Getting over a work crush: version 83748
August 21, 2018 8:14 PM   Subscribe

I started a new job. I travelled with new coworker. The conversation was great, and it bled through car travel, meals, several more hours of car travel. A mutual crush became, well, obvious.

I am 5 years old than this guy, and not really looking for a relationship. For many reasons, it's not a great idea. I am busy raising a kid with some medical and emotional issues alone. I have been alone for awhile and am fixing to be alone for awhile to focus on me and my kid. This is making it hard for me to look past the only crush I've had, in like, 5 years. I need to distract myself from this issue - the conversation was great, the coworker is kind, and well, he's shamelessly hot. But I can't peruse a thing. I have subtly discouraged a relationship but my heart is not in it. Please, discourage and distract me. I need this job and I need to converse with this person at a high technical level for several hours a week. It's not optional.
posted by Kalmya to Work & Money (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have you already tried visualizing them in some embarrassing/private situations? Imagine them pooping, picking their nose, hunching in the mirror to get at a zit somewhere on their torso or butt. Imagine them farting in a crowded elevator and implicating someone else.

Then, visualize the last bit of all the relationships you’ve experienced. The breakup and everything leading up to it. How unpleasant it was. How you felt after a long night of arguing and/or crying. How you resented them. How much it messed up things in your life. Revisit those experiences. Do what they say in AA and “play the tape forward” on this, assuming the worst outcome. It might lose some of its shine if you remember how most relationships end—with sadness—and link this person with your past feelings of bad relationship energy.
posted by witchen at 8:41 PM on August 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

Also, it’s understandable if you still think he’s adorable. Crushes are powerful and fun! Maybe just keep it chilled in the refrigerator and visit Crush City every now and then when you feel daydreamy. Maybe take the energy and put it towards something creative, like writing or other art based on this person/their appeal/how you feel when you think about them.
posted by witchen at 8:47 PM on August 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

Would it help to remind yourself that dating him right now wouldn't be good for your child? (I'm not saying it would be necessarily but you know best and clearly think it wouldn't be good!)
posted by smorgasbord at 9:09 PM on August 21, 2018 [3 favorites]

It's one hell of a discipline, it takes one hell of a lot of discipline in real time to cut this behavior. I tend to try to see it as like it's a big ol' hot air balloon and it's filling up and will drag me off and dump me god only knows when or where; my job, in real time, is to tear rents in that damn balloon so as to keep at least one foot on the ground.

The best writing I've come across on the topic is in an old book "The Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck; he was a psychotherapist writing about the process of psychotherapy, and he wrote about the fact that transference will happen, that clients will fall for him and he will fall for them, and it's not really able to be controlled, only disciplined. It's why I'd never enter into psychotherapy with a therapist who isn't in psychotherapy themselves; I've fallen for one psychologist and one psychiatrist, both times it was completely ridiculous, ludicrous, both times I was completely ridiculous, and ludicrous -- it's humbling, this being me thing, but it seems it must be done.

I recommend against talking to this crush about it, thinking somehow you can distance from it by being honest and adult about it. That would (maybe) work if your crush was a therapist, and doing their own work. It would maybe work if the person didn't have a flare going for you, also. But this person does have a fire flaring for you. So you can't talk to them.

But to keep sane (or even get there), you've got to talk about this to someone. Make it someone totally safe, so you don't just fall for them, which, given the amount of humiliation that would entail, god, it would just have to be a total wrist-slitter. I'm hoping you have a wise, experienced friend you can chat with, preferably someone who has walked down this road, and can laugh about it with you.

Good luck.
posted by dancestoblue at 9:12 PM on August 21, 2018 [5 favorites]

Look at your child. You need this job. That’s it.
posted by jbenben at 9:27 PM on August 21, 2018 [5 favorites]

Other people may vary, but I have always found that spending more time with a crush ruins it, while avoiding them makes it worse.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, whereas if you give it a chance he's gonna do something somewhere that is good enough to be a deal breaker to the crush and then you ar free.

YMMV and all that, but it works well for me.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:44 PM on August 21, 2018 [4 favorites]

So this is a little underhand and dangerous but in a similar situation (demanding job, lone parent) I "guilt-tripped" myself into not fanning the flames of a crush because it would impact on the focus I gave to my kid. The danger is in that could have caused resentment but as I was already happy in my choices it served only to quell the more egregiously stupid parts of my behavior.

Not so much woe is me I can't even date, but I want to put my child first so I should damn well do that.

DISCLAIMER: That's not to say single parents shouldn't date. These are my circumstances and something I chose as best for my child and I. As with all parenting choices you make a decision and cross your fingers really fucking hard :)
posted by fullerine at 12:58 AM on August 22, 2018 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Yeah, I think part of why this is so hard is because it's making me question the decision to spend 15 years alone. It's been more than 4. And it is kind of lonely. But especially so when someone is smiling broadly at you everyday.
posted by Kalmya at 5:06 AM on August 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You deciding to spend 15 years alone to raise your child and wanting to change your mind is okay - that's up to you! Maybe your heart is just telling you you are ready for someone else again - maybe you are finally opening up.

When I crush on one person, a lot of times that's hormonal-me saying "I need another person" not "I need this specific person". I've found that if for some dramatic reason someone is off-limits, I've had a lot of luck just finding someone else I like a similar amount, which with time makes it a lot higher amount.

So, my suggestion is keep the tension at a dull roar with your coworker, but try online dating/meeting new people in your preferred method.
posted by bbqturtle at 5:50 AM on August 22, 2018 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Questioning the decision to spend 15 years alone seems eminently reasonable to me. (Former single parent here, able to give the kiddo far more focus and attention with a loving co-parent than I could alone! Love is not a zero-sum game.) But you probably have reasons for not dating a coworker besides not dating. I'd recommend separating these issues as much as possible - not focusing on "what's best for the kid" if you're starting to question that logic, but on "assuming this ends at some point, what will my work environment be like?"
posted by cogitron at 6:24 AM on August 22, 2018 [11 favorites]

Kind of a left field option but if it’s on the table, if y’all become friends with benefits, the crush will stop causing intrusive ‘crush’ thoughts, and it will add a sneaky spark to your technical work conversations.
posted by ftm at 12:16 PM on August 22, 2018

You don't know this guy. Your crush is just that, a crush. Whatever is going on is 90% your own mental projections and imagination. You have no idea if something would work out with this guy long term, and a fling at a job is always a bad idea, especially when you've just started. The small chance of things working out does not measure up to the almost certain downsides of juggling a work relationship, especially one that can go sour in so many ways.
posted by xammerboy at 1:48 AM on August 23, 2018

Maybe you are going to marry this person and add him to your family. Plans change.
posted by w0mbat at 11:39 AM on August 23, 2018

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