Dating Advice: What to Do when You Hook Up with Your Coworker, but He Has a Girlfriend

by Gena Kaufman

Getty ImagesGetty ImagesToday, I'm chatting with a reader in a situation that sounds soundly familiar to me. Help me discuss it with her.

She writes...

I'm a college student with two jobs. At one of them, we recently hired a new guy. At first, I just thought of him as a nice guy and for a while it was strictly professional, as it should be. One day we were texting and I told him how I was going to get a tattoo for my birthday, and he said it was sexy. I smiled when he said that but didn't reply because it was a little uncomfortable--he has a live-in girlfriend!

The next day he told me he had a dream that we had sex all over the office. I was shocked and I didn't know what to say. Then my stupid self replied with "I've always wanted to have spontaneous sex at the office." And from there, we were flirting. Everyday. Then we slept together, and next thing I knew, we were co-workers with benefits. Last week, while in bed, I thought to myself how much of a bad person I am and how I can't do this anymore. I started ignoring him and yesterday he came to my office and asked if we could talk. I was shaking and could feel my heart pound through my chest. He told me he was starting to have feelings for me. I was speechless. He told me to call him when I had something to say.

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HELP! I honestly don't know what to say and don't even know how I feel. I like the idea of him, but I can't picture him being long-term and I don't have any of those types of feelings for him. I know I have to talk to him soon, I just don't know where to start. I know this is my fault and I cannot believe that I put myself into this position.

This question stuck out to me because I've been in practically this exact same situation. Except, that for me, I was the girlfriend, and it completely broke my heart. So, you can imagine that it's fairly hard for me to stay neutral about this scenario, but I will try my best.

To be clear, this guy is the one cheating on his girlfriend, not you. He's definitely in the wrong. But while some people might think you aren't technically doing anything wrong, I tend to disagree and I think from your sense of guilt that you do too. You know he has a girlfriend and you know that what you're both doing will likely hurt this woman. Maybe you don't owe her anything in a relationship sense, but it's always good to try NOT to deliberately cause pain to other human beings. I think you get that and it's why you want to fix things.

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What I think you need to do is simple. One, stop sleeping with him, which you already have. This is the right choice, in my opinion. I understand that people do sometimes fall for each other in less-than-perfect situations, like while in relationships with other people, but that's not the case here. You don't even have feelings for him, so you're getting yourself tangled up in a potential disaster for no good reason. There are plenty of guys you could flirt and have fun with that aren't your not-single coworkers. Two, tell him it's over. You work together, so you can't just drop out of his life altogether, but you can make it clear that the past is in the past. Tell him that you had fun with him, but that you aren't interested in a relationship with him, nor do you feel comfortable hooking up with him any more. Three, remove yourself from the situation as much as possible. Again, you work with him, so you're bound to see him. But don't text him, don't hang out when you're not at work, and keep things strictly professional and platonic. If you truly cut things off, you can both move on.

What do you think our reader should do? Would you advise something totally different than I did? I know this scenario will upset some of you commenters, but play fair, OK?

Send your own dilemmas to smittenbloggers@gmail.com!

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