Q I began seeing my boss romantically outside of work. After a while, I decided I didn't feel the same way anymore and I don't see myself going anywhere with him in the future. So I started canceling our dates and haven't been answering his texts or calls after work. He has resorted to scheduling us on the same shifts so that we can be together. I try to keep the conversation about work, but he keeps asking about us. I told him there is no us. As long as I'm working there, I don't think he is going to let go of this relationship. Finding a job right now is hard enough, so I can't afford to quit. I know I put myself in this situation, but I shouldn't be stuck, and he isn't giving me much of an option here. -- Can't Be Dumped
A What an awkward situation at a stressful time. The reality, though, is that your boss may be in more of a precarious position than you, depending on the size and infrastructure of your company. It sounds like he is harassing you. That is not acceptable, and it is actually considered a crime. You should go to human resources -- if you have that department -- and report your situation. Be honest. You willingly got involved with your boss, but you no longer want to be romantically tied to him. He is unwilling to let go. You need your job and do well at it, and you want to be comfortable doing it without the pressure of his advances. A human resources executive or top-level manager should be able to support you through this. Their job is to protect the company. If this relationship can potentially hurt the company, you will be protected. You may want to speak to a lawyer before talking to HR, though, to ensure that your rights are top of mind and you do not get scapegoated.
If you work for a small company without HR infrastructure, you are more vulnerable. Get a lawyer who can speak for you to your boss's boss. The threat of legal action may get him to stand down. You will be left somewhat vulnerable, but it will be hard for them to fire you if you formally lodge a complaint against him. You actually can take him and the company to court if he doesn't stop.
Q I have a friend who is a devotee of LinkedIn. Whenever I talk to her, she asks if I have checked out what she has posted on this site. I use Facebook and hardly ever even look at LinkedIn. I get that it is supposed to be good for work, but I am retired. Plus, I should be able to use whatever social media I want. But my friend tries to make me feel bad for not looking at her posts and liking them. I consider her to be just as obnoxious as the people on Facebook who disparage me for not staying on top of their posts. Enough already. I do not want to be attached to any of this. How can I get them to let me be? -- Too Much Social Media
A You may choose to do whatever you want. If you were active in the working world, I would agree that LinkedIn could be helpful. Since you are not, you have no need to participate in that space -- or any other.
What's good to know, though, is what your friends and family find important in terms of communication. If you want to stay connected to them, you may want to visit their social media pages occasionally and post some kind of friendly acknowledgment. This will show that you care enough to meet them where they are.
New husband doesn't respect wife's opinion
Q My husband and I are newlyweds in our late 20s, and we are just moving in with each other into his current apartment. We are planning to buy a home together. Before getting married, he was all for making me happy and letting me decide on things like the type of home that I want. Now that we are married, things are different. He is telling me that there are things to consider that I, as woman, do not understand. I get that he may have certain concerns about the homes I choose, but he will not share his thoughts with me.
He is trying to make the decisions for both of us, and that's not how we should work. I feel unseen and unheard. He's trying to control this whole situation, and I don't recognize the man I fell in love with anymore. It's like this role of being the husband has gone to his head. I just want my best friend back. How do I shake him out of this? -- Downhill Newlyweds
A The roles of husband and wife mean different things to different people, based on their upbringing and experience. Clearly, your husband seems to be drawing upon his understanding of what a husband should be and do as he navigates this big decision. You two need to get to an understanding of how you will work together as a married couple and family based on who you are. You need to talk. Ask him to explain to you what's in his head and what he wants for your marriage. In turn, share with him your vision of married life. Talk to him about expectations. Talk specifically about the house you want to buy. Work to get him to agree that you should both be part of that process. This is a key decision that should not be the sole responsibility of either of you.
Q Last month I found out that my boss was an alcoholic. It came to my attention that he had begun drinking again, and it was clear to me that it was affecting his job performance. I work in a warehouse with machinery, and it is extremely unsafe to work under the influence. I went to the board to make a complaint, and he was removed temporarily from his position; our district manager offered the higher-up position to me. I never imagined being offered a promotion.
Now my co-workers are beginning to whisper, saying that I turned in my boss in order to steal his job, but that is not how it went. I want everyone to trust me and not think I am a sneaky liar. I was thinking about stepping down, but the salary and benefits are great, and I love having the extra responsibility -- despite the rumors. Was I wrong for accepting this job? Or should I work hard and ignore the whispers? -- Job Climber
A You should keep your job and work to gain your co-workers' respect. Unless it has been made public to them what happened with your former boss, you cannot talk about his alcoholism. Instead, talk about safety and efficiency at work. Do not address rumors. Through your efforts and attitude, show them that you are a leader and that you can inspire them to do good work. Ignore the rest.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.