Since You Asked…

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Dear Caroline,

I’m 23 and still single. Here’s the problem. I’m constantly thinking about an older married man I work with. To be fair, things between us started innocently. I have even met his wife and kids a few times. Everything was above board and appropriate, and technically, they still are, but we have deep conversations over lunch, and we spend a lot of time talking and texting after hours. It’s obvious that he cares about me a lot, as I do him.

Yesterday, he let his true feelings for me slip out by saying he could fall in love with me. Right after he said it, he told me he was only kidding, but ever since he made that remark, I have been playing the conversation over and over in my head. I want to tell him my true feelings, but I’m afraid. What should I do? Again, I want to clarify that we don’t have a sexual relationship as of yet. Everything between us has been innocent.


Dear L,

Just because your relationship isn’t physical doesn’t mean it’s innocent. This man knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s basking in the adoration and attention from you while also enjoying the benefits of his marriage.

Even if your behavior started innocently, your participation is now damaging his marriage and the happiness of his family. You’re also colluding with him to play his wife for a bit of a fool.

I suspect this man let that remark about the possibility of love “slip out” so he could easily deny it while still planting an idea in your mind that would keep you hooked and encourage you to fantasize about a deeper level of involvement, and possibly even a future.

The best thing you can do for yourself, and everyone concerned, is to stop any unnecessary communication with this man immediately. This includes lunches and after-hours chats and texts. You don’t owe him a long explanation. Tell him you’ve thought it over and decided you’re uncomfortable continuing, then block his number.

If working together creates tension, start looking for another job or ask for a transfer to another department.

You’re too young to let your heart lead you down a path that will most likely lead to pain and loss.

While everyone is entitled to a reasonable amount of privacy, even within a marriage, there is a big difference between privacy and secrecy. I can guarantee that this man has kept the amount of time and attention he lavished on you a secret from his wife.

Sophisticated women learn valuable lessons from every experience. I hope this experience helps you identify men who might try to draw you into similar situations in the future.

Here’s to finding the single man of your dreams.


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