I’m in a relationship but am attracted to a married colleague at work. I feel it’s not right, but he won’t let me step away. Why?

Deepak Kashyap
Romance out of Wedlock

Q: We work in the same company. We worked together for two weeks, nine months ago and there was a lot of chemistry between us. So much so that we exchange messages every day. We have swapped naughty pictures but have never done anything physical. He came to my house for lunch once and said afterwards there was a lot of sexual tension. We clearly think the world of each other. He has called me gorgeous, striking, very beautiful. When we are together at work, people comment on our closeness, and I see him scanning the room for me. He is going through marital problems. I am struggling in my eight-year relationship. I told him yesterday that we could no longer be friends and had to refrain from contact as I had feelings for him and it wasn’t fair to continue. He replied saying I don’t know where this has come from. Please let me try and rectify it and clearly doesn’t want me to leave. Why won’t he let me break off contact? He has said before that I am too special but now that he knows how I feel, he should be letting me step away, surely? He is 39, I am 37.

Step away. For now. You need to understand that despite the genuineness of emotions you feel for each other, problems in your respective relationships might also be colouring your imagination. It is a human tendency to get lost into the fantasy of a ‘perfect lover’ in future, when our current relationship hits rough patches now and then.

Related reading: It had all started with innocuous flirting on WhatsApp

It is advisable to first give attention to your existing relationship to see if there is a chance of improvement and betterment. If there is and you still love your current boyfriend then work on it.

Acknowledge the fact that it is normal to get attracted to other people, even when you are in a happy relationship. The point of commitment is to not act on those attractions. Monogamy is not the be all and end all of life, however non-monogamy or poly-amory, should be a consensual decision that you and your present boyfriend should discuss together as opposed to you unilaterally acting on it.

However, if you think that there is no hope left for your present relationship, that’s when you have to be honest to yourself. After the break-up you would need to give yourself, some much deserved time to heal before you have energy to pursue anyone else, least of all a man who is struggling with challenges in his own marriage.

It will be hard for him to rectify it with you, before he takes stock of what’s happening in his life. However, you have the power to put a stop to it, do it. I wish you all the very best. Talk to a counsellor all by yourself, if you think a more detailed analysis is required.

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