Lingering, inappropriate crush on coworker driving me batty (long).
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (29 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I have a several months-old crush on a coworker (let's call her M). She was originally on as an intern, and then, after a brief absence, returned as a full-time employee. We share an office (it's a human rights non-profit), and we work closely on a lot of projects. She's wonderful, intelligent, gorgeous, hilarious. We share a lot of common extracurricular interests. In terms of our work, she feels like a philosophical kindred spirit to me in an office-full of people who often seem to be at odds with my theoretical approach to what we do.
M has a boyfriend, Q. I'm not sure how long they've gone out, maybe six months. She has, a couple of times, mentioned areas of incompatibility with the boyfriend when I've described my own feelings on a given subject. For instance, she and I both love going to the movies, whereas Q likes going to see live music and often takes her to loud concerts with him. Q loves dive bars, M and I don't. I met Q two or three weeks back at an outing with a bunch of my coworkers including M, and he seems like quite a nice fellow, although very different from the sort of guy I'd expected M to be interested in. Admittedly, I was sort of flattering myself and my hopes here -- I'd imagined that I was her "type," physically, but Q doesn't look anything like me. Despite the occasional expressions of mild displeasure, mostly M just mentions how she and Q spend time together and are apparently very happy. She's also said and done absolutely nothing to indicate she has the glimmer of anything besides a professional interest in me.
I'm thinking the best case scenario here, realistically, is that M and I will have a great relationship as like-minded colleagues in a challenging profession for which we both have a passion. Unrealistically, I can hold out hope that M and Q will break up due to their difference in dive bar proclivities, and somehow M and I would finagle a relationship that would end in professional bliss, cohabitation, and numerous adorable children. I'm not holding my breath. Worst case scenario is that I do end up holding my breath for years and feeling awful. Apocalyptic worst case scenario is that I frustratedly pledge my feelings to her in a way that skeezes her out, making her uncomfortable enough to slap a sexual harassment suit on me, my actions thus making worklife stressfull and miserable for everybody in the office, getting me fired, etc. (I don't actually think I would do this.)
This is where it gets yucky. I feel like my interest in M is growing increasingly obsessive. I come home, and I have a hard time not thinking about her and getting upset. I wake up at night thinking about this. The other day, I was feeling so wound up about it that I went on what was for me a long (90 minute) bike ride, and still when I came home I had enough negative energy about it that I paced around in circles in my apartment still worrying about it for another hour. I find myself wishing horrible, nasty, selfish things (i.e., for me to meet Q and for him to turn out to be a huge asshole). I tried (unsuccessfully) to find a friendster profile for her boyfriend so as to -- I dunno -- learn his weaknesses? It's stupid, and frankly I'm starting to creep myself out.
Here's the question: How do I get myself to stop being a baby and to get over this crap? I go on internet dates aplenty, I spend plenty of time with my non-work-related friends, I have time-consuming hobbies, I get a decent amount of exercise (biking), but still I come home from work and I tie myself in knots about this. I've looked at the relevant Ask MeFi "work and dating"-tagged threads. I'm seeing a shrink. For the next year or so, it won't be possible for me to transfer to another department at work. I fully realize that M is not perfect (she can be a little bratty and workaholicy), but I love all the time we get to spend together at work. I'm just bonkers about her...and I'm worried that the emphasis is increasingly on me being bonkers. I do okay when I'm consumed with something difficult (e.g. my work, the music class I take once a week), but I find that any down time quickly ends up with me getting upset, my thoughts obsessively drifting back to M. Occasionally I lie on the bare hardwood floor of my apartment crying and listening to bad music. Occasionally I also get so frustrated with things that I get the urge to start punching myself in the head. Sometimes I actually follow this urge, not hitting myself in such a way that I draw blood, but hard enough that I have a headache the next day. (This last behavior is, of course, the main reason why I decided to get into therapy a year or so ago. I'm not on meds but am open to the idea.) I also have the nagging sense lately of feeling sorry for anybody who dates me since I'm such a moody bastard. I realize that perseverating on this line of thinking is not particularly productive.
What do I do to stop feeling like a self-indulgent melancholy teenager? I'm too old (27) to be acting like this.