Shortcuts: “My Boss Goosed My Girlfriend!”

goose-004It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

My significant other says my boss goosed her when we were out at a bar. Now every time I mention my boss, my partner gets moody and depressed. I don’t think it is a big deal; it wasn’t like my partner was actually digitally penetrated, as my boss’ hand was outside of her clothing. Now she says she will never let my boss touch our baby girl because she thinks he is perverted. I think she’s being unreasonable. She has a history of being sexually abused by authority figures, or else she’d probably brush it off. And I need this job. What can I do to convince her to get over it? — Not Unreasonable

Your boss pinched your partner’s ass and the only recourse she’s taking is to forbid him from touching your baby? Oh, and she gets moody and depressed when you mention him? Maybe that’s because she can’t believe what an asshole her partner is to act like SHE is the unreasonable one for not wanting her ass pinched by some sleazeball who thinks any woman’s body — or at least the partner of one of his subordinate’s — is his for the goosing.

Count your blessings that your partner isn’t insisting you quit your job (which you should do as soon as you find another, which should be priority number two right after your top priority of apologizing to your partner for being so insensitive).

My ex and I broke up about six months ago. It was a messy breakup. Over time, we started talking again as friends and, when I was in his city, he invited me out for drinks and it was a good time. He also still sends me pictures, like of him playing soccer in Italy last week when he scored a goal. He often makes it clear he will never date me again, but, when I ask him if he’s dating anyone, he flips out and says it’s not my business. So my question for you is: Why do exes not tell you about their dating lives so long after being broken up when they text you and send you pictures all the time trying to be friends? (By the way, I’m dating someone new and so not trying to get back together.) It’s so frustrating that we can’t have a normal conversation about life and there are things off limits for him. Please explain! — Friendly Ex

He doesn’t want to be your friend. He wants to keep you on the back-burner in case he changes his mind somewhere down the line and decides to pursue you again. And if he ever does decide to pursue you again, the last thing he’ll want is for you to be privy to all the relationships that he’s had since you were last together. Honestly, you need to move on. Your relationship is long over, you don’t have a friendship, and you’re dating someone else now. What’s the point in keeping lines of communication open at this point?

My fiancé and I have been together for two years and have had our ups and down. The other day when we were shopping together and we ran into a friend he used to work with, he introduced us but didn’t say, “This is my fiancée, Sarah.” He just said, “This is Sarah.” It really hurt. I talked to him about it and he said he was sorry, but I’m still hurt and feel like there could be something there. Am I being silly? — Silly Fiancé?

You’re being silly if you trust your fiancé and have an otherwise stable and healthy relationship. If you don’t have those things, it’s understandable why you’d feel suspicious and hurt that he wouldn’t qualify your relationship when introducing you (especially to another woman). What is not understandable, though, is why you’d marry someone with whom you have an unstable and unhealthy relationship and whom you don’t trust. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate that plan…


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. LW1: Your boss is a pig. And your girlfriend needs a new boyfriend. Preferably one who doesn’t think it’s just fine for another man to touch her in intimate places.

    BTW….”Goosing” doesn’t mean pinching someone’s ass. It’s putting a hand between someone’s legs and poking their genitals. Hence the LW’s saying that she wasn’t penetrated.

    1. artsygirl says:

      I had always associated ‘goosing’ as a pinch. If you are right then the LW is even worse. I was really disturbed by the LW’s argument that because the boss didn’t rape her (‘digitally penetrate), that it wasn’t too bad.

      1. A pinch is a pinch. Goosing is exactly what Essie describes. Even a pinch would not be okay with me.

      2. artsygirl says:

        Agreed Kate – My guess is if the LW’s girlfriend had been touched by a stranger in a bar he would have been enraged, but because he likes his boss he is willing to overlook this absolutely unacceptable behavior.

    2. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      Both of the following definitions come from Urban Dictionary including the bit about a British accent at the end.


      goosing is where your stood behind an unsuspecting victim, you curl your hand in between there legs and grab hold of there genitals.
      mimicking the shape of a goose’s neck….
      last night i was pissed in the pub and my mate dilbert went over too mad dogs mum and gave her the goosing of a life time who was not impressed.


      Old school definition: to pinch someone’s buttocks, hopefully the opposite sex, but hey, you take what you get.

      Always associated in my mind with a British accent….
      Owww! You goosed me, you cheeky devil!

    3. Not to take away from what you are saying, because what the boss did was such a dick move, and the fact that boyfriend is ok with it because he didn’t stick his fingers in one of her holes is just fucking nuts, but when then hell has a goose been more than just pinching a butt cheek? I think you just took the first definition off of urban dictionary.

      1. OK, how about this one from Webster’s: “to poke between the buttocks with an upward thrust”.

      2. that one is terrible too.

      3. plus we call that a credit card.

      4. Baccalieu says:

        FWIW Bagge, I always understood “Goosing” to be what Essie described, except that it could be the anus instead of the genitals (so you can goose a male, too) and is usually done from behind. I had never heard of the alternative definition as a pinch until now (I suspect it’s the PG version). The fact that the LW made reference to digital penetration (which wouldn’t be an issue in a pinch) suggests that it is the first definition that he is referring to.

    4. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

      Woah, I had no idea goosing meant anything other than pinching someone’s butt. But, this other definition not only explains the “it wasn’t like my partner was actually digitally penetrated” comment a bit more, it makes the whole situation so much worse. I wish the girlfriend would leave the loser boyfriend who would think she’s “unreasonable” for acting dismayed over being sexually assaulted.

      1. Avatar photo veritek33 says:

        Oh yeah around my high school “goosing” was always way worse than a pinch and more like a colonoscopy. And that’s the last time I saw ANYONE get goosed. Because it’s wrong and childish and adults most definitely shouldn’t be doing that. Boyfriend is a douch and so is the boss.

  2. artsygirl says:

    LW1 – you partner was sexually harassed/assaulted by your boss. While you might see it as harmless to you, it obviously upset her. Of course she would not want him around your daughter, he laid hands on her without her consent. Actions like this should never be condoned – this isn’t a scene from Mad Men.

    LW2 – Wendy is spot on, your ex is keeping you on the line. Maybe he will want to hook up later, maybe you are a comfort since you know each other so well, maybe you stroke his ego because it is apparent you still want to be with him – no matter what, this is not healthy for you. Break contact and put yourself out there, hoping and waiting for him to change his mind will just make you miserable.

    LW3 – You did not say how long ago your fiance worked with this woman, it is entirely possible that she knew of you if the dates of work overlapped your relationship. Beyond that, if you are with your fiance are in public (likely with an engagement ring on your finger), the assumption would automatically be that you two are together. If you are so insecure in your relationship that you are upset about him not introducing with the title ‘fiance’, that really suggests underlying issues. Don’t get married until you work them out!

  3. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    LW3 When someone introduces you by your name without any other designation to an old acquaintance it is because they’ve already told that person all about you. He probably didn’t include the term fiance because he didn’t need to because she already knew.

    1. That’s what I thought, he’s probably already mentioned his girlfriend (now fiance) to this person!

    2. Yep – she’s blowing this way out of proportion.

  4. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    LW1 Not only was your boss highly inappropriate, you don’t touch anyone in their private places without their consent, he was also making a power display. He’s showing you that he can touch your girlfriend in an intimate way and there is nothing you can do about it.

    1. Yes! LW, your boss was emasculating you. “I can grope your girlfriend and you don’t have the balls to do anything about it because I’m your boss.”

      1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        And when you see someone crossing that type of boundary you have to assume that they will cross others. He is blatantly showing that he doesn’t consider regular rules of decent behavior to apply to himself.

        The boss who will touch your girlfriend that way is also the boss who will take credit for your work. When things go well he’ll take the credit. When things go wrong you’ll take the blame. He’s the type of boss who will promise things but not deliver. Maybe promise a pay raise and it either doesn’t happen or is much smaller than he said it would be or he takes you to lunch but then sticks you with the bill.

        Apologize to your girlfriend and start looking for a new job.

  5. Avatar photo Stonegypsy says:

    LW1 what the hell is wrong with you? “Penetrated” or not, your girlfriend was violated by your boss, and you think she needs to just “get over it”? I don’t even know what to say to that, except that you sound like a shitty partner.

    1. RedRoverRedRover says:

      And on top of that, she has a history of sexual abuse by authority figures! WTF, LW! You sound like a total asshole.

  6. LW1: You blew it. If I were your girlfriend, I’d be looking for a new boyfriend. What your boss did is wrong, and you response to it is also wrong. It doesn’t matter that she wasn’t “digitally penetrated”. She was touched in an inappropriate manner. A history of sexual abuse by authority figures is not necessary in order to be upset by what happened. She needs you to have her back, not be dismissive. You let her down. If you value this relationship, your priorities need to be: APOLOGIZE to your girlfriend ASAP and do everything you can to convince her that she can trust you to have her back. Then, find another job with a boss who won’t sexually assault your partner, because that is what happened.

  7. LW1 – Goosing, pinching, non-penetration, whatever you want to call it, it was wrong and inappropriate. Your GF has every right to be disgusted and you should be as well. Listen, I understand keeping your job is important, especially if you have a small child to care for, but that doesn’t mean you need to diminish and dismiss what happened. And I don’t think she is being unreasonable saying she does not want your boss to touch her child. I’m surprised she didn’t go do further and say she will no longer attend any of your work events.

    LW2 – He’s playing you, just as Wendy and other people have commented. Cut off communication.

  8. LW1 — It is sad and pathetic that an adult can be so utterly clueless and self-centered. Why is it your gf’s job to suffer personal indignities and sexual assault to protect your job with your peru vert boss? If you want a promotion, are you going to ask your gf to sleep with him ‘just once, to help both of us’?

    1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      I keep wondering how this guy is so clueless.

      “I don’t think it is a big deal; it wasn’t like my partner was actually digitally penetrated, as my boss’ hand was outside of her clothing.”

      Where did he grow up and where has he been living that he thinks this is no big deal. He thinks that as long as she wasn’t raped it is all okay. I’ve been walking around this morning wondering what rock he crawled out from under because he is absolutely clueless. I don’t mean that in a mean way, just how could anyone be so absolutely unaware of the general rules of society.

      LW As a general rule, if you wouldn’t do it to your mother it is inappropriate to do it to any other woman. If you think this was okay you will be in trouble in the world because you are way out of the general social norms and you’d better learn them quick.

  9. LW1, I have never been sexually assaulted, but I guarantee you that I would have a similar reaction as your girlfriend. The fact that she has been sexually assaulted before makes this even worse, and you need to learn how to show some compassion. Why does your boss even need to be around your family? If this job is so important to you, fine, but keep your personal life separate from your work life.

  10. LW1 – you have just shown your girlfriend that she cannot trust or depend on you to support her when she feels violated or unsafe. It doesn’t matter if you think “it’s no big deal because she wasn’t penetrated.” She feels violated. Period. And you told her that it doesn’t matter what she feels. Good job at being a self-centered jerk who obviously cares about his job more than his family. You don’t deserve her.

    LW2 – WWS. You can’t have a normal conversation like friends because he doesn’t want to be your friend, he wants you to be ready and waiting for him whenever he decides he needs you. Stop giving him more of your time. You have a new boyfriend now, and presumably other friends, so there’s no reason to continue trying so hard to maintain what is obviously an awkward friendship with this ex.

    LW3 – I agree with the other commentators, he didn’t specify “girlfriend” or “fiance” because he assumes that the coworker knows who you are. He probably has mentioned you several times. Unless he’s ever given you any reason to be suspicious, it’s a little silly to over analyze this casual introduction. Perhaps it’s the new step in the relationship or the wedding planning stressing you out a bit, but try to take a step back and look at the actual facts of the situation without the hurt feelings.

  11. LW1, wow, you are a HUGE jerk. Your girlfriend (and the mother of your daughter!) was groped by your boss, and you just don’t care? Because YOU don’t think it’s “bad enough”? What would he have to do to your girlfriend to have you actually give a shit? I can guarantee you if my husband’s boss pulled something like that, he’d be raising hell with HR. And he most definitely wouldn’t let a person like that anywhere near our little girl. You suck as a partner and father, full stop. You owe your girlfriend an abject apology and a promise never to be in the same room again with this pervert. If it upsets her when you talk about your boss, here’s an idea: stop fucking talking about him! And start looking for a new job. How would you feel about some perv sticking his fingers in your daughter’s ass-crack someday? Is that ok with you too, as long as her boyfriend thinks it’s no big deal? Gross.

    1. People like this are why we have the term “rape culture”.

  12. Anonymousse says:

    I just can’t even imagine having a person in my life who would minimize someone’s righteous indignation at being touched in anyway they didn’t want to be. So gross!

  13. Baccalieu says:

    LW1- The boss actions are clearly unacceptable and constitute sexual assault. You are the one that is being unreasonable. I get that you need the job and sometimes people have to accept unpleasant situations and let things go because of that, but your girlfriend shouldn’t have to accept them. At the very least, you should make sure she never has to meet him again. If it were me, I would be looking for a new job or at least a transfer to a different department, if the company is big enough. (And if I was able to transfer or leave, I would make sure that the higher ups in the company knew why I was leaving. The only way to stop harassment is to hold harassers accountable.)
    LW2 – I am not certain that Wendy’s interpretation is right, although it certainly could be. However, I am not sure I see why the LW has to drop him as a friend, even if Wendy is right. She doesn’t seems to be in any danger of falling for him again, and so what if he doesn’t want to talk about his love life? It seems very silly to say, “You have to talk to me about your love life or we can’t be friends.”
    LW3 – Unless he does this habitually or LW3 has some other reason to suspect he is, or is planning to, cheat on her with this person, this definitely falls into the category “making a mountain out of a molehill”.

    1. RedRoverRedRover says:

      For LW2, I think it’s more that most women don’t consider a guy to be a friend if he’s just hanging around in case of sex. That’s not friend behaviour. So if that’s what he’s doing, he’s not her friend and she should drop him.

  14. LW1: you’re trolling us, right? This is the only reasonable explanation I can come up with as to how you’re not enraged by what your boss did and minimize it. If you are real: what the hell is wrong with you?!!! The fact that she was previously assaulted doesn’t mean she’s over reacting for pete’s sake! she’s sensitive to this b/c it was wrong! Also, stop talking about your damn boss; why is he even part of your regular conversations? You owe your partner a HUGE apology. I can’t even.

  15. wobster109 says:

    LW1: Is this actually a real letter? Good grief. Let me spell a few things out for you.

    Some people are not comfortable with certain things, such as getting on a roller coaster, talking about finances, and getting touched in the privates by a stranger. You would not say “well I’m fine with roller coasters so you’re being unreasonable get over it”. If your friend snooped through your tax documents without asking, you would not invite them over again.

    So why don’t you understand that your girlfriend doesn’t want to be around your boss ever again? Think of something you’re not comfortable with. When your girlfriend says “he’s a perv”, you can say to yourself, “well I don’t mind getting touched on the penis by a stranger, but I would feel my privacy was violated if a stranger looked at my tax documents, so with that in mind I can understand how my girlfriend feels”.

    1. It goes way belyond that, Wobster. It is not just his inability to empathize with another person’s uncomfortable situations, such as riding a roller coaster or finding your casual friend skimming through your tax return, it is a total inability to accept the absolute reasonableness and near universality of women objecting to a strange man grabbing their genitals through their clothing. He has no sense that women should have an expectation that they control access to their own bodies and that their bodies are private. As others have said, he probably is also a very weak, desperate for a job, selfish guy who lacks the guts to stand up for his gf and is compensating by pretending that nothing of importance happened and that the problem is all in her head and doesn’t involve him or his grotesquely dominant pervert boss at all. That way he avoids having to see himself as the selfish, unempathetic coward that he so obviously is. I hope gf leaves him. She certainly should. This can’t possibly end well for her. She will always be sacrificed to protect his ego.

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