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To the original poster, I'm sorry that people are taking a disapproving stand and chastising you for this situation. I hope that doesn't stop you from updating us and seeking advice if you need a place to vent as things progress...while people here tend to be very firmly against anything that remotely seems like cheating, they also provide wonderful and supportive advice to anyone who has been let down or disappointed by love. While the advice you've received so far has all said essentially the same thing and sometimes been rather harsh, the reality is that you can't help the way you feel or control what this guy goes. I'm not saying that it's right to have an affair or anything, but I do remember what it was like to be eighteen and have feelings for someone--it's completely out of your control (not that we ever gain much control over who we fall for!), and I don't think it's really fair for people to come down so hard on you over this. It's not your fault that this man doesn't seem to have much interest in remaining faithful to his wife nor your responsibility to ensure that he behaves nobly...that's all on him, and it's too bad that people tend to blame the "other woman" for the advances that a married man makes.

That said, I think you know that it would be a bad choice for you to become involved with this guy on a romantic or sexual level, and I hope you avoid doing so for your sake primarily as well as his wife's (but again, it's not your responsibility to defend her marriage). Please don't be offended or hurt by people making assumptions about you that may not be true--it's just the nature of this topic that tends to get people very heated and accusatory. You're certainly not a bad person for having this crush, and the blame for the flirtation that's happened so far should fall almost entirely on your coworker, as he is the one who is married and old enough to know he has no business starting anything with another, much younger woman. Anyway, I just want you to know that there are people here who understand what you're going through and realize that you can't help the way you feel about him. The world would be a lot simpler and happier if we could all have complete control and free will when it comes to who we develop feelings for, but in reality, that's just not at all possible. I think everyone has some experience wanting someone who it wasn't in anyone's best interest for them to be with, and that's very confusing, frustrating, and painful, especially for someone young without much prior relationship experience. I hope you have people around you who understand that this is difficult and hurtful for you and who will listen and support you sympathetically rather than snapping to judgment about your situation just because he is married and they think all marriages are sacrosanct and that all spouses who flirt with affairs are exactly the same. I think it's kind of patronizing and unfair to assume that he's only after sex and that he doesn't have any feelings for you, but unfortunately, regardless of his intentions and emotions, this is not the right man for you to be attached to emotionally or involved with romantically.

It may be difficult to see this clearly now, while your thoughts are clouded by your feelings for him, but there is no way in which this situation can turn out well...there are just way too many obstacles in your path, from the age difference to his marriage to you being coworkers, that hopefully you see that it just isn't meant to be for now. While you can't help who you fall in love with, you can control whether or not you act on those feelings, and I hope that you choose to keep your distance from this guy. I'm afraid that otherwise, you'll end up hurt or possibly involved in a big sordid mess, and that your preoccupation with a guy who isn't a suitable partner for you will keep you from finding happiness with another man who is in a similar stage of life as you are, both emotionally and logistically available, and just all around a much better match for you. You're way too young to waste some of the most fun times of your life yearning for a man who isn't yours to have and who wouldn't be a good partner anyway when there are so many great young men out there who you'd have a wonderful time getting to know, dating, and perhaps loving.

So please keep your eyes open for someone better and keep your emotional distance from the guy at work--you have the power to prevent this situation from getting messy or overly painful for you and to keep it from getting in the way of you being happy and in love with someone with whom you can sustain a healthy, socially acceptable relationship. I guarantee that you won't regret choosing to be happy and carefree by dating single guys closer to your age and by not falling any harder for or getting any further involved with your coworker than you already have. Anyway, I'm sorry again that you've gotten a lot of critical responses, and I hope you will keep us posted and let us know if we can provide more constructive and positive advice for you in the future. Good luck and take care!

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