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Co-worker/friend - Im not interested and he is emotional. How to deal?


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Old 7th May 2013, 7:06 PM   #1
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Red face Co-worker/friend - Im not interested and he is emotional. How to deal?

Hi All,

I've been a long time reader and user here at LS. It's been a while since I've posted and well, now I'm at a loss and need your help. I have a co-worker that doesn't understand that I don't have mutual feelings for him. I started this job in January and we worked together (we sat next to each other) and now work in different departments since March. When I moved departments he expressed his feelings for me on how he's never met anybody like me before. He is 20 has a gf and I'm 30 married. Once his feelings were expressed, I advised him that the feeling wasn't mutual and I'm happily married. I told him we shouldn't talk about our private lives and only keep our conversation professional. It's difficult for him since we started off as good friends. We have mutual co-workers / friends and have events that we gather at and at times he's drank. Which leads to more emotional stress on his part.

I feel that I have some fault by talking to him about my SO and my issues since I've always had guy friends I was open with him prior to him opening up to me.since I was a kid and growing up and I've never had this happen. We've both talked about our SO and expressed our feelings towards our relationships with our SO when problems arose but now he has gotten very emotional, very depressed, and doesn't understand how I can be friends with him knowing how he feels for me.

I'm trying really hard to keep it professional at work, be sensitive to his feelings since he has no one else to talk to. I've mentioned therapy for him, blogging about it to other people and he refuses.

I have suggested NC at work and not attending events but He's mentioned that it doesn't matter what I do, it won't change how he feels. He said it would only make it worse.

I can't help but feeling bad for my co-worker since we know a lot about each other and I can't help or change how he's hurting.

I care about him like I would care about my friends and now I don't know how to deal with him being so emotional and me having to deal with my emotional marriage which has been a rollercoaster before I started this job. My husband and I are going to therapy but going to work has been difficult.

My husband doesn't know about my co-worker having feelings for me. To be honest, I'm starting to look for another job. Until then any advice? Anything will be helpful.

Thanks for taking the time and reading this.
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Old 7th May 2013, 7:16 PM   #2
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I understand your empathy. He is so young and still learning how to navigate.
He is going to have to swallow this rejection and learn to Do so gracefully.
Part of life, no getting around it. If you have to change anything, be firmer:

Your behavior is making me uncomfortable.

Hard, but it's the right thing to do and an honest message. Especially at work.
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Old 7th May 2013, 7:46 PM   #3
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When you say he's acting "very emotional, very depressed," what exactly do you mean by that? What type of behaviors has he displayed, and how often? Is there any indication that the behaviors/emotions are starting to die down a little, at this point?

It sounds like you're doing the right thing in keeping your distance and going all-professional on him. I'm not sure if you've had a real sitdown with him, though, to lay out exactly where you stand and it make it absolutely clear nothing is going to happen between the two of you. That may be necessary to pop his bubble.

To make things less harsh, it may help to add something like: "I hope we can be friends again when things are different."

I once had a very unrealistic crush on a coworker and it was painful as hell, esp. due to the constant proximity, but I eventually got over it. He will, too.
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Old 7th May 2013, 8:06 PM   #4
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[QUOTE=Standard-Fare;4865400]When you say he's acting "very emotional, very depressed," what exactly do you mean by that? What type of behaviors has he displayed, and how often? Is there any indication that the behaviors/emotions are starting to die down a little, at this point?

Standard - Fare: I've attempted to contact him via phone call based on being clear with him and what I feel and what I'd like for us as to be co-workers and friends. It seems conversation was a success by him expressing how he understood and that it would be diffiuclt for him but he'd respect what I ask for. Then when at work it all changes. He IM me about how he's trying to hold back things he'd really like to say to him and I encourage him by telling him that's he's doing great by being professional. Some days are better than others.

What I meant by emotional is that when speaking to him on the phone he said he needed to hang up and expressed how he had tears in his eyes on how frustrated he is and doesn't understand how I feel nothing for him. Making him feel like he's not good enough when I've clearly stated that being married means there isn't anything there to give or express but to one person who I hold dear to my heart which has nothing to do with him not being good enough for me. At work he alienates himself from peers and lunch time. Co-workers state that he's not the same and he must be going through something at home.

Ive expressed how uncomfortable I've felt being alone with him and his feelings when all I'm trying to do is be a good friend and hear him out. Yet he's attempt to try has slightly shown which I've gone on mentioning him so he doesn't feel I disregard his feelings because at the end of the day I do care about him as a friend and I work with him sometimes about 60-70 hours a week. So how can your peers who you are so close with not eventually turn to family when you work so hard together and have a lot of things in common with. To me it's just natural but it's never been this with a co-worker/ friend.

So far it's been about a week since the phone call of putting my foot down which I feel I should have done much sooner. I didn't realize how bad it was getting until recently with the emotional stuff.

Thanks for replying! I appreciate it. Keep them coming
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Old 8th May 2013, 1:00 AM   #5
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I've been that guy before only I ended up having sex with her (mistake but fun mistake). You just need to get it to sink in that you're 10 years older and married and that he needs to find a girl who is his age as his girlfriend obviously isn't taking care of business.
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Old 8th May 2013, 2:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hppr View Post
I've been that guy before only I ended up having sex with her (mistake but fun mistake). You just need to get it to sink in that you're 10 years older and married and that he needs to find a girl who is his age as his girlfriend obviously isn't taking care of business.
Hppr: I have mentioned that to him and have also mentioned that there are other girls that he will meet and will like once he just accepts the fact that it's never going to happen. He has been with his girl for 1 1/2 years and she's two years younger than him. He has mentioned to me before that he has talked to her and asked her what he needs to make their relationship better but she's not changing.
Of course these conversations are all prior to making the official cut off of personal talk since he comapres and gets emotional.

Since you've been on that other side, can you tell me what else I can do.

I feel like no matter how much I try to help nothing will do until I leave.

You know the whole out of sight out of mind.

Thanks for responding!
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