I feel attracted to my boss who is married and almost twice my age. I am in my 20s. I like his intellect, his charisma, and his witty replies. I’m preparing for further schooling as I continue my job, and he is very helpful and considerate when I need time for classes.
The problem is that lately he tries to take opportunities to grab my hand and give me tickles. The first time he did it, I didn't decline, as I already had feelings for him and I enjoyed it. But after going home, I felt guilty. Now whenever he tries to tickle me, I make some or other excuse to stop him. But then he says it’s a joke and I should not take it seriously.
My problem is that whenever he comes a bit close to me, I start developing feelings. And I also don't know whether I am overthinking and it and if it's OK if someone tickles in your hand.
You are not overthinking it. Your gut is telling you it's not OK – because it isn't. Your feelings for this man don't entitle him to touch you.
Tell him, via email, that you want to draw specific boundaries with work relationships. Explain that these hand touches cross that line and mess with what is otherwise a supportive and professional relationship.
This is a paper trail saying you've asked him not to touch your hand like this.
After the note is sent, life might change. Your relationship might be less crush-like. But everything needs to reset. I understand that on top of your discomfort, you also have feelings for him, but that doesn't matter. If he were single, you'd still want professionalism at work. You don't owe him your hand for tickling because he's been supportive of your academic life.
You can let a human resources department person know you've sent this email. I don't know the structure of your workplace, but find out who's in charge of this kind of thing, if anyone.
It might be a "joke" to him, but it's not to you. I'll say this a third time: your feelings for him don't make this OK. Just because you enjoyed that first gesture, it doesn't mean he's entitled to anything from you.
Write down what's not working for you and decide what piece you need to send.
This crush will disappear. It might go away if you read your letter back to yourself.
Readers? Thoughts on why the crush might make this confusing?