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Is he really flirting w/me?


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First, I'm probably older than your average post-er (40), & the man is a colleague of 50 & married. (I know...I never, ever thought I'd be in this sort of situation.)


Since the beginning, there's been a natural connection between us. We can almost finish each other's thoughts & sentences. He's said before that he can share work-related frustrations w/me that he can't w/his wife. He doesn't speak ill of her at all; but over time of piecing together stray comments, I sense he's the far more generous partner in the relationship. I'm unsure if it's a happy & good relationship now that the children are out of the house.


He's smart, kindhearted & a touchy-feely sort. Very observant & attuned to people's feelings. Very outgoing & charming. A little goofy, too, in a clumsy absentminded professor sort of way. Completely not a "player."


A close friend of mine confirmed what I sensed: In a crowded room, he seeks me out & often stares at me. Whenever we're in a meeting together, he tries to sit by or near me. His eyes always seem to lock onto mine as he talks in meetings. In these gatherings, he often puts his hand on my arm or rubs my elbow whenever he addresses me. (He doesn't do this to others, & once he said to me -- after several arm touches -- "I keep touching you" in kind of a can't-help-myself shocked tone.) He teases me, & some venture into double entendre territory. He sometimes calls me sweetheart, darling & dear. He's made complimentary comments about what I've worn before -- most often, if the outfit is similar to my eye color. He remembers small tidbits of information about me from conversations we've had long ago. Through others, I've heard how complimentary he is of my skills & knowledge to higher-ups.


Yes, it may seem obvious to you, but relationship-shy me is unsure what to make of his behavior. I don't really know if he's just being friendly, confusingly paternal, harmlessly or seriously flirtatious...or merely trying to encourage me (since he likely perceives I'm shy). He's never done anything that clearly communicates one way or another, & he's never gone over a line. Now, I'm utterly smitten & lovesick. I wouldn't dare do anything about it -- unless his marital status changes (& I've heard that may be a possibility for reasons unrelated to me) & he makes the first move.


I'm single & not a date-every-week sort, so most of this is really confusing & torturous to me. I'm usually not this silly. I awake from dreams where we're together -- not erotic dreams -- but happily & cozily settled. Like, it's "meant to be."


What do you think of his behavior -- other than a married man shouldn't be doing this?! Is he interested or just playful?

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He seems like he is interested.Watch how he interacts with other women.You don't want to be a contributing factor to his marriage ending though.If the touching and flirting continues you might have to directly ask him about the status of his marriage.

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Hi southernshy,


Don't ever apologize for your age. People of all ages post here, and everyone deserves to be listened to and to get advice.


He's definitely flirting with you, but his motivations are unclear. Sometimes people get along really well personality-wise and it's easy to become really fond of the other person. I think the same advice should apply regardless of whether he's being harmlessly or seriously flirtational. You can still be friendly with him, but keep as professional with him as you can. If he compliments you on what you're wearing, you can thank him, but then steer the conversation the other way.


If you eat lunch with him, invite other people to join, or have lunch in as public as place as possible so it doesn't look like you two are trying to hide anything. You might be tempted to spend a lot of time with him on the job, and you might already be doing so. I'm not sure. Just keep accepting a lot of lunch dates with girlfriends. And try not to interact with him more on the job any more than you would with any other co-worker.


I don't think you need to completely cloister yourself away from him. On the job crushes can be kind of fun as long as we don't do anything foolish. I can see your situation leading to problems, though, both with his wife and with your co-workers. Jobs are stressful enough without adding more drama.

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Thanks so much Amberr, BYOB & Scotty77, for your ideas, which show authentic concern for a "virtual" stranger.


It really helps to have a sounding board because I've completely isolated myself in this issue out of the need for discretion. The man in question is higher up the food chain at work. When my close friend/colleague remarked about "What's up with him & how he stares at you & looks for you?" I just laughed it off & said he trusts me.


It's apparent that departmental colleagues have noticed, w/keen interest, how we interact. Nobody says anything, but I see the sidelong glances. I make sure they (as well as the man of interest) see me roll my eyes at the way he acts & the things he says ("Darling, I'd do anything for you.") Just trying to keep it light & as professional as possible. Only this past weekend did I allow myself to admit my feelings for him are pretty serious. It's been a long while since I've felt this way too, & I don't want to get hurt. Nor do I want to hurt him or his family. I will not act or admit publicly these feelings until I know what he means.


To address a few of your comments...


These are daily flirtatious encounters. And quite honestly he doesn't interact w/other female employees as he does w/me: the arm touches & lean-in moments to say something are done in front of small groups as well as in one-on-one meetings. It could be he trusts me as a confidante & a friend, & that's why he does the things he does. Plus, remember how I said he's an absentminded professor sort...? He could just be plain clueless about how his actions are perceived. (Doubts creeping in.) Still, taken as a whole, well...I think he's flirting. Motivations & intent...? I don't know.


As to his marriage, I didn't tell all because you just never know who's online. His wife is very seriously ill -- likely not to live long. Does that affect your view? If he became available (how I HATE myself for thinking that!!!) & if admitted his interest, I would definitely respond in a favorable way.


Thanks again for your consideration & advice!

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2 flags i'd be weary of here. well, 2 for me anyways. first of all he is married. i don't mess with married women. just one of my rules.


another rule of mine is not to get involved with anybody in the work place. it can go sour really quick if something bad happens between the 2.


and no, i don't think his wife being ill and not being in the picture has anything to do with my thought on the marriage thing. he should be honoring her wishes if she is that ill and he loves her.


what is stopping you from finding a guy that isn't in a situation like that? like a single guy.

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After my last post to you I remembered something from a long time ago that happened in a different department at work. There was a man who's wife was seriously ill, he gave all sorts of flirtatious signals, sought out her comfort, she felt sorry for him, they fell in love, then he accused her of taking advantage of him. Just something for you to tuck away in the back of your mind.

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