A crush on a work friend

We won't chat today because I'll be in London. But -- if you send me notes on Twitter with the hashtag #LoveLetters, we can talk throughout the day. I'll be at a George Michael concert at about 3 p.m. your time, so I'll have plenty to say, I'm sure.

Hi Meredith,

I'm wondering if you and your readers can weigh in on a potentially large dilemma. I am the parent of two small children, married many years. I recently started a new job where I am in contact several times a week with a colleague who I -- completely unexpectedly -- am drawn to almost unlike anything I've ever felt before.

We share a profession, which makes us look at the world similarly. But we also have a similar sense of humor, and this person makes me feel interesting and smart. Our conversation flows naturally without gaps. It helps that this person is also very interesting, well-traveled, intelligent, and good looking.

Literally from day three, I felt like I have known this person for years. I have a feeling that if we were both single, we would have already been dating. We have been emailing here and there outside of work, but nothing overtly unprofessional, mostly just funny things. There is an energy unlike anything I've experienced, yet I have to play poker face because of my situation.

My kids are so important to me, but my marriage, while it has its good times, is what I might describe as so-so right now. The difficulties that come with raising two children (there are joys too, of course) and managing two careers are not faring well with us.

And of course there is the possibility that my radar is completely off and this person simply sees me as a friend, and I'm freaking out for no reason.

My question is naturally: Am I being silly and selfish by even letting myself feel drawn to this person and wasting my time wondering how this person feels, too? Do you meet people at a certain point in your life for a reason and should I not ignore this? Or, do I need to just relax and make my kids my biggest priority right now? Obviously, the dissolution of a marriage would have ridiculously huge ramifications, and frankly not something I'm not sure I'd consider.

Further, I am not sure I would have the guts to say anything to this person about it, and I have a feeling this person is far too respectful to do anything either. I appreciate that, but again, I also can't help but wonder if you meet people for a reason at certain times.

I'm sure you'll say something like I should remove myself from the situation and stop talking to this person, but for the next couple months that will not be doable due to work. And yes, work is too important to leave right now as I am trying to establish myself in a new position. I feel like a scattered mess and thinking about it is eating me up. And yes, for the record, I feel incredibly guilty for even feeling or thinking any of this. Who wouldn't? I am only human.

Please be gentle, commenters.


– Scattered, Mass.

Calm down, Scattered. I can't speak for the Love Letters commenters, but I'm not going to yell at you for having a crush. I'm not going to tell you to quit your job. I'm not even going to tell you that you're selfish.

That said, I'm not going to validate your feelings for this guy. I don't believe that we're "meant" to meet certain people. And I certainly don't believe that your new friend is your destiny. But I do believe that this guy has taught you a big lesson.

He's taught you that you miss being you. You miss being someone who isn't just a mom. You miss being someone who has time for jokes. You miss having a husband, not just a busy co-parent.

So give your marriage a break and ask for some help. Instead of shutting the world out and focusing only on your kids, spend money on childcare (or call friends and family) and take a vacation. See movies with your husband. Do some of the things that you used to enjoy before you became overwhelmed with daily obligations.

You had this kind of connection with your husband once. That's why you fell for him, right? You can get that back. It just takes time and energy and some shared experiences. Again, this new guy is just a reminder of what you're missing. Don't let him become more.

Readers? Does she have to leave her job? Has she done anything wrong? How can she have this banter with her husband when they have so much to do? How should she set boundaries with this new friend? Discuss.

– Meredith