This is a follow-up to a letter I wrote a few months ago ("I Told My Boss I'm In Love With Him"). I followed your and everyone's advice and moved on. I didn't leave the workplace because the guy actually offered me a much better contract than the one I had. He said that I earned it because I worked hard for it. As I said, I really love my job, so I signed. And things started getting better at first. We built a healthy, friendly relationship. In the meantime, I started dating somebody (my current partner), and I was on cloud nine. I finally found peace – or so I thought!
It all started when my boss invited my colleague/best friend and I for a beer and pizza after work to discuss some projects. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go, but my friend would be there too, so it wouldn't be that awkward. We agreed to join him. But it was more like a loose friendly meeting rather than a work-related one. When my friend left the table for a while, my boss asked me how I am doing personally after our last "conversation" and told me to "be careful of men because they are not always who they seem to be." I appreciated the advice, but to be honest it felt a bit ... unnecessary? Anyway, at the end of the meeting, my colleague-friend suggested that I invite my boyfriend over for a quick hello. I told him I'm not sure because something was telling me it wouldn't end well, but I agreed to call him. Then my boss said "Oh, I forgot. The store's closing in a few minutes and I need to get some stuff. I need to go. See you on Monday.” Strange, but I let it slide. During the next days, my boss would get very clingy, listening to conversations I had with friends at work, or even jumping in on them. Especially the ones regarding my new relationship. It wasn't his business, yet he would find something to comment on. And so it goes – until the last week, when he created a whole scene in a crowded office screaming at me for being "lazy and irresponsible" because I dared having a "13 minute break instead of a 10 minute one.” He never does that. When he's got a problem, he'd normally discuss it with you in person and in a nice way.
After that, I just stopped talking to him. So again, the dilemma, should I talk to him, asking him what's wrong (I can't ignore him forever) or quit the job – a position I worked so hard in order to gain? Our company is small. There is no HR or any different departments. Sorry for writing for the second time, but I never expected things to turn out that way.
– Maybe I should have left ...
There's no stand-in for human resources? No one who runs personnel? No one who's your boss's boss? No other person you can ask to report to, based on all of this personal history?
I'll give you my take, but please know I'm not an employment lawyer. This is just a virtual living room here.
If your workplace is that small – with no help for this – it's time to draw some boundaries for yourself and take them seriously. No socializing outside of work with this man, even when it's supposedly work-related. No having personal conversations when he's in the room. He's the boss, and not that long ago, you told him you were in love with him. Why make this messier? Love-life talk is best with peers, not in a work setting. Do your job when you're there, and then you can leave and tell your real friends whatever you want. No inviting your significant other to meet your boss (why should that happen?). If your boss gives you unsolicited advice, tell him you'd rather keep conversations to business. See if he can follow your lead.
Also, I do wonder whether you could do the work you love for a different employer. I don't know the details here, but you now have a resume that shows you can do ... whatever it is you do. This workplace has been a center of emotional confusion for what, two years now? Maybe it is time to consider new options and an experience that isn't so fraught. I hate the idea of you leaving to escape one manager, but it's more than that. You want to grow your career. You want to grow your life.
Readers? Silent treatment? Time to look elsewhere?