How to un-have a crush on a coworker?
June 1, 2012 3:43 PM   Subscribe

I have a crush on my coworker. And an awesome partner who I am crazy about. How do I get rid of the crush? A few special snowflake details inside.

I work at a small company (8 people or so) with Bob.

Bob and I have lots of common interests get along really well and I was excited about having a cool new friend who I can have awesome conversations about. We sometimes eat lunch together and generally chat a lot.

Last week or so I found out I have a crush on Bob. (there were these FEELINGS like ooh he wants to eat lunch with me how EXCITING). Some facts:

- Bob has an awesome girlfriend who he is in a long-term stable relationship with
- I have an awesome boyfriend ("Steve") who I am very happy with.
- Bob and I talk about our partners pretty often (Ellen is super good at X! Cool, Steve is so awesome at X too and I don't understand how he does it at all!), pretty much invariably in positive or joking-but-loving ways.
- In 4 months, I will no longer work with Bob
- I previously had a crush on another coworker for a few weeks, until he left the company and I never gave him a second thought. That was okay!

I feel like this crush is becoming DRAMA in my head and I don't want it to be drama! My ideal situation is that I could un-have a crush on Bob and then I could have him and Ellen over for dinner with me and Steve sometimes and we could have awesome times. How can I accomplish this? I am thinking of telling Steve about it to try to de-escalate the situation, but I'm worried that it'll worry him (I talk to him every so often about how happy I am to work with Bob and how great I think Bob is). Bob and Steve have met and get along really well. Which is awesome!

posted by anonymous to Human Relations (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Ah yes, the Honeymoon Phase. Try to keep in mind that he is a person with flaws and issues, like with your current partner or any other human.

It's easy to be new shiny and exciting to someone who barely knows you. Your fantasies are filling in a lot of the blanks in his personality with "perfection", which is most certainly not accurate.

Remember this when you interact with him.
posted by Shouraku at 4:01 PM on June 1, 2012 [6 favorites]

You have a work spouse. A lot of people do.

Just keep your interaction to the office, and when he leaves the office, you'll get over it.
posted by empath at 4:06 PM on June 1, 2012 [6 favorites]

Honestly, in my relationship, I would just tell my partner and then that drains it of all the SECRET! and DRAMA! Even better if I could make a joke with my partner about it! Just think of a way to approach it without worrying him - so don't bring it to him all heavy; it's a good time to use some light flattery, or make a comparison between other guy and your guy in which your guy comes out ahead.
posted by flex at 4:06 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yeah, meeting your crush's significant other can burst a lot of bubbles.
posted by empath at 4:30 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Can you just enjoy your crush, accept that it's silly and fun and you don't want anything to come of it, and turn the DRAMA into something that's making you feel excited in a way that you usually don't get to feel if you're in a LTR? You mentioned your previous crush just went away -- this one will too. Don't sweat it.

And yes, hanging out with both of your partners might be a way to tame your crush, or at least remind yourself that it's just for fun and it's not real. (I would NOT tell Steve unless you think he can handle it AND you do it in a jokey way, like, "I think I'm getting a crush on Bob!" and not "I have Something To Tell You.")
posted by chickenmagazine at 4:39 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Honestly, I think crushes are normal, even for people in committed, happy relationships, and they will fade with time. I think talking about crushes/attraction to others with your actual partner helps diffuse it a lot, presuming that you don't act upon it (assuming you are in a traditional monogamous relationship) and neither one of you is an incredibly jealous or mistrustful person. Transparency tends to eliminate any of those exciting "this is forbidden, I'm being bad" feelings that can intensify the thrill of a crush and means you aren't harboring some sort of secret that takes on far more significance than it's worth. Also, look for flaws. I guarantee Bob has them, and, if you can identify them and recall them when you feel like you are becoming too smitten, it will act as a counteragent.
posted by katemcd at 4:45 PM on June 1, 2012

Depending on your relationship, either tell your partner, and/or, have a double date and become awesome couple friends.
posted by freshwater at 5:11 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

My grandfather famously said, "I'm married, not dead!" when asked if he felt bad about being attracted to women other than his wife. He had a point. We're human, we can't just shut off the ability to connect with people, even when we've found a great match.

The trick is to be extremely conscious of your priority for your real relationship. If you let your crush in on too much of your private self, and treat him too much like you treat your boyfriend, you risk the structural integrity of your real relationship. If you hide too much from your boyfriend, you run the same risk.

Distance yourself from Bob, either emotionally, physically, or both. You're in control of what you DO with your feelings, and you've decided you want to stay with Steve. So get into Steve! When Bob comes to mind, shift your focus to all the Steve qualities you love, and all the great times you've had with Steve.

Only you can (maybe) predict how he will react to news of this crush. We can't really tell you to feel free to share it; it could be funny to him, or threatening and emasculating, depending on his personality and your relationship. Tread lightly if you do tell him, and don't expect to be couple friends while you're crushing. After all, if Steve knows you've got a crush on Bob, there's a high likelihood of awkwardness between those guys.
posted by nadise at 5:32 PM on June 1, 2012 [5 favorites]

In my relationship, I would tell my partner - we've actually talked about this and agreed that we would want to know if the other person had a crush. We agree that crushes are normal in healthy relationships. So, I would tell her, and then we could talk about it and it would probably amp down the drama, definitely amp down the secrecy, and hopefully amp down the crush.

If you don't think telling your partner would be a good idea, I think that inviting the couple over for dinner might be a good idea - meeting Ellen might help you really connect with the feeling that Bob isn't available.

If you still have a crush and you can't get rid of it, I think accepting it is another strategy. So you have a crush on Bob. That's okay, you still love Steve and want to be with Steve. Of course, you are responsible for your actions, so don't put yourself in a vulnerable position - i.e., don't go out drinking late at night alone with Bob.
posted by insectosaurus at 6:57 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

The reason it is easy to misinterpret these feelings is because friendship is a form of love.

Duh, right?

But when these lovey-feelings churn up, the old reptilian brain-pod responds the only way it knows how: "Oooh! A potential genetic recombination partner!"

Thankfully, we have override control on that little pea-sized bit of brain tissue, if we're willing to exercise it.

Culturally, that type of self-control isn't valued, much less acknowledged, so you may not even be aware that not acting is an option. Judging from the number of similar at-the-mercy-of-my-love posts on AskMe, I'd say you'd not be alone.

Speaking from many personal experiences, a lot of wonderful opportunities await with friends-yet-unmet if you can decide to just be friends when that's the right thing to do.
posted by trinity8-director at 7:27 PM on June 1, 2012 [9 favorites]

I have a work spouse too. We visit each other's offices several times a day, go out to get lunch together, gchat snarky comments during awkward conference calls, generally make the work day bearable and fun for each other.

When we first started working together, we clicked immediately and I thought I had a crush. I was nervous about potential DRAMA too, because he has a girlfriend (I was single at the time), but that didn't last very long and mellowed into our current platonic friendship. Meeting and hanging out with his girlfriend helped A LOT.

I'd just give it some time. I bet your feelings will mellow. In the meantime, don't pull away, but don't put yourself into any compromising positions (no complaining about your SO, no happy hours just the two of you).
posted by the essence of class and fanciness at 8:39 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

My wife and I enjoy (gently) teasing each other over our occasional crushes. I'd say share it - It stays fun while defusing any of the potential danger.
posted by jalexei at 8:45 AM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

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