Putting your feelings on ice can save your job as well as his marriage.

Getting Over an Attraction to a Married Coworker

by Elise Wile

An attraction to a coworker can be problematic, as workplace relationships do not always end well and may even be prohibited by your employer. If you're attracted to a married coworker, you're asking for double trouble. A relationship between the two of you has the ability not only to complicate your work life, but to leave a snarly mess of his and the lives of his family. You're wise to want to stamp out the flames before your lives both crash and burn.

1. Examine the Consequences

Take a close look at the consequences you could reap if your attraction to your coworker leads to an affair. Dig out your initial employment papers from the human resources department, and read over the section that outlines what could happen if you have a relationship at work. Imagine yourself being called by his irate or crying wife. Considering the negative possibilities every time you are tempted to flirt with your colleague will help you put the relationship on a more professional footing.

2. Distance

While you may not have a choice whether you see the man to whom you are attracted during the day, you can decide not to sit next to him during a staff meeting and not to have lunch with him. If possible, eliminate any time the two of you could engage in a private conversation. While it will be hard, avoiding the heartbreak that inevitably results from dating a married man will be worth it.

3. Switch Gears

Every time you catch yourself thinking about how sexy your coworker looks in his button-down and perfectly-fitted khakis, deliberately switch your thoughts into a different gear. Force yourself to focus on the expense report you've been putting off filing or what you can do to help the receptionist cope with her son's chronic illness. While you may feel at the mercy of your thoughts and feelings, you are not. Separating your feelings from your actions can help you to deal with an unwanted attraction, says psychotherapist Jamie Turndorf on her website, Ask Dr. Love. Change your focus to drawing more desirable things into your life than an affair with a married coworker.

4. Examine the Attraction

Think about why you are attracted to your coworker and take steps to address the root cause. While it's possible that the attraction exists simply because of his charismatic personality and stunning good looks, an unhappy partnership of your own, loneliness or boredom with life can also play a role. Immersing yourself in life outside of the workplace can be helpful, says communication consultant William Gorden on his website, "Ask the Workplace Doctors." If you think you are tempted to have an affair due to a desire to enliven your life, perhaps it's time to enroll in that dance class you've been thinking about taking or join the community theater.

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