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I've been in love with my boss (he's 10 years older) for the last two years. I tried to hide my emotions; I really love my job and I'd never put it at risk. But eventually it got to a point where I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't concentrate on work, as he was the only thing I could think of.
Earlier this year, I got the courage and texted him asking for a private meeting. I said I had something very important to tell him, but couldn’t do it inside our workplace. He agreed and we met. I asked him if he had a clue about what was going on, and he said, "Frankly, not." I confessed, telling him I like him and have been in love with him since the first moment I saw him (maybe I said too much but I needed to get this off my chest). Then, to my surprise, he said he likes me too but didn't know I was in love with him. He wondered why I didn't make a move earlier. Then he asked for some time in order to consider a possible relationship with me. I agreed and so I waited, and waited, and waited. But no answer came. For the next three (!) months we'd meet at work on a daily basis, even flirt a bit, pretending that nothing ever happened. I started getting annoyed.
I risked everything to talk to him and he just forgot about it? He asked for time and I gave him plenty of it. I asked him for another meeting and he insisted we meet at work. So I went to his office and reminded him of our previous conversation. He looked at me and said, "Oh, well, I'm seeing somebody. Nothing formal, though. You're the only one who knows. Just to clear things up." Like ... if he wasn't interested in the first place, why did he lie and say he likes me too? And why did he ask for some time and then let it sit for months? I'm still not over it. I'm still in love with him, no matter how many times I've tried to kill this feeling. But every time I see him, I get reminded of the situation and I want to tell him how much his actions hurt me. Needless to say that after the incident, instead of keeping a distance, he got closer to me, texting me late at night and checking on my social media, something that didn't happen before I opened up to him. What should I do? Talk to him about it, risking my work position once again?
– The love-struck worker
"Like ... if he wasn't interested in the first place, why did he lie and say he likes me too? And why did he ask for some time and then let it sit for months??"
Well, you fell in love with the person you thought he might be. Turns out, when it come to relationships, he’s not that man at all. He's confusing, selfish, and is happy to absorb attention without doing much to calm your nerves. He's also an irresponsible boss. At no point has he addressed how this might affect the workplace for either of you. Yes, you were the one to bring up your feelings, but he let everything linger with no mention of boundaries.
This is just a guess, but maybe he wants to keep you around as a possibility ... saving you for later, or just enjoying your attention without thought. He’s doing the work to keep you interested, to suggest that this could happen, instead of giving you any kind of clarity. It's unkind.
I understand you want him and that your brain is stuck on everything you like about him, but he is not good for you. He's seeing someone else. He listened as you told him you loved him, and then he gave you false hope. You need to focus on the negative and answer your lingering questions yourself. He kept you around, asking for more time and attention, because he could. Because he was prioritizing himself.
Block him on social media. Respond to his messages – when they’re important – during work hours only. Be a great employee and take your free time back for yourself. Grieve it because it is over.
Readers? Can you tell this LW how to let this go and move on?