Get coun­selling if you can’t get past ob­ses­sion

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - el­liead­ DEAR EL­LIE

Q . I think I’m ob­sessed with a co-worker. My job is project work with oth­ers for about a month, then mov­ing onto new projects/peo­ple.

I first worked with this guy a year ago, then on an­other project where the work was com­pli­cated, in­tense and stress­ful.

He was at­trac­tive. His in­tel­li­gence and ca­reer level made him more ap­peal­ing. He’s 32, and I’m 23. To­ward the project’s end I found him some­what pa­tron­iz­ing and hot-tem­pered, so later, I avoided him.

Deep down I wanted an­other project with him to prove to him that I’m good at my job.

When I did get a new project with him, it went well and he was nice to me through­out.

Yet when­ever I met with him my hands would shake.

I re­al­ized I must have a crush on him and be­came re­ally de­pressed for a week when I found out he’s mar­ried and his wife works in a dif­fer­ent depart­ment of the same com­pany.

I started look­ing him up on Face­book, In­sta­gram, and Twit­ter, as well as do­ing Google searches to find out more about him and his life.

I reg­u­larly checked his so­cial me­dia, though he keeps it all pri­vate.

I even stud­ied his ar­rival time to avoid pass­ing him in the cor­ri­dor. If he passed my desk I’d look busy. But I still wanted to work with him again.

Re­cently, he hasn’t been in the of­fice (we travel a lot for work) and I’ve started to think less about him, but I got de­pressed when I saw his wife who’s very preg­nant. I man­aged to brush it off.

I just learned he’s leav­ing the com­pany soon.

I’m dev­as­tated and re­al­ize I re­ally do have an ob­ses­sion.

I know now that it’s fun fan­cy­ing some­one and try­ing to avoid them but se­cretly hop­ing our paths will cross. But soon that won’t hap­pen again.

I’ve crushed on col­leagues be­fore but don’t know why this one af­fected me so much. Will it go away once he’s left? There’s a younger guy at work who I re­ally do fancy but I don’t wake up think­ing about him or feel awk­ward around him.

I seek him out and en­joy­ing talk­ing to him. So why does the 32-year-old make me so ner­vous?

A. Crushes are fairly com­mon and in­no­cent, ob­ses­sions are deeper and can be emo­tion­ally dis­turb­ing, even dan­ger­ous.

You dug into this ob­ses­sion when you as­sumed he thought lit­tle of your work. You de­ter­mined to im­press him. It wasn’t just about him, but about your own self-es­teem.

Mean­while, there’s a guy whom you like with whom you can have a chance for a nor­mal re­la­tion­ship, if he feels the same way (and isn’t mar­ried).

But if you can’t get past your in­tense fo­cus on the man who’s leav­ing, and con­tinue to check his where­abouts and life, get coun­selling help.

FEED­BACK Re­gard­ing the man, 60, who called his 15-year mar­riage “love­less” (June 5):

Reader — “His wife’s dis­in­ter­est in sex doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean she doesn’t love him.

“A large per­cent­age of post-menopausal women suf­fer from vagi­nal dry­ness, caus­ing very painful in­ter­course.

“I’ve tried every­thing (estra­diol, home­o­pathic and herbal so­lu­tions. I’m not a can­di­date for hor­mone ther­apy.)

“Los­ing es­tro­gen is a harsh and un­wel­come process of ag­ing for women.

“My hus­band and I have tried to ac­cept it and come up with al­ter­na­tives.

“Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is very im­por­tant so the male part­ner doesn’t take it per­son­ally and feel re­jected and unloved.

“There are other ways to be in­ti­mate.”

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