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Infidelity > Flirting
I'm in a new job that I love. Much of my time is spent working
one-on-one, developing various projects. Over the course of one
particularly demanding project, I've fallen into a bantering,
enjoyable relationship with one of my coworkers. He's funny and
quite smart, and since our work tends to be intellectually
serious, it's a relief to inject some humor into the situation.
But I now find myself thinking about him quite often, in a day-
dreamy way. I'm devoted to my husband and kids and have no
intention of acting on these thoughts. However, I'm concerned
about the way that my relationship with this coworker will
proceed - despite my wedding ring (modest, modern, not
very "weddingy") and a photo of my kids on my desk, I don't
think he realizes that I'm married. There have been some subtle
signs of interest from him - a very understated compliment on my
appearance, increased animation, and, well, a *vibe*. I have to
admit I sort of like this vibe - it makes me feel attractive and
interesting, which is nice at 40+. But I don't want to indulge
in these feelings to the extent that my productive working
relationship with him is compromised, or that any
misunderstandings occur, or that any hurt feelings arise. I'm
particularly annoyed with myself at the moment because I
realized I was being elusive with him in conversation - he's
going to LA to see his brother for new year's, and asked me what
I was going to do. I said "Oh, just hang around here." I feel
like I missed an opportunity to mention my husband, family life,
etc - but I also know that part of me didn't really want to
throw cold water on the situation, even though I think I should.
How do I delicately make things clear? I always hated it when I
was single and some guy would talk significantly about his
girlfriend - it seemed so obnoxious - but is that what I have to
do? Can I still enjoy the banter (it's not sexual in the least -
just dorky academic jokes, mostly) or do I need to become more
distant somehow? (If so, how?) We have one last part of the
project to work on later in the month, so we will have at least
a day or two of intensive time together. And, of course, I'm
going to see him around the office.
Feel like I'm in jr. high
OH, I SOOOOO relate to your story!!
I wouldn't back off, but you have to let him know you're married and not
available but like him. Could this be a one sided crush?
Yeah, I know those vibes.
You could do something like say ''Oh, wow, my husband and I went to this
great restaurant last night...have you ever been to_____?
That would be mild, but get that ''H'' word in.
Or you could just very matter of factly say, at the right moment, ''You
DO know i''m married, right?''
Good luck,be careful
Uh-oh, you are headed for trouble, and I am not saying this in a
judgemental tone, but a completely empathetic one. I have been there
(not precisely there, but close enough). Your co- worker knows you are
married, I have no doubt. But you are not talking about it because you
really appreciate the attention you are getting from him. And I have a
feeling you probably need this attention. In my case what I found was
that I was starving for attention, affection, admiration, respect,
sensuality, etc. in my marriage but had been unable to get it.
I decided I could have an affair on the side to get what I so
desperately needed and hold onto the structure of my married life, which
included a pretty well-oiled partnership, parenthood, some good times,
and a lot of history. Well the affair broke up, my husband found out
afterwards, and now we're facing all the problems that I thought the
affair would help me avoid confronting. I would advise you either to go
into therapy to help you understand your needs and learn to address
them, to ask yourself whether you might be able to talk to your husband
about this attraction and ponder together why this is happening now, to
read a book called Affairs: A Guide to Working Through the Repercussions
of Infidelity or all of the above. Having said all that, I'll also say
that I wrote a note not unlike yours to the BPN and got LOTS of good
advice to avoid the affair and confront my marital issues, and I ignored
it. When you want it, you really do want it and need it. The
affection, etc. that is. But be careful and take good care of yourself,
try to divine your deepest desires.
Please tell this person right away about your husband and family. You
can bring it up casually, and do not have to go on and on about them,
but do it soon.
Everybody is tempted this way occasionally -- you have to nip your
feelings in the bud before it is too late! If you don't stop, your
feelings will become too strong, and you may end up finding yourself
falling out of love with your husband and destroying your family. This
has happened to two good friends, who left their husbands of many years.
The sad part is that a few years down the road, after the infatuation
wore off, they realized the new person wasn't really as good a fit as
the first husband anyway. But it was too late.
You can still deal with and enjoy the company of your co-worker. Just
make it clear that you are unavailable -- both to him and to you. Dwell
on your husband's good points. Please. You will be very glad you did
Couples who have been married for forty or fifty years say that the
longer you're with someone, the more you love them... but also, that you
have to work to avoid temptation -- all the time. But it is worth it
.. for your family, your children, and for your own peace of mind and
Trust me, he knows you're married. If he thought you were single, he
would not be flirting. I played with fire like this once, about twenty
years ago, and I still regret it!!!
You are probably feeling this energy because you love the work and the
novelty of it. I've experienced something similar, and when I looked
back at that time, I realized my attraction had more to do with the
excitement of the new job. Enjoy it now, hope you don't get embarrassed
about it later, and the crush will probably wear off as the novelty of
your project does.
Recognize the vibes
I suppose this is different for different people, but based on my
experience, I'd say relax and enjoy it. Since I got married, I've had
pretty significant crushes on 2 or 3 guys, and as long as I was clear in
my own mind that I wasn't going to act on it, I found the flirting and
''vibe'' made life more interesting without causing problems. The main
thing to watch out for is falling into the trap of saying, ''I wouldn't
have X problem if I were with this guy instead of my husband,'' because
that's generally not true and can lead to problems at home. If you wear
a wedding ring, he's probably aware you're married and he's likely just
having fun, too.
It's nice to have some new excitement in your life. Married life can
get boring....maybe you should ask yourself how you would feel if your
husband were in the same situation ? Would you want him quasi-flirting
and not mentioning his wife and kids ? It sounds like you could take
this (so far) innocent situation down a road you might regret. Also,
it's seriously doubtful that this guy doesn't know you're married with
kids. If he has any interest he's found out through the grapevine about
- extinquish the flame
You say you are committed to your marriage, yet you've never told this
guy you're married?!?!? That is a justification that will soon be
followed with ''we didn't mean anything to happen, it just did.'' Things
happen because people put themselves in the situations that allow them
to happen. Tell this guy you're married NOW, and if needed remove
yourself from that work environment. If your marriage is as important as
you say it is, then you won't hesitate to do this.
I believe that it's normal to have little crushes and of course to be
attracted to other people.And it feels great to have affection....you're
human. What concerned me about your post was you saying that you'd
missed opportunities to discuss your husband and family. I think that
you should take an honest and deeper look at your marriage. Perhaps
you're not getting enough affection and intimacy at home. i believe, if
you were, you'd let this person know the boundary up front. Since you
have kids and a family, I think you should make the boundary incredibly
clear, even if you like the attention. But I emphasize taking a deeper
look into the intimacy and affection in your own marriage...perhaps you
could be more fulfilled there?
Start mentioning your husband & kids more often, and make it clear that
you are happy at home. There are some men who, for whatever reason,
would like to have a relationship with a married woman-I suspect it's
for easy or good sex, with no strings attached, plus a sort of sexual
power/virility thing, and it's certainly not his problem if it screws up
In my history, men who were attached when I was single were suddenly
very interested in me, and when I got married, suddenly I was very
attractive to single or married men. (where was all this attention when
I was single and available??) On one hand, the attention and bantering
is nice, until you realize that it only works as a fantasy, and it's not
really what you're looking for. I find, too, that this kind of bantering
picks up steam if I'm having a rough time in my marriage... but I find
that the sexual tension/vibe really goes away if you're clear in your
communications and intent. You don't have to give up the fun jokes
unless this guy doesn't really get it and is too persistent, or unless
the jokes have more sexual energy in them than you're letting on. Most
likely he'll cool down if you make it clear to him that you're in love
with your husband and kids.
Don't play with the fantasy-it really consumes too much time and energy,
and it only gets more intense. A guy at my office was apparently pretty
interested in my (and I in him, in a fantasy way), and fortunately I
recognized it for what it is-he's married, I'm married, we both love our
kids--and it wasn't ever necessary to acknowledge the tension. I just
stopped engaging in bantering that was borderline unacceptable, and I
started talking more things that were going well at home, and kept the
jokes to the kind of jokes I'd make with my better-adjusted, stable &
platonic friends. He stopped giving me the come-on vibe, and I got more
realistic and relaxed, and started paying a little more attention to my
Time to get a nice picture of you and your husband, hugging or gazing at
each other or something obviously loving, and put THAT on your desk.
Having a picture of just the kids implies there is no significant other,
and might offend your husband if he happens to see your workplace.
How would you want your husband to behave if he were in the same
My two cents
Enjoy the crush to the fullest, it's not everyday you get to feel like
you're in Jr High again. Just don't follow through.
If you're temptempted to make physical contact, think twice.
Having an affair is like wetting the bed...you feel great when your
doing it, but as soon as you're done you've got a huge mess to deal
Developing a crush on an attractive co-worker is a very natural thing.
When it gets to the point where it is distracting you (and it sounds
like it is), it's time to bite the bullet and get real. That means
forcing yourself to say ''my husband and I...''
or ''my husband always says...'' at some natural point in the
conversation. It's okay to enjoy a little flirtatious energy, but you
also want to keep your life uncomplicated and your workplace behavior
professional. Please take into account that it's quite possible that
the guy is completely aware that you are married, is picking up on the
same vibe as you are, and is
flirting with you anyway. Believe me, some ''nice'' guys don't
consider extramarital affairs out of the question. You don't want this
to go too far, or you'll really be in an uncomfortable position. Now is
the time to set up some friendly boundaries.
In my experience, when you mention your partner, often the other person
suddenly mentions their own! Good luck, anon
You describe being enamored of a coworker of yours, and wrote ''I have
no intention of acting on these thoughts.'' I have news for you! You
*are* acting on your thoughts already.
You've been ''elusive'' by not talking about your husband and children
and you haven't done anything to change the tone that (you think) has
been set in the relationship thus far. I find it interesting, also,
that you say you're ''concerned about the way my relationship with him
will proceed,'' as if you don't have any control over how it proceeds.
I don't understand why you need to ''delicately'' explain anything to
him. He's a grown- up, you're a grown-up, you're married and want to
stay married and that is that. It's not about him. Why would you need
to protect him from this information? A good start toward pulling this
relationship out of the fantasy realm would be letting him see who you
are: a wife and a mother, among other things. If there's a ''vibe''
you feel, that comes from both of you. I hate to sound hopelessly
Californian, but you are in control of your own sexual energy. You can
stop the ''vibe'' if you want. Can you continue to enjoy the banter
(which I believe is part of the vibe)? In my experience it's a slippery
slope. Affairs and indiscretions all start long before the actual kiss
or declaration of longing. I've been in this situation several times
before and it is tough. Meeting someone new and interesting who seems
attracted to you is so intriguing and exciting! But each time I had to
make a decision to stop engaging in the intrigue and get real . . .
because either I wanted to stay in the relationship that I was in, or
out of respect for the relationship the other person was in. You can
only control your own actions/inactions. What he thinks, what he does,
what he believes . . . thinking about that stuff is just an exhausting
dead end. Good luck!
been there, got tired
If you value it, you need to be clear about your married state with this
person. Alot of what you say sounds like rationalization. Stop playing
games. You can still have the fun banter, but the excitement of feeling
the attraction for him needs to be transformed into value for his
friendship, which you may earn if you are honest.
My boyfriend of 8 months is very flirtatious with younger women.
He is 62 and I am 42. He divorced from a 35+ year marriage last
year. We have a great sexual relationship but he disrespects me
around other women, then laughs it off like it's no big deal.
He's not actually cheating with the women, just flirting right
in front of me knowing that it makes me uncomfortable and
hurting my feelings. He tried to hit on a coworker of mine
behind my back and she told me. When I confronted him about it,
he said he wasn't seriously persuing her. He wined, dined and I
took him back. He and I have very good chemistry and enjoy
spending time together. Should I dump him or try to have a sense
of humor about the flirting? Please advise.
I think your boyfriend is treating you with a great deal of
disrespect and he does not appear to be honorable. I think there
is the strong possibility of heartache ahead. You don't seem to
be overreacting to a little friendly flirting, he does seem to be
overstepping the boundaries of what is appropriate. Good luck...
The floodgates will probably open on this one drop him! He
disrespects not only you, but the women he flirts with. It
always makes me very uncomfortable when a man who is obviously
partnered with another woman (present or not) begins to ''hit on
me.'' He has issues with his sexuality and you do not deserve
disrepect. You can find sex that is just as good with actual
love and respect elsewhere! And let him know how many people on
this network agree with you. Maybe he can start to see himself
in a new light... Or maybe not.
I hate to see women disrespected
Your boyfriend reveals an extreme insensitivity to your feelings
when he persists in this behavior in spite of your well founded
objections. Moreover it is likely that he *will* proceed to
actual affairs with other women, if his behavior is as you
Getting responses from other women can produce a kind of euphoria
that he may feel is irresistible. He may be in a fragile and
needy emotional state himself, after his divorce. Meanwhile, he
may be trying to convince himself (and you) that there is nothing
wrong with his behavior because he is doing it openly, in your
presence. But he is really trapped in his own needs, to the
extent that he cannot see or face up to the hurt he is causing you.
I am not trying to say that such a person is all bad. He may be
generous and senstive in other contexts, such as when it is not a
question of conflict with what he thinks are his own needs. Such
a person can be a real heartache to try to live with.
This is just my unprofessional opinion. For reference, I'm a
56-year old man, in my second marriage.
I had a boyfriend who did the same stuff to me. (Interestingly,
he was older too). Definitely, dump him. He doesn't respect
you. The fact that it bothers you shows that you respect
yourself, and don't let him try to convince you otherwise.
He sounds insecure. I've known men (and women too) who do this -
flirt openly, even when they are with their partners. People like
that need a lot of attention and will do almost anything to get a
little ego stroke, including hurting the ones they love and making
fools of themselves. They are so completely absorbed in themselves.
How pathetic that he hit on your co-worker. Do you really want to
be a nursemaid to such a needy person? I hope you can find a nice
man who is more sure of himself and doesn't need to hurt you in
order to make himself feel better!
I have been there! I say it is not worth it to be with someone
who is basically showing no respect for your feelings. Flirting
is not benign, in my opinion. It often can and does lead to
more. It is very painful to watch and I think it is a sypmtom
of how he may treat you in other areas. I would either tell him
he must absolutely stop and then dump him if he doesn't, or just
dump him! You deserve better!
I would ''lose'' the boyfriend--it sounds as if being with him
would always be a torture. Life is too short to be made
miserable by one's love object.
Normally I would hesitate about being so blunt, but here goes
You have someone who, when told that a certain behavior of his
upsets you, does it deliberately, then laughs at you. He is not
treating you with respect. You can't make him change, and he
doesn't want to. He appears to be very set in his ways and this
behavior is not something you need to put up with.
Your boyfriend's behavior sounds hurtful (not humorous). If you
are at all serious, his behavior is totally inappropriate. I
say dump him.
this page was last updated: Mar 31, 2006
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