Dear Em & Lo: My Work-Crush Won’t Dump His GF


Dear Em & Lo,

I am torn. I don’t want to be a male poacher, however, “Bob,” who is my coworker, and I have undeniable chemistry. We have never physically done anything — nothing! He does say to me quite often that he wishes he and I were together. He has cooked for me, he is a vegetarian and he ate meat for me, but he says that he would feel guilty if he left his girlfriend of almost two years for me. Subsequently, we continue to have what I believe is an emotional affair. I really do care about him. I have confronted him and told him that what is happening is not fair to his girlfriend or myself, and since then, things have cooled. But I know he feels very strongly for me — so why won’t he dump her if he cares about me like he says?

–Borderline Male Poacher

Dear B.M.P.,

Ah yes, the emotional affair. As the polls on our site recently showed, both men and women agreed that it would be way worse if their partner had an emotional affair than if they had a one-night stand with someone they didn’t really care about: 40% of men said the emotional affair would suck more, 14% said the one-night stand would be worse, and 35% said they’d suck equally. Amongst the women, 52% said the emotional affair would be worse, 3% said the one-night stand would be worse, and 42% said they’d suck equally.

So what do these results tell us? Well, for one, Bob was being a really bad boyfriend — in fact, as most of our readers would probably agree, Bob already cheated on his girlfriend by having an emotional affair with you. Which means that you have already been The Other Woman. Sorry to be the bearers of bad news.

In better news, Bob has decided to be a better boyfriend, and you need to support him in that decision. Monogamy can be a frail edifice at times, and it is good citizenship — not to mention good karma — to buttress it in times of need. If things have cooled, then let them be cool. In fact, we’d aim for icy. Bob knows your feelings, there’s no need to reiterate them. If he wants to be with you, he’ll dump his girlfriend. Until then, back off, sista! And if he never dumps his girlfriend, either (a) he obviously doesn’t wish he was with you that badly, or (b) he’s too spineless to dump his girlfriend to be with who he really likes — i.e. seriously Bad Boyfriend Material.

Speaking of Bad Boyfriend Material, do you really want to be with someone who is so bad at commitment that he simultaneously has an emotional affair and breaks his vegetarian vows in one fell swoop? We didn’t think so.

Goooooo monogamy!

Em & Lo


  1. Okay…So everyone was 100% right on this one…Nothing ever happened because I had a conversation with him about respecting his GF and myself for that matter! And yes I do need to screen better…Lesson learned!!

  2. Even if he didn’t have a girlfriend already, it’s still hard to make a workplace romance work out. I think work is a good place to meet people, but try to remember that you usually only see them at their best, you only see part of their persona. In my 20s I had an office romance with a very cute guy after a year of flirting. We were both single, available, etc. We had a great time together at first. But because of our relationship, we changed jobs and didn’t work together anymore and so we had less and less in common. The more I got to know about my boyfriend the more I realized we were a case of “opposites attract.” His family and his background were very different from mine. I discovered that he still lived with his parents and his mom cooked all his meals, cleaned his room, and did all his laundry. They just expected that if we got married I would convert to their religion, traditions, etc. They were from a very strict Catholic background and it really bothered them that my parents were divorced and I lived alone, for instance. I finally realized that I just couldn’t spend my life trying to be something I wasn’t. I think that if I hadn’t met this guy at work, but in some other setting, we would have realized we weren’t right for each other alot sooner, and saved some emotional heartache, but the “forbidden” aspect of the office romance led us to think that it was something more than it was.

  3. Asides from the terrific points everyone’s made before, I’d like to point out that amazing chemistry is no guarantee that the sex will be hot or even half-way decent. Sometimes we’re strongly attracted to people who suck in bed. I don’t know how that happens but I know from experience that it does. And vice versa, sometimes there’s no lust at first but one day one thing leads to the other and SURPRISE, the man is an amazing lover.

  4. More than a decade ago, I had a fling with a guy with a girlfriend. He told me he wished he could be with me, his girlfriend didn’t understand him how I did…the things attached men say to the women they’re having affairs with.

    It’s possible for someone to be in an unsatisfactory relationship and find someone better suited to them. Not everyone who cheats is a heel. But a decent person will allow himself the space to make a decision and be respectful of his current and potential partner. Anyone who doesn’t is selfish.

    In the end, my guy stayed with his girlfriend. They married and had kids. But whenever I run into him, he still talks about how this woman, now his wife, doesn’t understand him and help him reach his potential. Same ol’, same ol’. When we were dating, I thought he was just young and confused. Now, I think he’s a jerk…and a coward.

    Getting involved with someone who’s already involved? Not worth it.

  5. Ever heard of a thing called “screening”?

    It means using the information at your disposal, and the things you are able to observe about other people, to determine who is a potentially suitable partner and who is not, BEFORE you get involved.

    Screening. When you get good at it, you start to notice the red flags from a mile away. Thanks to great screening, I haven’t gotten emotionally attached to an unavailable crush in years. I only go for, and subsequently fall for, girls who are highly congruent with my desires, expectations, and logistics.

    Then again, the red flags in this situation were flying high and whipping in the wind, and the original poster ignored ’em. Happens all… the… time. Makes me think some people just like drama.

  6. I too, have been in a emotional affair, but it turned to just a plain affair with a my business partner. Talk about having a connection with someone, we would do everything together even on the weekends. Long story short, him and his wife and child live upstairs of our business and are pregnant with child number 2. He said that he loves me and will leave, but deep down I no it will never happen. I love him dearly and want him so bad. But know now I should of never let my walls down and let him in to my heart.

  7. I definitely agree that you need to let this go. He has made his decision and it’s not fair to continue to bother him. It’s probably a good guess that you have dodged a major bullet on this one. Flirting is always fun and makes everyone (both guys and girls) feel good. And the fact that he is in a relationship and this is at work adds the dangerous thrill. But the odds of you two actually being happy and good for each other are hard if you start a relationship off this way.

    And really, would you/ could you trust a man who leaves his girlfriend of 2 years for you? What would stop you from being in her shoes in 2 years? The emotional cheating is bad enough and maybe he really doesn’t want you.

    As a woman I ask you to back off and save your self respect. As a girlfriend I add that another back off – maybe he is trying to get himself right in his relationship.

  8. People should just stop with all these affairs already! I know as humans, we are emotional, but we sometimes act on emotions more rather than think about consequences. Always put yourself in the other person’s shoes, meaning, the gf of the cheating boyfriend who is seeing you; Or the husband’s shoes, whose wife is having an emotional affair with her coworker. I know YOU don’t want to be the person being cheated on. Feels awful.

  9. Recently I was seeing a guy, that I worked with, after a year of flirting. We have incredible chemistry as well, but the truth is that despite our connection at work, and in projects, we have VASTLY different lifestyles, and ways of living, and it really didn’t work. We stopped seeing each other and we have gone back to being good friends. Sometimes what works amazingly well in one setting doesn’t translate to every day life.

  10. I so agree with Em & Lo! The boy is a waste of time. Would feel too guilty to leave a woman, but doesn’t respect her enough to be loyal to her? Lack of character doesn’t excuse disloyalty. Plus, I’m a vegetarian too, I can *cook* meat for the people I love, but would never ever eat meat again. That’s the very point of commitment to an ideal – or to a person.
    Romantic relationships are complicated enough, don’t fall for little boys who can’t keep their words. He would let you down the very same way he lets his girlfriend or his diet down. This is very much the chronicle of an announced disaster.

Comments are closed.