Polyamorous Mom: Why I’m Out To My Co-Workers

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office tramp pulp fictionI’m a full-time working mother of three children, married to a wonderful man while dating others. This column chronicles our challenges, boundaries, and successes in a polyamorous marriage. 

Some people might say that my first mistake was falling for a coworker; I think my first mistake was confiding in someone that made it public at the workplace.

Jim, my boyfriend, and I work in a small office filled with an array of interesting characters who mainly fall in a rather socially conservative group. Some are strictly religious or widows or people with their own closeted issues giving them different reasons to judge the relationships of others.

My boyfriend and I had had long discussions about being professional at work and how our positions there were of utmost importance. We needed to keep that in mind at all times. Late one afternoon we happened to bump into each other in the file room. I was probably leaning against the counter and smiling at him when, in a moment of forgetfulness, he reached an arm towards me for an embrace. I leaned in….and one of the big bosses appeared in the doorway.

“I found the copy…pap…” her voice trailed off, she turned and rushed back to her office while my heart sank into my stomach. Jim and I looked at each other like deer in headlights. We hadn’t even actually touched but it was just enough to give away the fact that we were an item. Little did we know the gossip mill was already churning.

A close friend of mine was sociable with both of us and knew other coworkers. She had suspected we were attracted to each other before we actually got together and, unbeknownst to us, raised her suspicions to other people. If you were to ask our coworkers, we’ve been dating far longer than we actually have.

Jim and I work closely on projects and spend a good deal of time in each other’s offices, but since we were good friends and then a couple, our work interactions were also interspersed with good will. We would bring each other coffee or soda, go out together on our lunch or smoke breaks, and I suppose, looking back, probably spent most of our free time together. Work time was work, but because of the aura of closeness around us, that didn’t really make a difference in the eyes of other people. A small group of women began to whisper about “what’s up with those two?” and “what do you think they’re doing on those out of office trips?” until the gossip burned a line down the hallway to our chief officer. The winds of change in morale, along with the brief encounter we’d had in the copy room, was enough for her to pull Jim aside for “the talk.”

Vera, a mild mannered woman in her mid-50s and the head of the company, brought Jim out for lunch and asked what was going on. She fired questions at Jim about the nature of our relationship, suggested I was too young for him, and called office morale into question if we were having an affair.

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