I think I may have gotten involved in a situation that is going to be difficult to get out of. Hopefully you can help, because I have exhausted my imagination trying to resolve this. You see, I am a male web programmer with a job in the most desirable company in the region and I fear I might lose my job if I am not careful.
This last holiday season I attended the company christmas party and got rather intoxicated. The next day I awoke in a female coworker's bed. Now this is problematic for me because our company is openly against office romance and could easily fire the both of us, but it is also awkward because she was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and has a pretty bleak future according to the doctors.
She is a really great girl in all aspects, but I am not prepared to deal with her progressing illness and probable death. And I am pretty sure the rest of the office either already knows or is suspicious about the situation. How can I break off a future relationship without being a total jerk about it?
Desperate in Dallas
Dear Desperate in Dallas,
Ending a relationship, regardless of how brief it may be, can be a tricky situation even in the best of circumstances. And at worst it can be a life-shattering experience. Add in a possibly fatal illness and you may be looking at an explosive situation. But fear not, faithful reader! Popular Irony is here to give you a guiding hand through the minefield.
Now we must first look at your problem with the right eyes, and we see that it is not as bad as it sounds. Your one-time lover is already terminally ill, so one way or another this relationship is ending soon. But on the scale of bad news "I don't want to go out with you" is not even in the same ballpark as "you are going to die soon". So get over yourself and break up with her immediately. I think she can handle your rejection.
Your bigger problem is in mitigating damage to your office image, which will almost certainly take a hit if everyone finds out you banged the dying girl and then told her to fuck off. But I have a perfect excuse. If confronted with accusations of misconduct you can always explain that after the office party she approached you with a proposition that you could not refuse. Sex with you was on her bucket list, and you were operating within the guidelines of the "Make A Wish Foundation". And after performing your philanthropic duty she was insistent on continuing the relationship despite your agreed upon arrangement, but were not willing to comply because your heart belongs to another. She just couldn't understand.
This outcome has several benefits. Firstly, the nature of the story is so sensitive that no one would ever recount it to your one-night-stand to verify it. Secondly, the chance of being fired for this are zero, and if your immediate superior is a man you may even receive a promotion. And you don't have to watch her slowly wither away and die in misery. Good luck.