Ask Amy: I have feelings for the married dad whose kids I babysit


Dear Amy: I met “Ben” the first day I began working for his family as a nanny about a year ago. I felt an instant attraction, but quickly let it go because he’s married, my boss, and I was married at the time. We had minimal interaction, so that helped, too.

Fast-forward six months, and my husband and I separated after years of strain. I had fallen out of love with my husband long before meeting Ben.

It was at this exact time that Ben began initiating conversation more often. My feelings for him grew stronger and stronger. After a couple months of conversation, intense eye contact, and Ben’s giddiness, it became apparent to me that the feelings may be mutual. This felt nice and was a welcome distraction while going through my divorce.

Now I’m at a loss because I don’t know how to move forward. So much has been left unsaid.

I want to know what Ben thinks and if the feelings truly are mutual. It doesn’t help that he continues to send me mixed signals. I have researched what to do in this situation and nothing seems to help.

I am worried that he’s not just a distraction, but I have actually fallen in love with him.

I respect his wife, and care so much for his kids. I could never cross the line further than I already have.

Not being able to act on my feelings is getting so difficult for me that I am considering getting a new job. I am torn. Ultimately I am wondering, how do I keep my job and get over the heartbreak of liking someone who is unavailable?

Heartbroken: I’ll start by affirming the strength of your emotions and your curiosity about whether your feelings are reciprocated.

Now — here’s the tough part: Your emotions notwithstanding, this is a scenario where there is an inevitable loser — and that is you. It is ethically and morally wrong to pursue the married father of the children you are caring for. (It is just as wrong for him to pursue you, too — but this is about you.)

There are times when your feelings and impulses should not rule your behavior, such as committing an act of violence when you’re angry, abandoning a dependent when you’re bored, or stealing money to fulfill a material passion. This is another one of those times.

Now — give yourself a Cher slap, and … “Snap out of it!” I’m going to proclaim this man an important transitional romantic object at a time when you are extremely emotionally vulnerable.

You should not remain in this household. Get another position. Within two weeks of leaving, your ardor will die down, you will start to realize how close you flew to the flame, and you will be justifiably proud that you did the right thing — or rather, that you did not do the wrong thing.

Dear Amy: I have been separated from my spouse for four months and am slowly moving through the divorce process.

As this could take a while, I am wondering if it’s appropriate to join an online dating app as a “separated” man? How might this be viewed by women who might want to date me?

Or should I just wait till my divorce is finalized?

On the Sidelines: Some women will not care about your marital status because they might not be interested in a longer-term relationship.

Anyone can state that they are separated, and people looking for a no-strings-fling might be attracted to someone they perceive as unavailable.

Others will care very much about your marital status, because they don’t want to date a married man. You are married until you are divorced.

Whatever you do, understand that if you jump into the dating pool too soon in your own process, all of your baggage will drag you straight down to the bottom.

If you are interested in finding a potential partner, you should state that you are “permanently separated, living apart, with a court date pending.”

Dear Amy: As a member of Clutterers Anonymous I was very interested in your response to “Buried,” who was wrestling with a clutter — or hoarding — problem.

I’m a member of a 12-step program of recovery to help people deal with hoarding disorder.

It’s also a helpful resource for family members to learn to manage their loved ones’ clutter. More information can be found at

— Been There, Cleaned Out

Cleaned Out: Thank you for the helpful recommendation.

©2022 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency