Co-worker Hits on Her
Q: I'm 32 and single. A while ago, a married male co-worker admitted he had an erotic dream about me. It surprised me, since we always considered ourselves friends. He also confessed that he's attracted to me and if he wasn't tied down, he'd probably date me. Because we have respect for each other, we both decided not to let this get out of control. Then two weeks ago I found out that the guys he works with have been giving him grief because I've gone to visit him in the shop a few times. Those idiots are making up rumors and now I don't feel comfortable talking to him. I can't help but wonder if he feels guilty or ashamed about telling me what he told me. For me this seems to be developing into an emotional affair, which isn't better than a sexual affair. He used to be much more forthcoming about his life, but now I can't get him alone at the job to find out what's going on. Is it my fault this friendship is ending because I talked to him too much? -- Cathy
Dr. Susan: You may have to chalk this one up as a lost friendship. When a friendly relationship gets sexual, even if it's all talk, things often do change. The erotic dream he had doesn't surprise me, but he wasn't wise to tell you about it. It's a common form of flirting. Your pal is confused about his feelings and figures it's best to stay clear of being too open with you, lest he get even more stirred up. You don't have anything to feel particularly guilty about, but if you keep trying to get him alone, that could easily change. He's probably terrified that his wife will find out something, now that his buddies have turned on the rumor mill. So he's playing it cool, which is a wise choice. It's kind of sad, but since he has plenty to lose, let him take the lead and don't push to be as close as before. He's the one who nearly got carried away by his feelings for you, and you both have to pay the price. Be thankful the price is tiny at this point.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.