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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

Dateless in Detroit

  • Posted on November 8, 2015 at 5:22 pm

Dear Christine, 

I am 28 years old and have never had a date.  There have been a few women I’ve been interested in and when I’ve tried to show my interest, I get rejected.  There is a woman in my office that I’ve been getting close to lately.  I feel like there might be something there but I’m so afraid to let her know how I feel.  I don’t think I could take another rejection and we work for the same company and I don’t want to have to see her every day if I make a fool of myself.

Dateless in Detroit

Dear Dateless,

I’d advise against dating anyone at work.  Why?  It complicates work and relationships and possibly productivity when the relationship succeeds and also when you feel rejected or there’s a break up.  We are around neighbors and colleagues so much of our waking life that we often become interested in people we work with. Whatever happens, it can be negative to others in the office, even when you and she are doing fine. So, if you are truly close to this colleague, take it very, very slowly.

It’s always best to date people who you don’t live with or work with, so there is room to get to know each other and discover if you are truly compatible before expectations begin to develop. Get away from work and find some hobbies and interests that other people share:  skiing (winter is coming), softball, bowling, biking, hiking, helping at a soup kitchen, helping with set design in a local theater:  the list is endless.  If you are participating in something that is meaningful to you that you enjoy whether or not you are single or coupled up, you will meet like-minded folks who may become friends.  If they aren’t dating material, they know lots of people you don’t know and they might be able to help you meet more eligible singles.

The ironic thing with dating is that if you seem desperate, people will reject you and avoid you.  If you are comfortable in your own skin and being with yourself for company, you are more likely to attract others who are interested in getting to know you better.  Make friends with yourself, find things to do that you enjoy that cross your path with others and go out and meet them.  Not everyone you’re attracted to will be a good fit for a relationship with you.  You will have to kiss a lot of frogs, so to speak!  But if you can be comfortable in your own company, with you, that will make you much more attractive to a potential date and it will make the dating process, replete with rejection, more bearable.  Good luck.

Christine Cantrell, PhD,