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Working at the barn - alongside hostile ex

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  • Working at the barn - alongside hostile ex

    OK, COTHers, I need some advice on a sticky situation. I have a dream job as a trainer at a great barn. I am very happy there. The property includes two different stables, so we share the riding rings, etc.

    A few years ago I began dating "Tom," an instructor from the other stable. Unfortunately for me, Tom was emotionally abusive and treated me terribly. (I am going to a therapist to figure out why I even stayed with him as long as I did.) After much heartache, I ended the relationship. We later reunited, at which time he told me he had started dating someone else but he still loves me and always would. Needless to say, I realized that this realtionship would only cause further heartache so I told him we really should not see each other anymore except in a professional capacity. He became angry and stormed off, then blocked my phone, etc.

    Tom headed to Florida for the winter. When he returned, he would not even look at me at the barn and would often give me mean looks. If I was around, such as teaching in the ring, he would just leave. Then he started bringing his new GF (the one he had cheated on) to the barn (she does not work or board there) and will have her sit with him in the ring while he teaches if I am also in the ring. It makes me very uncomfortable, especially since I tried to be professional and introduced myself to the GF (as Tom would not), and she was quite hostile. In fact, I even offered to help them move the jumps one day and they both just stormed off.

    The problem is that we do have to share the ring. A couple of students noticed Tom's hostility and said something to me. Finally, I approached Tom (alone) and suggested, in a nice manner, that we really should try and be cordial to one another for the sake of the barn. I told him I wish him the best. He responded angrily and just said he doesn't have time to talk to me about this.

    I am just so uncomfortable. I love my job and do not want to leave. I also do not want to involve the barn owner, since it seems so petty to me.

    Advice on how to best handle this? I am sorry if this sounds like a soap opera.

  • #2
    I can't offer advice as I'm not good at these sorts of things. However, I think there's a decent chance Tom might go to the barn owner and try and turn them against you. I'd be very wary of that. Perhaps try to get to the barn owner first in order to head off anything Tom tries?
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    • #3
      Originally posted by AlterHalo View Post
      I am just so uncomfortable. I love my job and do not want to leave. I also do not want to involve the barn owner, since it seems so petty to me.

      Advice on how to best handle this? I am sorry if this sounds like a soap opera.
      I think you are obligated to let the barn owner know. It's her barn and if there are potential problems due to hostility between you and him...s/he needs to know that.

      As for him and the GF? Ignore them.

      Comment


      • #4
        If you are seeing a therapist I would ask for advice there as to how to handle the situation.

        Comment


        • #5
          It's not petty and could be dangerous (ask me how I know...) Do whatever you need to do to avoid having to interact or share air with Tom.
          It's a uterus, not a clown car. - Sayyedati

          Comment


          • #6
            I second the "ignore them" sentiment!

            Go about your business, move on and ignore their antics. It's very possible the new GF is there because of her own insecurities of BF working with an EX and not his petty attempt to make you jealous. He sounds hurt, immature and in the throws of new relationship bulls/$t. Again ignore, move on and give it time. I think if they see that you've moved on they will too. IMO helping move jumps and introducing yourself sounds pushy and needy of attention/ tension. I would be pissed too if I were the new girlfriend.

            Stop playing the game!

            Comment


            • #7
              You said it's gotten to the point students have noticed. If it's to the point it's been brought up to you by students I can't imagine they are comfortable witnessing it. Also, for every student that has brought it up I'll wager a few others have noticed. This has the potential to affect BO's business or at the least get back to the BO from a third party source.

              I think you owe it to the BO to let him/her in on what the situation is. You don't have to get into the gory details but at least make them aware. Otherwise you run the risk of them hearing about it from students or only finding out after there is a big blow-up between the three of you.

              Other than that I'd say just stay professional and keep your contact with this pair to a minimum!

              Comment


              • #8
                You need to take the high road-- lots of them!

                With Tom and his GF. You are done there. You introduced yourself to the GF. Her reaction is none of your business. You asked him to be professional. His reaction is none of your business (almost).

                Now you need to give the BO a tactful "heads up." Don't ask her to run interference between you two. Don't ask her to take sides. Unless you are a total saint and he Mans Up while on the job, your ex-ness will interfere with your shared workplace. IMO, if you just give her a clue as to what's going on before you need her help reining him in, things will go better.

                Last, you need to tell your students to Just Chill. Then you need to walk that walk. Your personal life is none of their business. This is a hobby and a movie to them; it's your livelihood and your life. When they ask about it, they are intruding a bit. I know that happens innocently. But they need to ignore it. Show them how.

                It will be emotionally tiring at first, but it will get better. Drama Queens like your ex move onto more exciting pastures when you get professional and boring.
                The armchair saddler
                Politically Pro-Cat

                Comment


                • #9
                  MVP above has good advice.

                  This guy is a nutter & agree with other poster that he could be dangerous. Also agree that he will probably try to make this look like you are the one who is acting poorly.

                  I would try to preempt by talking to BO. You do not need to go into details about the background, but stress that he is acting unprofessionally. Specifically mention that clients have noticed his behavior.

                  I would not give this guy or gf the time of day. Ignore completely, be polite to his clients, but make no attempts to discuss anything with him, her or anyone else associated w. him. Do not be alone with him. Even if he is not physically threatening, he can twist anything you say or do into a lie that could potentially damage your career.

                  keep a record of dates & times of incidents, with lots of details, including witnesses.

                  Not trying to be alarmist, but it is amazing what one psychopath can do to mess with your life.

                  Be proactive, stand your ground (hopefully he will be the one to leave).

                  sending you good thoughts.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Good advice, all. To me, I'd be a bit worried about his immaturity. When you don't care about someone, that's when they totally leave you alone. If he's still acting like this, and bringing gf into it (she sounds a winner, too, if she goes with his feelings without finding out the real situ), he still has some sort of feelings, good or bad towards you. With his immaturity, he sounds like he doesn't know how to handle the emotions and that's when things tend to go south. Strike out and hurt will soon be his motto. Let them move their own fences and let the BO know the score. Leave them alone and if they persist in contact, write everything down, dates and time. I don't like the sound of this at all.
                    GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!

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                    • #11
                      You've gotten great advice here. I would just add, in the future, if you have a job you love and don't want to leave, then don't date someone you work with. Situations like this are not uncommon, and it makes all your coworkers and clients uncomfortable, in addition to putting you in a miserable work environment.

                      Don't get your honey where you get your money, don't dip your pen in company ink. . . There are reasons for those sayings!

                      And yeah, I know, sometimes it's happily ever after. So I guess everyone has to decide for themselves if that cute guy is worth risking your job over.

                      Best to you! And watch your back with this guy. I hope you find the therapist helpful, and good tor you for trying so hard to be professional.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by AlterHalo View Post
                        OK, COTHers, I need some advice on a sticky situation. I have a dream job as a trainer at a great barn. I am very happy there. The property includes two different stables, so we share the riding rings, etc.

                        A few years ago I began dating "Tom," an instructor from the other stable. Unfortunately for me, Tom was emotionally abusive and treated me terribly. (I am going to a therapist to figure out why I even stayed with him as long as I did.) After much heartache, I ended the relationship. We later reunited, at which time he told me he had started dating someone else but he still loves me and always would. Needless to say, I realized that this realtionship would only cause further heartache so I told him we really should not see each other anymore except in a professional capacity. He became angry and stormed off, then blocked my phone, etc.

                        Tom headed to Florida for the winter. When he returned, he would not even look at me at the barn and would often give me mean looks. If I was around, such as teaching in the ring, he would just leave. Then he started bringing his new GF (the one he had cheated on) to the barn (she does not work or board there) and will have her sit with him in the ring while he teaches if I am also in the ring. It makes me very uncomfortable, especially since I tried to be professional and introduced myself to the GF (as Tom would not), and she was quite hostile. In fact, I even offered to help them move the jumps one day and they both just stormed off.

                        The problem is that we do have to share the ring. A couple of students noticed Tom's hostility and said something to me. Finally, I approached Tom (alone) and suggested, in a nice manner, that we really should try and be cordial to one another for the sake of the barn. I told him I wish him the best. He responded angrily and just said he doesn't have time to talk to me about this.

                        I am just so uncomfortable. I love my job and do not want to leave. I also do not want to involve the barn owner, since it seems so petty to me.

                        Advice on how to best handle this? I am sorry if this sounds like a soap opera.
                        It sounds like they are both trying very hard to ignore you. I think you should learn to do the same.
                        Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
                        Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Wow. Some really great advice from everyone on this thread

                          I would definately approach the BO and make it very clear that you arent pointing fingers and it wont denigrate into a he said/she said situation

                          If it was me - I would simply say "In case you hear any rumblings from the boarders or the staff, Tom and I used to date, we dont any longer, we have a few minor issues we are working through right now and I wanted to assure you that none of our clients or staff or you will be dragged into any part of this and life will go on in your facility, on a professional level, for both of us"

                          Period

                          The BO will be grateful that they are not privy to the nitty gritty details nor are being asked to take sides and then if Tom does approach them, they can put their hand up, say "We know" and "All the best in putting your problems behind you and moving on with your lives and your clients"

                          Good luck
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                          • #14
                            I agree with all the good advice here. Yes, talk to your therapist, she probably knows the situation and the personalities involved far better than we do. IGNORE Tom and his GF, if they want to act like a couple of middle-schoolers, that's on them and they are the ones who look foolish. Assuming BO was aware of your and Tom's relationship and you are concerned that Tom might say bad things to the BO about you...speak to BO briefly...ask BO to come to your first about anything that he/she hears about you.

                            The clients are much less likely to notice Tom's bad behavior if you don't accidentally provoke it by trying to be friendly...stay away from him and go about your business.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RockinHorse View Post
                              It sounds like they are both trying very hard to ignore you. I think you should learn to do the same.
                              I have to agree with this. Stop trying to be their friend. Being polite does not require one to be their friend.


                              I think giving the BO a heads up that you are doing your best to make it a non-issue, with out any details of him being horrible and you being great included.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by RockinHorse View Post
                                It sounds like they are both trying very hard to ignore you. I think you should learn to do the same.
                                Yes.

                                And to those who suggest the new GF is immature, remember that the OP was the Other Woman.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Agree with others on giving BO a heads up, students may mention it, your side needs to be told before it gets all blown out of proportion.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Thanks to all for the advice.

                                    I think a few of you have misunderstood what I have said, because I left many details out. First, I was not "the Other Woman." Tom and I dated for a long time when there was no GF involved, and I had no idea he was even seeing anyone when we reconciled UNTIL afterwards, at which time I ended the relationship. I did not think it was right.

                                    FWIW, they are not trying to ignore me. That would make it much easier. The only reason I introduced myself (and not as anything to do with Tom, just as a fellow trainer) was because the GF was always around and I would introduce myself to anyone, a parent, etc. just to be polite.

                                    Tom goes to every length to try and interfere with my lessons, etc., and as I said, gives me mean looks all the time, etc. and makes comments about me to other people, including the GF, within earshot of me...if he ignored me, it would be much easier. Believe me, this guy is not a nice person.

                                    So please do not try to paint me as the villain. I am just trying to do my job while trying to keep the environment peaceful for everyone.

                                    Thanks to all for the advice, and yes, I will never date a co-worker again!
                                    Last edited by AlterHalo; Jul. 16, 2012, 09:23 AM.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by RockinHorse View Post
                                      It sounds like they are both trying very hard to ignore you. I think you should learn to do the same.
                                      This.

                                      I disagree that you should be cordial. Cordial is more like friendly. You should be civil and professional.

                                      They don't want anything to do with you. Let go of it and move on.
                                      "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by AlterHalo View Post
                                        Thanks to all for the advice.

                                        I think a few of you have misunderstood what I have said, because I left many details out. First, I was not "the Other Woman." Tom and I dated for a long time when there was no GF involved, and I had no idea he was even seeing anyone when we reconciled UNTIL afterwards, at which time I ended the relationship. I did not think it was right.

                                        FWIW, they are not trying to ignore me. That would make it much easier. The only reason I introduced myself (and not as anything to do with Tom, just as a fellow trainer) was because the GF was always around and I would introduce myself to anyone, a parent, etc. He probably made up some kind of story about me, whatever, and that is why she feels threatened. I have no problem with this person, although I do feel strange that she comes to work with him, but whatever. Tom goes to every length to try and interfere with my lessons, whatever...if he ignored me, it would be much easier. Believe me, this guy is not a nice person.

                                        So please do not try to paint me as the villain. I am just trying to do my job while trying to keep the environment peaceful for everyone.

                                        Thanks to all for the advice, and yes, I will never date a co-worker again!
                                        Even though you did not know it, and certainly did not mean to be, you were the other women as far as the GF is involved.

                                        I also don't understand when you say
                                        Tom goes to every length to interfere with my lessons
                                        Before you said
                                        If I was around, such as teaching in the ring, he would just leave.
                                        Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
                                        Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.

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