'I've developed feelings for my married co-worker, can I tell them?'

·3-min read

Mel Schilling is a relationship expert, confidence coach and TV presenter who is passionate about educating, motivating and inspiring people to be their best. Mel’s advice is backed by her 20 years spent as a psychologist and aims to improve your relationships in life and love.

Question: I've developed feelings for my married co-worker - is it ok to tell them and should I feel bad about it?

I’m going to do something here I rarely do when it comes to relationship advice - I’m going to be black and white.

If you’ve followed me for a while, watched my shows, seen me speak on stage or read my book, you’d know that I generally try to consider all sides of a situation and offer a balanced view. But some things are fundamental when it comes to interpersonal relationships, and one of those things is respect.

Mel Schilling.
Relationship coach Mel Schilling offers her expert advice about what to do when you’ve developed feelings for your married co-worker. Photo: Channel Nine

I really feel for you in this situation, it’s difficult. You must be so conflicted about how you feel, what you want and what you ‘should’ do. I get it.

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My advice for you comes from a place of helping you be the best possible version of yourself. Having respect is one of the cornerstones of living a flourishing life, so I’d like to help you see your current situation through the lens of respect. OK?

(I don’t know your gender nor the gender of the other players in your situation so I’m going to make some assumptions)

1. Respect for yourself - The fact that you are developing feelings for someone who is essentially unavailable makes me wonder about your self-esteem. Do you believe you deserve to be loved? Do you think you deserve to be with someone who is available? What message are you sending yourself by developing feelings for someone who can probably not return those feelings? Why do you think you are choosing to focus your attention on someone who is not available to you? Could you be self-sabotaging your love life?

2. Respect for him - If he is married then don’t you owe it to him to honour that commitment? Regardless of the state of his marriage, if he chooses to wear his ring, he is identifying as a married man.

3. Respect for his wife - Try a little empathy here - how would you feel if you were in her shoes, knowing that your husband’s colleague was developing feelings for him? Maybe you’ll reflect on The Sisterhood here. Consider the idea of Dating Karma and think about how it would feel if this came around to bite you in the future.

Co-workers.
'Consider the idea of Dating Karma and think about how it would feel if this came around to bite you in the future.' Photo: Getty

I hope this helps you see your situation from some different perspectives. Obviously, there is no ‘right way’ to deal with any situation but by following some fundamental principles, like respect, you can be guided toward an approach that you can feel comfortable with and even proud of.

Mel's topline advice:

  • Look at your situation through the lens of respect

  • Ask yourself if you are respecting yourself or self-sabotaging

  • Consider the impact on him

  • Consider the impact on his wife

  • Make a decision that will move you closer to being the best version of yourself

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