Wednesday 29 March 2017

Dear Patricia: I'm alone and in love with my boss

Patricia Redlich

I'M in love with my boss. The first day I met him, quite a few years ago, I felt an attraction straight away. But I've kept things light and friendly, and just do my work.

We get on well, and I suppose we flirt in a joking way now and again. It's a bit of fun and others join in. I'm sure some of them have noticed that there might be an attraction between us, but thankfully we are all very professional and it's just glazed over, nothing said. The thing is, I do find it hard at times, feeling so attracted to him and knowing he's working in the same building. He has a partner, but doesn't speak much about her. According to the others, he hasn't moved on with that relationship in any kind of committed way.

I'm single at the moment, doing my best to have a social life, and hoping to meet somebody. But it hasn't happened, and I think sometimes I do compare a lot of men to my boss. That's good in some ways, as at least I keep my standards high. But I think it's just difficult to meet people these days. Added to that, most of my friends are now settled. I find it difficult to have such feelings for somebody who is not available, or most probably not attainable, for me.

Patricia replies:

BEING professional does not exclude getting up close and personal with work colleagues. Countless couples meet in the workplace. And it's hard to imagine that all such romances are nice neat situations, where each person is totally unattached, and absolutely equal in terms of job status. Falling for the boss -- or having the boss fall for you -- is not way-out. The question, therefore, is why you're still stuck with fancying him from afar.

It sounds to me like you're nurturing a fantasy. Look at how you dodge facing the reality of his love life. He's been with the same woman since forever. But, you tell me, you've heard on the grapevine that he's perhaps less than committed.

How tantalisingly vague. What has he failed to do? Marry her? Give her his babies? Since when in this modern world does that mean he's not truly with her?

You flirt. Good. Flirting is good. It's an acknowledgement that you're not just workers, but sexual human beings. It lightens the workload, creates a buzz, helps keep everyone happy and undoubtedly more productive. It doesn't mean your boss is interested in you. On the contrary, flirting with you for several years while conducting an ongoing romance off-site means he's not interested in you. Sorry if that sounds harsh. I only mean it as a reality check.

Deep down, you know all this. It's just that the fantasy has taken hold in the face of your loneliness. And while fantasies are fine -- I'm a big fan of them, as you know -- it's important we keep them in check. OK, so you hold your boss up as a benchmark against which all the loud lads at the pub or nightclub are measured -- and in the process you protect yourself from your vulnerability. Grand. Just be careful, though. If our ideal man is, by definition, someone who is unattainable, then that condemns us to eternal aloneness, doesn't it?

My suggestion, therefore, is that you open your heart a little, and create the possibility that some perfectly nice man comes creeping in. And who knows? Maybe he's a workmate, standing in the wings, waiting for Snow White to wake up.

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