Revealing Feelings to a CoWorker

Visitor's Question from a 21-30 year old Male
I have a friend/co-worker that has become a close friend. I am falling in love with her. She has a boyfriend and they are talking about marriage. I think she is in love with the idea of marriage not him. I can tell she has some feelings for me.

I don't want to risk the friendship but I need to tell her how I feel. What do I do? Advice
This is a really complicated issue. I am usually a great proponent for being honest. If you don't say something, you might wonder for the rest of your life if you could have ended up with her and been happy. But what if you say something and it destroys your friendship? Now you've lost a valuable part of your life.

It's very easy to look in from the outside of a relationship and say "she could be happier with me." But all relationships involve bad and good, all involve ups and downs. If anything, it's almost a warning signal if she is able to talk to you about issues but won't talk to her boyfriend about them. It means that when she is in a relationship he won't take care of the relationship maintenance. Her 100% main priority right now - especially if they are talking about marriage - is to focus on her relationship and make it work. Instead she is talking to you and using you as a safety net, as away to avoid the real issues.

Let's say she DID break up with her boyfriend and started dating you. You guys will have your issues, like any couple does. So now she will start talking to someone ELSE about her problems, instead of telling you. And will the exact same thing happen all over again? You can say "I am different". But millions of people have tried to justify bad behavior by claiming that. In the end, either you do the right thing or you do the wrong thing. If you make excuses for the behavior, then the behavior will never change.

In any case, SHE is the one who must make this decision for herself and not be pressured into it in any way. So sit down with her at some point when you both can talk. Then ask her that exact question - is she marrying this guy or does she like the idea of being married? What does she hope to gain from being married? Lots of couples stay together for years and years without being married. There's nothing magical about being married. It gives tax benefits and it makes it easier to raise kids. So is she ready for kids? If so is she sure that this guy is really the guy she wants to raise kids with or is it just the kids and family she wants?

Somewhere during the conversation, ask her something like "well assume it was me instead of him. I like you, and would be just as good a choice as he would." That way it's out in the open, but it's in the middle of a hypothetical conversation. That way if she gets nervous you can say that it was just a discussion point and nothing to change your relationship. But if she actually talks about it, it might help her expand her ideas. If she feels she is "trapped" into marrying her current boyfriend vs spending another 5 years finding a good guy, you'll show her she has options.

But in the end, a relationship is about working on a situation and getting the rough spots to work out. If she just ditches and run because there are a few minor problems in her current relationship, that would be REALLY unhealthy. Just because you want her for yourself, if you cause her to destroy a perfectly good relationship to meet your own needs, that would be rather selfish. If you really love her, you will want her to be where she is happy, whereever that is. You won't want to "possess her" to meet your own needs.

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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