Love at Work: A Messy Recipe for Cheaters and Car Chases


Published: September 27, 2007

People often advise others to just say no to love (and love triangles, especially) at work, but that’s easier said than done. I should know; just recently I found myself involved in the most turbulent eight-month relationship that I ever imagined.

It was the typical restaurant romance. I was the head hostess, and he was the executive chef. From the moment we both set eyes on each other, it was like a single thunderbolt hit both of us. His name was Luis, a much older, and more experienced divorcee. A Latino, he had dark olive skin, the most intense dark eyes I had ever come across and an air about him that exuded sex. I quickly became addicted to everything about him; from the way he spoke, to the way he walked and especially to the way he made love. At first, I had no plans of getting into a serious relationship with him, I was in strictly for the fun of it. Yet he drew me in, manipulating me into a committed relationship.

Two months into our dating, I began to hear rumors circulating that he was fooling around with a waitress at our restaurant, and he had been even prior to our first encounter. I disregarded it after his denials, until one day the waitress, my co-worker, confronted me herself and confirmed the rumors. Infuriated, I quickly broke it off with him. That, unfortunately, did not last for long. Before I knew it, he was running back to me, claiming he was no longer with her and wanted to commit only to me. Then he dropped the L-bomb and I lost my head. I just could not resist.

For the next six months, I practically sacrificed my entire life for this man. I neglected seeing my friends, cut off all ties to my family when they disapproved of him, and worst of all, practically moved out of my apartment, leaving my roommates and best friends behind. I became a guest in my own place, coming back just to change and then leave for the night again. Until one fateful night when I found myself chasing his car down Broadway…

I spotted the same waitress he was “no longer with,” getting into his car around the corner from my Upper West Side apartment. I snapped. I ran after his car, caught up and banged on it so hard that my rings left a scratch. He pulled over and what ensued was a nasty love-triangle midnight ambush. He was extremely cool, calm and collected. She was just sitting in the passenger seat motionless from shock. He kept telling me to calm down and that it wasn’t what it appeared to be; he was just driving her to a party in Queens. (He later told me she had threatened to blackmail him if he didn’t drive her, which I never believed!) After things cooled down and the summer began, our romance resumed, with tensions at the restaurant worse than ever.

It wasn’t until the end of the summer that the you-know-what really hit the fan. One night, he said that he would not be seeing me because he had to visit his ex-wife for some divorce documents. Being that I actually had a free night, I decided to grab dinner with a friend downtown. After dinner, we were driving around my apartment when we noticed Luis’ car on Columbus. We decide to follow him, and I noticed he wasn’t heading toward Brooklyn as promised. My heart began to race. Before I knew it, we were following his car while I had him on the phone, as if I was at a dinner. He was acting as if he was on a different highway all together. He stopped in front of a building in Midtown, and we saw the same waitress get into his car. I decided I would not repeat the same events of a few months ago and refrained from approaching the car. Instead I calmly called him, explained that I knew exactly where he was and who he was with, wished him a very good night and hung up.

Weeks later, I grabbed all of the jewelry he had ever given me, put on my highest stilettos and tight jeans, marched right into the kitchen, and violently threw the bag in his face in front of our co-workers. That was my big climactic “screw you” to him.

The relationship is now over for good. Being with Luis was to date the biggest mistake that I have ever made, but one that I am ultimately grateful for. Getting involved with people at work is risky business, especially when there are third parties involved. In the end, I learned that some men do lie, that saying “I love you” doesn’t mean he does, and that the most important relationships aren’t the ones you have to chase down Broadway.