Should This Woman Have Quit Her Job After Her Colleague Confessed To A Crush?

There are so many posts on Reddit’s Am I The A$$hole that are cut-and-dried, in my opinion, and I never even consider seeing the other person’s point of view…and then there are cases like this one, that genuinely make me fear for the poster’s safety.

In this case, a woman who is involved in some seriously fancy research finds out that her research partner – who she gets along with well and who is integral to her project – has a crush on her.

I (32/f) live with my partner (44/m) and work in research. My primary colleague (30/m) and I have worked together for ~2 years on a major project involving significant intellectual and labor contributions from us both. The project is expected to span at least another ~2 years, and is vital to both of our careers.

Not long ago, my colleague confessed to me that he is, and has been, infatuated or in love with me for pretty much the duration. It took place via a long email that was written after an evening of drinking. This was totally unexpected – in retrospect there may have been some signs, but nothing that wouldn’t just as easily be accounted for by a considerate personality.

Like any married person who has a healthy perspective and respect for their spouse, she consults her husband for advice on how best to word her response so that the apple cart at work stays on an even keel.

When her husband immediately suggests she quit, her reaction is no way, no how (for obvious reasons).

Shortly after this confession, I came to my husband with the issue. I wanted to get his advice about the situation, and showed him the drafts which I’d composed to organize my thoughts on the matter – they stated unequivocally that I’m not interested in a romantic relationship, and hope these feelings won’t complicate our work together. I was again surprised at my husband’s reaction – he seemed offended, to think I must have invited my colleague’s affections, and that I should immediately quit my job. As in, put in notice tomorrow. I was so taken aback my immediate reaction was to laugh / snort at this suggestion, which was probably a mistake.

That would be utterly disastrous for my career, and isn’t an option I’m willing to consider. I’d greatly prefer the entire scenario had never happened, as a difficult and lengthy project hangs in the balance, but I have no real concern at this point about my colleague forcing the issue or letting it compromise our work. It seemed like an intoxicated “getting my feelings off my chest”. I’ll need to put a lot of thought and caution into how I proceed with the work dynamic, but abandoning our project isn’t even on the table.

At first, her husband just refuses to talk to her but after a week, he changes the locks, packs up her things, and leaves them on the porch.


About a week has passed. My husband has been alternating between irate and the silent treatment, and suggested several times that I should move out of the house to be with my new spouse. Today I swung by the house on my lunch break and found the locks changed and my luggage on the patio. I have been blocked on his work number and cell.

Obviously he cannot possibly intend for me to really move out, and is just pulling (what I absolutely believe to be an a**holish) power sulk – but seeing how seriously he’s taking this has my doubts up. Maybe I was ultimately too uncompromising when I refused to even entertain quitting my job for the sake of conversation and his feelings, and to shut the idea down so abruptly. AITA?

She offers a few edits about staying with family for the time being and how she got back into the house for her things, and thank goodness she’s safe and seems to be coming around.

UPDATE: Hubby called me. Long story short he’s been extremely anxious each day when I leave for work, and buckled from that pressure today. I’m “welcome back” home once I’ve quit my job, which is obviously still unacceptable. I am considering taking a week of accrued paid leave, which will hopefully result in an adult conversation with husband (as well as coming to a decision about how to best handle colleague). That failing, I’m hearing the word “lawyer” loud and clear throughout these comments! I’m grateful for all of the support and perspective.

UPDATE 2: I ended up calling my sister (38/f) – something I avoided initially because I didn’t want to “stir the pot” by involving family members who are already disliked by husband. I’m currently with her and cousin (35/m), who are both supportive. Our plan is to call a locksmith tomorrow (to regain access to the property – husband can ruminate with friends or at a hotel for the present), for cousin to collect some important things of mine from the house, and for me to stay with my sister for a few days while I take a hard look at my situation and options. I’m not set on divorce at this point, but I definitely need to re-assert some very basic boundaries before exploring further discussion with husband. Thank you, strangers on Reddit, for helping me emerge from the emotional haze with some clarity.

What advice let to this change of heart (and head)? Let’s check it out!

These two aren’t even playing on the same field when it comes to emotional maturity.

Image Credit: Reddit

People who have been there recognize a controlling relationship for what it is.

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The red flags are waving.

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Therapy would be a start, but it probably will never happen.

Image Credit: Reddit

And yes, your family often knows best.

Image Credit: Reddit

This is textbook controlling and emotional abuse, and it’s crazy to me that someone so smart in other ways can miss it.

But until it happens to you….

Let’s hope it never does.