Dear Dr. Romance:

I ran across the post from the man who was being "patient" with the wounded woman who kept projecting her thought and blowing him off. I thought it was so close to my situation, it blew me away.

I am a drug and alcohol counselor and found myself attracted to a coworker.  At first it was her idea to date saying "if I wasn't going out with so and so, I'd date you. You're a nice guy." She said this in front of several coworkers. Within two weeks, so and so had dumped her and after waiting a week or so, I asked her to a movie. At first she said yes, but later backed out because we work together and she has dated coworkers in the past and had to quit her job afterwards.

I backed off and the following week just asked for a coffee date. At first she said yes but to check back on wed. She of course again backed out. I really like this this woman and love the delicious conversations we have about everything from kids to psychology. She's very intelligent and can keep up with me on any subject. She always seeks me out for advice, insists we eat lunch together at the same time in the break room and always sits next to me at staffings. 

I've asked her to coffee a total of 5 times (once she even gave me her home number to call her to ask her out), but always backs out. She usually uses working together or "focusing on her art career" as an excuse. She does this on the side for extra money and is actually very good. 

She is the same age as me, been in recovery from alcohol addiction over twenty years, been married several times and had countless failed relationships with men. The over-all theme of them seem to be, men disappear, blow her off, use her and dump her, etc. So much for seeing her potential huh?

I began to notice that when I did ask her out, she would actually panic, I could see it in her eyes. This seems to me to just be old Adult Children of Alcoholics stuff. These women tend to go for men who are unwilling or who are unable to give them love.

When a man shows up that could actually love them and there might be a happy ending, they sabotage it. So they are alone and bitter.  It's tough because we work together and I see her everyday. I make myself available for her to talk as long as I'm not busy. I am trying to move in my mind though. I know relationships should be fun, joyful and have two willing partners who are emotionally available.  It's a shame. This woman is awesome. Unfortunately, she doesn't think she's all that awesome apparently.

Dear Reader:

I'm glad you found my post helpful. You may be right that there is too much intimacy in your relationship already, and it frightens this woman. However, she does have a point about dating coworkers. It's a common dilemma: work is the easiest place to meet and get to know people, because the "dating desperation" is not present, and you're in proximity for extended periods of time, so it's easy to get to know someone before you ask them out. However, there's the ever-present problem that if the dating does not go well, your job environment can be ruined.

These days, there are also considerations of sexual harassment and hostile work environments to consider. If it goes badly, one or both of you could indeed have to leave your job.

However, she sounds like she's teetering. She's giving you mixed messages because her feelings are mixed. Inside she's probably going "I'd like to know him better. Oh, I shouldn't -- it could be a disaster." She might come around in time, if you keep the friendship going, and don't make any more moves toward asking her out. But, it's a gamble.

My advice is to keep looking for someone away from work. There are a couple of articles on my website that will help you.  "Make New Friends, Keep Good Friends"  will show you how to find love interest outside of work "Where is Love?" will give you insight into intimacy.   Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences will  help you develop a more mutual relationship,  and teach you how to find a suitable partner and develop the relationship beyond dating. 

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Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.