A (not so) simple night with a coworker


#41

Lara,

I think that’s a perfect word for what it was. It was my first try at something deeper than just a friendship and I learned from it. There were times I could be myself but a lot of other times where I’d feel like I’d be upsetting her for hanging out with friends or silly things like playing a video game for a night. ‘You like your video game more than me.’

My friend told me to recognize what I liked about that relationship and also what I didn’t like so I don’t fall into the same thing again. He asked me some hard questions like if she came here right now and told me she was sorry and that she wants to look past it and move on. Part of me would want to take her back. But part of me would be like ‘No, you had your chance. You had 5 years of chances.’ He talked about how I need to find a backbone. He made the comparison to fishing. When a fish eats a worm, he doesn’t just give up and get reeled in, he fights.

I remember telling a friend how it feels like I’m trying so hard for it. He told me that I shouldn’t feel like I have to try.

This girl, I see a lot of my ex in her. But I also see me being able to actually discuss things without feeling like it’s one-sided and I already lost. When I was in the car with her about to sing, I asked her if she wanted me to belt it out or anything. She told me to sing how I wanted which felt nice.

I feel like sometimes, I should have brought up issues that bugged me with my ex. But like I said, I would feel like I lost before I even brought them up. I remember there were times when coworkers would ask if I wanted to go out after work and I’d know it’d already be a no even if I wanted to. I’d know she’d be waiting for me and if I told her they wanted to go out, she’d say ‘well do you want to go out?’ I couldn’t say I did because I know it’d cause her to be upset or disappointed. I didn’t want that so I just came home and called her which I mean, at least I could talk and be with her instead. I remember writing about how a friend would ask to go to a bar. I remember how I’d overthink the crap out of just that simple question and in the end, a no would lead to another night with her which wasn’t bad either, but I missed out on other opportunities.

Like tonight, if I was still with her. I couldn’t have stayed out as late as I did and had a good time with a friend. I remember even when I did go out, I’d be checking my phone constantly and texting her instead of being in the moment. In my mind, that was me being loyal to her and making her happy. And if she was happy, all was good. And I liked making her happy. And I was alright with that because it meant that I’d get to talk to her later on.


#42

At the same time, if I’d call her, she could hang up whenever. If I did that, she’d be upset that I left her. I remember my brother telling me about how he would talk for 15 minutes on the phone and then just do whatever. I told him how awesome that would be and he told me how it was concerning how something so normal could feel awesome to me. I realize it’s mostly my fault. We both got used to the attention and came to expect it. I did like it, too. And I got used to it as well. But it also got to the point where if she’d call, it’d mean me being on the phone with her for the rest of the night. This caused a mind game that was impossible. I remember telling her that we’d been talking for 4 hours and she’d tell me ‘what 4 hours is too much for you?’ No… I like talking to you but… but… I want to do something else I guess? But why should I want that if I’m talking to you?

I remember her telling me how it’d be nice to hear that I loved her. I told her how it should be evident based on basing nearly everything I did around her. I never wanted to displease her. She then told me that it’d still be nice to hear. I get that.

I’m sure she had discussions about me with her friends as I would do with mine. She’d tell me how she planned her day around me and I’d feel like she didn’t need to do that. She’d tell me how she knew we had separate lives and she didn’t expect me to be glued to her side. But if I wasn’t, there’d be questions as to why I wasn’t.

It probably wasn’t her intention to cause me stress. And the fact that I never really got mad about it didn’t help either. In fact, we never really had a big fight. Either we’d stop talking for a day and she’d apologize for being crazy, or I’d shut down and cry if she said something that bothered me. The hardest thing I ever had to do was continue to be her friend the night she told me that we needed to ‘break-up’. She asked me why I was crying and that I was over analyzing it. She told me that she still wanted a life with me but just needed to figure out her own. For her, I told her fine. It killed me but then it became just us talking that same night which for me, was always the case. I’d hold on because it meant still being with her. She’d tell me that it felt like we were on different paths, but I felt like I was waking right beside her. I never did understand when she needed a ‘break’ but talked to me that same night and it felt like nothing ever happened.

So yeah, I guess it’s about me figuring out who I am without that. At times, it feels like it just happened yesterday and I could go back and try to explain things. We could talk like used to like nothing ever happened. But something did happen. And I have to realize that.


#43

When everything came to an end, I wanted her to see my view of things. I wanted her to get angry. To have a discussion with me. But when I called, she didn’t answer. I had just sent her a gift for her birthday and I thought she’d take all the gifts I had given her over the years and throw them away or something after seeing a picture on my phone. But I looked at it and it just seemed to be like just another night for her. For me, I was in tears and I needed her. It wasn’t simply another night of ‘oh we’ll talk again in the morning’, it was a night of intense confusion and hurt.

I remember talking to my mom about it before I texted her. My mom told me ‘it seems like you’ve been thinking about this a lot.’ All I could think about was how I wish my ex would say the same thing to me.

I think I learned not to take things for granted. I’m sure I grew accustomed to it over time, as she did with me. But I grew out of it after awhile and looking back, maybe that’s what the main issue was.

It was a tangled mess. In fact, she told me that it ‘was a mess but it was our mess.’ My brother said it perfectly when he asked me why I would want a mess.

He also told me that during the break, I could use the time to figure things out. That I could try to improve the relationship or leave. That either way, I’d be getting a better relationship. I remember thinking that 'it’s just another hiccup or just another ‘break’. How nothing could ever change between us and we’d just still keep coming back. But then I’d still be stuck.

Like I said, I could talk about that relationship forever. And my mom tells me that I have to move on. People wonder why I still count the days we’ve been apart. The only way to move on is to move on and keep looking forward and be myself. I used to think if someone could have that much of an effect on me, they must mean something, but perhaps it was just another learning experience.

I really have to stop typing such long replies. Sorry for that. I know love isn’t always easy, but it shouldn’t always be hard. Thank you for your response.


#44

I have several cautions to you for your next relationship. Be careful to set boundaries better. Just as an example, state that you don’t like to be on the phone too much because you’d rather spend time with a person. As a middle-aged person, I don’t understand why somebody would want to text so much because a lot of meaning is not conveyed in writing. That’s why forums can end up in big misunderstandings, as this one often does.

Also, be careful of a woman who is always trying to control your time. Set boundaries on that too. However, it’s better to be with a woman who doesn’t feel she needs to control you or your time. Also, no mind games! In fact video games are a lot more fun than mind games. If a woman loves you, she wants to know you’re having fun even when you’re not with her (provided you’re maintaining all necessary boundaries on that fun). The best way to insure you have this kind of woman is to see if she has her own hobbies, such as sewing, photography, knitting, studying or visiting people in the hospital. I believe a woman without hobbies is a big risk for a man. She can only be happy if you’re busy adoring her, instead of by creating her own fun.


#45

Sounds like your friend watches a lot of Lifetime TV Movies.

First, the idea that people can be in a romantic relationship and then “be friends” is a myth. Maybe in 0.000000000000000000002% of the population this can occur, but, in real life - nope.

Second thing, sounds as if he believes that people fall in love somewhat like catching a cold or stepping in gum on the sidewalk. Love is a choice, it is a conscious decision that is made in the mind. The sort of love that begins as a magic spark or a bacterial contagion is an emotional feeling, it it flames and sometimes is nurtured into an abiding love, most times it lasts 7 - 10 weeks or months or years and then the person recovers aka “falls out of love”.


#46

Lara,

I appreciate all your cautions. I wish I would have known the boundary thing earlier. I still am easy-going, sometimes to a fault still, but am learning. As for the texting, I much prefer calls or seeing the person. And I did enjoy getting phone calls or video calls. It’s one of the many things that I miss about her still.

I remember telling my brother that we’d talk for hours. He’d ask what we’d talk about. I’d tell him we talked about our day for the first half-hour maybe, but then just made small talk. He suggested that quality over quantity was best. If we talk all the time for hours on end, the quality of the talks would diminish.

With the distance, I could understand why she’d want to talk to me as much as she could. Again, I should have set boundaries early on. But when we met, I lived off campus so she’d be what I always came home to. This kind of continued to where we’d talk anytime we were free and for sure every night.

Sometimes I wonder if I can go back once I ‘know who I am’ or am ‘strong enough’ to not fall into just being passive with things again. But perhaps it’s best to try to focus on myself for a bit or something.

I admit, that relationship was my first everything. Which is why I might have such a hard time letting go of it. But there were aspects that I came not to like. To be honest, the relationship started out and continued to be rather sexual in nature. I became accustomed to this and it felt like ‘just the way it was’. But while aspects were enticing, it wasn’t all of who I was. It wasn’t who I was meant to be. And I’m thankful that even though it ended without much explanation, it made me realize how much of a trap my sexuality can be. It made me a bit more mindful, I think. Also, with her, there were never any dealbreakers. I remember her having a pregnancy scare and asking me if I’d still love her. I said I would. It wasn’t (and still sometimes isn’t) a question in my mind.

She had hobbies and such. The issue was that we got so used to our routine and talking all the time without bringing up any real hard topics up that should matter in a relationship, that it just got to be an expectation for how it was. I now know to set boundaries, discuss issues when they arise, and not be a slave to my sexuality.

I feel like we have to be our own separate people. Maybe one day, we can try again. Maybe one day I’ll ‘wake up and not miss her.’ I definitely don’t miss the stress and it’s enjoyable to figure out my likes and dislikes, but I do miss a lot of her.

My friend made the comment that I’m not really attracted to this new girl from what he sees sometimes. Because I recognize so much of my ex in her. That I’m still holding onto her for no reason. But I think part of me is trying to figure out who I am without her. And maybe I’m attracted to the idea of starting something completely new with no past attached it, just a future. I’m not sure. But I know I have to do something. If not to just keep moving.

Thanks for your reply.


#47

Lady,

I have to agree. Sometimes I think if I had that strong of feelings for someone, why couldn’t I revert to being friends again? But a big part of me knew for awhile that I couldn’t just be her friend. We were more than friends but never much more. At the same time, we both gave it so much. I really do think this was due to both of us having low self-esteem. It felt nice to feel wanted. I remember my family asking me why we talked all the time and I bent over backwards for her if we weren’t even ‘dating’ for the majority of what that was. Looking back, I should have asked myself that. But it just was what it was.

I feel like if I go for something. I have to give it my all. I remember specific moments in that relationship where I knew it was either all in or all out. Both of which scared the crap out of me.

With this new girl, she’s friendly and she’s mentioned trying the bowling thing again. I have thoughts of me just doing something unexpected like she suggests and taking her up on another car ride. But I am also aware that the more I do this, the more I can possibly fall for her. This will either lead to something good or another heartache. I don’t think I’m ready for either quite yet.

I think he was saying to not stress and just enjoy our time. I get that attraction and love are two very different things now. I’ve always been one to be infatuated easily. But this last relationship was me trying to work for something. Maybe it was to keep her, maybe we were used to the routine, maybe it was that we felt our love was stronger than other people recognized. But it was definitely more than attraction. Her friend would joke that we should just be a couple since we bickered like one, according to her. To me, it felt like the type of love that builds over years and years. Companion love. The type that you know they’ll be there. But it got too stressful and she became all of my time. It got to a point where she’d say she was going to visit but then say oh how about in a few more months? I’d feel like what’s a few month when I’ve been waiting much longer. But we both still held on. It’s funny, I still have that mindset. What’s another month of not talking/missing her when I’ve been going on 9 months?

I’m trying to figure out who I am as a person. I feel like I had to be what she wanted me to be a lot of the times and that isn’t good.


#48

Love is definitely worth it. And we are told to love our neighbor as our self. I guess that’s similar to being happy with who we are before we try to make someone else happy. Maybe it’d be better to focus on figuring out who I am for a bit. Especially since I probably didn’t know who I was before I tried to figure out who I was with someone else. It reminds me of someone who once told me, ‘I need to know what you want until I can tell you what I want.’ I didn’t know what I wanted from it or who I was, so I missed out on an opportunity with that.

I need an identity. I need to develop who I am and what I believe. I need to not simply change if it means making someone else happy. I need to learn to breathe for a bit and be happy with myself. It’s going to be a lot of work but I imagine I’d rather build something with someone who I know holds some of my same beliefs and values than trying to change for a person who has already developed their identity. I know people change, but the core of a person usually stays the same. I have to get out of my mind for a bit and actually do things. I shelter myself so much and feel like I should have known who I was in high school/college. I’ve always wanted to be accepted, but I have to accept myself first. Love is a choice. I’m glad I am beginning to recognize how heavy of a word Love is. I remember she asked if it was bad if she liked me and I said no. I also remember how in the first month of talking, we’d say that we loved each other. I don’t know why, but it felt really nice to hear. Way later, she used to say you don’t know until you love a person from seeing them just a few times. And then saying that she’s always loved me. This might not have been an ideal first relationship at all, but it was definitely an emotional relationship with a spark that faded while we continued on and on and on. I need to see the flaws in that so I don’t make the same mistakes again and grow from it.

Thank you for your reply.


#49

Justin, no this new girl, she is not an opportunity. For her to be an
opportunity is for her to be a ‘real catch’, as in you just presume in the
back of your mind she is too good for you. And you don’t know that. And you
don’t know her. She is just someone attractive you would like to hang out
with.
You seem angry at your last gf and the way she manipulated you because she
clearly was in control the whole time. You do know who you are - you are
someone who does not believe that is the way love should be and from your
thoughts you are definitely not someone who would put up with it again.
Maybe you should just keep things loose with this new girl until your anger
is resolved. Pray to forgive your last girlfriend (because if she was in
emotional control she should have just let you go since she wasn’t that
involved). When you will forgive her you will also forget her somehow and
her ghost won’t haunt you that much. A kid once told a great advice : when
you see a ghost you have to blow over them like you blow a candle because
ghosts are just fire that can extinguished by the wind.


#50

Well, first, if you were my son I’d tell you that what you describe is more that you were kept as some sort of virtual puppy dog. Something she could toy with through a screen, but, in her universe you were of no more importance than her new Burberry bag.

In the real world, relationships move forward or they die out. Between men and women, friendship becomes romance. It is unnatural to move backward, one of them will still be smitten and pretend to be friends in non-ending hope that the other will come back.

Spend time becoming a well rounded person. Become the sort of man you now admire. Put away childish things. Maybe do Peace Corps or Military, something that will challenge you outside of your box.


#51

I’ve only read some of the posts, sorry if not on target.

If your work doesn’t allow dating, doesn’t that restrict your choices?

Just work on being friends and not rush into anything that puts yours or her employment at risk.


#52

Mary,

She is someone that I find attractive and would like to hang out with, for sure. The first person I’ve really noticed in this way since my ex.

I think I do harbor a lot of anger towards that relationship, and it’s something to work through. Nothing really upsets me too much, but that relationship took it’s toll. The thing that upsets me the most is that we never really had many deep conversations. Or if I tried, it’d feel wrong. I remember not really enjoying her swearing. And she didn’t like my smoking. We both tried to change for the other, which felt good knowing the other person was willing to change. But when it became deeper than that, I was just at a loss. I recognize you can’t (and often times shouldn’t) want to change the other person, but with her, I guess I wanted her to see my view of things. Again, I’m not sure if I was just so used to the companionship, or that I felt like I could ‘save her’ in some way, but she definitely made an impact on my life. I fear that she won’t ever know what she did in and for my life, but I have to keep moving on.

As for your suggestion of forgiving her, I can agree. I have to let go of any bad feelings in my heart and let us both live life separately. But I also feel like I have to forgive myself and learn from whatever that relationship was. I was young and the attention felt nice. It felt like we could take on anything. But was it anything worthwhile? Well, I won’t know for sure but it happened for a reason. If I know anything, I know things happen for a reason.

The ghost of her might always haunt me, and a part of me might welcome that. But I have to almost make the wish that she won’t haunt me anymore, close my eyes, and blow out the candle.

Thank you for your reply.


#53

Lady,

I had a coworker describe me as a shiny toy. That she could play with me when she wanted but if anyone else tried to, she wouldn’t let them.

Relationships have to grow and evolve. And I believe ours did in a sense. I remember with every rough patch, I’d think to myself, ‘Well, if that didn’t happen, then this new and exciting thing wouldn’t have ever happened.’ I think that’s what kept me going. I wrote something once in relation to hope. That though it ended like it did, I’d always have the hope that maybe one day we can come back.

I had a coworker talk with me today about his own long distance relationship. He dated her then they broke up. He even went so far as proposing to another girl before realizing that he still had feelings for his ex. Now, he’s moving there with an optimistic future.

I can remember when the ‘break’ thing was all going down. My coworkers told me to stay strong and not text her back in those two weeks. I remember talking to a coworker outside and crying about it. Finally, I just yelled out, ‘Why doesn’t she love me?’ Looking back though, I think I meant ‘why don’t I love myself?’ Why didn’t I love myself enough to know that something bothered me and not say anything about it? I wasn’t strong then and I need to get there. I need to figure myself out.

Me, I agree with becoming well rounded. My brother and I had a talk tonight about that, in fact. He told me that hanging out with friends would be good for me, as it would help me figure out myself more. Figure out what I enjoy and like to do with my time. I mentioned not knowing what I want and he asked me if I wanted a brownie right now. We had just eaten dinner and were cleaning up. I had had some cookies and was too full for a brownie at the moment, though it did sound tasty. I told him that I didn’t want a brownie and he told me ‘Good, you know what you want in this moment.’ He told me how people can change their thinking just that quick sometimes, based on other factors. I definitely admire my brother. He asked me how saving for my new computer was going. I’ve been wanting a new computer for years and it has seem so frivolous for me. We got to talking about games on it and how he’d enjoy playing a game with me again. In fact, I remember being on a trip with him and us talking about it, then I brought up how I probably couldn’t play it because I’d be on the phone with her at night and she wouldn’t like it if I left her. He told me it shouldn’t be like that.

I know I have a lot to learn and a lot to experience. Tonight, I simply moved things from my living room to my bedroom. I’m planning on rearranging things in my room to how I enjoy them. That’s such an easy task, but for me, it means that I can start enjoying life again. And it took like 30 minutes. Imagine what I could do in a day if I really wanted.

Thank you for your reply.


#54

Theo,

No worries.

To me, it doesn’t. I could always get another job if anything happens.

You’re absolutely right. I’m trying to get to know her better as a friend. I’m also not trying to rush anything as I know how fast I can fall for someone. It helps to know that the harder I fall for someone, the harder it will be to get back up if anything goes south with it. So for that reason and others, I believe it best to remain friends at the moment. I have to admit, the idea of it becoming something more is enticing sometimes, but I have a lot to work on before that happens.

Thank you for your reply.


#55

The questions may be, “Why can’t she love me?” or “Why doesn’t she see the world as I do?” The answer to both questions is that a person cannot love you as well if they are playing from a different rule book.


#56

Lara,

I agree. It seems like people play from a variety of rule books at certain times in their lives.

Here’s an update:

Apparently she asked my coworker if I liked her, to which my coworker responded with an ‘I can’t confirm or deny’ type of response.

She gave me her number. But it was due to a conversation she was having with someone else about who’s numbers they have. Still, I have her number. I haven’t texted her yet as I know how my mind gets and I’d get super excited if she texts me back when I know I have to chill a bit. Still, the idea of me asking her for another ride is nice to think about.

Last night, I had stickers on my arm and her friend asked me who I got them from and I told her my manager and her gave them to me. To which she immediately followed up with, ‘Do you like her?’ I just shook my head. I know they talk to each other and don’t feel ready to really say anything yet. Another friend told me to just be cool that she’s keeping things cool with it while knowing that I might like her.

Tonight, I had another talk with a friend and we discussed her and some things we see that could go wrong if I try to pursue anything. It was nice to talk and I know if I go into something, I give it all I can. Part of me is just trying to figure me out, though. We brought up my ex and he tried to tell me it’s done. It’s over. Still, it seems as though part of me will always want to say that goodbye I never said, or tell her why it got to be too much when I could have easily stuck with it. It sometimes feels like all of this ‘growing’ will just lead to me thinking that maybe I can be strong enough to go back.

But I had a talk with another friend and he told me that I should write a letter. Not to send to her, just get my emotions and thoughts out. I cried and ended up punching a wall with confusion as to why I still felt that way towards her. Sometimes I feel like the point of moving on is pointless if you still see them everywhere. Like I’m just trying to replace her with something ‘better’. When I could talk to her and actually try to convey my thoughts. But I have to recognize that maybe we didn’t work out for a reason. (My selfishness in wanting to stay with the safety of what I know) is what my mind tries to tell me. But other people tell me that she knew what she was doing and did me wrong.

Not to mention that I have this ‘I can save you’ mindset. My sister has this as well. She’s always cared too much and discovered that people don’t change unless they want to no matter what you do. My problem with my last relationship was not bringing issues up and being alright with what I knew. The idea of thinking ‘I can fix you’ is pointless if I’m unable to fix myself.

So her number is written on a piece of paper and maybe one day I’ll get the courage to text her and just try to be like a normal person who is interested in someone and wants to get to know them for the sake of wanting to get to know them. And not be afraid of all the overthinking that would follow. I shouldn’t be concerned with changing their rule book to fit mine and just enjoy it for what it is in the moment.

Wishful thinking, sometimes.

Thanks for your reply.


#57

It’s much easier and happier to date and marry a Catholic than have to live for the hopes of a spouses conversion or fight about raising the children Catholic and getting their sacraments in order.

My wife converted but not everyone is going to have that same story and it was years after being married.

It might not matter now but after you get married and have children it’s a world of difference.


#58

Governator,

Yeah, I can see that. Easier to date someone with your views and values. My parents are of different religions and my mom’s condition was that we were raised Catholic.

Just the other day a discussion came up about why he doesn’t go to Church anymore. I could see that being hard for her. He used to go primarily out of respect for the family, at least. He simply replied that he gets nothing out of it. I mean, I can see both points of view. My mom wanting to share it with him, and him not really understanding or relating to the readings at times. I still don’t know how she does it, though. If I was as into things as she is, I’d be wanting him to go. Like I said, you can’t force anything, I guess. And I guess that’s some of what love is. Compromise with certain things.

I’m still on my own journey with it. I’m trying to figure myself out and have only had one serious relationship that I gave too much for, people say. I mean, personally, I think I wouldn’t be able to have kids for a long time since I have a lot to work on, myself and I know that I can’t take care of anybody else if I can’t even take care of me.

My sister has a kid, though. That surprised me, though not my mom. I always thought my brother would be the first one to have children. Anyway, she is amazing with him. She tends to his every need and makes sure he has all the love he could ever need in life. She’s since started going to Church again and brings him along. I know he’ll turn out alright.

I guess everyone’s on their own journey to the same destination in the end.

Without a doubt, it’d be easier to date someone that shares the same beliefs and values. There wouldn’t be a clash in ideas and they would be on about the same page with my opinions and thoughts. I think a big issue I have to overcome is being attracted to people that aren’t like me. I’ve always had this for as long as I can remember. This is why I’m trying to figure out my own thing, so that I don’t have to hope to change anyone or fight with them regarding beliefs. It may be my heart that falls so easily for certain people, or it could be the fact that people tend to fall for the same type of person numerous times. But for some reason, my other relationship had to stop and this new person arrived in my line of sight.

The first step is being okay with who I am. Then finding a compatible match with some inevitable trial and error. Then knowing they are the one to spend your life with. Then compromising on a variety of things. Some days, it feels like I haven’t even begun to crawl.

You mentioned that your wife converted years after your marriage. May I ask why you dated her if she wasn’t of the religion you were? That must have had it’s share of conflicting ideas, I imagine. What kept you going with it? My mom was my dad’s first relationship. My mom even broke up with him for a bit then eventually got back with him. I know everyone has a different story with relationships and I’m just learning about that world. A little late, in fact. I’m 28 and have only really been in one. But it’s taught me more than enough for awhile until I pick myself up and try for anything again.

Thank you for your reply.


#59

I’m only like 3 years older than you.

Well I grow very secular and my parents were catholic in name only.

My wife and I got together at 19 and I moved in with her family because my family at the time was dysfunctional and horribly alcoholic.

So at the time I wasn’t really a Christian and I wasn’t really much of a Catholic and my wife was a lapsed Protestant and so at time it just really did matter.

As I became more spiritual and wanted to be Christian and later really decide what denomination to belong to eventually deciding on Catholicism it became a lot harder especially with raising children and Sunday obligation.

I just got lucky that an Eastern Mission got started my old Parish and that it was appealing to my wife.

I apologize I thought you were really young college kid.

Anyways my point with my last post was that it is very difficult not being of the same religion in a marriage and it is very difficult raising children and that’s why it’s easier to date somebody of your own religion because then you don’t have that type of clashing.


#60

Oh for crying out loud…go out to dinner with her, have a nice time, and don’t overthink all this.

You aren’t looking at proposing marriage, you are just looking at spending a few hours with someone who obviously likes you.


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