After a one night stand he slunk away
Dear Dr. Pam,
I feel so embarrassed. I went to a conference in another city to represent the company I work for and ended up drinking too much. There was a free bar the whole evening and after a long day at the conference I took full advantage.
There’s this man I've always fancied at work and he was there too. We got chatting and things started to become very flirtatious. I ended up sleeping with him against my better judgment. We ended up having really great sex about three times during the night as he stayed in my hotel room.
But then when I woke up he'd obviously slunk out in the morning without saying goodbye. I've been avoiding him at work ever since (it's been a week) but I can’t keep this up. The way our work responsibilities go I'm bound to run into him sooner rather than later. How should I handle it?
P.S. you'd think I'd know better at 31!
Dear 'Should've known better',
Women (and some men) across the land are identifying with your sentiment – that they should've known better about a one night stand with a work colleague. The problem is when you're in high spirits and there's lots of alcohol around it's easy for better judgment go out the window.
I'm sure at 31 you think you should've avoided something like this but I must ask, were you hoping for more from him? As you said you've always fancied him and maybe at some level you thought a relationship might blossom from a bit of a romp.
Obviously it now seems he's behaving like a heartless sod but could it be he also feels embarrassed? Let's give him the benefit of the doubt – he could've slunk out thinking you wouldn't want him there in the morning. Maybe he feels all you wanted was some hot sex and you'd rather not be troubled with having a ‘big chat’ about it.
Sadly he hasn't had the sense to try and deal with any potential tricky feelings by sending you a nice, straightforward e-mail. But then again, at 31, why haven't you done just that? I fear you're giving him far too much power and you should really take control of the situation.
Without looking like you want anything more, why not send him an e-mail that's friendly but direct – you could say something along the lines of you 'look forward to crossing paths with him professionally and leaving the conference night behind.' You don't have to go into any detail. You don't owe him that and you certainly don't owe him an explanation that you already fancied him. But doing this in a friendly and straightforward tone opens the door for him to come back with an equally straightforward reply.
Remember if he feels as anxious as you do he's probably felt that you’re avoiding him – and that makes things worse for him too. In a sense this is the perfect time to learn how to get over tricky things like one-night stands that haven't worked out.
If you decide you don't feel like e-mailing him you could simply say hello to him when you finally cross paths and ask him how he is. Open up a casual conversation, don't even bring the conference up, but show him you want to act like a responsible colleague. I'm sure he'll be friendly back.
Let's think about one night stands in general – if you do have them occasionally I hope you always use condoms and you have some sense of who the man is you're picking up. I shouldn't have to tell you there are some extremely dodgy – and sometimes dangerous – people out there who prey on women who've drunk too much.
Final tip: In future you might want to curb the drinking at work conferences as you found things get with brief liaisons at work. This is the problem with free bars – people take full advantage and throw common sense out the window!
Look after yourself, Dr Pam x
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