Do I break up with my work friend?

We chat at 1 p.m.

Hi Meredith,

Almost five years ago, I made a connection with a co-worker. We got to know each other through email. The more we talked, the more I fell for him. He gave me his phone number and we hung out in person. That's when he casually mentioned he had a girlfriend of two years. I decided to keep my feelings to myself and remain friends (you never know what could happen in a year or two).

Fast forward to now, and I've been dating my boyfriend for two years (and he's pretty amazing, I might add). My "work friend" and I are still pretty close. We talk/see each other almost every day. We have met each other's family, friends, and significant others. The thought of being together has faded, but has never left my mind. Just a small thought of hope that we would both wind up single, and maybe something could happen. He is a pretty great guy, thoughtful, kind, and gets my sense of humor. He is always going out of his way for me, remembering things I told him months prior. Everything is just so easy with him. But then, out of nowhere, he told me his girlfriend is pregnant. Eight months pregnant.

As happy as I am for him and his girlfriend, my heart instantly broke. My mind has been racing ever since. Why didn't he tell me earlier? We see each other at work almost every day. It's none of my business, but we typically share big news with each other, so why is this any different? Why do I feel like I am going through a breakup when we didn't even date? I told my work friend we probably shouldn't talk for a while, so he can focus on himself and his very pregnant girlfriend. Should I cut ties with my work friend over this feeling and lead a happy life with my current boyfriend? Should I suck it up to try and remain friends with this man, knowing our friendship is going to change completely? At this rate, any answer will help. I just need someone to tell me what to do.

– Just Friends?


You're grieving like you had a breakup because you did have a breakup. For years now, you've had an emotional relationship with this co-worker. It has been romantic – on your side, at least.

That doesn't mean you don't love your boyfriend. It certainly doesn't mean you're in a bad relationship. People can feel many things at once.

You asked a bunch of questions in your letter, but your gut answered most of them for you. After hearing about this pregnancy, you told your co-worker, without much thought, that he needed to go away. You don't know that you want to cut him out of your life forever, but for now, you want him gone.

It doesn't sound like he objected to your request for space. That's probably because he understands exactly why you need to walk away.

The good news is that you'll be able to focus on your boyfriend without being distracted by misleading fantasies. Give yourself some time to adjust to this breakup, and then turn your attention to what's in front of you.

– Meredith

Readers? What does this "breakup" say about her relationship with her boyfriend?