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Co-worker - should I tell her?


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Old 10th August 2015, 12:51 PM   #1
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Co-worker - should I tell her?

I posted this in another forum - I think this one is more appropriate based on the subject...

So I have been divorced for 20 years, had a few relationships but nothing clicked. I honestly haven't had any feelings of love for anyone in a long time, maybe since my ex. I'm 51. I still do date on occasion and I keep myself open to possibilities of something permanent

So I have a coworker who I have known pretty well for 8 years, she's 40, we are good friends. I have been her friend throughout her marriage and her breakup. She has been broken up with her ex for 3 years and the divorce is final in a few months. For just about all the time I have known her we have only been friends. A few months ago we started to spend just about every lunch together, our friendship grew. Then it was like lightning, one day we met outside of work, when I saw her with my daughter (not my real daughter, I posted the details of this a few years ago here) I think I instantly fell in love, seeing her with my family just hit the spot for me. So our friendship continued, I tried to push away my feelings as some kind of crush. I figured I'd give it some time and let the feelings fade I honestly never fell so hard for someone, in fact I never figured at over 50 I'd ever have those feelings again. So now here I am 4 months later and the feelings are just as strong.

So does she feel the same? I don't know, lots of the signs are there, I know for sure at a minimum she cares for me as a very good friend. Anyway the obvious thing I need to do is just tell her - but the big issue is that we literally work 15 feet apart. I risk making this an awkward work environment for us both. We can just continue the friendship but with the way I feel now it almost hurts to be near her. I think what bothered me is that the other day I overheard her making lunch plans with a guy she knows (remember desks are 15 feet apart) and I got hit with a wave of jealousy. Yes, she is free to do whatever she wants - this love thing seems to have made me a bit crazy.

Anyway I think I will just tell her, she has told me many times how awesome it would be to have a love that started as a friendship - maybe she was throwing me hints. Bottom line I don't want to be going through my list of regrets when I'm 90 and wonder why I just didn't tell her how I felt.

This place had some great advice for me a few years back when I was in a difficult situation, I'd be interested in any of your thoughts.
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Old 11th August 2015, 2:34 PM   #2
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Well, you run the risk of making things REALLY awkward, considering your close proximity if things don't quite work out. Although, you are caught in the dilemma of having "more than friend feelings", which can be just as awkward and draining. Either way, you are in a tough position that has a high probability of turning ugly.

I would try and get relocated, perhaps to another section of the company, or perhaps get another job if possible. This would alleviate the proximity issue in either case.

Once this occurs, you can try to pursue something further, BUT DON'T TELL HER UNTIL YOU ARE AWAY FROM HER AT WORK.

Last edited by BreakOnThrough; 11th August 2015 at 2:36 PM..
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Old 11th August 2015, 3:46 PM   #3
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thanks for the excellent advice... the more I think rationally I come to the conclusion it is too risky to try to advance things with things as they are... I do not want to risk either of our jobs... but the ironic thing is we learned yesterday we are moving to a new building and will be situated based on who we support (this was in the works for sometime but it finally became official), this would put me in an office with a door and she'll be in a cubicle on the other side of the building. This happens in 2 months - I'm more than ok with waiting to say anything until then but to be honest after I started this thread and then read about similar situations I'm thinking it may be best to back off....

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Well, you run the risk of making things REALLY awkward, considering your close proximity if things don't quite work out. Although, you are caught in the dilemma of having "more than friend feelings", which can be just as awkward and draining. Either way, you are in a tough position that has a high probability of turning ugly.

I would try and get relocated, perhaps to another section of the company, or perhaps get another job if possible. This would alleviate the proximity issue in either case.

Once this occurs, you can try to pursue something further, BUT DON'T TELL HER UNTIL YOU ARE AWAY FROM HER AT WORK.
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Old 11th August 2015, 8:15 PM   #4
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Why don't you start asking her out for coffee or any other activities you might enjoy together? You don't have to label it as a date, just hanging out with each other. It will give you both a chance to get to know each other better outside of a working environment.

If she wants to spend time with you that is great, just see how it goes. Let it progress naturally with no pressure. If it progresses into a romantic relationship then you can discuss how to handle the work situation.

Good luck.
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Old 12th August 2015, 12:45 AM   #5
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Interestingly, my advice here is the opposite of what I usually give to people who work together and the opposite of what the other two posters said (and against what you said) but I think you should get alone with her in a semi-private setting like a restaurant booth, tell her how you feel, and do it before your company moves. Here's my dubious reasoning and feel free to chime in anyone:

You two have already known each other a long time so getting to know one another better isn't going to help anything. There was a woman I was interested in at work a year and a half ago (she liked me but I have no idea if she had any thoughts of anything other than work-friends), and now that I'm divorced, it seems awkward going back a year and a half later to try to find her. If there is awkwardness, so what? You are both adults and as you say it will only be for a couple months. Why wait two months for a rejection if it's coming? Also, I feel that the emotions involved with the move will dull any feelings she may have for you. She may say she'd like to see you now, but once she has gotten it in her mind that you two will no longer be cubicle buddies, it will be easier for her to just move on...I mean it has been 8 years now!

I say go for it but do it right. A nice dinner out, Relax, it's not do or die, it's just something to try. Buy her wine (and yourself), and after the meal (don't f*ck up the meal with awkward feelings), tell her how you feel. Don't be mushy, just say it quickly! Less than a minute...around a minute. Then shut up and look her in the eyes. WAIT FOR the answer. If it's bad, then what good would it have done to wait? Awkwardness at work for a couple months? Pfft. If it's good, then all the better.

I say this because I know how it goes. The move will be big and when all the emotions die down on both sides, you won't do it. The moment will feel lost. MUCH better to try now. Strike while the iron is hot!

Ken
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Old 12th August 2015, 1:05 AM   #6
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I don't think you should bare your soul and spill your guts to her at all, because if she doesn't share your feelings it will be very embarrassing for both of you and she will feel terrible.


I think you should just very light heartedly ask her on a date. Make it sound like it's no big deal and like she can say no without hurting your feelings. Make sure she knows it's a date though and not just a friends get together. Maybe say something like "hey we've been friends for a long time and we get along so well I was wondering what you would think about us going on a date together sometime?" If she warmly receives that suggestion then go on date with her and build on it from there like you would any other new dating relationship, but if she says no or just looks awkward and uncomfortable then brush it off like it's no big deal. Just say "yeah, maybe it's best we just focus on our great friendship, the date idea was just a passing thought, but probably best not to go down that road" and laugh it off so that she doesn't feel uncomfortable around you going forward. DO NOT spill your guts to her right out of the gate because it will ruin your friendship and your working relationship if she doesn't have those kinds of feelings for you.
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Old 12th August 2015, 1:18 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by kenmore View Post
You two have already known each other a long time so getting to know one another better isn't going to help anything.
With all due respect, if they don't socialize outside of work they may not know each other that well so I think it would be a a great opportunity to see if they are compatible when they hang out together. Granted, it isn't jumping straight into things like you suggested but given his situation it might make it easier for him to see how well they get on outside of work before he jeopardizes their working relationship.

If it is going to drive him crazy though, he should probably just take your advice and tell her.
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Old 12th August 2015, 1:43 AM   #8
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La.Primavera, as usual your advice is very good, but they have broken the lunch barrier as per his original post, so they have had some idea of socializing, and I'm thinking for over eight years. Granted she was married during a lot of that time so it was strictly hands-off and the dynamic is set, but it's up to the OP to change that dynamic.

I think that's where the issue lies. Same with my friend from my old work. I was married then. Once friends, it's hard to move into another realm, but it does happen. I just feel it's a great opportunity to grab the bull by the horns at this point!
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Old 12th August 2015, 1:48 AM   #9
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I don't think you should bare your soul and spill your guts to her at all, because if she doesn't share your feelings it will be very embarrassing for both of you and she will feel terrible.


I think you should just very light heartedly ask her on a date. Make it sound like it's no big deal and like she can say no without hurting your feelings. Make sure she knows it's a date though and not just a friends get together. Maybe say something like "hey we've been friends for a long time and we get along so well I was wondering what you would think about us going on a date together sometime?" If she warmly receives that suggestion then go on date with her and build on it from there like you would any other new dating relationship, but if she says no or just looks awkward and uncomfortable then brush it off like it's no big deal. Just say "yeah, maybe it's best we just focus on our great friendship, the date idea was just a passing thought, but probably best not to go down that road" and laugh it off so that she doesn't feel uncomfortable around you going forward. DO NOT spill your guts to her right out of the gate because it will ruin your friendship and your working relationship if she doesn't have those kinds of feelings for you.
They know each other very well already, it's unlikely she will suddenly hate him because he bares his feelings. Your advice is very true for most people who work together, know each other a little and have to spend who knows how long working side-by-side? If that was the situation, I'd give my usual advice and say make a sign of the cross and walk backward carefully and just stop! I feel this is different. Just my opinion.
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Old 12th August 2015, 2:09 AM   #10
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They know each other very well already, it's unlikely she will suddenly hate him because he bares his feelings. Your advice is very true for most people who work together, know each other a little and have to spend who knows how long working side-by-side? If that was the situation, I'd give my usual advice and say make a sign of the cross and walk backward carefully and just stop! I feel this is different. Just my opinion.
I didn't say she would hate him. I said she would be embarrassed and feel awful if she didn't feel the same way. I speak from experience because I have had close platonic male friends suddenly declare their true love for me and since I didn't share those feelings I felt really bad and it changed our friendship because once that cat was out of the bag it seemed the best thing to do was to back away and let the guy get those feelings out of his system.

I also didn't say he should just stop. I said he should ask her out but do so in a lighthearted casual manner so that if she says no it won't be awkward between them later. Did you read my post at all?
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Old 12th August 2015, 2:19 AM   #11
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La.Primavera, as usual your advice is very good, but they have broken the lunch barrier as per his original post, so they have had some idea of socializing, and I'm thinking for over eight years. Granted she was married during a lot of that time so it was strictly hands-off and the dynamic is set, but it's up to the OP to change that dynamic.

I think that's where the issue lies. Same with my friend from my old work. I was married then. Once friends, it's hard to move into another realm, but it does happen. I just feel it's a great opportunity to grab the bull by the horns at this point!
In my experience many relationships begin with friendship so I don't think it is that difficult to transition into a relationship if both people are attracted to each other. I really don't think work lunches are not the same thing, you can have them with anyone. Choosing to socialize outside of work is more personal, it also gives both sides the opportunity to figure out their level of interest. Whatever he does it needs to be soon because she already has a date with another guy.

For the record I do admire your forthright approach.
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Last edited by La.Primavera; 12th August 2015 at 2:22 AM..
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Old 12th August 2015, 2:22 AM   #12
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I did read your post a few times. I disagree with the "go slowly and make a huge ledge to backtrack onto" approach though. They have known each other a long time, have gone on lunches, the time for slow is over, it has been eight years of slow. While I acknowledge that she was married much of that time and was off limits, the time is ripe.

I simply feel (and you may be right) that if he goes in strong now, it will tip the boat one way or the other. If he goes in like a "cat", the evening will end just as it began.

I guess it depends on how concerned the OP is for his current situation with this woman. If he's cool with the status quo (which I believe he isn't), then he should take it slowly and carefully. If he wants to move it ahead then he needs to step it up, and soon. That's my read on it.

Ken
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Old 12th August 2015, 2:24 AM   #13
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In my experience many relationships begin with friendship so I don't think it is that difficult to transition into a relationship if both people are attracted to each other. I really don't think work lunches are not the same thing, you can have them with anyone. Choosing to socialize outside of work is more personal, it also gives both sides the opportunity to figure out their level of interest. Whatever he does it needs to be soon because she already has a date with another guy.

For the record I do admire your forthright approach.
Thank you! I admire your thoughtfulness!
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Old 12th August 2015, 2:34 AM   #14
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I did read your post a few times. I disagree with the "go slowly and make a huge ledge to backtrack onto" approach though. They have known each other a long time, have gone on lunches, the time for slow is over, it has been eight years of slow. While I acknowledge that she was married much of that time and was off limits, the time is ripe.

I simply feel (and you may be right) that if he goes in strong now, it will tip the boat one way or the other. If he goes in like a "cat", the evening will end just as it began.

I guess it depends on how concerned the OP is for his current situation with this woman. If he's cool with the status quo (which I believe he isn't), then he should take it slowly and carefully. If he wants to move it ahead then he needs to step it up, and soon. That's my read on it.

Ken
Possibly you are correct. I guess it depends on where the OP stands. If he is no longer satisfied being just friends and he's prepared to possibly sacrifice the friendship in his attempts to turn the relationship into a romance then he could make a bold declaration of his feelings for her. You never know, that gesture might be the very thing that sweeps her off her feet. If, however, he would like to continue his friendship with her even if she doesn't share his romantic feelings he needs to approach the dating idea with her carefully and keep it light.
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Old 12th August 2015, 5:05 PM   #15
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thanks for all the replies...

bottom line is that I value her friendship... but since I've had these feelings for months I know they are genuine. I don't see any point in having a friendship with someone who I am secretly pining for. I risk losing the friendship for sure but I'm going to go for it...

I figure a nice dinner followed by me telling her... I agree with the 'not being mushy' method... I'm just going to let her know that what we have is great and that I want our friendship to become more... whatever her answer is I'm ok with.... you only live once, I think we are good for each other so no point in holding back....
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