I’ve been at this company for a year and worked under the direction of one of the top execs of the company – he’s married. Over the course of a few months, I started to pick up on an attraction from him; long and very intense eye contact, and at other times he cannot make eye contact with me at all. This only ignited a spark in me and suddenly I was paying closer attention. I tried to downplay, tell myself to ignore it all, it is what it is and let it be.
In our few 1-1s there’s been this almost tangible sexual tension ricocheting off of us and it’s hard to string together a cohesive sentence; he’s lost his train of thought, I have had to look down to stay on point to what I was saying…ugh. Uncomfortable and exhilarating all in one. If he walks into a room I am in, he will ignore everyone else but bid me hello. At one of our company-wide meetings, he was in the front of the large room about to give a presentation and whilst everyone was engaged in conversations waiting for his slides to appear, myself glued to my lap top, I happened to look up at him only to find him fixed on me with a curious smile on his lips. He looked away and back, so I looked away and back, we caught each other looking again…it was as good as confirmation to each other. I walked into a room when he was speaking and he stopped and lost his train of thought. Months later, I turned a corner onto a long hallway that leads to his end of the building and he was on the opposite end some 30 feet away. He stopped in his tracks, did a double take and when he realized I caught him looking, he practically walked into the door. Yikes…riveting and yet no good!
While there has never been any overt flirting (he’s a straight-laced noble kind of guy that I think is in turmoil and confusion), it’s an energetic intense unspoken but we both know what this is, kind of dynamic. But he’s been integral to my professional development; a mentor, a confidant, he really understands me and it is like we are cut from the same cloth. Because of his support, the president of the company knows of me well and requested a 1-1 with me. While not entirely, he’s been a big reason why I am on the list for the next generation leaders. And I love it where I work!
It’s only as of late that there feels like a shift in this dynamic; the official knowing I suppose. I recently requested his advice via email on an internal career shift I am contemplating and for the first time, he’s gone “ghost” on me.
I feel like a liability; even though I have never been anything but professional and even at times shy and awkward. I want to take blame for his being uncomfortable. I feel rejected. Confused. I am suddenly tracing back all our interactions to pinpoint if I did something obviously wrong I was overlooking. At the same time, I don’t want to jeopardize my job, the support I have received from him, and the reputation I have developed there.
What’s going on? Why is he suddenly going MIA on me?