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Heated in Hell, MI

  • Posted on March 13, 2016 at 3:04 pm

Dear Christine, 

I work at a professional office where there’s a strict no dating policy.  It’s a really good job and I need it but I have a problem that’s making it hard to go to work.  A co-worker started flirting with me big time and though I knew the policy, I figured what the hell, we could be discrete.  We went out several times and I thought he really liked me.  I was falling!   Suddenly he just started ignoring me.  He won’t take my calls and acts at work like nothing happened.  I can’t talk to anyone at work about it but I did find out, he has a husband!  I’m so damn angry and there’s nothing I can do without serious risk of affecting my position at work.  Part of me wants to tell our manager just to get him in trouble and hell with the consequences.  If he would at least talk to me I might have some understanding but he has totally cut me off and I’m frustrated and confused.  How do I let this go before I blow!? 

Thanks, Heated in Hell, MI

Dear Heated,

Now you know why there’s a no-dating policy in most workplaces.  Even if you two hit it off, your dating can be very difficult on your colleagues who have to endure your drama once they realize what’s going on.

So, at work you met a flirt who is married.  Here’s the result of your decision to see  “what the hell.”  You took a big risk.  Welcome to hell!  You might be discrete, but  who is he really is?  Is he capable of discretion?  Healthy relationship are when both partners are equals to communicate what they feel and need and want.  That’s really hard to do in the workplace.

You can’t make someone else take your calls, like you or talk to you.  You can’t make a relationship work all by yourself.  A good relationship is when both parties are giving 100%, not even just 50/50.  You are putting your job at serious risk.   If you truly need and want this job, you’ll find a way to take a deep breath whenever you see him/think of him, and remind yourself that you need this job.

Welcome to a life lesson.  When you truly get a lesson from the School of Hard Knocks, you will never need a refresher course!  Consider yourself lucky that you still have your job and focus on that.  Count to 10 when you see him, use self-talk to talk yourself down when you get riled up.  Anger is a normal reaction, but after about 90 seconds of feeling anger surge, you have to feed it to keep it going.

Remind yourself that you put yourself in this position.  If you tell yourself you were the victim and you just want him punished, whatever the cost to you, that’s nurturing the anger.  For every 5 minutes that you are angry, you increase your blood pressure, decrease your digestion, your breathing gets shallow and your immune system goes off line for the next 6 hours!  That’s not including losing your job.  It’s not fun to be an adult:  bills, responsibilities, jobs, boundaries, communication and most important, self-care.   Good luck as you practice good self-care in the coming weeks, modulating your anger rather than feeding it!

Christine Cantrell, PhD

Licensed Psychologist