Opposite Sex Coworker Social Boundaries

  1. Recently, I had plans to have a BBQ at my house with several of my ex-coworkers. I suggested the idea to my wife before my employment arrangement changed abruptly and she seem copacetic. Later, my ignorance and inability to comprehend doublespeak was revealed.

    Several days before the BBQ my wife become very anxious and irritated when she found out everyone coming was female. This was purely by happenstance. All spouses or significant others were invited but none could attend due to work responsibilities or plans.

    Reminding my wife that I'm a middle aged adult male, working in a significantly female dominated world did little to therapeutically defuse the situation. Putting out the fire with gasoline was the effect achieved. She stated, that it's inappropriate and disrespectful to host other females in our home, who I no longer have a working relationship with.

    I told her it would provide a bit of closure and continuity for everyone. Direct patient care is like navigating a psycho-physio war zone of emotional chasms and insurmountable summits. No one goes it alone. I wanted to do something nice for my fellow coworkers and aides. To show my appreciation and to recognize the help and solid care they provided. She was not appeased and enlisted the support of her in condemning my actions.

    I respect my wife's feelings, 25 years at this would have ended it long ago if it were otherwise. But I have no intention of catering to illogical fear and irrational gender bias. If the situation was reversed, my mindset would not change.

    Is this some type of unspoken and overstepped Opposite Sex Coworker Social Boundary infringement I missed?
    Last edit by cyc0sys on Oct 19 : Reason: grammar
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    About cyc0sys

    Joined: Mar '13; Posts: 205; Likes: 613

    59 Comments

  3. by   NightNerd
    If I'm reading this right, your BBQ was planned before an unexpected change in your employment, right? I wouldn't find this weird, especially if you had a great working relationship with everyone and it was a group thing. You invited all SOs, so not sure what the big deal is. I think your wife is overreacting.
  4. by   EllaBella1
    I think this sounds like a marriage issue more than a professional boundaries issue. I see no issue with having a BBQ for your coworkers.
  5. by   kakamegamama
    I think it would benefit you more if you discussed this with your wife, unemotionally, and tried to get inside her head to understand what is really going on for her. Good luck!
  6. by   Orca
    I am fortunate to be married to someone who understands the realities of working in health care. I am a male working in a female-dominated profession. I am an administrator, and most of the people who call when I am off duty are going to be female. Most of my colleagues are going to be female. I am frequently going to be attending meetings with them. That is just the reality of it.
  7. by   hherrn
    Quote from cyc0sys
    Recently, I had plans to have a BBQ at my house with several of my ex-coworkers. I suggested the idea to my wife before my employment arrangement changed abruptly and she seem copacetic. Later, my ignorance and inability to comprehend doublespeak was revealed.

    Several days before the BBQ my wife become very anxious and irritated when she found out everyone coming was female. This was purely by happenstance. All spouses or significant others were invited but none could attend due to work responsibilities or plans.

    Reminding my wife that I'm a middle aged adult male, working in a significantly female dominated world did little to therapeutically defuse the situation. Putting out the fire with gasoline was the effect achieved. She stated, that it's inappropriate and disrespectful to host other females in our home, who I no longer have a working relationship with.

    I told her it would provide a bit of closure and continuity for everyone. Direct patient care is like navigating a psycho-physio war zone of emotional chasms and insurmountable summits. No one goes it alone. I wanted to do something nice for my fellow coworkers and aides. To show my appreciation and to recognize the help and solid care they provided. She was not appeased and enlisted the support of her in condemning my actions.

    I respect my wife's feelings, 25 years at this would have ended it long ago if it were otherwise. But I have no intention of catering to illogical fear and irrational gender bias. If the situation was reversed, my mindset would not change.

    Is this some type of unspoken and overstepped Opposite Sex Coworker Social Boundary infringement I missed?
    "Later, my ignorance and inability to comprehend doublespeak was revealed."

    "my wife become very anxious and irritated when she found out everyone coming was female"

    "Putting out the fire with gasoline was the effect achieved."

    "I have no intention of catering to illogical fear and irrational gender bias"


    I am with some prior posters. This does not sound like a professional boundary issue to me, it sounds like a relationship issue.
    If it was a professional issue, I might take a stab at some advice. I have no relationship advice, except good luck.
  8. by   Orion81RN
    I don't find it wise to seek marital dispute validation on a nursing forum. This is a marital issue. You either respect your wife or you don't. If you "have no intention of catering to illogical fear," (condescending phraseology btw) then you need to tell her that, hopefully in a more compassionate tone to her feelings, and possibly a marriage counselor. Not us. Good luck.
  9. by   psu_213
    Honestly, if she is that upset about you having female former coworkers over, it seems like there may be trust issues. Yes, this is a bit presumptive, but I know neither you nor your wife. I think you need to address this with her and counseling may not be a bad idea. Good luck with everything!
  10. by   Davey Do
    In such case, cycOsys, I like to rely on truisms:

    "Pick your battles."

    "Happy wife, happy life."

    This doesn't mean I always follow them, but when I do, it sure cuts down on the drama!
  11. by   traumaRUs
    Agree with others - more of a personal issue. Since you've been married awhile, this type of issue has never come up before?
  12. by   cleback
    My husband invited some coworkers over once. A few were female. I didn't think twice.

    If she's going to be at the bbq, why would she mind? I could maybe see her qualms if you were going out for drinks with female coworkers after work without her.

    Sounds like a heart to heart is in order.
  13. by   hppygr8ful
    Quote from cyc0sys
    Recently, I had plans to have a BBQ at my house with several of my ex-coworkers. I suggested the idea to my wife before my employment arrangement changed abruptly and she seem copacetic. Later, my ignorance and inability to comprehend doublespeak was revealed.

    Several days before the BBQ my wife become very anxious and irritated when she found out everyone coming was female. This was purely by happenstance. All spouses or significant others were invited but none could attend due to work responsibilities or plans.

    Reminding my wife that I'm a middle aged adult male, working in a significantly female dominated world did little to therapeutically defuse the situation. Putting out the fire with gasoline was the effect achieved. She stated, that it's inappropriate and disrespectful to host other females in our home, who I no longer have a working relationship with.

    I told her it would provide a bit of closure and continuity for everyone. Direct patient care is like navigating a psycho-physio war zone of emotional chasms and insurmountable summits. No one goes it alone. I wanted to do something nice for my fellow coworkers and aides. To show my appreciation and to recognize the help and solid care they provided. She was not appeased and enlisted the support of her in condemning my actions.

    I respect my wife's feelings, 25 years at this would have ended it long ago if it were otherwise. But I have no intention of catering to illogical fear and irrational gender bias. If the situation was reversed, my mindset would not change.

    Is this some type of unspoken and overstepped Opposite Sex Coworker Social Boundary infringement I missed?
    The only thing I can think of here is that your wife might not appreciate having a group of women in her home who likely have at times spent more time with you than she has. Factor in that she has probably heard you talk about these woman a lot and I can see why she might be uncomfortable. Would you really feel no discomfort if she invited a bunch of men she worked with for a BBQ. I am not saying her feelings are completely rational but as I psych nurse I have seen much simpler things cause huge issues for couples.

    Hppy
  14. by   Serhilda
    The pretentiousness of your post and the fact you're calling your wife's concerns irrational on a nursing forum says a lot about the communication between you two. What do you want from us, validation that your wife is some irrational killjoy? Not happening. For all we know, she already suspects you're unfaithful. Maybe you already have been, we wouldn't know and I'm not giving you the benefit of a doubt. Have more respect for your wife's feelings and TALK to her or seek marriage counseling.
    Last edit by Serhilda on Oct 20

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