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  1. #1
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    Question Confused with Hot/Cold Male, Married, Mentor Co-worker - This is loong!

    I started a new job 3+ months and I’m in my early 30’s in a LTR (4+ years) and the male, married co-worker is in his early to mid 40s. My bf is around my coworker’s age. We both hold senior positions, but he has more work experience than I do (obviously because he is older than me). Before you start judging, please hear me out!

    My new boss has partnered me up with two senior people on her team to help guide me through several large projects and learn more about the company (policies/procedures/culture). So one of the two guys, I’ll call Joe, is extremely smart, witty, charming, and good-looking! The day I was partnered up with him, I knew right away he liked me. Some things that happened over the past 2 months include the following:

    • long, long staring contests
    • huge smiles
    • passing by my cube a lot (my cube faces a hallway)
    • mirroring my body language A LOT
    • he twirls his hair all the time when I’m in a meeting with him (unless in a room with upper mgmt.)
    • he always hooks his fingers in his belt buckle, tucks his shirt in when it’s already tucked --- preening all the time!
    • when I’m too busy to join a b-day celebration, he comes back with a slice of cake or goodie for me
    • He helps me all the time with work questions all the time in-person/email/IM in a timely manner
    • Sits on my desk (showing his ahem) to help me out
    • He’s complimented on my new haircut
    • We joke about random things a lot
    • He teases me in meetings
    • Sits really close to me in meetings or in my cube
    • Run into me accidentally
    • There were many times where I was laughing while talking to other people and I swear it seemed like he was scoping me out to see WHO is talking to me.

    So all those are typical signs (and there’s others too) but I knew he liked me when only after the 2nd or 3rd time we had a meeting, he asked what am I doing for the weekend and I told him I’m doing smthg with my boyfriend and he asked me to repeat what I said, so I told him (he heard me the first time). he also told me he used to exercise during lunch with other coworkers but they no longer work for the company so he indirectly asked me and I said I would be too smelly afterwards to go back to work (this is when we started working together).

    fast forward to now (2 months later) and I realized in the past two weeks, he’s been very distant with me and I can’t seem to gather what it exactly is. He just went cold all of a sudden and this worries me (just hear me out).

    You see, beyond what I listed above about reasons why I think he likes me, we’ve never “verbally” flirted in a sexual manner, nor touched each other (like hands/arms/back), not even had lunch together, etc. I see him as my mentor and an office crush. We just enjoyed each other’s company and spoke of mostly work (we know little of each other on the personal side). If anything, I feel he “wanted” me more than I “wanted” him, but I think we are both equally attracted to one another, BUT we know we are at work and he’s married and I’m with someone. However, he started doing the following things, which I found weird because he would not do that before:

    • In my email communications to people, I usually cc him because he’ll let me know if I’m on track or not. Before, if I didn’t do smthg right or he has suggestions, he would stop by my cube or contact me via our instant messenger system to let me know. NOW, he will only respond to my e-mail or rarely, ask me to call him. He only sits 30 – 40 feet away from my cube. It’s not that far!
    • His timing of responses to my questions via e-mail are delayed and in the past he’s told me to include him in all the meetings so he can help me out and now he just doesn’t show up to the meetings (maybe he feels I’m capable of handling the meetings myself?).
    • In the mornings, when I run into him I’ll say good morning and when I say that now, he’ll respond back and walk away and DOESN’T make eye contact nor pause to acknowledge that i said good morning, which I find rude and the WAY he says good morning just doesn’t sound the same anymore
    • When he walks by my cube, he doesn’t even say “hi” or acknowledge that I’m there, even though I am looking right at him and my cube faces a hallway. I want to say “hey” like I normally do, but he keeps looking straight ahead, BUT I see him giving me the side eye look to see if I’m looking (and I am). However, he doesn’t say one word – it feels pretty rude.
    • Usually after his meetings, he’ll stop by to see me and he doesn’t do that anymore.

    Sooo, my concern now is that I NEED to continue to learn from him to better understand how this company works and the politics. My boss partnered me up with him for a reason – per my boss, “Joe” is the best person to learn from – he’s been in the department the longest and knows everyone. How am I supposed to learn if he’s distant from me? I don’t even feel like his co-worker anymore, I feel like we’ve never met before – this is upsetting to me since most of the people in the department are introverts and I haven’t found a lunch buddy yet and i haven't learned about the company enough to stand on my own two feet to run my own projects.

    I’m thinking IF I should ask him in a casual way, if he is “okay” or not. Should I? OR, should I let him be and not even react to his behavior (but how would I learn from him – my boss is expecting me to learn a lot from him for the next 6 months or so)? I am also thinking that when I do have questions for him in the next week or so and I ask him (via e-mail since he doesn’t respond well in-person anymore it seems) and he doesn’t respond at all, then that would be a problem for me and I would need to bring it to his attention. I don’t want to come across like “I’m worried” about him (when I really am), but I want to ensure that my career isn’t impacted by his odd behavior. For all I know, he could be playing “hard to get” and senses that I like him. Could he?

    It’s only been 2 weeks like this. I know he’s not that busy with work either. I feel like I did or said something wrong, but I know I haven’t. Maybe he feels guilty of “liking me” as HIS office crush? OR maybe he has personal problems that came up ( I noticed that he’s had a few “doctor’s” appointments in the past few weeks…his calendar is open to everyone)? I don’t think other people in the office has caught on that he liked me (before). Also, i really haven't seen him lately interacting with others so i can't tell if his behavior with me is consistent with other people in the office. EVERYONE in our department of 80ish ppl like him A LOT so to NOT be on at least a common, working ground with him would be career suicide for me. he hasn't done anything to "ruin" my career, he's just distant.

    how should i approach this situation without hurting our professional relationship?

  2. #2
    Gold Member stuka80's Avatar
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    if he has developed a crush on you maybe he's trying to get rid of those feelings out of loyalty to his wife and so make work a bit more bearable and carefree.
    "O human race, born to fly upwards, wherefore at but a little wind does thou so easily fall?" - Dante

  3. #3
    Super Moderator annie24's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stuka80 View Post
    if he has developed a crush on you maybe he's trying to get rid of those feelings out of loyalty to his wife and so make work a bit more bearable and carefree.
    i agree.

    and remember - this guy isn't the only way you can learn how to do your job. learn from other coworkers, read about your subject, attend conferences, etc...
    There's no place like 127.0.0.1.



  4. #4
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    I'm going through a similar situation(see my thread if you want). My guess would be:

    A)you either did something or didn't do something that he didn't like
    B)he decided that the flirting between you too would not amount to anything so he stopped
    C)feels guilty about his attraction toward you so he's trying to get over you by keeping his distance
    D)he's concerned about a sexual harassment compliant
    E)he is a serial flirter and has moved on to someone else

    Whatever the case maybe the best advice I can give you is to move on. I know it isn't what you want to do. In a perfect world you too would talk and he would tell you what's up and that would at least give you closure. However, that is not likey to happen so you have to decide the best course of action for you.

    Also, I would not approach him regarding why he changed his tune. If he wanted you to know, he'd tell you. What I see happening is him blowing you off(which will leave you pissed off\hurt) or telling you why which you will attempt to justify.

    Again, I am in a very similar situation to yours. It has caused me major heartache and countless hours of frustration. Do not put yourself in my shoes, pining over a guy that is sending you mixed signals. Anyone that cannot be honest and plays mind games is not worth the burden they cause you.

  5. #5
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    @annie24 - i'm trying to network with other people with the same position as me, but they truly do not know their stuff. it's not really learning "how" to do the job (because it's a senior position), but really it's the company's "way" of doing things and learning the politics. it doesn't help when most everyone are older males (i work in the technology field where it's mostly men) so being able to "hangout" with others is difficult because i'm the young, decent-looking female in a somewhat senior position - people take it the wrong way. the overall population are introverts too.

    @john3572 - i just read your thread. i think we're in a very similar situation.

    A)you either did something or didn't do something that he didn't like --> i thought of this and i think the only thing i didn't do much is to return the flirting signals back to him. the last time we spoke in my cube was when he went to my cube and talked to me about work and re-arrange some items on my desk and i can tell he was waiting for me to re-arrange it back (similar to the "jewelry test" - if you take off a personal item and the other person plays with it).
    B)he decided that the flirting between you too would not amount to anything so he stopped --> i think it could be this...
    C)feels guilty about his attraction toward you so he's trying to get over you by keeping his distance --> with a combination of this...
    D)he's concerned about a sexual harassment compliant --> doubt this
    E)he is a serial flirter and has moved on to someone else --> definitely not. mostly men in the workplace.

    i just find all of this weird considering we NEVER "did" anything - we don't even hangout with one another. his attraction towards me must be THAT strong.

    i will try my best NOT to ask what's going on with him (but i tend to always worry about ppl in general - that's a problem of mine - to help others). however, since my boss paired me up with him, i still need to work with him. i don't plan on being the mean new girl because he's (and my boss) worked in the company for almost 15 years so they are close enough to talk about others. my boss is a hands-off person so she tasked "joe" to mentor me about the company and through the duration of a project...and she's using joe to let her know how am i doing with other ppl/work so she can gauge what type of projects i should be assigned too. joe pretty much has MY career in his hands -- this is what i'm scared of because i haven't built a strong relationship with my boss yet. she cancels our 1-on-1s often and makes judgement about my work through others, like joe.

    i'm going to be myself (nice, always laughing and enjoying what i do at work) and be professional with joe when and if, i do work with him again or need help with certain things, if i can't find the answers for other ppl. i am hoping like your situation johns3572 that either i or joe have the nerve to say something cordial like "how's the weather?" so it can loosen up what i already see as tension between us. the funny thing johns3572 is that it seems like you "killed her with a smile" so to speak and you were being YOURSELF! she opened up and the "tension" seemed to be something of the past. i hope that happens with me because i can't foresee myself working in an environment with someone that tries to avoid me because HE likes me (i can see if i'm abusive or smthg, but i'm just literally sitting there saying and doing nothing...how weird, when you think about it!!).

    on another note, my LTR with my bf, i feel like i'm pressuring him to get "the ring" sooner than later so i can "resolve" my work problem. however, my bf told me before all this work stuff happened that "the ring" should come this year sometime!!

  6. #6
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    I don't know what your job is, but you say you have been at your new company for 3+ months- how long did you expect this intense hand-holding/high level of supervision to last? You copy him on all of your emails and expect him to attend every one of your meetings? I don't see how anyone could keep that up for very long- it's like he has 2 jobs- yours and his!

    I think you liked the excitement of feeling like he liked you or had a crush on you. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. It really shouldn't matter, since he is married and you are in a relationship. I would just assume that now that you have been there a while, he does not feel the need to so closely work with/ monitor you, and has been able to shift his attention back to his own responsibilities.

  7. #7
    Platinum Member Mesemene's Avatar
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    My take would be, he sees it wasn't going anywhere, and since you've been there a decent length of time, there's no real excuse or reason for him to hover over you now. You're no longer the new kid on the block, so it would look a bit odd if he was constantly at your desk now.

    (He could also have been the type who initially hovers - I've known a few guys like that who were very hands on/over the shoulder when training or mentoring...)

    I wouldn't consider it an issue unless there's something you CC him on that isn't correct and he doesn't point it out - and your boss asks you what's up. At which point you say your mentor was CCed on everything, so you didn't realize it was incorrect when you didn't get any input.

    You're far better off, with both your bf, and your job, with things the way they are.

  8. #8
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    It sounds to me like you are using the "Work Knowledge" as an excuse to get close to this guy. You start your post by talking about how "Good Looking" this guy is and how charming he is, and then you use the "Get to know my job" card.

    You are deceiving and cheating emotionaly on your boyfriend, and trying to justify it by using work as an excuse! You are not really worried about him being distant because of the "Work Knowledge" you need. You are missing the attention and been seduced by this "Charming" man (Who by the way is deceiving his WIFE as well)! The fact that he is keeping his distance may be a blessing in disgise, cause if you should hook up with this guys, he will deceive you in the future too!

    Stay away from this guy, and be true to your boyfriend. There is more to loose lying and deceiving your boyfriend, than a loosing a "Good-Looking" "Charmer"!!

    Sorry for being so straight!

  9. #9
    Super Moderator annie24's Avatar
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    @annie24 - i'm trying to network with other people with the same position as me, but they truly do not know their stuff. it's not really learning "how" to do the job (because it's a senior position), but really it's the company's "way" of doing things and learning the politics. it doesn't help when most everyone are older males (i work in the technology field where it's mostly men) so being able to "hangout" with others is difficult because i'm the young, decent-looking female in a somewhat senior position - people take it the wrong way. the overall population are introverts too.
    I think you need to chart your own way and take cues, from a distance, from this guy and other senior workers there. He is married. You are about to get engaged. Stay the hell away.

    I don't know about him, but I get annoyed when a co-worker needs intense hand-holding. Ok, I get that they are new in the beginning and they need help answering questions and being shown where things are. But I hate when I am interrupted to answer really stupid questions they could have answered if they had stopped and thought about it for 2 seconds. Don't be that co-worker!
    There's no place like 127.0.0.1.



  10. #10
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    @jenny_mcs - yup, i think i like the "thrill" of having an office crush. it made the days go by faster when i don't have a lot of work to do. now, it seems to drag since i currently don't have a lot of work to do and joe doesn't come by anymore.

    @mesemene - i agree that i some point he would slowly have me manage my own project because it is double-duty for him (even tho he's the go-to person to mentor/train ppl). also, like you said, if my boss asks me what the deal is, if i did something incorrect, i'll mention that "joe" was copied in the email.

    @shaun23 - thanks for being forward with me. i too, felt like i was having an emotional affair. i think this may be a blessing in disguise - he's almost doing me a favor.

    i know i have a challenging road ahead, but i'll keep everyone posted with where i'm at...thanks everyone!

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