Ali Pica

YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, ALI: I have a boyfriend, but I think my supervisor is sexy. Am I a bad person?

YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, ALI: I have a boyfriend, but I think my supervisor is sexy. Am I a bad person?
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“Confused and Guilty” writes:

Dear Ali,

I need some advice because I am starting to feel confused and guilty. First of all, I am in a committed relationship of two years, and I am quite happy with my boyfriend. My problem is not really with him; in fact, I have very few complaints about him. It’s that I am very attracted to a supervisor at my workplace. Thankfully, he is not my direct supervisor, but I see him almost daily. He is difficult not to notice – very tall, well-built, distinguished, nice hair, and rugged manly features with a very commanding presence. If I sound like I am writing for a romance novel, well, it’s appropriate because when I see him, I almost want to swoon.

Trust me, I don’t feel this way about every attractive man I encounter, very few, in fact, and my boyfriend is very handsome and in great shape. There is something about this supervisor’s penetrating gaze (sorry, I know) that cuts right through me and makes me both nervous and excited. In fact, that’s how the whole thing started – I caught him looking at me that way one day while I was completely absorbed in my business and got so intrigued ever since.

The worst part is I have been vividly fantasizing about him on the job (which is dull, by the way). I even had a dream about him the other night and don’t want thoughts of him to interfere when I’m with my boyfriend. I don’t go out of my way to see him at work, but it totally makes my day if I see him and we make eye contact, and if there is any hint that he finds me attractive.

I feel there may be something there, but I have absolutely no intention of cheating on my boyfriend, with this supervisor or anyone. Am I a bad person for feeling this way? What should I do?”

Confused and Guilty

Dear “Confused and Guilty,”

There is nothing to be guilty about. Just because you find another man, other than your boyfriend, attractive does not mean you are a bad person. If you have read my previous article about attraction and pheromones, you will understand what it is I am referring to. Also, I find it interesting that you say you are confused, but there is no confusion about being physically attracted to someone. However, if you plan on cheating on or breaking up with your boyfriend to be with someone else, you may have reasons to feel confused and/or guilty. If so, you want to consider these possible scenarios:

1. If you cheat, you are setting a negative precedent for a future relationship.

First, if you decide to cheat on your boyfriend with your supervisor, or whoever you want to be in a future relationship with, you are setting yourself up for failure. This new relationship could purely be the result of your harmful coping mechanism to deal with relationship problems. If you used this coping mechanism in the past, it is not guaranteed, but you are likely to use it again in future relationships. Therefore, the cheating cycle continues.

Second, if your future boyfriend knows that you cheated on your ex to be with him, how could he be secure that you will not cheat again? Do you think that you could deal with a similar situation if it were reversed? This may cause stability issues within your newfound relationship and, therefore, a vicious cycle continues yet again.

Lastly, are you considering breaking up with your boyfriend? The consequences are fairly similar to those stated above. Although you would not feel as guilty as if you cheated, but you may be making a mistake nevertheless. If you leave your boyfriend for the purpose of being with someone else, what would stop you from doing it again?

2. Are you truly happy with your boyfriend?

You may be right. You might be confused as to what you want. In one hand, you have a seemingly good relationship with your boyfriend, yet in the other, there is a glimmer of hope for something better. Keywords: glimmer of hope. Consider if your feelings for your supervisor are based solely on physical attraction. How well do you know this person? Do you have common interests and goals? Do you only have feelings for him because he has feelings for you? Are you having relationship problems, or are you bored? Are you attracted to your boyfriend? How happy are you? Because I am not entirely convinced you are. Either that, or you may be insecure and afraid of being alone – hence relationship jumping.

3. Are you insecure?

Do you feel that you always need to be in a relationship to feel good about yourself? Have you spent a significant amount of time in your adult life being single (e.g. a year)? I know many people, particularly women with this problem. They say things like, “I have always been in a relationship,” “I feel more complete in a relationship,” or “I wouldn’t know what to do without a relationship.” If you find yourself saying these things, you are in trouble. Relationship jumping is like an addiction, renewing your dopamine rush with every new cheating experience or beginning of a new relationship. But it eventually ends, and then you will have to be alone, dealing with yourself or rinse and repeat.

4. He is your supervisor and…?

You may have no idea how this situation with your supervisor will turn out, but I guarantee it will be bad. Real bad, such as you making a complete ass out of yourself, whether by dumping or cheating on your boyfriend for him. Then your supervisor:

A. does not reciprocate your feelings.
B. reciprocates, but does not want a relationship (i.e. uses you).
C. reciprocates, and eventually becomes your boyfriend either to find that you and/or him lose your jobs.
Or…
D. you get so sick of each other because you see each other so often that you drive each other crazy. Leave romance out of the workplace. It is not worth it.

5. Does your supervisor know you have a boyfriend?

Has your supervisor asked you or have you told him that you have a boyfriend? If he knows you have a boyfriend, forget him. Even if he does not know, he appears to be unprofessional and, if not, even worse, taking advantage of his position of power. Is your supervisor significantly older than you? This may be another issue as well. Your supervisor knows he has an advantage over you and may have years of experience playing this game. By the way, does he have a significant other?

This is what I suggest:

  • If you do not care about the possible consequences, go ahead with your desires. Get it out of your system. Just be cautious of office gossip, pink slips, or slashed tires. Or all three.
  • If you do care about the consequences, consider if you still want to be with your boyfriend. You stated that you had no intentions of cheating or breaking up with him, so consider what other problems might be happening.
  • Forget about your supervisor or at least for a while. I am not saying that there is never a possibility of something positive, but most likely not. Logically, if you find the source of why you feel the way you do about your supervisor, your reaction to him will probably change.
  • Spend some time alone, whether it’s just you finding time to develop a new hobby, joining a yoga class, or making time for yourself for what’s important to you. Being alone some of the time might make you more appreciative of your boyfriend, or better yet, yourself. If you live with your boyfriend, I strongly suggest this.
  • Be mindful and constructive. Work on your life goals, your aspirations, or make additional friends. Create a life outside of your relationship. If you have done this, I commend you. I know what it is like to say “we” instead of “I” about every little thing, so much so that the relationship subsumed my personality. It can easily happen, so work on finding out why and what you want.

Best wishes,

Ali

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Ali is an advice column that runs every Friday on NEPA Scene. E-mail your anonymous question to Ali here to be featured in a future column.