update: the CEO is obsessed with me and wants me to be his emotional support

Remember the letter-writer whose boss was obsessed with her and wanted her to be his emotional support? Here’s the update.

I’m the EA whose CEO was obsessed with me.

I’ll start by saying that I have a new, much better job that I look forward to starting in about a week and I am currently exploring my options for filing a complaint or lawsuit against my former employer for sexual harrassment, harrassment, wage claims, and failure to provide COBRA information.

Some items from the comments I wanted to address: many people were concerned about social media and my boss’s ability to monitor my feeds. I had already been off of social media for close to 2 years because he would watch my profiles and get upset if I was posting updates but not responding to his texts, or would ask why I had time to do X activity (that I had posted about on Facebook but not spoken to him about) instead of respond to his non-work related texts over the weekend. He initially pushed very hard for a very long time for me to use a company-owned cell phone but I refused given the privacy concerns that raised. I have been documenting emails, instant messages, phone logs, and text messages related to his behavior for over two years and started keeping a journal of the more egregious events. Unfortunately, he does know where I live because he insisted on picking me up for meetings in my area so we could drive together, but I do already have a security camera system in place. Also, I had mentioned in my letter that his desire for me to travel with him conflicted with an important event in my personal life. I did NOT travel with him and attended my event!

So I had sent my initial letter to you shortly after an incident occurred on a work trip. I had requested that I be able to attend a conference related to recruiting and talent management hosted by SHRM and my CEO agreed and insisted that he attend with me. The conference was amazing in terms of content and takeaways, but uncomfortable and anxiety inducing for me. I had a number of work tasks that I needed to complete in addition to assignments due for two college classes I was enrolled in, and he monopolized every second of time available until the very last day. I told him I wouldn’t be attending the final session in order to recoup that hour to pack and do some work. I got everything done that I needed to and took a Lyft to a 7-11 to get some nicorette before we headed to the airport and he LOST it when I mentioned it. He accused me of stealing from the company, asked me if I had made the purchase with my company card, told me I had been lying to him when I said I needed that time to do things because I was clearly just trying to get away from him, and on and on. I in turn lost MY shit and we had an argument that turned into a yelling match at the airport because he kept trying to talk over me. I was embarrassed and angry and told him that we could talk about this when we’d had time to cool down and I needed some time alone. He tried to block my path, insisting that he wanted to “fight for us” and told me to go to hell when I refused. I was able to get away, and over the next 20 minutes before our plane boarded he texted me between 10 and 12 times. I started applying for jobs and wrote to you the day after we got back.

The intervening time has been even worse than usual and when I submitted my resignation last week he called me 7 times in a row and then sent dozens of texts that varied between convincing me to stay, giving me orders, asking me to find out how much money I owe the company, etc. I served one day of my notice and he called me to tell me my services were no longer needed after we butted heads regarding who would take a portion of my tasks. His wife emailed me asking me to cut up my credit cards and send her photos for proof. That’s the last contact I’ve had.

I’m so relieved to be out of that situation and I appreciate the feedback and reassurance that he was lying about this being normal. Unfortunately I’m dealing with a lot of anger and I’m concerned that my marriage won’t survive the fall out. But I look forward to the future for the first time in a very long time and I have you to thank for the advice that moved me forward!

{ 294 comments… read them below }

    1. Le Sigh*

      So, uh, the first letter was pretty worrisome when I read it, and as it turns out, the follow up actually makes it clear the situation was so much worse.

      1. INFJedi*


        I usually have to click on the first letter that Alison provides before giving the update, but not this time.
        I’m glad OP got out! The first letter was indeed very worrisome but I never expected this update. That ceo is showing some very creepy behaviour.

        1. Starlike*

          Honestly, I’m worried that the LW isn’t actually “out” yet – in abusive relationships, the time that the abused partner is leaving or has just left is the most dangerous, and frankly, this guy sounds like a textbook jealous/abusive/possessive person.

      1. Snuck*

        Yep. I’d get a restraining order if he communicates with you in anything other than a strictly professional post work way. He might actually need to contact you to confirm some details for your exit pay or a forwarding address for tax papers or whatever. But anything beyond strictly that stuff he shouldn’t, and when he does (note I didn’t say “if” sigh) then take out a restraining order.

        And don’t worry about future references, as soon as you say “I’m sorry I can’t give you my last employer as a reference because he stalked me and I had to take out a restraining order” people are going to recoil in horror (FOR YOU) and say “that’s fine, do you have anyone else” at which point you can brightly say “yes, here’s two of my colleagues from there, plus a contact from the Llama Showing Society where I am on the board”.

        1. Tiny Soprano*

          My grandmother gave me an excellent script for this sort of thing while I was hunting for a new rental earlier this year.
          It was: “I needed to leave for my safety.”
          Admittedly this is not specific to new jobs, but it worked very well for me in explaining why I’d suddenly fallen off a lease a few years back and ended up back home. When coupled with other references, turned out I didn’t need that reference at all. Nobody asked any further questions, they took it seriously, and didn’t assume I was dramatic. I think it would apply quite well to job interviews as well.

          1. Anon for This*

            I like your grandma. She sounds like someone who is really good at dealing with difficult people in trying situations.

    2. JB*

      He needed a restraining order taken out against him a long time ago. As long as there aren’t legal repercussions (please consult someone who knows more about this than I do), sharing all the information about his obsession would hinder him from getting a new victim.

    3. Erin*

      +1 to this. I was genuinely worried for this person’s physical and mental safety. This CEO sounds quite frightening.

      V pleased to know that the LW got out. What a nightmare.

    4. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

      I’m so very sorry you had to endure this! You did NOT deserve ANY of it, and I hope your career is MUCH more stable, sane, and fulfilling from here on!

  1. ferrina*

    Thank you for this update!! So glad that you are getting out and taking precautions! I was very worried for you after that first letter. I hope your new job is wonderful, and that the remaining disentanglement from your old job goes as smoothly as possible.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      The only advice I would offer is see if the new job can not post any contact information so that he doesn’t try to continue his forced interactions at the new job.

      1. WantonSeedStitch*

        Or only post it in places where you have to be internal to view it–need a company certificate on your computer or a login or something.

  2. KoiFeeder*

    OP, I’m just glad you got out of that mess. I’d avoid having pet rabbits for a while, this guy sounds unhinged.

      1. KoiFeeder*

        The expression ‘bunny boiler’ derives from the 1987 film Fatal Attraction, written by James Dearden and Nicholas Meyer. The plot centres around Alex Forrest (Glenn Close) obsessively pursuing her ex-lover Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas). The phrase comes from the plot device whereby Forrest, in a fit of frenzied jealousy, boils her erstwhile lover’s daughter’s pet rabbit. Gallagher’s suspicions should have become aroused earlier, when Forrest was trying to persuade him to meet her, and she said “Bring the dog, I love animals… I’m a great cook.”
        [/explains the joke]

        Obviously I don’t consider the OP to have been at any point in a romantic relationship with this lunatic, but he seems to think so, which is probably even more dangerous.

          1. Sharpiee*

            Yesss. That made my skin crawl. Having been in an abusive personal relationship in the past, this set off all kinds of red flags. To have that said in the context of a work relationship is doubly disturbing.

  3. SQL Coder Cat*

    So so glad you got out quickly. The details in this letter are even more alarming than your initial letter. Once you get landed in your current job, I hope you are able to put this insanity swiftly behind you and move into your recovery.

  4. WantonSeedStitch*

    Oh holy carp, I’m SO GLAD to read that you’re doing OK, LW! This guy is definitely scary. Telling you your services were no longer needed after only one day of your notice period was probably the best thing that could have happened to you. I’m sorry to hear your marriage is in difficulty right now. I hope you are able to overcome that difficulty (if that is indeed what’s best for you and your spouse). If I were you, I would seek some counseling for the anger and other emotional fallout from this awful situation–even if it doesn’t improve things with your spouse, it will be good for you in the long run dealing with whatever comes next.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Yes, I second counseling! And maybe, if your spouse is amenable, couples counseling to help both of you deal with this awful and ridiculous situation. I am SO GLAD you are out too, OP, best of luck!

    2. Just Your Everyday Crone*

      I think counseling is a good idea if you can swing it. This was an abusive relationship and I think anyone would benefit from some help coming to terms with it. I am very glad for you that you got out. Please continue to be careful.

      1. Carol the happy elf*

        Your partner may need help understanding what a stalker “relationship” looks like — and can DO to a person who is lower on the food chain.
        Get a therapist, one who understands the ramifications of “Abuser in a position of authority”. That kind of therapist has the words to explain what you went through, and hopefully the chops to help your partner understand. Someone with “CSAT” can help both of you understand abusive grooming.

        1. Carol the happy elf*

          OOPS. I’m so sorry for that screw up.
          Auto fill gave CSAT, I meant LCSW, or a CMHC, which in my area is a Community Mental Health Center or counselor. LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker. I didn’t go back over it and it’s a big mistake on my part. Do get a marriage counselor with experience in teaching your partner to help YOU cope with your creeper boss. There’s a counselor in my area who works with couples where the wife is a rape- or stalker- survivor. That’s who to look for; sometimes they work through the courts.
          Best of luck with this.

          1. Princesss Sparklepony*

            Excellent advice.

            And I swear my autofill/autocorrect actively works against me!

          2. Princesss Sparklepony*

            Excellent advice.

            And I swear my autofill/autocorrect actively works against me!

          3. Princesss Sparklepony*

            Excellent advice.

            I am convinced that my autocorrect/autofill actively works against me. And then I forget to proofread… oops.

          4. Princesss Sparklepony*

            Excellent advice.

            I am convinced that my autocorrect/autofill actively works against me. And then I forget to proofread… oops.

          5. Princesss Sparklepony*

            Excellent advice.

            I am convinced that my autocorrect/autofill actively works against me. And then I forget to proofread… oops.

        2. Spero*

          Another thing to look for is a provider who mentions specializing in trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TFCBT) or EMDR in their skill set – they may have specific experience that will be helpful to you.

      2. pancakes*

        Yes to coming to terms with it, and with the anger. It’s not inappropriate to be big-time mad about having had to endure all this, and having some support for what do with all that anger could be useful. Just reading about the way this guy behaved at the conference is angering, and that’s only part of it.

    3. Jora Malli*

      I agree with the counseling recommendation. OP, you’ve been through so much and you’ve had a manipulator poking at all of your boundaries for so long. Getting some help to work through this and get back to normal relationship parameters is really important.

    4. Jules the 3rd*

      Agree on the counseling. There’s often low-cost options, and even just someone to vent to who is not your spouse and is legally required to keep it to themselves is very helpful.

      If you really aren’t into counseling, consider spending some time doing intensive, exhausting physical workouts. I found dancing for 2 – 3 hrs was very therapeutic. Or write this into a screenplay, with your favorite revenge ending.

      And remember: THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT. You didn’t do anything to cause this. A person with a *LOT* more power than you (money, age, employment, gender) decided to abuse you. That is frustrating and anger-making, but it is NOT your fault. It’s his, and his alone.

    5. Jayr*

      I also suggest counseling, I have PTSD from a bad job situation and that helped me.

  5. Phony Genius*

    In Alison’s response to the original letter, she warned the writer about how the boss would strongly resist the resignation. She was right.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      For realz. And now might be a good time to remind the OP, however dire this sounds, that sometimes the time right *after* getting out of an abusive relationship can be the most dangerous time. I really hope that doesn’t happen, but please OP keep up your diligence at keeping this guy out of your life and stay safe. I hope soon you’ll be able to put this all behind you but as I commented on another thread, counseling wouldn’t be a bad idea to help you deal with this. Best of luck and thank you for reassuring us that you’d gotten away from that guy.

      1. Nobby Nobbs*

        This might be a “call a domestic violence helpline for strategies to keep yourself safe” situation. And by “might” I mean I’m not sure if it’s within their scope, but it’s definitely that level of dangerous.

        1. Nonny Mouse*

          I was thinking that as well. It would be good to ask the experts for advice.
          Might be a good idea to change phone number also.

    2. Worldwalker*

      At least he doesn’t seem to have resorted to physical violence — yet. I wouldn’t go anywhere alone — not even out to the mailbox. This guy is Norman Bates-level unhinged.

      And what’s with cutting up credit cards? If you want to disable a company credit card (or any credit card) you make a quick phone call to the issuer and it’s done. That makes me feel like he’s still trying to compel the OP to do things on command.

        1. Juneybug*

          I agree! The letter writer could have written the credit card info down for fraudulent use.
          However, it’s obvious the LW is a honest and kind person.

      1. Snuck*

        That’s my thinking too.

        Next it will be demanding to ‘clean her phone of any work information, so she must bring it in’ or demanding return of random items from work (branded items, uniform, any keys / cards/ passes she had) – and insisting she return them in person (ahahah. Courier that junk! Send it in registered post!). Insisting she comes in for an exit interview, to finish out paperwork, to confirm any details, train new staff. Finding a random item of hers left behind (pot plant, lunchbox in the back of the kitchen, few junk pens and a notebook) and demanding she come get them. Going through any notebooks or diaries and finding notes, or all her work and finding errors and demanding she come nad fix them. Oh man. The crazy could go deep.

        Don’t pull the ‘consultancy pay’ thing with him (where you say “I am no longer on payroll, but will do this task for you for $$$”) because you obviously don’t want any connection. Just treat this entire thing as a wildly abusive relationship and do not engage ever again. For anything.

        I’m sorry that this has placed such nasty stress on your marriage. I hope that with time and gentleness to each other you can repair that.

        1. Cthulhu's Librarian*

          I can’t stress enough that this is one of those situations where you do not want to say “here’s an outrageous number” as a brush off.

          Best of luck, OP… I have no real pointers beyond that.

      2. That_guy*

        He did block her movement to prevent her from leaving. In many jurisdictions, that would be considered unlawful detainment and a felony.

      3. WillowSunstar*

        Yeah, that one is weird. Certainly the CEO could call the companies himself (or sit and hover over someone else cancelling them). And it’s not like the companies can’t send written confirmation that the cards have indeed been cancelled.

      4. Princesss Sparklepony*

        And that the guy’s wife demanded this. Does she work for the company as well? I thought that strange.

  6. Adultier adult*

    I’ve been daily checking hoping for an update! Glad you are good—- sure wish I knew HIS wife’s view—is he like that to her too?

    Glad you are out!!

    1. Carol the happy elf*

      That email might NOT have been from his wife. Just saying, if he acts this demented around an employee, what kind of brainwashing and manipulating might he do around a wife?

      1. LadyPomona*

        That’s an excellent point! Who knows who REALLY sent that email telling you to…cut up your credit cards!? (Why on earth would anyone demand THAT of you?)

        This man sounds extremely dangerous. Do have any documentation of his pursuit of you? If so, yes, do report it to your company’s Board of Directors. Someone in a position of authority over him needs to know how he’s been behaving. His next victim might not be as strong as you are…and he may not stop at pestering and pressuring her. He’s already shown the willingness to use physical force to get what he wants; his next use of force might not happen in the middle of an airport…

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            But honestly I would assume that turning in a company card would be part of the process of resigning a job. Turn the card in, person who handles the account/HR calls company to cancel it. Why would you rely on having the employee destroy the card?

            1. Worldwalker*

              Yeah, exactly. It’s no different than losing your card — you call the CC company and cancel the authorized user card issued to John Smith or whoever. If you had to depend on the former employee to not use (or destroy) the card, there would be all kinds of people saying “well, they fired me anyway, so I’ll charge a trip to Aruba on their card.”

            2. Snuck*

              It sounds like a small business. If the wife is emailing about that…. It might be that she’s involved. A part time HR suggests this too. And it’s normal for an EA to have company credit cards to book travel etc on. I assume the whole place was wildly dysfunctional and there was probably no sensible exit strategy to get this stuff back from her.

              1. Kat in VA*

                I mean…I’m an EA, and I have a purchasing card that I could technically buy a car with along with a travel & expense card. I also have several personal credit cards for my main execs and my secondary execs.

                I’m so glad OP is safe. This was crazy through and through. There’s a lot of personal and professional crossover that can happen in an exec-EA professional relationship but this…this was SO beyond the pale. My skin was crawling when I read the original letter!

            3. Velawciraptor*

              Given the level of obsession, I’d be a little more comfortable destroying the card than just handing it back in this case. Hand back the shreds, but not the intact card. I wouldn’t put it past this guy to charge things on OP’s card just to be able to file a false allegation of fraud to keep some level of contact/control over OP.

        1. Fluffy Fish*

          I’m assuming they mean company credit cards of which OP seems to have had based on the unhinged rant over 7-11.

          However it still makes no sense as one would just call the credit card company and cancel those cards.

          It was likely just an attempt to get OP to engage as she’s not responding to his messages. Classic stalker/abuser move – block them one way, they’ll attempt another.

        2. Fikly*

          Absolutely never, ever tell a victim or survivor of abuse that they have a responsibility to people who may be victims after them. The only person they have a responsibility to is themselves.

          That’s appalling.

          1. Snuck*


            When a person is working darn hard to dig their way out of abuse do not give them more pressure or tasks.

      2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        He sent the email from his wife’s address, assuming OP had blocked his.

        1. BokBooks*

          +1 This sounds likely to me as well
          I am worried about OP – if you are reading all these comments OP please contact an exit safety strategist. And if at all possible, move.

      3. Autumn*

        Maybe she wisely blocked him so he picked up his wife’s phone to do it, and claimed it was her…

    2. Kes*

      I didn’t reread the original letter but he seemed so obsessed with her that I was honestly surprised to read ‘his wife’ at the end. I really wonder what he told her about OP and her leaving and as you say, what he’s like to her.

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        That freaked me out as much as his actions themselves. He has a partner who not only coexists with his obsession with another woman, but supports him in it so much that she makes threat based demands on OP?
        I’m really feeling the person who said it was boss himself.

        1. Worldwalker*

          Very likely.

          Why would his wife, even if she existed, be doing that on his behalf?

          It’s a thing he would do himself, not have someone who isn’t even part of the company do for him.

          I suspect Fluffy Fish is right — he sent the email, pretending to be his wife, to try to get the OP to interact with him and obey his orders.

          1. pancakes*

            “Very” is a bit much. It’s not as if horrible people don’t get married. Some to other horrible people; some to people they hide aspects of their horribleness from.

            1. Worldwalker*

              He doesn’t strike me as a person who would delegate something like that, though. The purpose of cutting up credit cards isn’t to make them unusable — that can be done much more quickly *and* effectively with a phone call to the CC issuer. This is a control thing: he wants to make the OP do something. That’s why I think it’s very likely that he sent the email himself.

              1. pancakes*

                I agree it seems reasonably likely he sent it himself. I should’ve clarified that what I think is a bit much is the “even if she existed part.” It’s a bit much to concoct a fake wife for this guy based on him being a messy creep. There are plenty of messy creeps who are in fact married, and all we know of this one is what’s in these two letters.

            2. Fluffy Fish*

              It really is very likely he sent it himself.

              When abusers are cut off, they will attempt other means to get a response from their victim. Hoping on his wife’s email to send one is an easy, accessible way for him to contact her and try to get her to respond.

              If you or a loved one has never been the victim of a stalker or an abuser, it can be hard to fathom the lengths they will go and the manipulation the will attempt. It’s absolutely unhinged behavior no reasonable person would do – which makes it really hard for reasonable people to wrap their heads around just how likely that scenario is.

              Could it have come from the wife? Sure. But cutting up cards doesn’t cancel them so cutting them up and sending a picture does nothing – except maintain contact.

              1. pancakes*

                I am aware of these basics, but thank you. My point was not that it seems unlikely for an abuser to send a fake email but that it’s a bit much to assume his wife is fake as well.

      2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        A manager at my last job was having an affair with an employee, and told his wife just how wonderful she was in her job.
        She left, very awkwardly, when she found a proper BF of her own, at which point he simply transferred to the next upcoming employee. I felt very sorry for the wife, but wasn’t going to say anything since there was no tangible proof and I only met her once when she popped in on her way to the hairdresser’s.

    3. Tiger Snake*

      “His wife”. Sure…

      My guess he simply used his wife’s account and name, but is the one sending the email.

      It does make one wonder what his wife thinks about all that’s been happening here, though. From a second hand story, this stalker sounds sterotypically delusional at some points (‘fight for them’? There is no ‘them’ and there never was) – so it wouldn’t surprise me if he’d tell the story as the OP was the one pursuing him.

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        Given the story he told about the other woman being fired…I’m guessing he tells his wife similar stories about the OP. Most likely in his version, she has now been fired for something shocking.

        1. Snuck*

          I actually wonder what is true of the fired HR person. If the OP only has information that’s been sifted through the eyes of her old boss… maybe there’s less truth in that nest?

          1. Irish Teacher*

            My guess is that either she realised what the boss was like or the boss felt she was getting too close the LW and wanted the LW to himself so he fired her and made up a story. I never believed his version. The LW would be extremely unlucky to have two unstable coworkers, both obsessed with her in different ways.

            And I suspect he is now telling stories like that about why the LW left. Making people out to be pathological liars is also a good defensive move before they tell their side of the story. I mean “good” from his point of view, obviously, not from the point of view of a normal human being.

      2. Spero*

        I think it’s also not outside the realm of possibility that he is controlling/manipulative/abusive of his wife as well. In that case, she may use up so much of her mental energy dealing with/surviving him that she doesn’t even have any left to wonder about/question his accounts of his interactions with his staff. Or if diverting some of his attention to OP resulted in him easing up on his control/manipulation of his wife, she may even believe ‘oh he’s not as bad now that he’s finally gotten a competent EA’ and have depended on the EA’s presence to reduce her own abuse.

  7. Lacey*

    That sounds horrible. I’m so sorry you went through all that and I hope you’re able to recover from it quickly and with little collateral damage to your life.

  8. ---*

    Good grief OP, how traumatic for you – this guy is absolutely unhinged, and the fact that his wife is an enabler… yikes on bikes. Is there a Board to whom you can report this? I know it’s not your responsibility, and of course you should pursue damages — but this guy should not be able to stay in his job. Again, totally not your responsibility if you don;t have bandwith for it. I just shudder at the thought of him being able to do this to someone else.

    1. Artemesia*

      We don’t know his wife is an enabler; we don’t know his wife sent the request. I hope the OP gets serious therapy and couples counseling with her husband. This has got to be horrifying for both of them.

      1. ---*

        Right, and that is a very weird thing to do that crosses boundaries. Hence my point.

      2. Beany*

        I’ll go one further and wonder whether the CEO really *has* a wife. I looked back at the original letter, and I don’t see any indication that he was married. So I’m wondering whether OP has met or spoken to this wife, and could verify that she’s real.

        If the wife *is* real, her being involved in asking to see cut-up credit cards makes no sense unless she is also part of the company (and I feel OP would have mentioned that too, given the outrageously inappropriate nature of CEO’s demands).

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          He did that because he must have assumed OP had blocked his address.

      3. Worldwalker*

        Yeah, we don’t know his wife even *exists*. This guy seems more capable of inventing a wife than actually having one.

        1. pancakes*

          Do you think no one marries men who behave horribly? It’s weird to depict marriage as being a point in favor of being a good person. Dr. Mengele was married twice. The BTK killer had a wife and children. Harvey Weinstein was married. Bill Cosby still is. Numerous people here in the comments talk about their own abusive exes. Being married does not signify being a good person.

        2. Rain's Small Hands*

          I would think an EA would know whether or not he has a wife. It has been a long time since I was an EA, but I think I talked to Mrs. VP about four times a week – and as someone like the OP who did a lot of personal stuff for my executive (it was a LONG time ago when this was not QUITE so unacceptable) – knew she was on his bank accounts because I’d run to his bank, arranged for flowers to be delivered on her birthday and booked her plane tickets when they vacationed.

          Now, whether the wife sent the email is doubtful, but there isn’t a doubt she exists. Its also quite likely he has a pattern with women in the office that she is well aware of and has been burned on the credit card thing before – he doesn’t cancel them because without an EA he doesn’t know how – she steps in to do EA tasks every time one gets tired of his nonsense and quits – and is well aware of his behavior, but is more comfortable than she would be if she left due to the pre-nup and/or kids.

    2. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      If there is a Board, I’m sure they and the wife will get alerted when the OP sues.

  9. All Het Up About It*

    Man. The original letter was awful and turns out that the creepy awfulness was even WORSE than described. He said “Fight for us” and physically blocked you from leaving his orbit…. Reading that made me want to puke.

    I’m so happy that you are in a new role, OP. And I hope that maybe you can still save your marriage now that you are out of that situation. Either way, I really hope you have the ability to get some counseling, because you just escaped a really manipulative and abusive relationship, even though it was not romantic. (At least on your part.)

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      I’m kind of surprised airport security wasn’t called in, but maybe nobody was paying attention to the fight in the airport. Still, you’d think someone would have been concerned for OP’s safety, argh.

      1. bananaramafofana*

        That surprised me as well, I’ve seen airport security called for stuff far milder than it sounds like this was. But I tend to fly in and out of semi-small airports (MKE, KCMO) that don’t have huge volume of travelers. Maybe it was really busy there? But in my experience, they get called over very minor stuff.

        Scary, OP. I’m so glad you’re out. Of course be careful going forward, as this can be a dangerous time, but look forward to living a normal life at a new job!

        1. HMS Cupcake*

          Assuming that it’s this year’s SHRM conference, it was in New Orleans. Mid-sized airport, if it was flooded with conference attendees that are all returning home, it’s possible airport security might have been engaged elsewhere. Also, if it seemed like a private domestic fight, a lot of people might have ignored it (unfortunately).

    2. Observer*

      He said “Fight for us” and physically blocked you from leaving his orbit…. Reading that made me want to puke.

      Yeah. Some commenters on the first post were saying that maybe people were over-reacting and why does everyone think there could be physical danger, etc. I think the answer is right here.

      I am SO glad you are out of there!

      1. ferrina*

        The first letter did elicit a strong reaction, and I think those of us who have seen this kind of abuse first hand (either by being a target or watching a loved one go through it) immediately had the danger siren go off. The danger is very real. They have shown that they are comfortable using violence and they want control over you regardless of the cost (as long as you are paying). These are not safe people.

        1. kiki*

          Yeah, I think for folks who have been through this (or watched somebody close go through it), it’s clearer very early when stuff is headed down the wrong path. I’ve talked to some friends who’ve gone through similar situations and it’s weird how similar the patterns are for abuse and stalking and how innocuous some of the early signs can seem.

          1. Max*

            There’s a great book called “the gift of fear” that talks about how predators will weaponize politeness and people’s willingness to give someone the benefit of the doubt – rather than drawing firm boundaries. So much of “manners” puts the onus of making things “not awkward” on the people who’s boundaries have been violated rather than on the offender.

          2. Blarg*

            Yea, I had a stalker situation in the “early stages” and a lot of my friends were kind of dismissive, “cultural differences,” etc. To the point where I started questioning myself. Then he did a new creepy thing and a different friend texted “he’s had some practice.” And that was all it took for me to realize it was bad, he’d done this before, it wasn’t me, etc. I went to my boss and HR that afternoon. I was fortunate because it was fairly early on, and he was moving far away from where we lived (thus the escalation), and HR was incredibly supportive. I never heard from him or saw him again. A friend keeps him as a connection on LinkedIn for me, as we both work in fields that involve frequent moves, and I don’t want to accidentally end up in the same place as him. (It’s weird that after you have a stalker, you kind of have to keep track of them…)

        2. Lifeandlimb*

          Agreed. I’m actually surprised at the number of commenters who said they’re surprised it escalated to this level. Everything in the first letter screamed emotionally obsessed, controlling, and overly punitive. I grew up with a parent just like this, so…red flags all over.

      2. All Het Up About It*

        I think going back and looking at the original letter, you could maybe think that this guy’s behavior hadn’t escalated to the level it was obviously at. Because the OP kept some things back an individual could think that this guy was still in the grooming stage, but from this update, it’s pretty easy to see that the levels of control, stalking, manipulation and abuse were much further along than some people wanted to believe.

        But that’s not 100% shocking. It sounds like this guy was a pro. OP probably still doesn’t quite realize the levels of toxicity and abuse they dealt with. I really hope that the new role and (*fingers crossed they can swing it*) counseling will help them move forward from the trauma over the past several years.

        1. Worldwalker*

          He seemed to be a smooth and experienced operator. You have to wonder how many victims he had before the OP. Hopefully he’ll get nailed to the wall before he picks out his next one.

    3. Le Sigh*

      That line made my eyebrows shoot up. That’s something the lead in a rom com says (and half of rom coms depict red flag behavior as totally romantic and kooky). That is…not at all something you say to your staffer.

      LW please be safe. This guy worries me.

      1. Butterfly Counter*

        Yes, exactly. It sounds like he definitely had some kind of romantic ideal of what the boss/EA relationship should be like in Jerry Maguire or Two Weeks Notice (with him as the leading man) and OP wasn’t sticking to her script. Yikes.

  10. The Real Persephone Mongoose*

    He wanted to…..’fight for us’? THERE’S NO US!!!! OMG! He wasn’t using you as his emotional support animal! He was making you his de facto romantic partner! File that lawsuit. Figure out a safe way to dump the (very justifiable) anger you have so your marriage survives. Good luck to you and congrats on your escape. FILE FOR A RESTRAINING ORDER NOW!!! One that covers both him and his wife. She’s sounds like she is as wacked out as him.

    1. anonymous 5*

      All of this. I’ll admit I’m a bit surprised that airport security wasn’t notified when the guy tried to block her path. Either way, LW: file the lawsuit, get the restraining order, and LOTS of good wishes for being able to mend your marriage. You’ve come through hell and back again several times by now!

      1. Princesss Sparklepony*

        Likely security didn’t get involved because they saw it as a domestic situation. He was fighting with her as a lover not a co-worker. And no one likes to get into a domestic situation. Even police don’t like them. And from how he was fighting, he seems to have thought they were in a romantic relationship, onlookers would have taken cues from that. Now if he had struck her instead of just blocking her way, people then might have jumped in. Sad to say although understandable, no one wants to get involved.

    2. sookie st james*

      I agree about the restraining order, I have no idea what you need to provide to prove one is necessary, but if you can, it would be a good pre-emptive measure. As for suing him, I believe you’re WELL within your right to do so, but if you’re feeling exhausted at the amount of emotional energy this man has taken from you, remember you don’t have to just to prove a point or because you feel you should or whatever. He’s controlled you and taken enough from you – every decision from here on out is yours and should be in your best interests, whatever that looks like

    3. Pants*

      I’m so happy when I see people in the comments that have the same reactions as I do. It makes me feel like I’m not out in space, just freaking out about stuff.

      This guy is danger-crazy, OP. Please take care of yourself.

      1. Kat in VA*

        Predators like this rely upon the conditioning women have pummeled into them from a young age to second guess themselves, debate on “making a scene”, keeping sweet, and all the other behaviors ingrained into women so that dangerous men like him can continue to do the things they do.

        Better to be embarrassed or “overreact” than violently injured or worse.

    4. Miller _ admin*

      Agree with Mongoose. Please file for a restraining order and get out of town if you can for a week or two. Or stay elsewhere if you need be. Also, if use LinkedIn, I would recommend that you deactivate your profile for a few months. You do not want him to know where you are working. If you do file the restraining order; you do not want to be where he can find you. Also, anyone that you listed as an emergency contact at work; he’ll have access to their information. If he cannot get through to you; he may try to circle around through your family, friends and co-workers.

      This is one of those situations where you might be better off to move a few towns over, etc. Hate to say that; but the restraining orders sometimes make it worse for a short period. But than there is legal ramifications. I wonder about the person that held the position before you; what they went through? I do agree with filing suit against him and the company. Do not notify the board or any management what he was up to; they’ll circle the wagons and start lining things up to fight you in court.

    5. I&I*

      And even if there was an ‘us’, yelling at someone because they ran an errand on their own would be grounds for immediate decoupling! I wouldn’t do that to my spouse, and we’ve been together twenty years!

      OP, I’m so sorry he put you through all this. Please stay safe.

  11. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

    This is terrible, I hope that he ceases all contact now that you do not work there. If not I would definitely follow The Real Resephone Mongoose’s advice and apply for a PPO, bring ALL of the evidence to court.

  12. Important Moi*

    I think this happens far too often. I’m glad you were able to leave.

    “Fight for us” sounds utterly ridiculous to reasonable people but I’m certain he meant every word.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        I would go with “extremely creepy and very threatening.” Especially with the context of him trying to pick a fight in the airport.

        As for why the airport police weren’t called – depending on the airport in question, there may not be more than say a security guard company. The big ones like LAX, LaGuardia have port police that are present. The smaller, regional airports – not as much (because of budget reasons).

        *source – relatives who are in the aviation industry.

        1. ---*

          Yeah, it must have been so awful to go through that – I really feel for OP. You’d be in shock hearing something that unhinged and controlling!

        2. Worldwalker*

          Yeah, my usual airport (it’s so small, the passenger terminal only has two gates, if you count doors, or four, if you count signs) you could probably have a multi-person brawl in most areas and unless the person at the snack bar noticed, nobody else would either. I doubt if this one is *that* small, but there are a lot of understaffed regional airports out there.

    1. RuralGirl*

      Imagine the wife learning he said that to his EA. It’s so incredibly inappropriate that I am certain onlookers assumed they were dating. Having worked in a professional, stable environment for the last 6 years, it’s hard to remember how horrible some working conditions are.

      1. Etti*

        Research has clearly demonstrated that if a fight is perceived as a couple fighting others are much less likely to intervene than if it looks like strangers.

  13. ABCYaBye*

    I’m so glad you were able to leave! I hope that you … and you and your spouse… have an opportunity to work through the issues that this creep created for you with a counselor. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that you have a lot of people wishing you the best.

  14. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

    OP, if your ex boss knows where you work now maybe you should let someone know in case he tries to contact you there.

    Please make sure you have all sorts of documentation because I feel like this is not over (but I really hope i am wrong).
    please update us after you get settled in the new job and let us know how things are going. I hope through counseling that you and your husband can get better.

    1. Ms Marple*

      in our workplace, there is a policy which covers stalking – and details some actions the workplace can take – eg remind staff not to tell anyone who phones where you are (“she has just popped out to the shops”); screen calls, etc – to be agreed with staff member. maybe see what is in place in your new job to help keep it safe. All the best for a great new start!

    2. Ms Marple*

      in our workplace, there is a policy which covers stalking – and details some actions the workplace can take – eg remind staff not to tell anyone who phones where you are (“she has just popped out to the shops”); screen calls, etc – to be agreed with staff member. maybe see what is in place in your new job to help keep it safe. All the best for a great new start!

    3. Curmudgeon in California*

      I agree. After you start, please inform the new HR that you have a stalker, and name him, and ask that your fellow employees be reminded of security protocols. Most HR departments have no problem doing this, IME. If they balk (unlikely), point out that if something happened to you because of something the company did or didn’t do that they should have there could be liability on their part.

  15. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    Ho. Ly. Crap. The argument in the airport?

    If somebody is willing to start a shouting match, in a crowded public place like that, then they are unredeemable to me. And then blocking your path, to boot.

    1. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

      Yes, OP would have been well within their rights to have screamed for security when he pulled that. I wouldn’t have felt comfortable getting on the same air plane at that point.

  16. COBOL Dinosaur*

    I would fill your new job in on this guy. I can see him calling your new company to try and get you fired! Definitely get a restraining order in place.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Yeah – I suggested up above letting the new company know to see if it would be possible to have no publicly posted information about them.

      1. EPLawyer*

        This is an insult to bees. Bees give us honey and pollinate our plants so we have food to eat. This guy is just a parasite sucking the life out things. He’s like those bugs that get inside and control the brain. No use whatsoever and actively harmful.

        SO glad you are out OP. you go for it with your lawsuit(s). This company is bonkers, he is bonkers. His wife is bonkers. I will bet you anything she sent the email. Because he told her OP was stealing from the company. I highly doubt he told his wife he said anything like “I am fighting for us.”

        1. Jora Malli*

          I’m with EPLawyer. This guy’s not made of bees, he’s made of intestinal worms.

        2. calonkat*

          The “full of bees” is a reference to a Captain Awkward letter. It refers to abusive relationships as a house full of bees that keeps inviting you in. But the house is full of bees.

          I don’t believe the intention was to disrespect bees :) Merely to use their singular defense of stinging as a metaphor. Bees are indeed awesome, but not if they are filling a house that’s inviting you in, or a flesh suit trying to run your life.

          (you guys probably know that, but for any new readers…)

          1. Kat in VA*

            Hornets. Nasty hornets that sting until all their venom is gone and then keep right on poking holes in you because they’re jerks with needles on their butts.

      2. Jackalope*

        For those of you who are wondering where the bees reference is coming from, it’s originally from this Captain Awkward post:

        Trigger Warning: physical/verbal abuse

        Search for the post from Marie on January 9 2012 at 1:51 pm that explains where this phrase came from. (If you want to do Carl + F I recommend the phrase “Leave now mortal” since if you search her name it will give you a lot of hits.)

    1. She of Many Hats*

      Bees are beneficial and only attack when threatened.

      He’s a mentally unstable, narcissistic, controlling, aggressive canker that needs to be excised from your life and nuked to a cinder.

      As others have said, get all the protections into place that you can including notifying your new HR about the potential for him to cause drama for you at the new company. If there’s any overlap between industries or roles, he probably has the charisma or knowledge to wedge a way in based on his position w/in his company. He will want to burn your world to the ground if he can just for spite.

      1. Worldwalker*

        Y’know, I’d update my LinkedIn profile all right … with totally bogus, but realistic, information. Let him waste his time trying to track me down at a company that doesn’t exist.

  17. Observer*

    Three things:

    1. I am SOO glad you are out of there. Really glad! This man is terrible!

    2. Good for you for documenting what was going on. Keep your documentation. And if you get even a whiff of contact of him spying on you, use that documentation to get a restraining order from him.

    3. Counseling. For yourself and separately for you and your spouse. You’ve been through the wringer, and counseling can really help with the aftermath.
    Note- if you wind up with a counselor that blames you for any of this, or implies that you were stupid or something like that, leave and find another counselor.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      My only quibble with number two is that I wouldn’t wait – I would attempt to see if you can get that no contact or a restraining order Now – before the creep has a chance to deep six the new job.

    2. EPLawyer*

      Cannot echo this enough. If your counselor tries to blame you – GET OUT. Go find another reasonable one.

      1. ferrina*

        +1 Not all counselors are equal. Some are terrible and will victim-blame. Find a good one- you deserve it.

    3. MEH Squared*

      All of this. Also, OP, you were strong to stand up to him, even if you don’t feel like it now. It’s not easy to walk away from that, but you did it. Be extra careful because there may be an extinction burst. Sadly, he doesn’t seem like the type to let go.

      I’m glad to hear you’re out of there, but, man, that’s a lot to deal with.

    4. shrinking violet*

      “Keep your documentation.” Also, keep copies (multiple) somewhere besides your phone/computer/house. This guy is beyond looney.

  18. Lalitah*

    Wow… this was off the rails. This man was a master manipulator who had a one-sided emotional affair in his head that she was his possession (“fight for us” what??). Really makes you think about how many unhinged people are walking around and something sets them off to do these things to people under their authority or power.

    I am so glad OP is out of this nightmare and I certainly hope she can get mental health support for this because this is undoubtedly a traumatic event.

  19. Twill*

    This was like a horror movie! So glad you are out of there OP! Hoping going forward you regain your equilibrium and sense of normalcy. Best wishes to you.

  20. animaniactoo*

    Wow, LW. That is… just wow. Glad you are out of there, and I hope that you will be able to focus on your marriage and it recovers along with you in your new job and your actual free time being…. yours.

  21. CheerfullyCool*

    Happy that you got out of this weird entanglement! I hope things work out for you legally and you and your lawyer nail this CEO to the printer lol. He cannot think that his behavior was normal and someone (i.e. the LAW) should put him in his place so he can’t do this to other unsuspecting employees.

  22. President Porpoise*

    Oh wow, OP.

    Take up kickboxing to vent your anger and learn self defense? I really hope you’re able to get your life leveled out soon – it sounds like it’s been a bad time on a few fronts.

    1. ferrina*

      Kickboxing is a pretty good idea (a family member took this up after a bad marriage). Especially if you have to wait before you can get into counselling, a hobby like kickboxing can really help.

    2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I’ve heard forms of karate can also be good for control and focus.

      I can also say as a karate parent I’ve seen a lot of growth in the self confidence of Junior Orchestra from the time they started karate four and a half years ago till now.

  23. Typing All The Time*

    Glad you’re out of there, OP. I hope you’re able to get the help that you need. Also, consider retaining a lawyer if need be.

  24. Mauvaise Pomme*

    I’m so glad you got out of there! Just reading this spiked my blood pressure; I can’t imagine how it felt to live it. This behavior would be inappropriate and scary from a peer colleague, much less the CEO of the company!

    The mention of the CEO’s wife in this letter interested me. I wonder if she’s an enabler to her husband’s abuse of his employees, or if she has no idea what kind of boundary-crossing he’s engaging in?

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I know this is headed far into speculation, but I wonder if the wife really exists? I also wonder if the wife even sent that email as well.

    2. Irish Teacher*

      My guess is either he is using her account because he thinks the LW might not read messages from him or he forced her/pressed her to send it for the same reason. I can totally imagine this guy insisting on having access to all his wife’s accounts.

  25. anonymous73*

    So glad you got out, and while this dude is to the extreme inappropriate, please learn to set boundaries in your new job. No boss should be monopolizing your personal time outside of work. Period.

    1. Worldwalker*

      The problem is, like any abuse, it’s never that simple.

      He texts you one Saturday afternoon to ask where the Foozle report is. Next week, he does that a couple of times. A month later, he starts slipping in personal stuff as well as business. He increases it drip by drip. It’s not unexpected that your boss might need an answer to a business-related question when you’re not in the office, but people like this use that as the point of the wedge. It escalates from “routine” to “inappropriate” gradually.

    2. Kat in VA*

      Yeahhhh that’s not how things work with an EA position. Particularly to a C suite. It’s understood there’s a certain proportion of outside-normal-hours work that goes along with the position. I doubt he barrelled into it feet first but as Worldwalker noted, it’s a “frog in the boiling pot” scenario where he turned up the heat very very slowly.

      Put a different way: abusive people rarely come out of the gate swinging on the first meeting.

  26. JustKnope*

    I just want to echo the other comments recommending that you get into counseling ASAP! You need to reset your expectations of what’s normal in a workplace, release the anger you feel toward your ex-boss, and heal so you can move forward in a healthy mindset. Please don’t wait; this will be so helpful in taking care of yourself as you adapt to life outside this guy’s control!!

  27. M.W.*

    I had such a visceral reaction to the airport story. This man is unhinged. I hope you can find some peace after all this and echo what other commenters have said about counseling. Please be vigilant about your safety and continue updating if you end up pursuing legal action!

  28. toolittletoolate*

    This man is dangerous–I have a feeling he isn’t done yet… be careful.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Agreed – my sense is that the boss is going to get way, way worse before he gives up (or is made to give up).

    2. RC+Rascal*

      This is what I think as well. My hunch is he may try to come to your home. I would make a security plan for your house–whether that is an alarm system, baseball bat by the bed, giving the neighbors a description of his vehicle–anything that makes sense for you.

      1. Worldwalker*

        All of the above. Also notifying the local PD so they have it on record that you have a concern and, hopefully, will react faster if that concern is realized, such as if he’s on your porch demanding you open the door. (I mayh be optimistic here, but it can’t hurt)

        Don’t depend on the vehicle description — I can totally see him turning up in a family member’s car if the OP knows the one he usually drives.

        I have a Wyze video doorbell — one of its options, instead of a chime, is a barking dog. Something along those lines, but not tied to a doorbell, might help.

      2. Snuck*

        This is my guess too.

        I’m sorry to say OP but this is highly likely. Talk to a domestic abuse counsellor for strategies on staying safe.

        And remember – he might slink off for a month, but he also might pop up again in two or three months. He will eventually give up, but not because you ask him to, only because he will move onto someone else… eventually.

    3. Isabel Archer*

      Oh OP, I’m so sorry you endured this for so long. Unfortunately, I agree that it’s not over. And I second the recommendations to read “The Gift of Fear.” This man is counting on your belief that this won’t escalate beyond whatever has already happened. Even with all the evidence you already have, he’s counting on you believing there’s some imaginary line he won’t cross now, just because you’ve quit. Please, please take the excellent advice of the commenters who recommend you let your friends, family, neighbors, and new employer know what’s going on, so that none of them are caught off-guard and innocently give him information about you. Do get a video doorbell. Do consider moving. Get a new phone number, but also a new phone…keep the old phone/number active for a few months, and let him call and text the old one (never answer it, of course — in fact don’t even look at it. Turn it off and leave it in a drawer.). Finally, please do find a therapist, first for yourself, and then, when you have a better understanding of what happened to you, for you and your spouse. You’ve been through so much already…you shouldn’t have to lose your marriage due to this monstrous person. Take care, be safe, and please let us know how you are in a few months.

  29. Not Your Admin Ass(t)*

    His wife emailed me asking me to cut up my credit cards and send her photos for proof. That’s the last contact I’ve had.

    Not gonna lie, I don’t think I’d be classy enough to resist the temptation to mail back a photo of the cut-up cards that also contained my hand flipping the bird and a note that just said, “[Wife]: RUN FROM [HUSBAND].” (Or, if she’s as awful as her husband, I’d just set the self-timer and include both hands flipping the bird. Like I said. I’m not classy.)

    Not happy to hear this terrible thing has been affecting your marriage. D: I hope your husband isn’t being nasty too, and that it’s “just” mutual stress rearing its angry head. As someone who’s dealt with a vicious stalker for over 35 years, I really hope you will be okay. It’s never your fault that other people decide your boundaries and consent don’t matter.

    1. EPLawyer*

      I would send the pics of the card and OOPS accidently include a shot of all the personal messages from Boss.

      1. EPLawyer*

        but don’t actually do that. Don’t poke the bear. Disengage and only deal with this guy through lawyers.

        1. Worldwalker*


          The guy is trying to get you to engage with him. If you do it, no matter when, he takes away “I just have to text OP 47 times/pretend to be someone else/make promises or threats/whatever.” Which means he’ll do whatever “worked” over and over again.

          As EPLawyer said, deal with him only through your lawyer. Don’t talk to him, answer any emails, respond to contact of any sort. Just pass it all on to your lawyer and let them deal with it.

    2. ferrina*

      You need to treat the wife as dangerous until proven otherwise. Assuming that she’s a reasonable person who is being lied to and manipulated, she has likely been told that you are unhinged and will report every interaction to her husband. That’s best case scenario. She could also have her own issues going on, which could be as bad or worse than the husband’s. (Could it be worse? Unfortunately it’s possible…)

      1. Irish Teacher*

        And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he has access to her e-mail, phone, etc and may even have been the one who sent the message. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he were the sort of person who insists on having his wife’s passwords. Given how many boundaries he’s crossed with his EA, it’s very likely he crosses them with his wife too.

        I would assume that if you contact her in any way, he will see the message, whether because he is the one actually using the account or because he has access to it or because she tells him/shows him.

    3. Lady_Lessa*

      I thought of this. Cut up the cards, send them via traditional mail back to the woman or office, but use the return address of a store near a police station. One that the cops like to frequent.

    4. Not Your Admin Ass(t)*

      I hope your husband isn’t being nasty too

      Just jumping in to clarify that I hope your husband isn’t being nasty like your ex-boss is (as in, getting jealous and angry at you over this), not that I think you and husband are being mutually nasty to each other!

    5. Kella*

      On a more serious note, when it comes to obsessive, abusive, stalker types, ANY engagement, no matter how snarky or how well you “owned” them, will lead to escalation and prolong the problem. You can not shame or flummox or dominate them, though it may be tempting as a means of trying to reclaim your sense of power and autonomy. All contact is fuel and will lead to more abuse and boundary-crossing. Your power lies in your choice to disengage 100%.

      1. Snuck*

        Spoken like a person who has truly dealt with this.

        It’s never, EVER, wise to poke the beast. Just walk away. And know they’ll come back again and again, and instead of getting worried about it have a plan for it, so you can deal with it.

        I’m sorry OP. So many people fantasise about what they might do, or say they’ll respond in some way. Listen to the people who have actually lived this. Do not engage, walk. Run. Then walk. Rebuild slowly, lots of self care and counselling. Ask for help and lean on people you have been able ot trust for years. And give yourself three times longer than the relationship (at least, and yes, this was a relationship, you weren’t a willing participant sadly, but he made it one) to get through the first waves of anger, frustration, confusion and sense of loss. Big hugs to you, take care.

    6. Goldenrod*

      OP, I think you should file some sort of complaint and/or lawsuit against him, partly for closure but also because it would be an act of public service to prevent him from doing this to the next EA!

      The part that makes me sad is about your marriage. Surely your husband gets that this was not something you created nor encouraged? I agree with Not Your Admin Ass(t) – I hope your husband isn’t also possessive and controlling. He should have the maturity and kindness to understand that none of this was your fault!

      If he doesn’t….I would maybe reconsider the marriage too.

      1. Snuck*

        This is going to sound counter intuitive, but the OP really needs to weigh up whether the benefits gained from legal recourse will outweigh the risks and repercussions.

        Sure she might well win an amount in court, and I have no idea how much it would be (America does these things *wildly* differently to Australia, where if she can prove sexual harassment, stalking etc she’d be lucky to top out over AU$25k or so, or 6mths worth of salary), but the effort, pain, privacy exposure, repeated exposure to this man, whatever nastiness his wife or other minions cook up (intentionally or by deception) etc… over an extended period of time… might not make it worth it. He wouldn’t make it easy for her, and he might well tell some outrageous lies that won’t help the OP’s marriage issues at all. He is highly likely to drag her name through six states of mud, and do everything he can to drag the proceedings out and make them as expensive and vicious as he can.

        Should that stop her right to justice? No. But she might be happier just letting it all disappear and rebuilding. Having walked from a domestically abusive relationship, which this has all the hallmarks of, and having to explore restraining orders across multiple legal jurisdictions and hitting complex issues I realised that any attempt I made to really nail that bustard to the wall (even if it was just to stop him stalking me, including cross country flights) was just feeding his need for attention, and giving him more reasons to paint me as crazy/gaslight and to try to interact. Some people it’s just not worth tangling with, even for a lump sum that’d buy half a car. Justice can be a very steep price to collect.

    7. Not Your Admin Ass(t)*

      I got too busy with work to come back earlier and expand, but I’d also like to echo others. Fantasizing about what you’d like to do to your abusers is generally healthy fun. But since this is probably a new situation to you, I want to stress: definitely do not directly engage your ex-boss or any of his harmful cronies. The cops told me when I tried to get a restraining order that I had to tell my stalker exactly once, the next time he contacted me, to never contact me in any way ever again, directly or through a proxy. Then, I was to never speak to him or his ilk again, and report it to the cops when he violated my stated boundary. Now, the cops where I lived were so corrupt and also victim-blaming that I ultimately had to move across the country to leave my stalker behind, but “you must notify the person harassing you to stop after you talk to police (but wait till they contact your first)” seems to be pretty standard, from what I’ve heard of other stalking victims.

      1. Not Your Admin Ass(t)*

        To everyone: the reason WHY you’re not supposed to communicate with your stalkers and harassers, just save every single piece of metaphorical or literal dirt they send your way as evidence, is for legal cover-yourself reasons. If you end up in court due to your stalker, and you kept communicating with them–even to tell them to stop bothering you past that first time the authorities will probably want you to do–it will almost absolutely be used against you, in a “If you wanted them to stop, why did you keep talking to them?” way.

        In my case, I had to tell the stalker to leave me alone multiple times because the corrupt cops kept insisting I “didn’t do it right” even when I followed their instructions to the letter. When the case ended up in court, due to by my stalker’s lawyer and not mine, those same cops then insisted that I was “obviously a vengeful ex” of my stalker (who I’d never even met before he began stalking me) because…”Well, you kept talking to him! Why would you talk to him if you didn’t want his attention?” BECAUSE YOU F***WITS KEPT TELLING ME I HAD TO SAY THIS AND THAT AND THAT OTHER THING TO HIM…sorry. I still have some…resentments. (One of those cops died of a heart attack about ten years ago. I threw a party.)

        1. Etariel7*

          Seconding Not your Admin Ass(t) on not responding to Stalkers/Harassers. Gavin de Becker in the Gift of Fear discusses stalking and basically it boils down to the stalker sees that you respond after X number of texts (or calls or whatever) so the next time it’s X+1 texts. You keep engaging with them, so it keeps escalating. The correct response is to not respond at all, but leave some communication channels open to get evidence and keep an eye out for escalating behaviours.

          I highly recommend reading his book as he covers other things apart from stalking like school/workplace shootings and domestic violence in an informative and engaging manner aimed at letting you recognize the signs to hopefully prevent the tragedy.

  30. Cat Lover*

    Alert your new job, make sure they don’t post your name or picture anywhere. Trying counselling, if you can. Get a restraining order if you feel like it’s gotten to that point (it has).

  31. A Person*

    I am so very sorry you went through this. This sounds unbelievably toxic and traumatic. I suggest you document everything and keep it in a file in case he escalates and you’ll have something to hand over to police if you need a restraining order.

    I’m also so very sorry this is impacting your marriage. I hope you’ll consider both individual and couples therapy. You deserve to have happy, healthy relationships in your life, both in the office and at home.

  32. Juicebox Hero*

    Holy smokes, it was actually worse than your first letter made it sound which I didn’t think was possible. I’m so glad you’re out of that terrible place and you’ve been documenting everything all along. I always enjoy updates because I’m a nosy son of a bunnyrabbit, but in your case I was legit afraid for your safety.

  33. Unkempt Flatware*

    I’ve ended encounters like this by offering a well-placed and very serious, “You’re making a fool of yourself”. Grown men don’t like making fools of themselves even though they do it often.

  34. Dust Bunny*

    ” . . . fight for us . . . ”

    What the actual f-ing f?

    I am so glad you’re out of there and I would seriously consider filing that lawsuit. This is–if you’ll pardon the understatement of the month–bonkers.

  35. HufferWare*

    I’m so glad you got out! That dude was a complete psycho, I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with that situation and still dealing with the fallout. Wishing you all the best!

    1. Worldwalker*

      Was a complete psycho. Is a complete psycho. Will always be a complete psycho. And is probably already looking for his next victim.

  36. lost academic*

    You need a restraining order. Please investigate and don’t let anyone talk you out of it.

  37. learnedthehardway*

    WOW – What on earth is WRONG with some people?!??!

    I second the suggestion of making your new employer aware that your identify needs to be kept secure so this guy doesn’t track you down and show up at your work.

    Also agreeing that taking steps for your personal security is a good idea, and to go to the police if your ex-boss further stalks or harasses you.

    As for your marriage – not sure what the issue is there, but if you’re dealing with a spouse who can’t wrap their head around the idea that you are the innocent party in this, do read the riot act to your husband. And don’t let anyone tell you that you’re responsible in any way for the wackjob of a boss’s behaviour – that is ENTIRELY on him.

    1. Jora Malli*

      As a person with PTSD, I know that in the depths of my own pain and trauma, I caused some pain to the people who love me. I didn’t mean to, I didn’t want to, I was just so full of hurt and anger that it spilled out on the people in my orbit.

      OP wasn’t trying to cause pain to her husband, but he’s been there for all the ranting and venting and it possible that some of her coping mechanisms caused him some pain. I’m not saying that to be accusatory or to make OP feel worse about her situation, but I don’t want to just fling the husband’s pain and upset to the side just because he wasn’t the one in direct contact with the abuser.

      OP, I’m rooting for you and I hope that you and your marriage will recover from this.

      1. Kella*

        Another PTSD-haver here, yes, agree with all this. Also, when you’re going through that kind of emotional roller coaster, you have a tendency to shut down emotionally, which means being completely emotionally unavailable to the people who love you, in addition to being logistically unavailable due to the boss dominating her time. And when you’re in the recovery period, sudden waves of anger and irritability are extremely common and if you don’t have those under control, they can cause hurt to the people around you who are actually being exposed to them because you feel safe with them.

        OP deserves a massive amount of compassion. And, hanging out through all of that while having your own needs dismissed and put aside, for years at a time, can do a lot of valid damage to the partner of someone going through that.

        1. Cannibal Queen*

          Partner of a PTSD sufferer here. Can confirm.

          OP, so glad you got out of there. Sending you best wishes for a full mental, emotional and marital recovery.

    2. Observer*

      but if you’re dealing with a spouse who can’t wrap their head around the idea that you are the innocent party in this, do read the riot act to your husband.

      That’s an extraordinarily bad piece of advice. Neither of them need the “riot act”, they need help working through the legitimate anger the situation has caused.

      1. A Nonny Nonny*

        Yep, reading the riot act is bad advice. Compassion is key here.
        I had cPTSD and it led to severe anger issues. Luckily I had friends that rode the rollercoaster with me, but it was rough. Most don’t speak to me anymore. What you’re going through isn’t right or fair; what your partner is going through isn’t right or fair either. If you can afford it, individual counselling for you both + marriage counseling is ideal, but if not, prioritize treating the root cause- the PTSD. It might make sense for your spouse and you to give some distance in some way- just get some space to feel your feelings away from another person. It’s going to be a long road to recovery, and the timing will never be what we want. My journey started in high school, and it was 5 years of my cPTSD defining my life, then another 3-5 years of getting my feet under me and defining my life without the cPTSD. When I had another life tragedy strike years later, the cPTSD echoed back and I got MDD (depression). This time I recognized it and knew what to do, but it still took a few months to get the resources I needed. LW sounds aware, proactive and brave; these will help them push through in this awful journey they never signed up for. Good luck!

  38. Michelle Smith*

    Holy shit. I’m so sorry. It does sound like this was a one-sided emotional affair on his part. I feel bad for you and I feel bad for your spouse. I hope you guys make it.

  39. CravingLemonMeringuePie*

    PLEASE consider filing a restraining order against him.

    His knowledge of your address + your hefty documentation (kudos on that!) + your intent to file a lawsuit will be more than enough to grant the order.

    Imagine his reactions upon being notified of the lawsuit! If he emails or texts you after the order is filed & he’s served/notified, then he’s even more of a fucking idiot than already demonstrated — and will experience the consequences.

    I just dont trust that he would ONLY stick to phone or text. You need to block legal access NOW.

    Sorry if I sound heavy-handed, but I feel strongly about this.

    Big hugs to you, OP. When you’re able to, amidst all your other “life juggling”, please think about counseling for PTSD.

  40. Tex*

    I thought Boss was, at worst, a Stage 5 Clinger and you were slightly over reacting as a younger career person who was unsure of how to set and enforce work boundaries.

    He is so, so much worse than that. Not normal. Not even in the realm of normal. Best of luck with the new job.

  41. CravingLemonMeringuePie*

    Sorry if this is a dupe, but I dont see my comment, so will briefly share.)

    Please get a restraining order NOW: dont wait. He’s already shown who he is.

    Im worried about his reaction once he’s notified about your lawsuit. I urge you to act now, not later.

    When you can, please consider counseling for PTSD. This may be suggested in your marriage counseling.

    Sending you big, big hugs wrapped in fresh-baked cookies & accompanied by virtual purring kitties.

  42. DannyG*

    I worked with the local domestic violence shelter for 15 years. We offered free, outpatient counseling services. If you can’t afford private counseling that might be worth looking into.

  43. I'm Done*

    Please file a restraining order against him if he attempts to contact you and get therapy for yourself to deal with the anger. You stated that you’re already planning to take legal action against him, so good for you. But please, please be very careful. This guy is a full blown psychopath and I would be surprised if he lets you go that easily after investing all that energy in you. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. I’m hoping that you will get some justice for yourself and peace from this creep.

  44. Jean*

    HOLY SHIT! I certainly hope you are in therapy, and that this unhinged creep gets serious consequences for how he behaved. So, SO glad you are out of there.

  45. Interviewer*

    If I were a bystander in the airport witnessing that argument, I would have found you a new job before you got home.

    You are still suffering the lingering effects of the conflict and trauma, and understandably anxious about what happens next. Please allow yourself ample time to recover. Let your partner know where the boundaries are right now, and hopefully one day, you’ll have new ones.

  46. Flare*

    Good lord. This is bananas. My lines for personal virtual space are pretty loose (physical space: no thanks let’s not hug ever and I’d rather not shake, fistbump, knock elbows, etc unless we are actually quite close and/or in an intimate relationship, but virtual space, I’m okay with probably more than most people) and I am far, FAR past icked by this person. And I probably would have actually yelled for security in the airport, which would have involved strangers asking me if I was OK and ugh no thanks to that, too. I echo the other hundred people suggesting counseling and a restraining order, and I agree with others that asking New Job to help you take steps (no photos, no listing of your physical location, maybe a panic button in your office…) is a great idea.

    I hope your husband is able to ride this out. You have work to do, which is unfair, and so does he, which is also unfair, but none of this is your fault, and sometimes adulting means having to do unwanted work, so.

  47. TG*

    Wow I would go to therapy to unpack what he did and put yourself onto a path to not hold into the anger and let it go from that perspective.
    Next I think you definitely have a lot of evidence here for what you noted and should seriously consult an attorney. The therapist can also help with that when you unpack your feelings because I’m sure you’ve been traumatized!
    I can’t believe what you noted just in the update let alone the first letter. I’m so thrilled you have a new position.

  48. Pounce de Lion*

    This makes me wonder if the HR generalist/work buddy was really fired, or if she quit and those nasty stories (about being a liar and a tax fraud) were part of the CEO’s revenge.

    1. Kella*

      That was my first thought when I read the original letter. It sounded exactly like the kind of framing an abuser uses to isolate their victims.

      1. All Het Up About It*

        I reread today and that jumped out at me, for sure. This is a SKILLED manipulator and I’d look sideways at anything coming from his camp. Just like the posters above who are questioning if the wife even sent the credit card email.

      2. Worldwalker*

        Oh, she might have been fired — the CEO was trying to isolate the OP, and I wouldn’t put it past him. At-will employment means he doesn’t even have to have a good reason, not that I’d doubt for a second that he would make something up. Possibly something blaming the OP (“…and the OP is the one who reported you!” so she wouldn’t contact the OP outside of work.

        Y’know, when preparing that lawsuit, if I were the OP I’d tell my attorney about that whole affair, and have him contact the HR person to get her story; I strongly suspect it would be nothing like what the CEO claimed it was.

    2. Irish Teacher*

      My thought was that he was trying to isolate the OP by getting rid of the work buddy and making the OP think she was telling lies about her, but her quitting and him getting revenge makes sense too.

    3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Yup – I’d take any information that came from him in the past with immense skepticism- like a grain of salt the size of the rock of Gibraltar level of skepticism. Bashing the escapees is pretty textbook, because you don’t want the new victim to keep in touch with the old one.

  49. Beebis*

    Oh LW I’m so glad you’re out and can finally breathe again. Best of luck to you in your professional and personal life going forward

    Anyone else find it really weird that this guy’s wife emailed LW about cutting up the credit cards?

    1. ferrina*

      No. A Certain Toxic Person in my life would absolutely have his wife do the dirty work when he had been beaten. He would lick his wounds and wallow in his victimhood (because someone refusing to do exactly what he wanted was seen as an attack on him). His wife would then take his place in confronting their target, using different tactics and playing up the “but he’s so normal, and you’re so heartless!” She would either try to manipulate you into doing what he wanted/feeling terrible that you didn’t; or actively persuade you that you were psychotic for doing whatever normal thing that you did (it may sound silly, but it is deeply creepy to watch. It’s the movie Gaslight, and you do feel like you are crazy).

      The 2 vs 1 strategy isolates the target and uses peer pressure/multi-front attack to reinforce whatever awful manipulation they are doing.

      1. Sharpiee*

        Yes, there are definitely people who aid an abuser and do some of their dirty work for them. They’re often trapped in their own abusive/dysfunctional relationship with that person and don’t understand what is truly going on.

    2. Irish Teacher*

      I really wonder if it’s the guy himself using his wife’s account. I just bet he’s the type to insist on access to her passwords and he might think the OP wouldn’t read/reply to an e-mail from him so he’s using another account to try and get access to her. I could be wrong, but that was my immediate thought. Or he might be playing on his wife. She’s taken the company credit cards and has blocked my e-mail. Will you contact her for me?

  50. Princessa*

    Thank you so much for the update!!! I kept wondering what happened. I hope you’re able to save your marriage and move forward in a better place. I’m sorry you had to go through all that :(

  51. Maggie*

    This clown not only raises red flags, but sirens and flashing lights.
    Please report this lunatic to HR, the Department of Labor, IRS, and the company’s Board of Directors. Might as well report him to the FDA and EPA, and any other regulatory agencies you can think of. Back up all of your files and documentation in a few places (a device, cloud, and an external hard drive or usb) Call the police if he contacts you again.

  52. PhilosopherP*

    Oh hun, how awful.
    I can see both sides of filing complaints about him. Please consider your safety a priority, he’s completely unhinged.

  53. Kella*

    OP, I’m so glad you were able to leave and I’m sorry to say, this might not be over. He may wait until things have calmed down and attempt reconciliation, or he may escalate, or any number of things. I highly recommend you seek out some resources from stalking support groups and organizations about what protocols they recommend following to keep yourself safe (restraining order, safety plan at home, asking for additional security at your new job etc). And counseling for yourself regardless. I hope your marriage makes it through this awful experience.

    1. Sharpiee*

      This ^^^^^. I’m glad that you brought up attempted reconciliation on his part. DON’T believe that any attempt from him to apologize or “set things right” is genuine. It’s a manipulation tactic. My abusive ex kept sending me lovey dovey cards and presents through the mail. I didn’t acknowledge, thank, or even return them. Any of those things would have been a message to him that I’m engaging with or thinking about him. They’re gauging the mental real estate that they still take up in your head. They don’t care if that real estate is positive or negative, they can work with either.

      Radio silence no matter what he does.

  54. whatsupdoc*

    I may have watched one too many episodes of Criminal Minds but I can’t shake the feeling that you escaped a basement dungeon in his house. Particularly since his wife may have been aware of his behavior. Maybe she just handles the money side of the business but I find it hard to believe someone like your ex-boss can act like that and his wife not know something about it.

  55. Nonny Mouse*

    People are suggesting a restraining order… I’d just like to mention that in GIFT OF FEAR, Gavin de Becker recommends against restraining orders as they can provoke stalkers.

    1. Liz T*

      Yes, I’m a bit dismayed so many people are rushing to give that kind of (unsolicited) advice.

      1. pancakes*

        The advice not to get one is often repeated here, and that’s not solicited either.

        1. Liz T*

          In response to the OP saying they’re getting one? Yes, that’s not good behavior either.

          If it’s in response to a commenter’s out-of-left-field suggestion to get one, that’s hardly comparable.

      1. Books and Cooks*

        Is the person who wrote this essay a safety or legal expert? A domestic violence expert? I’m not sure why she’s seemingly being cited as an authority on the subject, or why her opinion of the book is “an update to how the book is received” by the general public that should overrule the opinions of other commenters here. Is there some other aspect of her/her career that isn’t mentioned on that page?

        I’m not trying to derail, I’m wondering what I’ve missed.

        1. pancakes*

          Opinions don’t become “overruled” simply by being spoken or linked to. Your questions about expertise are reasonable, but it isn’t a substantive comment on restraining orders to suggest that someone linking to an alternate take on their value has somehow “overruled” other people’s takes simply by existing. That is derailing.

      1. Observer*

        It’s a good question if there is something the OP can do at this point, at least from the legal angle.

        Someone suggested calling a DV organization, and I think that that’s a good idea, as they would probably have a good idea of the best way to navigate this.

      2. pancakes*

        No one here has enough facts to give solid, actionable advice on this without answers from her to follow-up questions, which would be too revealing to get into here. What jurisdiction is she in? If I’m not mistaken we don’t even know what country she’s in. People who want reliable legal advice need to speak with a lawyer, not with an online crowd.

      3. Liz T*

        Probably very little, as OP’s boss hasn’t done anything illegal (as far as I can tell). Aren’t credible threats of violence, at minimum, required to get the law involved? (Of course the law often won’t actually help even when violence has actually occurred, but that’s a separate topic.)

  56. Bill and Heather's Excellent Adventure*

    I’m glad you’re safe, OP. I hope your marriage can recover now you’re out of that awful situation and that therapy helps.

  57. Happily Retired*

    To quote Alison’s first sentence in her reply to the original letter: “Get out get out get out”

    OP, I thank God you got out!

    Now, to echo some comments above and add a few:
    (1) Get a restraining order against him and his wife (whether she’s actually participating or even exists.)
    (2) Alert your new job.
    (3) Please lawyer up, and when you do, alert her/him to the firing of the HR generalist. That should make any attorney’s ears perk up.
    (4) Get into therapy, joint if possible but individual if your husband won’t go.
    (5) Print out both of your letters, Alison’s reply to the first, and all the comments to both, and get your husband to read them. No one who has gone through this truly “gets it”, and losing your marriage because of this psycho’s behavior would just add another level of tragedy.

    Best wishes to you, and let me just say that you are my new personal heroine for fighting back against this disgusting, manipulative, destructive piece of human trash! {{{{{hugs}}}}}

  58. Nomic*

    LW, I’m so glad you got out of the initial situation. I hope your marriage can survive this; I support the others who say that therapy may help. You were absolutely in an abusive situation, and need help recovering from it.

    Since you have documentation, it’s not too soon to file a restraining or protective order. Better safe than sorry.

  59. Fried Eggs*

    I think it says a lot about the vibes this guy gives off that this update left me wondering what the abusive boyfriend I had in college is up to now.

  60. ProducerNYC*

    The “fight for us” quotes made the hair on my neck stand up. YIKES. His behavior is so inappropriate, and as someone who is new to the work force I can see how bewildering and confusing that could be. OP, I’m so glad you’re out. I echo the previous suggestions for seeing a counselor/therapist, not because you’re ‘broken’ or there is something wrong with you, but because you literally were gaslit and emotionally abused by someone in power over you, and that can totally throw off your sense of self, your ability to read situations, your ability to trust others, etc.

    Wishing you all the best as you go forward, and thank you so much for taking the time to send this update.

  61. Meep*

    “he does know where I live because he insisted on picking me up for meetings in my area so we could drive together”

    I am glad you got out, but I do want to point out something for anyone who is in employee relations (whether HR or upper management). My creepy ex-manager got my home address through my employment file. She hasn’t done anything with it yet, but it has been a real concern about her showing up. It is possible that he could’ve also gotten your address from yours if you refused. Making sure only the ~right~ people have access to that information is very important.

      1. Meep*

        Exactly. OP shouldn’t beat herself up. He had the info. He probably played the game so she would have to give it to him “willingly”. Which is gross in itself, but 100% preventable if companies do a better job at keeping private employee info private.

  62. Lady Knittington*

    I’m also going to agree with the suggestion of counselling. Partly because I don’t want your marriage to fall apart because of that idiot and partly because I want you to be able to enjoy your new job without memories of the old job causing you unexpected trauma and flashbacks.
    I’ll also say from personal experience the toxic jobs that I’ve raised complaints about are the ones that I have been able to leave behind more easily. I absolutely understand why you wouldn’t have the capacity to take legal action but I really hope that you do, as I think it’ll serve you better in the long run.
    Good luck!

  63. Tiger Snake*

    Who else remembers that the HR Generalist – who is also a woman and who the OP was close with – was fired in a big blowout where she was revealed to supposedly be a “pathological liar” who had never really been the OP’s friend in the first place?

    Who else wants to take bets about what everyone in the CEO’s life and rest of his company are going to hear about the OP and why she’s gone?

  64. Bookworm*

    OMG, OP. This was a scary read and I’m so glad that you’re out of there. I’m so sorry that happened to you.

  65. Carbovore*

    A late reply to this but in case no one suggested it, LW, you may want to change your display name on your socials. I had a friend who encountered some nasties at a previous job and started using another last name (maiden name of her mom) and a different version of her first name (Think “Kate” instead of “Kathryn”). She made most stuff totally private overall but it could help if you still need to use some of these platforms. I think she even started using the new name as her professional name on CVs, applications, etc.

  66. Gary Patterson’s Cat*

    OMG! I am so sorry you had to go through something like this in the workplace. This is some next-level harassment and stalking. From what you’ve described, I’d even say it had potential to lead to violence if this guy feels thwarted enough. Please consider a restraining order and watch your back.

    And why on Earth were they insisting you owe the company money? For going to a 7/11? Even if you did, that’s a normal travel expense kind of thing.

  67. Not So NewReader*


    OP, I am so very sorry you went through all this. And you are still going through it as you probably sleep with one eye open.

    These people will try to drive a wedge in to their targeted person’s relationships. And it seems that he has done this twice so far with you. I suspect that will stop.

    It would be interesting to compare notes with your former cohort. I bet she has a story also.

    Do drag the police into this matter. At least go down and get someone to take a statement from you. In NY you have to have active charges in a court to get an order of protection. I am sure other states are different. Here we can ask police to drive by our houses at random times. They will do random checks like that. If you don’t have a door bell cam, consider investing in one. Eh, I have even considered putting up cameras- fake ones that aren’t wired to anything, and I don’t have your worries. (I do have a tight budget.)
    Oh yeah, and don’t be afraid to tell police that you even wrote AAM asking for advice. Ask them to keep this part confidential.

    Not a lot of comfort, OP, but there are a bunch of people here very concerned for you. I hope you write in again in a little bit and when you can to let us know how you are doing. I re-read your original letter and your tone has changed. Some how you sound stronger? Not sure if that is the word I want. But you sound like you have more direction or more deliberate footsteps. You’ve been through a lot in a very short time. I think your responses to crisis are right on the mark- bring in other well-chosen people to help find a path. I am glad you are doing that.

    It only takes one person to derail our lives but it takes many people to get our lives back on track. Keep reaching out wisely as you have been doing. And picture a whole bunch of people routing for you.

  68. A_Jessica*

    OP I hope I don’t come off as to alarmist but seriously have cameras front and back and start considering moving.

    1. pancakes*

      From the letter: “. . . I do already have a security camera system in place.”

  69. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

    Dear god this guy is messed up. Good that you have documentation, make duplicates.

    Speak to a lawyer, get a restraining order and get counselling for yourself and marriage counselling.
    Do all of this this week.

    Go no contact with him and keep documenting any escalation on his part.
    Plus is his wife in on this?

  70. Jess*

    OP, I’m so glad you got out! Please update us again in a few months if you can/want to – I know I’m not the only person who wants to hear that you are doing well!

  71. LilPinkSock*

    That’s so creepy and terrifying. Glad you’re getting out! I wonder why Creep’s wife contacted you about the credit cards? Getting his family involved in the mistreatment is a whole extra level of vindictive.

  72. Books and Cooks*

    Oh! I may be overreacting a bit to this, but OP, I’d also recommend you put a “lock” on your credit report. (I may be calling it the wrong thing, but it’s basically where if anyone applies for credit in your name and with your information, or accesses your report, you’re notified and asked to confirm it’s you.)

    CEO has all the information about you he needs to mess with your credit (which is messing with your life), and to potentially gain access to other confidential or privileged information. And he certainly seems obsessed and controlling enough to do that kind of thing! So please, get whatever privacy guards or LifeLock-type systems or whatever else to protect yourself.

    And I definitely agree that you should notify your new boss about this and ask about removing your info from the company site, if it would be put there. You don’t need to go into all the details, just quickly and flatly give the pertinent facts, i.e. “My former employer developed a fixation on me, and has been calling and texting me dozens of times a day. He has made some threats, as well. I am in the process of taking legal advice [or whatever stage that is in at this point], and I am getting through it, but I wanted to make you aware of the situation just in case.” They might have suggestions or ideas, or policies in place that could be helpful to you.

    (Others here might have other or better wording for this. My main concern is him calling up and telling lies about you, or harassing your new employers or coworkers, or otherwise just trying to interfere with your work and destroy your reputation.)

    I really hope you and your spouse can work things out, if that is what you want. Best of luck to you.

  73. Len F*

    Oh my god. I’m so sorry, and so happy for you that you at least got out of there.

    He needs to be behind bars.

  74. Aunty Fox*

    Jesus OP. I’m so glad you are out. Stay safe and definitely file a detailed complaint so the company knows what he’s been doing. I hope your marriage makes it through (assuming that’s what you want) and I’m very glad you are feeling more optimistic and hopeful.

  75. Elbie*

    Wow! We are going to need an update to the update at some point moving forward. Your (former) boss is clearly unstable and I am so glad that you are on to better things!

    Take care of yourself during this time. It may take a while to get over it and process.

  76. LurkingLibrarian*

    Just another voice chiming in to say I’ve been worried about you since your original post and am so glad you are out of that appalling situation. Nothing new to add to the advice of others, just lots of good vibes for safety and healing and moving forward to better things.

  77. That One Person*

    That line about him wanting to “fight” for the two of you is definitely a breaking point. Not that the rest of it isn’t – the guy was very much trying to erase that professional line despite being married (like wth?!) but it sounds like he was so deep into a fantasy he forgot there wasn’t really a relationship there. In fact thanks to his creepiness and stalker tendencies there wasn’t even a professional one anymore. I really hope he gets hammered hard in the case against him, but ultimately glad you’re out and somewhere else.

  78. LadyPomona*

    Good riddance to bad rubbish, as the old saying goes! I’m SO glad that you’re out of there!

    And your former boss didn’t want you to do “emotional caretaking” or to be his emotional support person. He wanted you to be his side-piece; he was trying to groom you by asking you intrusive personal questions, flattering you by telling you that he’d waited ever so long for the right person (you) to take the EA position and forcing you into physically close contact with him by insisting that you go with him on every work-related trip. None of this had anything to do with your job. He was trying to set up a situation in which you’d go from emotional to physical intimacy without his making a crude and obvious pass that would immediately be seen as the sexual harassment that it was. Good for you for not falling for any of it!

  79. Old Admin*

    *starts reading the update*
    Oh God!
    *reads some more*
    Oh my God!!

    *reads all of the update*

  80. Etti*

    I would have lost it when the wife contacted me and said ‘why can’t you keep your pervert of a husband under control. Do not contact me again or you will be part of the restrainng order’.

  81. Hapax Legomenon*

    I am so glad you got out. Your first letter scared me and it is a relief to have an update so fast that you’re leaving this person.

    The anger you’re feeling is very understandable. I saw a quote a few months back that described your anger as coming from the part of you that knows the way you were treated was very wrong and deserve better–that the anger wants you to be treated well because it comes from a part of you that loves you. You have been through something awful, and dismantling the strategies you had to use to survive is a lot of work. I hope that anger empowers you to make the changes you need to move forward and then transmutes to more positive emotions.

  82. yala*

    ‘insisting that he wanted to “fight for us”’


    Lord have mercy, EVERYTHING about this is so creepy. Like, that man needs to be on a LIST.

  83. Liz T*

    I think people suggesting restraining orders have a wildly unrealistic idea of the circumstances under which the law is willing to protect women from men.

    1. Princesss Sparklepony*

      Very true. And what it takes to get one. The police will say – you no longer work there, what’s the problem? Unless the old boss starts showing up at her house, she sadly doesn’t really have a case for a restraining order. Now if he does start showing up and depending on his actions (which would have to be bad), she may be able to get one. Not that they do much good.

  84. Anon for This*

    This guy sounds like a combination of the ultimate creepy boss and a velociraptor.

    For those who wonder if the wife even exists, a number of names were mentioned of men who you wouldn’t think could possibly be married, but they are. One couple I didn’t see on the list is Clarence Thomas and his wife, Ginni “Release the Kraken” Thomas.

  85. I Hate It Here*

    “To fight for us”??? What us???

    This isn’t a personal romantic relationship. NO means NO. It’s a whole sentence in and of itself.

    That person needs a mental health intervention and OP needs to get far away and a get a restraining order.

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