I Slept With my Boss and Now He's Acting Weird

Last Updated Feb 20, 2009 1:05 PM EST

Dear Stanley,
I always knew my boss had a thing for me. Recently we met for drinks, and he kissed me and touched my tush. That night ended with us sleeping together, and we both enjoyed it. The next day at work he was cold to me but the day after, he looked at me with lust on his way to the airport for an overseas trip. Since he's been away he hasn't called and won't respond to my emails. Help!
Regretful in Boise


Dear Boise,

I'm dumbfounded. You so rarely hear tales of lust and abandon at the workplace anymore. It makes me nostalgic for the '80s. On the other hand, either one or both of you is quite stupid, no offense. Probably him, which is why he blows hot and cold, so to speak. On the one hand, he's on fire for your illicit touch -- and make no mistake, it's way illicit. He's your boss. It's statutory. He's not supposed to be anywhere near your tush. Still, forbidden fruit is often the sweetest. So he's on fire. At the same time, he lives in this time and space and knows very well that you are a walking litigation time bomb. It's classic sexual harassment, whoever initiated it. All that needs to happen is for you to hurl an allegation at him. 90 percent of the time, that will be enough to derail a perfectly good business career, particularly in a firm with stringent standards in that regard. So on the one hand, he's brave and hot and drunk. And on the other, he's a scared and sober puppy. This explains his menopausal mood swings, and his weirdness while away from you overseas. What's he going to do? Even he doesn't know.

On the other hand, you're not exactly doing a Stephen Hawking impression yourself. Are you looking for a long-lasting relationship? Love? Or just periodic romps in at the Ritz (or the Motel 6, depending)? If it's love you're after, you may want to follow your heart and profess your feelings. You don't mention if he's married, by the way. That may influence things a bit. If you do push him toward a greater commitment, however, know that your job will never be the same again. Either it will plunge you into a serious, torrid affair that will most probably end in tragic disaster for everybody, or it will just make things incredibly strained for the rest of your time at that particular workplace.

I would therefore advise against any bold, dramatic or highly emotional actions. If you like him well enough, and want both of you to prosper in spite of your obviously hormonal issues, play it cool. Be cordial and businesslike. Push no agendas. Be discreet, even when he is not. Be his friend as long as he continues to be yours. And if the occasional moment of delicious indiscretion now and then occurs? Ah, well. Such is life, even at the workplace. If, on the other hand, he starts acting truly bizarre and threatening to shut you out because of his (understandable) paranoia, sit him down, tell him that what's done is done but will never happen again, and will never be mentioned again, either. That door is closed. It's over. Goodbye to all that. But be forewarned: A direct conversation may once again awaken the sleeping beast inside his bosom -- and yours as well.