What to do if you're attracted to your boss
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What to do if you're attracted to your boss

Dr. Elia,

My question is about men's and women's relationships in the work force. I have a happy marriage and a good family. Two years ago, due to financial challenges, I had to go back to work. My boss and I are both LDS. We work well together and get along great. I really like my job and my family has adjusted to my hectic schedule. However, I am finding that I am becoming attracted to my boss and I think he is becoming attracted to me -- I'm sensing gender tension. My question is how can men and women work together and not cross the line? Is it possible for male and female relationships to remain platonic? What can I do to keep my job, keep my family and keep my sanity? I am feeling a lot of confusing and overwhelming emotions and would appreciate some advice.

Kindly Kathy


Dear Kathy,

You ask some very important questions about relationships at work. Let me begin by saying that it is entirely possible for male and female relationships to remain platonic. Millions of men and women work side by side all over the world and don't end up having an affair. That's the good news.

In your case there seems to be a mutual attraction that has developed between you and your boss. This, too, is quite common when members of the opposite gender work in close proximity with one another over a long period of time. You're spending a good portion of your time with this man every day. It's only natural that some feelings may arise.

It is great that you've recognized these feelings now, before you cross the point of "no return." By that I mean crossing a line that would end up hurting a lot of innocent people: namely your husband, your children, yourself, your boss and his family. The tricky part is if these feelings escalate to the point of needing to quit your job in order to preserve your eternal family. Perhaps it would be time to start putting more of your energy toward your husband. By that I mean more date nights, a romantic weekend gateway, without the kids. It's very important that you transfer the energy going toward your boss back to your husband.

Even though being attracted to others outside of marriage is somewhat normal, that does not mean we have to act upon these urges. This is where self-management comes in and can play a vital role in determining the outcome of any situation. We must remember that we do have the free agency to make correct choices that will lead us to real, long-lasting happiness, as opposed to temporary pleasure.

You are certainly not alone in your predicament. What makes you unique in my experience is that you're talking about now. Most of the people in your situation that I've worked with have come in after they got involved. Obviously, the issues at that point become MUCH more complicated and painful.You can still avert all that pain and the consequences of not managing your feeling and emotions.

So choose the right! In the end it might be better to sacrifice your job than your eternal family. If you can keep your job and maintain appropriate boundaries, of course that would be the ideal. Don't get fooled by the idea that you can't afford to lose this job because of financial reasons. The cost of losing a job is nothing compared to the emotional, financial and spiritual cost of losing one's marriage and family.


Dr. Elia Gourgouris is a nationally known speaker, relationship expert and author of “The Multi-Platinum Marriage: Going form Surviving to Thriving.“ Elia's column, "Ask Dr. Elia," appears Tuesdays on MormonTimes.com.