"Dear Troubleshooter" is a relationship advice column that appears in The Japan News, a publication that is part of the Asia News Network.
I'm a male company worker in my 40s. Although I'm married and have a child, I've fallen in love with a 20-year-old female colleague. She is as old as my child.
She frequently waves to me when she sees me. She also casually talks to me without caring about our age difference. I feel like I did when I was in my 20s. I can't stop thinking about her. She also seems to like me, and would probably consider me as a boyfriend if I were single and a little younger.
In reality, I'm married, and aware that I can't pursue this further. I don't want to have an affair with her or divorce my wife. If my feelings for her are revealed at work, I'll probably be laughed at by my colleagues because I'm an adult who must behave properly. I also do not want my wife to learn about this.
My feelings toward her will probably come to an end sooner or later, when either one of us leaves the company or she marries. But I have to endure this agony until that day comes - I'm so distressed.
In any case, I want to be freed from my love for her. How can I kick my younger self out of my heart? How should I, an adult male, deal with her?
R, Osaka Prefecture
Dear Mr. R,
This probably sounds too outspoken, but all these things are just romantic fantasies. From my outside point of view, you are simply struggling with yourself. That's it.
It's true she likes you - but as a senior colleague. The feeling is not romantic. Her casually talking to you without caring about the age difference proves she isn't in love with you. You must not take it the other way round.
Young women today aren't shy about dealing with men. But men of your age tend to misunderstand that they love you.
You insist you are worried because you have the mind of a man in his 20s, but the total opposite is true. You are carried away by a 20-year-old woman because your mind is as old as you. This looks disgraceful, as you are aware.
How can you be so awkward and get carried away by such a thing? You must scold yourself. Your fantasies about being intimately involved with her have inadvertently led to dreams of making it come true.
Focus on the negative consequences. For one thing, you would be finished if you took a wrong step. I do hope this will make you come to your senses.
Tatsuro Dekune, writer