Dear Patricia: In love with my older boss and not sleeping with the man I live with
Q I am in a very complicated situation with my boss, who is a married man. I'm 35 and have known him since my late teens, as he's a family friend.
He's more than 20 years older than I am. He has always supported me in my working career -- although I only started working in his company 18 months ago. And I do know he made the job offer for genuine reasons of friendship.
There had always been a connection between us, and I was attracted to him when I was younger, but thought I'd got over it. I was very wrong.
From the time I took up the job, I found myself thinking about him all the time. Every time he sent me an email, it would make me feel happy. I wanted to see him more and more, and started to develop this fantasy world with him and me.
At the Christmas party, we had a rather drunken but deep and meaningful conversation at the bar. The following Monday, he emailed me inviting me out to lunch. He then confessed that he had always liked me, even when I was younger. He then asked to see me romantically and, of course, I said yes.
Lots of lunch breaks, weekend meetings and, yes, of course, intimate times too, have followed. Despite all this, we really are still good friends, although you may find this hard to believe. The strange thing is that he has always maintained that he is happy at home, and will not leave his wife.
So I know I was a fool to start this in the first place. But he is charming, clever and funny.
The problem is that I now want more, and the nicer he is, the more I want. Sometimes at weekends, when I know I won't be seeing him, my heart breaks. And even though I feel confident he has feelings for me, I do not think that it has the same impact on him as it does on me. I tried to break it off a month ago and he managed to talk me out of it.
The other thing I should say is that I am in a relationship with someone. We have lived together for nearly 10 years, but no longer sleep together.
I know the answer is to leave them both, but I just don't know how. I am head over heels in love with my boss and love the job he has put me in. How the hell do I get out of this?
A YOUR situation is certainly painful, but, no, it is not complicated. You are in love with someone you can't have. He's married, he does not want to leave his wife and he has made that quite clear.
Of course, you're right. The affair doesn't impact on him the way it does on you. How could it? He's just having a bit on the side, to use that vulgar expression. Isn't he? Isn't that what he's saying, really?
The solution is simple. You are going to have to end it. Believe me. Otherwise, you'll start asking for more, directly or indirectly, and that will get very messy, not least because he won't like it. And if you can't handle a clean break while still working with him, then you're going to have to leave the job.
In terms of your live-in boyfriend, there are two possibilities. Either it was over long ago and living with him is just compromising your chances of meeting someone else, not to mention leaving you vulnerable emotionally because so much is unresolved, or else the relationship has suffered because you're putting your energy into chasing rainbows and having an affair.
End the affair first. Make whatever decision you need to make in terms of the job. And then tackle the boyfriend.