My work crush lives with his girlfriend

Do you have a question about your relationship (or the relationship you're looking for)? Email your question to [email protected] or fill out this form.

Also, I'm looking for updates! Former letter writers from all years, please tell us how you're doing. Email your update to [email protected] with "UPDATE" in the subject line. Make sure you include info about which letter you wrote. We'd love to hear how you're doing and whether the advice was any good.

Dear Meredith,

I have developed an obsessive crush on my project manager. We first "met" over a phone conference when I started my job last year, and have since become friends. He's living with his girlfriend whom he rarely talks about, and I get the impression things aren’t going well. We work together outdoors for long hours, sometimes days or even weeks at a time. We’ll be slogging away in the crummiest conditions and still have such a fun time it feels like a vacation instead of work. He makes me laugh until I keel over crying in a heap on the ground. I can’t tell if there’s tension or if it's all in my head, but when we’re working alone we constantly make inappropriate sexual jokes, and today I found out he changed his contact info for me in his phone to a nickname he gave me.

I try to hide my feelings but I think our chemistry is hard to ignore. My friends tell me to tread carefully, so I am trying to focus on other things and dating other people, but this has been going on for months now and cannot get my mind off of him. I want to spend more time with him regardless of the outcome and am thinking of asking him to hang out outside of work. I won't make any romantic advances as long as he's in a relationship, but is it wrong to pursue a friendship given how I feel? Is there a safe way to grow our friendship, outside the workplace? Or do I have to wait in the wings until hopefully one day he breaks things off with his girlfriend? Please help - my friends are sick of hearing about this.

- Hopefully not another Jolene


"I get the impression things aren’t going well."

But ... you say he rarely talks about his girlfriend. Let's not make any assumptions about his relationship, please.

"I won't make any romantic advances as long as he's in a relationship."

I see the whole "let's hang out outside of work" request as an advance (sorry). With anyone else, it would be about friendship, but with this guy, there's an "obsessive crush." You want to spend more time with him because you like like him. Please don't pretend it can be about anything else right now.

He has not asked you for quality time outside of work, which means he's maintaining a boundary. Respect that and try to broaden your fantasy life. I know how obsessive crushes work; it's difficult to imagine a relationship (or sex) with anyone else. But think about it this way: if he showed up tomorrow single and you started dating, the stakes would feel so high because you're so into him.

If you can take the obsession out of the crush and see him as an actual flawed, multi-dimensional human (one who is flirting like crazy, apparently, with someone who clearly is into him, all while he's still living with a girlfriend), you'll have a better shot at something real with him, whatever that might be.

Look at others. Talk to others. Date others. Do this for you because you could use something real, and longing for him will take over your life. It will also make your real friends very tired.

– Meredith

Readers? Jolene. Jolene. JoLENE? JOLENE? How do you deflate a crush like this?