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Problems after break up with coworker

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Hey guys need a bit of advice on how to move forward on a quite complex relationship break up. Pardon me for the wall of text.


Last year I started seeing a 'coworker'. I quote that because we do not work directly together, but we see each other a lot at lunch times, staff meetings and social events related to common work friends. That's only when we are around since our jobs involve a lot of travelling, staying away from town for weeks.


Things started well, we saw each other a lot, but at the same time we were both pretty relaxed about our relationship expectations. We had a deal where we would have a more classic 'girlfriend-boyfriend' relationship when we were both around, but we consented on seeing other people while away or having a 'special friend' coming over. When this happened (just a couple of times on each side) we just let each other know in a respectful way and went back to where we were.


After about 5 months together she started to act colder. After a month being away, time in which I was the only one making an effort to keep contact through texting, she decided to break up. It's hard to know the real reasons since she was quite vague, but said she was just not in a right mind frame to continue a romantic relationship, and wished to keep a close friendship. At this point I was expecting something like this, so I tried to be as mature and understanding as possible, and agreed to let it go. As a condition, I only asked her to give me space (no contact for a while) and said maybe to a future friendship.


After more than a month of not talking, we started doing friendly small talk around the office, which led 2-3 weeks after, to her asking me to get a drink together before she left town for a month. That went well, we had a 'safe' conversation and said bye to each other for a while. With my new friendly vision of her I went and dropped a text after a couple of weeks to see how she was going. Some days after she replied with a two-liner and after I tried to continue the conversation she never replied. For my surprise this made me feel really bad. I think I moved past the fact that we could not have a romantic relationship, but I still had an attraction for her, and feeling ignored brought back really intense feelings of rejection. At this point things got weird (at least from my perspective), we had really mild and awkward talks when we stumbled upon each other, since I was not sure if I had to treat her as every other coworker or as this closer friend. Until again, some weeks down the line she asked for another drink catch up. We did it and I felt like we were back again to the same point we were when we did our first catch up. However, next day things went back to being cold and weird, which was really disappointing.


Recent trouble starts here. At a common friend's party, in which she did not approach me for hours, after I had one too many beers, I went to talk to her. Conversation turned into all the things we didn't tell each other after 4 months since the break up. She turned very defensive when I (probably mistakenly) asked her about what went wrong with our past relationship and told her I was not feeling too good about our current relationship. As she did not want to talk at that moment we left the discussion and I asked her through text to have a conversation. She spent 2 weeks to get back to me (which felt horrible) and 2 more to find time for a meetup.


There I confronted her on how I was not doing alright with keeping no close contact except for these odd catch ups. She argued that she has this sort of relationship with many people, and rejected keeping more contact. I tried to be as sincere as possible and express how this new friendship didn't feel like one, since it seemed very one-sided. She has full power to decide when to see me and when to feel free to not even reply a text. Seeing that she was not offering any agreement, I told her I would prefer to leave things as colleagues, and leave social interaction in the office and the occasional socialising in a group environment. At this point she got visibly annoyed to the point she left angrily. This was 2 days ago.


Yesterday we were both at a birthday party of a common colleague and out of pure confusion about how to react to her, things felt so awkward that in the split second we crossed eyes, we both looked away. We obviously didn't cross a word either. 'She didn't stick around for long, and after she left the party, I got a pretty nasty text from her blaming me about being a 'drama queen', 'making things awkward' and 'making it really clear how I did not want to be around her'. I was really confused about what did I do exactly, but still felt really bad, so I replied letting her know I was not aware of what exactly she was referring to, while apologising for making her feel bad. No reply from her.


It's the day after and I really have no clue how to face this person next time we cross each other. Just writing it down now, everything feels like a bunch of really small stupid things blew up enormously. I think the same situation with someone I don't have to see often would have naturally fell into place by now, but the contact-no contact periods over such along stretch of time (5 months since the break up) are messing with my head.


Any advice or opinion is welcome. She leaves for a couple of months in two weeks and I am confused on how to make things right. I really care about her, so I would still like to keep a quality friendship, but above all, if that's not possible, I want to find a way to not have bad blood between us and create drama around work.



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It often doesn't work to try to keep a friendship going with an ex, especially if you are still attracted and she is not.


What you are calling cold may be her indifference to you now as a romance.. she wants to be a buddy and not a romantic obligation with a lot of contact. You obviously still have feelings for her if you are tracking how long takes her to respond and still bringing up the past relationship and wanting to discuss it with her.


so friendship isn't working for you. Nothing says you have to stay friends with her, most people don't. After a breakup they let go and move on.


So really let her go. Don't text her. Treat her like any other coworker, polite but uninvolved in her personal life. Don't invite her out, start dating other people, and don't try to be her friend. It just isn't working and you need to focus on people who do want to date you, and she just doesn't. Let it go, and let her go.

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Thanks Tulip! Agreed, I don't think the friendship it's working and that's why I offered her to stay just as coworkers. What is really confusing me now is why would she get so angry about me asking her to do that...

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I've been in situations where I've dated co-workers. ALWAYS a bad move. What I would do is this. You obviously can't help running into her. So you're going to feel insecure because you still want to be with her. Take the burden off of your shoulders and realize things are over and treat it that way. And it's obvious she doesn't really care. She just wants to hang out with you occasionally with no strings attached. That means she wants to grab a drink, and not talk about it after. Also, you don't have to make an announcement. Take her lead. She's obviously not into you anymore so you don't owe her to tell her that "I need space" or "I don't think a friendship can work" or "We should just be co-workers". Just do it. Just give yourself the space. Don't be friends with her. And be her co-worker.


Once you take the pressure off of yourself of trying to get her back, or worry about how you act around her, you'll start feeling better. You have to tell yourself that she made it clear she doesn't want any intrusive questions about where you stand. So talk to her when you need to for work, but SUBTLY avoid her. And don't date people you work with. Because it only prolongs the agony. In a normal relationship you can get over that person by not having to see them anymore. That gives you time to heal. But if you always have to see someone, it's going to mess with your happiness.


And if I had to take a guess as to why she got angry about that, she probably thought you were playing a game. Like when someone "Breaks up" with someone but really doesn't want to, they're just trying to get a reaction. She likely thought this is what you were doing. Hence the "Drama queen" stuff. Just let her go. Get out and start dating.

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