The Georgia Straight
Sleeping with coworkers is a recipe for trouble
few months, I’ve been hooking up a lot with my coworker (I’m a bi woman; he’s a straight man). Things are going well, we really like each other (we’ve even said “I love you” to each other), but there are a couple of problems. First, I’m 23 and he’s 40. The age difference doesn’t really bother me if I don’t think about it too much. Second, I’m not looking for a serious relationship, as I haven’t been single in a while and am kind of going through my “ho phase”, but it seems like he wants to be exclusive.
I’ve tried to break things off or slow things down, but he’s going through horrible shit right now and needs me. I have improved his life, and he has improved my mental state, but he’s also kind of a bad influence and has gotten me back into bad habits. To make matters worse, the new guy at our work seems to be into me and he’s cute and way closer to my age and we get along really well, so I might want to give that a shot. I don’t know whether to end things or even how to end it if I wanted to. Any advice on how to get out gracefully?
- Pretty Horrible At Something Easy
When you say you want to get out of this “gracefully”, what you mean is you want the impossible from me. You want me to tell you how to end this relationship so subtly that the guy you dumped doesn’t even notice or get upset. Sorry, PHASE, but there’s no way to end things with the coworker you’re currently fucking so you can start fucking the coworker you’d rather be fucking without the coworker you’re currently fucking finding out you dumped him so you could start fucking a different coworker.
If it was just your family that objected to the relationship because of the age difference, I would urge you to stay in it. But you want out and the relationship isn’t healthy. (You don’t mention the bad habits he’s gotten you back into, PHASE, but I’m going to assume it’s not double parking and public grooming.) You can’t stay just because he needs you.
P.S. I’m supposed to tell you not to sleep with coworkers—it’s right here in my dogeared copy of the Writing Advice Columns for Dummies—but I’ll set that aside, seeing as that ship has already sailed, struck an iceberg, and sunk to the bottom of the ocean.
THIS ISN’T A question, just an email to say thank you. I’m a lesbian in my mid-30s from an ethnic and religious minority living in London and have had about a decade of being out and exploring my sexuality. It’s been mostly joyous, and apart from a bit of stumbling at the start, I’ve strangely not felt much shame, just deep satisfaction at understanding and enjoying my life openly. However, coming out to my mom has been a difficult and complicated matter.
Listening to your podcast has really helped me internalize being able to stand in my truth and resist allowing her or other people’s weird feelings and shame to become mine. In the last month, I have also experienced for myself the reality of the advice that you give, that our biggest bargaining chip in relation to our parents is our presence.
I hadn’t seen my mom for 18 months due to COVID and told her I’d be coming to my hometown in Sweden to visit along with my long-term partner, whom she’d refused to meet for the past five years, and this time wasn’t any different. I, however, approached it differently and didn’t fight her, just calmly explained that if she wasn’t going to see me with my partner, then that was too bad and her decision to make but, unfortunately, that also meant that she wouldn’t be seeing me at all. And it worked! I couldn’t believe it.
So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all the work that you do.