Office Romance

20 Feb

Letterbalm Rose on a DeskDear LetterBalm: My manager and I have been secretly dating for the past year. We’ve kept our relationship quiet because we wanted to dodge the kind of giggly gossip that can infect a workplace. Neither of us is married, so there are no complications. He’s an exceptional person and a great boss, and he’s well-liked by everybody – that’s part of the reason why I was attracted to him. Two weeks ago I accidentally saw messages between him and his assistant. The exchange made clear that they’re involved and share feelings for each other. I’m having a hard time keeping it together. I’m disillusioned and having trouble concentrating. So far, I’ve been able to put off my boyfriend by giving excuses that I have family and other obligations – and, honestly, he seems relieved. But I can’t keep this up indefinitely. Advice?

–Workplace Paramour

Well, you have three choices: Continue with the status quo (if you have loins of steel). Or, confront your boss-boyfriend, maybe precipitating a big blowup, lots of office snark and a hostile work situation (a good way to see if he’s such “an exceptional person”). Or, skillfully taper off the relationship, which you’re already beginning to do, while you discreetly look for another job and make a dignified exit (the strong self-preservation, mature route). Guess which option is best, mindful that it’s likely the whole office knows of your affair and may also know you’re being played. Ms. L.B. wants you to accept the difficult truth that it should make no difference in your life if your boss and his assistant have a love story for the ages. Say nothing to any co-worker, get yourself another good job – don’t jump ship for a bad choice – and keep your resignation to your manager upbeat and professional: 

Charlie, there’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll be direct. I’m giving two weeks’ notice. My last day here is Friday the 10th. I’ve learned a great deal, and I believe my work made a real difference to the company. I wish all the best to everyone on the team, and I’ll take my experience to my next workplace. I hope my next job is as professionally rewarding as this one has been. [If he alludes to the affair: There is absolutely nothing more to say. It’s water under the bridge.]

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