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'I've been happily married for 8 years. But I can't shake my feelings for my co-worker.' UPDATED

'I've been happily married for 8 years. But I can't shake my feelings for my co-worker.' UPDATED

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"I [29F] have been with husband [29M] for 8 years. I have feelings for a coworker [30M] that I can't shake."

I've been with my wonderful husband since we were 20/21. We have an amazing relationship with each other, still make time for dates every week, and really just enjoy each other. He became my best friend pretty instantly from when we started hanging out in high school, and that still hasn't changed today.

I have a girl friend who I do call my best friend, and outside of my marriage she is, but even that doesn't compare to the friendship I have with my husband. We've had our rough patches, but never anything very severe.

There are some things I need to change about myself and things he needs to work on as well. Nothing relationship ending, just things that we need to do to be better people and better partners, and I doubt this will ever change as it's impossible to just be perfect people. We don't have any children, nor are children in our future.

We both work and bring home pretty decent money, although we've both had small patches of unemployment in the past and were supported by the other. There's never been any hostility over the finances, regardless of who is making more or who is supporting whom.

Our marriage has survived depression, alcoholism, and a couple of physical medical conditions, all met with overwhelming support from each other. We are a great team. Our intimate life is great and really active. A dry spell for us is going the work week without sleeping together because one or both of us are just too exhausted, but that is not very common.

We get along well with each others families, and my family has really bonded with my husband, as far as they are concerned he's just another son/brother. He's everything I could have ever hoped for in a husband and more, and I really truly love him. Now, I've felt myself attracted to others in the past, and I'm sure he has been through the same, but it's not anything we've ever discussed with each other.

I know that it's normal, and it's never been anything too intense before. If I find myself starting to get feelings for someone who I see a lot, it doesn't take much to shake off. This is the first time I've ever dealt with feelings so intense, and I don't really know what to do next.

My coworker is very attractive, super friendly, and I just enjoy being around him. We started working at this company around the same time, roughly 8 months ago. We were in training together for a couple of weeks which was absolute torture. My feelings came on strong and came on quick. I'm sure I've turned red when he flashes me a smile.

It would be embarrassing enough if I were single simply because we work together, but I'm married and I feel like that probably looks really poorly on me. We don't work together anymore, but our departments are close and if he walks through my section he'll put his hand my on shoulder and give it a squeeze to get my attention when he's walking by, then flash me that smile.

I'll make conversation if we pass each other or are at a work event together, but I do the same with pretty much everyone I've worked with/currently work with. We don't have each other on social media, haven't exchanged numbers, and don't see each other outside of work. I was invited out to a bar nearby by him and a few others a couple of times, but turned them down.

I work in a male dominated field, and didn't feel right being the only woman out at the bar with a bunch of guys, especially one who I feel this way about. I avoid his floor at work when possible, and if he's on lunch I'll say hi as I pass but just grab my stuff and eat on the patio or on another floor. I try to just avoid thinking about him or remind myself of how dumb I'm being, but I can't shake this feeling.

I'm not afraid I'm going to be an idiot and "let passion take over" or any of that nonsense, and I think all of those excuses for "one time mistakes" are garbage. I'm in control of my actions and could never be so cruel to my husband.

I just don't know what to do to shake these feelings. The last time I felt such a strong desire for someone was when I met my husband. We were great friends instantly, and hung out/fooled around for about a year before we made things serious. I was very young when we got together, and none of my relationships prior were very serious.

I just never felt so strongly attracted to someone, and didn't think it was even possible to with anyone else. I don't compare my husband to my coworker or vice versa, and that's not what I'm trying to do here either. I've just been able to shake it off any time I've had feelings come on for someone else.

It doesn't matter what I do with this guy though, if I think about it him it's hard to get him off my mind regardless of what's going on around me. I have gone weeks without running into him and he won't cross my mind, but then I can catch a glimpse of him when I'm strolling into work and my heart will start racing faster.

I have a desire to be around him and be close to him, and I just need it to go away. I feel like I'm in high school all over again, except instead of daydreaming in class I'm trying to get this dude off my mind and get some damn work done. I know that full disclosure is important, but this is not something I will be discussing with my husband.

These feelings aren't coming out of neglect or want in my relationship with him, I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything, and there's nothing that he can do that would fix this for me. If he were feeling the same way about someone, I can honestly say I wouldn't want to hear about it. If he felt neglected and like my actions were causing him to desire affection elsewhere, then that would be a different story.

I know that this is something that would affect him really bad, and I don't want him to feel uncomfortable for the 40-50 hours a week that I'm in the same building with this guy when there's nothing he could do or say that would change what's going on with me, and there's no chance of me crossing a line. I just don't see the purpose in creating an issue in my marriage when there isn't one.

tl;dr Have an insane crush on a coworker. I am very happily married and have a great relationship with my husband. No matter how much I avoid said coworker, I can't make these feelings go away.

What do you think? Any advice for her? This is what top commenters had to say:

said:

"We don't have each other on social media, haven't exchanged numbers, and don't see each other outside of work." Keep it that way. Let this fade, do not feed it. Also keep an eye out for annoying/gross/flawed things about this guy. It seems petty but you are infatuated and have him on a pedestal. If you see him as a normal flawed human, it will help the feelings fade.

said:

I think you know that your relationship with your husband is the most valuable thing in your life. Do what you already know is right, and make sure you stay far, far away from anything that could even seem inappropriate. Stay completely strong in this. Infidelity is something irreparable; with that said, I don't think it's 100% necessary to tell your husband about it if you don't want to.

You shouldn't necessarily feel guilty for these feelings and thoughts, either though. There are different kinds of love, and infatuation is one of them-- while strong, it's not something that lasts by itself. Your love for your husband falls in a different, and much more potent in what it can do for your happiness, category of love.

[deleted] said:

Lady, your husband is so lucky. I wish I could find a woman with half the self-awareness as you do. I am so impressed with what you've written here. It gives me hope I can find a woman like you for myself one day.

said:

I am going to be bold and just go ahead and say you really do not have feelings for him, but more the idea of him. Truth is, you do not know him at all. Ok, he seems nice, but people can be all sorts of things without necessarily being that particular thing. For example, he smiles and you think he is a warm person. People can smile without necessarily being warm people.

He may be kind to you or other people and do kind things and you think he is a kind person, but people can do kind things without being kind people. I hope now you can understand what I mean when I said that you really do not have feelings for him, because you do not know him.

You only know what you want to see in him and that is what attracts you to him. While it may be true that this is what you felt when you first met your husband, I would not give these feelings much consideration. You may have felt the same thing when you met your husband, but your relationship with your husband has developed into something real and genuine.

If you want to think of the love that people talk about, then think of a spark. A spark can start a fire, but a spark is not a fire. A fire grows by continuously feeding it with logs of wood. In terms of relationships, the logs of wood are represented by shared experiences. Love grows out of shared experiences which are a result of compatibility. Love is the fire and infatuation is the spark.

In the beginning, you experienced a spark with your husband, but it has now grown into a fire. You are now experiencing a spark with this coworker and if you indulge that spark, it may grow into a fire. You need to look for alternative avenues of thought. You need to keep your mind occupied when these thoughts begin to surface.

You need to put out that spark before it turns into a fire or pretty soon you will find yourself saying, "I have no idea how this happened." Do not indulge in the spark. Remember that it is not him that you have feelings for. You do not know him, you only know what you have built him out to be. He may turn out to be someone very different from what you imagine.

Whenever you those feelings begin to surface just remind yourself that it is the idea of him that you have feelings for and that you and your husband have a real fire, not just a mere spark that can just as easily grow dim.

A month after her original post, OP shared this update:

Before the update, I would like to clear something up that I think I may have worded poorly. My job is not male dominated in the sense that there's 300 employees and like 4 women. We're probably closer to 25%-30% female employees, the rest being male. We all give each other a hard time and play around, and it's not just all the guys here petting on the women.

I've only had female coworkers mess with my hair as they're running by, similar to what I do with my sisters. The extent of touch that I've gotten/given to any of the guys here has been a pat on the back for a good job in a rough close, handshakes, pat on the shoulder in passing to get their attention while going to make copies,

and I've hugged one male coworker who was retiring (and whose wife was there for the retirement party). This isn't a stuffy office setting, but this isn't HR's nightmare either. That being said, I did need to find a way to put distance between Coworker and myself given the reaction he got out of me even with something as simple as eye contact.

So, now on to the update. I am friends with my husbands bosses wife, and gave her a call to help get his time off. His employer is very lenient on time off, and I just set it up so that they were expecting him to call out. We had a romantic extended weekend away, and it gave me a chance to really appreciate him.

Thank you to everyone who advised putting more focus on us, I don't think I would have planned the surprise otherwise.

Now, back to work. A lot has happened in the last month, and I'm planning on going no contact with coworker the very second that I can.

Shortly after I returned I found out that he had put in for a transfer into my department, and had also been added onto my team. No problem, I'm an adult, I can behave like an adult, and the time away to clear my head and reevaluate where I was putting my energy had had a bigger affect than I anticipated. Well, things got a little weird.

He started grabbing me coffee when he'd pick his up because I took on a new project and was showing up earlier/staying later than normal, but didn't do this for anyone else whose workload had increased (about 4 of us took on new clients). Our lunches lined up a little more frequently, I got friend/follow requests on social media (declined), stuff like that.

I felt like he would stand a little closer to me than what was comfortable, but at this point still felt like I was reading too much into it. It was confusing, and difficult given that this feeling isn't wanted, but I do just feel drawn to him, like there's a connection I desperately want to break.

I always park by the smoking section because I have a filthy habit and like to be close, and he caught me tonight while I was walking out to my car. He stopped me and asked to bum a smoke, and we talked for a couple of minutes. He then said he had something kind of uncomfortable to talk to me about.

He told me he had felt really attracted to me since we first met, and that working more closely with me has shown him that he has some real feelings for me. He says he knows that I'm married and will respect any boundaries I set up, but that he hasn't felt this strongly about someone before and he couldn't live with the what-ifs.

Apparently he went so far as to end things with his girlfriend, and is now staying with his parents for a couple of weeks while he gets a new place lined up. He said he could feel something between us and didn't think it was only him.

I told him that I am very happily married and that he shouldn't mistake my friendliness with flirtation, and that he needs to learn more appropriate boundaries with coworkers. I asked him to give me distance and that if it wasn't work related there was no reason to discuss it because we are coworkers, not friends, and left. He looked a little defeated and apologized for overstepping.

My husband is out of town on a work trip so I had to come home to an empty house feeling the weirdest mix of emotions I've had since this whole mess started. Like u/in_the_aether mentioned in my last post, this is most definitely something wonky going on with our pheromones causing the weird flutter of emotions.

The way he came across letting me know he was ok if I cheated on my husband with him painted him in a whole new light. He doesn't seem like this charming guy anymore, just a douche bag who probably hasn't been told "no" enough times in his life.

I have trouble falling asleep by myself and this whole situation has been a mess so sorry for any weird formatting, I'm exhausted and figured I may as well update while everything is fresh. I'm confused. I still think he's really attractive but I'm not equally repulsed by him as a person overall.

TL;DR The quickest way to get me to lose interest in someone is for them to make a move on me, apparently. Coworker is a sleezeball. Still feel physically attracted to coworker, but not getting the nervousness that comes with it now that I think he's such a douche.

Edit: Well, this certainly blew up way more than expected. I just wanted to thank those of you who responded with advice and kind words. A special thanks to everyone who didn't read the first post and have been calling me a tease and a slut, it's nice to get a good laugh in.

To those who missed my comments addressing it, my husband will be given full details of our encounters when he returns home. I don't want him getting worked up while he's so far away. I won't be telling him about my feelings towards coworker,because they are irrelevant to the situation that is now progressing.

Anyways, mini update. I didn't go into work today, but I did get an email from coworker. It starts with what seems like a sincere apology to then offering to buy me dinner this weekend to make it up to me. I responded with "your advances made me very uncomfortable, and I will say again that I am not interested in setting you outside of work."

His second email was another apology while making sure I knew the offer for "dinner as friends to make it up to me" would still be on the table. I did not respond to the second one,and he has not reached out again today.

I am in a bit of a weird place. Growing a bigger dislike towards coworker, while still having those weird primal feelings. Planning a nice dinner in and some netflix and chill when my husband gets home. Definitely putting in for a department change when one becomes available. I've spent a little time browsing job postings, but I do love where I work so I don't think that's the best solution.

RELEVANT COMMENTS:

On telling her husband:

I talked to him a bit before bed and let him know the gist of it. I didn't want him getting worked up while he was away so I just told him a coworker asked me on a date and we joked about it a little. I'll be going into detail with him once he gets back, though.

&

I'm definitely telling my husband about this encounter. He's away for a few days and I don't want him getting worked up over all of this before we can discuss it face to face. He won't know about my crush, just that I've been approached and shut it down, those are the important details.

I've gone out of my way to avoid this coworker before he moved to my deparment and it became impossible. I never had any plans of cheating, and I'm not worried about my feelings over coming me. My original post was just asking for suggestions on how to make it stop, since I want doing a very good job at it on my own.

&

Exactly this. I know it's something that would upset him. I'm telling him about the encounter with my coworker since if anything happens again and I need to go to HR about it, I don't want it to be some big surprise. My husband doesn't need to know about my crush because it's entirely irrelevant

OP on her thoughts of infidelity:

Thanks. I really am, and I'm a lot more sure of myself than I was when I first posted. Maybe it's that I've been cheated on in the past, but I have a no tolerance policy for that kind of b.s. Don't cheat and don't help anyone else cheat.

Her thoughts on the sleezeball wanting an affair:

I disagree, but in an attempt to keep my post short I didn't go into quite as much detail as I maybe should have. He made it pretty clear that he was open to having an affair with me, which screams sleezy in my book.

&

We only ever saw each other in passing, so I didn't have much time to give myself away. That being said, regardless of whether he was sincere or not, there is so much wrong with this and so much that doesn't add up. I don't tertiary him, but regardless of what's really going on in his head I can't respect someone who makes a pass at someone in an LTR, especially if they're married.

OP on past dealing with the sleezeball:

I never flirted with him. We tarn saw each other before he moved into my department, and I'd never be the one to start conversation because of how I felt. I was friendly but didn't go out of my way for anything. The coffee he brought me was declined every morning until it just sat on my desk. Or lunches were only at the same time when I left first.

I declined all friend requests online and he still doesn't have my number. Aside from maybe blushing a couple of times (which is a physical reaction that can't be controlled, and something I do often over mundane crap anyways so not unusual) I didn't behave in a way that screamed "I want you". Just because I feel a certain way doesn't mean I've acted on it.

On dealing with the sleezeball in the office and staying away:

Absolutely. I'm also considering putting in for a transfer as well when a new position becomes open. I love my company and don't want to leave over something add trivial as this, but I also just need to get away.

On informing HR or her employers

I called my boss this morning and let them know what happened. While I'm not interested in talking to HR straight away, if this happens again I want a reference point to be able to bring up that way I don't get any sort of "why didn't you say anything to anyone when this stayed? " reaction.

Sources: Reddit
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