Missing my office relationship

We chat at 1 p.m.

And ... tonight!

We met on our first day of work. Yep, coworkers. We both had girlfriends, but it was undeniable how quickly we clicked. We started talking every day, and I could tell he was attracted to me, but I kept boundaries up. I didn't respond to his Facebook messages unless it was during work hours. The "we should hang out outside of work" suggestions were deflected. I was doing great. Until ... my girlfriend cheated on me. It was a bad, messy breakup, and I realized he'd been there for me in ways she hadn't. My walls came down, and we started talking constantly and hanging out outside of work until we inevitably hooked up (don't worry, he was in an open relationship). It became obvious to me that I wouldn't be able to separate my feelings for him from the sex; I know at this point that if I sleep for someone I'm friends with, I will fall for them. So I told him we needed to stay friends because I had feelings for him, and given the nature of my recent breakup, I had no interest in being a homewrecker.

Four days later, he'd broken up with his girlfriend. We spent the better half of a week having sleepovers. But he maintained that we were "buds," and that made me queasy. I decided it was a bad idea to keep sleeping with him. He actually told me he wanted to end things first, but kept constantly messaging me like nothing had happened. I told him I needed space. After one messy day back at work talking constantly, he asked if I was sure I wanted to keep it platonic, and I told him the truth, which was that I liked him a lot and wanted a relationship but I didn't feel like we wanted the same things. He told me he really liked me, that things "always started casual" for him. We went on a date a few days later. Then he stopped talking to me.

I asked what was up, and he told me he'd met someone. Well, that was fast. I ended our friendship. It felt like I'd been dragged around, taken advantage of, and used as a backup plan, even though he insisted he "really valued me." Now I just feel empty. I really miss having someone to send funny work screenshots to, even though it hurts to even think about seeing him. I just feel like we can't go back to being friends, because from Day 1, we were always a little bit more than that. But of course I miss him. Why else would I be writing? Is this friendship a casualty of searching for The One, or is it remotely possible to rekindle without the tension (or resentment) creeping back in?

– Independent Pam Who Doesn't Need A Jim (except to appreciate work memes)

Friendship is probably not in the cards. Maybe the two of you will be acquaintances again someday, but you're not meant for anything close and platonic. There's always been a flirtation here. He will continue to ask for more.

It makes sense that the end of this relationship is making you feel extra lonely. Work connections make the day more exciting, and when the memes and messages go away, it's like a light's gone out. It can make every hour seem so much longer. All you're left with is ... work.

It's a good time to remember that there are many other people who like to trade messages throughout the day. It might be an old friend who has time for texts and emails. It might be a different person in your office who's looking for some company. I'm sure you've had inside jokes with plenty of people in your life. He's not the only one, and he's certainly not the most important.

I'll also remind you that some of the pain you're feeling might have to do with your breakup. You had a big loss, and I'm not sure you had the chance to grieve it. You were distracted by someone else, but now the pain is setting in. Give yourself some time to get over all of it. Sometimes it takes awhile.

– Meredith

Readers? Will there be a friendship after this?