Flirty co-worker was only going where you were leading him
Q: "Dylan," a close friend and co-worker, just came clean about his feelings for me. We have had a flirty, slightly risque relationship (like a girl would have with her gay best friend) and I suppose I should have known he would get the wrong message.
I have a boyfriend, whom I love dearly. Dylan knows this — 75 percent of our conversations are about my relationship and Dylan's dating life. He said he understands I'm in a relationship, but wanted to put it out there to see if it changed my mind.
I feel this is disrespectful of my relationship and puts me on the spot. What should I do? Discontinue my friendship with Dylan?
A: So, your "flirty, slightly risque relationship" with another man is fine, but honesty makes Dylan "disrespectful of my relationship"?
(Forehead, keyboard, discuss.)
You teased the man, so for that alone you owe him a break — but cut him one, too, for taking a huge emotional risk. Because he likes you.
Distance yourself if he persists, sure. Otherwise, respect his honesty and give some in return: "I haven't changed my mind, and I was wrong to lead you on." Then give him a chance to show respect for the line you've drawn.
It's time to revisit your goals and ask some tough questions
Q: I'm starting to think my live-in boyfriend saw our moving in together as a practical/financial decision, rather than emotional. We had been together over three years, and when I asked if he wanted to do it, he said, "Sure."
We're both saving hundreds of dollars and it makes many things easier, but we don't seem to be any closer to engagement. We've had several talks about where things are going, and his answer is the same as it was years ago: "I'm interested to see where this leads." I guess it's my fault for not making clear that I was hoping this was a step toward our future together?
A: Yes, as much as it was his fault for not making clear that he didn't see this as changing anything except an address. And now that we've assigned blame, you can stop looking over your shoulder. You did what you did. Now what will you do?
The only answer that makes sense is, "Learn from your mistake." Start making choices that plainly reflect your goals, and train your eyes and ears on his response.
But first, revisit those goals based on what you now know. Years later, his answer is still to "see where this leads." Is this someone you want to marry? Someone who will have your back at the lowest points in your life?
If the answer is "no," then don't be afraid to leave. The pain will surprise you, then peak, then subside.
If "yes," then make that plain: "I went into this expecting it to lead to marriage. I was wrong not to say that upfront. But now I will be upfront: Is there something you're waiting for, or is your 'wait and see' an indefinite one?"
Pay close attention to what he actually says and does — then be honest with yourself about whether you can live happily with him (and yourself) as-is. You don't have to make decisions now; just need to ensure the information you base them on is true.