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Dear Fifi: I'm married 25 years but I can't get over my crush on a younger colleague

It’s Tuesday and that means some salacious advice with Dear Fifi.

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Whether your problem is big or small, my job here is to try and help. I can’t promise you’ll always agree with my advice, but feel free to weigh in down below if you think you have some wisdom to add.

Problems of all stripes, confessions, etiquette queries and everything in between – get me here, anonymously and confidentially

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Dear Fifi,

I find myself in a horrible situation. I am a married woman of 25 years with 3 adult children. I have fallen in love with a young guy in work who got married recently. He became my friend and paid me a lot of attention.. He confides in me and he is my friend. He texts me all the time  and compliments me on my looks and figure. He has never made any romantic gestures towards me and was always open about his girlfriend.

I thought crushes were for teenagers? I have tried to keep him at a distance but then he thought he’d done something to offend me! I love my job and am not in a position to change. I’ve lost interest in my family and find myself stalking this  guy on Facebook all the time. I love him so much but it’s breaking my heart. My husband knows something’s up but he would never guess what it is. I have been feeling like this for 4 years. How do I forget about this guy?

I’m afraid a lot of what I’m going to say here to you now might be a little difficult to read. I appreciate you’re asking for help, and so you’re making steps in the right direction, but I think you might need a reality check. So here goes.

You are being careless with the feelings of the people in your life who should come first – your husband and children. Imagine if the tables were turned and you discovered your husband had been nursing an emotional affair (not a crush) for this long. I’m sure you would be extremely hurt, betrayed and humiliated. Remembering this will make it easier to cut contact with this colleague.

As for the man at work? I find it hard to believe he isn’t aware that you are mad about him. The chances are, he enjoys the attention and whatever else he is getting out of you fawning over him. Imagine what life would really be like with a man who flirts inappropriately with a colleague as a newlywed and won’t back off when you try to disengage. Are you more in love with the idea of him than the man himself?

You say you’re not in a position to give up your job, but I think you’re underestimating what’s going on here. For 4 years you’ve been besotted with a colleague. This is becoming a significant threat to your established, real life – you could lose an awful lot if this were to ever emerge. Changing jobs would get you away from this man and his hold over you. Whatever the downsides, the upsides are keeping your marriage and the respect of your adult children. Don’t you think that’s worth it?

Cut the texts for a start. Keep your distance. Set up a browser redirect for his Facebook page. Unfollow him. So what if he thinks he’s done something to offend you? He doesn’t matter. He’s simply a co-worker, a bit part player in your life. He’s a newlywed himself. Your husband and kids are the important ones.

Or are they? If you’ve been holding a candle for this fantasy for 4 years, it might be time to shift the focus and acknowledge that perhaps your marriage is lacking and that is why you have set your sights towards this pipe dream. You must find something else that makes you feel good.

Take this man out of the equation and figure out how to move forward with your husband – or if that’s even what you really want. Marriages are long slogs, no doubt. You need to make an effort to keep them going and your energy is currently far, far away.

At the moment, you’re doing you and your family a disservice. It’s time to forget this man and whatever daydreams he represents. Take stock to try and figure out how this infatuation took root for so long. Good luck.

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Want to talk?

Confess a story, ask for help or just shout into the void for a bit and see if that helps. All welcome. Anonymity totally guaranteed always. 

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