He’s married. With children.

Dear Suzie,
I’ve just met a man at work, and we instantly got on well… we really enjoy each other’s company and there’s definitely mutual attraction.
But he’s married. With children.
The temptation is scaring me. I love our friendship and I can’t bear the thought of hurting his wife and children. (And I am sure from what he says that he loves his wife and kids) Also if I want a man who can be faithful to me I don’t want him to be unfaithful to someone else… But I’m also incredibly attracted to him and I enjoy his attraction to me even as I worry that he might be falling in love with me.

It seems that it’s going to end in heartbreak for someone – his friendship has made me so happy but I couldn’t ever forgive myself if I hurt his marriage and I’m scared it’s going to be hurt if we continue to work and spend time together. Do you have any advice for keeping our friendship “safe”? Would be much appreciated! Thanks.

Yup, I do.

Walk away NOW.

Tough? OK – but I get so many, so very many letters and mails from people who seem to think they sleepwalked, unknowingly, into an affair. The usual progression is “We really enjoy each other’s company and there’s definitely mutual attraction.” Then “I can’t resist him and he can’t resist me”, then “Oh dear, we’ve started an affair – we couldn’t help it.” usually followed by either “It’s three years on and he still won’t leave his wife” or “He’s thrown me over and I can’t understand it.”

There are plenty of people in the world with whom you can be friends. There are plenty of single men with whom you can have a relationship. Play with this situation and you, his wife and children are going to be hurt – and whatever you say it will be your responsibility, not fate. No-one starts an affair by accident or without knowing exactly what they’re doing. What they tend to do, however, is go into denial and fool themselves. They hide their selfishness behind a smokescreen of helplessness. Well, you’re still at the stage when you can pull back and act like an adult because the truth I that you’re perfectly capable of being in control.

You’re colleagues so go on being professional and polite. But stop playing this game and look elsewhere for friends and a lover.

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