‘I’m really, really into this guy I work with’

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I'm a 27-year-old straight woman (since that question always gets asked, I thought I'd answer it right away.) I'm really, really into this guy I work with. I know, coworker relationships are a mistake, right? But I can't help my feelings. Please help me make sense of them. I first noticed this guy about on my second day of working for this company. He has amazing eyes and a very charismatic personality. It was hard not to become smitten really fast.

During the first couple months of my employment, he was seeing another girl who works in the department, but she broke up with him, leaving him hesitant about getting to know another coworker in the same regard ever again, which he has been very honest about with me. He and I have since hung out a bit, mostly at larger group outings downtown (we all live and work in the 'burbs, so gatherings are few and far between). He's three years younger, if that means anything.

Fast forward a bit and he had a party at his house that we all attended. Everyone got a little drunk and we ended up hooking up. I'm kind of inexperienced but knowledgeable enough to know our encounter wasn't that great. (I am cringing to admit this, but it was my first sexual experience ever ... there, now it's out.) It was awkward, and intoxication didn't help much on either of our parts. He’s been super nice ever since, but kind of distant. We had a nearly two-hour phone conversation a few days after the party where I let him know I was interested but he repeatedly told me "it's not that I’m not interested, I just can't be in a relationship right now" and "I want to be good friends" – yes, all the things my rational brain wants to take at face value, but my romantic heart wants to ignore.

Now I have to see this guy every day at work and it's tearing my heart out that 1) I'm not socially confident enough to be more assertive to turn things around the way I want them, and 2) he's not really making an effort to be friends. I know that if there is a chance for us down the road, it has to be based on spending time together, and it's looking more and more like the ball is in my court. I just don't know how to play the game. Maybe this is a lesson in patience for me. But in the meantime, how do I deal with this attraction that I can't turn off? And seeing the person all week at work?

– Crushed

"I'm not socially confident enough to be more assertive to turn things around the way I want them."

I want to start by saying that this isn't a thing. You can't make someone have a feeling by being socially confident. If he's not looking for a relationship right now, there's nothing you can do to change his mind.

"He's not really making an effort to be friends."

Maybe he's trying to set a boundary so he doesn't make it seem like he might want more. That's a good thing. You're not interested in a friendship right now; you're all about the long game to get him to be your romantic partner. Believe what he told you and respect his decision. Do not scheme. Follow his lead and give him space.

This is not a lesson in patience. The lesson, unfortunately, is that sometimes you hook up with a crush and then have to get over it because said crush doesn't want to be your boyfriend. It’s disappointing, for sure. But the glass-half-full way to look at this is that you're not a spectator here. You had a very fun and exciting experience, and you're participating in the complicated world of romance and dating. When you have a date with someone new, you'll come to the table with this knowledge. With a story. Keep the momentum going. Who else might interest you?

As for dealing with the crush in the office, it's all about self-control. The stomach butterflies might not go away when he walks by, but you can force yourself to think about other things. Take walks, if that helps. Visit other coworkers. Keep your hours very busy so there's less time to daydream.

– Meredith

Readers? Any advice on getting over a work crush? Any thoughts on this specific relationship?