a Valentine’s Day round-up

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, here’s a round-up of some past posts that involved romantic relationships — some good, some bad, and some really weird.

My dad is dating my boss, and they want me to go to couples therapy with them (and the first and second updates)

I ghosted my ex, and she’s about to be my new boss (and the update)

My coworker wants to send flowers to all the women for Valentine’s Day

My husband’s boss/our friend is sleeping with their married department head

How can I convince my husband I can’t accept a job offer on his behalf?

My office wants us to bring single friends to a Valentine’s Day singles mixer

A possible coworker turned out to be my date’s wife

If you’re thinking of asking a coworker on a date…

{ 94 comments… read them below }

  1. The Original K.*

    Those first two were doozies! The ghosting I’ve went viral but I think the one whose abusive boss was married to her father is the worst.

      1. Bruno Barbosa*

        Same, someone posted it on twitter and I got hooked on the site. And advice columns in general.

  2. Squirrel!*

    “How can I convince my husband I can’t accept a job offer on his behalf?”

    Oh goodness, I forgot about this one! I’d love to know if there was ever an update.

    1. theelephantintheroom*

      Same! My husband and I work at the same company and it takes A LOT of effort to make sure we’re keeping the appropriate work boundaries. I’d feel gross just RSVPing to drinks after work on behalf of both of us, never mind ACCEPTING A JOB OFFER.

    2. Slow Gin Lizz*

      I think I missed this letter, since I wasn’t an AAM reader at the time. I would also love an update on it.

      1. EvilQueenRegina*

        I had also missed that one since I only discovered this site in 2013 – but I do read a lot of the archives so wondered how I missed it.

        I remember all those others very well though. That guy who was trying to claim that it was a UK thing to give flowers to all the women on Valentine’s Day, and lots of us Brits commenting saying “No, it’s not!”

    3. Mama Bear*

      His response to her holding the line makes me think that 1. the company dodged a bullet and 2. there are huge issues with him. He hasn’t worked consistently for 8 years and then he won’t accept a job and turns it around as her problem? I hope she ran from that marriage.

      1. TypityTypeType*

        I think the commenter toward the top who suspected he just didn’t want to work at all was on target. I also wonder if they’re still together.

      2. Hills to Die on*

        She didn’t need professional advice – she needed a free initial consult with a divorce attorney. OP, if you are still around, please give us an update!

    4. Constance Lloyd*

      The husband in this letter reminded my of Toxic Coworker at Old Job! She started dating someone in another department (allowed per company policy) and within a month marched him into his boss’s office to demand his salary be doubled. This was his first job ever, he had only been there a few months, and he was in a PIP at the time of this conversation. It… did not go well. They both eventually quit without notice and tried to pay coworkers to pretend to be their manager for references.

  3. AyBeeCee*

    I was kind of expecting the “If you’re thinking of asking a coworker on a date…” to just lead to a 120 point font “DON’T” even though I know that’s not at all Allison’s style.

    1. KHB*

      Eh, a lot of people meet their significant others at work, and probably always will, despite all the potential pitfalls. So it’s useful, I think, to have some guidelines about how to navigate those pitfalls responsibly.

      To which I’ll add: Be really, really clear about what you’re asking – is this a casual “getting to know each other as friends/colleagues” thing, or is it a capital-d Date? The target of your affections needs to know what they’re signing up for, so that if they’re not in fact interested in dating you, they have a clear opportunity to say “no.”

      1. Abogado Avocado*

        I met my husband at our then-mutual employer in the 80’s. He was in a different department and did not supervise me, although he did work on the same floor, so it was a matter of being professional at the office, even on those occasions when we disagreed about something at home. We no longer work in the same place — and haven’t since we married 30 years ago.

        As a lawyer, I agree: there are risks to dating at the office, particularly if you are supervising your date or vice versa (which is why many offices have disclosure policies). As a human being, I would say that we all spend so much time at work that it is natural that we would meet people we want to date there. The harder part is making sure that common sense doesn’t fly out the window when love comes in at the eyes.

        1. New Job So Much Better*

          Also married to a former coworker for 30 years! We then worked together for 27, but went to different jobs after our bank merged.

        2. Not Australian*

          Your first paragraph is so close to my own experience that I really had to check the date and the name to make sure I hadn’t written it – but I’m not a lawyer!

          In fact I had to enforce a few boundaries, because he thought it was terribly romantic to be in love with someone who worked in the same place. After a few months first he left – for another opportunity – and shortly afterwards I also ended up leaving with a health problem, so we only worked together for a brief period; however it did at least make it clear that we could spend a considerable amount of time together without rancour and made an effective problem-solving team, which gave us a good basis for the rest of our lives.

          1. Gemma*

            My experience was similar! My current partner and I worked together for over a year and slowly developed feelings during that time – by the time we had that conversation it was pretty clear we both wanted to pursue a relationship. We worked in the same team and at desks next to each other. Our workplace was amazing though – we were upfront with our boss as soon as we decided to pursue something, and even though it was a complicated situation (my partner left her husband) everyone was super supportive. Given that we kind of blew boss’s mind, we were pretty reassured that we’d been dealing with it appropriately and not letting it impact our work.

            We ended up continuing to work together professionally for a few months while finishing up a major piece of work, and then I got tapped to go to a different area of our department. Being able to demonstrate that we were professionals who could work together positively was really important to us, so I am glad that we managed to do that! Wouldn’t have been practical or sensible in the long run, but I’m grateful it didn’t turn into a ‘one of you needs to be moved this instant’ situation.

      2. Alton*

        Yeah, there are plenty of situations where it works out, but it really depends on the context and the field, and I think it’s a good practice to only do it if you’re really interested in the person and it feels right. What you don’t want to do is treat your office like Tinder.

        1. Tau*

          Another aspect to this is that, well… so I’m a female(-ish) software developer. The gender balance is dire; I’m the only woman on my team of 20-ish people, the only woman in my role in the company at all, etc. Although so far everyone’s been great, I’m fairly sensitive to the possibility of sexism and discrimination. I do not want my coworkers asking me out on dates because if they do, that’s a sign they’ve been looking at me through the lens of “Tau: possible romantic interest” and that’s a serious problem. I can see this potentially being different in more balanced fields, but in mine I’d have to say “just… don’t.”

      3. Vicky Austin*

        My parents met at work. They both worked for our state house. However, my mother worked for the Speaker of the House and my father worked for the Attorney General; so they weren’t in the same office, neither was the other’s supervisor, and it was very rare for them to work together.

      4. Allison*

        I’m not against coworkers dating by any means, I guess my advice is usually to not ask out a coworker unless you’re super close, really into them, and have been picking up on vibes that they’re into you as well. As opposed to just asking out that person you’ve spoken to a couple times because they’re attractive, seem nice, and is usually warm and polite with you when you say hi to them.

      5. Falling Diphthong*

        Schrodinger’s date: Where you can’t get rejected, because you’re never clear whether or not what’s happening is a date.

    1. Stormfeather*

      That was either an awesome or a really bad typo on a Valentine’s Day related post. XD

      (Or both. Probably both.)

        1. KoiFeeder*

          Catch me rollin’ out of Target with a cart filled with kitkats and Valentines Godzilla (he roars when you hug him!)

  4. anonymous 5*

    OMG. The V-Day singles’ mixer idea. The comments on the original thread. The amazing transformation of lemony WTFery into a glorious, refreshing, tall glass of hilarious lemonade. I don’t remember whether I read the original, but it just made my day (and I needed it today/this week). Thank you for this roundup!! :D

    1. Extroverted Bean Counter*

      I just spent my lunch hour reading through the comments of that one – seriously quality work on behalf of everyone who signed in that day. ‘Twas a treat.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      I view that as similar to the tech companies with cereal and lunch and stuff, so people don’t have to ever stop working and eat. Someone realized they would eventually want more workers, but they didn’t want anyone to leave work, and hit on this.

      1. Starbuck*

        It’s definitely up there… how often do we get such a satisfying update? I do like all the nice ones where people now have good jobs, but they just don’t hit the same way a good comeuppance does.

        1. Rockin Takin*

          My friend’s boyfriend (who we later found out was actually her husband…long story short he made her lie to everyone and not tell people they were married) left a note and some money on the kitchen counter and then bailed back to his home country. He was my husband’s best friend, and we were all shocked and had no idea the boyfriend was planning this.

          The upset and hurt it caused everyone, especially my friend, was massive. Even now, over a year later, I still get really mad about the whole situation.

          This letter affects me a lot now, after seeing something similar happen in person.

          1. Triumphant Fox*

            Friend of a friend just up and left his wife and six month old son and just will not communicate. The idea of suddenly solo parenting an infant and also trying to track down a ghost of an ex sounds so exhausting I’m drooping in my seat just thinking about it.

          2. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

            Back at school I had a friend whose “progenitor” ran away to his home country when her mother told him she was pregnant… with triplets. The guy never came back or saw them, only sent them money. She hated him so much she wanted to take her mother’s lastname.

      2. krysb*

        That one and the employee quit because her boss wanted her to work through her graduation are my all time favorites.

  5. Slow Gin Lizz*

    We were blessed with two good updates on the first letter but I really want to know: are Jill and Dad still together?? Does Jill still work at the foundation?? OP, I hope you are happy in your program and delivering lots of babies now. Your quitting that job was brave and amazing and I salute you!

  6. Shhhh*

    Oh lord, I had never seen “A possible coworker turned out to be my date’s wife” before. I…what…what did I just read

    LW, wherever you are, I really hope you didn’t take the job and never heard from that couple again

    1. Jennifer*

      I feel like I need a flow chart to understand all that’s going on there. The OP’s first mistake was continuing the correspondence with the wife anyway. But nothing she can do about that now. If she had walked away from the beginning maybe it would have been less awkward had she gotten the job. But unless she was absolutely desperate, I hope she removed herself from consideration for that role.

    2. RivetingRosie*

      Rereading that one, I got the feeling it could’ve been the husband emailing her pretending to be the wife. Anyone else get that vibe?

      1. Jennifer*

        Wow, I didn’t think of that but you’re right. Many of the things the “wife” said just seem odd. A wife that’s so adamant about defending her cheating husband and trying to get him and the mistress back together? Stranger things have happened but very odd.

    3. NotAnotherManager!*

      I had not seen that one before either and O.M.G. I just kept reading and thinking, “Oh, no! Stop! Don’t communicate with either of them anymore!”

    4. LunaLena*

      My first impression was that Mr. and Mrs. Dancer were looking for a third to add to their bedroom activities, but didn’t know how and were therefore going about it in a very clumsy and off-putting way.

  7. Jaybeetee*

    Soooo that lady whose husband wanted her to accept a job offer on his behalf. I’d love an update. Are they even still together? Is he still unemployed?

  8. anonanna*

    OH MY GOSH, THE GHOSTING LETTER. We need an update to the update. Did he ever find another job/social acceptance/the realization that he was really in the wrong with how he treated her??

      1. Anonariffic*

        Seriously, I’m picturing her coming home that day to the empty apartment with no warning and how do you even react to that?? What runs through your mind??

        The only (incredibly distant) comparison I can think of is when you’re watching the beginning of a movie that you haven’t heard of before and you’re trying to figure out the genre is and what’s going on- okay, missing boyfriend, is this a cop drama with a kidnapping plot or a sci-fi alien abduction scenario? If he left on his own, are we talking Lifetime-style abandoning in favor of his secret other family, spontaneously leaving on a spiritual quest to Go Find Himself in the woods, or psychological horror where he’s trying to make her think she’s losing her mind about someone who was never there? Taken by a crazy serial killer? Spy called back to their home country? Vanished into witness protection? Joined a cult? Con artist gone on the run?

        Except it’s not a movie that she randomly pulled off the on demand suggestion list because there’s nothing else on, this was her actual life and it’s horrifying.

        1. Lynn Whitehat*

          My grandfather left my grandmother this way, with four young children. It left scars that last to the present day. It is a messed-up thing to do.

    1. Parenthetically*

      The ONLY reason I want to hear from that guy is if he comes back saying, “I’ve actually been in therapy since my last update and I have come to see myself and my actions in a completely different light, and will no longer offer any minimization or justification for what I did. I realize that I was a pro at shifting responsibility to others for my irresponsibility and unwillingness to deal with consequences for my actions, and I learned the hard way through that situation that blowing up my and other people’s lives whenever something happened that I didn’t like was a terrible way to go through life.”

  9. That Girl from Quinn's House*

    Is that singles’ mixer letter real? Because that was also an episode of The Office (season 5 episode 18, Blood Drive.) Michael is sad about being single on Valentine’s Day and is hoping to find the lady who was next to him in the Bloodmobile just before he passed out, so he hosts a singles’ mixer in the conference room at Dunder Mifflin.

    1. Singles mixer OP*

      Unfortunately, yes, it was real. And I picked the office-themed names because it also reminded me of that episode! I didn’t end up going but the coworkers who did said it was weird and boring. I left that job a couple years ago, but my former coworkers and I still laugh about how misguided and weird that event was.

  10. Elizabeth West*

    I know a lot of people meet their SOs at work, but that way lies madness. It’s happened to me twice; however, I am so unlucky in love I can’t risk sh*tting where I eat ever again. I can’t afford to lose or have to quit a job over a dude no matter how hot he is. It’s hard enough for me to find employment as it is. The only exception I can think of would be if I were actually marrying someone I didn’t work with and moving away.

    1. Elenia*

      I don’t know why this is so easy for me, but I’ve never fallen for anyone at work. I mean I’ve certainly noticed people are hotties, but then they forget to staple the TPS report correctly AGAIN, making more work for me and my team, and then I’m just annoyed so they are not hot anymore.
      My previous boss was really really hot and all it did for me was at least make me feel like if I had to listen to his BS, at least he was easy on the eyes!

    2. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      A member of our contracted team in Canada looks like Ian Bostrige’s lost twin. But his team screws up so much and so often I can’t feel anything but sorry for him. (No pun intended)

  11. Marny*

    I’m so sad there aren’t updates to all of these!! I want to know what happened with the ballroom dancers and the wife with the husband who won’t accept his own job offer!

  12. Pinkie Pie Works Hard*

    Please please please could we get a full update from the Valentine’s Mixer? OP, we’re all waiting for you to report back on that madness!

    1. jiminy_cricket*

      She commented above!

      Singles mixer OP*
      February 14, 2020 at 4:49 pm
      Unfortunately, yes, it was real. And I picked the office-themed names because it also reminded me of that episode! I didn’t end up going but the coworkers who did said it was weird and boring. I left that job a couple years ago, but my former coworkers and I still laugh about how misguided and weird that event was.

  13. Polaris*

    I read the singles mixer link and really wish I could be the queer fly on the wall at that disaster.

  14. Bunny Girl*

    Did anyone see that episode of Better Off Ted where the company tried to match single employee’s based on their genetics so they would make healthier children and save the company health insurance costs? Yeah it kind of read like that single mixer letter.

  15. Quill*

    Going into the second one:

    Don’t ask out the temps or contractors, there’s a power imbalance regardless of your relative positions!

    Source: The one time every unmarried woman between the ages of 25 and 35 got asked out by that one guy eventually.

    1. Filosofickle*

      Most of the time but I wouldn’t say always. (Then again, I wouldn’t say “always” or “never” to much.) When I was 22 I was a temp in the front office and dated a guy in the warehouse for the few months I was there, and a few months after. Even in hindsight, I don’t see a power imbalance in that situation. We were both young and junior. It was fine.

  16. windsofwinter*

    Dude who ABANDONED his live in partner (“ghosted” my arse) is honestly one of the most shocking and memorable letters in AAM history. Maybe even in Internet history.

  17. Goliath Corp.*

    Ooh this was a fun round-up.

    When I was an intern/assistant in my first professional job, I was pursued by someone 10 years older than me who directed a different department. I was very naive and flattered, and thought it would be okay because the company was fairly big and our work didn’t really intersect. But he stopped being interested in me as soon as I slept with him, and going to work every day after that was awful. I’m farther along in my career now and I’m so fucking sick of these cliche old dudes pursuing the interns.

  18. Anon attorney*

    Timely. I’ve got a work crush the size of Arizona just now. I was half thinking about confessing, mostly in the hope it would kill it, but this has reminded me what a no good, very bad idea that is, no matter how damn hot he is (and he is – being kind as well as smart will always get me in the feels). Thanks forkeeping me out of HR, Alison!

    1. Close Bracket*

      I was half thinking about confessing


      Telling the object of your inappropriate feelings never works out well. To anyone else who thinks they just have to tell the person … No. You do not.

  19. Princesa Zelda*

    Not on the list, but I’m still worried about the guy who found out his boyfriend was his boss’s husband. I hope he’s doing well.

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