My assistant, Beth, is a pretty, relatively conservative young lady. Honestly, I hired Beth because of her professional attitude, but I have to admit her looks were an added bonus to the workplace. About three months ago she married, Steve, a fellow she had been dating for five years. In the few times I met Steve, I could easily see that he was lot more adventurous than Beth. Steve easily joked about sex, swinging, and public nudity. Beth never brought up sex in public and seemed very repressed. In fact, in the three years we worked together, we actually never touched. It was odd that she married Steve, because he seemed turned on by putting his wife on display. When he would refer to Beth as his "hotwife", Beth would squirm a bit, then smile. Steve was definitely pushing Beth to explore her limits. I got the feeling that while Steve made Beth uncomfortable, she was a little turned on by it.
Last week, Beth seemed on edge. I was worried her workload was too much for her, so I asked her about it, "Beth, is everything OK? You seem pretty tense this week."
"I't's not work; it's home.", Beth replied.
"OK, do you want to talk about it?"
"It's Steve. Hey, what do you think of Steve?", asked Beth.
This was a loaded question. I responded carefully, "Steve is a lot fun. I enjoy his offbeat sense of humor."
Beth seemed to key off this response, "That's the problem! Steve wants me to... Forget it, I can't talk about it."
Beth hurried out of my office. I reminded myself that Beth's personal life was her private domain and put the whole conversation out of my mind. At the end of the day, Beth came back into my office.
She quietly said, "I'm sorry I cut you off earlier."
"That's no problem.", I said. "I didn't mean to pry."
Beth say down, putting her elbows on my desk, "No, you were great. I need someone to talk to about this. It's very personal. Would you mind talking with me about it?"
Given our always professional relationship, I was stunned, "OK...Go ahead...I"m happy to help."