I’m female, 25, and have become very close friends with a male co-worker, who’s 55.
I'm in school, dating, etc. He's got a wife, three kids ages 10 to 15, and his own happy stable life.
We see each other at work every few days and get lunch together, but rarely hang out outside of work.
I’m short on cash, have distant family, few friends, so it's great to vent and get advice from a stable person.
We do text/email quite often, nothing overtly flirtatious.
I've met his wife/kids (though not sure they know how close we are), and there’s literally no sexual chemistry between us or feelings of affection.
However, he often gets me little gifts of things I've mentioned in conversation.
Two months ago, I started dating an amazing guy who’s completely against this friendship and doesn't trust it (they met once and he wasn't comfortable with our closeness).
He wants me to cut it off completely and I do get that it IS strange.
However I'd be crushed to give up a close friend/confidante in order to give myself the best chance at love.
Is there any reason we shouldn't be friends?
Must I Choose?
Similar work-based friendships are common and often remain platonic.
Where it gets a bit blurred on his side, is his buying you gifts (even small) and his wife not realizing your closeness.
It’s more blurred on your side now that you have a boyfriend.
It’s time for a gentle shift.
He is now the close friend you didn’t have before.
He’s not yet “family,” but if things develop, he replaces other stand-ins as closest confidante.
However, it’s still early days of dating. Tell him you do get it and will ease off the texting/emails and any get-togethers outside of work.
Also, tell your work-mate that you’re trying to make your guy comfortable with the friendship.
Have lunch together but without sharing too many personal details of your new relationship.
This should give you time to see where dating is going for you two.
Hopefully, your boyfriend becomes more secure about it, even to becoming a “family” friend along with his wife and kids.
Recently, my brother-in-law and his wife stayed in our home for six nights.
On the last night, my brother-in-law served ice cream to his wife in our living room.
We never eat there and my spouse mentioned this to his brother’s family.
Shortly after that, his sister-in-law went to bed without saying good night, though they were leaving early in the morning.
I’m not an early riser so didn't get up to wish them safe travels. However, I was able to wish this to my brother-in-law before he went to bed.
Did we do something wrong?
Adults generally don’t like to be “scolded” by other adults, so it depends on what tone of voice your husband used (though he could’ve brought in a tray to put under the ice-cream dishes).
But these two had spent enough time in your home to know your habits and preferences.
You can ignore the “incident” and see if there’s any apparent fallout over time.
Or, you can write to say you’re sorry you missed saying goodbye, and you look forward to seeing them again.
IF this one small event actually changes how they respond to you, there was already some in-law difficulty between you, which is a bigger issue than the ice cream.
Dear Readers – Here’s a happy, positive relationship story worth sharing:
Reader’s Commentary “My husband of 25 years is a “miracle man.” He’s now 76.
“He’s survived cancer, heart surgery, and a ruptured appendix for which he had five surgeries and almost died.
“I’m a retired nurse, but I’ve never looked after anyone with more courage than his.
“If a couple can get through difficult times together as a team, their marriage will become stronger.
“Marriages never stay the same, they either grow or deteriorate.
“My husband’s a retired electrical contractor, still doing that work for friends and family.
“He takes care of all the outside work – cutting grass, puts in a vegetable garden, takes care of shrubs, etc.
“He also helps me inside the house – does floors, vacuuming, helps with meals, cleaning up afterwards.
“I feel truly blessed to have him as my husband.
“He’s the best friend I’ve ever had.”
Tip of the day:
Try a gentle shift of habits to keep a platonic work relationship while helping a new boyfriend get comfortable with it.