Cut all ties? That is the question.

About three years ago a man joined my organization at work. At first we didn't have much to do with each other, but as our respective roles changed, we started working together more and more and subsequently became friends. At the time we didn't live in the same city and so we only saw each other once or twice a year when travelled to the corporate headquarters for meetings. I knew he found me attractive, but didn't really think much about it because 1) I didn't live there and so was not confronted with it on a daily basis and 2) I'm kind of used to it (know that seems really arrogant, but it is what it is).  I also thought he was attractive.  Anyway, our friendship continued to grow, based primarily on work, eventually getting to the point where we were talking and/or emailing every work day - sometimes just to say hi and check in. I believe that we had a mutual respect for each other's capabilities and we are alike in many ways so it was just fun to work together.

Last year I moved to the corporate headquarters and considered myself lucky that I was assigned a desk was right next to this man. He also seemed genuinely happy when I told him I was moving there.

Within a couple of months of me starting at the office, it was very clear that we were more than just colleagues. For starters, we started texting everyday - even in the evenings and on the weekends - and there was this underlying flirting and sexual tension that we both found very fun. People called us a "power couple" and some referred to us as work spouses. We spent most of the day within each other's vicinity. At one point I realized that I looked forward to coming into work and would choose my outfits with him in mind. At the time I thought that he felt the same - that he would get in early too just so we would have an hour or so before everyone else got in.

And this is where I have to start the confessions. I am married with a teenager and he is married with two elementary-aged kids.  My marriage has been.... tumultuous. Sprinkled with verbal and emotional abuse. I have been wanting to get a divorce for several years. He has stated that his is a loveless marriage and has been for the past couple of years.

So, back to the story. Several months after I moved here, a new job opportunity opened up for him here at the company. I encouraged him to take it - b/c I genuinely wanted what was best for him - but I really didn't want him to. I didn't want him to leave. He took the job and while I was happy for him, I was sad for myself because I knew I would miss him terribly.

The week before he started his new job I was in NYC for a business trip. That week our texts moved from flirty to suggestive and they continued to escalate during the following week, although we didn't see each other. I think it is important to note here that we had never had any physical contact over the years (except, of course, the accidental bumping into each other while walking, etc). But with these suggestive texts I actually considered having an affair.

Then one night, he texted me and proceeded to initiate sexting. We spent the next 3.5 hours sexting. It was awesome! It was fun and I felt strong and desired.

And that is when everything changed. He didn't want to see me after that and hid behind the excuse that he was slammed at work. We still texted and emailed every day, but it was clear that he was avoiding me. Eventually we talked and he told me that he was dealing with his own personal demons and that I was a distraction. He said that I was beautiful and that he knew that if we continued it would not be a one-night stand with me.

It's now been six months and I think about him every day, but we only talk every few weeks. I miss my friend, because more than anything, I truly valued his input, advice and easy companionship.

At times I look back on those first few months when I started coming into the office and wonder if he just tolerated me personally b/c he thought I was pretty. I can admit now that I was not physically attracted to him - I think I just liked the attention, liked him as a person and liked that he liked me (or so I thought). But I wonder if it was just a game to him. Did he just want the thrill of the hunt and then after he caught me he was done?

I don't think so b/c he continues to reach out occasionally.   If I put time on his calendar to meet up for coffee or lunch, he accepts and will be there and we have a good time. He even hugs me now when we part ways. But I still feel dissatisfied b/c I am the one scheduling time together, not him.

So, my current dilemma is whether or not to cut off all communication with him. Do I ignore his emails and calls? I don't want to, but it is like a stab in the heart after each time we get together or talk b/c I want to be friends - checking in every couple of days, texting a funny story or picture you think they would like, etc. - but I feel like he sees me as just an acquaintance. I don't think I am handling it well because I think about him all the time - wondering how he is doing, how his trip went, etc. I want to ignore him so that I can try to get over him, but at the same time I want to hope that he would miss me if I disappeared.

I don't know how to handle this situation, which probably makes me immature and naive.

If you have read all this, thank you for sticking with me. I think writing this all out has been helpful and any advice you can offer is appreciated.

User Comments

Cut contact. Work based stuff can seem enticing and exciting but unless it is something that you are willing to risk everything for, then don't do it. I know this seems harsh but I have been there and the fallout isn't worth it.