“I’m going to lunch. Headed to that Italian place I found last week. My co-worker, Rachel, is coming with me. I love you.”
I read the text Devin sent again and took a deep breath before I responded. I wondered if Rachel was a supervisor that needed to talk business with him.
“Have a good lunch. Why is Rachel going to lunch with you? I love you.” I texted back.
“She wanted to tag along. Don’t worry, walls and windows.” He answered, using a phrase from one of our favorite books, Not Just Friends. It assures me he is aware of keeping proper boundaries with females.
Usually this phrase makes me feel at ease and keeps my mind from going to dark places. This time it didn’t work. Rachel wasn't his supervisor. My mind flashed back to Devin’s old behaviors. I let him know I didn’t think going to lunch with Rachel alone was appropriate. I would never go to lunch with a male co-worker alone and I didn’t have a sex addiction or a past like he did.
Thankfully, before my texting got out of control and I said something I’d regret, my phone rang. It was someone from my S-Anon group. She hadn’t been able to attend in a long time and we had catching up to do. We were on the phone long enough for me to relax.
I understood I didn’t like Devin going to lunch alone with a female. It made me feel very uncomfortable. However, I realized communicating via texting wasn’t the proper format either. It was too easy to miscommunicate our thoughts and feelings. I let Devin know I’d rather see his handsome eyes when we spoke. He agreed in person was much better.
When we spoke face to face, I explained my feelings to him. At first he didn’t understand. He explained he was a different person now than he was several years ago. He pointed out his honesty about going to lunch with Rachel. This was something he’d never consider doing in the past, he'd just go. I let him know I appreciated his transparency but it still felt inappropriate to me. I didn’t think it was okay for him, or me, to have social outings with people of the opposite sex.
I shared an experience I had with my best friend, Tasha. I was single and worked with her husband, Doug, at his shop. We used to brown bag lunch and eat at our desks. One day Doug and I decided to eat at a diner. Tasha was livid. She let us know that under no certain terms was it appropriate for Doug and I to eat lunch alone.
I was much younger then and didn’t understand Tasha’s reasons but now I do. There should be no opportunity for a line to be crossed or mixed signals to be sent. In Devin’s case, where cheating already happened, that lunch should never have occurred.
Devin understood my point and promised he’d never do it again. I felt relieved but I also felt controlling. I knew I was setting a clear boundary for myself and that’s something I have to do with Devin because of his addiction. Yet, I felt conflicted for setting it. I wondered if the problem was with me. Was I so damaged from Devin’s acting out that I felt the need to control him outside the house? Or was I making a reasonable request? Since I have taken a look at my character defects, I am well aware that being in control is a biggie for me.
I decided to let it go until I could talk to my S-Anon group. Devin talked to his sponsor about what happened. His sponsor felt it was fine to have lunch with a female as long as Devin was keeping his guard up. Frankly, I was shocked but I didn’t say so. My S-Anon group felt my boundary request was a fair one. Then again, they’ve been through the same damage I have so they are just as biased as me.
I guess I know what my next counseling appointment will be about.
What do you guys think? Is it okay to have lunch with people of the opposite sex when you’re married?