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> Fighting An Attraction To A Co-worker, When you both know it's wrong & try to pull away
OfflineSummer
post 09/02/08 05:41 PM
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Greetings!

I'm new here, been lurking and getting to know the place a bit, have read Dr. Gray's books, and now I need a little advice/help with my current situation. Here's Chapter 1 of my story (sorry, this is long!):

There is an M I've worked with (LD, thankfully - we live across the country from each other and work in separate offices, for the same parent company) over the past year. Until recently, it was strictly business, all phone contact, never met him in person until about 4 months ago. What happened next totally floored me.

He came into town for a business conference, and when we finally met face-to-face, sparks really flew! I mean, instant, powerful, mutual attraction. He shocked me a bit by boldly flirting with me at the conference - sitting next to me at my table, playing a bit of footsie, then touching my leg and holding my hand under the table...all this within 5 minutes of meeting each other!

Not only was this inappropriate in a crowded room full of our co-workers, it made me extremely nervous because people were beginning to notice - even to stare at us!

Okay, I thought...this is moving really, really fast, and I'm scared of that! When a guy comes on too strong, my first instinct is to assume he's a player. Even if I'm attracted to him, I will run away for my own self-protection until I can figure out what he really wants from me.

So I told myself to forget how attracted I was to him, and headed for the door. He ran up behind me and asked for my phone number. I just laughed and said, "you call me at the office all the time, silly! You've GOT my phone number!" He then made it clear that what he wanted was my private cell number - that he wanted to communicate with me "off the clock."

Terrified of the implications of getting involved with a co-worker, I gave him a phony # just to politely get rid of him...and I hightailed it outta there!

But he didn't give up...kept coming on stronger...calling me more often at the office and teasing me about why I didn't give him my real phone number. I tried to keep things light and dodged the question, until one day about amonth later, he informs me that he'll be coming back to my town for another business conference, and would I like to go out?

I'm strong, but not THAT strong. I'm single, available, and find him so damned attractive. He's attentive and persistent - that's a hard combination to resist, ladies! So I finally caved and said yes to the date.

When we saw each other again, the mutual attraction was even stronger than before. This time, I decided to allow myself to flirt back a bit and let him know that I liked him, too. At dinner, there was lots of leg-play and hand-holding under the table, great conversation, and a physical attraction that was obvious to anyone around us who had eyes. We were smitten.

So then , the inevitable...we go back to his hotel room and commence making out. Before things went too far, I pulled back and told him that while I was genuinely attracted to him, I just did not feel right getting involved with a co-worker, especially one who lives far away.

Needless to say, nothing else happened that night. He actually agreed that what we were doing was probably foolhardy, and that it was wise to stop before things got out of hand.

But as we ladies know, what a guy SAYS and what he DOES are often 2 different things.

My phone rings the next morning - he had just gotten back home and said he could not stop thinking about me. He knew it was wrong, but could he see me again?

Before I could waffle, he said he'd be coming back to my city again next week for business, and practically begged me to go on another date with him. I said yes, but this time made it clear that we would just be going out on a"friendly" date as co-workers. I told him not tohave any expectations, because what I said abot dating co-workers still stood. He agreed.

When I came by his hotel to pick him up (he didnt have a rental car), we were supposed to meet in the lobby, but he managed to lure me up tohis room under the guise of having some business paperwork he wanted me to take a look at. Guess I should've known better, but I took the bait and sure enough, he pulled me into a hug and a hot kiss the minute I walked in the door. Hands all over me...starts trying to undress me...and I can't lie to you, I was enjoying his touch and wanted him, too....BUT....!

Remembering our agreement, I gently pushed him away again and reiterated the fact that I was very attracted to him but felt that we were "flirting with disaster" if we got involved. He again agreed, only this time, he wasn't very nice about it. I know guys say mean things sometimes when they feel rejected, but he really turned into a jerk - getting argumentative with me, trying to imply that I was a prude, or worse, was somehow leading him on.

Wow, I thought, here's a side of him I've never seen before. What happened to the Prince Charming who has been so cool and understanding for the past 2 months? Where'd he go?

To avoid getting drawn into an argument, and to avoid either of us saying something we might later regret, I headed for the door quickly, thus terminating our date before it began. 5 minutes later, he calls me on my cell (yes, I finally did give him the correct number!) and starts apologizing profusely for coming on so strong to me sexually and for the hurtful things he'd just said. He sounded genuinely sorry, like he felt terrible about it and was baffled by his own behaviour. He said he didn't know what made an otherwise sane man do and say such crazy things, that he wasn't at all himself. He said, "I'm sorry...but I'm just so attracted to you" over and over again, as a way to explain those actions which contradicted his words.

I had the sense during this phone call that he was hoping I would come back up to his room so we could "kiss and make up." I was downstairs in the hotel lobby, and it felt like he was trying to work up the nerve to ask me to stay. Much as I would have liked nothing more but to spend the night in his arms, I was having my doubts now more than ever after some of the hurtful words he'd just said. Did I really want to let myself get involved with a long distance coworker, who shows signs of not only being a player, but who also seems to have a bit of a mean/angry streak? Hmmmm.....yes he's hot, but that sounds like trouble with a Capital T!

So I excused myself, explaining that I had been up since 4am that morning to catch an early flight and was just exhausted. Said I wish I had more energy, but was gonna call it a night. There was an employee breakfast the next morning scheduled (attendance not mandatory, thankfully), and he asked if I would be there. I politely said that I might be able to make it, but wasn't sure because I had some friends in town I was hoping to visit, too. I left things very nebulous as to whether we would see each other again before he left town.

Needless to say, I avoided him and the breakfast the next morning. Knowing his plane left around noon, I made a point to busy myself with other things that kept me from seeing him. Even thought I was still hurt by some of the things he'd said, I must confess that I couldn't stop thinking about him, and found myself feeling sorry for the "missed opportunity" last night. I felt sad that things didn't go better between us and that feelings apparently got hurt on both sides. I didn't like how we'd left it...and yet I knew that if I saw him again, this strong attraction would put us right back in each other's arms again. We'd start flirting again,and the whole vicious cycle would begin anew. Ugh. So I bit my lip and forced myself to stay away from him, not to call him, to ignore his texts.

Finally, at 11:45 a.m., my cell phone rang and it was him. He was at the airport and seemed hurt and confused as to why I hadn't come to breakfast and hadn't called. I tried to keep things light and half-joked, "well, I had some other things going on this morning and besides, I knew if I sat next to you, we'd end up playing footsies under the table again." We both laughed, knowing it was true. Still, there was a definite unease between us, a feeling that we might be missing out on a wonderful chance at romance just because of the work/distance circumstances. We were both wondering if we'd see each other again, and whether we should just try to be friends, or just forget this altogether.

"Well," he said with a laugh, "you keep fighting this. You be strong and I'll be strong, too."

Since then, we keep in contact by phone and text (sometimes at late hours and on weekends), but it's always friendly or business in nature. We're both trying so hard to limit our feelings for each other to that, but let me tell you it's awfully hard. We also have to be very careful because it's likely our employer monitors emails/phone calls, so we can't really get too personal. Still, I know when he sends me a text msg about nothing important at midnight on a Saturday night, it's because he's thinking about me as a woman, not as a coworker. I guess that's about the only way he feels safe about letting me know.

There are other ways he still lets me know he's interested that sometimes veer close to crossing the line of propriety. On the phone, he will often surprise me by slipping in a little "honey" or "sweetie" or "babe" when we're talking, usually when we're saying goodbye - then he waits to see if I will respond in kind. (I'm usually to stunned to say anything, so it si rare that I'll call him "honey" or anything likethat. I'm just afraid of stirring things up again!)

He'll sometimes sign his text messages with an "X" (kiss) or "XO" (hug & kiss), and again ,it's rare that I will reply with a kiss back, even though I would really love to! My attraction for him keeps getting stronger, even after taking a month off from each other during our respective summer vacations. Truth be told, I haven't felt an attraction like this in years, and wish I could go for it! But besides the work/distance issues, there are other reasons why I'mstill fighting this and keeping him at arms length:

1) He is 15 years older than me (i'm in my 30s, he's in his50s) and has four kids that he shares parenting dutuies with his ex-wife, whom he has been separated from for 2 years. They are not divorced b/c of strong Catholic faith and family/social pressures to "keep up appearances"
So I'm concerned about the baggage he would bring into a relationship with the ex.

2) Still worried he might have some anger issues, based on that strange experience I had with him before. Some of the hurtful things he said still stick in the back of my mind and I wonder, "if he's that way early in a relationship, what kind of awful things will he say in arguments 5 years from now?" He has also exhibited other signs of possible anger issues (like grabbing me too forcefully when we're making out, but maybe we can chalk that up to animal passion? LOL), so I'm just trying to get to know him better before making any judgments. Maye theguys can help give me some clarity on this... was his reaction to being rejected that night normal, or do you think there's something else here that could be dangerous?

There are many good reasons to run away from this, as you can see. I've tried to bolt several times already, but darnit, I can't get him off my mind and he obviously feels the same way. What do I do now? Summer vacation is over and we started back to work today. Sure enough, I get a text from him this morning about some humdrum business matter signed with an "X"...seems he wants to start things up again. After a month of NC and honestly missing him, I find myself tempted...

So before I go and do anything this time, I'm going to play it smart and seek some advice. Anybody else been there? Did one of you have to quit your job to pursue a relationship, or did you try to just be discreet? Or did you just walk away, afraid of the consequences? Do you have to cut off all contact with the other person, or force yourself to be cold and businesslike when you have to interact?

Am also curious to see if anyone can give some pointers on how to handle a guy who is separated, but not divorced. He wants to be a good father to his kids - and he is - that's why he and the ex are still friendly and work together for the sake of the kids and the family unit, but what kind of future could I have with a guy in that situation?

If you've read this far and are still awake, thanks! Please share your thoughts/experiences withme. Really need some guidance. Any tips on how I can stay strong and win this fight?

Or should I even try to fight it anymore? Should he? We're both losing the battle right now...
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Offlinejerseygirl
post 09/02/08 05:56 PM
Post #2


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Well, I've had "office affairs" but it was when I was younger, and they were just jobs, not careers. What are the implications for you if higher-ups found out.

The anger red flags are important to note - but I'd like to ask what you'd be looking for if you started seeing him. Because secret make-out sessions in hotel rooms set the foundation for a booty call relationship, not a committed one. If this guy was interested in more than that, IMO he should have asked you to go have dinner with him (you could have driven to a surrounding town if you had to), not tried to pressure you into his bed. So what is it you are looking for?
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Offlinetravelgirl
post 09/02/08 06:02 PM
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"know guys say mean things sometimes when they feel rejected, but he really turned into a jerk - getting argumentative with me, trying to imply that I was a prude, or worse, was somehow leading him on."

I think besides the fact he is blowtorching like absolute crazy and the fact that if I met a man I was that attracted to, I would run like the wind because its always ended in disaster, the above quote would tell me all I need to know about this man

If I were you, I would have nothing to do with this guy one bit, you are already ignoring red flags and thats a big one - no man would was out for more than just sex would say that to a woman he cared for

TG
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OfflineSophia
post 09/02/08 06:11 PM
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Please don't fall for man who says he's separated and cannot divorce. The red flags are waving all over the place with this guy. He's a married man who wants someone on the side and is trying his best to seduce you. If you want to be the other woman and only see this guy on his terms, go for it. But it looks like a losing proposition for you.
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