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Am I a secret?

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  • #384804
    thatssoelsie
    Participant

    Hi everyone 🙂

    I’m new here and just hoping for some much needed advice from an outsiders perspective. Very confused. Ive been in a relationship with my partner for 4 years going on 5 soon. He has been in the same job even before we’ve met. In the past Ive had issues with his coworkers being overly friendly to him through social media and texts; example calling him overly friendly names, some borderline flirty comments, and even saying things like “wow whoever gets to be your girlfriend will be very lucky” (like if I wasn’t already that girlfriend), to which he would always tell me in response that I have nothing to worry about since they all know about me and Im being insecure. It didn’t make sense because I know I would never talk to a coworkers partner like that, but I let it go. Anyways! I learned to accept that maybe I’m over reacting because naturally in my mind I think, yeah in 5 years its obvious a conversation with me in it must have come up at work at least once! …. Well wrong! In a recent argument we just had about something else, he blurred out “and this is why I don’t tell anyone at work I have a girlfriend” me being shocked responded “so no one knows about me? in 5 years??” he said “no I don’t want anyone to think I have a crazy/ jealous girlfriend”. I was clearly hurt because it feels like Ive been a secret for 5 years! I just feel terrible because clearly these coworker don’t respect me or have boundaries because they don’t even know about me!!  I feel like Ive been lied and hidden. His defense is, “I don’t want them to know what type of jealous girlfriend you are, they think highly of me” “You’ve met the most important people in my life which are all my family and thats all that matter.” and “Coworkers don’t matter., who cares if they know.”

    Help? Am a secret? or is he right?

    Side notes:

    *Were not teens, we are late 20s early 30s.

    **We don’t have any pictures of each other on social media, were both private people in that aspect.

    ***Ive never been to his job, but he’s been to mine.

     

    Thanks everyone!

    #384811
    anita
    Participant

    Dear thatssoelsie:

    It looks to me that he likes to separate his work life from his personal life. It is not true that you are “a secret” because his family (and friends?) know about you. It’s only his coworkers that don’t. I am guessing that he enjoys the almost-flirtatious, but not really flirtatious communication with female coworkers (most men would, I believe), but you can tell from the “whoever gets to be your girlfriend will be very lucky” text by a coworker that to her knowledge, neither she, nor any of the other female coworkers is his girlfriend.

    When he told you: “I don’t want anyone to think I have a crazy/ jealous girlfriend… they think highly of me“- sounds like he was angry and exasperated. Is it that you’ve been giving him a lot of hard time, being  jealous.. and he.. exploded?

    anita

    #384812
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear thatssoelsie,

    Help? Am a secret? or is he right?

    No, he isn’t right to keep you a secret in front of his coworkers. You’ve been together for 5 years – what is he hiding?

    His defense is, “I don’t want them to know what type of jealous girlfriend you are, they think highly of me”

    If this is what he’s thinking of you – he is ashamed of you, and it’s always a big problem if one party is ashamed of the other. It won’t end well because he doesn’t respect you.

    #384832
    thatssoelsie
    Participant

    @Anita

    Hi Anita, thank you for your reply.

    Yes his family and friends know about me, but just knowing that Im not acknowledged at his job makes me uncomfortable due to the fact there is not boundaries if others think he is “single”. Im sure that he is not cheating on me with any coworker or any thing of that sort,  but I’m having a hard time being ok with it, and don’t really understand how someone can play off / not mention being in a 5 year relationship. Im just really upset because anyone would like to be shown off  and talked highly about, to others specially from their partners and in this case I feel that Im not worth mentioning.

    What do you think I can do? I cant force him to bring me up & talk about me.

    Should I move on and accept his “private” work life? or how can we find a middle ground?

    Xo Thanks!

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by thatssoelsie.
    #384835
    thatssoelsie
    Participant

    @Teak

    Hello Teak, thank you for your reply.

    Thats the same thing I think, like what is he hiding? Its been 5 years and cant wrap my head around how I haven’t been mentioned once. He works in a place where conversations with coworkers are happening all the time, and not somewhere he is isolated and just focused on work. I know at my job if someone one brings up a restaurant or a place to travel ill say something as simple as “oh yeah me and my boyfriend have been there too”.

    I feel the same way, not respected. Right now he says “Im not hiding you; Im just don’t bring up my personal life.” But I just wonder what his response is if someone just straight asks him “Are you single?” will he say yes to avoid talking about me?  I just feel hurt and unappreciated and HIDDEN. Ive thought about showing up to his job, but at this point I would feel like a fool, because I think everyone will be very shocked his been in a 5 year relationship.

    Is this a deal breaker? Or is it worth salvaging for the 5 year sake?

    Xo Thank you.

    #384837
    anita
    Participant

    Dear thatssoelsie:

    I will be able to reply to you in about 10 hours from now. It will help me understand better if you share a bit about the nature of his workplace, the nature of the interactions between co-workers there,  and more about texts or messages you found between him and co-workers (?)

    anita

    #384845
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear thatssoelsie,

    Right now he says “Im not hiding you; Im just don’t bring up my personal life.”

    He doesn’t have to talk about the details of his personal life, but letting people know that you exist, that he has a girlfriend, would be a minimum. It would be normal and expected. In fact, hiding it is what makes it weird and suspicious.

    And as I said earlier, it seems he is hiding you because he is embarrassed of you:

    His defense is, “I don’t want them to know what type of jealous girlfriend you are, they think highly of me”

    How does he treat you otherwise? Is he judgmental, condescending, disrespectful? Does he act like he is superior to you and is criticizing you a lot?

     

    #384854
    anita
    Participant

    Dear thatssoelsie:

    I re-read your three posts and found out that when I read and responded to you yesterday, I missed a very important piece of information, which is this: “he would always tell me in response that I have nothing to worry about since they all know about me and I’m being insecure“. This piece of information, in combination with what he told you recently: “this is why I don’t tell anyone at work I have a girlfriend” means that previously he lied to you, and maintained the lie for years.

    Also, I missed this part: “He works in a place where conversations with coworkers are happening all the time, and not somewhere he is isolated and just focused on work“.

    Re-reading and understanding what you shared better: the relationship with him has been troubled for a long time:  (1) he lied and maintained his lie for years, (2) He gaslighted you (you perceived reality correctly, he knew that you perceived correctly, and yet,  he tried to make you question your perception): he did so when he added to his lie that you are insecure (“...and I’m being insecure“), suggesting that an emotional deficit (being insecure) blocked your ability to perceive accurately. Calling you “crazy” is one more effort on his part to discredit your ability to perceive reality accurately,  (3) He clearly suggested to you that you are unworthy when he said that the reason he didn’t tell his coworkers that you are his girlfriend- is that they  “think highly of (him)“, suggesting by it that if they knew you are his girlfriend, they will not longer think highly of him.

    He told you: “‘You’ve met the most important people in my life which are all my family and thats all that matter’ and ‘Coworkers don’t matter, who cares if they know‘”-

    – (1) “Coworkers don’t matter, who cares if they know“: his coworkers matter to him and he cares, so his suggestion that he doesn’t care what his coworkers think is a lie, (2) “the most important people in my life.. all my family“- that may be a lie too. Maybe the most important people in his life are his co-workers. He said about his coworkers: “They think highly of me“. Maybe his family doesn’t think highly of him and the context where he feels appreciated and valued is his workplace.

    That’s why he wants to protect the only place where he feels appreciated and valued, which is his workplace, protect it from any information that would suggest that he is not who they think he is.

    anita

    #384909
    thatssoelsie
    Participant

    @anita

    Thank you again Anita for taking the time to read and reply to my dilemma. But yes I agree with everything you pointed out. To answer your previous post he works as a bartender for a hotel so there is always down time in between to chat with other coworkers. Some of the texts Ive seen include calling him pet names like (honey, baby, etc…) some even calling him their work husband, and it bothers me since some are on his days off and even after he is off work at night. Like I mentioned earlier I know he is not cheating, but those conversations make me uncomfortable because if thats whats going on through text, it makes me wonder what other type of flirting can be going on in person. I don’t want to blame the coworkers since it is not their fault,  he is the one that doesn’t mention me and doesn’t give me my place with the other women. I just don’t know what to do moving forward. Any suggestions?

    Thank you!

     

    #384910
    thatssoelsie
    Participant

    @TeaK

    Thank you Teak for taking your time to help me out.

    But yes it makes me wonder his intensions on why he hides me, is he trying to keep his options open with other women and with hiding his relationship status it is obviously much easier to do that. Is he embarrassed of me because I might not be the type of person physically they expect him to be with… or not sure what else it could be, because I know he’s mentioned to me in the past has taken his ex to his job before… unless he was lying about that too.

    “How does he treat you otherwise? Is he judgmental, condescending, disrespectful? Does he act like he is superior to you and is criticizing you a lot?”

    In regards to your questions, no he’s actually none of the above. Its just his job we have an issue with.

    Sometimes I’ll even tell him Im going to stop by just to get a reaction out of him and he says things like “its out of the way why drive there.” Or “Its not like we can even talk if you go, Ill be busy working.” Its never excitement.

    #384912
    anita
    Participant

    Dear thatssoelsie:

    You are welcome. He works as a bartender in a hotel.. even though he doesn’t drink while working (this is the rule, in the U.S.), there’s alcohol involved in the workplace and after work.  I can see coworkers calling him pet names, etc.: It is part of the work environment when alcohol is involved. Expecting a boyfriend- in an alcohol involved environment- to not be engaged in a somewhat flirtatious activity is unrealistic. I know. because I am personally familiar with this kind of workplace.  People’s inhibitions are lowered, if not because of drinking personally, then from being around people who do. I have seen countless somewhat flirtatious exchanges  between people that were harmless. As a matter of fact, I have never encountered a flirtatious activity in the taproom I frequent in the last few years that resulted in a single  sexual affair, none whatsoever. And I know, because if there was one such affair-I would have known.

    if hat’s what’s going on through text, it makes me wonder what other type of flirting can be going on in person“- nothing much, based on my experience, just people joking, trying to be funny, that’s all.

    About suggestions regarding moving on: well, it depends on whether you’ve been giving him a hard time, unfairly accusing him for a long time of what he is not guilty of.. IF you have for years, then it is understandable that he would  not tell his coworkers about you.

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by anita.
    #384920
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear thatssoelsie,

    In regards to your questions, no he’s actually none of the above. Its just his job we have an issue with.

    That’s important – it means he respects you and doesn’t see you as inferior in any sense.

    The only justifiable reason I can think of for his hiding you is that he wants to protect himself from possible mocking and teasing by his co-workers if they would get to meet you.

    I know he’s mentioned to me in the past has taken his ex to his job before

    Perhaps he took his ex to his work place, and after that was faced with teasing and inappropriate comments. And he regretted it that he revealed his private life, i.e. made himself vulnerable. Perhaps he is afraid of his co-workers’ crudeness and cruelty (which might be the case in that working environment), and he wants to spare himself from that?

    You also said:

    We don’t have any pictures of each other on social media, were both private people in that aspect.

    How come? What’s the motivation for keeping each other a secret on social media?

     

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by Tee.
    #384926
    anita
    Participant

    Dear thatssoelsie:

    It is difficult to come up with an understanding of your relationship with too little available information and context. For example, when he told you that his coworkers know about you, maybe at the time (a few years ago?) he did tell them about you. Maybe those he told left the job since, and the current coworkers don’t know about you.  Maybe coworkers don’t really want to know about each other’s personal lives, and none shares, maybe it’s a behavioral code at the bar he tends. Maybe when he recently said that you were crazy he was exasperated after an hour of you interrogating him. I don’t know the context. It is easy to suggest, or worse, conclude this or that (ex, I concluded earlier that he gaslighted you when calling you crazy) based on limited information and little context… I am reminding myself to avoid doing this in the future as I reply to members.

    In your recent post you provided some context: “he’s actually none of the above (“judgmental, condescending, disrespectful.. superior.. criticizing”) It’s just the job we have an issue with“-

    The job: in general (and I understand that he bartends in a hotel and has downtimes) bartenders are often very, very busy. A bartender does not have the time to attend to a visiting girlfriend, and he doesn’t have the time or the energy to attend to a jealous girlfriend visiting him at the bar. He has to attend to customers and be on the go non-stop.

    thrillist, com: Understanding Bartenders “1. It looks easier than it is: On average, bartenders probably do 10-12hr shifts, sometimes with no break. There are hours of prep work, hours of clean-up, and hours of catering to the demands of people who have no concept of a bartender’s actual hours.

    “2. Their lives are not an endless party: The bartender is like the parent at a slumber party: they are working to make sure everybody else is having fun, while trying to keep them from getting in too much trouble. And once the kids go to bed, they’re up late cleaning the mess.

    “3. When you’re in an environment that’s extremely high volume, everything goes out the window: A skilled bartender always wants to make the best drink possible, but in a busy bar there’s a balance between meticulous craftsmanship and breakneck efficiency…”.

    Overall, a bartender is very busy, has to be very attentive to customers, on the go.. so yes, I can understand a bartender’s reluctance to have a jealous girlfriend visit him. And I am guessing that in the stressful work environment, coworkers are more likely to joke around to relieve stress than to have serious discussions about personal relationships.

    I hope that this post helps you somewhat and I wish you and your boyfriend well.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by anita.
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