Q: Hi Meredith!
I have a crush on a colleague form work. We are both in our late 20s. I am single, while she is in a 7-year relationship. We have worked together for a year and a half and have been obsessed (?) with each other for around 4 months. We are together at least 50 percent of our time (at work, with other colleagues, going for coffee, dancing ... or just chatting online).
We are very sincere and we really talk about what we feel and what we like about each other. Of course, we also talk about how difficult it is knowing that she has a boyfriend, and the fact that we cannot go any further than a kiss (which, in theory, she doesn't approve of either). We have kissed and cuddled several times.
The last thing we discussed was that it should not happen again (the kissing). She feels awful and wants time to make a more serious decision, to see if she really wants to stay with her current boyfriend. (Note: We have been physical since then.) She also makes a big fuss and insists that I am a "better person" than her because I didn't cheat on my girlfriend (when I had one, a year ago). I tried to tell her that I was extremely happy with her and that I never felt that I wanted someone else. And perhaps her case is different, that she does not get everything she would like.
So, do you see any chance for us being a couple? Is what I am trying to do bad/selfish? Should I just try to forget her and not break up a long relationship? Ideally I would like to get closer to her and try to see if things work well between us in a wider/long-term way (she would also like to know, obviously). But that seems very difficult unless there is a fair amount of cheating from her side, which she is not willing to do (I think).
You probably decided what you were going to say after the second line, but I'm prepared to hear it, whatever it is. Any advice feels good at this time.
– Other Man, London
A: I don't understand how you're rationalizing this behavior, OM.
You're kissing someone who's in a committed relationship. And you suggest (in your second to last paragraph) that you'd like this woman to become an even bigger cheat. How is any of this OK?
My advice is to leave this woman alone until she is single. She's obviously not happy in her relationship, but she has to sort that out on her own.
After you set a boundary with this woman (and explain that you can only date her if she's 100 percent single), you should talk to some close friends about what you've been doing. Get a reality check. Maybe chat with some friends who are in couples. They should have plenty to say.
For the record, I acknowledge that long-term relationships are sometimes over before we end them, and that we don't always get space between relationships for quiet time and reflection. I also acknowledge that we can't always decide who we fall for and when.
But we're not entitled to cheat. It's not OK.
Set a boundary with this woman and go find your empathy.
Readers? Does he have to cut her off? Should he date her even if she becomes single? Are their ages relevant? Is his last relationship relevant? What should he do? Discuss.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a new novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith here and on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.