Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

Ask Ellie: Affair with boss no reason to stay in bad situation

An employer who uses their past workplace affair to keep an employee from leaving can face a formal workplace complaint.

Dear Ellie: Back in 2015, I applied for a job at a store only to be informed by a woman that the job wasn’t for that location, it was instead at her husband’s shop.

I had an interview with the owner, and we became friends. Four years in, our true feelings emerged and I entered into an amazing over-the-top fairy-tale romance.

He told many lies to be with me. Finally, I said that I couldn’t keep living like that. The truth about us surfaced to reach his wife.

Our relationship has since deteriorated, although he continually says that he loves me and that his home life is nothing more than a place where they share expenses.

I no longer want to work there. But I’m guilted into working for him as it’s a small company and he’s helped me out in many ways.

When I try to leave, I get a verbal attack that he’ll never help anyone again, and I’m right back in a very unhappy situation.

I feel nothing will change in his life. I spend every holiday, weekend and night alone. I couldn’t possibly repay him for all the help he’s given me, but his favours are attached with strings that are self-serving.

The rocky past that I shared with him is always thrown in my face. I’m so unhappy and hurt. I feel that I need stress leave.

Stuck in Place

Leave that job. Start looking for a new one elsewhere, immediately. Yes, you had an affair with your employer, but that doesn’t make you indebted to him forever.

Even if he refuses to give you a recommendation, you should have tax information or bank statements that prove how many years he employed you.

I’m not saying this situation was all his fault. You considered it a “fairy-tale romance” while knowing from the start that he was married.

Now, finding work elsewhere and moving forward in your life is the way to feel good about yourself again.

When you get settled working elsewhere, consider taking an online business course that’ll add to your resume for future advancement and salary increases.

Meanwhile, on your way out the door, tell this man that if he continues to verbally attack you, that you’ll make a harassment complaint to the appropriate workplace authorities, or labour relations board.

Feedback regarding the woman who deeply suffers “Dark Days and Lonely Nights” in early winter (Jan. 14):

“If SAD (Seasonal affective disorder, related to depression) persists well into February, before going the antidepressant route, the letter-writer might consider a daily walk, preferably in one of our many wonderful ravine/lakeshore parks.

“On even the gloomiest days, I’ve found this a terrific mood enhancer with other beneficial side effects (weight, blood pressure and blood sugar control, along with benefits of light exposure being most notable).

“One can walk briskly or stop to notice nature — woodpeckers announcing Spring’s return, cardinals and chickadees trilling, hawks soaring overhead, mallard drakes keeping other males from their females…

“Some women are reluctant to use these parks as they may seem isolated. But many back directly on houses, with enough other walkers around to feel safe.

“Friends might be happy to accompany you, especially during lockdown doldrums.

“Additionally, consider exercise to enjoy long term — skating, swimming, whatever. For me, it’s dance classes, free or nearly-so, through parks & recreation programs, including participants in their 80s, some 90s! Classes will likely begin again next term.”

Dear Ellie: My two adult sons don’t speak to each other, and it breaks my heart. Their wives have different backgrounds and barely got along from their first meeting.

Now there’s silence between both families. Their children, first cousins, barely know each other. What can I do to improve this standoff?

Sad Grandmother

Do NOT interfere, it’s usually a recipe for disaster whereby distrust increases between them, with both sides soon blaming you!

Some of the cousins may seek to connect with each other, on their own. Major events such as graduations and/or weddings may open up an invitations-list or provide chances for well-wishing and congratulations.

Meanwhile, ask no questions of either side and only provide information when asked. Stay in touch individually with your sons, their wives and especially with your grandchildren.

It’s important that, despite the divide, they all know that they’re loved, and regularly thought of by you.

Ellie’s tip of the day

An employer who uses their past workplace affair to keep an employee from leaving can face a formal workplace complaint.

Send relationship questions to ellie@thestar.ca.