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Ask Michael Cohen: How to Avoid Dangerous Relationships

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I work at a major advertising agency in New York City, and I am the assistant to the most sought after man at the agency. Seriously, he puts Don Draper from Mad Men to shame. Girls (and the fabulous gays) always walk by to catch a glimpse of him, eavesdrop or whatever they possibly can to learn anything about him. He doesn't have a Facebook profile -- that's how secretive he is. Now, I feel myself developing a slight crush on him. We have lunch at least once a week and drinks one night a week. This is how he likes to catch up on work, give me guidance and all that good stuff. But I feel like this is dangerous for me. Anyway, how do I stop myself from getting a massive crush on my boss? Name Withheld, New York City

First I was thinking you may be a naive young thing, but you were smart enough to withhold your name because you know you are going to send all the advertising world gossips in a tizzy wondering who this executive may be. I'm wondering myself and I already sent out an SOS to Stephanie Jones at Donny Deutsch.

Anyway, here is the first line of advice -- don't get caught up in the drama. Let the girls and the gays walk by all day with their high school crushes. You are there, honey, to do a job, and that is to be the best assistant you can be. The job description doesn't include flirting, dates or office politics, which is so pre-recession. We are in a world where if you don't produce, you'll be working in the produce section of your nearest market.

Secondly, I am not a fan of you going out after work hours with your handsome boss -- even if he says it's a practical way to "catch up on work." Whatever needs to be accomplished can certainly be done during normal work hours, which I imagine encompasses twelve hour days. Business lunches are fine and part and parcel to the advertising world, but drinks with the boss every week is basically dating. Why don't you diplomatically suggest a weekly breakfast meeting instead? What I am trying to get at is don't spend time with your boss out of the office, after the sun sets.

As for your boss -- why do I get the feeling he is a crazy egomaniac who enjoys all the attention and the crushes?

If you switch from vodka at 7 p.m. to granola at 7 a.m. and still have a crush on your boss, request a transfer before this becomes a Halle Berry/Bruce Willis Perfect Stranger situation.

For the past three months I have been working out with a trainer. I have noticed the best results I ever had, and we have developed a personal rapport. It's seriously the best experience, and I've gone through many personal trainers. Now there's a bump in the road. Two weeks ago he told me how he and his boyfriend have broken up and all I can think about is having sex with him. We work out and I ask him to show me new exercises just so I can stare at him. I also found out his work schedule so I can see him even when we don't have sessions. I'm scaring myself with this new obsession. How do I stop this behavior?
Mark K, Chicago

You need to get laid and get your mind off your trainer. Seriously, that's what I did. Last year I had this really crazy crush on my trainer. He had a boyfriend, but I used to have this motto, "If you cant make a happy home, then wreck one." And so I went ahead, started planting all the seeds, and then it dawned on me, "what the f*ck am I doing?" This isn't the last guy in the world.

If you find yourself in this trap, understand that being obsessed with your trainer will make what has been a great, healthy experience into a very unhealthy one. It's nothing you can discuss with him, but here is a tip on how to remove yourself from the grasp he unknowingly has on you. Tell him that you are going to move on because you feel you have reached a plateau with his training program. Magazines from Women's Health to the New York Times recommend changing trainers every few months so he will surely believe you. And I always feel that if you are in a strange situation, the best thing to do it remove yourself from it with grace. You'll see that the obsession will quickly fade, especially if you keep getting laid.

My husband and I have a couple great sets of friends. Recently I feel like wife of one is definitely crossing the line. The past few dinners, where a group of us hit the town, she has somehow managed to sit next to my husband and flirt up a storm. I know she has a crush on him. But I'm married to one of those men who are oblivious to everything and would tell me that I'm being a drama queen. I don't want to tear up the group, but I also don't want her at our house for a Labor day bash. What's your advice on how to handle this "friend?" Lisa G, New York

I always trust my intuition on matters like this. So I hear what you're saying. If you feel that this woman is slithering up next to your man, that's all the ammunition you need.

You have to diffuse the situation, slowly and carefully. The first step is to cut back plans that involve said slutty friend. If she knows what she's doing, this will really drive home the point that you know what she's up to you and you don't like it.

When plans with this person are inevitable, you'll have to be aggressive not passive when it comes to seating arrangements. Arrange it so a different member of your click is on one side of your man, and you are on the other.

Lastly, don't invite this person to your house under any circumstances. These three things will send a clear message precisely to the intended recipient without raising any suspicions with your husband. Sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands. A systematic shutdown of this type usually works.

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