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Friday, January 28, 2011

I'm in love with my married boss. I thought it would get better with time but it's getting worse. We had two minor physical encounters about four years ago, decided it was a bad idea, and returned to our just-professional relationship. My personal life has been a mess since then and I know it's because the way I feel about him makes it impossible to date anyone else meaningfully. Please help.


Obvious things first: Have you looked for another job?


I've worked incredibly hard at carving out THIS job, which is very meaningful to me. I provide OB-GYN services to an underserved, at-risk population and my boss is the chief of staff of the clinic. After delivering hundreds of babies, I don't want to just leave. I have many repeat patients and I know how tough it would be for them to find someone to replace me. So no, I can't just leave.

Tormented again

Okay, next obvious question: Have you gotten any counseling?

I realize this is eminently pooh-poohable (the H is silent), but hear me out. Counseling could just turn into paying someone to hear you talk about your lovesickness, but it could also help you see why you're so hung up on one person - and maybe even why you're hung up on this person. Or, if you've done this before, hung up on one idea, that everything will be solved if you're with X.

It could be that you have fears or doubts that are expressing themselves in your pining for things you can't have. It could be this guy fills a perceived need in ways that you never fully realized, and figuring that out will enable you to address the need and at least weaken your attraction to him.

Even if that doesn't turn out to be true, talking to someone can help you figure out some creative alternatives to resigning yourself to this fate. That is pretty much what you've done here: You've decided that you can't have the guy, can't move on and can't leave the job. I count two "can'ts" that involve choices, and that right there is room to maneuver, and room to improve.

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