Unrequited Love–Part 1

Unrequited Love–Part 1

Unrequited Love–Part 1

Jarrad was couldn't contain himself any more.  He had been in love with Brandon for nearly threeBrokeback years.  It all began innocently enough.  Brandon Highbridge was a new trainee, and Jarrad was providing his sales training.  It was typical for Jarrad to take new trainees to dinner at the end of the week, so they stopped at a local diner and talked. 

Throughout the week Jarrad had many conversations with Brandon.  Their discussions ranged from sports to politics.  Although Jarrad had trained a number of sales representatives throughout his years as the area manager, he never enjoyed anyone's company as much as Brandon's.  During that dinner they discovered they had several other things in common.  Both were married, both had children, and both were unhappy. 

Jarrad had fleeting gay encounters occasionally throughout his marriage.  Brandon, on the other hand, never experienced a gay relationship.  He always considered himself straight.  To each other's surprise, the two formed a special bond that eventually led to a lasting, consensual homosexual relationship. 

They were careful to hide their relationship from the others in the company.  Their clandestine meetings grew more frequent as the years passed.  Finally, Jarrad decided to leave his wife and wanted Brandon to do the same. 

Although Brandon continued to see Jarrad, Brandon refused to leave his wife.  They began to argue about this, straining the relationship.  Finally, in a desperate attempt, Jarrad called Hillary, Brandon's wife.

"Hillary, this is Jarrad Dewberry, Brandon's area manager," he began.

"What's wrong?" she gasped. "Did Brandon get into an accident?  Is he all right?" she asked fearfully.

"No, no,"  Jarrad assured her, "Brandon is fine."

Hillary breathed a deep sigh of relief.  "Thank goodness," she responded.

"Hillary, there is something I need to tell you." Jarrad paused.

"Has Brandon lost his job?" she worried, as her fears rushed back.

"No.  Hillary, Brandon's job is not in jeopardy."

"Oh, well then.  I guess I must sound like a real 'Nervous Nellie,'" she joked. "What did you want to tell me?"

Jarrad decided to come right out with it. "I've been in love with your husband for three years.  I've left my wife, and I've begged him to leave you.  He won't.  Now I'm begging you to let him go," he pleaded.

"What!" Hillary exclaimed.  She fell back against the wall as though a cannon had blasted her at close range.

Jarrad told her the whole story.  Hillary was destroyed.  She confronted Brandon when he came home that evening, and he admitted to his relationship with Jarrad.  He told Hillary that he never wanted to leave her and that he would stop seeing Jarrad.  However, she couldn't accept the affair and began immediate divorce proceedings.

According to Brandon, the divorce severely affected his emotional stability and eventually led to a nervous breakdown because Jarrad kept pursuing the relationship. The company put Brandon on short-term disability during his initial illness, but the reason behind the circumstances was unknown at the time.

Eventually Brandon remarried but remained on disability.  Howard Costanza, corporate labor counsel, first became aware of the case when the file landed on his desk.  Brandon had filed for total disability from workers' compensation, claiming the cause was mental stress from sexual harassment.

As Howard pursued his investigation, he interviewed Jarrad.  "We have a claim of sexual harassment from Brandon Highbridge.  He claims that although your relationship was consensual at first, you refused to end it when he asked you to."

Jarrad turned pale.  "Well, we had a consensual relationship, but I never harassed him."

"Did you call his wife and tell her about the relationship?" Howard asked.

"Yes," Jarrad acknowledged.

"Did he want you to do this?"

"No," he admitted.

As Howard continued his investigation, he talked with Jarrad's manager.  Howard discovered that Jarrad's performance had deteriorated.  Moreover, Jarrad had been placed on progressive discipline and was, coincidentally, due that week for a final check on his performance improvement.  Jarrad's manager indicated that Jarrad failed to meet the improvement goals.   He planned to meet with Jarrad as indicated in the action plan and terminate him for performance that week. 

To find out the result of the company's investigation of Brandon's claim click here to read on….

Excerpted from Sex, Laws, & Stereogypes, by N. Elizabeth Fried, Ph.D.©

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