I am a female engineer who has been in the workforce for 3 years and working at the same company since I graduated.

My boss is 10 years older than me and is well respected in the industry we're in. He's taught me a lot. Initially I pushed my crush on him aside because I thought it was probably just due to him being in a position of authority and just generally being brilliant at what he does. However, over the past year we have worked pretty closely on projects and we get along really well on a personal and professional level.

I have always prided myself on being professional at all times and being an objective, impartial engineer. However, I am concerned that my feelings are clouding my judgement here. I am biased towards his opinion and worry that these feelings are getting in the way of doing my job. I am at the point now where I am second guessing all of my actions because I worry they show an unprofessionally high regard for him. I am probably more guarded now than I would be otherwise.

I really like working at this company (him aside) but am starting to feel like I need to leave because I am worried my feelings will be noticed. We are both in relationships with other people and all these feelings are unwanted. I really don't want to leave but don't really know what other options I have.

Is leaving my only option? Before I take such drastic action, what other options do I have?

  • 1
    Do you honestly believe you cannot control how you perceive this person or how you behave towards him? This seems unlikely to me.
    – pay
    Nov 8, 2016 at 20:57
  • 1
    I don't know if i can control how i perceive him but i certainly can control how i act around him. The issue is i spend so much time worrying about the situation. I hold myself to a high professional standard and i feel like this is compromising that standard in my head. It worrys me that i am biased. Nov 8, 2016 at 21:03
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    I'm going to post this piece of advice outside of my answer because i consider it out of scope for Workplace SE. You mention that you are a in relationship. Are you unhappy? Are you projectinng your lack of satisfaction with your current relationship onto this other person whom you admire? If this is not so, and these feelings are indeed "unwanted", then maybe you should discuss this situation with your significant other. Or, if you feel that they might not take it well, maybe contact a counselor of some kind so that you can simply figure out what's happening in your own mind.
    – AndreiROM
    Nov 8, 2016 at 21:07
  • 13
    I'm not going to psychoanalyze you - I'm just a stranger on the internet. The phrase "I'm not supposed to have feelings for someone else" alone could spark an hour long conversation. I just really think that you need to talk to a "wise" and trusted person before you make any decisions. By "wise" I mean someone with life experience, or professional knowledge. Maybe book an appointment with a relationship counselor, or just talk to your mother. I hesitate to offer more advice than that, as I'm no expert.
    – AndreiROM
    Nov 8, 2016 at 21:16
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    This is I may not be able to provide much advice, personally I cannot envision favouring someone's opinion over others because of my feelings towards them.. In fact, if they had a really bad idea, I probably wouldn't have those feelings for them anymore... Have you experienced that yet or you are worried it may happen? I feel like you can still evaluate his opinions objectively.
    – pay
    Nov 8, 2016 at 21:29

5 Answers 5


I'm not going to tell you anything that you don't already know, and I sincerely doubt that anyone else is going to offer much other advice either.

If you can't keep yourself under control to such a degree that you fear it is degrading the quality of your work then perhaps removing yourself from this person's presence is the wisest choice.

Try making a lateral move in the company (change teams or departments). If all things fail, you can simply quit.

Just in case you were hoping for some advice along these lines, since this person is in a relationship, as well as in a position of authority over you I sincerely doubt that confessing your feelings would be appreciated.

  • 7
    That last sentence is spot on. Nobody needs that kind of drama thrust upon themselves.
    – Myles
    Nov 8, 2016 at 21:02
  • No intention of telling them, i assure you. I just feel like my judgement is compromised and i need some kind of external view. It's not that i cant control myself its just that i worry about hiding my feelings all the time and it stresses me out. I really want to distance myself from the whole situation. Nov 8, 2016 at 21:09
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    @annieengineer - you can't distance yourself from your own thoughts. What if you get another crush at your next workplace? Advice on how to confront your thoughts and emotions is really out of scope on Workplace SE, but I think you need to figure out why you feel the way you feel. Talking to a trusted friend, or professional might be advisable.
    – AndreiROM
    Nov 8, 2016 at 21:11
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    Thanks for your help. You're right, i didn't think about this happening again. Leaving isn't going to fix the problem if it just happens again. Nov 8, 2016 at 21:16
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    Unless things get exceptionally bad, your 3rd paragraph should end "...find another job and then quit." It's normally easier to find a new job while still employed, and you don't want to gamble on being able to find a new one before unemployment causes severe financial hardship. Nov 9, 2016 at 0:33

On a personal level: You are in a relationship, he is in a relationship, he is a lot older, he hasn't shown any interest. Best case, nothing happens. Worst case, you do something entirely stupid, he drops you like a hot potato, you lose your job, your husband or boyfriend kicks you out.

What happens on your personal level is what you have to sort out first. If you want to break up your existing relationship, do it. If you don't want to break it up, what the hell are you doing? Take a photo of your boyfriend and carry it with you all the time. Call him during your lunch break. Take a cold shower before you go to work. Do what you can to improve your existing relationship.

The work problem will go away on its own once your personal problem is sorted out.

  • Can't she just kick her boyfriend out?
    – Jonast92
    Nov 9, 2016 at 14:44
  • "Kicks you out" of the relationship. End result is the same, no boss, no job, no boyfriend. "No job" makes it hard to pay the rent.
    – gnasher729
    Nov 9, 2016 at 16:04

Friendzone him.

I've been in the same situation before. Nowadays I simply "friendzone" the person. I.e. make it clear (primarily) to myself that they are not available and put them firmly in the (perhaps even flirty) "friend" category. You just need to "know" that nothing is ever going to happen beyond that and then can enjoy most of the company on a friendly level. Nothing wrong with a few friendly vibes among professionals, as long as you stay exactly that - professional. It should not affect your work, aside from making your work more fun - which is likely harder for him than you as he seems above yourself in hierarchy.

Obviously this is mainly a mental thing and may not be suitable for everyone.


Please get help/advice with your feelings of guardedness that you mention above. AND please also work it out with your BF/husband.

Meanwhile, express yourself by being an ever-better employee. In other words be a super-good person to him and don't say why.


Talk about it with your boss and/or HR.

The job of your manager is to remove blockers that inhibit their team from producing value for the company. At the moment, your emotional state is impairing your ability to do your work, and that means that it is literally your manager’s job to help you fix it. The first step to doing so would be to discuss it with him, though, since he can’t fix problems he doesn’t know about.

If that doesn’t work, consider talking to HR. HR is not your friend; their job is to protect the company from liability. In this particular case, HR’s job is to protect the company from a potential sexual harassment lawsuit, and they might be willing to help you transfer to a different team or position in the company- or they might just set everything up for your boss to fire you to protect himself.

  • HR could also simply make a request up the chain to have this person fired, without the manager having any say. I don't think going to the manager either is wise. Maybe asking for a sideways transfer is the best option. Jun 18, 2020 at 3:31
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    HR, in this case is to protect the company and the manager. HR can't "solve" this in a proper relational way (they're not hired to do personal counselling). They can solve it by firing the staff.
    – Nelson
    Jun 18, 2020 at 4:42
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    Do not do either of these: the first would place your manager in an extremely awkward position, likely forcing them to go to HR to protect themselves, and the second would risk your job and your manager's as well. Just transfer internally or find a new job. Jun 18, 2020 at 13:16

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