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A married man at work wants my attention. I am attracted to him, so I'm struggling with this. How can I stop these feelings, and how do I get him to leave me alone

Tagged as: Big Questions, Cheating, Dating, Forbidden love, Friends, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (4 March 2011) 16 Answers - (Newest, 24 December 2011)
A female Australia age 30-35, anonymous writes:

I am a pretty young woman. There is this man at work who is always trying to get my attention but he has a wife and family.

I really find him attractive and think he is a nice person. But I do not want to get in the middle of a marriage or cause any problems for myself. I would like to be strong because I know it would be a dead end for me if I got involved with him. I have a feeling he knows I like him and he is trying to play games with me. He thinks that he can make me fall for him.

Why is he trying to play games with me and showing me attention when he is married? Why can't he just leave me alone? I was friendly in the past but I have made myself unavailable to him. Why does he do this? It is hard on me that he keeps trying. I do still like him but I am trying to be strong in my convictions.

Any help about what I can do to get him to leave me alone and how to forget about my own feelings?

Thank you.

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A female reader, AndieJoy78 United States +, writes (24 December 2011):

WOW. I am dealing with the exact same situation.

It's baffling because in the past, I have been able to have mature professional relationships with married co-workers who I shared a mutual attraction with. My current situation, where the married co-worker is actively pursuing me, is a definite first. I'm starting to feel like he may be a bit obsessed with me (he hovers around me and randomly "shows up" in places where he knows I will be)

I can't physically avoid him because we work in the same department and share the same career goals. And, he is responsible for training me on a few of my job responsibilities.

He is younger than me, and his wife is very controlling and keeps him on a short leash. I've actually witnessed this - it's not something he told me. Therefore, I do feel very sorry for him. But I have to keep reminding myself, that it's HIS problem, NOT my problem.

It's very difficult, because not only do I feel compassion towards him but I am also attracted to him. However, I MUST stick to my morals and maintain my boundaries, keeping my work life and my personal life SEPARATE.

I do understand what you're going through. You keep being strong and I'll keep being strong. Deal?

BTW - I am setting a goal of having another job within the next year. Not only to get away from this guy, but because it's just not the right place of employment for me.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (13 March 2011):

I can relate to this as I am very attracted to a lady at work and I know she likes me and has flirted with me in the past.

Sometimes you can't help who you are attracted to whether you are in a serious relationship or not. I am but would still love for something to happen between me and this lady as I care very much for her.

Perhaps this is how you feel about this man only you know and if you want to give in to temptation.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (9 March 2011):

In addition to my previous post.....The fact that you a suffering in secret/silence makes you more vulnerable but the more people know about it, the more likely he will back off....dont let him strive on secrecy, especially as you recognise you are vulnerable....he knows his behaviour is inappropriate and he thrives on the secret torment...If you get soooo deperate I suggest you just plain call him out, yes make it official( if colleagues have a private word and it doesnt work)...Watch him retreat

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (9 March 2011):

To female anonymous 6th march....Interesting post, but talking to this man and letting him know how she feels and how uncomfortable the situation is for her is unlikely to help the situation completely...While she should let him know she does not want to be involved with him, SHE SHOULD NEVER LET HER GUARD DOWN AND FEEL THIS IS RESOLVED...It is hardly the case, perharps down the line when she is totally over her attration for him and in secure relationship but even then I suggest she always he cautious with this man....He may appear to conceed and listen to her, and with poster feeling secure that the chase is over, may become more relaxed with him.....why, they may even become friends.....This is dangerous and I hope poster is heeding this advice, because at this stage when she thinks she has 'smoothed things out' , she would lower her defences and that is when he would strike, when she is vulnerable.......Even if she puts up some form of resistance he may pursure harder or add extra pressure in the moment, just to get past the post and she may give in momentarily, particularly if she is single....having a relatively happy relationship could help her outlast him in the chase(mind you a woman in an unhappy relationship is also vulnerable) but in the absence of that she has to always be on her guard against him ..Yes she is then seduced by a married man...even if this is not a full blown affair, just a one-moment thing or a brief fling.....So I re-interate to poster NEVER EVER LET YOUR GUARD DOWN....It is particularly important for a woman to be careful when she is in the presence of a man who sexually interested in her, especially with a man in this state of mind.....This situation applies not just to married men but also single guys, cos you could end up sleeping with someone you really didnt want to in a vulnerable moment when your guard is down....Whereas with a single man you can chuck it up to experience, with a married man (even if the woman does not get emotionally involved) there is the fact that he has a wife that could be hurt by the event.....

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (6 March 2011):

It's a tricky one, isn't it? I've had married men making approaches to me since I was 17 years old and it's never easy to figure out what to do - especially if either you know their partner, if it happens in the workplace or other "official" type situation, or if you are attracted to them in return. Or maybe all three!

A married man who's attracted to you and flirting with you or actually making a move on you isn't automatically a "bad guy". Most of those who've done this to me were very nice people, well-liked and respected in the community, and most were "professional" types.

When it first began happening to me I was shocked but, over time, and having had the opportunity of not only learning from my own experience but observing what went on around me in the workplace in a very large capital city, I just had to conclude that it's extremely commonplace.

I figured that if it happens so frequently then it must be for a good reason - and that reason is most likely to boil down to biological programming! One expert on the radio said that basically men's sexual instincts haven't really evolved since caveman times, when it was necessary for men to grab every sexual opportunity they could, just to keep the human race going. I guess you could say that, unfortunately, men's sexual behaviour no longer fits in with today's "monogamous nuclear family" kind of ideal.

My attitude towards this kind of thing now is neutral. I neither approve nor disapprove of such behaviour - I just accept that it happens on a very regular basis, and women should do their homework on men first before deciding to marry and basing their self-esteem around the idea of having been "exclusively chosen" by one man.

I believe the statistics which tell us that most men are, or will be, unfaithful at some point. If flirting with another women makes a man into a "bad guy", then women have to then accept that most men are "bad guys", and deal with it.

I also happen to believe that the only two people capable of breaking up a marriage are the two people in that marriage, and no-one can be a "homewrecker" without the collaboration of one of the people in that marriage, who has chosen to behave in the way they have. Chosen, as opposed to being forced.

Contrary to what we sometimes read, men do sometimes leave their wives for the "other woman". There is a well-known magazine in the UK aimed at middle-aged women - if you look at their online forums, you'll see that it does happen sometimes. There's a TV programme here in the UK called Loose Women, and in a recent discussion they all agreed that it's never fair to blame the "other woman" if a male partner strays, and that "other women" are not capable of saving someone else's marriage.

I love the response from the anonymous male below - "Men think with their dingle-dangles as you know." Lol!! Hard luck, Mr, that you got reported to HR! But it's a great thing that the internet is affording us the opportunity of reading honest input from men such as this. Very interesting viewpoint, too, about the ego thing.

My advice would not be to report this man to whatever authority, and certainly not to tell his wife! Perhaps you could be brave (I know it will take a lot of courage!), ask him for a coffee one lunchtime, then tell him exactly how you feel, how uncomfortable the whole situation is making you, and how you are seeking to put an end to it. Only if the situation became just about unbearable would I suggest involving the PTB (Powers That Be). If you're unable to do this, I could only suggest putting some distance into your own behaviour, and just acting cool and uninterested. Whatever happens, I wish you lots of luck!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (5 March 2011):

You try to get married and he will stop chasing you any more.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (5 March 2011):

I can relate to the man in this situation. You are probably giving him more attention than he is receiving domestically (perhaps his wife has a drink problem/hormonal imbalance or something like that...or maybe you are just the kind of woman he always dreamt about but was never able to date in his formative years). You have stirred up strong emotions in him. He is a man and men have egos. His ego will dictate that he will feel like a loser if he does NOT capture your heart regardless of what happens to his family life. Men think with their dingle-dangles as you know. I once asked a married woman out at work. She went to human resources on me (and yes, I have a family). Turns out she was already having an affair! The naughty little rabbit! Men and women are as bad as each other! Good luck, my dear! P.S. Perhaps you and I can have a date some time? Just joking! Honestly - some people have no sense of humour!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (5 March 2011):

He's not a nice person if he is doing this. In order to get passed any feeling of attraction, I suggest you take a good look at who he really is, I suspect you have not allowed yourself to do this as you have to work with him and you don't want any trouble in the workplace.

Some guys cab be jerks if they think they are not getting the attention they want.

Just keep on being professional.

Remember you have not done anything wrong and are doing a good job of keeping your morals on track.

Perhaps you could set yourself a goal of what you want to get out of your current job in the next 12 months. E.g more skills, more enhanced employment opportunities. Then focus on achieving that goal and it may not only enhance your life further but get you away from working with this man. Frankly he sounds horrid.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (4 March 2011):

I'm guessing you are single....Sadly this man will try to chase and chase until he gets you at a vulnerable moment......It is not fair to you and you do not want this...Distance yourself from him as much as you can and do not become close to him by being a friend (it is obvious you are feeling the pressure of the chase and may not feel strong enough to continue resisting as time goes on).....

Dont know why everyone on here is assuming you would want him to leave his wife(we are not on that at the moment) because I do believe that this is not about seeking a relationship , it is about conquering lust..You attraction to this man...

We all find various people attractive but men like this would want to take it to a level it is not supposed to reach married or not....Which means you have to be aware of your of physical needs and desires, and keep them in check at all times because even if you do not want a relationship, you might be tempted due to weakness/lust....NEVER EVER LET YOUR GUARD DOWN WITH HIM, AND I MEAN NEVER because the moment you do , you can be sure that he will take full advantage and you will be filled with regret....

sadly I doubt threatening to tell his wife will help, because even if you really did tell his wife he would make it look like you are the one chasing him...

I would advise you to speak to a trusted work colleague to have a word with him...failing that, have a more senior colleague like a manager or supervisor have a quiet word ...If that doesnt work , then make an official complaint..

You are lucky he works with you and you have these avenues available to you....You may feel bad doing this but why know that your are trying to protect yourself.....Keep us posted ..Take care and be strong

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A reader, anonymous, writes (4 March 2011):

My honest opinion would be to stay well away. Think of your career also, i would keep pleasures away from work. It could cause a lot of complications and hurtful times. I'd suggest to keep away from him, and perhaps have a quiet work explaining that you're not interested. You will find someone to have the feelings for again, but somebody outside of work life where you can have a private love life without the whole of your work gossiping about it

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (4 March 2011):

ok forget about the wife. put yourself in his chldren's shoes. your dad and mum ar happy together. and then BAM dad starts seein this other lady that's a stranger too you. mom is upset about it. you move. you're whole family life is upset over it. do you want to be the person who breaks innocent people's hearts just to satisfy their attrsctions? no you obviouly don't from what you wrote. report him to you're boss. or go to his wife. it might be coplicated for a onth or two but in the long run it'll stop pestering you, an unworthy worker will be punished and a lying, cheating rat's wife can decide to stay with him. but only do what i just told you if things get really drastic. just keep resisting him for now.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (4 March 2011):

One thing I forgot to add - His wife will not be the only one affected by the affair and the aftermath, ie - she won't be the only enemy you will make.

You will make enemies of every blood relative she has.

You will make enemies of almost all her friends

You will make enemies of many of her husbands family members

Its very likely one or more of these enemies will seek revenge. Against you.

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A female reader, YouWish United States + , writes (4 March 2011):

YouWish agony auntFirst, in order to win over your struggle, you must see him not as the nice guy you think now, but as a cheater who would betray and stomp all over the heart of his wife. That is not a nice person.

Put yourself in his wife's shoes. Think about how devastated she will be when (and I do mean WHEN) she discovers his cheating, flirting, and inappropriate attention. You said he has a family? Think of the sheer pain he will cause poor innocent little kids, and think of the pain YOU would cause them should you allow this flirting and relationship to continue.

You will also completely derail your own life - if you get into an affair with him, it'll be unlikely he'll ever leave his wife (unless she finds out). You will waste your time - time you'll never ever get back. Not only that, but if he cheats, he *will* cheat on you. The love he'll profess to you will be the denial he professes to his wife as he tells her that you mean *nothing* to him.

You can stop playing the game by telling him to leave you alone or you WILL tell his wife on him. That will stop his games cold dead in their tracks. He is a liar and a cheater who doesn't deserve the wife he has.

Allow his betrayal of the woman he has professed love to to permeate through the pheromones. Allow the tears of his wife and kids to cut through your attraction to him. If that's not enough, consider your own future pain you'll feel as he discards you like a child's toy once he's done playing around.

If that's not enough, consider the potential serious reprocussions to the job and career you've devoted your life to building should you screw around with a married co-worker. It's not fair, but the "mistress" usually gets the short end of the stick.

Hope this helps.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (4 March 2011):

You're doing the right thing by not getting involved with him. He's taken. Please don't put his wife and innocent children through the god awful misery that infidelity causes. If you do, and you are a decent human being, the guilt will eat you up. Please put your feelings aside, you have no right to have feelings for a married man.

Why is he pursuing you? A pretty lady catches anyone's eyes. He is likely flattered that you seem to respond to him. Maybe he's an adulterous pig, or maybe he's fighting feelings of boredom with family life -while fantasizing about you. Either way its a no win situation. If either of those descriptions describe him, when the affair gets exposed, he realizes what he stands to lose, he has to acknowledge the heart-wrenching pain he put his wife and kids through, and then they drop you. Please don't stoop so low as to participate in destroying a family.

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A female reader, eyeswideopen United States +, writes (4 March 2011):

eyeswideopen agony auntDo what DB says, you definitely don't want to go down that road.

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A male reader, dirtball United States +, writes (4 March 2011):

dirtball agony aunt"Why is he trying to play games with me and showing me attention when he is married?"

It could be for the ego boost, "I've still got it!" Or it could be because he is just a major flirt. Or it could be because he's attempting to cheat on his wife with you. It's hard to say just what his motivation is.

"Why can't he just leave me alone?"

Because he doesn't want to, and he can probably tell that on some level you enjoy his attention, even if it's causing you problems.

To get him to leave you alone, you need to tell him in no uncertain terms that his advances are unwelcome, and will never be welcomed. You may even need to threaten sexual harrassment if he continues.

Stay true to your convictions. It makes you a much better person than this guy. Here's something to think about that may also help you get over your feelings. This guy is actively seeking someone outside his relationship. In essence he's already cheating on his wife. To me, that is ugly, and a very bad trait. He is a user, because he is also not likely to leave his wife, meaning he will simply be using whoever he cheats on her with for sex. He's also a liar, because people like that always make promises and confessions of love, even though they don't demonstrate they even know what that word means. He's nothing but a low life dog of a man. There's nothing attractive about that. At least not to me.

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