The Prospect of Romance

[This has been crossposted from a submission to]

A couple of years ago, a coworker began flirting with me.  Because it went on for a while (I saw them every day and we would spend hours together due to work), I was able to determine that flirting was indeed happening, which meant I was able to start preparing for a response if a move was made.

“Well, you see…  You’re fun to talk to.  And I like you, just not that way.  I’m sorry.  I’m what’s called asexual, so I just don’t work like that.”

Then the move came.

One day, I left a book of ViewMaster reels of dissected cadavers on their desk.  (Yes, that is a thing.  I own it because I’m into stereophotography and that’s an odd stereophotographic collectible item, not because I’m into anatomy or cadavers or anything like that.  They, on the other hand, were into vintage things with a morbid twist, so I figured they’d be interested.)  And that started the process.

We were in the office, so it’s not like we could just have a straight up conversation about anything like this without everyone else noticing or overhearing, so it began on the company’s internal chat program.  While they were pouring their heart out, I kept getting interrupted by people coming up to ask questions (which happens to me all the time at work), so it wasn’t ideal.  Among the words they typed were “I’m asexual too”.

Well, there goes my counter plan.

The conversation continued throughout the day.  We went to lunch (which I later discovered was considered a “date”), where they told me that they loved me and that they already had a boyfriend and that they’d never done anything like this before.  After work, we sat in a hallway talking about things for several hours as they inched closer and started touching my arm.  As we parted that night, they gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

For some people, this would be a dream scenario, but for me, it was extremely awkward.  I don’t know what to do with this sort of situation.

Should I give a clear no, ain’t gonna happen?  But how do I do that without losing them as a friend?

Should I make something up about “I don’t date coworkers”?  Well, no, they were thinking of leaving the place anyway, so they probably would just for the chance to be with me, at which point I would have ruined both their professional and personal lives.

Should I go for it and see what happens?  But there’s nothing appealing about being in a relationship with this person.  Specifically, there’s nothing appealing about being in a relationship period.  I don’t know how to do that and I don’t really want to do that.  I wouldn’t be good at it.  Going this route would lead to me being uncomfortably pulled into things I don’t want to do pretty much all the time, and it would lead to disappointment for them, and the combination of that would probably lead to the destruction of what had the chance to turn into a long friendship.

After agonizing over it for a day and a half, I told them the truth.  That it wasn’t anything against them.  That I just didn’t see a way that a relationship with me would work, because I’m incapable of doing the things that a relationship would require.  That I’d probably feel compelled to act like I was into it, even when I wasn’t, which would be stressful.  That I couldn’t be what they’d need me to be.

It was hard to do, but it had to be said.

After this, we remained friends until the end.  Ultimately, they transformed my life, both in silly ways (The adventures of the mountain goat!) and profound (Inspiring me to go to NAAC15).  No romantic relationship required.

5 thoughts on “The Prospect of Romance

  1. Yay! I’m glad it all worked out well for you. I had a total of five people try to flirt with me. Twice in high school. One guy saw me in the hallway every day. He waved & I’d smile and wave. We never said a word, but that was the extent of our “friendship”. We didn’t even know each other’s name. Then it got creepy when he started telling people that I was his girlfriend. Later, we ended up having 2 classes together. One day he asked me if I’d play a card game with him. So I decided I could give him that much. I don’t remember, maybe I held the ace of spades cards in my hand. I didn’t know back then what asexuality was. But anyway, this guy never asked me out on a date.
    Another guy at school liked me. I kinda knew it. He had a class with me & one time he began rubbing my leg. Awkward! But I didn’t stop him. I guess I wanted to know if I felt anything. Nope, nothing but awkwardness. That was the last time he ever tried that & neither one of us spoke about it.
    A girl who was actually just a friend of a friend seemed to have a crush on me. From what I remember, her family was real religious, so if she was having gay feelings for me, she never admitted it. But she was always smiling at me & batting her eyes. We were all having a sleepover at our mutual friend’s house. When it was time to go to bed, I noticed my pillow was missing. The girl who may have had a crush on me already appeared to be asleep with her head on my pillow.
    2 guys at work flirted with me. One I was friends with. I didn’t want our friendship status to change into something awkward. He mentioned that he wanted to ask me out on a date, but never really did. I told him I don’t date, not ever. He didn’t seem to believe me at first, but over time he finally said, “you know, I really don’t think you ever will go on a date.”
    I was so excited that he believed me that I said, “oh, thank you! Thank you!” I think he was confused as to why I was thanking him.
    The other guy at work was another creepy one. He barely knew any English, but it seemed like he was asking if I was able to make my own decisions about who I was willing to date. He didn’t work there long. But as of today, I don’t have any contact with any of these people.

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