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Opposite Sex Coworker Social Boundaries

Nurses   (6,199 Views 60 Comments)
by cyc0sys cyc0sys (Member)

cyc0sys has 6 years experience and works as a Nurse.

2 Likes; 4,490 Visitors; 199 Posts

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You are reading page 3 of Opposite Sex Coworker Social Boundaries. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

saskrn works as a RN.

8,569 Visitors; 560 Posts

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.

My husband and I are both RN's, so I'm familiar with how his coworkers are mostly female.

Taking everything into account, this is a marriage issue. I'm not sure if the above quote means you have no intention of catering to your wife's concerns. If that's what you mean, then I think you're in the wrong. Your wife and her concerns should always come before your coworkers, and even more so because I assume this is happening at the home that belongs to you both.

And, FTR, my husband has repeatedly been the subject of sexual harassment, and I've witnessed it also, from coworkers who supposedly were "innocent".

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saskrn works as a RN.

8,569 Visitors; 560 Posts

The problem isn't with professional boundaries. The problem seems to be your lack of respect for your wife. You have dismissed her feelings as "illogical fear and irrational gender bias." That looks a lot like gaslighting to me.

THIS!

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OldDude works as a School Nurse.

933 Likes; 5 Followers; 1 Article; 27,729 Visitors; 4,559 Posts

Used to have all the single barracks guys over for holiday meals. It was never an issue.

OK, I don't think it's an out right jealousy issue but is deeper than that with having other females come into her home...at this age and stage in her life. My advice is to cancel the whole thing, hug her up real tight, and tell her how much you love her. For better or worse till death do us part...coworkers are history...she is your future.

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Emergent has 25 years experience and works as a Emergency Room RN.

1,258 Likes; 6 Followers; 62,622 Visitors; 2,582 Posts

I've made it through my entire career without having a barbecue or dinner party for coworkers. Frankly, without anyone other than unaccompanied coworkers, your wife, at the very least may feel left out.

Maybe she's just not a social butterfly and it'll make her uncomfortable and be awkward. It doesn't mean she's irrational.

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1,125 Likes; 7 Followers; 21,295 Visitors; 2,691 Posts

^ That's kind, OldDude, and, without trying to make blanket statements about relationships, I think that sounds a lot more like what someone really does when their spouse is, in fact, way more important to them than their former coworkers.

OP: Would it be great if your wife just went with it and decided to take this all at face value? Yes. But the more important it becomes for you to have your time with these women, the more it inherently won't be taken at face value by your wife. That's a no-brainer.

If nothing else, it is a pretty common/well-known uncomfortable situation to have to host/fit in/socialize with a group of spouse's coworkers who happen to be your same sex (your spouse's opposite sex). Some people can embrace that situation and finesse it well. But, more often it seems like it's just weird. The convo is going to be mostly workplace-related. So now who is the one odd-man(woman)-out? Your wife. Who is "fitting in" better with you in a scenario like this? Your female friends. Come on, guys wouldn't love this either. Wife invites a bunch of well-liked male coworkers over and hubby sits there trying to be pleasant and interested but totally odd-man-out and doesn't even know the vernacular? Nah. Unless the spouse is a real bonafide extrovert and can handle the situation without a second thought, it's kind of a disrespectful position to put them in (either sex) just because it is so commonly uncomfortable.

Not saying these things are true for everyone or that they are "wrong." It just is what it is, though.

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OldDude works as a School Nurse.

933 Likes; 5 Followers; 1 Article; 27,729 Visitors; 4,559 Posts

I will add this...My Sweet Petunia said "I do" over 25 years ago. When we were first dating and married I had a job that involved entertaining clients. Many of these clients enjoyed visiting the local Men's Clubs. On such occasions she knew I was spending a great deal of time around naked women and purchasing "table dances" in the course of said client entertainment. Many times, I would break away to the nearest pay phone in the club and call her with an update as to when she could expect me to get home; music blaring, laughter, and glasses clinking in the background. She never was angered or questioned my intention or integrity over this. Now I'm an elementary school nurse and work with mostly women. If I were to tell her I've arranged to have a party at our house and I've invited a bunch of teachers from my school she would rip my head off at the neck and spit right into the hole!! End of that party...

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Luchador has 5 years experience as a CNA, EMT-B.

108 Likes; 1,238 Visitors; 173 Posts

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?

Ouch. Sorry about the grief. Wife seems the jealous type and at this point there is really nothing left to do but placate her. She was going to be at the BBQ, right? I host game nights and sometimes my wife is at work and she doesn't care that a female-- even unescorted by a male-- will be there!

Bottom line, you didn't do anything wrong.

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cyc0sys has 6 years experience and works as a Nurse.

2 Likes; 4,490 Visitors; 199 Posts

OK, I don't think it's an out right jealousy issue but is deeper than that with having other females come into her home...at this age and stage in her life. My advice is to cancel the whole thing, hug her up real tight, and tell her how much you love her. For better or worse till death do us part...coworkers are history...she is your future.

And that's exactly what I ended up doing OldDude. Thanks again for the Sage Advice.

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cyc0sys has 6 years experience and works as a Nurse.

2 Likes; 4,490 Visitors; 199 Posts

^ That's kind, OldDude, and, without trying to make blanket statements about relationships, I think that sounds a lot more like what someone really does when their spouse is, in fact, way more important to them than their former coworkers.

OP: Would it be great if your wife just went with it and decided to take this all at face value? Yes. But the more important it becomes for you to have your time with these women, the more it inherently won't be taken at face value by your wife. That's a no-brainer.

If nothing else, it is a pretty common/well-known uncomfortable situation to have to host/fit in/socialize with a group of spouse's coworkers who happen to be your same sex (your spouse's opposite sex). Some people can embrace that situation and finesse it well. But, more often it seems like it's just weird. The convo is going to be mostly workplace-related. So now who is the one odd-man(woman)-out? Your wife. Who is "fitting in" better with you in a scenario like this? Your female friends. Come on, guys wouldn't love this either. Wife invites a bunch of well-liked male coworkers over and hubby sits there trying to be pleasant and interested but totally odd-man-out and doesn't even know the vernacular? Nah. Unless the spouse is a real bonafide extrovert and can handle the situation without a second thought, it's kind of a disrespectful position to put them in (either sex) just because it is so commonly uncomfortable.

Not saying these things are true for everyone or that they are "wrong." It just is what it is, though.

I tend to be the social butterfly that rises to the occasion, regardless. That's what social grace dictates. However, I realize from your statement, not everyone is built the same. Maybe my expectations are unreasonable considering the circumstances. Thanks for your input.

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OldDude works as a School Nurse.

933 Likes; 5 Followers; 1 Article; 27,729 Visitors; 4,559 Posts

And that's exactly what I ended up doing OldDude. Thanks again for the Sage Advice.

You're a good man, and a better man for it; plus it'll be a reminder to your bride why she said "I do."

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TriciaJ has 35 years experience as a RN and works as a Retired.

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^ That's kind, OldDude, and, without trying to make blanket statements about relationships, I think that sounds a lot more like what someone really does when their spouse is, in fact, way more important to them than their former coworkers.

OP: Would it be great if your wife just went with it and decided to take this all at face value? Yes. But the more important it becomes for you to have your time with these women, the more it inherently won't be taken at face value by your wife. That's a no-brainer.

If nothing else, it is a pretty common/well-known uncomfortable situation to have to host/fit in/socialize with a group of spouse's coworkers who happen to be your same sex (your spouse's opposite sex). Some people can embrace that situation and finesse it well. But, more often it seems like it's just weird. The convo is going to be mostly workplace-related. So now who is the one odd-man(woman)-out? Your wife. Who is "fitting in" better with you in a scenario like this? Your female friends. Come on, guys wouldn't love this either. Wife invites a bunch of well-liked male coworkers over and hubby sits there trying to be pleasant and interested but totally odd-man-out and doesn't even know the vernacular? Nah. Unless the spouse is a real bonafide extrovert and can handle the situation without a second thought, it's kind of a disrespectful position to put them in (either sex) just because it is so commonly uncomfortable.

Not saying these things are true for everyone or that they are "wrong." It just is what it is, though.

This is what I was thinking. I don't think it's a trust or a marital issue. I think your wife is just worried about having a bunch of women in her home that she doesn't know very well and has little in common with. She's anticipating listening to a lot of shop talk and inside jokes while her main role will be to clean the house before the party, run around serving food and beverages, then clean up the mess after the party. Just not her idea of a good time.

If the spouses were going to be there it might be a different dynamic. But the prospect of this party just isn't ringing your wife's chimes. Buy several pounds of chocolate to thank your coworkers for being stellar and buy some for your wife as well.

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Have Nurse has 25 years experience and works as a A.D.O.N..

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I read this and smiled sympathetically. That's a tough one! I agree that the invitation is well meant and that perhaps your wife may feel a bit threatened and out-numbered regardless of how innocent this is in everyone's eyes.

It's particularly more scarey for her if she's never met them. You say you've been together a long time. That tells me she is older perhaps than some of these women possibly...?

It may be a relationship issue, but you come across to me as someone who really loves his wife and wouldn't do anything to make her feel unsettled in her own home.

If this celebration continues to be on the agenda, perhaps you could help her feel more accepting of it, by not only involving her, but showing others how special she is to you.

I hope it goes well. (Wish I had a gas grill!)

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