Question: Help! I’m in love with my married colleague, but he’s avoiding me.
Answer: From what you say, it’s more an obsession to possess and rejection that is working on you than any love element.
It was a one-sided infatuation which became an obsession. If it were love you would have continued with your life and not turned out dysfunctional.
When someone is friendly and says “You’re pretty” it plainly means only that and doesn’t mean anything beyond that. Maybe your secluded upbringing made you believe that when someone finds you pretty he’s in love with you. It sounds very filmy. Probably you weren’t receiving any other ‘vibes’ than the attention he was giving you.
Related reading: It had all started with innocuous flirting on WhatsApp
On his part it doesn’t look like he encouraged you or was flirting with you. He was being a colleague and among colleagues these kinds of conversations are normal.
You were in love with him and you convinced yourself he was also in love with you. When you found out the truth you felt rejected. But it wasn’t rejection, because there was no acceptance in the first place!