Man wants to dial back co-worker intimacy
BY Ask Amy
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
11/06/12 at 4:00 AM
Dear Amy: I am a happily married man in my mid-40s. There is a lady that works in the same office, and we visit with each other a couple of times a day. She is also married.
We have been very friendly for a few years; we confide in each other about work stuff, and we sometimes phone and text small tidbits of information after work. Occasionally, we will have lunch or grab a cocktail after work. We have never been romantic.
I know there is "chemistry" between us, and I know she recognizes this as well. I have noticed a growing closeness between us, but I have never addressed this issue. I recognize a need to change our situation.
I am confused because I am happy in my marriage, but at the same time I can't ignore my feelings for my co-worker. Is there a way I can "reverse" our relationship without hurting anyone or jeopardizing anyone's career? - Hopelessly Confused
Dear Confused: Your query perfectly illustrates an "emotional affair" in its earlier stages. These relationships grow over time, and participants face any number of opportunities to change the nature of the relationship - but they don't change it because they don't want to.
You can alter this work relationship by behaving differently. Limit your private time and private communication. No more lunches unless other colleagues are with you. No after-hours cocktails unless your wife can join you. Don't generate or return an after-work phone call or text unless it is a work emergency (otherwise deal with it the next day).
In short, treat this person the way you treat your other workplace friends. Be aware that there are special risks with this friendship - so work hard to avoid them. This could be painful as you adjust, but you can adjust as you shift your professional relationship from becoming too intimate.
Dear Amy: I agree with your advice to "Meat Lovers" regarding their future in-laws' vegan Thanksgiving requirements. One of our family members is vegan, and we make extra provisions for him at holidays. He comes and seems to enjoy himself, although he may ask to be served first to avoid cross-contamination. At times, he has asked to inspect our recipes.
Some people use food rules to avoid interacting with others, and that's their choice. Inviting them, offering to make reasonable accommodations for them and graciously accepting their response is often the best you can do. - Flexitarian in N.C.
Dear Flexitarian: You are demonstrating a wonderful and accommodating Thanksgiving spirit.
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