It has been almost two years working in a company as a professional. Since the beginning I started working with a gentleman who was in charge of another department. After several months I realized I had feelings toward him. I need to say that I am happily married with two children. This gentleman was so nice, polite, and supportive of me. I truly want to have him as a friend at work. To be honest with you, yes, first my feelings were like a romantic type. But then I realized that he was not that type of person, and I thought it would be nice just hanging out with him at work or outside as a friend. I am kind to him, I bring him some food sometimes, and I gave him a New Year’s gift. He also has been so kind and polite to me. Whenever I need his help, he is ready to help and has told me that he always has time for me. But on the other side, he never opens a discussion about personal stuff, ever. He has never asked me if I am married (and I don’t know if he is married). He is totally uninterested in knowing about me. Even after the holidays, he just asked a general question and answered my question in the same way.
I behave in a professional manner, but I have expressed my feeling in a subtle way several times. Like the other day, when he thanked me for the lunch, I answered that it was impossible for me to find at the company a more trustworthy and sincere person than he is to be liked as a friend. In response, he said that it was very nice of me to say that and it was great to work with me as well.
I feel he tries to avoid me in public. (For example, he does not talk to me except to say ‘hi.”) I remember that when I started my job here, he used to talk to me more on different occasions. On the other hand, whenever he has a chance, he stares at me a lot. He doesn’t even try to make it subtle.
One Friday we had an argument over a job matter. After the weekend, he came by and asked me to talk. He said that the whole weekend he was thinking aboutwhat had happened. We talked and resolved the issue. Do you think if he did not want to have me as a friend, he would have tried to solve the issue as he did? I feel bonded to this person and I just want to be his friend. — Wanting His Friendship
He does not want to be your friend. He only wants to be cordial professional colleagues and that’s it. He probably senses that you have a crush on him — maybe he’s attracted to you too — but he is not interested in pursuing this crush, and there are so many good reasons why that might be (because you work together and that could easily complicate your jobs and your work relationship; because you’re married; because maybe he is in a relationship). You keep dropping huge hints that you want something more from him than just a cordial professional relationship, and he is trying, as nicely and politely as he can, to tell you that he can’t be that for you. You need to back off. Stop bringing him lunch and gifts and telling him how much you like him. Even if he’s flattered, he has to be feeling uncomfortable by now. Just stop.
You say you are happily married, so why are you so obsessed with this man at work? What are you missing in your marriage that you are seeking elsewhere? You need to figure that out, reconnect with your husband, focus on your marriage, and look elsewhere for friends (here are some tips for making new friends).
I really cannot stress this enough: Your pursuit of this colleague who has given lots of clues that he isn’t interested in anything more than a cordial professional relationship is really inappropriate. You are not bonded to him. You literally know almost nothing about him (not even if he’s married or single!). Your pursuit of him is a substitution for making genuine friends (with people who would want to actually be friends with you) and your acting on a crush so relentlessly signals something amiss in your marriage. No one who is truly happily married in a monogamous relationship carries on with someone the way you have been with this coworker. It’s one thing to have a harmless attraction to someone you say hi to occasionally; it’s quite another thing to doggedly pursue a relationship with gifts, lunches, compliments. You are crossing the line. And he is a distraction from something you would prefer ignoring. The longer you ignore whatever that something is, the more it will eat away at you, keeping you from being genuinely content.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.