On falling helplessly

I had a one night stand with a co-worker after the company Holiday party. I always thought he was cute and I was very drunk. He came back to my place and at first it was just about the sex but then we ended up having an amazing conversation and connection.

During our conversation, he was honest with me that he was casually dating someone else. We have moved on past that night, chalked it up to having a great connection and have become friends. We’ve started hanging out weekly. He is now in a full fledged relationship with the other girl and I am casually dating.

Here’s the problem: I’ve developed feelings for him and I don’t know how to proceed. We have so much fun together and I want to continue spending time together. Also, he’s now in an exclusive relationship and the timing clearly isn’t right.

Can these types of feelings just be repressed? I’m guessing it’s just a crush. The thing is, I haven’t had feelings for someone like this in a while and it’s scaring the hell out of me.


Fuuuck. This question hit me hard. You and I are in the exact same situation. I mean, right down to the scary details.

I don’t know if you follow my personal blog or my twitter, but I also had a holiday one-nighter with my colleague crush who is now in a full fledged relationship while I’m stuck casually dating.

We hang out professionally, and we still have a connection, and I love every minute we spend together right up until the moment I’m reminded that I’m not the one who got picked.

I’m not even crushing anymore and it’s still fucking brutal sometimes. I get those pangs. I know how you feel, but there’s nothing to do except let it wash over you and curse the gods of shitty timing.

If you’re worried that you might be falling for this guy, you probably shouldn’t repress those feelings. You can try to control your emotions a bit, but that kind of thing takes a lot of practice and is really hard to do. There is no magic trick to this stuff. Sometimes you just gotta let yourself fall a little helplessly.

I wish I had a better answer for you. I wish I could tell you this wasn’t going to hurt, but it will. It really fucking will.


29 thoughts on “On falling helplessly

    • The Coquette says:

      I didn’t come out second best. No one my former crush dates is better than me. I don’t think like that, and no one else in my situation should either. Timing and chemistry are two things no one has under their control. It ain’t up to us. We don’t get to pick when and where the lightning strikes, and a near miss is no reflection on anyone’s value or worthiness.

  1. CynicalGrey says:

    What gets me through these wonky timings is knowing there is more out there and that what I have shared and continue to share is incredibly special. I try to think on the times when I wasn’t available (monogamy, depression, lack of chemistry), and appreciate the different sides of experience as best I can as the feelings wash over me. Not that that really helps when the gut punch of love hits you, and I wish you the best as you process this heavy stuff.

  2. theresa says:

    Coke’s usual ability to be objective and offer clear direction seems clouded by her own experience more so than usual here (fair enough, she is human, after all). It’s easier to give advice and see a situation clearly when you’re not involved in it yourself. Normally, I think we could expect some sort of response that examines the possibility that this guy is isn’t interested in this woman for anything more than she’s already offered him, that spending time with him is toxic, and/or he’s having his cake and eating it too. Coke historically has an uncanny ability to dissect situations based on limited information which usually seems fairly accurate as an objective reader, but I’m sure when you are entrenched in a specific situation yourself, it’s harder to pull yourself out of it and rationally attack the problem. I would be interested in hearing your response or analysis once enough time has passed to evaluate the situation with hindsight and objectivity. Either way, I feel for you both – rejection sucks no matter how you slice it.

    • The Coquette says:

      It’s not that I’m clouded. It’s that there is no answer for what she’s really asking, certainly not an objective one. This is the type of question I normally wouldn’t have picked. The only reason that I did was because I felt it so hard, and I just I wanted to share that.

      • Rainbowpony says:

        I dunno, coke.

        In your next post you talk about emotional regulation, but there is another method you’ve left out: don’t put yourself in the emotion triggering situation.

        In this case, why are you (and the OP) trying to be friends with a former hookup? You’ve said yourself that once a relationship is cast as romantic or platonic that is the way it is (great advice that has helped me so many times). So, not only are you hurting yourself by hanging around with him, your allowing him to take up valuable emotional real estate that could go to someone who has real friend potential.

        By all means, talk to him at parties and do lunch with him as long as you bring other people, but don’t let yourself be emotionally supported by him in any way. There are so many people in the world that can be your friend, you don’t need this guy. Timing is not just about romances, it applies to friendships too.

        • Lilac says:

          I have to say, this advice is sound. I have also been in this exact situation, and the only thing that really helped was lack of proximity. We were coworkers for a long time after I implemented the distance, which was difficult at first, but substantially easier to deal with once I cut off outside-of-work contact. Occasional same-circle of friends contact, but at social functions when I was able to talk to other people.

          I am now married and happy, and don’t even give this person a second thought. The distance was crucial. You need it or else this emotional pain will drag out a lot longer than necessary.

        • The Coquette says:

          This is great advice, but both the OP and I *literally* have no choice. We’re talking about colleagues here. People we work with. I don’t hang out with my former crush outside of our professional environment. We have to see each other, and I really do enjoy the time we spend together, but I know better than to spend any private time together. (In fact, I just changed the word regularly to professionally. That should have been more clear in my post.)

          • Lilac says:

            That was my situation, as well. Coworkers, who also had to work together for mutual friends’ events. It sounds like you let go of the outside contact, but the OP indicated she still hangs out with him regularly (sounding very much like outside of work). So she needs to get to where you are, and I wish the both of you good luck healing. You will.

    • Gaybeard says:

      It’s strange to me how much people fetishize objectivity. There is no such thing as a view from nowhere. If anything, I think her advice is better precisely BECAUSE she’s going through it herself. There’s nothing to read into this situation that Coquette doesn’t explicitly address. Her ability to analyze the situation from multiple angles beyond her own feelings is what makes this piece of advice hugely valuable to bolstering her already impressive credibility.

  3. Nice Guy says:

    A woman at work has a crush on me.
    She gets drunk.
    I fuck her.
    I tell her I’m seeing someone else.
    I toss her an occasional conversation bone.

    What kind of guy am I?

    • The Coquette says:

      You? You’re a cynic. As for the guy you’re describing, he’s a cheaply drawn caricature, but then again, I’m not gonna pretend like the world ain’t full of assholes.

  4. bramble says:

    Even proximity doesn’t seem to help me. I only see him maybe 3 times a year, and still, whenever we speak (professionally) I forget he isn’t a real (i.e. everyday, dependable) friend, and fall hard when I stop hearing from him. I keep trying to work up to no contact at all, no matter how great those rare exchanges may be. That is the thing to do, right?

  5. GOAT says:

    Speaking of pre-Coquette days, what happened to the yogurt/exercise/extreme rebound trifecta? P.S.- Feeling this on a visceral level. That’s a tough situation to endure.

    • bramble says:

      I shouldn’t speak for coke, & yogurt & exercise still sound wise (thanks for the reminder!), but rebounds have less magic after that taste as you get older (I think?). My intolerance for anything other than what thrills me is just evaporating.

    • The Coquette says:

      Oh, that shit still happens. I’m in incredible shape at the moment, although this time I went salads instead of yogurt.

        • The Coquette says:

          The best way to handle emotional pain is to deliberately sublimate it into the kind of physical pain that makes you stronger.

          • bramble says:

            Yes. I end up throwing myself into hard intellectual work & neglecting my body because time always feels so short, but fuck that, truly, and thank you.

            (Really, thank you. You’ve been so generous with us these last few weeks – at such a key time, for me, at least. Your presence is deeply felt and appreciated.)

          • Gaybeard says:

            Haha, you and Rocky both.

            Rocky Balboa: [to Adonis] “Bring back everything that’s ever hurt you, all the pain you had inside. They don’t know what we’ve been through. You belong here! One step at a time. One punch at a time. One round at a time.This guy right here, that’s the toughest opponent you’re ever going to face……”

        • tall basket says:

          CQ’ll never do it though.

          (Remember from notes to my future husband? No CQ-eats. Too domestic/too late 10s mommy cupcake blog kitsch)

  6. Alli says:

    You may not be able to stop your feelings, but you are able stop hanging out with him outside of work. He’s not buyin’ what your sellin’ (metaphorically, of course) and that fact is painful but really not a big deal if you don’t make it one. Be respectful of his relationship – that’s the only way to be fair to yourself, to him, and whoever his new girlfriend is.

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