Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

I have feelings for my boss. We're both married. Help!

(48 Posts)
Notgoingto Thu 20-Jun-13 18:20:54

I am not going to cheat on my husband who I love very much. But I'm incredibly physically attracted to my boss. We sit next to each other all day at work and just the way he smells makes me crazy with wanting too have sex with him. We will in future sometimes have to travel together for work which will involve staying at the same hotel.

I do not want to and am determined not to cheat. In fact I want to flip a switch and see my boss as just another colleague who I can share a laugh with and that's it. So how do I make these thoughts and feelings go away?

My husband and I don't have much of a sex life and aren't really compatible that way. I thought I just wasn't a very sexual person... Until I met my boss.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 20-Jun-13 18:28:30

Grow up... ?

superbagpuss Thu 20-Jun-13 18:30:01

can you move to a different department? get a new job?

find something that revolts you about him and only think about that?

see a picture of his wife and children to remains you they are real people?

Dahlen Thu 20-Jun-13 18:31:12

You need to recognise that it's not your boss that's making you feel this way. It's sexual frustration. You've focused it on him simply because he's in close proximity to you. Because desire makes you feel desirable in turn, it becomes a self-propagating urge that builds in intensity until you're where you're at now. If fed it will spill into lust. If starved it will simply wither away given time. What it won't do is turn into love.

Do you love your husband?

Incidentally, the only way this could turn into a cheating situation is if your boss is interested too. If he's giving signs that he is, consider the prospect that you're being played.

Notgoingto Thu 20-Jun-13 18:39:37

Cogito, not helpful.

Superbag, I can't move to another dept but seeing a photo of his wife would help (none of us have kids). I'm working on finding something revolting and hopefully he'll do something very unpleasant soon!

I do love my husband, very much. The thought of betraying him and having to live with that is just unbearable. I need to figure out a way to direct that lust at my husband, just don't know how.

scaevola Thu 20-Jun-13 18:46:40

I think you should start polishing your CV and seek a transfer/promotion/new job.

The new job would be needed if you ever acted on this. But hopefully a silly crush will subside, especially if you take active steps to smother it.

The declaration "but I don't want to cheat" isn't enough to affair-proof your marriage.

Try the Shirley Glass book, "Not Just Friends".

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 20-Jun-13 18:54:13

Is your DH physically incapable of sex? Disabled? Platonic love is great between friends but it's a crap basis for a marriage if you have a normal libido and the idea is to 'keep thee only unto him' etc. Put down the steamy novels that substitute for your sex-life ('direct that lust'?), put down your boss and have a grown-up conversation with your DH about the future. Enough with the breathy girly stuff.... it's demeaning.

Notgoingto Thu 20-Jun-13 18:59:47

Your tone is demeaning, cogito, though I do agree with the message.

brokenhearted55 Thu 20-Jun-13 19:00:38

Once you've shagged your boss a few times, the novelty will wear off him too.

Imagine him with his pants around his ankles taking a huge shit on the toilet. That ought to put you off.

Aetae Thu 20-Jun-13 19:01:31

I agree with Cogito's suggestion. You need to put on your big girl pants and give yourself a talking to.

This kind of thing happens. It's happened to me (irrational passionate crush on colleague, not acted on). It doesn't mean anything, it's your hormones ruling your head. The flush of new lust is not something you can compare to a marriage, you'll probably never feel like that about your husband again (which isn't a bad thing, the honeymoon feeling is unsustainable day to day).

Honestly the only way around the problem is to talk yourself out of it, and under no circumstances flirt (other people will notice, you'll make it worse, it will all end in tears). Or get a new job, which seems extreme.

MadBusLady Thu 20-Jun-13 19:02:17

She wants the problem to go away. She is under no illusions that any of this is remotely a good idea. She is not in need of withering put-downs.

I have no idea whether couples' counselling could fix this, if you've never been compatible this way. Have you ever discussed it with your husband as a problem, or is it just the way things are/have always been?

MadBusLady Thu 20-Jun-13 19:03:47

x-posts, I read the OP as suggesting there had never been a "honeymoon period" - which is not unknown, and can even work, as long as both parties are happy with it.

IHateWinter Thu 20-Jun-13 19:05:42

I agree with Dahlen. Your sex life with your husband is the problem. If you are really sincere about not wanting anything to happen with your boss the quickest, easiest way to kill this in the water is to tell your husband that you are sexually attracted to another man at work. Tell him you are finding it difficult to cope with your sex life as it is and you feel that his lack of effort is putting you in the way of temptation.

Do not keep these feelings a secret. By doing so you are already cheating to a degree. You don't need to be talking here. You need to be frank and honest at home. Stuff your husbands feelings. If he's a real man he'll feel threatened that you are having such urges for someone else and do something to help change it.

Personally I think if someone in a relationship starves their partner of sexual intimacythey can't complain when they fall foul of sexual temptation.

You have to work it out between you. But keeping this to yourself is the first step to disaster.

Optimist1 Thu 20-Jun-13 19:05:44

Perhaps the "something revolting" that he'll do will be to make a move on you. Agree with Cogito - you need to act like a grown-up married woman.

Notgoingto Thu 20-Jun-13 19:11:25

The huge shit ... It's maybe working! Lol brilliant, thank you brokenhearted.

No there never was a honeymoon period, but I'm definitely determined to stay together with my husband.

The no flirting thing .... Please can I have some tips on that? Where I work it is mostly men with very, very few women (around 90% men). There are a lot of rumours of affairs surrounding many of the women but not all. How do I ensure there aren't rumours about me and boss when I do have to work very closely with him and we do get along really well? Only real problem is that we're nervous around each other which other people may pick up on. But I do mention my husband a lot and have pictures of him up at my desk including our wedding photo. Boss doesn't display photos of his wife or wear a wedding ring, though I know that doesn't matter.

scaevola Thu 20-Jun-13 19:15:41

You are projecting your lust onto him "we're nervous around each other" WTF.

Change jobs, or divorce before you shag.

Youu're looking for temptation/justification already. Who cares about his taste in photos or jewellery? Only someone who is already talking herself into an affair.

VBisme Thu 20-Jun-13 19:20:25

Polish up your CV and get a new job, no good will come of this.

Notgoingto Thu 20-Jun-13 19:25:10

I am not talking myself into an affair nor am I going to look for a new job, but, uh thanks? I'm actually looking to NOT have an affair and to keep my job. I know I'm not a freak or a bad person for having these feelings so good luck to you trying to convince me that I am! Repeat - am not looking to have an affair, am looking for help in making these feelings go away! Ffs.

scaevola Thu 20-Jun-13 19:28:58

"I'm not going to have an affair" offer s*zero protection*

It is seriously important that you realise this. And that your actions are getting perilously close to the slippery slope, of not already there. It's hard to see this when you are in "the bubble" but that doesn't mean it's not happening. Nor that it isn't blazingly obvious to an outsider at your protestations about wanting to remain faithful are just words.

I reiterate my recommendation for the Shirley Glass book.

And a change of job.

VBisme Thu 20-Jun-13 19:43:04

Fine, I was in your position, but you clearly aren't interested in listening to advice.

Oh and you don't flirt by appearing aloof and remaining professional, hardly difficult........


Aetae Thu 20-Jun-13 20:02:38

I'm not sure how helpful it is, but when I was in your position I decided not to feel those things. I blocked the crush with thoughts of my husband every time they came up. Not easy but it can be done.

SamsGoldilocks Thu 20-Jun-13 20:06:10

So what are you going to do about your relationship with your husband?

Has there been chemistry? Or was it always thus, because if so you need to think about whether this is really what you want long term.

Notgoingto Thu 20-Jun-13 20:09:09

I would love some advice but, and sorry to drip feed, I am the sole breadwinner and in my industry jobs are not easy to get and would involve moving which we can't afford to do.

I did the Shirley glass quiz about EAs and scored a one, to the question "are you aware of sexual tensions" because I am, but only on my side. I don't flirt, don't go for coffee with him, and don't joke around with him more than with other colleagues. I do get nervous around him but am hoping to pass that off as him just being the boss. And I think he only gets nervous because I get nervous. I don't dress sexy, I wear sensible shoes and very little makeup, my hair is short and neat and professional. I dot sit next to him at group meetings and would never dream of going for a drink after work, etc. I do think when we travel together it would be weird not to go for a meal but I could just say I'm not hungry or just order room service?

Aetae I try to do that and I also talk about my husband at work - nice things only of course.

I just went to lie down and my husband came into the room and he said "I won't attack you, you're tired" and I said "I'm tired but you can still attack me!" And he said no, you've had a busy day. It's so awkward! There isn't any sexual desire for him on my part nor I don't think on his part for me. I love him though, he's my best friend, and I don't want to leave him or cheat. Those are not just words.

I am not a cheater and just picture myself on my deathbed with my husband looking after me, feeling like a fraud and a waste. That is the best way I can think about it to see that cheating is just not worth it. But ffs it is difficult, at least for me. Boss has not shown any willingness or inclination to cheat apart from nervousness, it's all in my head almost certainly but it's doing my head in sad

KristinaFranziska Thu 20-Jun-13 20:13:42

OK, my take:

Reality is that human race only survives due to attraction.
You are experiencing attraction: it may be physical, mental, emotional, hormonal. It may go both ways and it may not. You are feeling this and deeply: hooray! that's normal and wonderful and delicious. BUT and it is a BUT, you can choose to acknowledge it (which you have done here and congratulations!) and you can also choose to not act on it.

Likelihood is that when a man sleeps with a woman other than his wife it's an ego boost, a physical release like scratching a big itch, or having a drink in the pub 'cos he fancies a pint. It's just a "nice" thing to do for himself. There's no love. There's no respect because a respectful man would not "use" a colleage.

Likelihood is that when a woman sleeps with a man, it is perceived as an emotional intimacy. A desire to fill the void from the marriage.

Outcome: man's focus from his own marriage is diluted and his sexual energies go elsewhere than the woman he (may have) promised his fidelity to. Her marriage suffers because it's integrity is broken.
Woman falls in love 'cos that's how our hormones work, is hooked in and ends up even more unhappy because her choice is to give him up or to settle for crumbs of snatched attention.

I have never yet met a woman whose long term self esteem is boosted by an affair. Long term she gets rejected because he will stay with his wife, and if he doesn't she can never trust her new partner not to repeat the affair.

There's lots you can do to examine your own marriage in detail and improve things there.

First question to ask I suggest:
What attracted you to your husband in the first place?
What made you choose him over all the other available men?

Notgoingto Thu 20-Jun-13 20:23:43

Thank you so much, Kristina, what you said is so helpful and I thin you're absolutely right. I know if I were to have an affair I would just end up miserable and hating myself. I also think this attraction to the boss is a way of escaping my true problems, of which I have several, including lack of a real sex life with my husband.

What attracted me to my husband is he is the kindest, most caring person I have ever met. In addition he's extremely talented, hardworking and creative. But there was never really a sexual attraction between us. In the past with boyfriends they would pester me for sex and it was really annoying and I felt kind of disgusted by it (I was sexually abused as a child). So until I got this crush I thought having a nearly sexless marriage was ideal. I need therapy, I think!

VBisme Thu 20-Jun-13 20:24:26

Okay, like I said, I was in a very similar situation. Let me tell you how it turned out....

I was the main earner in my marriage with an extremely caring, loving man, who I'd been with for 15 years. No chemistry on either side for about 10 of those years. But I could imagine being without him, we were best friends.

Started working closely with a colleague who was recently seperated, massive chemistry on every level, we just "got" each other.

We went away on a business trip, I was sure that there was no way I'd cheat on my husband...... I did.

My colleague and I have now been married 3 years and are incredibly happy, my ex husband has accepted the situation well (he knew our marriage wasn't right) but I was in absolute hell for years because of the guilt I felt, My ex is a lovely guy and didn't deserve to be cheated on.

What I would do differently would be to leave my ex before I started a relationship (I did within a month, but I still cheated).

If you think you can handle it and get over what you think is a crush then keep going. But please don't be alone with him, go for a drink and most of all could you tell your husband you have a stupid crush - that would knock it on the head straight away.

Good luck!

scaevola Thu 20-Jun-13 20:32:06

Don't just do the Shirley Glass quiz.

Read the book. Although a lot of it is angled at making sense of post-infidelity devastation, read before the slide to affair has gone very far, it will show you the work you need to do on your marriage.

Or at least get you thinking about your marriage. You do not have to stay with a man you have outgrown. But you need to decide that when your head isn't full of your boss.

Notgoingto Thu 20-Jun-13 20:32:42

VBisme, I'm glad you're happy but your story is chilling as its exactly what I'm afraid of (the part about the business trip and being sure you won't cheat). I just want to be happy with my lovely, kind husband. But maybe he knows our marriage isn't right, too. Would it really help to talk about it, though? To come right out and say "we don't fancy each other, do we"? Not sure what that could achieve except splitting.

Notgoingto Thu 20-Jun-13 20:33:49

Thanks, scaevola, I will get the book.

AvonCallingBarksdale Thu 20-Jun-13 20:39:41

But don't you and your husband both deserve to be with people who they fancy (for want of a better word) and for whom that feeling is reciprocated? I couldn't live in a marriage like yours sad You sound as though you're scared of opening that box because you can see the inevitable end result. But maybe it's the right end result for you both. At the moment, you're married to a really good friend. Is that what you want?

Keztrel Thu 20-Jun-13 20:41:32

OP, I think you sound like a nice person, but your relationship with your husband is the problem here. A marriage with no sexual attraction is a pointless waste of your lives (unless its what you both want of course). Id recommend some kind of counselling.

VBisme Thu 20-Jun-13 20:41:50

I just want to be happy with my lovely, kind husband.

So did I, and I ended up happy with a different lovely, kind husband.

However, if you want to make it work with your lovely husband then could you talk to him about possibly going to counselling? Or some kind of couples therapy.

I made the mistake of never letting my first husband know that he was at risk of losing me until it was too late and I'd already gone.

We should have talked years before, but we never discussed our (none existant) sex life.

Notgoingto Thu 20-Jun-13 20:43:13

Sexual attraction fades in a marriage, though, doesn't it? So does it really matter that much if it was never there? I'm very confused! Avon I did think it was what I wanted but now I just don't know.

AvonCallingBarksdale Thu 20-Jun-13 20:49:42

Well, maybe you thought that was what you wanted because there is no sexual attraction btw you and your DH. But now you have experienced sexual attraction to someone else (doesn't have to have been your boss), obviously those feelings are there for you, just not towards the person you're married to. Had you not felt sexually attracted to anyone before your husband? I'm wondering if that's how you ended up marrying, because he's a lovely man and that seemed, at the time, to be enough? As a comparison, DH and I have been married for 16 years now and although obv we don't have sex as frequently as we did in the beginning, there is a definite sexual attraction there on both sides.

Keztrel Thu 20-Jun-13 20:51:09

It doesn't have to fade, it goes up and down for sure but loads and loads of people have great sex into old age! In fact it often improves with time.

AvonCallingBarksdale Thu 20-Jun-13 20:53:33

And to answer your question, yes it does matter if the desire for sex is not balanced by both parties. Being totally objective, you could look at it in the following ways
1) You broach this with your husband, seek couples counselling (but you both need to want to do this) and try again
2) You take a deep breath, broach this with your husband, seek couples counselling and realise that the best thing for both of you would be to separate
3) That would be acting on your feelings for your boss, but you sound like a kind, lovely person, so I don't htink you'd do that without exploring 1 or 2 first

yamsareyammy Thu 20-Jun-13 20:59:53

I think you need a talk with your husband urgently.
It is possible that between the two of you , that there are Fixed signals, especially sexually.

For instance, you want him, sort of.
But because you are a bit hesitant, he is a bit hesitant, and so the cycle continues.

yamsareyammy Thu 20-Jun-13 21:01:00

that should be mixed, not Fixed.

SomewhereBeyondTheSea Thu 20-Jun-13 21:11:27

I agree with everyone who has said that you need to talk to your husband. NOT about the feelings for your boss - but about your lack of attraction to each other.
It's very easy to 'hold on tight to nurse, for fear of finding something worse' - but that is to deny both of you the prospect of real love and partnership.
If you both feel the same then you could end up being great friends - still there for each other - but it would be a lot more honest than what you've got now.
Do you want to still be in this position in 20, 30 years' time? Where do you see yourself?

Notgoingto Thu 20-Jun-13 21:13:28

That's it exactly, yamsareyammy, mixed signals! And then we end up feeling awkward, I feel turned off by the way he grabs my breasts etc during the awkwardness, and I move away and we both change the subject. Aaaarrrgh!

Thanks, all. Going to turn off the computer and try to get some rest for tomorrow so won't respond here again tonight. You've given me a lot to think about, that's for sure. Avon, thank you for your faith in me re 3), I will not act on my feelings for my boss. The realisation from this thread that its actually a problem in my relationship with my husband that I need to work on has made me see the boss thing as more of a distraction than anything real. That plus picturing him on the toilet has helped immensely!

katydid02 Thu 20-Jun-13 21:15:05

Sorry to say, but it will all end in tears if you take your feelings further.

paperlantern Thu 20-Jun-13 21:22:20

Has no one picked up on the fact you experienced sexual abuse as a child? I am sorry to hear that.

Do you think perhaps you have picked someone who you don't find sexually attractive because it's safe, and conversely now you are married in a non sexually threatening relationship fancying someone is also now safe (because it isn't going to happen because of course you are going to jeopardise your marriage)

No advise I'm afraid just thoughts

gentlemendontpreferblondes Thu 20-Jun-13 21:30:41

i can understand y you feel this way. but as you know it's because of what\s going on at home that's highlighting things at work? when yr DH is not exactly jumping on you it's fucking depressing. good luck Notgoingto.

ITCouldBeWorse Thu 20-Jun-13 21:40:56

I think paper lantern has picked on crucial point.

You could maybe benefit from tackling your past Abuse and seeing if you can kindle a Good sex life with your Dh. You seem to like him.

Spiritedwolf Fri 21-Jun-13 00:32:11

Couple of things, have you ever had counselling for the abuse that happened to you? Would you consider it now? Even if you have had counselling before now, I wonder if there are still (understandably) issues around sex that you need to work out for yourself. For example,your husbands lack of sexual interest in you may have made him feel safe before, but now you are maybe ready for a sexual relationship his lack of interest is a problem rather than a bonus.

I don't know about the terms you and your husband use for sex 'attack you tonight' it wouldn't make me feel sexy.

Anyway, the main thing I wanted to do, on the not flirting thing, was to link to this article which talks about a professional/businesss gaze rather than social/flirty gaze in work situations, that you might find helpful.

cafecito Fri 21-Jun-13 00:53:36

that blog is great! I tend to come across as flirty when I am not trying to be at all.

I got myself into rather an awful mess at work, I had strong feelings for my boss that just appeared out of the blue and though I did not act upon it, it was weird and tense from both sides and it got far too emotionally involved and just bizarre so I ended up leaving. I wish none of that had happened, as it has permanently destroyed a brilliant friendship too and caused him some immense difficulties over nothing. The whispers and the office circular emails aren't much fun either if there's arumour mill, especially if he is married too.

I think in your case, this is symptomatic of your dissatisfaction with your life. Please don't let that blur into your work, it is not the same thing at all.

Notgoingto Sun 23-Jun-13 13:30:00

Spiritedwolf, that link is great. I tried several of the techniques on Friday and particularly the one about the work gaze being different from the social gaze really helped. I spent the day basically looking at people's foreheads and it helped me feel a lot less anxious than usual. I even gave a mini presentation without too much difficulty.

And I think anxiety at work has also been part of the problem. But after discussing the situation on this thread I think it really helped diffuse my feelings for boss. They're not gone, but I really think they're fading. Thank you very much, everyone, this has helped immensely.

MyPhoneIsMyWorld Sun 23-Jun-13 17:50:16

Kristina Your post is incredibly thought-provoking, especially the 'Outcome'

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now