My boyfriend’s employee thinks they’re dating

Hi Meredith,

I found out a few months ago that my boyfriend of many years got himself into a sticky situation with one of his subordinates. His subordinate at work fell in love with him and thinks that they are in a relationship. He has turned her down many times but it hasn't worked. She wants to hang out with him on the weekends, and nudges him about making plans for special occasions. He cannot say anything to his boss because it's not professional – and she is a top employee.

Not only was I shocked when I found out, but also very angry with her. I don't understand how someone could think they are dating someone when they know that person has a longtime girlfriend and is their boss! Many of my friends have asked why I'm not mad at him. I was – because I understand it takes two to tango – but I've been with him for a long time and know he is not that kind of guy at all. He just made the mistake of letting casual flirting go too far. Especially when he didn't realize what it could turn into.

I have forgiven him and we have moved on but, he still has to work with her and cannot fire her. I know that she is still in love with him, and her aggressive ways make me very nervous. I just would like to have mental closure on the situation. What would you do? Is there anything I can do? I just feel helpless.

– Helpless

What would I do? I would tell my boyfriend that he must to report this issue to his boss and the human resources department. I would explain to him that it is, in fact, professional to seek guidance about how to handle an uncomfortable work situation. I would tell him that by not disclosing this history to his boss, he's putting himself at professional risk.

What if she tells people at work that they're dating? It would be harder at that point to explain the history.

I think you'd get some real "mental closure" if you knew your boyfriend had a plan to set some official boundaries. He doesn't have to fire her (he pretty much can't at this point), but he can ask his boss to take her employment status out of his hands.

You're upset because you don't see an end to this problem. That's what you have to find with him – a strategy for getting this on the record and help from the right people.

– Meredith

Readers? How can she feel less helpless?