Wise Counsel from Susan Quilliam: Shall I sleep with my colleague?
I’ve just come back from a conference where I hung out with four female colleagues from another branch whom I’d never met before. We all got on well, but the last evening when the others had gone to bed, one particular woman and I stayed behind and chatted – with benefit of alcohol but not too much. We so enjoyed each other’s company, and had so much in common – but it was more than that.
So when we were saying goodnight and she kissed me full on the mouth, I didn’t pull away; we snogged for a few minutes and then went our separate ways. I’m single but I’m not gay, so now I’m quite confused about what she wants from me. We’ll see each other again in a few weeks for a meeting, so how do I handle it?
The most important thing here is not to think about what this colleague wants from you but what you want from her. You say you’re not lesbian – but you didn’t pull away from her kiss and you clearly felt close to her. So given that everyone falls on a spectrum between straight and gay, is it possible that you’re attracted to this woman even if in other circumstances you wouldn’t identify yourself as gay?
If you’re certain that you don’t want a physical relationship , your way forward is clear – as it would be with anyone, man or woman, with whom you had the same ambiguous situation. That is, make sure you give out clear but kind signals that you really don’t want to carry on where you left off last time. So keep your interactions light and general, avoid physical contact, make sure you’re always in company, head off up to your room on your own. If despite all this she does make a move, be gentle in telling her no.
But if in the end you want to make a connection with this woman – and if you’re sure this would be acceptable to whichever company you work for – then your way forward is equally easy. Suggest that the two of you go for a coffee or a drink alone after the meeting, spend more time with her and see how you get on second time round. In fairness to her, I do think you should explain that you’ve always thought of yourself as straight, so that she knows that you’re feeling a bit confused and unsure – talk it over and see what follows. In all cases, only do what feels right to you!
Susan Quilliam also offers email, phone and face-to-face coaching on relationship and sexuality issues. Contact her here