Joel writes, “Bob, you are the all-wise and knowing expert on marriage from the man’s perspective.” (hmm, okay…) “I find one of my co-workers extremely attractive. She is newly divorced and has been flirting with me. I think she’s attracted to me because I’ve listened patiently while she talked about her ex-husband. At one point, she said that if her ex-husband had been more like me, she never would have left him. I feel like I’m about to get into a pickle. What do you recommend?”
Answer (From Podcast Episode 010):
Joel, my answer is very simple. I recommend that you NOT get into a pickle. Some might think this is easier said than done, especially since the workday is long, and you’re possibly bored, and she is (as you say) extremely attractive.
But I say it’s simple NOT to get into a pickle because the switch is in your mind. Flip that switch. Just turn it off.
Project ahead about two months. Imagine all the problems you’re going to have because you allowed yourself to get into a pickle. I’ll just list a few. These are some possibilities:
- Everyone at work is going to find out that you and Miss Hotpants shared a pickle.
- You will be hated at work. Possibly (no, probably) you, or both of you, will be fired.
- Since you’re married, the fling will end, and Miss Hotpants will no longer think you’re a great guy.
Next, imagine you’re now fired and you’re wife asks, “Why?”
Okay, so now you have to lie to her (?) or come clean with the truth—one of those two choices. (Assuming she hasn’t already found out about your pickle.)
If you lie, you’ll basically start a series of miseries for yourself, not the least of which is going to be extreme guilt.
If you admit what you’ve done, which almost always happens eventually, your wife is going to hate you. She may dump your ass, and/or make your life a living hell.
I don’t know if you have kids or not, Joel, but if you do, rest assured they will find out that your pickle was unfaithful to their mother. And you WILL NEVER be a true hero in their eyes. Never. On your death bed, your kids will be thinking of your failure.
Joel, if you imagine the rest of your life, I’m sure you’ll agree that getting into a pickle with your co-worker is not worth all the pain that you’ll endure because of it. (Not to mention the pain you’re going to cause to others.)
Now, what if Miss Hotpants keeps flirting with you?
What strategy do I recommend?
Easy. You walk away. Get up and go to the bathroom. If she makes eyes at you, or tells you you’re a stud, etcetera, smile politely and walk away. She’ll get the hint.
Joel, I could do a whole episode on this topic. But the bottom line is you’ll have to keep your distance from this other woman. You could also try calling your wife and telling her you love her, and let Miss Hotpants hear you say those words.
Good luck, Joel. I hope you make the wise choice, and I’m guessing that you will.