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Tally

Should I poke my big fat nose in?

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Tally   

I'm a bit worried that the relationship between my boss and a young girl who used to be a member of staff is becoming slightly inappropriate and I think I need to say something before he gets into some trouble. He is 41 and she is 18. Both are very naive and immature, but there's still a massive difference between those ages.

 

They are extremely affectionate with each other. At first I thought she was just treating him the same as she treats her girlfriends of her own age. But I've seen her with them and she is not like this with them. She's always hugging him, stroking him and poking him, just touching him all the time. They really do look like a couple when they are together and it's awkward to be around them.

 

While she still worked there, he spent a lot of time teaching her to drive. He went out on long drives with her more than once a week over several months.

 

In the summer, her mum paid for the girl and my boss to go to the Dr Who exhibition, and gave them both £50 to spend in the shop at the end. Her mum is always dropping into the shop with little gifts for him. The girl's mum does seem to be treating him like a much-loved boyfriend.

 

When she left we went out for a meal for her leaving do. They were all over each other in the restaurant and other people were staring at them disapprovingly. I felt really awkward and as if they wanted to be alone together.

 

When she went to university she found it really hard to settle and she would phone him twice per day during working hours and talk for her entire bus ride. He said she was phoning him during the evenings too. Whenever she phones he gets all giggly and goes and sits in the office where I can't hear him.

 

She visits him at work a lot. Last week she came in to have lunch with him. They were sitting face to face with the chairs really close so their knees were touching. They were whispering and giggling with each other and holding hands, and looked like a teenage couple, except that he is bald. It was very embarrassing when I was trying to serve customers, and the customers could hear them giggling in the back of the shop.

 

They often go to each other's houses. He lives in a studio flat, so that means she is going into his bedroom.

 

Last night he went to her birthday party with her and some other teenage girls.

 

Now she has given him a very expensive mobile phone for Christmas. Last year she gave him a 3-piece suit.

 

It's odd that her parents seem to be encouraging the relationship by buying him gifts and allowing her to invite him to their house. I'm pretty sure it's her parents who are responsible for the very expensive Christmas gifts.

 

Her friends think it's very strange that she hangs out with someone so old, although those who have got to know him seem to like him.

 

I did think that nothing could possibly be going on even though it looked like it, but now I'm starting to wonder if they are seeing each other and making a very bad job of disguising it. The girl's mother does have a male friend who has practically moved in with them and the mother and the man sleep in the same bed although they deny they are in a relationship . . . I don't know whether to believe this either, but the girl believes it is true and maybe it's just given her a really odd idea of what is normal in a friendship.

 

If there is anything going on it's just a recipe for disaster. But even if there isn't, they are acting like there is and he is being judged negatively for it. And either way, it's really uncomfortable being around them when they are together!

 

I don't know whether to say something or maybe just make a joking comment about them and see if it gets him to realise what it looks like to others. I'm worried that he is going to get into trouble because they appear to be a couple and don't want him judged harshly (or punched) if there isn't actually anything going on.

 

Or do you think it would be best to just stay well out of it and let them get on with it? After all, her parents are unconcerned and she does have them to turn to if there is a problem.

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bid   

But Tally, if she is 18 then they aren't doing anything wrong at all.

 

It may well be a large age gap, but that is really up to them. Maybe it won't work out, but then again maybe it will and if they are both happy that's actually really positive for both of them.

 

Best stay well out of it if I were you :ph34r:

 

Bid :)

Edited by bid

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Lyndalou   

To me, it sounds like they are seeing each other and it sounds like her parents are ok with it. There is a considerable age difference but stranger things have happened and if he is quite immature for his age maybe they are closer together than you think in their interests and outlooks. :wacko: At the age of 18 she is considered to be an adult and unless there is some reason to assume that she is not 'adult', albeit naive and often requiring reassurance, then by law the relationship is legal and no offence is taking place.

 

What is of concern to me is that neither of them seems to be respectful of you in the workplace. Personally, I don't like huge shows of affection in public and when your boss is running a business it seems a bit disrespectful of his customers too to subject them to childish lovey-dovey nonsense. What they do in their own private time is their own business but what they do in the workplace is quite different and if he was an employee and not owner in a position of responsibility then you would not be expected to be put in a position to feel so embarrassed by their behaviour. Perhaps you need to find some way of asking him/them to tone things down or be more professional. :unsure:

 

So, I would stay out of the 'relationship' side of things but only insofar that it does not affect you. :rolleyes:

 

Good Luck

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Lynden   

I agree with Bid - awkward though it may be for people around them, technically she is an adult and even if she weren't, her parents seem to approve. I'm not sure you saying anything would make any difference to them but it might make put a strain on your relationship with your boss.

 

Lynne

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Tally   

She is 18, but she has never had a boyfriend before and it just looks very wrong to see them together even though I know it's not illegal. Other people who see them together seem to feel the same. I don't think he'd knowingly take advantage of anyone, but by accepting the expensive gifts it might look as if he is. It's probably more the other way around with the constant phone calls, but if it goes wrong it's him who's going to look bad.

 

He did actually ask her family to stop buying him gifts because he could not afford to reciprocate, but they've carried on anyway. I was really surprised when he accepted the mobile phone because I knew he was already uncomfortable with the gifts.

 

He does not own the business, he is employed as the shop manager. But I really wouldn't want to go behind his back and approach the big boss about it.

Edited by Tally

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Sally44   

I would stay well out of it.

 

They are both adults and if you get involved you are likely to get told to mind your own business.

 

If you bring the subject up with his boss, then you are going to be seen as a trouble maker, not just by them, but maybe by the whole office if they find out it was you.

 

Leave them to it. Most likely it will fizzle out. And if it doesn't, it still is none of your business.

 

The only thing you might say to either or both of them is to please tone it down infront of you as you feel uncomfortable, but even then they may say to mind your own business.

 

So just pretend to be blind. I can't see any way that you could say anything to anyone and still manage to keep yourself seen in a good light.

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bid   

Tally, I don't mean this in an unkind way, but this is actually none of your business...they are both over the age of consent, and however naive you consider either of them to be they are making each other happy and if other people think they appear 'odd' or whatever because of the age gap, that is actually their problem.

 

I think you will only cause yourself a world of trouble if you say anything...and indeed, what would you actually say? That you don't 'approve' of their relationship? Well, that's neither here nor there, and they will just tell you it's none of your business I'm afraid.

 

However inappropriate you privately feel this friendship to be, I think you should keep it to yourself. You can always be supportive and kind to either or both of them if it fizzles out...or buy a new hat if they get married and live happily ever after :D

 

Bid :)

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Tally   

I wouldn't tell them whether or not I "approved" of the relationship, but I've thought about trying to explain to my boss how it might look and how other people might judge him negatively. And how being subjected to them hugging and gazing longingly into each other's eyes puts me right off my lunch.

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KezT   

there was a 28 year age gap between my mother's best friend and her husband. She met him when she was 19 and he was 47!!! I have no idea what her parents thought, but they were married for over 40 years, had 10 (yes, I do mean ten!) children who all adored both their parents and she wasabsolutel devatated when he finally died well into his 90's.....

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justine1   

It is a tricky one because I for one would not want to be seeing my boss being affectionate towards someone whilst I was at work/eating lunch etc. It is not about the age gap just the fact he is not being professional IMO.

 

I was in a similar situation when I first started working age 16, I worked as a cashier at a setting very similar to WHsmith. There were two couples where I worked, in both relationships one was a cashier (like myself) the other person was a manager. It was not so much the fact they were "lovey dovey" at times but more the fact that the cashiers knew their partners password to override items etc which was very unprofessional !! I said nothing because I feared I would lose their respect and friendship. About a year after I left a few people were sacked because they were using the passwords to steal from the company.

 

However in your situation the fact that the girl no longer works there does mean they are free to do what they want really. It does depend on how she is affecting his work performance though. If she is coming to see him during lunch and he is expecting her,or he is meeting her towards the end of a shift then there is nothing wrong with that and I guess you just have to turn a blind eye towards it. If it happening during working hours then you could speak to him about that aspect of it. I would not let your judgement of their overall relationship cloud this though, it should be same rules for everyone so if another colleague were to be displaying similar behaviour with a partner during work hours I am sure your boss would not like it. Maybe this approach would be best.

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Tally   

I don't think I'm explaining myself very well.

 

What I'm mostly worried about is the signals he is giving off, including to the girl, that there is more going on than there really is. This is the part which I feel is inappropriate.

 

He has never wanted to marry, needs a lot of privacy and time to himself, would much prefer to stay in alone with his inflatable dalek than have a serious relationship, and would not move away from his parents or job for any woman. (The girl is moving to Wales with her family and going to university there next year.) It's possible he may change his mind when he meets the right person, but I see nothing that makes me believe this is any different to any previous relationships, which he's always walked away from in favour of spending time alone. He keeps complaining that he doesn't get any time to himself. I really don't see any evidence they are going to live happily ever after.

 

I'm mostly worried that the way he treats her and accepts expensive gifts from her could look like he has led her on, and people may judge him negatively for that. Because he is very immature and socially unaware, I don't think he realises that, to an outsider, he may look like an older man who has persuaded a young girl to buy him expensive gifts. They don't know that his mum does his washing and cleans his flat and he can't even boil an egg, they just see a middle-aged shop manager.

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Hi Tally,

 

It seems that your primary concern is for your boss and how he might be treated and/or perceived when the relationship with the 18-year-old girl ends, as you believe it will.

 

Obviously you know a lot about him but I wonder if you know him well enough to have a word with him about the relationship. Nothing formal or heavy, just something casual like, 'How is Ms. X?' If he wants to talk about her with you, then that is an opening.

 

However, if you don't have that kind of rapport with him there is little you can do. He is your boss after all, and it might make things difficult for you in work if he believes you are interfering in his private life.

 

Very awkward situation...

Edited by littleplum

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