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“I’m in Love with My Married Boss”

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Office romance

Several months ago, I told my boss that I have feelings for him. I made it clear that I didn’t intend on anything happening between us and that my husband (of 20 years) is my best friend and our marriage is a good one. He responded by saying, “Umph…Wow. I don’t know what to say. No one at work has ever told me that before.” He ran his fingers through his hair and rubbed his head as I talked. I told him that I have had these feelings for a few months and that it was very emotional for me.

He had said a few months prior that he couldn’t have sex with his wife while she was pregnant because it felt as though there was someone between them. So I figured that he just didn’t love her enough to get past her belly. Another time he complained that she was sooo emotional and critical at home. That’s when I started feeling bad for him and wanted to make him happy. When he met her, they were quick with everything: moved in with each other after 6 months, married a year later and had a baby during their first year of their marriage. His wife’s biological clock was ticking and she wanted to hurry and have kids. So I had it in my head that he’s just not really in love with her. I was like that with my husband, too, but we grew to love each other and it worked out and they will probably work out fine, too.

So… I tried a few times to distance myself from my boss, but it’s hard because we work so closely together. When I told him my feelings, he told me, “I …I can’t say anything…because of my position here. I hope that you understand.” I’m not sure what he meant by that. Was he trying to say that he feels the same way but can’t because of his position as my boss? Then he kept saying that he was married with a baby, and questioned why I was telling him this. He then said that he understands that married people have crushes on other people and that we are higher animals because we can choose to be with one person. Then he said, “Wow, you really threw the ball in my court, didn’t you?!” Then he smiled.

Four years ago, he was single and I had taken my wedding ring off to get it resized. I joked with another co-worker that I was single. He overheard that and said, “Oh, good! Now I can take you out on a date!” He would, on occasion, brush stuff off my face, and, if someone complimented my work, he would light up. I had the feeling that he liked me a lot.

He still admires my work and expressed to me that he didn’t want me to leave just because of my feelings. He said that I was too valuable. I was flattered but then hurt because he seemed to not feel the same way about me. He seemed to not be bothered at all by what I said to him. He was more interested in my working there than anything else. But I keep thinking of him saying that he couldn’t say anything and that I threw the ball into his court, and I wonder what he meant by that. I needed closure.

I know this is completely wrong, but I just want to know if he has feelings for me as well. I don’t want anything to come of it though, and I don’t expect him to show how he feels. For a few months, I tried to find a job somewhere else but never found anything. So I’m glad that I didn’t do anything stupid to hurt our marriages. I deeply care about my boss and worry about him when he is under stress or sick. I never show it though or talk to anyone about it either. When I mention something fun that my husband and I did, he seems to want to do the same thing and right away texts his wife about it. Today he mentioned to me only that he and his wife are going away for a weekend without the baby. I wonder why he told me that. What do you think about all this? — In Love with the Boss

What I think is that you’ve both been incredibly inappropriate and that you are very lucky you: a) still have a job, and b) neither of your marriages have been ruined by your (mutual) inappropriate behavior at work. You don’t need closure, you need a reality check. This man is your boss. Your married boss. And you have a husband at home you say you love. Get it together, woman.

Honestly, if I were you and I had such a crush on my boss that my obsession went on for months and I was analyzing every little thing he said and couldn’t help but to confess my feelings — again, the level of inappropriateness on that one is off the charts — I would find a new job or ask to be moved to a different department or office within the company. You say you looked for a job for a few months. Well, why did you stop? I say keep looking. Keep looking until you find something. Because if your obsession continues, you’ll find yourself without a job and very likely without your husband. Your professional — and personal —reputation could be ruined. I say this not because you have a simple crush, which is normal, but because you don’t seem to understand or respect boundaries and it’s only a matter of time before such a lack of understanding is going to wreak utter havoc.

Also: therapy.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

avatar Lily in NYC November 18, 2013, 9:09 am

Whoa, OP. You need to back off right now. Your boss doesn’t love you, and you have made him very uncomfortable. This is not 7th grade when it’s ok to analyze every stupid look and comment he makes for signs that he likes you back. This is a man with a wife and child and you have no right to interfere like this. Who cares if he flirted with you? Who cares if he might have had a tiny crush back? And you are being ridiculous with making excuses about why you are so much better for him than his wife – it’s like you are trying to give him an out so he can get divorced and be with you. IT DOESN’t MATTER! He doesn’t want you and you need to quit that job and stick with men who are available. I’m ok with open relationships in my own life- so for me to write that you are out of line means you are out of line. Oh, the reason he told ONLY YOU that he is going out of town with his family is because he is trying to get you to understand that his choice is them, not you.

avatar SpaceySteph November 18, 2013, 10:27 am

He should report her to HR. Sexual harassment goes both ways. If the boss had written in to tell us this story, I would hands down tell him to report her.

ETA: LW, you are absolutely being a creep right now. Take a good, long look in the mirror, and then get right back to job searching. You need to be a grownup and take yourself out of this situation since you obviously cannot behave while in it.

avatar iseeshiny November 18, 2013, 10:40 am

My thoughts exactly. A total creep and she needs to knock it off right now, because she is totally sexually harassing the crap out of this poor guy. My creeper alerts started going off with flashing red lights and everything.

Seriously, LW. Think if some guy you had no feelings for and were working with were behaving this way towards you. Grosssssssss.

avatar mmcg November 18, 2013, 12:13 pm

This. For fucks sake LW I’m sailing past inappropriate and going directly to what the fuck is wrong with you? Stop your lame analyzing, stop your BS rationalizations about him not loving his pregnant wife… just stop it. You’re a “happily” married woman who is actively pursuing someone who has a child on the way. You are the kind of woman who practically deserves being on that homewrecker website. Get yourself to counseling and STOP ACTING LIKE A PATHETIC 12 YEAR OLD… that’s right you’re not even a functioning preteen. You suck.

avatar Taylor November 18, 2013, 1:54 pm

What does OP stand for?
Wendy, this would have been a good one for the bunny boiler picture =)

avatar mmcg November 18, 2013, 2:47 pm

Op = original poster

avatar Taylor November 18, 2013, 3:05 pm

Thanks!

avatar Christy November 18, 2013, 9:13 am

LW, you’re literally not even asking for advice here, just confessing to Wendy.

honeybeenicki honeybeenicki November 18, 2013, 11:07 am

Maybe Wendy should do “Anonymous Confessions Monday”

avatar lemongrass November 18, 2013, 11:43 am

Omg yes.

avatar Boosker November 18, 2013, 1:29 pm

I would read the hell out of that column. Pleeeease, Wendy???

avatar kerrycontrary November 18, 2013, 9:15 am

WTF!!! Where is your husband in all of this? Why aren’t you analyzing what it means to be in love with another man when you are currently married? There’s something wrong with you and your marriage if you think its OK to a) be in love with someone else while married and b) express those feelings. Your boss reacted exactly as I would’ve reacted. I would’ve said “I don’t know what to say and for legal reasons I can’t really say anything”. He probably thought you were trying to trap him in a sexual harassment suit or something.

And you say you don’t want to leave your husband or for him to leave his wife, so what, you just admitted your feelings and hoped he said he loved you too and then you could both go on working like things were exactly the same? I think you’re having a mid-life crisis and you’ve seriously boarded the crazy train. A man flirting with you and complaining about his wife (which is inappropriate, but besides the point) does NOT mean he has feelings for you at all and it definitely doesn’t mean he’s in love with you. You’re grasping at straws here and you’ve just made everyone involved feel awkward.

avatar SasLinna November 18, 2013, 9:21 am

WWS. Not trying to be mean, but I really have to disagree with your statement that you didn’t do anything stupid. Yes, you did something very, very stupid – confessing to your BOSS that you love him. You could easily have lost your job and your husband over this. I seriously can’t believe this. What do you do now? You just stop. So far there haven’t been any serious consequences for you, so stop this and count your blessings that you’ve been so very lucky.

avatar bethany November 18, 2013, 9:28 am

What is with the grown women acting like children lately?? The LW says she’s been married for 20 years, so I have to assume she’s at least 38 at the minimum, yet it sounds like this letter was written by a 15 year old, talking about a guy in her class.

LW- Get a grip. If you want to stay married, you need to shut this crush down in your mind iand quit fucking thinking about it. And you sure as shit need to stop talking to your boss about it and hyper-analyzing every little thing that happens. This guy is your boss, he’s married and he’s got a kid. Back off.

avatar SasLinna November 18, 2013, 9:31 am

There are people who stay this immature for their whole life. It’s a sad fact.

avatar lets_be_honest November 18, 2013, 9:49 am

What’s crazy is that its still shocking to me sometimes!

katie katie November 18, 2013, 10:40 am

Honestly, I think a good amount of people who married young have a … Inexperienced, or immature, worldview about dating and relationships, just because they have only their own expirences to draw from.

Not all, of course, but I feel like this happens pretty often.

avatar Joanna November 18, 2013, 11:48 am

I definitely think you’re on to something.

avatar Boosker November 18, 2013, 1:31 pm

Yeah, I’ve kind of seen this with my parents. My mom was only 18 and a month out of high school when they got married. In some ways, I’m “older” than her just because she missed out on some major life stuff that usually happens between high school and marriage (like running around with the wrong boys, going to college, living on your own, working a real job, etc.)

avatar Steeze November 18, 2013, 9:29 am

LW, I’m not going to sugar coat it. You’re selfish. This man is married and has a new family. You have a husband. You are lying when you say you love your husband. If you did, you wouldn’t even have thought to confess these feelings to your boss. And as for your boss, I feel so bad for his wife and child. That is not the behavior of a married man and father. Disgusting. Their issues whatever they are, he should be trying to work out with his wife… Honestly, they sound like normal married people problems.

I don’t even know if it’s worth it giving you advice but here it goes. Leave you husband because he deserves better than a wife that lusts after another man and respect other people’s marriages enough to not insert yourself in between them. New babies test relationships and are an adjustment as it is. You throwing yourself at this man is even worse. I wish I could say something to your boss as well because this guy is just a piece of work too. Blergh to all of you.

Heather Heather November 18, 2013, 9:30 am

LW, I’m not really sure why you’re so nonchalant about this. You confessed your feelings for your married boss, who has a pregnant wife. You are married yourself. You talk about how much you “love” your husband but come on. You’re not 14 years old. This isn’t some middle school crush.

I don’t really think he feels for you. You clearly made him uncomfortable and, to be honest, if I were him I would go to HR. What kind of position is that to put someone in? You say that you don’t want “anything to come of it”. If that were really true, you would have kept your mouth shut. You do want something to happen, otherwise you never would have confessed your feelings. Stay away from this man. Try to transfer to another department. Do something, anything, if you really care about YOUR marriage. Not to mention, if you really cared about him, you wouldn’t act the way you’re acting. People who really care about another person don’t put them in the position that you did to him. At least admit that your actions are pretty darn selfish. Admit that to yourself, and work on your own marriage, and stay out of someone else’s.

*I wanted to edit to say that I don’t believe the boss is completely in the clear here either. His previous actions are also mildly inappropriate. But, since he isn’t the one who wrote in, it’s hard to tell what is going through his head. Either way, he doesn’t SEEM to be reciprocating LW’s advances too much. Hopefully it stays that way.

avatar Boosker November 18, 2013, 1:32 pm

Yeah, if my boss (was a male and) was brushing food off my face, I’d flip out.

avatar ChemE November 18, 2013, 9:31 am

The line about not wanting it to go anywhere but you spill your guts and hope he will is bullshit. You want him to tell him he likes you back so you can do whatever it is you think you want to do.
If you didn’t want anything to come of it, why tell? Why are you pushing something he obviously doesn’t want?

This whole thing pisses me off. YOU ARE MARRIED!

avatar csp November 18, 2013, 9:51 am

You are right. Of course she wants something to happen. Why would you confess these feelings otherwise?

avatar SpaceySteph November 18, 2013, 10:34 am

So freaking true. If you don’t want anything to come of it and love your husband, you wouldnt confess your feelings. You would not create these fantasies of “being single” while your ring was off (oh I’m so sure your boss just *happened* to be in earshot for that conversation and it was a total accident) or deciding that the reason he can’t have sex with his pregnant wife (which he’s out of line for even mentioning it, but this is about you) is not a medical thing or a physical pain for her thing but that he just doesn’t love her and thinks she’s unattractive.

And you would certainly not be obsessing over every little thing he said to you like a teenage drama queen. Grow up!

avatar Kay November 18, 2013, 9:31 am

Whoa…WHY would you feel like you needed to tell your BOSS that you have feelings for him? That crosses so many lines. It wouldn’t matter if he was single or not, you do NOT tell your boss something like that. And to add that you have feelings for him, but you don’t want to screw up your marriage…where is your head right now? You’re acting like a child, to be honest.
WWS definitely, especially the last statement. Get therapy. Get therapy now.

avatar Christy November 18, 2013, 9:51 am

This was the weirdest thing for me. Like, in what world do you tell your boss you have feelings for him? How do you think that’s ok? How have you not looked harder for another job?

muchachaenlaventana muchachaenlaventana November 18, 2013, 10:36 am

yeah my thoughts EXACTLY. LW- great you have a crush but you are married, he is married with a kid on the way and from what she has described imo has not really shown ANY interest in you besides maybe some casual run of the mill flirting or venting Wasn’t that like the most awkward and uncomfortable conversation or confession? Especially since he didn’t even respond in a reciprocal way. I mean the letter should be about how you made a huge mistake and don’t know how you can return to work after inappropriately confessing your love to your married boss. Honestly tough love it does not sound like he is into you at all and as you have wisely mentioned even if he were you are married and he is so nothing can come of it. I think if you put even 1/4 of the effort into your marriage you have into this obsession with your boss, your boss would soon be irrelevant and your marriage would be thriving.

Cleopatra_30 Cleopatra_30 November 18, 2013, 9:37 am

“I made it clear that I didn’t intend on anything happening between us and that my husband (of 20 years) is my best friend and our marriage is a good one. ” You say you are not planning on acting on your “feelings” yet throughout the whole letter you keep fishing for excuses and reasons to go after your boss. “Today he mentioned to me only that he and his wife are going away for a weekend without the baby. I wonder why he told me that.” Because he is sharing something he would with any other employee that he has relatively good standing with. Take it and leave it.

I think the biggest clue for you that he is not interested was him saying “Then he kept saying that he was married with a baby, and questioned why I was telling him this. He then said that he understands that married people have crushes on other people and that we are higher animals because we can choose to be with one person.” Clear as day! He has chosen his wife AND baby, and you chose your husband. Leave it at that. You are both taken, he has not given anything to suggest he is interested in you. You only think he has because you are reading into what he says WAY too much. Also is there maybe a slight possibility that even after telling him your feelings and him not feeding into them, that this continued reaction has something to do with YOUR marriage. If you are os happy with your husband why do you continue to obsess over every little tid bit that you boss tells you. I think you need to look at your marriage and see if you are truly happy, is your husband giving you the attention, gratification you need?

rainbow rainbow November 18, 2013, 10:11 am

“Today he mentioned to me only that he and his wife are going away for a weekend without the baby. I wonder why he told me that.” Because he is sharing something he would with any other employee that he has relatively good standing with.

It sounded more to me like he’s regretting ever talking to the LW about his marital problems and wants to give her a clear message that he’s working on them and committed to making it work with his wife. Something like “oh and remember when I said my wife and I weren’t having sex? We’re totally having all we can now. This weekend! ALLL DAY LONG, NO BABIES AROUND.”
Which is good. Not good enough, since he should have kept his mouth shut about his sex life around his employees from the beginning. But good.

avatar iseeshiny November 18, 2013, 10:46 am

I literally lol’d.

WE ARE HAVING SO MUCH SEX NOW.

Cleopatra_30 Cleopatra_30 November 18, 2013, 10:50 am

Very true! haha i think this letter could be her way of expressing her anger that she isn’t doing a romantic weekend away with her hubby :P

avatar csp November 18, 2013, 4:31 pm

I have been mulling over this all day and I keep coming back to why she told him about her feelings. I think you nailed in on the head. She is clearly not happy in her marriage and it is time to deal with that issue on its own. Not throw yourself at a dream that is so clearly not going to happen.

avatar lets_be_honest November 18, 2013, 9:43 am

Can’t get past the first paragraph. Jesus. I wish he fired you. Grow up.

avatar EricaSwagger November 18, 2013, 9:44 am

It’s really selfish to tell someone you have feelings for them if there’s literally no point. What good did it do?
Oh, none. Exactly.

avatar lets_be_honest November 18, 2013, 9:52 am

Even if neither were married, I’d still think this was a f’d up situation. Some people really don’t care about their jobs or even seeming professional I guess.

avatar SpaceySteph November 18, 2013, 1:13 pm

Right? Like when would it ever be appropriate for you to tell your boss you have a crush on him? And when would it ever be appropriate for him to take you up on that offer and date you while still being your supervisor?

Only on the set of Desperate Housewives. Tremendously inappropriate behavior on her part for any employee, married or not.

Addie Pray Addie Pray November 18, 2013, 9:44 am

Oh wow this was making me cringe! LW, what Wendy said again and again. You most definitely need out of there, a new job far away, where you can start fresh and NOT repeat any of that inappropriateness.

Addie Pray Addie Pray November 18, 2013, 10:44 am

LW! Hey listen to me – there’s some really happy news in the sea of criticism you’re receiving here. And that is, you now know with complete clarity just how inappropriate all of this is. And that is great, you want to know why? Because now you can fix it. You can get a new job – or move to a new department or whatever is available – to distance yourself from your boss and start over! That’s great news. It’s like going to a new school, where you get to start over and reinvent yourself to be the person you want to be, starting now, and no one needs to know about the horrid boss incident that, thankfully, did not result in disaster and that need not define you. You’re not a bad person, you just made a bad decision. So move on and do not repeat! I think that’s great news and I’m happy for you that (a) the situation is so black and white and (b) it can only get better. …. I mean, it would be worse if, say, you were in a real pickle and we all were disagreeing, right? Because then it would be more confusing and hard to see what would be the best course of action for you. But here? Easy! It’s kind of like you’re starving and you’re at a restaurant but there’s only one option – a prix fixe. As opposed to being at a buffet where you can only get ONE PLATE FULL – that would be bad – what with so many options and what if you get too much of the food you don’t like and then not enough of the food you end up liking? But you can’t go back and get another plate – that’s like a living nightmare!! Except that would be amazing right now for me because I am so hungry.

avatar Laura Hope November 18, 2013, 9:45 am

Wendy’s response was perfect. And may I add that if you put the energy that you’re putting into your boss into your marriage, you could revitalize it. Maybe you and your husband could benefit from a weekend away too.

avatar iseeshiny November 18, 2013, 12:53 pm

Only not to the same place your boss went.

Stonegypsy Stonegypsy November 18, 2013, 9:49 am

You know, I totally understand *having* an inappropriate crush. But telling your boss, who is married and has a baby, that you have feelings for him is just not okay. I think you’re confused about your own marriage, and instead of dealing with the problems there, you are putting that energy into obsessing over another, unavailable man, because it’s easier than facing the reality of your own problems.
I think therapy is a good answer, but also couples counseling (for you and your husband). Forget about your boss, for everyone’s sake.

kare kare November 18, 2013, 9:51 am

I’m sorry but I can’t even try to sympathize.

” He had said a few months prior that he couldn’t have sex with his wife while she was pregnant because it felt as though there was someone between them. So I figured that he just didn’t love her enough to get past her belly.”

Are you fucking kidding me? So he must not love his wife and had secretly been in love with you for four years?

Find another job or move to a different department because clearly your judgment is clouded around this man.

avatar FossilChick November 18, 2013, 10:36 am

I second the suggestion to find another job ASAP. The LW is, frankly, lucky that her actions haven’t yet had professional consequences, so she needs to exit this job while she still has a hope of being able to use anyone at that office as a reference in the future. And I say “anyone” because if the office is so small that she can’t ever avoid her boss-love, there’s no doubt in my mind that the other employees know what fresh hell is going on here.

Cleopatra_30 Cleopatra_30 November 18, 2013, 10:48 am

haha i think that was my lol moment of the whole letter, just cause he didn’t have sex with her while she was pregnant does not mean he doesn’t love her. Geez way to read way too far between the lines. I think most guys are kind of funny about having sex during pregnancy cause of all the silly myths behind it.

avatar rachel November 18, 2013, 10:11 am

Um..yeah…WEES. LW, you sound completely delusional about this whole thing. What makes you think that it was AT ALL okay to confess your feelings to your boss? It doesn’t matter what he feels about you (it sounds like maybe he had fun flirting with you BEFORE he was married, but has chosen to remain faithful to his wife). He is your boss. There is no world where you two can run off together and live happily ever after. I’m with Wendy, go to therapy and figure out how to fix the marriage you already have.

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson November 18, 2013, 10:11 am

Reading this made my stomach turn. You’re a shitty person. He has a wife, and a family with her. Back the fuck off.

avatar starpattern November 18, 2013, 10:11 am

Urgh, gross. LW, come on! Quit making a fool of yourself and do WWS.

I really hate it when people share super personal details and/or talk crap about their marriage at work. I feel so sorry for the guy’s wife, if he’s blabbering to all his employees about how emotional and critical she is and telling them about their intimate life. And I can only assume the LW has been doing the same.

Good grief.

rainbow rainbow November 18, 2013, 10:20 am

Unreliable narrator. I’m considering the possibility that he said none of that and the LW heard that because she wanted to.

rainbow rainbow November 18, 2013, 10:24 am

Maybe he mentioned in passing and in an abstract way that having sex with someone who is pregnant is uncomfortable because there’s like a huge belly in the middle of things (doh) and LW put her fine, fine deductive skills to work and decided it meant he didn’t have sex with his wife because he was secretly in love with her.

avatar starpattern November 18, 2013, 10:31 am

Oh, good point, that’s also possible. I guess those parts were easy for me to believe since I’ve had jobs where comments like those – and sometimes worse – were made allll the time (it’s one reason I really love my current job – we’re friendly and talk about our lives outside work, but nobody’s badmouthing their spouse).

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson November 18, 2013, 10:36 am

I completely agree.

rainbow rainbow November 18, 2013, 10:18 am

“HEY WENDY! I told a man inappropriately that I love him and he said what I did is inappropriate and he doesn’t love me back, and now every time I talk to him he texts his wife to ask her out and tells me about it. Do you think he’s in love with me?”