How do I get over a coworker?

I've worked with this guy for about three years now, and I knew the first time I saw him that I was attracted. Over time, he became a very dear friend, and we talked about our relationship problems, family, dreams, and so on. There was always flirtation with us, and one day pretty recently, it progressed to making out. We agreed to keep it quiet, and we did, but in the back of my mind, I hoped it would become something more. It didn't, and three months later, I'm still not over it.

I'm trying so hard to maintain the friendship because that's what he wants. We're no longer in the same office, which I thought would help me get over these feelings, but we still talk about work, and he's constantly touching me, so I'm still very drawn to him. He's a hugger and such a sweet guy, so I find myself fantasizing all the time about what could have been and what could still be, but he's clearly not interested. He's younger than me and prefers model types, but I see him checking me out a lot, which gives me hope. How do I get him out of my system and still maintain the friendship?

Nat Roman
Nat Roman
Marriage & Family Therapist, MSc RP

It sounds like you have mixed feelings and motivations - which is understandable. On the one hand you want to get over him, on the other you are still holding out hope for something more. It will be really hard to let go of him and create friend boundaries so long as there is a part of you holding on to the idea of something more. If you are being really honest with yourself you might need to acknowledge that you are not really striving to get him out of your system - that you have not really given up hope of having a relationship with him. If you are whole-heartedly committed to moving past the sexual and romantic parts of your relationship and just having a friendship than refraining from all the touching would be a good place to start. It is hard to "just be friends" when all your sex and bonding hormones are coursing through your veins. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

How frustrating to want a relationship with someone who does not feel similarly!

The person who needs to be at the top of your list of those whose interest you consider, is yourself.

Most often, staying engaged in dialogue, affection, sex, with someone who has different reasons than you have, for doing so, creates longing, frustration and sadness.

Since the guy has told you he would like limiting his involvement with you, more than likely you will be protecting yourself from disappointed wishes, by taking his words seriously.

Since you've made your interest in him clear, it sound like he's taking advantage of what you're willing to offer him.

As long as he's not reciprocating with the involvement you'd like, why continue being available to him?

The one area that is open to you in a positive way, is to understand which qualities of this guy you find attractive.

By understanding more about your own interests about a potential partner, the stronger you will be able to step away from those who would like you for their reasons, which have nothing or very little in common  with yours.

Good luck with defining the qualities of a partner with who you will feel fulfilled by sharing yourself.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

It sounds like a tricky situation. If you want to maintain your friendship and continue to have regular contact with him, getting over him may not be possible. What makes it even trickier is that his actions (hugs and touching) may be misleading and are allowing you to believe that a romantic relationship is possible. Some ways in which we naturally get over others are when we fall in love with someone else or when we suddenly see the person we like in a more negative or unattractive light. If you truly want to force yourself to get over him, cutting contact or setting strict boundaries may be necessary. If you don't see him, over time you can begin to forget about him. If you set boundaries by discontinuing to allow the hugs and touches, you will not feel mislead or have the idea in your mind that he is being flirtatious or interested. It would be difficult to continue the relationship as is and expect your feelings to change. Thus, being proactive by talking to him about boundaries or cutting contact with him are two things you can do that will likely help you to get over him. Good luck! 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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