'I had sex with a co-worker. How do I stop us from hooking up again?'
Question: In a moment of poor judgment, I slept with a co-worker at a conference. We are both single but it was not a good idea.
I tried to tell her that right away, and things were okay for a while at work and I thought it was done with. But now we will be travelling together again and she is making all kinds of hints.
I don't want to be the bad guy here, but I want to make sure this absolutely doesn't happen again. Any advice?
Answer: First? Absolutely don't do it again.
I'm not judging you here. But if you want to make sure it absolutely doesn't happen again, you have the power to do so. Don't tempt yourself and create a slippery slope by being alone with her, drinking with her, having unscheduled swaths of time, going to the floor her room is on, or being exposed to whatever other triggers you can figure out (and yeah, figure them out).
My guess is, she thinks these triggers will win out and be almighty over your words, so your actions have to speak loudly.
Keeping this from happening anew will also establish a new norm to help prevent you from going through this all over again in the future.
In the meantime, responding to her hints by addressing it again - in as non-winking a way as possible, with respect and discretion - can help. (Especially if you actually tell her - and not just "try" to - that you don't want it to happen anymore.)
Bonior, a Washington DC.-area clinical psychologist, writes a weekly relationships advice column in The Washington Post's Express daily tabloid and is author of "The Friendship Fix."The Washington Post