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I work with a man who has been my friend for several years. We have both been in and out of other relationships over the years. Over the past year or so we have gotten a lot closer. We spend time together alone frequently. He compliments me physically, and we were intimate once. We never had “the talk” and just let everything run its course. I have developed romantic feelings for him and was too afraid to say anything because I didn’t want to affect our friendship and working relationship. After we slept together, things seemed to be going down the romance path but then all of a sudden just stopped. I was hurt, confused, and disappointed. I decided to say something to him, and at first he said he felt the exact same way. He had developed feelings for me but was too scared to say anything and thought I was only interested in a casual, one-time fling. He then said he has met someone else and is pursuing things with her. It is still very early with them, so my question is: Do you think it is too late for us? We have a long history together, and, while we also have clearly had communication issues, everything is all out on the table now. Am I foolish for hoping he will think about our conversation and give us a chance? — Hopelessly Optimistic
Sorry, but I do think it’s too late for you. Or, more accurately, I think it’s still not the right time. You work together, so there’s potential for a lot of discomfort (and worse) if you pursue him and things don’t work out. And because there’s already some history between you and nothing really progressed, that suggests that either feelings weren’t strong enough in the first place or one or both of you had hesitations about moving things forward. The bottom line is you’ve expressed yourself already and, if this guy were truly interested in having a relationship with you now, he wouldn’t continue pursuing a relationship with someone else. Sure, he may think about what you’ve said and change his mind and break things off with the new woman, but pinning your hopes on that and waiting in expectation isn’t going to do you any good, especially considering you work with the guy. Your best bet is to accept that he’s moved on and that you should, too. If things change at some point and you’re both open to a potential relationship together, you can be pleasantly surprised, but for now consider what you have to be a professional and platonic friendship only, regardless of your long history.