

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Dear Dharma,

I recently started seeing a guy that a co-worker set me up with. She had been trying to set us up for months – and he happens to be her ex-husband. She assured me that their relationship is purely friendship now and I believed her as she is in a 2 year relationship with her current man.

When the ex and I hit it off and realized we had feelings for each other we both went to her separately to let her know about the situation.  I really needed to know if she was okay with it, being that she and I were friends and he was her ex – she assured me she was.

The more involved I got with my new guy, the more things started to go haywire with my co-worker.  She continuously tried to control our relationship and its progression.  If we went too quickly for her liking she freaked out.  If we did something she wanted to do with him while they were together, she freaked out. When she found out we had slept together she screamed at us saying it was “too quick for her and how could we do this to her”.

I learned that she treated him very poorly during their relationship and was involved with other men during their marriage.  Even though they hadn’t been together for several years, she still tried to control him and has all but ruined every relationship he’s been in since her.

At this point my guy and I have cut her out of our life, and now she’s gone even more nuts.

Of course, this translates into trouble at work.  She scowls as she walks past me and basically throws me under the bus any chance she’s given.

How do I deal with this and still be professional?

Bizarre Triangle

Dear Triangle,

I can kind of understand thinking I would be okay with something and then feeling differently about it once it became a reality.  Often thinking about things and living with them are completely different, and it sounds like that’s what has happened here.

The best thing the ex could have done once she realized she really wasn’t okay with you two becoming an item was to back away gracefully with egg on her face.  She gave the go-ahead and then changed her mind – bitter pill to swallow, but hers and hers alone.

Except she hasn’t done that – she has actually gone the opposite direction by being all up in your faces, even though it sounds like you were both reasonable with her.

She definitely sounds a bit nutty… For starters, why she put herself in a position where you would learn all about her dirty laundry is beyond me.  I would have kept you and him about a million miles apart!

You say you’ve cut her out of your lives – I hope you mean completely, as in shut her down.  She seems to have access to a lot of information about your relationship – like, how she learned you two did the nasty?  Come on, who told her that?

I recognize you are in the unfortunate situation of having to spend 8 hours a day with her in the same building – that’s cozy, non? So let’s find a few ways to deal.

The scowling – meh.  Buck up buttercup.  You’ve done nothing wrong, and the more you let a bully be a bully, the more they shall bully.  Hold your head high, look her in the eye and give her a sweet smile as the response to her sour face.  If you shy away from her by running into your office, she wins each and every time.

As far as throwing you under the proverbial bus – I don’t know if she’s in a position to actually impact anything to do with your job, but as long as you keep yourself beyond reproach, you really shouldn’t have anything to be worried about.  She may take a few swings, but when she comes up empty, she’ll stop.

And the way to be professional throughout all of this is… be professional.  She has exactly has much power as the two of you give her.  You should pass that message along to your guy as well – it may come as quite the revelation to him after all this time!

Dharma

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