Husband Slammed for Not Shutting Down 'Flirtatious' Woman at Work

A husband has come under fire after his wife discovered he has continued to be friendly with a woman from work—despite her flirtatious behavior previously crossing the line.

Casual flirting can happen in the workplace. A study from Washington State University (WSU) suggests it may actually be beneficial to easing stress among employees.

A woman looking flirtatiously at a man.
Stock image of a man looking at a woman - a husband has been blasted for failing to warn off a woman at work who flirted with him. Sjale/Getty

The research, led by WSU Assistant Professor Leah Sheppard, focused on what was described as "positively experienced social sexual behavior in the workplace" such as light-hearted flirtation or banter, rather than unwelcome acts of sexual harassment.

Through a series of surveys involving hundreds of works from the U.S., Canada and the Philippines, researchers were able to conclude that most employees felt positively about flirtation in the workplace.

Sheppard explained: "What we found is that when flirtation is enjoyed, it can offer some benefits: it makes people feel good about themselves, which can then protect them from stressors in their lives."

But there are instances when flirtation can spill over into something more serious. One married woman became aware of such an instance almost a year ago.

Writing in a post shared to Mumsnet under the pseudonym ettiespaghetti, she explained that her husband came home one night to reveal a woman at work had "progressively been getting more and more flirtatious."

Her husband said it had "started as work banter but escalated to her declaring how much she fancied him." In fact, he said she even "propositioned him for sex."

Though he told her he was "wracked with guilt" and "upset" over the incident, his wife recently noticed several "texts back and forth" between them on his phone. Her suspicions were raised further when she then noticed the messages had been deleted.

When she confronted him over the deleted texts, he insisted that he got rid of them because he didn't want her to "worry," yet later that same week was out at a work event that the other woman also attended. Unsure about what to do, she turned to Mumsnet for advice—and got plenty of it.

Many suspected that her husband may have already cheated and urged her to take action. "Kick him out and change the locks," planetme wrote, with Hop27 in agreement, commenting: "He's told you so he can blame her when he gets caught out. Kick him out now."

AgathaX took a more moderate view, suggesting that, at the very least, her husband was wrong to continue speaking to the woman after what happened. "He's put no boundaries in place and continues to encourage her behavior," she said. "He should have left her in no doubt that her advances were inappropriate and unwanted, but he hasn't."

Supdercali77 said the wife should have taken more action when her husband first told her what happened. "Why did you not make it a condition of being with you that he doesnt continue to privately message her or hang out alone?" she asked. "Its a totally normal thing to request if she's making sexual advances."

DebtheSander, meanwhile, felt that whatever the truth, he had gone too far. "At the very least, he enjoys the attention he gets from this woman and is actively encouraging it by having contact outside of work," she said. "But most likely, he has already done stuff."

Elsewhere HopefullyOneDay voiced their suspicion that the husband was maybe not giving his wife the full story. "Sounds unlikely that it's all her," they warned. "That rarely happens. He is most likely fully cooperating in and enjoying the flirtation."

Newsweek has contacted the original poster for comment.