'I don't love him, but can't tell him'
"He wants to marry me, but I just want to be friends"
I ONCE read a letter in your column in which you advised a reader not to get involved with a co-worker. How I wish that I had listened to that advice.
A man I work with asked me out for a drink and I accepted.
I was attracted to him and almost immediately thought I was falling in love with him.
I can't explain what happened when we met because I had often seen him in the office and on occasion had even spoken to him.
But when we went for a drink something changed.
He said he had the same feelings for me.
We decided we would pursue our relationship, but keep it private.
As time passed, however, I realised that we had nothing in common and that we would probably be better off just being friends.
The other problem I had was with his family.
They are very wealthy and I come from a family that has never had much money.
My parents have worked hard and given my brother and I a good education.
We are a very close and happy family.
When I met his family I got the impression that they did not approve of me.
They have been very rude to me and it left me feeling uncomfortable and upset.
I don't know if they think I am after his money or something. I decided to tell him that I wanted us to just be friends.
I really did not expect his response. He told me how much he loved me and that he wanted to marry me.
This has now gone from bad to worse because we work together. The answer would be for me to leave the company, but I love my job.
I have found the situation so difficult that I sometimes lie to him and tell him that I care for him.
This is such a mess. What should I do? - Totally confused, Bertrams
DEAR DUDU SAYS:
I certainly don't think you should leave your job, though I can see it presents a special problem to you.
It is no use continuing to lie to him because it is not fair to either of you.
I think you need to have an honest discussion with him about the situation.
Tell him it was never your intention to hurt him but that, as it turns out, the relationship is really not working for you.
He obviously cares for you and will be hurt, but unfortunately there is no easy solution to this predicament.
Don't bring his family into this because if you do it will probably turn ugly, which will not help the situation in the least.
I don't think you need tell him how important it is to keep this out of the workplace and to behave in a professional manner.
If you at any time feel that you cannot cope you should speak to either your line manager or someone in your human resources department.
Have the courage to take control of your life.