Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Out To Lunch




“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? 

45 comments:

  1. Difficult. One person's line is not all people's and even for those in the same boat. I do on occasion in to pubs alone - normally to see a band or take part in an open Mic night. I am ok with it, my wife does trust me now. Some of those in recovery say to me "if you go to the hairdresser enough you will get a haircut" maybe but I am ok with it not fearful or in danger in my view. Different folks different strokes.

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    1. You bring up a very valid point, Futheron. You've been in recovery for a long time. You've been able to build up that trust again with your wife so she's comfortable with you going into a pub and not fearing you'll pick up a drink. I'm not in that place yet. Hopefully, one day I will be in that place although I'm just not sure.

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  2. I think the woman who went to lunch with Devin is at fault just a little, as Devin said he didn't have to tell you and you wouldn't have got stressed but he's trying to be good.

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    1. I truly wanted to place blame on the woman too. After some thought I realized I can't. It's up to Devin to say no. But, you're absolutely right. He is making tremendous progress. I sent him a text today and let him know how much I appreciated him and his recovery work.

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  3. I think it depends on the spouse's reaction- and whether it was reasonable or not. When you are an addict, there's no such thing as going back to be a normal person. No matter how far away you get, the monkey is still on your back, biding its time. I'd have to side with you on this one.

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    1. That just made me realize something. It may be an issue he struggles with still. He doesn't like being labeled an "addict" so perhaps trying to live a "normal" life is his attempt at getting away from that label? I'll have to ponder on that. I may be reading to much into it.

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  4. No. Period. It is something I absolutely am not okay with. A spouse does not need friends of the opposite sex. There is no reason to risk it. There is no reason a person shouldn't put their foot down and say "I'm not comfortable going to lunch alone w/you, let's see if someone else can join us". My own personal opinion. But hubby going out to lunch, even w/his dad and/or brother is a trigger for me for various reasons. Hr is there to work. He doesn't need to be going out to lunch w/anyone.

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    1. I'm sorry you have those triggers, Megan. Triggers are rough to deal with and my heart goes out to you.

      Devin is navigating his way through setting his own boundaries with people. It's been a frustrating process. I've had to learn how to be both patient and not over controlling. So freakin' hard!! This journey through dealing with his sex addiction has taught us both a lot.

      I agree though - he's there to work, not socialize.

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  5. A difficult one? I don't think I'd be comfortable with my Mrs going out to lunch with a gut from work and I know for a fact she wouldn't like the reverse. At least he was totally upfront with you about the lunch, you gotta give him that.

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    1. That made me feel good when I read that, Ray. Thanks. I did give him kudos for letting me know he was going to lunch with her *before* he actually went rather than afterwards. That is truly something he'd never consider doing before. In itself, that's recovery.

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  6. I understand how you feel isnt easy for you. special. Devin had a lot of.problems and for you is difficult to understand and how you feel.
    I.think like megan the normally is to eat or dinner with a sister or brother or his dad special if you dont know the woman.
    Anyway you and Devin talk a lot so I think was good you told him.Some things arent nice to us and. are a lot if things that is better.tell to hubby.
    sometimes I know Im a.little sarcastic:( but hubby is sometimes really innocent.
    I think you make well to say him.
    we live ALL difficult times really dear.
    lot of love
    gloria

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    1. Gloria, my dear! I hope you are well and fine =)

      I am grateful that phone call came in and stopped me from getting sarcastic or mean. I really could have gone there because my mind went to such a bad place from all those bad memories it can bring up. We did have a good, long talk about it though. I stayed calm and for that I'm also grateful.

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    2. Yes I think sarcastic dont help.but when.sometimrd Im angry Im. Sigh!
      Anyway I work in it too dear.
      Nobody is prrfect Elsie. I know that.
      Send you love!!

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    3. It's so hard not to get sarcastic sometimes, isn't it. We are all a work in progress. Much love and hugs to you, Gloria!!

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  7. I don't know how to answer you. I had lunch alone with a writing buddy of mine at a conference, a male, and it was no big deal to me at all. Never occurred to me that anyone might interpret it as anything other than lunch, but I might be a little tone deaf when it comes to that stuff. Always have been.

    I understand your need to keep your boundaries tight, though. If I'd been hurt like that, I'd probably feel very much the same way.

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    1. I think it depends on how your significant other feels about it too. If they are uncomfortable with you having lunch with a male than I think it's something you shouldn't do. If they don't mind, then it's no big deal. I need to get to a writer's conference. I bet I'd learn so much!!

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  8. in every other marriage yes, but in yours I'm not sure given the history. I'd go to lunch with all of my blogging ladies, would their hubs kill me? :)

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    1. I think all the blogging ladies would enjoy a fine lunch with you, Dezzy! Our hubby's minds would be at ease the entire time we were with you =)

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  9. My ex never had a problem with my eating lunch w/ guy friends, nor did i have a problem w/ him eating lunch w/ female friends.

    But my fiance' has been so burned by cheating whores, that I would never, ever eat lunch w/ a male friend that he didn't know well - like for example a classmate of ours who I grew up with and he's like a brother, and Russell likes him a lot too and also, he's gay. I would have no problem w/ his having lunch w/ his bff who is a female (she told him to tell me how he felt). He's OK w/ it if I'm w/ a girlfriend and her husband is there. Other than that, it's inappropriate in our relationship. I have a dear friend who I've known since 1988, and we only dated a month in 88, and a month and a half in 89, and Russell abjectly refuses to meet him and doesn't want me to see him either. That kinda sucks b/c we've been friends way longer than we ever dated and I have ZERO interest in him but I have to respect Russell's wishes. Jef has been very patient and accepting of it and hopes that someday he'll get to meet Russell.

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    1. I love your new profile picture, JoJo!

      I can relate to Russell and I'm glad you respect his feelings and he respects yours. Hopefully one day he will want to meet Jeff and at least the three of you can have lunch together. I'm sure with the passage of some time that will happen. Thankfully Jeff has also been patient and understanding too.

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  10. I'm not married, I don't intend to be for a while, so I don't think my opinion really counts. I think there's situations where I wouldn't be okay with it, like when you don't know the person he's having lunch with personally. But I'd also have to acknowledge him being upfront about it. It counts for something, maybe not as much as it could be if he'd just declined, but it's something.

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    1. Your opinion most definitely counts, D4. You bring up a great point. I think I'd feel much more at ease if I knew the person. I don't know that I'd feel 100% comfortable or think that it's still appropriate but I wouldn't have been so on edge. I made sure I let him know I appreciated his honesty. That is a fantastic step in the right direction and shows great progress in his recovery.

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  11. Hmmm tough one indeed
    If it is a long time friend at ones feed
    then maybe i suppose
    But if it is one that curls your toes
    And likes to strike a pose
    With a little hope of finding a rose
    Needs to get off the train
    Heck never board and if she/he keeps trying whack them with a cane

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    1. And even then I'm not sure if I'd be comfortable given his history. Maybe a time will come where I will find I am able to be comfortable but I don't know. I still don't think it's appropriate.

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    2. Yeah given the history pretty much a no way, at your bay

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  12. To be honest Elsie I believe that your reaction is completely and utterly understandable as is the fact that you never want him to do it again. At the same time I also genuinely believe that no way in hell did Devin even consider doing anything like that with her at all. Like I say your concerns were warranted and it would be better off if he didn't but I mean he told you what he was doing and didn't hide it, and I think that's better than him feeling like next time a worker friend of his asks him out like you'll react badly and him keeping it secret because he doesn't want to upset you even though it'll all be completely innocent. Like I say I completely understand why you did what you did and I'm glad it was resolved but trust is important, he seems like a lovely guy who's learned his lesson and I don't think you need to have any worries although obviously you always will.

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    1. I don't think he'll cheat on me again either but there is always that small possibility that his addiction will take a hold of him again. He assures me that just like I say I will never do cocaine again, he will never cheat on me again. He knows I'll leave him and he says that's what motivates him but still, I feel the lunch was inappropriate. I am very grateful he didn't hide it. Being open about it is such great progress.

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  13. 99% of the time I wuold think nothing of someone having lunch with a member of the opposite sex. I suppose I just don't think of things that way. But given the history I can certainly understand the concern in this case.

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    1. I never thought that way either. It wasn't until my friend, Tasha talked to me about it that I was able to see her point of view. Then, of course, I went through my own experiences and that changed everything. I'm glad you're still an Optimistic Existentialist!

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  14. I think that's some bullshit.these guys are SELECTIVELY honest.it served him to tell you about this woman, maybe he was just trying to do the right thing or maybe he doesn't have to hide lunch bills from you. I think it's just too much of a grey area where things can develop-hidden but in plain sight.

    It's to damn bad if he feels misunderstood.that's the price he pays...if his lonely why can't he take some men from work?

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    1. I honestly believe Devin was trying to do the right thing in this case. I don't track his spending or anything like that. I'm truly of the belief that when I'm meant to know, I will know. It's why I don't go searching on the computer or phone anymore. I trust my gut instead. Next time, he'll go alone or with some guys.

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  15. I'm usually pretty tolerant of cross-socialization, but in this case (and in many) it is playing with fire. If once is ok, is once a week ok if they enjoy each other's company? Is three times a week ok? I'd vote no to all of the above. Why put yourself in a place of temptation? Better than to collect a few more people and go as a group, less intimate conversation. Do they socialize while at work too? Are they becoming friends? I'd say stick to lunch with the guys!

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    1. So very true, Josie. I brought up the point with masturbation when he tried to rationalize it. He was addicted to it once and it led him down a dangerous path. This very well could too. I didn't grill him about her. I didn't feel it was necessary. He assured me he was keeping his "walls and windows" in place at work and I have to trust him. I can't live in a place of fear and mistrust if I want to live in a place of happiness and serenity too, you know?

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  16. In Devin's case, I would say "No way" He may have changed as a person, but he's still an addict and always will be. Him going to lunch with a female would be like handing an alcoholic a bottle of rum and saying "You can look at it, but don't open it"

    Now as far as saying that married people should never socialize with people of the opposite sex, I disagree with that. I used to eat lunch with my male coworkers and also have traveled alone with males for work and with a band. Not one time were there crossed signals, nor was there temptation. When I was carrying our daughter, I didn't play and our band had a female manager. The Hubby was alone with her a great deal and I never worried about it.

    I'd add one more thing and that's to say this. I doubt that Rachel has any idea that she's dealing with a sex addict. If she knew what you know, she'd probably not want to dine alone with him.

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    1. I agree wholeheartedly, Anne. I think he wants to live like a "normal" person sometimes though. He wants to forget he's an addict and that makes it hard for him but I'm glad he understood things after I explained myself.

      It's interesting to see different sides of how people feel about socializing with the opposite sex. I truly felt it was because I had been scarred or because I grew older. Now, I see all different points of view from men and women of different ages and different situations. It really is up to each couple.

      I can't speak for Rachel. I don't know her and can't judge her. This was really up to Devin to say "no".

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  17. Of course it is as long as the married persons other half is aware of the lunch and it's just lunch my brothers best friend is a woman and they have hung out together many times and there is nothing sexual in their realationship...........now all that said I don't know if I would feel ok with it if the peron was a sex addict I think it might be like inviting a acholic to a bar..........

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    1. I think the spouse should know too, Jo-Anne. That's just a matter of respect. In our case though, you're right, I don't think it's wise to tempt fate.

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  18. It really depends on the people involved, but as for me personally, I probably won't be having lunch alone with any of female co-stars any time soon. It's just a respect thing. I know my wife wouldn't be comfortable with it, and I don't want to come across as the married guy that's taking out girls to lunch, so that's a line I don't cross. And neither of us would ever suspect the other of cheating, it's just truly a respect thing. We try to avoid putting ourselves in awkward situations as much as possible, and to us, that's one of those situations.

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    1. That's the exact point my friend, Tasha was making. It wasn't that she felt like Doug and I were cheating with each other. It's that he was a married man taking out a single woman - not good. It was disrespectful to her. A very awkward situation indeed!

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  19. its a dangerous line...some people say if its a public place...but lets be honest, no one is really paying any attention to you if they dont know you...in a group yes...if the spouse is comfortable with it, maybe...the minute we get too comfortable bad things can happen...

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  20. As long as both couples are communicating about it and telling with whom they've been, I don't see a problem.

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  21. As long as hubby tells me and its in a public open place, I don't mind really ~

    But it really depends on you Elsie ~ If you feel uncomfortable about it, then say so and tell him honestly ~ If you are silent about it, he will think its fine so communication is the key for me ~

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  22. I'm kinda torn on this one, Elsie. Part of me thinks it should be okay to have lunch with the opposite sex. But part of me also thinks that it's crossing the line. Lunch could lead to anything.

    You must tread carefully here. Don't be controlling but also be firm with your boundaries.

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  23. hi dear hope you are doing well I will mail you to last news! hugs!
    and Esperanza is a crazy and dogs too lol

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  24. When I was a student at ODU (a lonnnnnnggggg time ago), I used to go to lunch with my classmates (and even went to the beach once). Since I was an Education major, they were all female. But, nothing ever happened. Another time, I went for dinner with one of my classmates at the Lynnhaven Mall Chi Chi's which is long since gone (Chi Chi's, not the mall). I was single, but nothing ever happened. In fact, her boyfriend showed up later in the meal. As he was a catcher with the Orioles organization, I spent most of my time talking to him. But, there's good advice above. If you're uncomfortable about things, be honest about it.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm here to help any way I can.