Should I come clean to my former work crush?

We are starting Season 3 of the podcast! Whereas Season 1 was about breakups and Season 2 was about how to find love, Season 3 is going to attempt to answer this familiar Love Letters question: "How do you know?" Take a look at this form and tell me your stories. Also, enjoy this (mildly explicit) live bonus episode, which was recorded two weeks ago in Somerville. You can get it on Spotify here.

And send letters, please.

I met this man at work in 2015. I saw him at the reception area. I asked around but no one seemed to know who he was. Turned out, he was located off-site at a satellite location, which I found out nearly two years later when I officially met him. The attraction was strong, and when I finally got to know him, he was a charmer. He was nice to me and would go out his way to greet me with a hug, coffee, or pastries from a shop next door. I had a boyfriend at the time and had to draw a line at reciprocating, and was only friendly with him.

I left the job and sent a goodbye email to a group of colleagues to give them my contact information to stay in touch (him included). Part of me really wanted to reach out to him directly and tell him to call me. I did not. Exactly a year after having left that job (two months ago), he texted me for the first time telling me he had realized it was one year since I had left, and he asked how I was doing. It seemed like he was keeping tabs on me.

Now single, I thought, wow, is this finally my opportunity with him? The butterflies quickly re-emerged. He texts weekly and has called me several times. I don't typically talk to men on the phone unless we're involved in some way. I asked him for coffee, he agreed, and we met in person. He shared that he is emotionally involved with a married woman. He has now shared this a number of times and says he's trying to get over her but is having difficulty. Meanwhile, here I am getting my hopes up.

I really want to date this guy, but he is emotionally unavailable - yet continues to text and flirt, but has not asked me out again. What should I do? Should I move on? Getting to know him on this level has been great, but my feelings for him are romantic in nature. Being friends with him would be difficult for me. Should I come clean?

- Confused hopeless romantic


"Being friends with him would be difficult for me."

It's good you know this! Instead of pretending it's not true, tell this man you're hoping for more. You don't have to continue to text, listen to his love problems, or keep silent while you wait for him to reveal how he feels about you. I don't see any benefit to staying quiet.

Sometimes our instinct is to play the long game with crushes, but I'm not sure what we win in the process, even when it works out. Dating shouldn't involve too much waiting around or guessing about intentions. It shouldn't require anyone to sit around wondering, "Was that even a date?" Also, I have pretty much never heard a success story from anyone who's watched and waited. 
People usually tell me that when they plan, hope, and strategize for months (or years) without disclosing any of their feelings, they wind up feeling like it was misspent energy.

It's better to seek clarity, even if it might involve disappointment. Come clean – and soon.

– Meredith

Readers? Is the man's crush on the married woman the answer here?