Young Associate’s Crush on Married Partner

Over a period of months, I (a married woman and partner in a large firm) have had occasion to spend considerable working time with a young male associate in our firm. He has become what I would consider a good friend. Unfortunately, he has developed a crush on me, and on one occasion, when we were socializing with a client and had had one drink too many, I let him kiss me. Now he is calling me almost every day seeking to get closer. I’d like to keep him as a friend, but I don’t want to jeopardize my marriage.

It is very unlikely that you will be able to comfortably return this relationship to the realm of “friends,” because a line has been crossed, both in terms of the kiss and with regard to your differing levels of position in the firm. Without knowing the specifics (and we would invite you to come in and discuss them), we would lean toward recommending that you firmly advise your associate that there can be no personal relationship, and seek, to whatever extent possible, to have another partner work with him. This relationship would likely not survive even if you were single, since it is based partly on his position of looking up to and relying on you as someone senior to him. Why you have been drawn to him is a question that you may wish to address in a short-term course of therapy.

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