Workplace dilemmas: I think my colleague has fallen for me

Our resident agony uncle addresses your workplace woes. This time: does your co-worker want to be more than just friends?

Dear Tim,

I’ve a very strong suspicion that a woman I work with has fallen in love with me. We’ve always enjoyed a close, somewhat flirtatious, relationship. I certainly wouldn’t deny a degree of mutual attraction.

But recently, I feel a new intensity has crept in. We’re commercial property lawyers, and have to work closely when deals are going through, often for very long hours and late into the night. Inevitably, that means we end up eating meals together, sharing the odd bottle of wine after hours, and chatting about stuff in our lives that makes us unhappy.

I’ve told her that I sometimes feel rather unfulfilled in my relationship with my wife. I’ve been married for 15 years and have three children. We live in a lovely home and all get on really well. But I suppose like all middle-aged men, I sometimes wonder what life would have been like if I’d taken a different course, maybe been a bit more daring in my decisions.

My colleague is the only person I’ve really confided in about all this stuff. I suppose it’s a function of spending so much time together, and working with such intensity. But I feel that she’s read more into it than I realised and now makes comments about wanting a new life herself, or wondering if she should be braver in telling people how she feels about them.

To give you an example of what’s provoking my concerns, we were recently chatting about the things we find attractive in members of the opposite sex – what clothes we liked them to wear, or the sort of physical build we most appreciate. As I listened to her reflections, I realised she was describing me.

This is all rather unnerving. I genuinely don’t know what to do, and worry that I may have inadvertently led her on. If you can help me out, I’d be so grateful as I don’t want this to progress. I love my wife, and am happy with my life. I don’t want to do anything to imperil it.

Tim says:

I have to admire your candour in writing. And the first thing to say is that you’re by no means alone in finding yourself caught up in an intense and potentially damaging liaison with a colleague. Of the one in five people who admit to having affairs, 58 per cent say they started in the workplace.

The marriage guidance charity Relate acknowledges how easy it can be for affairs to start at work. As with your situation, colleagues often work very closely together, sharing goals and pressures. That can lead to temptation, when an initial spark gives way to something rather more intimate and intense.

As much as I think you’re being honest in writing, I do want to challenge you on something: are you completely free of temptation yourself? You say that you’re worried you’ve led your colleague on, and it certainly sounds as if some of your conversations have given the impression that you’d like to pursue something more in your relationship with her. It’s something of a cliché for a man to tell his would-be mistress that he’s unhappy at home, or longs for a bit of excitement.

Please don’t hear this as me judging you. That’s not my place at all. But it seems as if you need to ask some questions of yourself in all this: is there a part of you, however small, that likes the idea of an affair with this person? Are you secretly drawn to her, as you believe she is drawn to you?

Either way, I think you need to create some distance between the two of you. Easier said than done, I know, especially amid the pressures of a busy legal practice. But if you have a way of working separately, perhaps teaming up with other colleagues for a while, that may provide the space you both need to get over this attraction.

Because, if there’s one thing that can be said with certainty, it’s that any pursuit of this extra-marital relationship won’t end well. Any initial feelings of excitement will soon be displaced by guilt and regret. And it sounds like you have a lovely family who would be devastated by any betrayal.

So, for your own sake, get yourself out of the way of temptation. And if what you’ve told your colleague about feeling a bit stale is true, now may be the time to have a difficult, but potentially marriage-saving, conversation with your wife. If you feel like life’s left you behind, she may well feel the same.

Seek some counselling, talk it all through. You may find you rediscover your spark and breathe new life into your marriage.

Whatever happens, pouring your energies into your existing relationships has got to be better than continuing to be tempted by something new. I think you know that, which is why you’ve written. Now you’ve just got to have the confidence and fortitude to act accordingly.

Published: 27 March 2019

© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

If you liked this piece, take a look at: How do I help my colleague through mental illness?

You may also enjoy: How to deal with professional envy


Jobs currently available

Sector: Transport, Logistics and Shipping
Salary: £18,000 - £22,000 per annum
Location: Chelmsford
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909015
About the role

Just Recruitment is looking for a driver to join a large and well-established business, with multiple branches across the UK.

This position will be based at their Chelmsford branch.

The role involves delivering various items to locations in and around the Chelmsford area.

You must have a full clean driving licence and have experience of driving either transit or LWB vans.

Working Hours:

  • 45 per week Mon-Fri 7:30 - 5 plus 2 Saturday mornings (8am-12pm) per month - paid at overtime rates!


  • Salary Negotiable.
  • Attendance bonus scheme.
  • Company pension scheme.
  • Shared profit scheme.
  • Uniform and PPE provided.

Duties will include:

  • Deliveries in and around Chelmsford
  • Assisting with various warehouse duties
  • Proving a friendly service to customers and other staff whilst out on the road and within the branch as and when required.
  • Working with the team to ensure the branch runs smoothly and customers are delighted with the service.

In order to be considered for this role you must have worked in a similar role, have excellent IT skills and a good telephone manner.

This is a great opportunity to join an organisation that promotes from within, provides extra training and development and further company benefits.

Read more
Workshop Technician/Mechanic
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £17,500 - £27,000 per annum
Location: Hadleigh
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909014
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Workshop Technician/Mechanic on behalf of a leading independent parts specialists based on the outskirts of Sudbury, Suffolk.


  • £17,500 - £27,000 depending on experience.

Great working environment in a high-spec workshop with heating and insulated flooring, to ensure employees are comfortable all year round.

Duties include:

  • Repair and refurbish motors and gearboxes.
  • Stripping down engines.
  • Disassemble and fix parts.
  • Complete root-cause analysis.


  • 23 days annual leave, plus bank holidays.
  • Free parking.
  • Profit share scheme, available after probation.
  • Medical scheme, available after probation.
  • PPE provided including boots and company branded tshirts / fleeces.
  • Training courses.

This is a fantastic opportunity to join a great company offering lots of progression and excellent benefits.

Candidates must drive due to the location of the company, and will occasionally be required to drive company vehicles.



Read more
Business Development & Account Manager
Sector: Sales
Salary: To be discussed on application
Location: Witham
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909013
About the role

Are you looking to work for an exciting new start-up business offering a great opportunity for you to grow?

Have you worked to targets, and enjoy selling?

Just Recruitment  is delighted to be recruiting for an Account Manager for our client based in Witham.

The role of the Account Manager is to build and develop relationships with new members, working with them throughout their one month free trial and ultimately upgrading them to a paying member.

There will be no cold calling in this role, all leads have come to express their interest!

If you love working in a team, talking to new people, have worked in sales before and have good verbal and written skills then this could be the role for you!

This is a full-time, permanent role working Monday – Friday.




Read more
Legal Secretary
Sector: Law and Security
Salary: £22,000 per annum
Location: Clacton on Sea
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909000
About the role

Just Recruitment is excited to be recruiting for one of the East of England’s longest established Legal Firms.

Operating for over 250 years, they are a full-service law firm, which has doubled in sized over the past four years, and they are looking to expand further by hiring a new Legal Secretary for their Clacton branch.

They are looking for someone with experience of;

  • Electronic diary management.
  • Telephone liaison.
  • Front of house/reception duties.
  • Digital transcription systems.
  • Using accounts software.
  • Various other clerical and administrative duties.

The ideal candidate will have experience working as a Legal Secretary, with a genuine passion for building a career within the law.

They must also have fast typing speeds and the ability to multi-task effectively.

In return you will receive;

  • A competitive salary.
  • 20 days holiday + bank holidays.
  • Contributory pension scheme.
  • As well as a whole host of other benefits.
Read more
Wedding and Special Events Sales Manager - Maternity Cover
Sector: Hospitality and Events Management
Salary: £20,000 - £24,000 per annum
Location: Witham
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 908437
About the role

Luxury, grandeur and spectacular!

Our client, one of the finest country house venues in the tantalising Essex Countryside have a fantastic opportunity for you.

They are seeking a full time Wedding and Sales Manager to join their team to support the corporate, wedding sales and planning team on a 12 Month Maternity Cover Contract.

You will be working alongside the Head of Wedding Planning and the CEO in a buzzing environment, that requires you to focus on every little detail to deliver beyond expectations.

You will be responsible for;

  • Hosting all wedding show rounds.
  • Preparing for open evenings and open days.
  • Following up with potential brides or clients to discuss set up and more detailed planning.
  • Working alongside the Operations Team.
  • Work in conjunction with all event staff and catering partners to ensure the function is delivered to the high standards expected.
  • Manage external suppliers.
  • To assist other department managers as and when required.

Please note - this venue will be holding a sensational Christmas Fayre in 2020, along side the normal duties you will also have a heavy hand within the planning and organisation of this spectacular event!

If you have previous experience of wedding sales and managing weddings then we want to hear from you!

Due to the location, you must hold a full UK license and have access to a car.



Read more