Like many people in corporate America, I have a work spouse. She's a lot like me but a little younger. We have a similar job, similar interests, and similar home lives (married with children). We go for coffee, gossip, chat all day on our messenger, and even text from time to time. We've been friends and confidants to each other for a few years now. On a couple of drunken occasions over the years we've gotten a little touchy feely with each other, but nothing that I would consider cheating, and we really have never even addressed that it happened.
Recently our company opened a gym in our building. So naturally we started hitting the gym at the same time and working out together. Well, long story short, I've become very attracted to her. I didn't realize how much until I caught myself totally daydreaming about her on a Saturday. I want to remain friends but I'm getting flirty. She doesn't necessarily return the flirtation, but she doesn't discourage it either. So one day I sort of decided I was getting in too deep and I didn't really reply to her messages. She noticed immediately; I made up an excuse and began replying again.
Is there any way to rewind the clock here or do I need to address this directly? I need some help before I really screw things up.
– Working it Out
Do not talk to your work friend about these feelings. I can't imagine what that kind of disclosure would accomplish. It's very possible to get over a crush on your own, so you might as well do that. If taking space isn't a realistic option, you can avoid certain topics, set boundaries with humor, and do your best to spend more time having this kind of fun back-and-forth with your wife.
Really, the spouse thing is a big part of this – and you've told us nothing about your marriage. It's work asking: What are you doing with this work partner that you miss doing with your wife? Do you gossip with her? Do you have time for coffees and inside jokes? Sometimes work flirtations are just a reminder of what we need back at home. You can try this kind of communication with the person you married.
Also, please change your workout routine. This whole thing got weirder after you started going to the company gym. You do not have to use that gym. At the very least, you can go at a new time. Working out gets the blood flowing ... and sometimes that means other things start flowing, too. This woman is clearly the wrong company for that kind of activity.
Readers? Is this a gym problem?