Not The Bunny Slope
In January my application for an internship at a multinational was accepted, and I started as a trainee. The first week went smoothly. The next week everything changed. How? I fell for my manager. He’s single.
Fast forward two months. My feelings for him are growing, though I tell myself I only like him because he’s out of my league. But a few days into my third month he started to change.
He would come to my office and ask if I was doing okay. If something happened at the printer, he would come help me. He even traveled to another city on the weekend to bring me books he thought would be helpful for my master’s degree.
On my supposed last day, my supervisor told me the manager wanted me to stay longer to replace an employee on medical leave. I accepted. The days went by smoothly until the employees there started to find reasons for me to leave. They called the woman on leave and asked her to come back or else “a trainee will take your position.”
When she came back, that was the end. Two weeks after I left I wrote him a thank-you. He asked me to come back for another replacement job. I couldn’t say no. But when I went back, my old supervisor would not sign papers to come back to the same department. I ended up in reception.
I was angry and left after a month. During that month my manager never failed to visit me in reception, sometimes for the silliest reasons. He changed his lunch break to match mine. On my last day he asked his assistant to convince me to stay longer. I said no.
When I went to say bye to him, he smiled sadly and told me I was a great person. My friends there say he is probably scared of my reaction since I wasn’t open about my feelings and he is older. He’s 40, I’m 23.
I never cried when I broke up with ex-boyfriends, but I cried when I left. Leaving him felt like being stabbed in my heart. It’s been two weeks. Thinking about him consumes my mind and all my energy.
Colette, youth and maturity can be in love with each other. Each has something the other lacks. But is this a door you want to open?
His reluctance bodes well for him. He could fear misusing his authority, derailing his career, or being rebuffed by a younger woman. Or it could simply be the out-of-the-question difference in age.
Your times in college are a generation apart. How important are those differences in taste, outlook and experience? Would you be comfortable introducing him to your family or friends? Do you care about disapproving looks and being mistaken for his daughter?
Then there are your plans for a family. Do you want children? Does he have any? Would he start a new family? Those are things to think about.
It’s not clear what his role in your life will be: friend, mentor or more. If you can’t move on, drop him a note. Let him know you are receptive to a low-stakes meeting in the future: lunch, dinner, a professional conference.
Be prepared for every possible answer. He may be flirting with something he can’t handle. Or he may not respond at all.
You don’t need to open this door, but you can. Skiing off trail into fresh powder is exhilarating. There’s a pristine beauty to it. But don’t trigger an avalanche. Don’t let him knock you off your path.
~ Wayne & Tamara
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