It's a long story so I will try to keep it short and precise. I've been in love with my married best friend for about 3 years now, and I'm finding it really hard to fall out of love with him because he is also my manager at work. Neither of us can change job because we work in a very niche field and currently work at the best company for this field in the world (or at least in the UK). Although I'm fairly certain he would have feelings for me if he weren't married, I'm certainly not interested in ruining his happy marriage. The reason I am so attached to him is because I rely on him stupendously with my mental health issues, and I have never found a friend who is so receptive to it (believe me I've tried and am still trying). So my question is, how do I fall out of love with him without leaving my job or losing a best friend? I've tried everything but it all hurts.
Firstly, sorry for your pain. This is indeed not an easy situation to be in and the complexity is aggravated when you say that both of you cannot move away. I have two things I want to say to you right at the start. Firstly, you've got to be willing to do something scary and new at this point. If you continue practising the same old behaviors with him, you will keep getting the same results of not being able to get away from him. Secondly, most women tend to stay in such disempowered situations and accept being the "other woman" because we feel like we have no choices. Hence, I want to lovingly remind you that you always have a choice, no matter what and you don´t have to continue being in this painful space with this man.
Below is my 5 step "diva plan" for you.
1) If your goal is to truly heal from this affair, then moving away, even if it means re-location with the same company in some other part of the world, should be a possibility that I´d like you to entertain.
You don´t have to do it but it is a possibility. Yes, it will be cumbersome but if it empowers you and helps you move on with your life, it should be considered.
2) It is important that this man stops being the primary source of your emotional support, so that you can gradually break away from the intensity of this relationship.
If you´re struggling with mental health issues, I recommend finding a professional therapist or coach to help you during these challenging times and stop turning to this man for this kind of intimate emotional support. Your workplace may even be able to provide you with this support if you speak to your HR department, and a trained professional will be able to give you some solid tools and skills to navigate this. Here´s why this is important - continuing to have him as your only emotional aid will not only hurt his marriage (which we know you don´t want to do) but it will also make it hard for you to heal because the connection will stay alive. At this point, you want to be able to train yourself to slowly let go of him, in baby steps, as a professional takes his place.
3) Cut off any social life with him.
At the start this may feel extreme, but if it triggers your anxiety and activates chemistry, avoid spending any time with him, outside of work. The less you see him, the healthier, for both of you.
4) Ask him to cooperate with you.
If he´s a true friend, he would want to see you be happy and succeed with your life. I encourage you to let him know that you´d like to put an end to this and you need his help in doing this. He should cooperate if he cares, both for you and his own marriage.
5) Reconnect with your worth
You don´t deserve to play second fiddle. You deserve to be the queen of a man´s heart. You may want to do some reflection on why you´ve been settling for a married man and why you don´t believe you can have something much better - an amazing man just for you, to love and to commit to. The truth is that there´s plenty of fish in the sea, if you can step out of your fears and look at the world of romance and men with fresh eyes
If you need help or advice, you can ask Yin & Yang. It's quick, easy, free and you don't have to leave your real name.