update: a coworker prayed for my fiancé’s death so we didn’t invite her to our wedding … and now there is drama

Remember the letter about the person who prayed for a coworker’s death, leading to a bunch of drama when she wasn’t invited to his wedding? Here’s the update — which apparently resolved before I had even printed the letter here.

I wrote to you recently about my fiancé, “Ted,” who was in a car accident with his coworker, “Bob.” Their coworker, “Sally,” confessed to Ted that she had prayed if God had to let one die, she hoped it would be him. Thank you SO much for your great insights, advice, and quick response.

An update: Fortunately, this resolved very very quickly! The morning after I wrote you, Bob privately asked Ted if they could talk about the situation with Sally. Turns out, Sally does have a crush on Bob. When they returned to work after the accident, she told Bob that the thought that she might lose him made her realize she loves him. Bob said he told her he is happily married and not interested. He said that since then, she has been driving past his house repeatedly, calling his home and hanging up, sending weird texts (some continuing to be suggestive or expressing her love while others are angry, almost threatening) despite his asking her to stop.

Ted ended up telling Bob about his bizarre conversation with her. Bob said he would quietly talk to others on the team to explain why Ted didn’t want to invite her to the wedding. But Bob also decided it had all become weird enough that he needed to talk to their manager to give her a heads-up. I don’t know what happened after his meeting with the manager, but that afternoon, it was announced that Sally is no longer working there.

Ted is actively looking for a new job. We read your advice and the comments together. Ted agrees that he should’ve talked to Sally directly about how much her comments upset him. And that he should’ve given at least a vague explanation to the others as to why she was the only one excluded. We both have now learned the hard way that from now on, we need to keep boundaries between our professional and personal relationships.

Ted especially appreciates all the supportive comments regarding therapy and says he is going to make an appointment to see someone. This has definitely been a learning experience and we both sincerely appreciate the help! When you’re caught up in drama, getting an outside perspective is SO valuable. Thank you!

Sincerely, No Longer Sad

I cannot let this letter go so I wrote back and asked, “What happened with all the drama on the team? Did people end up finding out why Sally hadn’t been invited, and have things calmed down?” The answer:

Apparently Bob told everyone all that had occurred. All but one of the women has apologized to Ted, saying they should’ve known he wouldn’t exclude Sally for no reason.

Still—you were SO right. We shouldn’t have excluded one couple with no explanation! No one has heard from Sally, but someone from security came to clear out her desk. I guess based on her bizarre behavior with both Bob and Ted, she’s struggling right now with some sort of mental health issues and I hope she gets help.

{ 427 comments… read them below }

  1. CanWeHaveSinglePayerNowPlease*

    The weird prayer was just the tip of the crazy iceberg! Sally apparently has no sense of boundaries at all.

    1. Hills to Die On*

      I cannot even count the number of times that I thought something was a ‘me’ thing when it was really someone else’s issue. Looks like this was definitely the case with Ted and Sally. Ted thinking there’s something unlikeable about him =/= Sally having a number of serious issues. I hope that helped reframe things for Ted.

      1. Tuesday*

        Yes, me too. This shows it was definitely not about Ted. It’s easy to forget to consider that when you’re caught in the middle.

            1. shyster*

              Welllll I think he kinda made things a little worse by not talking to Sally and then inviting everyone but her in the office with no explanation. But those are completely understandable mistakes.

              1. Nooooooo*

                I wouldn’t say this at all. Ted did not make things weird for her. Her actions did. Sally faced the consequences of her own actions.

      2. Hiring Mgr*

        Usually when people pray for my death I assume they have something against me personally :)

        1. Hills to Die On*

          Yes – for sure it was personal but it wasn’t because Ted is bad. It’s because Sally was bad – that’s all I meant. :)

          1. Working Hypothesis*

            And it wasn’t even really because Sally had anything against Ted, per se. She probably wasn’t thinking much about Ted at all. She was obsessed with Bob, and everything going on in her severely messed-up head was basically revolving around her thing about Bob.

            1. Princess Trachea-Aurelia Belaroth*

              I can imagine now that telling Ted was not even about Ted–it was all to do with expressing her intense emotions about Bob, before she realized the actual (but still inappropriate and misguided in expression) feelings she wanted to express.

    2. NerdyKris*

      I wouldn’t go that far, it sounds like she is dealing with a major emotional event inappropriately. Sometimes trauma can cause mental health issues, like seeing someone you care for in critical condition in the hospital. Yes she could have handled it better, but we should avoid tearing into someone who’s sick.

      1. ShadySlytherin*

        No, sorry. There is nothing saying/verifying she’s diagnosable as “sick” in any way, other than what seems like being a crap person that doesn’t listen. Not EVERY person that shows bad behavior or judgement is suffering from some kind of mental illness; sometimes a person is just a BAD PERSON

        1. Lurker*

          Also, not every person suffering from mental illness behaves badly! Mental illness isn’t an excuse to be a jerk.

          1. ShadySlytherin*

            @Lurker: Yes, sorry! I was so annoyed by the clear defense of Sally in the comments that I forgot to add that bit of (to us, anyway!) obviousness. Thank you!

          2. Falling Diphthong*

            I have found it to be a recurring theme:
            A: “People with mental illness X do this bad thing but can’t help themselves.”
            B: “I have mental illness X and I do not do this bad thing.”

            1. Despachito*

              I agree, it indeed is a recurring topic.

              I’d say that there is absolutely no shame in having mental illness, but it does not mean a free pass to do anything you wish.

              The difference possibly lies in the willingness to admit a mental illness and how it affects one’s everyday life (which must be very difficult) and then to seek help/therapy/medication to avoid, or at least try to avoid, being excessively annoying to other people (which must be also very difficult and I do not know if always possible).

              The worst thing would be “I have a mental issue and it is causing me problems, but I do not want any therapy or treatment, and if I act like a jerk you must forgive me because of my illness.”

              1. Amaranth*

                When someone does something that makes people uncomfortable and seems demonstrably Wrong or lacking filter/control, a lot of people seem to slap on the label of Mental Illness. Just because it is tone-deaf, offensive and not in line with what is ‘acceptable’ doesn’t mean the person has a mental illness. On the flip side, there are many, many people who fantasize about people or situations without taking actions that make others feel uncomfortable.

              2. Jules the 3rd*

                Yep. This is the point I tell my kid: mental illness is a thing that happens. If it interferes with your daily life (eg, you’re being a jerk in some way), then it’s time to get professional help, like you do when you fall and your hand hurts enough you can’t do daily stuff.

                If you’re not seeking help, then it should not be driving any jerk behavior.
                – signed, OCD and medicated, and mostly not a jerk.

            2. Working Hypothesis*

              But it’s simply untrue that people with mental illness necessarily do bad things and can’t help themselves. Sometimes they do bad things a few times before they learn how to help themselves, but they can learn, and have the same responsibility not to do bad things that anyone else does.

              It does no good for those of us with mental illness to be treated as if we can’t help our behavior — that’s patronizing and not, on a broad scale at least, accurate. And it can really harm those of us who *do* learn how to control our actions no matter what may be going on in our heads. It makes us more likely to be written off by people who don’t want to deal with crap behavior and think that our diagnoses mean that we’ll be causing it.

              1. Despachito*

                I think the “wanting to learn how to help themselves” is key here.

                I think that this is easier said than done, and that the illness itself sometimes makes it very difficult for the people to realize they need help. I imagine that for many people, the label “mental illness” is so scary that it takes time for them to accept it and seek help, and it exacerbates the problem.

                However, I’d be inclined to feel some compassion for Sally, as much as her behaviour is by no means acceptable, because she was so much out of the “normal” there must be something messed up in her head, which was at the moment out of her control, and that she had to be suffering a lot.

                The vilain in the whole story for me is Alice (and her minions), because she has supposedly no “excuse” of having mental issues, so she acted in “cold blood”, and yet her action was so wildly inappropriate, hurtful and in practice it was that and not Sally what pushed Ted to seek another job.

                1. Rufus Bumblesplat*

                  I’m wondering if Alice is the one co-worker that has failed to apologise to Ted.

                2. JB*

                  This is an extremely bizarre discussion.

                  No, not all people with mental illness CAN control all ‘bad’ behaviors. There are mental illnesses beyond depression and anxiety, and some of them are literally characterized by behaviors that are not controllable.

                  I’m bewildered on why it matters at all, though. The only reason to litigate whether or not someone can control what they do is if you are trying to pass a moral judgement on them, or if you’re personally in the position to offer them compassionate care. None of us are in the position to offer the latter to Sally, and I’m sure we’re all adults who don’t go around trying to judge strangers as ‘evil’ or ‘good’…right? So what is the point?

                  The fact is that whether or not Sally was in control of her actions in a sane and lucid way doesn’t change anything. Nobody is obligated to put up with being stalked and harassed, or with being openly wished death upon, regardless of why the person is doing it or what challenges they might be facing in stopping that behavior.

                  This is honestly the kind of silliness that contributes to people treating mental illness as as a moral failing, even when it comes to symptoms that don’t impact others. Because if we just tried hard enough, surely we could fix ourselves…right?

                3. Ace in the Hole*

                  JB, thank you. I agree the discussion is absolutely bizarre.

                  Whether or not something is under Sally’s control only matters if we are trying to assign blame or judge her moral character. It’s totally irrelevant in a discussion focused on how to handle the impact of her behavior on people around her. If I periodically flail my arms wildly and hit my coworkers in the face, that is a problem. It’s a problem whether I’m a jerk choosing to punch people or suffering from uncontrollable involuntary spasms. Either way, my coworkers get bruised and something needs to change.

                  When dealing with abusive/harmful behavior, you have to set aside the question of “can’t control” vs “won’t control.” All that matters is that they DON’T control the behavior, whether or not they are capable of it.

        2. greenwalker*

          I don’t find that there need to be only two categories that people fall into: “sick”, or “bad”. Many people have not been raised in a way that gives them any adequate way to learn how to get their needs met in a healthy way. Lots of these people can be helped to learn how have more adaptive and fulfilling lives. That’s exactly how therapy can be very useful. To some degree we all fall on that spectrum and have things to learn as well.

          1. Deanna Troi*

            Yes, I would say that praying for someone to die would generally be an inappropriate prayer (unless someone is lingering on their deathbed and suffering greatly). Anyone who prays for something bad to happen to someone for their own personal gain is not a good person. I’m a little horrified that anyone would feel differently about this.

            1. Deanna Troi*

              I’m sorry. This was supposed to nest under Little Birdie. I swear that’s where I was when I typed it….

            2. tamarack and fireweed*

              I agree with greenwalker.

              I don’t really believe in bad people, at least not on the level we’re talking about here, and I certainly don’t agree with “Anyone who prays for something bad to happen to someone for their own personal gain is not a good person.” People can be messed up. Doesn’t mean I must have sympathy for them. Doesn’t mean I excuse them. But there’s a much wider field of options that is not “bad person”.

              The problem with speculating about mental illness is that it stigmatizes people with mental illness – which, given that the typical mentally ill person does *not* go around and harm others any more than a non-mentally ill person would. This doesn’t mean that mental illness can’t be the cause for socially disruptive behavior (which is what we have here).

              There are many true statements that we should not make because making them does harm to people who deserve to live free of stigma.

              1. Deanna Troi*

                It’s interesting to me that when a man is a stalker – driving by a woman’s house, sending her suggestive texts – the responses are overwhelming that he is a creeper, there are no mitigating factors, and the woman should read The Gift of Fear. Very few comments say we should be careful not to stigmatize mental health, and if someone does say that, they get jumped on for minimizing it (and rightfully so). I’ll never understand why so many commenters are so much softer on women creepers.

                1. Happy Pineapple*

                  My guess is that it’s because statistically men commit more violent crimes against women than women against men. But I absolutely agree that it should be taken very seriously regardless of sex. Just because it’s less likely doesn’t mean it’s less dangerous.

                2. tamarack and fireweed*

                  The advice I’d give to a woman who is being stalked is very different from my general attitudes about people who have done harm to others.

                  I think much of the imbalance that you point out reflects in part that this is a space with a large female participation, and that most of us more easily imagine ourselves in the role of supporting a female friend who is being harassed – most of us will know someone – rather than someone (male *or* female) who is harassing someone. But both would of course exist.

                  Also, there’s nothing wrong with believing simultaneously that the concrete danger for a woman who’s being harassed by a man is greater than that of a man who’s being harassed by a woman – leaving aside the other potential configurations – AND that either of the two cases is serious and scary.

                3. Bluesboy*

                  As a fairly large man who has had a female stalker, I can confirm that people are softer on women creepers. When you express concerns (in my case to my boss; this was a client) people don’t take it seriously at all. But a schizophrenic off her meds (literally, I’ve seen her medical history) is quite terrifying when she is hallucinating that you’re together and threatening your wife for being the ‘other woman’.

                  That said…it’s also about probability. I get it. Men are more likely to hurt women. Men are also (on average) more able to hurt women if they want to. So it’s right that, on average, we take male on female violence more seriously and dedicate more resources to it.

            3. Mannequin*

              It’s called imprecatory prayer and it’s use is heavily frowned upon in non-extremist Christian religions.

              This isn’t something that good, kind people do.

        3. shyster*

          Also – as someone with a mental illness – it may make you say unusual things, but it doesn’t make you not responsible for saying hurtful things.

      2. Observer*

        She’s sick, true. But her behavior is also straight up bad. Coming on to Bob was one thing. Bad, but what you say could apply. But telling Ted how she prayed that he would be the one who died? That’s just… I don’t have the words, but it’s just BAD with no extenuation.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          This. It’s one thing to have a crush on someone and pray inappropriately about it. It’s another thing to TELL TED.

          1. Little Birdie*

            “pray inappropriately”. Oh that is a good one to add to the lexicon of how to live one’s life. “Wait a second, am I praying appropriately?” “Thoughts and prayers,
            but both may be completely inappropriate, beware!”

          1. Observer*

            Of course it’s not excusable! But it could theoretically be understood (though not excused!) as a bad reaction to a sudden and intensely painful emotional upheaval.What she said to Ted doesn’t even fit that model.

            1. tamarack and fireweed*

              I’m observing that a lot of people seem to be making a straight line from expressing humane feelings and goodwill towards someone who has done harm to making excuses for them. It’s not at all the same thing!

              Are we heading for a new age of intransigence where everyone is immediately being pressed into taking sides – even in hypothetical situations among strangers we will never meet? Because if these are the rules of engagement, and I can only ever express any empathy to one side, then of course, the Bob/Ted side is the one. (Bob more than Ted, TBH.)

              But that’s not how I go through life. Sometimes I am on one side, of course. Sometimes I’m the one harmed, or I’m the one whose friend was harmed. Or I have to make things right in a workplace. But sometimes I’m the friend of the one who was doing the harming, and among my friends there are some who I would continue supporting (PRIVATELY – not defending in public) and others where I would cancel the friendship. In the greater scheme, I want every perpetrator to have competent and wise advocates. That’s just human decency.

              1. ToS*

                Exactly- there is a balance, after a vent ( for those personally affected) where we do want people to improve, and we need to be thoughtful about how that happens. Sometimes it’s encouraging change. Other times it’s about removing people from the workplace. But guess what? They will work someplace else, and, ideally, will be in a better place and have learned from past behavior.

                For mental health, there is such huge demand with all that COVID-19 has brought, that access to care can be an issue. In the US, healthcare benefits are often tied to work, so people can get worse, or have a spiral until they get better/access treatment. (This is not a pitch for her to keep her job. She was stalking, so this is a bright light for her to appreciate how far out of norm she was.) It’s an opening to hope (perhaps pray?) she finds her way to being a great colleague via reflection and self care (lots of colleagues have mental health conditions) rather than perpetuating continuous shame.

        2. MCMonkeyBean*

          To be honest, that was the only part I almost understood. At least after just the first letter.

          For me, it often happens that if I have a thought it rattles around in my head over and over until I say it out loud. (I suspect it may be related to my ADHD but don’t know this for sure). So I HAVE to say it out loud or it will drive me crazy. I personally usually deal with this by telling my husband absolutely everything. If I have a bad thought that I feel ashamed of, I will dwell on it until I tell him and then I can move on.

          So I could imagine a scenario where Sally had that passing thought in the hospital and then felt bad about it and “confessed” it so she could move on–and then she did move on and forgot about it and was possibly therefore genuinely confused about the wedding!

          The big BUT here, is that of course if she had to confess about her prayer, Ted was absolutely NOT the person she should have talked to about it! It was highly unfair to put the burden of it onto him and leave him dwelling on it for so long. She should have found someone else to confess it to.

          After the first post, that was mostly my takeaway and I could see how the whole situation came about… but after Sally’s reaction to Bob’s rejection I guess I may be giving her too much credit.

      3. RitaRelates*

        Her behaviour: stalking, harassing, saying vile things and making possible threats is not excusable even if she were “sick.” I would want to make sure proper security measures were in place at work and at the home of Bob and his wife.

      4. American Job Venter*

        Whether or not Sally is mentally ill doesn’t mean Ted owes her his own sanity.

      5. Jo*

        Based on what’s been happening and personal experience, it’s very likely she’ll deal with her job loss badly then.

        Also, I know things can look really bad when you list everything someone has done wrong, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she came off as reasonably normal and even self-aware. All you people wishing she’ll get help should really step back and reevaluate your idea of mental illness, and what kind of people you think have mental health issues.

        (Full disclosure: I have sent a gift as a surprise to an internet friend who didn’t give me their address but whose address was easily searchable because of their unique name, and I personally know someone who was so shy that she obtained her crush’s phone number through unorthodox methods, scared the bejeebus out of him at first, and now they’re one of the happiest married couples alive.

        These days we both are less socially awkward, but it will be obvious to anyone in the know that we’re still neurodivergent–as in, people who may not instinctively know the social rules that everyone else follows but who definitely don’t need all the (insincere) well-wishes from people who just can’t fathom the existence of those who think differently from them and yet somehow not clinically insane.)

        1. Observer*

          I don’t know if Sally is clinically insane or not. But her behavior is NOT just a matter of neuro-divergence and not knowing the social rules, instinctively or not. And it’s not just a matter of cherry picking the “strange” things she did without context. Her behavior was bad. Full stop. Context is not going to change that.

          Choosing who should die and who should live is . . . a lot, all on its own. Gratuitously choosing to tell someone who has recently come back to work after surviving a life threatening accident that she chose for him to be the one to die – that she actually PRAYED for this? That’s cruel. Every functional adult knows that not everything that is in your heard or heart needs to be stated. And, in fact, Sally clearly knows this too, since she chose to tell Ted, but chose to NOT tell anyone else! to do. By itself, this is an indicator that there is a major problem with Sally. And trying to frame it as possibly “not instinctively knowing the social rules” isn’t a good look.

          By the same token, her behavior to Bob was also bad. Again, it cannot be passed off as “not knowing the social rules.” I suppose that it’s possible that she didn’t quite understand that coming on to a married co-worker could present a problem. But the rest of it just can’t be waved off that way. When someone tells you no, you need to respect that. When they tell you NO a second time, you simply don’t have any excuse for “misunderstanding”.

          This woman is sick. I don’t know if she is clinically ill, if her illness is mental, emotional, physical or moral. But SOMETHING is very wrong with her. Waving that away and getting on your high horse about all the terrible people who are trying to react with kindness and humanity to the possibility that someone could be deeply troubled says more about you than the people you are criticizing.

        2. MusicWithRocksIn*

          I’m a little worried about Bob’s wife. This woman is clearly going off the rails, and it isn’t a big jump from the crazy town she is currently in to the crazy city of ‘If his wife was gone nothing would stand between us’. I hope that lady is looking over her shoulder.

      6. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        You can absolutely condemn the actions someone takes regardless of their personal situation.

        Deciding to pray for someone else’s death is one thing, deciding to tell them is way outside the realm of ‘impromptu stress behaviour’ especially since she gave a reasoning. Also, that’s not love she had, that was/is obsessive behaviour (see the stalking).

        If she has something going on upstairs that’s causing this then I sincerely hope she gets help, but I also believe that her behaviour was absolutely appalling and that personally I wouldn’t want to ever see her again.

        1. Despachito*

          “If she has something going on upstairs that’s causing this then I sincerely hope she gets help, but I also believe that her behaviour was absolutely appalling and that personally I wouldn’t want to ever see her again.”

          Exactly, and I think those two are not mutually exclusive.

          There was once a person in my life who did me and the people I loved a lot of harm. She was immature, emotionally blackmailing, lying.. you name it. I cut all the ties with her because I did not want and need all her drama, but I never nursed any hatred towards her, and I wish her to live long and prosper (and possibly, seek and find help, although I am very sceptical that she would), just without me.

          1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

            There are people who, quite rightly, never want to hear from me again because of things I did back in the late 90s/early 2000s that were due to my brain state. I did get treatment, it did help (most of the time) but the stuff I put them through can never be excused.

            1. Despachito*

              I think this is a very mature thing to say. Few people are able to own up their own doings without bagatelizing them or being cavalier about them and blaming the other party, and without insinuating they do not deserve to be cut off whatever they did.

              In fact, I do not think I have heard anything similar from anyone before. I deeply admire your stance.

      7. Mannequin*

        Nope, it sounds like Sally is your garden variety stalker creep. I’m not seeing anything here that’s different from the behavior of the men that have stalked me or my friends in the past.

        “Praying for Ted to die” makes me think she’s a religious kook of some sort, whether it’s her own weird interpretation of religion or whether she’s part of a conservative/extremist Christian group where people are wont to engage in imprecatory prayer (aka praying for harm to come to them or cursing them.)

    3. Tangerina Warbleworth*

      What I don’t get about Sally’s prayer is: why would she start with the assumption that God could only save one of them? Where does that even come from? Does God have a quota that I somehow missed in the Bible?

  2. Lacey*

    Well. That’s a bit of a sad one. She does sound troubled. I hope she gets the help she needs. And that your husband gets a great new job!

    1. 867-5309*

      Agree with this. Obviously Sally needed to be let go based on her harassments but she sounds incredibly troubled and hope people do not pile on her.

    2. CBB*

      My thought exactly. Sally reminds me of someone I once knew–poor boundaries and clumsy attempts at manipulating people, especially focused on vulnerable people like Ted.

      My friend eventually did get help and is doing better.

      I hope commenters can feel empathy for all involved.

      1. LouAnn*

        Yes, her asking Bob, her crush, for advice on her own marriage is very odd behavior. Sadly, I do think some level of security awareness around her needs to be maintained for a while, like any office gatekeepers warned not to let her go to Bob or Ted’s area, etc. and I hope they change locks and passkeys when people get let go. Let’s hope she doesn’t appear at your wedding, though you might need to be readt for that. Oh, dear.

  3. Merci Dee*


    When I saw this update, I bounced up and down in my seat like an over-excited child. And when Bob said that Sally had a crush on him . . . yep. No surprise there.

      1. judyjudyjudy*

        I get what you’re saying…but this isn’t fanfiction and Sally is a real, troubled person who is possibly in crisis.

    1. PolarVortex*

      Same! I desperately needed to know this update and it was just as satisfying as I anticipated. Bob’s confirmation of the crush, the team finding out, Sally getting let go. Plus the bonus of therapy for Ted! Only way I could be more satisfied would be an update a year down the line of Sally making amends after getting her own help.

        1. banoffee pie*

          Yeah it was pretty obvious Sally had a crush on Bob, the only question was, was it reciprocated? Apparently not. Now Bob probably has most to fear from Sally, unfortunately. Hopefully she’ll back off soon. It would be really scary having someone drive past the house and leave threatening messages. Why do people think that will make people love them?? I suppose they mustn’t be thinking clearly.

          1. Working Hypothesis*

            They usually don’t think it’ll make someone love them. But they do think it’ll make the person pay attention to them, and that’s the fallback if you can’t have their love. Unfortunately, in this they’re usually correct — it’s difficult not to pay attention to somebody who’s threatening you!!

            1. banoffee pie*

              Yeah that must be it. It’s a bit sad. ‘I’ve given up on having your love and will settle for your terrified attention.’

              1. Usagi*

                Absolutely not saying that this is what’s going on with Sally, but one of my friends had to get a girl arrested and get a restraining order, because she was doing something somewhat similar to what’s described here.

                Apparently her explanation for her behavior was that she was trying to make Stockholm Syndrome happen. That is, she figured that eventually my friend would fall in love with her because she was stalking him, leaving threatening notes, dead animals on his doorstep, etc.

                1. Mannequin*

                  I know of two separate situations where a stalker woman was putting dead animals on their victims porches (and one was putting them through the poor guys mail slot) and it just blows my mind to know this is a thing.

            2. onco fonco*

              Yeah, I think that’s all – and it’s not necessarily even a conscious thought process. They might not be thinking about what they expect to achieve, as such. It’s just that getting the attention, or doing something connected with the love object, feels better than no attention/doing nothing. So they do it to relieve their sadness, loneliness, whatever, and it works – briefly, and incompletely. Then they need to do it again.

              It’s a person so sunk in their own feelings that they’ve lost the ability to picture their own behaviour through others’ eyes.

              1. Botanist*

                Yep, hard core acting out. I had an ex-boyfriend who exhibited many symptoms of borderline personality disorder. The angry emails he sent me were definitely not any inducement for me to get back together with him and if he had taken the time to calm down all the way he would have been appalled at himself (in fact, the other apologetic emails indicated that he was sometime appalled). But he was so stuck in the primal need to act right now on his feelings of insecurity and fear and vulnerability that it completely overrode whatever rational mind he had. It’s really sad. And scary.

          2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            Yeah – Sally seems to have gone off the deep end. I hope all involved parties are safe and now healthy.

          3. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

            It’s to make you think of them as constantly as they’re thinking of you. If they appear enough, write enough, text enough etc then your every thought will be of them.

            1. ceiswyn*

              Plus, it is True Love, they are clearly meant to be together, and so the only reason they’re not is that Bob is Fighting The Inevitable. Why can’t he just stop fighting it and accept? Why is he making Sally suffer for no reason?

              …she’s interpreting Bob’s behaviour in the context of her not-sane base assumptions. In her world, he is likely being deliberately cruel by withholding what is hers by right. And if someone ‘belongs with you’ you don’t need to actually win them over, only destroy whatever it is you think is keeping you apart.

              Yes, that is a terrifying thought.

          4. Jules the 3rd*

            As someone mentioned above, we often recommend Gavin DeBecker’s book, _The Gift of Fear_ (take the domestic violence chapter w/ a grain of salt) and Bancroft’s _Why Does He Do That_. Both give good insight into what’s going on with stalkers and other abusers.

    2. Rose*

      I feel like it somewhat explains why she told Ted what she did. When you have a huge crush you there’s that extreme compulsion to tell about them and bring them up, and usually when you’re in your teens/tweens, talk about how close you are, and imply you like them sooo much, as a friend!

      Not saying it at all excuses or justifies what she said, but from a pure “why the hell would you even mention this/what would be going on in your brain?” it’s sort of interesting.

      I found it s fascinating the degree to which she lacked any normal amount of self awareness that she would tell Ted that he has to admit that OBVIOUSLY because she’s closer to Bob, Bob is a better person than Ted. It’s shockingly juvenile to think peoples merits can be judged by your personal relationship to them. Like obviously I think my husband is the handsomest and coolest man I’ve ever met but I don’t announce to other men “by the by my husband is cooler than you, obviously,” and I also understand that my friends feel the same way about their own partners, and we’re all equally right and equally wrong that this pine person is The Special Person.

      The whole thing has really fascinated me. Wishing the best to OP, Ted and Bob! And I hope Sally gets the help she needs and does not escalate this scary behavior.

        1. Crumbledore*

          Yes! When I read the original letter, I kept thinking, “This sounds like a case of mentionitis, carried out especially poorly.” Mentionitis never cares a bit for the listener, but this instance was extra bad.

        2. Formerly Ella Vader*

          We call it Bob-likes-peas, for the idea that when someone is thinking about Bob all the time, even if I mention that I bought/ate/grew/saw some peas, they don’t respond about me, they use it as a way to talk about Bob.

        3. MusicWithRocksIn*

          Once you know about mentionitis it is so easy to spot in the wild. It’s not only with people, when there is a new tv show I’m into and thinking about a lot sometimes I’ll worm it into a conversation with someone at work, and then go, ‘oh my god I have mentionitis, I gotta reel this is’.

      1. Anonanon*

        Yes, it was just so bizarre to tell him that. But it doesn’t sound like she’s very well.

      2. banoffee pie*

        Of course everyone likes their partner best (unless they’re settling lol) but it isn’t polite to announce to the world that you have nabbed the ‘best person’. I have heard people do it, though. It’s either extreme ego or extreme cluelessness. Also they will point out your boyfriend’s flaws to your face. It’s pretty annoying.

        1. BatManDan*

          On the note of “point out your boyfriend’s flaws,” go to Slate Magazine online and read the “How to Do It” column posted today about strip poker gone wrong!

  4. bubbleon*

    I’m both a little disappointed that this didn’t end with Sally professing her love for Bob in some over the top public way in the office and relieved that everyone’s come out relatively unscathed.

    1. Batty Twerp*

      There’s still one woman who has refused to apologise, so it’s not 100% drama free. I wonder if that was Sally’s work BFF who hasn’t taken her departure well.

      I hope Ted moves on to somewhere better for his mental health and puts all of Alison’s advice on boundaries to good use.

      This was… intense.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        I wonder if it’s “refuses to apologize” or “quietly hopes it will blow over”. The latter still isn’t great but I could see it.

        1. caps22*

          Yeah, I can imagine if I had been on the periphery of the group shunning, as in coincidentally being around when it happened but not the main instigator, I may not formally apologise to Ted. Awkward all around.

      2. Hills to Die On*

        I am chalking it up to some people having a hard time apologizing. There’s no way a normal person….

        okay never mind. I know better than to type that on AAM. Anyway, maybe that’s the case or maybe it was Sally’s BFF and this person has issues too.

        1. Hiring Mgr*

          Sally seems to have serious issues – stalking, calling and hanging up, etc.. that’s even not including the original death prayer.

          But it also seems like she kept this pretty well hidden this whole time, so it’s not surprising that a couple of people either think it’s being overblown or that maybe it’s just a miscommunication etc..

          1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            It’s more like neither Ted nor Bob were blabbing at all about Sally’s weird behaviour, rather than Sally keeping her crazy hidden. The minute Ted mentioned his problem, the cat was out of the bag.

            1. Hiring Mgr*

              I meant that up until this accident, it seems like thye’ve all been friends for a long time without any of this coming up before.. so I can see one of the friends thinking it’s completely unlike Sally (shouldn’t she be Carol btw?) and that there must be a more innocent explanation..

              1. pancakes*

                Nah, I doubt either of these letters are a complete treatise on whether anything odd has come up with Sally in the past.

      3. Venus*

        Or she wasn’t actively agreeing with Sally. If she wasn’t pro-Ted she also might not have been pro-Sally.

        1. anonymouse*

          Want to agree with this. When Ted told OP that all but one woman apologized to him, it may have been a broad brush of “spoke to him about how sorry they were about the whole thing.” If this outlier had just coincidentally not spoken or interacted with Ted during Sallygate, not joined conversations about it, she might think it was making an issue to say, “sorry, I was over there thinking you were a jerk all this time.”

      4. Ann O'Nemity*

        I’d guess that the one who didn’t apologize is Alice, the one who instigated the invitation blackmail and boycotting.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Wondering if this is the case as well. Also wondering if Sally’s closest work friend is Alice.

          Alternately it could just be a very awkward “hoping without lots of real hope” that this whole thing just blows over.

      5. tamarack and fireweed*

        It could be someone who cares more for Sally than for anyone else there and is just mostly worried about her. And of course I would want Sally also to have friends.

        It could be someone who doesn’t care two dimes’ worth about Sally, or about Ted, and just thought that Ted didn’t handle the invite thing very well.

        Either of these would be *just*fine*. We don’t need everyone to behave in lockstep! It’s a god thing people come at situations with a range of perspectives.

        There’s not much good to speculating about why she didn’t apologize or whether it might be a sign of drama, given we know literally nothing at all about this person.

      6. SomehowIManage*

        Thank you! I was wondering why no one had commented on that one woman. It’s pretty terrible that she won’t apologize to Ted

    2. Sparkles McFadden*

      Aw…don’t wish that on poor Bob! Sounds like he had to put up with a lot already.

      1. RB Purchase*

        Bob does honestly sound wonderful. It was really kind of him to do all the explaining for Ted!

        1. allathian*

          Yeah, it was. And I bet it was a relief for Bob that Sally got fired. I do hope she gets the help she needs. Crushes are all very well, but in Sally’s case crush is too mild a word. It was an obsession that escalated to the point that she got herself fired, and unless she stops threatening and stalking Bob, it may have legal consequences for her.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            Yeah, in this case “crush” is the misnomer of the century at least. Hopefully Bob is safe through all of this.

    3. Kate*

      This happened to a coworker in the early 1990s when we were both in our early 20s; an icky manager (20+ years older than us) that harassed us both over many months came in one afternoon with two dozen roses and told her he was in love with her in front of the entire staff AND customers. It was horrifying for her, and this guy (who was given a lot of leeway by the owners for “reasons”) was finally fired on the spot.

      All this was made worse by the fact that he was that he was married, and had a five year old.

      Because we all had public facing jobs (think very niche, high end retail) – for months regular customers asked about the guy and we had to make noncommittal noises about it endlessly.

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          Oh, yeah. This is one of those things that make epic tv and film fremdscham moments, that are like great on TV, like having a squeeze bottle condiment fight, or glitter bomb. It funny when it happens, but you will never completely clean it up.

          1. kk*

            I don’t think that it’s even funny. It’s honestly pretty scary to be in that situation. When people are rejected, they can turn that to hostility, hatred, and violence on a dime. And losing a job (rightfully!) can compound that even worse.

            1. OhNo*

              Even if they’re not worried about violence, it’s still important to consider the effect it could have on folks’ reputation to be a part (even an unwilling part) of something like that. Add in the societal tendency to blame men’s actions on women (e.g.: “Oh, she must have led him on…”), and there are a lot of reasons for women, especially, to fear being put in a situation like that.

  5. Rodrigo*

    This was such a wild ride.

    I kinda feel sorry for Sally, though. I mean, she clearly has some issues going on with her.

    1. Observer*

      I definitely feel bad for her. But I think that, as hard as it is to lose a job, that had to happen. She was really acting in a very problematic way.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, I think crush is too mild a word for her feelings about Bob. Obsession would be more appropriate here.

    2. Mannequin*

      Would you feel sorry for her if the genders were reversed and she were a man stalking a married female coworker?

      Sally is a full on creep & Bob needs to get an RO STAT.

  6. Elizabeth*

    This letter was featured on Friday’s NPR Politics Podcast! Every week, they have a segment called Can’t Let It Go, where one of the hosts talks about something that they can’t stop thinking about. This was on there, and everyone agreed that Sally was a big problem.

    OP, I’m glad this has worked out for you and for Ted. Bob really is a good guy, too.

  7. What's in a name?*

    I am so glad to hear this is getting the proper resolution. I am sorry for Bob that he has to deal with Sally being so weirdly attached.

    I am relieved Ted will investigate therapy. He should be sure to look into a company EAP to see if they will help set it up, whether at this company or his next one.

    1. Venus*

      Yes, if ever there was a good situation in which to use workplace-sponsored mental health care, this one is all about the workplace (car accident and Sally). Of course anyone should be able to use EAP for personal situations too, but definitely smart to mention it here.

    2. Kate*

      Yes – please look into EAP for Ted; what a terrible situation and I’m glad it’s in the process of resolving!

    3. Aggretsuko*

      I’m sorry Bob now has an official stalker that he’s going to have to worry about and be afraid of for the rest of his life :(

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Agreed – Hoping Bob stays safe. Sally sounds as if she has come Unmoored from reality.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        This, so very much. Having a stalker who thinks you’re their one true love is terrifying.

    4. Dark Macadamia*

      I’m still just so boggled that she TOLD Ted about the prayer. Like, it’s one thing to gush about Bob and have an awkward moment like “Oh, I’m so grateful my beloved, strong, handsome Bob survived! ….and you too, Ted, I guess.” But to even wish someone would die, and then TELL THEM ABOUT IT is wild. I’m not surprised she has other… boundary issues.

  8. Red*

    Good for Ted! I’m glad it resolved quickly and with what appears to be minimal impact to Ted (or Bob’s) reputation. I hope y’all have a lovely (drama-free) wedding!

    (I would love to know if the one woman who refused to apologize was ‘Alice’ from the original post…)

    Also with this update I do feel a little more sympathy to Sally. She’s clearly still way out of line, but it does sound like she’s suffering from something else. I hope she also finds the help she needs.

      1. Anonanon*

        That was so weird too, to boycott. I was once one of the two co-workers, out of a group of 9, who wasn’t invited to another co-worker’s wedding. I would have been mortified if anyone “boycotted” on my behalf. I already had a wedding for a close friend to go to, so it was less money to spend.

        The weird part since the wedding was early in the evening, they all got dressed in the office and ordered a pizza, before they left early but didn’t include me in the pizza. And they had an office shower which was odd. I did buy a gift for that. Non-stop wedding talk.

        I was polite, I told everyone they looked nice and to have a good time and asked them about the wedding on Monday. My boss was the one who was being the most difficult. She literally turned on her heel and walked away from her when I told her she looked nice. I think they felt awkward or something, Had they talked to me about it, I would have said I was fine with not being invited and left it at that. But it felt presumptive for me to just say that unsolicited.

        1. Cat Tree*

          Right? Like, why would someone even want to go to a wedding when they know the couple had to be pressured into inviting them?

          1. SomehowIManage*

            That happened to me and a graduation party. A friend had a graduation party for his son and I was not invited. A person accidentally mentioned it in front of me and the host. Awkward moment ensued.

            Host felt compelled to invite me even though I didn’t know his son and I assured him and his wife multiple times that I was not offended. I felt compelled to go, even though I didn’t want to and I had another major event before and knew I would be exhausted. I thought about faking a prior commitment but felt it would sound churlish.

            However, it all worked out. They had more than enough food, their son got an extra cash gift, and I danced the evening away.

            1. Tiffany Aching's imaginary friend*

              But it wouldn’t have been faking! You -did- have a prior committment — for your energy expenditure, if not for those exact hours.

    1. RagingADHD*

      They need to keep an eye on Alice, or whoever the holdout is.

      She either thinks Sally didn’t do anything wrong, or thinks Ted should have invited Sally despite what she did.

      Either way, that is a person who doesn’t have a healthy perspective on things and might well be the next source of conflict waiting to happen.

      1. Usagi*

        Those aren’t the only possibilities, she could totally be on Ted’s side now. It’s possible she’s so ashamed of how things played out that she’s uncomfortable facing Ted. Or it’s possible she now agrees with Ted but doesn’t see it as a very big deal, and just hopes things will blow over. It’s even possible she did apologize and Ted just somehow missed it or forgot. We can’t really make too many assumptions here since the only thing we know about this person is that she hasn’t apologized (yet?).

        1. allathian*

          Yeah, I agree. Even if Alice was BFF with Sally, now that Sally’s no longer there, it’s too early to tell if Alice’ll start a personal vendetta on Sally’s behalf or if she’ll just keep her head down for a bit and hope things blow over.

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Honestly there has been a lot that went on with this group and a ton of Drama. And Sally melted down in a way that I bet most of the team had no clue what was/is happening. Somebody being shell shocked into doing nothing is somewhat reasonable.

          1. onco fonco*

            Yes – much like Ted initially didn’t know what on earth to do in the face of Sally’s bizarre confession, or how to handle it when it came to the wedding. When a person breaks social norms to the extent Sally did, we don’t always react with perfect grace because there’s just no script for it! (It’s much easier from the outside, too. I remember a former boss asking a colleague to commit an act of fraud, in front of all of us, and we just sat there like so many sheep.)


    I am so curious what the one woman who hasn’t apologized is thinking. Because while, yes, what Ted and OP did was stinky (excluding one person in the group with no explanation), as they other women said, surely they know Ted well enough that they should have realized he would have a good reason. And once she found out the reason was very good and even deeper than Ted even knew, how does one continue to be a hold out? Embarrassment over her childish tantrum maybe?

    Anyway, OP, I am glad things resolved a bit and that Ted is looking for a job where he can extricate himself from this dynamic.

    1. Unkempt Flatware*

      I don’t agree that LW and Ted did anything wrong. I find it odd that adults would be expected to be invited to things just because others are invited to things. The only thing I think they did wrong was become as close to the coworkers as they have.

      1. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

        It is sort of universally accepted that inviting every person of a group except 1 is rude. It is all or only a small few. Especially in the wedding etiquette world. And I didn’t say it was wrong. I said stinky. They absolutely should not have invited Sally, but in a close-knit group like that, doing so with no explanation was absolutely going to cause problems (as it did). This could have all been avoided with a talk with Sally and the vague wording others provided in the comments on the original post if asked why.

      2. Lance*

        Even as adults, inviting everyone from a (very distinctive) group except for just one tends to stand out. I do think it’s a good lesson for them to have learned — clarity is often key, after all — but otherwise, I do agree that there were a lot of boundaries crossed at this workplace.

      3. anonymous73*

        While I don’t subscribe to the all or nothing invitation thing that’s forced in schools these days, it is 100% rude to invite EVERYBODY but 1 person to anything. I think it’s fine to have friends at work, and it’s also fine to invite a handful of those you are close to to your wedding. But if I was close to all but 1 person, I’d err on the side of being a decent human being and not invite anyone.

        1. Siege*

          “These days” – you mean since the 80s, when it was perfectly obvious to grade-school-me that I couldn’t invite all but one of my classmates to a party without it being a whole thing? Those days, nearly 40 years ago?

          1. doreen*

            Further back – in the ’60s , it was not only obvious that I couldn’t invite all but one of my classmates but my school also didn’t permit invitations to be distributed in school if everyone in the class wasn’t invited. Which didn’t mean I had to invite the whole class- only that I had to distribute the invitations outside of school.

            1. Cj*

              Yep. Grade school in the 60’s and early 70’s. Couldn’t distribute invitation if all not invited, and everybody had to get a valentine.

              1. Anonymous pineapple*

                That’s still the rule, at least in our school district. The school can’t tell you who to invite or not invite, but they can have rules about distributing the invitations on school property.

              2. Goody*

                Nooooooo you had to mention grade school valentine’s. I’m still traumatized by those. My classmates got around that rule by just not putting their names on, so teachers couldn’t easily identify who repeatedly left me and one other kid out.

                1. KoiFeeder*

                  Oh, there’s another rule that existed that my school just never enforced. I got in trouble one year for only making valentines for people who gave me one (and only after I got the card) under that rule, and mom had to point out that if they enforced their own rules it wouldn’t be a problem that I was only reciprocating and not actively giving out cards, now would it?

              3. Mannequin*

                This wasn’t the rule at all when I went to grade school in the 70s. I would know, I was the sad, friendless little girl who got to watch classmate after classmate pass them out to everyone but me.

          2. PT*

            Yes, and it’s been a problem for bullied kids since the 80s, that they’re now required to invite their bully to their birthday party.

            1. Working Hypothesis*

              No they’re not. They’re just not allowed to hand out the invitations in school. I never invited the bullies in my class, I just mailed the invitations… and I *was* allowed to request mailing addresses in school. And did.

              1. pancakes*

                Right. It’s not as if schools are sending someone around to inspect people’s homes for childrens’ birthday party invitations.

          3. anonymous73*

            WTF are you talking about? No I mean NOW. I don’t ever remember having to invite my whole class to my birthday parties when I was a kid. I invited my friends, that was it. And it’s always an asshole move to invite an entire group minus one.

        2. KoiFeeder*

          Honestly, despite that being a thing, I don’t think I ever saw it really enforced when I was in school. The one incident that comes to mind where a classmate was pulled aside and quietly spoken to regarding party invitations had a lot more to do with the surrounding (and identifying, so just take my word there was more to it than I’m telling you) context. I don’t think my teachers noticed when I was left out, if they even would’ve cared about it, and there was a notorious personality clash in the grade below mine where you literally couldn’t invite the entire class because two of the kids just could not be in the same room without being one static shock away from an all-out brawl (both nice kids, no real inciting incident from what I can remember, they just got under each 0ther’s skin in a bad way).

      4. doreen*

        I find it a little strange that you don’t understand why people would have feelings about one person of a group being excluded. I mean, I can totally understand why you might not have a problem with being the excluded person yourself – there are plenty of times I might not mind it because I don’t want to attend anyway. But it’s not that hard to understand why people might be offended if they are the only coworker/teammate/sibling/member of the bookclub not invited and why the people you did invite find it rude that you left only one person out – it’s because you’re making a statement. And the statement isn’t “I can’t afford ( or don’t have room) to invite everyone I might like to and therefore I am inviting only my closest one or two friends from X who are also my friends outside of X ” – it’s ” Of all the people I know from X, only this person didn’t make the cut”

        1. Jennifer*

          I think they are saying that if all but one person are excluded, and you know the person extending the invitations is a good person, that should tell you that the person being excluded has done something to deserve the exclusion. Everyone jumped to the conclusion that Ted was excluding Sally for no reason, which is strange to me.

          I agree that just randomly not inviting one person in a group is unkind when they’ve done nothing to deserve it, but sometimes there are things going on behind the scenes that everyone isn’t privy to.

          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            That’s my thinking on it too. If Ted had a history of being cliquish and divisive, that would’ve been one thing. But if not inviting one person out of the group was extremely out of his character, then I would have advised to just assume he had Serious Reasons, that he wasn’t ready to talk about, and did not owe his coworkers an explanation.

          2. doreen*

            The person I was responding to said ” I find it odd that adults would be expected to be invited to things just because others are invited to things.” Nothing about whether the person did or did not deserve to be excluded.

          3. RabbitRabbit*

            Well, all the women did, or at least acted like they did. I suspect Sally was telling a tall tale about how MEAN Ted has been to her and how he’s just awful even though he tries to pretend he’s nice and blah blah blah.

            1. Broccoli*

              This – Sally must have mentioned at some point that she wasn’t invited, and maybe she did so in a snippy way, leading others to think it was done unfairly.

            2. Jennifer*

              Interesting point. If Sally has been there longer maybe she had more established relationships with the co-workers than Ted. I pride myself on having a pretty good BS-detector, so I find it strange that no one at the company had picked up on the fact that Sally was unhinged, but maybe she’s that good of a manipulator.

          4. Smithy*

            I think where that kind of falls apart in that closer knit social groups where someone is “assuming the best reasons” about Ted, they’re also “assuming the best reasons” about Sally. Basically what are the best assumptions to make all the way around for the social cohesion of the group.

            To assuming that Ted was a good person and had good reason to exclude Sally, on some level is asking this group to assume random negative things about Sally. Which also isn’t fair, especially for a workplace.

            All to say, if anyone else wants to be so bold to say that they’re going to go ahead an invite everyone from their work group, book club, friend group, etc EXCEPT ONE – and there will be no social fall out or issue – that’s not who I’m going to for social advice. It’s just so exclusionary that it’s impossible to not be loaded.

            1. Despachito*

              “To assuming that Ted was a good person and had good reason to exclude Sally, on some level is asking this group to assume random negative things about Sally. ”


              Even two good people can have a misunderstanding and be bitter about it.

              And yes, if I am the only one not invited, there definitely IS a statement. But it is a matter between me and the inviting person. I see ABSOLUTELY NO reason for other people to meddle in it. It is not their battle to fight, and the drama was caused by their nosiness and interfering into something which was none of their business.

              (If it was workplace bullying, leaving Sally out of work information or the like, then yes, it would be desirable for them to interfere. But this was a PRIVATE event, on OP’s and Ted’s dime, and I am wondering why on earth these people thought they had any say in it.)

              1. pancakes*

                Right. The fact of Sally not being invited wasn’t asking anyone else in the group to make any particular assumptions about her, let alone random negative assumptions.

                1. Jules the 3rd*

                  It isn’t asking anyone to make assumptions, but that is what people do. We often try to find the pattern.

                  Ted did that – expanding Sally’s ‘pattern’ of preferring Bob to him to the whole team. It’s a totally normal, often evolutionarily useful thing that humans do. Just this morning, my kid mentioned the car ‘face’ in front of us had eyebrows and was smiling. Same part of the brain, but with behavior.

                2. pancakes*

                  I’m not a fan of using evolutionary biology pop science to explain away bad behavior. The fact that the human brain has a tendency to seek out things like patterns and faces doesn’t oblige any of us to act on what our brain wants without any filter or compunction.

          5. logicbutton*

            Well, keep in mind that they didn’t have reason to think Sally wasn’t a good person* too; you could just as easily say that if all but one person are included, and you know the person being excluded is a good person, that should tell you that the person extending the invitations has bad reasons for excluding them. And if the reasons are actually good ones, surely they should be able to explain themselves if you’re all such close friends. So they might have felt left to conclude that there was no good reason, so they should side with Sally because Ted was the only one who’d done something wrong they could point to (inviting the entire group minus one person).

            *Not that this situation automatically makes her a “bad” person either, even though she did cause harm.

        2. Lizzo*

          Maybe I’m an outlier, but there have been plenty of events (weddings et al) in my lifetime where I haven’t been invited/have been left out from events hosted by close friends, and at no time have I created any drama about it. This includes weddings. Would I have enjoyed attending? Probably! Is it the end of the world? No.
          For weddings in particular, I’d much rather be a supportive friend in the long term than a guest for an event that lasts one day.

          1. Meow*

            You’re absolutely the outlier and I think it’s incredibly odd that so many people on this thread and the original thread are acting like it would be unusual to be upset by this or they’re “above” being upset by this sort of thing. There is value in being polite to others and following basic social conventions like this, and it doesn’t make someone childish or lame for feeling hurt when that politeness isn’t extended.

            1. Lizzo*

              People are certainly allowed to feel however they want to feel about being excluded, but the “childish” part is creating drama around the exclusion, which is exactly what happened here.

            2. Lizzo*

              I’ll add: “basic social conventions” would probably dictate that I should have included both of my college roommates (#1 and #2) as part of my wedding party–especially because #2 included me in hers. I had #1 as a bridesmaid (one of three), and #2 as a guest, because that’s what made the most sense for the event we were putting together. There were (understandably) some hurt feelings, but there wasn’t any drama. It’s been two decades, and we’re still friends.

              1. Mannequin*

                At my brother’s wedding, our mutual friend was outrage/offended on my behalf because apparently, social convention is for the sister of the groom to be part of the wedding party? I was totally confused because I’d lived out of state most of the time he & his new wife had been dating and barely knew her, and would have declined anyway because I had no interest in being part of anyone’s wedding.

            3. pancakes*

              How are you connecting the dots between “there is value in being polite to others” and “someone who finds out they’re not invited to a wedding is justified in acting out about it”? Of course feeling hurt isn’t childish or lame. Making a display of those feelings, however . . .

              1. MCMonkeyBean*

                I don’t think Meow is suggesting that acting out and causing drama is right, just that some people are swinging too far the other way in suggesting that even being upset or hurt at all to be excluded is ridiculous.

                In this particular situation–obviously Sally is behaving very poorly all around and Ted was perfectly valid in not inviting her to his wedding. But in general if only one person in a group is not invited, and no one is given a reason beyond “we just didn’t have room for everyone” then people are naturally going to be upset about that–even if the excluded person didn’t actively try to cause drama, other people may be upset on their behalf (which it sounds like may be what happened with a few of the women who didn’t have all the information about Sally)

                1. Despachito*

                  But they should realize that it it NOT their place to be upset on behalf of the un-invitee.

                  Or rather: they can be upset however they want, but they have no standing whatsoever to EXPRESS it, just as Sally was entitled to feel/secretly pray about Bob and Ted however she wanted, but not to act upon it – it was her telling Ted and her stalking Bob what crossed the line.

                  And I consider it utterly absurd that anyone DARES to express that they are upset about a festivity they are INVITED to. Not organizing, not paying for it. I just cannot wrap my head around that.

            4. Jules the 3rd*

              I’ve been excluded from a wedding party, and even from a wedding (though invited to the reception), for friends I thought I was close to, and it wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t feel a need to be part of the pageant, I was just happy they were happy.

              Sooooo much better than the time I was MOH to my best friend who married a jerk. I should have refused that one, but she wanted it.

          2. doreen*

            There have been loads of events I wasn’t invited to and I didn’t cause any drama – but the issue is not leaving someone out. It’s leaving one person of a specific group out , and the drama is not always restricted to the person who is left out. If ,for example, my cousin invited all of her cousins except one or two to her wedding, all twenty or so of her cousins would have been mad at her. Instead, she invited none of her cousins and no one was mad.

            1. Metadata minion*

              Same here! My friends and coworkers can do social stuff together and I am not jealous, or if I am, it’s my own anxiety-brain problem to manage. But if my whole department goes out for ice cream after work and doesn’t invite me, I’m going to feel left out and wonder if I’ve somehow terribly offended everyone.

                1. allathian*

                  Yeah, and I think that’s part of the reason why the trouble started in the first place, because the boundaries between what’s private and what’s work-related are extremely blurred, if not downright non-existent, at this particular workplace.

                  I don’t particularly enjoy weddings, but even so, it saddened me a bit when I wasn’t invited to a college friend’s, Jane’s, wedding 25 years ago. I realized even then that Jane had to draw the line somewhere and couldn’t invite everyone she may have wanted to invite, but it still stung to realize that Jane didn’t value my friendship as much as I’d valued hers. So I adjusted my expectations. Jane’s a friend of my BFF, a member of our friend group, but not really my friend. I still enjoy talking to Jane and ask about her when I see my BFF, who was a member of Jane’s wedding party. When my BFF hosts an event, Jane’s always invited. But I’m not invited to the events Jane hosts, and I don’t invite her to the events I host, and we never spend any time together just the two of us, unless our friend group has agreed to meet somewhere downtown for a girls’ night out and we happen to be the first to arrive. Everybody’s accepted that it’s just the way things are.

                2. Despachito*

                  I somehow cannot nest it under Allathian, but it is meant as a response to them:

                  I agree with you about the blurred boundaries, but I’d argue the same applies in private life as well (that as a guest you have absolutely no standing to dictate to the host whom to invite, and the only thing you can do is excuse yourself and not attend, but by no means this should be put as an ultimatum to the host).

                  This said, I understand your unwillingness to emotionally invest too much into someone who is not reciprocating, and have arrived to the same conclusion myself. But I hope there was more to it than just the non-invite to the wedding, because I ‘d be mortified if my single action (which was nothing atrocious) could change the opinion of my friend towards our friendship forever.

                3. allathian*

                  Despachito, I agree with you. Guests can’t presume to dictate who to invite and who not to invite (and in my book this also applies to parents of the bride/groom, even if they’re contributing financially to the wedding). If the rest of the team goes to lunch while a team member is in the bathroom so that they don’t have to include them, it’s a pretty strong statement, even if the lunch break is off the clock, and managers can’t order their reports to play nice and invite everyone.

                  Not getting invited to the wedding was, for me, a sign that she didn’t value my friendship as much as I’d valued hers. When it happened, I started thinking about how things had gone down until then, and I realized that while she was open to spending time with me between classes, even just the two of us, she never sought me out. So I started treating her as she’d always treated me, and that’s where we’re still at, 25 years later. We send Christmas cards to each other, and when her son graduated from high school, I happily participated in our friend group’s present to him. We aren’t close friends, but I’m still closer to her than I’ve ever been to the vast majority of my coworkers.

                4. MCMonkeyBean*

                  (Again, speaking in general more than to this specific scenario. I don’t think Ted needed to invite Sally! But I am not remotely surprised that excluding her without explaining why resulted in people being upset)

        3. Just a Thought*

          I can have feelings about not being invited when I see why (particular group, etc) and I don’t want to go …. not endless feelings but just saying!

      5. Marzipan Shepherdess*

        “Unkempt Flatware”, I’d have to agree with you; nobody likes being excluded but nobody is OWED an invitation to a wedding / event, either. Running around comparing invitations and then poking one’s nose into WHY someone wasn’t invited is very likely to open a nasty can of emotional worms when the excluded person’s outrageous behavior is then made public. Then, what was once a private matter among adults becomes a juicy morsel of gossip for the whole office! Nothing like inviting an unbalanced stalker to your wedding to make the day truly memorable, eh what?

        As for school rules mandating that EVERY kid in the class MUST be invited to a child’s birthday party, I’m trying to imagine my parents’ reaction if someone had told them who they HAD to invite to their. own. home. And I can’t even…!

        1. Paulina*

          Yes, the “but why is Sally excluded?” question isn’t going to have an answer that leads to a positive outcome, so why push it unless you’re trying to stir up gossip?

          Having Sally at a wedding along with Bob (and presumably Bob’s wife) had the potential to be a much bigger problem than just her attempt to pray-trade Ted’s life for Bob’s. Makes me wonder if she pushed Alice to stir things up more in the hopes of pressuring Ted into inviting her after all, because she wanted the chance to dance with her crush or something like that.

        2. Junebug*

          I bet this is it. She was upset she didn’t have a chance to spend time with Bob outside of work and stirred things up.

        3. Junebug*

          Your parents probably didn’t need to be told not to be rude. This has been an unwritten rule for a LONG time, the only difference now is it’s explicitly written.

        4. LavaLamp*

          Marzipan Shepherdess; In my experience the ‘must invite the whole class’ rule only applies if you are handing out invites at school. If you didn’t want to invite everyone then you sent out invites privately. It wasn’t telling parents who to invite so much as telling them if you’re going to make a spectacle in class you better be kind to everyone.

        5. Bagpuss*

          No, no-one is owed an invitation and no one can tell you/ your parents who is invited to your wedding/home/party

          But it’s rude to issue an invitation in front of others whom you aren’t inviting, and it’s both rude and, in almost every situation, unkind, to exclude just one person from a group.

          (The school thing addressed both – it didn’t stop people inviting who they wanted but they can’t hand the invitations out in school if they are leaving people out, and they aim to make it harder to pick on one kid)

          1. Despachito*

            I agree that it is rude to issue an invitation in front of people whom I am not inviting.

            But: no one is entitled to an invitation. To not invite just one person is a strong statement, but it is absolutely NOT for the bystanders, either invited or not invited, to create any drama about it.

            What Sally did was awful but apparently she has the “excuse” that she was struggling with a mental health problem (and by “excuse” I definitely do not mean that it was OK but rather than there was a reason).

            But what I find much more appalling is Alice’s behaviour (and that of those women who actively plotted with her), because she supposedly does not have any issues, and yet was so wildly transgressing social conventions (where on earth does a guest blackmail the host or punish her for not inviting someone of the guest’s liking? Utterly absurd.)

            1. banoffee pie*

              If I was a bystander and Ted was a usually nice guy I would have assumed some kind of argument with Sally when she wasn’t invited. If he was known to be cliquey I’d have assumed he was just being a dick. But I would definitely be hurt if I was the only one not invited from a close work group, unless I’d had an argument with the couple. After ab argument you probably wouldn’t even want to be invited. But if you’re just not invited ‘in cold blood’, it’s hard not to take that personally, I know I couldn’t. I’d be like, ‘what’s wrong with me??’

              1. Despachito*

                Yes, but in this case, Sally DID have an argument with Ted, and even if she did not realize it, there was a good reason for her to think “what’s wrong with me”?

          2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            My kids school does allow some leeway in the invite everybody rule – if the number of invites is less than 1/4 of the class you can pass out at school. The thought is when is truly just a few then it’s not as bad a look.
            Average class size there is 22 kids for anyone interested in doing the math.

        6. allathian*

          Yeah, but it’s still not cool to not invite only one kid in the class/peer group, rather than less than half. In my son’s case it’s worked out along gender lines all along, i.e. the girls only invite other girls and the boys only invite other boys, with a few exceptions, i.e. if a boy’s friends with a girl, the girl gets an invitation, and vice versa. He hasn’t had any openly transgender/non-binary kids in his class (yet). Because of Covid, he had no party either in 2020 or this year, and next year he’ll be 13 and the whole problem will resolve itself. I’m guessing he’ll just want to invite his best friend over for pizza and cake, computer games and a movie.

      6. Dark Macadamia*

        Nah, it’s really rude. And especially to say it’s about the venue capacity when it’s only one person, because then it’s like – why that person? Why not an uncle or a school friend or a different coworker? Obviously you don’t want to to invite someone who prayed for your death (!!!) but you either say that, or find a different solution that doesn’t appear to be singling out one person for no reason

      7. Roscoe*

        I feel the same way, but apparently people like you and I are in the minority. Its their wedding, they can invite whoever they choose to and don’t owe anyone an explanation

        1. banoffee pie*

          You don’t owe an explanation but people are allowed to be hurt about it. You can’t really legislate for people’s feelings. Fights can even break out if people are only invited to the reception and not the ‘day part’. I’ve seen people get really pissed about that and the friendship was never the same.

          1. tamarack and fireweed*

            Well, yeah, but people can be immature too. I am aghast about the expectations around weddings sometimes.

            I would think that in a very tight-knit group there is a threshold where an invite would be expected to go to either all of the group, or some judicious and comprehensible selection (“we’re only having 5 guests, and X is my person-of-honor, so they get to come, and they get to bring Y, who is their spouse”), or no one. Even if you’re of the strict “people have the right to invite whoever they like” school you’d be somewhat surprised if, for example, an couple got married and they invited 5 of their 6 adult children – if all live reasonably nearby and everyone thinks they’re equally close to each other. There’s a level where even Roscoe would probably say “huh, this is odd”… and if it’s *you* who isn’t invited, you’re bound to add “… and I’m disappointed”.

            At the same time, it could also be that someone is inviting everyone from a friend group, even the one or two people they don’t care about, *just* because they want to avoid drama. That is, they should be 100% able to invite everyone except Sally and Aphrodite. But inviting them is the path of least resistance, so on the guest list they go. That this is a reality doesn’t mean there should be a rule to invite everyone of any friend group from which you invite most/several.

            1. shyster*

              This isn’t expectations about weddings, this is just common courtesy. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a casual get-together at your house; if you work with 10 people and you invite 9 of them, that 10th one is going to have hurt feelings, and at least some of the other 9 are going to wonder why you arbitrarily excluded 10. That’s how humans behave.

          2. Roscoe*

            yes, you can’t legislate people’s feelings, but that doesn’t mean their actions are appropriate.

            Being hurt at not getting an invite is fine. Rallying the other women to boycott the wedding because someone else wasn’t invited, with the intention of bullying the bride and groom into inviting them isn’t fine.

            1. banoffe pie*

              I wasn’t talking about Sally here, I just meant ppl not being invited to weddings in general. I’m not sticking up for Sally in any way, sorry if that was unclear.

    2. RagingADHD*

      The only thing Ted and LW did that was “stinky” was to keep Sally’s behavior a secret. Which I wouldn’t actually characterize as stinky, but as a mistake.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, it was a mistake, and I bet they realize that. But the whole thing resolved itself beautifully when Bob notified the manager about Sally’s behavior, and let everyone know why Ted hadn’t invited Sally to his wedding.

  10. Trillian Astra*

    My jaw dropped reading this. What a ride! You and Ted have a cocktail story to end all cocktail stories for the rest of your lives.

  11. Robin Ellacott*

    This is a satisfying update – thanks for sharing it. Hoo boy. OF COURSE Sally would have a crush on Bob and no sense of boundaries around that either.

    Sally obviously needs some support, and hopefully she seeks it out, but I’m glad Bob and Ted are ok and the company seems to have taken her stalking behaviour seriously, at least.

  12. SentientAmoeba*

    Definitely seems like Sally has some stuff going on that she needs to address. The declaration of love was weird enough on its own but the escalation when he said not interested is kind of terrifying.

    1. Admin 4 life*

      I truly hope Bob and his wife have a restraining order in place and notified his wife’s workplace too. That’s behavior that can escalate.

        1. Robin Ellacott*

          Agreed. As things stand, I’d say the chances of Sally’s doing more creepy drive-bys and midnight calls to Bob is high.

      1. Parakeet*

        Yeah, a couple of people have mentioned stalking already – I want to emphasize that this isn’t some pop/colloquial use of the term “stalking,” this sounds like an actual stalker situation, and stalkers can escalate. I’d encourage the people dealing with this situation to check out this site. https://www.stalkingawareness.org/sharp/

        Contra a few other people, the update makes me even less sympathetic to Sally. Stalkers can really wreck and endanger someone – and the people around them, too. It’s a horrible situation to be in.

        1. tangerineRose*

          Yeah, I don’t feel sympathetic to Sally. Now she sounds scary.

          I agree she needs help, but that doesn’t make her sympathetic to me considering her actions.

        2. Rainy*

          Yeah, I agree. I can feel like someone has a problem they need to get a handle on without feeling sympathetic to them that they’ve suffered a few minor consequences for their dangerous, terrifying actions.

          1. ecnaseener*

            This group of coworkers were all close friends, so it could be that Bob’s hosted dinner parties or whatever. My office has normal boundaries and we shared home addresses among our small team (originally to get headsets delivered in early plague days, but we keep it updated to send birthday gifts)

            1. I'm The Phoebe in Any Group*

              That seems like a safe thing to do if you don’t know your coworker is a stalker.

          2. Parakeet*

            At least in the US, most people’s addresses, if they’re at least in their mid-20s and sometimes if they’re younger, are freely available on people search sites (Whitepages, FastPeopleSearch, etc), unless they have gone through the process, site by site, of getting the information removed, or purchased a subscription with a company that will do that for them. Some such sites, you don’t even need to have a premium account to see the full home address – any random person who googled someone’s name and town could find it.

        3. AcademiaNut*

          Yeah, stalking, regardless of the underlying motivation, is intensely scary, potentially very dangerous, and very difficult to stave off before something bad happens. Restraining orders are only useful if the person chooses to follow them – they don’t create an actual physical barrier to access. And it’s often only after they’ve been violated in a dangerous way that the stalker can be physically locked away from their victim. People sometimes need to physically move long distances, change their name, and/or stay off social media or public internet for the rest of their lives to keep a stalker from finding them.

          I hope Sally deals with whatever is going on so that she’s no longer a danger to others. But I feel intensely sorry for poor Bob, who is being stalked, and poor Ted, who is looking for a new job and dealing with a mental health flare up, all directly because of Sally’s behaviour.

  13. Gerry Keay*

    Aw poor Bob, that sounds like a deeply uncomfortable position to be in and I’m glad for everyone’s sake that Sally is out of the picture.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Seriously – it sounds like Bob handled things great all things considered but what a horrible thing to deal with

    2. Heidi*

      I’m also impressed that Bob did so much of the work to fix Ted relationship with the other coworkers with regards to the wedding thing. It must have been an uncomfortable conversation to have with everyone, especially as it involved Sally’s behavior towards him.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Seconded. Bob and Ted really got the short end of the stick here with regards to Sally and her behavior. I hope Sally can realize she has a problem and get the help she needs before doing any more damage.

  14. Violet*

    No Longer Sad, I’m glad Ted got some closure over the situation, and I’m glad Sally is removed from that office (for her sake and for others’). Sally sounds like she needs to work on a bevy of other issues, and it’s frustrating that Ted was the target of that energy TWICE (once with the weird comment, and again with the wedding blowback).

    I don’t know how many coworkers are attending your wedding now, but I hope this bizarre drama stays out of it from now on! May you be surrounded by people who actually care about you on your special day.

  15. charlie*

    I’m glad things turned out relatively well. I hope everyone gets the help they need.

    I do have one question, what about the one person who hasn’t apologized? Does that person still believe that Sally did no wrong and should be invited to the wedding?

    Anyway, I, too, have been thinking about this letter since I first read it.

    1. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

      Yeah, the one hold out on not apologizing could be something to worry about. It may just be due to embarrassment and the nature some folks have to double down when they are wrong rather than admit fault.

      But if it was Alice, the one who seemed to be leading the “none of us will attend” action and the one who reached out to OP in the first place, and she is defending all of Sally’s behavior and still thinks Ted was wrong, she could pose a problem for office dynamics moving forward and might need to be managed out.

      1. EmmaPoet*

        That was my thought- either the person is too embarrassed to admit they shouldn’t have gotten into this mess without first talking to Ted, they’re too stubborn to admit they were wrong and are now secretly blaming Ted for everything, or they’re defending Alice and are still in the ring on this. If it’s either of the latter, then they’re a problem, and management may have to step in. However, Ted leaving might be the best thing for him at this point, as the drama is still ongoing from that direction.

        1. MarsJenkar*

          There’s one further possibility: Lack of opportunity. They may simply not have had a moment, or felt they had a moment, where they could have apologized to Ted.

          1. charlie*

            I really really hope that it was a lack of opportunity and that the person has made amends otherwise, there might be future drama for those involved.

          2. Despachito*

            I see yet another one: the woman not apologizing might not have been aware what Alice said about “none of us will attend”, and therefore feels no need to apologize.

            1. allathian*

              I’m betting the woman who didn’t apologize is Alice who pretty much instigated the whole thing.

              1. allathian*

                I meant the wedding boycott and the attempts to pressure Ted and LW to invite Sally to their wedding.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      My guess is that person is along the lines of the OP who wrote about whether the intern whose jacket was stolen by an employee had framed the employee for credit card theft, because outside of the jacket stealing (captured on video) the employee was a very honest person who went to church and so obviously wouldn’t do something like this.

      Some people just do not change course–if they initially sided with Sally, then all future information will go through the “Sally is right and her persecutors are wrong” filter.

  16. Momma Bear*

    It sounds like Sally’s harassment of Bob (and potentially other behaviors) cost her job. I’m glad that Bob got to the bottom of it, but equally glad that Ted has learned about work relationships. I think it will serve him well in the future to handle anything like this differently. I still don’t like that people sided with Sally like they did, and it’s probably for the best that Ted find another position/team. I wouldn’t be able to trust them after all this. You can accept someone’s apology and still not be comfortable with them.

    I hope you have a lovely, low-drama wedding, but maybe ask an usher to keep an eye out for Sally.

    1. Unkempt Flatware*

      Harassment is exactly what this was. I’m not sure that if Sally were a man that a letter writer would feel sorry for him for going through mental health issues that partially manifest in harassment of a “Bobette” at work.

      1. Observer*

        You can feel bad for someone while fully recognizing that their behavior is totally unacceptable and even that they are also not a nice person. Sally has problems and I feel bad for her. But she’s a menace AND she is NOT a nice person.

      2. ShadySlytherin*

        Agreed!! All this sympathy for Sally is really disturbing, since Sally has clearly entered actual stalking territory and if the sexes were reversed, I have no doubt this comment section would be full of comments telling the victim (because that’s what Bob is) to contact the police ASAP

        1. banoffee pie*

          Plenty of people including me are concerned about Bob and think he should be careful. I would never say a woman stalker couldn’t be dangerous! Unfortunately restraining orders are pretty crap, here in the UK anyway. If anyone has heard of the Emily Maitlis story that’s a good example.

      3. American Job Venter*

        Usually I find such reversals specious but this definitely seems to be the rare case where it applies. I wish I couldn’t believe that anyone here thinks that Sally’s behavior is at all mitigated by whatever mental health issues might or might not have caused it.

        1. Despachito*

          I think that you are right – no one thinks that Sally’s BEHAVIOUR is mitigated by anything.

          But there are two issues – Sally’ s behaviour (intolerable) and Sally as a person (who might or might not be able to seek help and improve). And I think that it is possible at the same time to label the behaviour as intolerable AND feel sorry for the person and hope that she seeks and finds help. This does not apologize stalking in the very least.

      4. Gerry Keay*

        Yup, Sally deserves help so that she develop the skills to not treat people like this ever again, and Bob and Ted deserve to never have to see her or think about her ever again. I know restraining orders are a huuuuge pain to get and that it’s very time consuming process, but I absolutely think Bob should pursue one.

      5. banoffee pie*

        Yeah, I’ve never heard anyone making excuses for men’s creepy/violent behaviour in my life. SARCASM

        1. banoffee pie*

          That was meant to go under the ‘what if the genders were reversed, no one would be defending a male Sally’ comments.

      6. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        A…bit. I can feel sorry for someone who’s mind isn’t operating well regardless of gender identity but I’ll still absolutely condemn their actions and feel far more inclined to protect their victim and prevent further victims from occurring if it’s in my power.

      7. Anonny*

        Yeah, a lot of stalkers have some kind of mental health problem (intimacy-seeking stalkers and the ‘incompetant suitor’ type tend to believe their feelings are returned or will be returned if they escalate their behaviour, and resentful stalkers often believe that their grievance – real or imagined/exaggerated – justifies their behaviour), but they’re still terrifying and my sympathy rests primarily with their victim.

  17. Sparkles McFadden*

    Best of luck to both of you LW. It sounds like Ted handled things in just the right way. I am glad that no one has to deal with Sally anymore.

  18. Lizy*

    Sally sounds… creepy. I’m glad Bob got it on record that she’s been basically harassing him. Hopefully she can get help because… yikes on bikes.

    And I’m glad you two were able to get the rest of the drama resolved. Have a beautiful and happy wedding (and marriage)!

    1. Canadian Valkyrie*

      Not even basically, it sounds like she was completely harassing him and was basically stalking him.

        1. Admin 4 life*

          I’m concerned for Bob’s wife. Sally admitted to praying that Ted would die so Bob could live. I could see her escalating that to praying about Bob’s wife since he made it clear he’s happily married and wasn’t going to leave his wife.

          1. Observer*

            Yes, this. Bob seems to have his head on straight, though, so I imagine that he’s taking appropriate measures.

        2. Parakeet*

          Yep. Some commenters have expressed relief that it turned out basically okay for everybody, but…I’m not sure it has, yet. If anything, with the drive-bys and calls, it seems like it has escalated somewhat.

          1. quill*

            Yeah. I mean, it’s ended (probably) for LW and Ted. For Bob, it’s going to end in filing restraining orders.

            1. MarsJenkar*

              It’ll *result* in that, for sure. I hope it actually does *end* with that, because if it doesn’t, bad things could still be in store.

    2. The Smiling Pug*

      I’m definitely concerned about Bob too. No wonder LW said Sally and her husband were having marital issues… Clearly Sally has no sense of boundaries.

  19. female peter gibbons*

    Just ooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh my goodness. Thanks for getting this to us so quickly, Alison!

  20. LadyHouseOfLove*

    I said as much on Twitter and will repeat here: I’m sure a lot of his coworkers also learned a valuable lesson in not jumping to conclusions and ostracizing a colleague without hearing him out.

  21. awesome3*

    Who all is coming to the wedding now? In all seriousness, I’m glad there was some resolution, thank you for the update, and best of luck on your wedding, marriage, and Ted’s job search.

      1. Savaphoong*

        I honestly hope they all go uninvited. When they said they weren’t coming, then I would have taken that as their RSVP. I wouldn’t want them at my wedding after all of that.

        1. SnappinTerrapin*

          I would seriously consider being explicit about withdrawing at least one invitation.

  22. Unkempt Flatware*

    The Feeling Bad for Sally thing is kinda killing me here. If a man did what Sally did to a woman, no one would feel bad knowing he had a mental health issue.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      The difference is the statistically implied threat of violence. Not that women can never be violent, but the numbers are on the side of an obsessed man being more of a threat. And I think many people would still hope he got help and his issues got addressed, the stakes of the issue would just feel higher.

      1. Canadian Valkyrie*

        You’re 100% right, BUT I think it can make things worse for male victims who now feel like they won’t be heard or taken seriously or given the compassion they deserve, which can make the feeling of being victimized a lot worse, so while you’re right, there’s an ideology here that needs to change (as in, acknowledge that men are more likely to become violent, while still acknowledging that if Sally were a man, the narrative would be different… which I think leads me to a 2nd shift in narrative, which is understanding that if Sally were a man, he’d still be deserving of compassion)

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          Right, your second shift is more my point. Men with mental illness deserve compassion, and Sally deserves hard consequences. Which she got! And I think I’m seeing a duality of compassion for Sally and for Bob in the comments, which is correct in all variations of the genders. This is a sucky situation for all involved (including Ted and the women who defended Sally and have had to reassess their relationships and alliances).

        2. American Job Venter*

          BUT I think it can make things worse for male victims who now feel like they won’t be heard or taken seriously or given the compassion they deserve


    2. Canadian Valkyrie*

      I think the issue is that women are often seen as less threatening than men, which sucks in situations like this where that must have been pretty scary for Bob (it’s, frankly, kind of stalker-y) and people feel bad for Sally for being mentally instead of feeling bad for Bob and Ted, who were being harassed by her in varying degrees.

      1. Librarian of SHIELD*

        I don’t think anyone here feels bad for Sally *instead* of feeling bad for Bob and Ted. It’s possible to feel compassion for multiple people at once, and it’s even possible to feel compassion for someone who has done something you know is objectively wrong.

        Bob and Ted have been put through the wringer here, and I feel so awful for them. I’m glad the person who harmed them is no longer a part of their workplace and I hope that Bob is able to take the necessary safety precautions to protect himself and his family.

        Sally is troubled and her behavior has put up multiple red flags for potential dangers. I’m not in any way dismissing that when I say I hope she’s able to access the help she needs. Compassion doesn’t mean forgiveness or leniency, you can feel it alongside hopes for safety for Bob and Ted.

        1. quill*

          Sally needs help. In a location that is NOT near Ted or Bob.

          One of the many reasons we have therapy is so that a trained outsider can take on the educating and unraveling without further harming anyone more closely involved.

        2. Kyrielle*

          Goodness yes. If Sally actually gets the help she needs and works with it (which is questionable, of course), at least Bob will likely benefit from it, because I worry otherwise she’s going to keep stalking him. (And if not him, then someone else may be her next victim.)

          Honestly, if she gets the help she needs, I don’t expect she’ll feel very good about this whole mess. I’m not wishing for fuzzy happy bunnies for her, I’m wishing for healing and awareness. That’s not a mean wish, but it’s also not a kind one in this case.

    3. Casper Lives*

      I mean…I might. Then again, I was a public defender who defended people on criminal harassment charges. One client with a diagnosed mental illness that had romantic delusions as a symptom in his case, disordered thinking, etc started to harass me.

      I had to take safety measures. He was scary and creepy. But yes, I felt bad for him. I was both privy to some of his medical information and could tell by speaking with him that he was probably delusional.

      In short, it’s creepy, scary, and harassment either way. It needs to be dealt with appropriately, including physically keeping the person away from the target if necessary. That doesn’t prevent also wishing the person would get help to change their behavior and treat possibly mental illness.

      1. Canadian Valkyrie*

        THIS! I am a psychologist, so I am likewise privy to information that most other people aren’t. It’s scary either way. It shouldn’t be minimized because a woman is less likely to be violent.

    4. Jennifer*

      Yeah, I don’t feel sorry for her at all. Even if she is less likely to become violent, her actions still made other people feel unsafe.

    5. Parakeet*

      This this this. I mean, I agree with people that I hope this stalker gets help, and would hope that a male stalker got help too. But I think the tone would be different, and as someone close to a man who was stalked by a woman to pretty horrific effect (and who saw how people in my communities reacted to the situation, and also how it expanded to hurt more people than the initial victim), I think the difference does have an effect on how people view and treat male victims.

    6. Known a few creepy dudes*

      By “no one” you must mean you and some others because I would (and have) feel bad for a creepy dude with untreated mental health issues. I do hope I am not alone!

    7. Nobby Nobbs*

      I mean, people say this, but how often when a man behaves badly/dangerously does half the internet fall all over themselves defending him?

    8. Cherry*

      Hm, I dunno. By some weird coincidence, I have had both a man and a woman exhibit stalker behaviours to me at different points in my life (if it makes any difference, I am a gay woman). Those were both extremely different circumstances and I don’t think either of them could be generalized, but…

      With the woman, the scary part was that she was so unpredictable, who knows what she could have done – lied to someone important to me, caused damage to property, spread rumours? I don’t think it ever even occurred to me at the time that she might be violent – but, we thankfully had a long distance between us (besides, she’s in a secure hospital now… for stalking someone else).

      The man, I’m really scared of violence from, even years later – but that’s maybe partly because I know how physically aggressive he is. But mostly it’s the same sort of things – false rumours, devious behaviour, lies. Then again, even though he and I have a similarly long distance between us, I still years later think about him when planning how to secure my home, etc. But again, that’s possibly about him personally rather than gender – I don’t know.

      The circumstances were so different it’s hard to, but I’m trying to pull out any gender inferrals I may have made here. It’s only one anecdote, and I’m a very anti-gender stereotype person anyway.

        1. Dream Jobbed*

          Agreed. Am so sorry these people exist (and seem to be growing in number) and that you had to deal with this crap more than once! :(

    9. RagingADHD*

      And I wonder how many folks *actually* feel bad for Sally, and how many are just saying “oh I hope she gets help” because that’s the socially acceptable thing to say.

      Like here in the South, where “bless your heart” can be a polite way of saying “F*** off.”

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        I think this is me – but I’m honestly hoping she gets help and heals before doing yet more damage to those around her.

    10. Boof*

      Eh, yeah my knee jerk is “sally is a stalker that is actively hurting people around her” buuuuut I will also endorse that Sally getting help and not stalking no more is the best scenario and I don’t think anyone I saw saying they feel sorry for sally are saying what she did was ok, just that they hope she gets better. Which frankly is the best scenario for the object of Sally’s obsessions too, and usually want most stalking victims want – to be left alone, not actually to punish the stalker (usually) (yes spoken from personal experience too)

      1. banoffee pie*

        I remember reading about a male comedian in the UK who was stalked by a woman and he made a show about it (dark comedy obviously). So I typed ‘comedian woman stalker’ into google so I could mention him here. He isn’t on the first page of results because there are so many stories about more famous comedians involved in stalking!! Apparently UK comedian Al Murray had a female stalker for years. Another story that popped up said that Rory McGrath (another famous UK comedian) pleaded guilty to stalking a married woman. There is way more of this about that I thought! Very scary.

    11. tamarack and fireweed*

      Look, people have different internal level sets for sympathizing with someone’s situation.

      This is a good thing. In an ideal world I want everyone to have *someone* to care about their well-being and helps them take the actions they need, however badly they messed up. But the same person can’t be the support for Bob AND Ted AND Sally (and who knows who else in this mess needs some support).

      Coming in as an outside, it is clear that Bob was harmed, and Ted was being unjustly ostracized. This needs fixing first, no question. This doesn’t mean that I can’t see that Sally likely has pretty urgent needs that I hope are getting addressed.

      1. American Job Venter*

        There is the matter of who one is saying that to, though. We’re all responding to LW’s update, and thus to her and Ted. And, having been there, I think that being the victim of bad behavior and being told “oh the poor perpetrator, they obviously need help” leaves one feeling a lack of sympathy at best.

        1. tamarack and fireweed*

          Yabbut, 100 people beforehand have already said “good outcome for Ted, yay Bob”. I hope everyone here is commenting only after having read and ingested every pervious comment, right?(*) This is a community, not a collection of individuals commenting each in our own personal vacuum.

          (*) I’m mildly facetious, but I do think that a comment should be read in the context of what has been said before, including by Alison. If it doesn’t say “I disagree with X and my perspective is Y” I read a comment as additional, not contrarian.

        2. Observer*

          Except that by and large, even the people who are expressing that Sally needs help have expressed that they are glad that Sally is gone and that they recognize that Ted and Bob are the actual victims.

  23. Tuesday*

    Whew. I’m glad Ted’s reputation has been restored and that all of this has been resolved in time to enjoy your wedding!

  24. MuseumChick*

    This is such a minor thing in this whole situation but I’m really curious about the one woman who has not apologized.

    1. allathian*

      I’m betting it’s Alice, who instigated the wedding boycott by all the women. I hope she’s ashamed of herself for getting things so wrong, but I’m not holding out much hope.

  25. BRR*

    This is one of my favorite letters of all time. Up there with the person who was accused of poisoning their coworker with spicy food and the magic curse.

    Also, I would like to hear from the one person who didn’t apologize haha.

  26. Casper Lives*

    OP, thank you so much for updating! I hope you and Ted have an uneventful wedding, a happy life, and never see Sally again.

  27. QuinleyThorne*

    Y I K E S

    Good god, what a mess. Glad your fiancé was at least able to get most of it cleared up and is working toward moving on to greener pastures.

    I do find myself curious about the one woman holding out on apologizing, wth

  28. The Smiling Pug*

    Thank you for the update, OP! Good luck to Ted’s job search, and may your wedding and life together be beautiful.

  29. reading_along*

    I agree that excluding one person from the wedding invitations caused predictable drama.

    As a spectator, I find it interesting that the people who were sticking up for Sally’s and causing a fuss were also responsible for expediting her termination. She probably would’ve been fired at some point based on…how she is…but they made it happen right quick.

  30. EngineerMom*

    I’m glad things ended up resolved fairly quickly.

    Yet another “rom-com storylines REALLY don’t work in real life” examples! Yikes.

  31. Susana*

    LW, I sincerely don’t want to trivialize the pain you and your fiancé have been through due to this… odd person. But I do hope you’ve nailed down the movie rights.

    1. Observer*

      Except that you really are. Not in mentioning movie rights, but your characterization. This person is not ODD.

      1. Polly Hedron*

        “not ODD”?? If you don’t think Sally is odd, what behavior would you consider odd?

        1. Observer*

          Odd? Having a pet name for Bob.

          THIS is flat out SICK. I don’t know if it’s mental, emotional or moral illness, but it’s sick and it’s bad.

      2. Jyn’Leeviyah the Red*

        (I think there’s been a misunderstanding between “odd” the adjective meaning “strange” and ODD, oppositional defiant disorder.)

  32. anonymous73*

    I’m glad things got resolved quickly. And while yes, you should have boundaries with people at work, you can actually have real friendships too. Inviting all but one member of your team to anything is never a good move (even if you like everyone but that one person), but it is okay to have co-workers who have become friends at events/parties.

  33. HR Ninja*

    I have so many hopes for this situation:

    -I hope Sally finds the help she needs
    -I hope Sally leaves Bob (and his family) alone
    -I hope Ted finds a new job ASAP
    -I hope the unapologetic coworker figures out what her deal is
    -I hope you two have an amazing wedding day and a lifetime of happiness

  34. Jennifer*

    Bye Sally! I really hope she leaves poor Bob alone. Maybe she didn’t pray for his death but he was suffering just as much as Ted. Goes to show sometimes communication is the best route. If they both had all the information, they could have attacked this head on from the beginning. But they both know for the future, though I hope they don’t encounter a situation this bizarre again.

    I’m glad that everyone in the office apologized to Ted. Now maybe they can have a happy, drama-free wedding.

  35. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

    (comes back into home office with a fresh cup of tea, opens AAM)

    “Oh, a Sally update. Great, I’ll read it while I’m enjoying my tea.”

    (tea meets keyboard)

    Wow! Just wow! I am so glad that the leadership did the right thing, and reacted so quickly. And I can’t believe Sally was stalking Bob *and Bob’s family*! And somehow still expecting a wedding invite! (Can y’all imagine the amount of chaos a drunk Sally, in a party setting, in the presence of Bob, could’ve caused at the wedding?) And, and, part of me is awww-ing over both Bob and Ted choosing to suffer alone and not say a word to anyone to keep a coworker out of trouble. But, uh, yeah, both should’ve said something to someone before it got out of control.

    1. Observer*

      I don’t think that Bob tried to keep Sally out of trouble as much as he decided to figure out what was going on first. And that’s always a good thing if you can do it.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Yeah – it escalated very fast. I really didn’t see that outcome coming.

  36. Hex Libris*

    Bob is a hero. He had the hard conversations, got the answers, and had *more* hard but necessary conversations, all without upsetting the very strange and delicate applecarts of this weird workplace. Good on you, Bob.

    1. MistOrMister*

      Yes, I thought Bob handled this all very well. It seems like what Sally said to Ted really was the impetus he needed to get his part of the story out there too. I can’t imagine he wasn’t unnerved by Sally’s behavior towards him. I feel bad for Sally. Not that she got fired, but wow must she be in a bad place mentally to have been acting as she did. Just…wow.

    2. Forrest Rhodes*

      Strong agree, Hex. I’m happy to see this update, and my first response was a “Well done” for Bob being a stand-up person who acted publicly to make things right.

    3. Marillenbaum*

      This is so true! He was the best positioned to handle these things given the existing social dynamics, and he used that position for good. Well done, Bob!

  37. DollarStoreParty*

    Thank you so much for this update! I hope Sally gets the help she needs, and I’ll admit I’ve watched too many movies about this kind of stuff but now I’m a little worried about Bob’s wife.

      1. MistOrMister*

        Restraining orders apparently are not worth the paper they’re printed on. I just hope Sally is staying far, far away because she realizes she’s acting like a nutbar.

        This kind of thing would make a great Lifetime movie and I would watch the heck out of it, but when you apply it to real people, dear lord it’s scary!!

  38. SJ (they/them)*

    oh thank god. when i saw the title of this update i got SUPER EXCITED and then immediately SUPER WORRIED that it wasn’t going to be a happy ending. I’m so relieved the workplace took Sally’s harassment and stalking behavior seriously, and that (almost??) everyone has apologized to Ted, AND that Ted is looking into therapy to help him hopefully have firmer emotional ground to stand on the next time something weird and/or destabilizing happens.

    Kudos to all involved. Whew.

  39. the cat's ass*

    The update we’ve all been waiting for! Yay Team Ted (including Bob)! Hope the LW and Ted have a lovely wedding and that better times are ahead.

  40. Mirea*

    I’m curious if the other women in the office knew about Sally. The LW mentioned they were all a (perhaps excessively) close-knit team and Sally apparently couldn’t resist telling Bob and Ted about her feelings. Makes me wonder if the others in the office did have some inkling about what was going on with her and froze out Ted anyway.

    It doesn’t matter, of course. I’m happy for Ted that the situation seems to be resolved and that he’s looking elsewhere. Like others have said, I hope that Sally gets help.

    1. Observer*

      It doesn’t sound like it. Most of the women did say that they should have realized something was up.

    2. TaxLady*

      Yeah, I wondered how someone could be this crazy and people didn’t know it already. Like when Ted didn’t invite her, there was no hint of, well that makes sense, she’s nuts. Makes me wonder if this is a recent change, and something happened like an injury or illness manifesting and she needs medical help.

  41. Camellia*

    I’m glad Sally is gone from work but that doesn’t mean she is gone from Bob’s life. I hope he is taking all possible precautions to keep him and his family safe.

  42. Brave Little Roaster*

    Wow, that’s really too bad about Sally. It sounds like with the accident, work drama, and wedding planning meant that Ted was under a lot of stress- it’s easy to see with hindsight or from an outside perspective what to do, but also very understandable that it wasn’t obvious to OP and Ted with everything they were going through. Best wishes to the OP and Ted that the wedding goes smoothly and happily.

  43. CatPerson*

    Now, forget about all of this and celebrate your happy day with all of your friends and family! Best wishes to you.

  44. Dramatic Intent To Flounce*

    … Well THAT escalated. My deepest sympathies to Bob, and also to Ted. (I hope Sally gets some kind of mental health intervention but top priority is for her to stop stalking Bob, yikes.) May therapy be easily found, affordable, and with therapists who quickly build a rapport for all, and may your wedding go smoothly and blissfully Sally-free, OP!

    As awful as the Bob situation is, it does at least prove one thing to the brain weasels: this is, unambiguously, a Sally Problem, not a Ted one. It also seems like a good demonstration of how sometimes, a problem you’re hiding because it seems somehow shameful or what if everyone else agrees or is just so dang weird and awkward will in fact become much more manageable if you tell someone. (Though given how the Sally issue’s escalated for Bob, it’s clearly beyond ‘workplace issue’ and into ‘decide what legal action seems safe and reasonable to take, and document EVERYTHING’ territory. Again, my sympathies to Bob, and I hope he finds resources for dealing with a stalker that are helpful and plenty of supportive people in his life.) Always a tricky lesson to internalize, but still frequently true.

  45. Sharpieees*

    Sally weirdness aside, I can’t believe another member of the staff called the LW and asked why Sally wasn’t invited. It was none of their business and a huge overstep to call the fiance of a co-worker and ask. Who feels that entitled????

    1. KoiFeeder*

      As I said on the original letter, the most generous read I can give it is that it was an attempt to verify Ted’s story. Which still seems like drama mongering to me, but…

  46. Kylie*

    This is the kind of crazy that precedes a Dateline story. I hope Bob and his family get restraining orders.

  47. RagingADHD*

    I’m just going to reiterate that it’s surprising the whole team could work with Sally so long and have absolutely no idea how troubled she is.

    Her problems either escalated very suddenly for some reason, or she was working overtime for a long time to keep a lid on them.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Eh, every story about someone who has some sort of psychological break has a flock of people talking about how normal and well adjusted they seemed.

      It sounds like things did escalate for a specific reason – the accident. Bob being in danger clearly triggered something for her.

      1. serenity*

        I think you’re absolutely right. That accident seems to have been the inciting incident of this whole thing.

      2. RagingADHD*

        Actually, it is far more common for people who act out due to mental health problems to have a long history of gradually escalating behavior, and many people who turn to stalking or violence were throwing out red flags right and left.

        With spectacular cases it is a common trope in the media that neighbors or family members had no inkling anything was wrong. That narrative is pushed particularly hard when a white man commits mass violence. On investigation, it usually comes out that many people were reporting strange or threatening behavior (or actual crimes like domestic violence) that got ignored or dismissed by authorities.

        I wonder if Sally’s other coworkers and close work buddies were as shocked as Ted, or if they always thought there was something wrong and just didn’t know what it was.

        1. SnappinTerrapin*

          As the comments to these letters show, humans have a remarkable capacity for ignoring signs of serious problems or looking for ways to explain them away, especially if they are fond of the person at the center of it.

          At the same time, we have a remarkable capacity for jumping to conclusions and assuming the worst about other people we may not feel as invested in.

          Either is easier than being objective about our observations.

          It’s even harder to remind ourselves that we never have the whole story, no matter how good a vantage point we think we have.

        2. Airy*

          I think what also often happens is that a variety of people have had different strange interactions or incidents with that person but they haven’t individually felt they should say anything to others (they were intimidated, or it was so odd they’re not sure how to interpret it, or they don’t expect to be believed, or in isolation it seemed minor) and so no one has been able to take all the strange things together and see the pattern.

      3. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        Speaking as someone who’s brain really has a bad history of not operating under safe conditions: I agree. I was able to hide a lot of the behaviour until the day I really couldn’t.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I wonder if Sally was a bit overly team Bob before – but nothing that seemed really Odd or Scary until the accident which made it impossible for Sally to hide how badly her brain was now misfiring.
          I hope for the sake of her family she is able to get the help she needs. This has to be super scary for them as well.

    2. Dramatic Intent To Flounce*

      I think part of it’s that this work/friend group already had a somewhat… skewed sense of boundaries. Not that being friends with your coworkers is inherently inappropriate, or even being close friends and friends with their significant others as a result, but the fact that apparently everyone on this team is outside-work-friends with everyone else suggests they are perhaps a bit TOO enmeshed, and maybe playing into some Geek Social Fallacies as well.

      So Sally’s potential inappropriate and boundary-crossing behavior in the past might have blended in better because of the enmeshment. (Without knowing more, there could have been a slow escalation of inappropriate behavior before the confession and subsequent stalking when rejected, or the accident could have triggered a very rapid escalation, or both are in play. We’re just internet bystanders, we know nothing.) I wouldn’t be shocked if there had been inappropriate behavior in the past – to Bob, or to other members of the team – but it was probably much less worrisome before she began stalking a teammate after he rejected her and now everyone’s reassessing everything in that context. And again, with social norms already a bit warped given an apparently-not-small team where everyone hangs out together during off-hours, some things that would stick out in a less enmeshed environment might not have seemed unusual.

  48. WellRed*

    Well that certainly took a turn! I love this update because I know the OP/and fiancé have learned some work and life lessons that will serve them well in the future. Best wishes!

  49. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    All it took was for Ted & Bob to talk for 5 minutes, and everything became clear.

  50. Lucy Skywalker*

    Sally is clearly in need of mental health services. However, since we know she believes in God, I’m thinking it might also be beneficial for her to have a spiritual counselor. The spiritual counselor can help her understand when it’s appropriate to confess one’s sins to the injured party, and when it’s appropriate to just confess directly to God. Also, if she’s Catholic, I’d recommend that she receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (that means confessing to a priest for those of you not familiar with the term).

    1. Observer*

      Only if the adviser is also able to recognize when they are out of their depth, and insist that she see a mental health professional.

        1. I'm The Phoebe in Any Group*

          Yes, but so many aren’t. The term counselor is misleading because it does not indicate any sort of training or licensure. Also, if the releigion is opposed to divorce, they will not recommend or support a divorce in counseling no how bad the marriage in, even if it is abusive.

          1. banoffee pie*

            Wouldn’t a religious leader be out of their depth? If the stalking gets worse it could be a criminal matter (might already be, we don’t have enough info). I’m not a fan of religious types guilting people into ‘forgiving’ things and guilting people out of defending themselves. Can be dangerous (speaking from experience here).

    2. Tussy*

      I mean maybe because she has been fired she needs assistance but none of what she did otherwise indicates a mental illness.

      It could be because of one, sure, but not all boundary crossing or alarming behaviour is due to mental health issues. It comes from your world view and how you are perceiving your own actions. People with no pathological mental health problems are perfectly capable of justifying a lot of shitty and weird behaviour to themselves, especially when they are telling themselves they are in a love story.

      1. Dramatic Intent To Flounce*

        Agreed, though I do think you can benefit from therapy to analyze and course-correct those thought/behavior patterns even if you aren’t Mentally Ill (TM). Which definitely qualifies here… but unfortunately, therapy’s only effective if you’re open to the fact that you need to change how you approach the world. Could be losing her job like this is the shock to her system Sally needs, but it could also be this is going to get worse before it gets better for poor Bob.

      2. Observer*

        I don’t think that we have anywhere close to enough information to say whether Sally has a mental illness. But something is clearly off. The issue here is not just that she’s boundary crossing, but that the behavior is so out of bounds, so bizarre and so not helpful to her cause. Like what did she expect to gain by telling Ted that she payed for him to be the one to die? I means, it’s an awful and cruel thing to do, but what benefit was she expecting?

        The stalking is less bizarre, though it’s in many ways worse. But again, the context and the almost delusional level of the behavior could make you wonder if IN ADDITION to just having very poor boundaries, there is something else the matter with her.

        In a way, this makes a good example of when it’s ok to think about if someone has mental illness. If the employer were getting into that discussion and therefore deciding that they “can’t” fir “poor” Sally because she might be ill, that would be absolutely terrible. And I think that most people who think that she needs help would fully agree that the employer CANNOT take that into consideration – they need to get rid of her to insure the safety and well being of the rest of the staff. Until that happens, whether or not she has mental illness or not is just nor relevant. It’s only once she’s gone, security is alerted, etc. that the employer can think “I hope Sally gets some help.”

  51. ndawn90*

    Yeah, I had a feeling Sally was in love with Bob when she mentioned that he was giving her advice on her failing marriage. It’s a bit of a cliche, but cliches often exist for a reason.

  52. I'm The Phoebe in Any Group*

    Sally is a stalker and I hope someone recommends that Bob dcoument what Sally did and files a police report in case this escalates in the future. The driving past his house and love/anger texts are particularly concerning. Sally probably interpreted every positive interaction with him at work as sign of his love for her. The company should also have Sally listed as Do Not Allow on property. She is dangerous.

  53. Tussy*

    None of what Sally did necessarily indicates a mental health issue. People can be boundary pushing and weird without a mental illness.

    1. I'm The Phoebe in Any Group*

      Yes. I saw a great explanation: “Stalking is a behavior and not a mental disorder.” Some stalkers struggle with mental illness: only some.

    2. Me*

      So much this. I get real tired with the commentariate here and in general with the nonsense surrounding mental illness. There’s stigma because of crap like this.

      There was a letter a few weeks about someone struggling with mental illness that was affecting her behavior at work. Comments were full of people saying things like well it’s no excuse and essentially bashing the lw (it’s not, but someone dealing with an illness of any kind deserves some grace while trying to deal with the issue).

      And yet here we have so much oh gee poor Sally it sounds like she is dealing with something.

      If you have nothing more than a passing knowledge of mental illness, people really need to stop acting like they understand it in the least.

      1. Observer*

        And yet here we have so much oh gee poor Sally it sounds like she is dealing with something.

        I don’t think there can be any doubt but that this is actually true. Recognizing that is NOT diagnosing mental illness – people can be dealing with bad things in bad ways without being mentally ill. Nor is it excusing bad behavior- just because one is dealing with bad things doesn’t give someone license to react in any way they please.

        I think that the reason people are commenting on Sally having stuff going on is because her behavior is just sooo bizarre that it just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Stealing is wrong, but most of us can see how a person decides to embezzle a whole bunch of money without having to twist into a mental pretzel. But Sally’s behavior is so bizarre, so irrational and so unlikely to get her what she seems to want that people are trying to figure what’s up with that.

        None of that excuses Sally’s behavior. If you noticed, no one, for instance, expressed any thought that the employer should have tried to keep her on or accommodate her.

        1. Rainy*

          It’s possible she has some kind of mental health thing happening but it’s also possible that she’s simply a jerk and really bad at self-awareness and introspection. I can definitely imagine a situation where she’s unhappy in her marriage (which we know from previous letter) but feels like she can’t leave until she’s not the bad guy, and if she finds her “soulmate” and it’s not her spouse, well, that allows her to leave without being the bad guy. And it’s just nuts for Bob that he declined to cooperate.

          People who are working hard not to be the “bad guy” in a situation are sometimes capable of very awful things.

    3. Boof*

      Hmm, well I agree “abnormal behavior” != “mental illness” (meaning, things we now know have demonstrable physical pathology like schizophrenia, bipolar, etc) – there is overlap in things that will benefit from “mental health”. Cognitive behavioral therapy will help a lot of “personality disorders” and or “bad behavior” type of things if the person does want to change and sticks with it.
      Stalkers often have pretty maladaptive coping skills and if you CAN get them into therapy it would actually probably help the victim a lot because they would have something else to focus on / hopefully learn to cut it out.

    4. Mannequin*

      I’m betting she’s a religious nut who doesn’t realize that imprecatory prayer is a great big no-no.

  54. Sara without an H*

    When the first post appeared, I wondered whether Bob was aware of what was going on. He sounds like a good guy. Maybe someone could steer him to a copy of Gavin De Becker’s The Gift of Fear? I know GDB has been criticized for some things, but his advice on dealing with a stalker is spot on and has stood the test of time.

    1. Boof*

      I think it’s a great book and it helped me with a situation – that being said sally sounds really invasive but so far no red flags for actual violence (but the book does a nice job outlining red flags and how to manage stalkers – sucks that you have to but USA is often still pretty crappy about antistalking laws/help, though it sounds like the company at least handled it well so that’s good)

  55. Autism Dad*

    How bad are things between you and the company when they have to send security to clean out your desk? Yikes! Sally is pretty clearly not in a good place.

  56. Bookworm*

    I’m glad that it seems to have worked out as best as could be expected, given the original letter. O_O.

    Hope Sally gets the help she needs.

    Good luck to the both of you! Wish you both happiness and joy! :D

  57. Elizabeth West*


    Good on Bob for speaking up. I’m glad Ted is getting some guidance, and that he and OP are drawing boundaries. I hope Ted finds a great job soon and the wedding goes well. If Bob and his wife will be attending, I would also recommend deputizing someone to keep an eye out for Sally.

    Thanks for the update, OP.

  58. Paul Pearson*

    I still boggle that she even said this aloud. I mean, even if you thought it, why would you say it? Surely even the most socially inept person would realise “hey, I need to practice some self-censorship”

  59. LGC*

    Jesus. I hope Bob’s okay holy hell. I’ll be honest – I admire how magnanimous you and Ted are, to say the least. Sally’s behavior sounds frightening. I wish her the best in that I really hope she gets a significant amount of help and realizes just how much harm she’s done to Bob, Ted, and everyone involved, but I don’t know if I could have been as kind if I were in your shoes.

  60. BitterMelon*

    I almost really neeeeeed to know more about the *one* remaining woman who didn’t apologize to Ted! What was going on there!?

  61. idwtpaun*

    To use a common phrase, I’m shocked but not surprised. Of course the bizarre behaviour from Sally was only the tip of the iceberg. I sincerely hope her behaviour doesn’t go any further than that with Bob and his family.

    Happy to hear that things with your husband’s team have been smoothed over and wishing him the best in his job search!

  62. yala*

    Holy. Cats.

    This was wild from the very first letter and then it just went absolutely ham. She started STALKING the other coworker?

    Yikes on trikes.

  63. Lily of the meadow*

    I am very disappointed in some of the comments here that either defend Sally’s behavior, or excuses it based upon some nebulous, unspecified, undiagnosed, and commentariat assumed mental illness. One, there is nothing in either letter that specifies that Sally’s behavior stems from a diagnosed mental illness. Two, even if her behavior did stem from a mental illness, that does not therefore excuse or diminish the horrific nature of her actions. There are many people living with mental illnesses that do not act like Sally. Unhinged behavior is not inherently an indicator of mental illness, and using mental illness to excuse her behavior only furthers the stigmatization of mental illness. Three, just because Sally is a woman, that does not diminish the illegality and creepiness of her behavior. She independently decided, apropos of nothing, basically, that she was “in love” with a married man, and that he was obligated to return her affection, because and only because she had declared said affection. For whatever reason, she decided that Bob’s accident mandated that he realize that he loves her instead of his WIFE, and that Bob and Ted’s accident was all about HER, and not at all about Bob, Ted, and their friends and family. When Bob did NOT return her “love”, she proceeded to break a number of stalking laws, disregarding the fact that Bob is MARRIED and had stated that he was NOT interested. Yet there are comments on here utterly ignoring the fact that, had the genders been reversed in this situation, had Sally been a man and Bob a woman, Sally would rightfully be in jail, and everyone here would be incensed and infuriated that Bob had to deal with a stalker of Fatal Attraction proportions. Just because Sally is a woman, and Bob is a man, that does not excuse the criminality and danger of her delusions, and there is no defense for her actions. Being a woman does not excuse criminal behavior.

    1. Despachito*

      Wow, this is pretty strong. Are we reading the same comments? Because I do not see any excuses, or even defending Sally’s behaviour. I think pretty everyone agreed that what she did is intolerable, but some showed some compassion and wished she got some help. I do not read this as excusing or defending.

      You are possibly right that were she a man she would be perceived as much more potentially dangerous and therefore judged more harshly, which might indeed not be fair.

      1. Lily of the Meadow*

        In my opinion, the fact that so many people are defaulting to “Sally has a mental illness and she needs help”, IS excusing her behavior. She may actually need help, but she also needs to be held accountable for her behavior. Some of the commenters do not seem to see that her behavior is 1) not expressly indicative of mental illness, and 2) so bad that there needs to be criminal consequences for her actions. Bob and Ted are the ones who have paid the price for her actions, but there is far too much ignoring of the fact that they have been harmed by Sally’s actions. As I stated in my original comment, it seems like the fact that Sally is female means that some of the commenters are ignoring the heinous overreach of Sally’s actions. Not to mention that, as I also attempted to point out, defining Sally’s actions as the actions of someone with a mental illness when we have no evidence to support such, is demeaning and insulting to those who do have mental illnesses and only serves to continue the stigmatization of people who have mental illnesses. This is something that is much too common here; almost every situation in which a person’s actions are of ill intent winds up being speculated about as being the result of a mental illness, and, in almost every situation, there is absolutely no evidence to support such speculation. It is not kind to attribute causality to someone’s actions based upon speculation of mental illness. I think, or at least I hope, that commenters are doing this because they are trying to be understanding of others, but the problem is that they wind up being far more unkind to those who do deal with mental illness; armchair diagnosing of mental illness does not help destigmatize mental illness, and, in fact, further stigmatizes those who have mental illnesses, as it portrays them as people who have no control over their actions, thereby denying them their right to adult agency over their lives. Sally may or may not have a mental illness; however, that does not change the harm her actions have perpetrated, does not excuse her actions, and actually is not within a commenter’s authority to diagnose. Wild speculation of mental illness with no evidence to support such speculation does as much harm to others as what Sally did to Bob and Ted.

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