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September 24, 2017 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Love

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Am I overreacting?

Question:

I've been married for 32 years to a surgeon. I work in his office as office manager and billing coordinator. I am an RN by training.

My husband started receiving sexually explicit jokes via email from an OR tech he works with at the hospital. When I asked him about them, he said he did not even read them since he did not recognize the email address and that he just deleted them. I recognized the name on the email and I read them. I have access to his email as I do to all other business in his life. In fact, I take care of most aspects of his life. He doesn't even write a check. I give him cash and he has a credit card.

He has always been a very honorable and trustworthy person. I did, however, wonder what conversations he had with this girl that she felt comfortable enough to send him such intimate jokes. I have worked in the operating room and there is a lot of joking that goes on between the doctors and the staff, but joking at work is one thing, and sexually explicit emails to our home and only sent to my husband is completely out of line. If she had sent them to a bunch of friends and my husband was just one of many, I might have given her some leeway, but they were only addressed to his with no copies to anyone else. She also emailed a Thanksgiving card which ended in "hugs and kisses" and he received a text message on his phone that said "happy turkey day, love you" (unsigned), which I think was from her.

I was very offended by these emails. He did not seem that upset, saying that was just the way this tech conducted herself and felt they were harmless. I emailed the girl back and told her that the emails were inappropriate and not funny. Since my husband was her surgeon, I felt her behavior was inappropriate and felt we should not see her in our practice anymore. He dismissed her via a certified letter. She had given him a present for his birthday, which I returned to her. She emailed me a letter saying she was just friends with my husband and I had serious problems if I thought differently. She thought of my husband as a mentor and father figure. Those were not the kind of emails I would send to my father.

Do you think I overreacted to the situation? Do you think she acted inappropriately? Thank you.

Babs, 55 year old woman

Answer:

Dear Babs,

I feel you are right to be concerned about this young woman, and right to take action. From what you have said, she may have decided to try and "grab a doctor" for herself, and so what if he's married?

It's great that your husband is an honorable man. It's excellent that he relies on you in many ways, and your lives are intermingled and fused, far more than for many other married couples. So, as long as he is being rational, he will be loyal to you for a multiplicity of reasons: long-term commitment, friendship, loyalty, honor, convenience. But he is a man, and in certain circumstances, a man's brain descends to below his waist. He is presumably also over 50, and it can be very flattering to have a young woman make a play for him.

Assuming that this is what she was doing, it's quite possible that he didn't even realize it. This is not to say that it won't have had effects on him, but we men can be very naive, especially when something "innocent and harmless" feels so nice.

So, continue to trust him and treat him with respect as the honorable person that he is. However, as I said at the start, don't trust the predator females. This is not unreasonable jealousy, but realistic caution.

Have a good life,

Bob

This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 31 years experience as a psychologist and is registered with the Australian Psychological Society. He practices in Australia. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counsellor.

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