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Thread: Is reconciliation possible in this scenario?

  1. #1
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    Is reconciliation possible in this scenario?

    I'll try to keep this to the point as best I can.

    I'm currently in Week 5 of the split with a co-worker of mine. We were instantly drawn to each other, dated for nearly five months, but it felt longer than that due to the build up the five or six months before it. The breakup centers around the fact that I didn't make more time for her. Granted, there were some flags there that caused me to hesitate, but sometimes I focused too much on the "what might happen at work" if it were ever to go south. This caused some feet dragging on my part.

    Since I'm guilty of taking her for granted I felt it best to NOT go no contact - which would reinforce her belief that I didn't care as much as she did. I kept it light every 2-3 days via text or Instagram and at times made gestures I wish I had prior. We had moments where she'd open up a bit and flirt with me the way she used to. At one point she told me we could talk things out some more. Week 4 I felt we had a major breakthrough. She was coming by her sister's desk (who sits in front of my on my new team) and flirting with me. She asked me to have lunch with her twice. One of the days she even asked if she could come sit by me and help her with her casework. The irony is it wasn't anything she really needed my help with, but I liked the gesture. She even saw an invite I had for a team outing (at her sister's house) and basically invited herself as my +1.

    Thursday night of Week 4 she was set to flight out to Seattle so I called her up to wish her a fun trip. It felt good, it was light and fun. She thanked me for the call. I expected not to hear from her the whole trip, but surprisingly enough she texted me her first morning there. She was letting me know about the cat they had at the house she was staying. On the surface seemed benign, but it let me know she was thinking of me (she loves my cat). We joked around for about an hour then I let her be. By Saturday I noticed she posted some quote about letting things go that weren't meant for you. She had also not been watching any of my IG videos like she normally does. Then I made the mistake - I texted her about the people I was having dinner with were ironically from Seattle and it made me think of her.

    She basically laughed at it and asked why. I said I missed her. She then said she was drunk and that she might do something unflattering which is a callback to an episode we had this summer that she originally cried/begged me to forgive her for. I told her we already talked about this multiple times and she acted like I didn't know what I was talking about. I sent her the screenshots and she replied "a little late dont ya think?" with a frustrated emoji. I then naively respond "Depends on who's asking, but if you want me to continue eating sh- for it fine. Doesn't change what I texted, have a good night." Really moronic response from me. Week 4 went from major progress to feeling like square one again. I spent Week 5 entirely in no contact to give her some space and because I was kind of pissed she threw that summer incident in my face. Looking back on that incident deep down I know she was a sloppy mess because she had been harboring vulnerability of us not taking the next step.

    At the moment I don't know how to approach this. She is supposed to be my +1 this weekend, but I haven't confirmed with her yet (was thinking of calling her tonight). I also feel like I need to address the "I miss you". I meant well by it, but honestly it's a selfish statement to make. It comes off as though I'm trying to make it about my feelings again when she was the one who spent almost 5 months chasing me. She did come by her sister's desk this morning. She was acting somewhat awkward, but when I walked back from the copier I gave her a big smile. I could tell she wasn't sure whether to make eye contact with me, but eventually she looked up and waved. I would assume that she wouldn't have come by at all if my "I miss you moment" was still pissing her off.

    Thoughts? The worst part about this is not only do I feel the loss romantically, I feel I lost my best friend too.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Curious about those "red flags" that caused you to hesitate. Care to expound?

    It's hard, reading your post, to really understand why you want to get back together with her. The decoding of emojis, the gauging of things through Instagram—it sounds like a pretty shallow connection if you're turning to those tea leaves for answers. I mean, are you even sure you want to be back together with this woman, or are you just really sure you don't want to be broken up with her? There is a difference.

    Five month isn't that long. Yeah, you can spin it another way, that it felt longer because x and y, but still: it is only five months of your time on the planet. They sound kind of dramatic, and if your text exchanges are a clue, they don't quite sound like they brought out a mature, respectful side of either of you. And, alas, they led to you guys not working. Odds are if something isn't sticking pretty hard at five months it means it's just not sticky enough.

  3. #3
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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    Curious about those "red flags" that caused you to hesitate. Care to expound?
    For one, she was only technically "separated" from her ex-husband for 2 years while we dated. Ironically when I said "it's done" back in September, little did I know three days later she was going to finalize the divorce. I now realize she had already begun pulling away a couple of weeks prior. The other thing is that that experience (which lasted 9 years) clearly still weighed on her. Then the very first relationship she got into after it was a complete nightmare - the kind that scar people deeply. She followed that up with a roommate that needed a restraining order placed on him. I never got a sense that she was still being proactive about healing and charting out her life, moreso using certain things to distract herself and her anxiety. The thing is though, I never sat her down to probe about these things, I just didn't know how to given how sensitive the whole issue was.

    It's hard, reading your post, to really understand why you want to get back together with her. The decoding of emojis, the gauging of things through Instagram—it sounds like a pretty shallow connection if you're turning to those tea leaves for answers. I mean, are you even sure you want to be back together with this woman, or are you just really sure you don't want to be broken up with her? There is a difference.

    Five month isn't that long. Yeah, you can spin it another way, that it felt longer because x and y, but still: it is only five months of your time on the planet. They sound kind of dramatic, and if your text exchanges are a clue, they don't quite sound like they brought out a mature, respectful side of either of you. And, alas, they led to you guys not working. Odds are if something isn't sticking pretty hard at five months it means it's just not sticky enough.
    It is most definitely shallow right now aside from the in-person interactions during Week 4, her asking to be my +1, and a couple of other messages we exchanged over these last 5 weeks. There's simply not enough time to break all those conversations down. That text exchange two Saturday nights ago was definitely awful for both of us. But then again she's the one who feels she put in a ton of effort and didn't get the same out of it. Me saying I missed her doesn't matter right now she wanted to her it well before. I can imagine how frustrated that might make someone feel.

    Your question about why? At her core she's a beautiful soul. A lover of animals, great with kids, and lights up a room. She was 100% supportive of me and always in my corner when I was down. It's like I've known her all of my life and the connection was effortless. She was my best friend. I met her at a weird time though. Work was killing me - the level of stress I felt there was unbearable and I felt extremely underappreciated. I've also been managing my parents fighting for the last 20 years, which lately has deteriorated to nightmarish levels. In August for the second time in less than two years I've had to manage kidney failure for one of my pets. It ripped a scab open that wasn't yet fully healed from the last one. Battling something like that (where no matter what you can't win) puts you in a weird head space sometimes.

    This whole experience though has made me realize that I've been keeping too safe a distance with people - even the ones I care deeply for. I'm ashamed at how I've avidly been trying to avoid another round of disappointment in life. Yet here it is anyway.
    Last edited by TimeToGrowUp; 10-15-2019 at 10:24 PM.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear this. It sounds like in these five years you've left no stone unturned and have tried and considered everything. The situation was fraught with problems from the start but you gave it your best shot. Take this time to reflect and breathe and give yourself some peace. Also don't let parents make you their combat dumping ground. tell each of them "they need to go to marital therapy" then change the subject and be very very busy.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    I get the impression that what she brought to the table was just "too much" for you. We meet people when we meet them, and in this case you met someone who was two years separated, with a roommate scenario and recent relationship buzzing in the rear view mirror. You say it "clearly weighed on her," which may be true, but I think it was you for whom that weight was too much.

    That's okay. That's probably healthy, hesitation triggered by intuition. There are often such questions in early dating, and part of exploring things is to see if those questions soften or sharpen. If they sharpen—not good. If they soften—good. In other words, I don't think the "weight" another caries is a thing we're supposed to "probe" or see if we can hold without breaking; it's more like we see if we can be comfortable and open alongside it—if we can "handle" that weight by just being ourselves.

    Bottom line: it sounds like she's in a place, and making some choices, that limit your ability to respect her and respect yourself while investing in her. Without respect—which is an organic thing, not a state we "work" or "probe" to achieve—a connection can't deepen and expand. Too many jagged edges—which are interesting, for sure, but they do scrape. It's worth exploring the question of whether you're partly drawn to this because a part of you doesn't really think it could work. There is a certain safety in that approach—it never becomes real, your life never really has to change—but there are major limitations, especially if you're wanting and open to a genuinely life-changing connection.

    In your shoes I'd take some time to yourself, to really allow your feelings to surface and get sorted. Sounds like you're in a pretty reactive state right now while needing some more reflection. Reflection is impossible when our brains are focused on emojis, on Instagram story views, and you're old enough to know that no one stands at the altar and tells the story of how a "rough patch" was smoothed out through IG codebreaking.

    Sorry for your animal troubles. Lost my furry compatriot of 18 years earlier this year. Know how deep that can cut.

  7. #6
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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    I get the impression that what she brought to the table was just "too much" for you. We meet people when we meet them, and in this case you met someone who was two years separated, with a roommate scenario and recent relationship buzzing in the rear view mirror. You say it "clearly weighed on her," which may be true, but I think it was you for whom that weight was too much.

    That's okay. That's probably healthy, hesitation triggered by intuition. There are often such questions in early dating, and part of exploring things is to see if those questions soften or sharpen. If they sharpen—not good. If they soften—good. In other words, I don't think the "weight" another caries is a thing we're supposed to "probe" or see if we can hold without breaking; it's more like we see if we can be comfortable and open alongside it—if we can "handle" that weight by just being ourselves.

    Bottom line: it sounds like she's in a place, and making some choices, that limit your ability to respect her and respect yourself while investing in her. Without respect—which is an organic thing, not a state we "work" or "probe" to achieve—a connection can't deepen and expand. Too many jagged edges—which are interesting, for sure, but they do scrape. It's worth exploring the question of whether you're partly drawn to this because a part of you doesn't really think it could work. There is a certain safety in that approach—it never becomes real, your life never really has to change—but there are major limitations, especially if you're wanting and open to a genuinely life-changing connection.

    In your shoes I'd take some time to yourself, to really allow your feelings to surface and get sorted. Sounds like you're in a pretty reactive state right now while needing some more reflection. Reflection is impossible when our brains are focused on emojis, on Instagram story views, and you're old enough to know that no one stands at the altar and tells the story of how a "rough patch" was smoothed out through IG codebreaking.

    Sorry for your animal troubles. Lost my furry compatriot of 18 years earlier this year. Know how deep that can cut.
    I appreciate this post of yours a lot btw.

    The weight of her recent experiences affected both of us. She's been very open how much so in her case and she insisted that had I just made more time for her the layers of her awkwardness would've peeled back more. The choice of hers I struggled to fully respect is her dependency on smoking weed all the time to cope. But who am I to judge that? What she went through between her failed marriage and then the ensuing rebound relationship is something no woman should ever have to experience. Alas I have a father who's got severe substance abuse problems and ironically so does she. That scares me. I bet you right now she's not really feeling any of the weight I am because she's self-soothing like she normally does.

    She does have a lot going on and in the past I always found myself being very hard-lined about not trying to push thru any red flags. So I struggled as to whether it was intuition or my standard stubborn approach. My mother always preaches to me that it's not about finding someone who's their perfect self right now - it's about growing a life and helping each other. I drifted a bit about midway thru everything while we were dating because of some of the jagged edges, but I was also going through my own mental crap as I mentioned. I wasn't ready to quit on us though.

    Ya, I'm not going to the lie the loss of my first pet from Kidney failure (which was 5 months before I met her) really messed me up. I felt like such a failure and couldn't talk openly about it for fear of being judged. A lot of people are weird about that stuff - oh it's just a pet! They don't understand that he was my comfort blanket for many years when friends were being really sh*tty and disappearing from my life. Then it happened again three months into us dating. I can't even begin to describe to you the mental hangover it brought on.

  8. #7
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    I agree generally with the others. It's relatively early doors and if somethings not working at 5 months it's not going to last 5 years.

    How old is she? I noticed that you are 40 but when i initially read it and the way you communicate between each other i believed that you were both under 25s. Something not quite right with it.

    I'd suggest that you potentially are not in the right frame of mind to be dating at all currently. It sounds like you have a lot to struggle with which i am sorry to hear about. I would forget about her, for now at the very least, and just remain civil and professional at work of course.

    Personally im also a little confused about something. You mentioned she had an episode in ther summer but you are seeking her forgiveness for that? I don't understand sorry.


    All being said i personally would walk away from the romantic side of this, just write it off as a learning experience and move on. It sounds a lot of drama and squabbling for 5 months. There is something missing between you 2 and i can't work out what it is. The whole thing screams miscommunication but it also feels liek there's more. Sorry i can't be of more help.

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    Originally Posted by ninjabib
    I agree generally with the others. It's relatively early doors and if somethings not working at 5 months it's not going to last 5 years.

    How old is she? I noticed that you are 40 but when i initially read it and the way you communicate between each other i believed that you were both under 25s. Something not quite right with it.

    I'd suggest that you potentially are not in the right frame of mind to be dating at all currently. It sounds like you have a lot to struggle with which i am sorry to hear about. I would forget about her, for now at the very least, and just remain civil and professional at work of course.

    Personally im also a little confused about something. You mentioned she had an episode in ther summer but you are seeking her forgiveness for that? I don't understand sorry.


    All being said i personally would walk away from the romantic side of this, just write it off as a learning experience and move on. It sounds a lot of drama and squabbling for 5 months. There is something missing between you 2 and i can't work out what it is. The whole thing screams miscommunication but it also feels liek there's more. Sorry i can't be of more help.
    There's nearly a 10 year age gap between us. What specifically about how her and I communicate though? At the end of the day I will say what did this in was the lack of communication where/when it mattered. We let it linger until the very end. In one of our post-split chats, we both admitted we feared being disappointed again.

    There wasn't really any squabbling outside of the "summer incident" though. Any squabbles have been after the split. That day I showed up to meet her out at the bars she was a hot mess. I won't get into the long end of it, but her behavior was not very flattering and after 3-4 hours of it I basically said her and her friends need to go home, that I'm too old for that kind of thing. She tried calling me all night and then we finally talked the next day. She cried profusely and begged me not to judge her for it. We moved on from it, but the mistake I made was never giving her a chance again to be out with me in that element. Yet now, she clings to that moment and clearly has some resentment about it.

    This situation is bigger than her in a lot of ways. It made me realize the safe distance and non-committal ways I've been keeping with people absolutely has to stop. As far as work relations, I've kept it perfectly civil and that's not something that's going to change. We still interact with each other, it's impossible not to when she comes over here to talk to her sister who sits right in front of me.

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    Thank you for the clarification.

    It sounds like you are both constantly scared almost of upsetting the other or fearing saying something the other person won't like. That is not a good thing at all in a relationship. Chances are that if you got back together this would resume sooner rather than later. It should be a natural thing to happen but for some reason, despite the clear love you have/had for each other, it's not there. This suggests something deep rooted and problematic with either or both of you.

    Regarding the episode why did you not allow her to get drunk aorund you again. It sounds like she's learnt her lesson there. She probably does resent you. If you will not allow her to relax and let her hair down she probably feels shes being constantly judged by you and again out of fear she's changing something about her. OK, she should not get absolutely hammered but controlled drinking is usually ok.

    It's good that you have seen some of the issues you have within and now you can work on fixing them and improving yourself. As things stand now i'm sorry to say that if you got back together as things are i don't think they would last long.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    I'll be more blunt than usual in my assessment.

    You're 40, she's 30. The fabric of her life, thus far, is not fabric you can lean into with any genuine comfort. You know this, and probably knew it right from the start. Yet you're still torn, which is human, but that conflict really has little to do with her and more to do with you—some knots you need to address and untangle, because I think a not insignificant portion of you (dad stuff here, more stuff there) is pulling the strings in ways that don't really serve you. You're a bit more drawn to the project of this person than her personhood, which generally means you'd be better off tinkering with yourself than with the sharp pieces of another.

    I mean, you are 100 percent allowed to "judge" someone who opts to deal with life through smoking weed as someone who doesn't work for you. Wouldn't work for me, and I've got a super lax attitude about that stuff. Still, throw me a curveball and I'm not lighting up or pouring a drink; no, that's when I get tall in the trenches, pouring the wine after the battle. I need a similar approach from anyone I commit to. I've tried other modes—pulled here and there by my own knots. Didn't work. At this point in my life—we're the same age—I'm more interested in things that work than in trying to work through that which I spiritually understand is unworkable.

    Keep exploring those "non-committal" ways and "safe" distances. If there's a lesson from these five months, it might be that "safe" is not really safe, but dangerous. Here you are, after all, hung up on someone you know is dangerous. You don't quite trust that she can handle the business of living. Maybe she figures that out, maybe not. That's not your job as a partner. Sympathy and love are not the same things, you know?

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