Q: I am a 24-year-old female college grad trying to break into an extremely insular field. At a recent family funeral, I met an older cousin's ex-husband who, it turns out, is good friends with someone in the field. He offered to put some feelers out on my behalf and see what he could do to help give me a leg up.
He has been a huge help so far (sending my resume to his friend, who is speaking to a couple of people about me, and working other contacts), but I'm starting to sense he may have a crush on me. We met at a casual soup-and-salad place one night so he could give me some business cards and information; when we parted, his hug was a little linger-y, and he told me we don't have to always discuss business.
The situation is starting to creep me out. He has a son a few years younger than I am. I don't really know his ex-wife — my cousin — although her sister and my mom are close.
I don't believe I've been flirtatious in the least. I hardly ask him anything personal, except about things such as his career and where he grew up, so I don't seem totally self-centered.
I've told my mom about his offer of help. Should I tell her about the vibe I'm getting? Should I cut this off immediately? Should I ask him to clarify his intentions, and if so, how should I go about asking in the least awkward way possible?
Q: Mmm, I just bet he wants to give you a leg up. The question is not whether he's interested (the squealing violins in your head are telling you as much), but whether he's intentionally using his contacts as bait.