bad crush

Reader O. F. writes:

My boyfriend works as a manager at a movie theater, and his employees are all a lot younger than he is. One of these younger employees is a 17-year-old high school girl who obviously has a major crush on him. She’s befriended him on Facebook and got his cell phone number somehow and is sending him flirty text messages. Obviously I don’t think she’s competition for me or anything, but it’s annoying to me. What can I do?

Dear O.F.:

he loves me not...

He loves me... He loves me not... Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

First of all: ewwwww! Your boyfriend let her friend him on Facebook? Is she a “limited profile” viewer at least? That’s disgusting. Maybe it strokes his ego to have a not-quite-legal girl lusting after him, but it’s extremely tacky and inappropriate to even indulge a little bit in the fantasy, I think. Ick.

Technically, as her manager, he should be drawing lines between personal and professional, especially since she’s so young. I can maybe see why she would have his cell phone number for emergencies. Maybe. MAYBE. But if she’s sending him personal text messages and flirting, he needs to tell her to stop.

Unfortunately, you can’t make him tell her to stop. Knowing men as I do, if he’s already let her be friends on Facebook and has no problem with her having his cell phone number, you asking him to put an end to the stupid flirtation is going to elicit a response you’re not going to be happy about. Be prepared for “you’re overreacting” and “what, it’s just stupid fun” and “who cares if she has a crush on me”.

He should care. He should realize how utterly devoid of moral character it is to indulge a young girl’s fantasies, especially if it’s just for his own ego, and even moreso if he’s in a position of professional power over her.

And in other news, how crazy would he go if you were openly allowing flirtation from someone who clearly liked you, regardless of their age? He’s not considering your feelings in this at all. He gets a D- in boyfriendage, in my book.

However, I don’t know the guy personally, and I can’t say much about whether he’s just trying to be nice, or is enjoying the attention, or whatever. Maybe there’s a Facebook culture at his work, or people are particularly friendly, or something, and it would be odd if he wasn’t friends with the girl on Facebook or didn’t have her contacting him via text. If he’s got her on limited profile for Facebook, and he never responds to her flirtation, maybe I could let it slide and tell you to suck up your jealous pride and remember he’s chosen you, anyway.

Nevertheless, it seems ugly to me. You may have to swallow your pride and conquer your jealousy, but I’d say at least tell your partner how you feel. Don’t let it fester if you’re annoyed. Maybe he’ll realize it’s bugging you and change his mind about letting this go on. Listen to what he says, too, and see if you can see things from his perspective. Maybe he can rationalize the relationship to you to make you feel better about it (though I doubt it). If you’re in love, give him the benefit of the doubt.

But just let him know that your advice columnist finds it tacky, unprofessional, and ridiculous, from an outside perspective. And that I think he’s being more selfish than friendly.


9 Responses to “bad crush”

  1. 1 Josh
    August 25, 2010 at 11:05 am

    A 17 year old girl? Whom he supervises? You can add an advice columnist reader to your advice columnist in the group of people who think he’s being a major creep.

  2. 2 paul
    August 25, 2010 at 11:52 am

    creepy. I will add 1 thing in this guys defense, he may be totally oblivious to the fact that she’s flirting. we’re good at being oblivious. you might want to point it out to him. if he knows, and hasn’t done anything bout it, then wow. total creep.

  3. 3 Tim
    August 25, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Yeah, he’s being a total creep, and a lousy boyfriend. But I have a solution: give me the girl’s number so I can send her flirty texts. This way, everyone wins! 😀

  4. 4 dusty m.
    August 26, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Unfortunately (at least from my perspective) it just sounds like your boyfriend is letting the flood gate open. If he just starts putting on one poor girl (especially one who is only 17), who knows what else is up to. Or what else he’s thinking about doing.

    While I would never tell anyone what to do, it sounds like this dude could go.

  5. 5 Tim
    August 26, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    In all seriousness, I think you guys are blowing this a little out of proportion. The fact that O.F. is aware of all the details leads me to believe that her BF is being open and honest with her. No doubt the puppy-love of this teenager is flattering and ego-gratifying to the guy, and he’s being a little self-indulgent by allowing it, but it’s not like he’s cheating with the girl or abusing his authority (for whatever that’s worth–it’s a movie theater, for chrissakes) to coerce anything out of her. And if indeed the shoe were on the other foot, some seventeen year old boy had a little crush on O.F. at her place of work, and was sending her awkwardly flirty messages, then yes, the BF would be equally annoyed, but he would not “go crazy” if he had anything resembling an adult level of maturity. These things happen, but they tend to pass just as quickly.

    I wouldn’t give the guy a D-minus (or a fail, as some are suggesting) but a solid C: not good, not bad, just predictably average. Does he need to improve? Yes. Should he be put on academic suspension? No. Unless this situation progresses into something more serious, that is… Like if she found out he had a secret apartment he’d been renting for a couple of months. Now THAT is a deal breaker.

    • August 26, 2010 at 1:49 pm

      I was talking with a friend some time ago about how the girls at the high school where he teaches were hitting on him and he didn’t know how to react. The fact is, in our day and age, adult men have to do whatever it takes to be above suspicion. If anyone even has a slight idea that he could be abusing his power in that situation, his career (and his life, possibly) could be totally over. I told this friend it was his responsibility to make sure that he’s never alone in a room with a teenage girl, especially with the door closed, and that he needs to make clear to her that flirting is not appropriate. Same goes here. Regardless of how it is to your ego, it is simply inappropriate to allow someone who is technically underage to pursue anything romantic-seeming, and not just because it’s icky — but because he could get in a lot of trouble.

      • 7 Tim
        August 26, 2010 at 3:53 pm

        Technically, the age of consent in New Mexico (and most states) is 17, so even if he does sleep with her (which hopefully he doesn’t) it would not be criminal, but merely highly unprofessional. He could be fired if the situation got out of hand, but the comparison between the responsibilities of a HS teacher and a movie theater manager is a little drastic.

        How much older is the guy any way? If he’s 25, it’s a little different than if he’s 50, wouldn’t you agree? At least as far as the ick factor goes. And again, as far as we know, his only sin is that he’s not discouraging this young lady as quickly and as thoroughly as his girlfriend would like. Everyone here is real quick to label this guy a “creep” when (as far as we know) he’s only accepted the girl’s FB friend request and received some flitry texts (we don’t have any idea how or even if he responded). It would appear that the girl is attracted to him, and making unsolicited advances, NOT the other way around.

        Unprofessional? Yes. Unfair to GF? Sure. Creepy? Not really. Criminal? Not even a little.

  6. 8 sofia
    August 30, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    “Knowing men as I do”…
    She really does. She’s good friends with a LOT of men. Kat knows ’em.

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