Office romances are tough enough, but…
Take an office romance, add infidelity, and throw in an abusive relationship… and you have a potentially very dangerous love triangle.
Fact is, many people don’t get out much, and they meet their friends and lovers at work, at the gym, or somewhere in between. Office romances are a very common occurence, though potentially complicated and unpleasant if it goes bad.
It’s one thing to have a fling with someone at work. But it’s an entirely different thing to get involved with a married co-worker.
Courting a married woman
If the lady is married or engaged, things get a lot more complicated.
A surprisingly common scenario is an unhappily married man or woman looking for a way out, an escape from their unhappy relationship. Co-workers tend to spend more time together these days than do married partners, so it’s only natural for a relationship to blossom and grow, particularly in the case of someone with an unhappy home life.
But beware the complications and implied promises. She may be clinging to you as her way out, in a “grass is greener on the other side” sort of way, not in a “I want to be with you forever” sort of way. The closeness doesn’t necessarily mean you’re “destined to be together”, or that you’ll even stay together once she leaves her relationship. Remember this isn’t necessarily malicious on her part in any way, it’s just the mind’s way of escaping a bad situation.
Abusive relationships… how to break the cycle
To take this up another notch, let’s throw in an abusive relationship. Not only is she unhappy with her partner, but he’s also abusive with her. So at home she’s emotionally and sometimes physically abused.
All of a sudden, your relationship with her is blossoming and growing more than before. You’re not only her friend and confidant, but in contrast to her spouse, you’re warm, loving, and kind – and she seeks and feels the promise of a better life.
This can be a good thing, but as you get close, you start wanting to help her escape her abusive relationship. You want her to be with you, and you want her to be safe, comforted, and happy.
But SHE is the only one who can break the cycle of abuse. She has to decide if and when she’s had enough, and she has to ask for help – or accept help. Until that time, until she has made up her mind that it’s time to leave, there’s no chance of making the abusive situation go away.
Are you in danger?
The other man is generally not too happy to see his replacement showing up… especially if he’s still engaged or otherwise in a relationship with the lady in question, and doesn’t yet know he’s going to out in the cold.
And when you’re talking about someone who is capable of violence, as in “an abusive spouse”, this is a recipe for bad things to happen…
How long should you wait for her?
Waiting for someone to pick a side is generally a bad idea, since your wait could go on forever. People don’t tend to pick a side and get un-stuck unless something changes and they NEED to pick a side – to avoid losing something they hold dear. This is why so many love triangles go on and on for weeks, months, or even longer.
Here’s a question from Su in Wisconsin, who is in this very situation and is wondering how long he should hold out and wait for her to choose a path.
Dear Dan and Jennifer,
I’ve known this lady from work for about a good 10 months and we have become good friends, but she is engaged and their relationship is going down hill.
I mean he yells at her, hits her, spits on her face and puts her way down like she’s not even worth anything. She tells me all sorts of things and she is in a dark hole.
Now we are getting closer and closer to each other. We have talked to each other about liking each other. I like her very much and want to be more than friends and she knows it too. I asked her the same question and she replied that she likes me as more than a friend too, but she still lives with him. I mean she has a son about 2 yrs old, and she likes how I treat him. I also ask her what I have that she wants, and her reply was “YOU! just YOU!”.
We pretty much see each other at least 3 to 4 times a week for a good 10 min to 20 min. When she invites me to go hang out with her at their place I’ll say yes or alright and it really makes her happy. She has told me a couple of times that hanging around me makes her happy and she is longing for happiness in her life, but is afraid of happiness. She also said that she keeps her engagement ring on so they won’t have to argue everyday.
I, as a man, have doubts about where we are heading. So my main question is this. Does she really like me more than a friend or just trying to take advantage of my kindness and where does this road lead us?
Just in case you are wondering, I’m a Scorpio and she’s a Taurus.
— Su (Wisconsin)