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Wedding Woes

I think you should let this crush be just that.

Dear Prudence,
I’m a 28-year-old woman in a committed, long-term relationship, which is also an open relationship. I cohabit with my partner, and we’re very happy. We opened things up about a year ago, and it’s been working really well. Recently, I worked with a man on a project, and I was very attracted to him, and I believe it might have been mutual. Now that the project is finished, I’d like to ask him out. The thing is that he knows I live with my partner but doesn’t know it’s an open relationship. Ideally, I would like to tell him this to be very clear about what I’m offering, and I would totally respect if he wasn’t into that—I’d love to keep him as a friend even if nothing further ever happened between us.

I don’t really know how to phrase this information or when to tell him. It’s the first time since my partner and I opened the relationship that I’ve wanted to pursue someone in this particular way. I also think, but can’t be sure, that the man I’m attracted to only recently found out I had a partner, and I’m now also worried that he’ll think I deceived him in some way or will interpret our flirtations to mean that I’m in the habit of cheating. I was on the lookout for an organic moment to slip into the conversation that I’m in an open relationship, but one never arose, as it’s not something I’m in the habit of blurting out, and I don’t let it become common knowledge, as it’s tiring to explain over and over. I think I just need a script for this and probably to tell him before or at the same time as asking him out. It’s scary, though. I have literally no idea how he’ll react.
—Would-Be Ethical Slut

Re: I think you should let this crush be just that.

  • banana468 said:
    I think opening things up to anyone with whom you have a professional relationship can be the recipe for disaster. 

    Leave it alone.
    Yeah, I think LW would just be borrowing trouble with the many layers of complication this situation could bring to the table. 
    VarunaTT
  • I'm going under the assumption they are unlikely to be working together in the future.

    I want more details!  I was assuming this was a very platonic, work relationship with only the very lightest of flirting.  Perhaps not even going past just non-work related friendly banter.  But it sounds like the flirting was substantial enough that now she is worried he thinks she is in the habit of cheating.

    Since she would like to keep him as a friend anyway, I think she should work on that first.  She might find even being friends with him turns out to be a no-go.  At least that has been my experience with co-workers I was close to, even friends with outside of work, once we were no longer working at the same place.  I think the majority of the time those friendships just naturally fizzle out, over time.

    But, if the friendship works out.  It will naturally become more of a friendship because they are friends as opposed to a friendship because they were working together.  And then, before it gets too entrenched in the "friend" zone, she will probably know him better and can reevaluate if she should approach him about her romantic interest.  There would also be a lot more opportunity for him to find out organically that she is in an open relationship, once they are friends who don't work together. 

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    charlotte989875OurWildKingdom
  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
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    So I’m with S+S on this one.  I read it as “project over” = work over but it’s very vague because she has means to talk to him still, obviously.  I don’t really have advise for LW. She may have lost her chance?

    charlotte989875
  • banana468 said:
    I think opening things up to anyone with whom you have a professional relationship can be the recipe for disaster. 

    Leave it alone.
    I totally agree. The project they were working on may be over, but you can never be 100% sure who you're going to see/work with again. I think this is a situation where it's best to keep work life and personal life separate.
    image
    OurWildKingdom
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
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    banana468 said:
    I think opening things up to anyone with whom you have a professional relationship can be the recipe for disaster. 

    Leave it alone.
    Agreed. I had a workplace FWB in my 20s. It got really awkward afterwards.

    Also, as someone who has been in an open relationship previously, I can safely say that it’s unwise to be out about that aspect of your life in a professional setting. A lot of people tend to equate open relationships with cheating and will jump to unwanted conclusions about LW.
    short+sassy
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