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Returning to work with a woman whose rejection devastated me


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I’m 36, still a virgin, and prior to last year had never dated before. The main reason is that I have debilitating arthritis, which derailed my life badly in my early 20s. I am decent looking, but have a lot of life issues that I assume make me unattractive, so I’ve just given up on that part of life.


Last year I started a new job at a call center, where a very attractive female member of training staff started flirting with me while I was training under her. She started gently and quickly escalated to being overtly sexual. I ignored her and feigned disinterest because I was intimidated by her and thought she was just messing with me, but let her continue because on some level I liked the attention. In private I was always very attracted to her, and over time developed a big crush on her. She was very good at her job, a great mentor when she wasn't telling me what she wanted to do to me, we had a great working relationship, and interacting with her was my favorite thing about going to work. I was bummed when I had to leave training and relocate to another part of the floor, after which I only saw her in the halls or in the break room.


One night in late May, she added me on FB and came on to me hard over messenger. She said she was very attracted to me and that it drove her crazy that I didn’t seem to notice her, and practically begged me to date and hook up with her. I admitted my attraction to her, but told her we weren't a match and that I wasn't interested. I was lying my ass off. We kept talking, and two weeks later I finally agreed to get together with her outside of work.


We dated casually for five weeks. As I thought, we weren’t a good match, and worse, I had no idea what I was doing, and made a lot of mistakes in dealing with her. We never had sex. There were opportunities, but I was too timid to escalate. We had more of a warm/affectionate vibe than a sexual connection. I was waiting for her to lead me into it, but I think she wanted me to act like a man and initiate, and nothing ever happened. Awkward as I was, I loved spending time with her, she was a great friend, and there was nothing I wouldn't blow off in a heartbeat to hang out with her. I caught very strong feelings, which I tried to keep to myself, but I’m pretty sure she picked up on it.


In early July, things were beginning to heat up between us, and she made an explicit offer to take my virginity; then, a few days later, overnight, like a switch flipped, she went cold and shut me down in a callous way. She didn’t even have the respect to tell me it was over, just left me to figure it out on my own and embarrass myself in the process. I made the mistake of continuing platonic contact with her for a few weeks, until she announced in front of me, among mutual friends, that she had a new buddy whom she was planning to host at her place to hook up with that weekend, which she had previously made plans to spend with me. I was absolutely shattered and stopped talking to her.


At the end of July, the same week that this happened, our call center closed. I got laid off, and she got transferred to the company’s other site a short distance away. We only spoke a few times after her hookup announcement. Because of how I handled myself in those final interactions, I’m sure she’s well aware of how I feel, i.e., that I’m butthurt as hell. We haven’t spoken since August.


I pined after her for months. Her rejection is the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. What once seemed like the best thing that ever happened to me ended in total ing heartbreak. It really messed me up bad. I pined away for months, but at this point, I’ve completely, utterly given up hope of ever getting back with her, and would decline even if the impossible happened and she ever showed interest in me again, but I’m still not “over” her. Eight months since I last saw her, I’m still very affected, still very hurt and humiliated. I know I should never see or contact her again.


I got another job in a city far away city that pays about two-thirds as much (due to fewer hours) and has 2-3 times that commute. I’ve been there seven months now. Last week I received a professional email from her. She now works in recruiting. They are hiring former employees who got laid off, and she invited me to call her to schedule an interview. It would be a better work option for me and I need the money, but it would be very stressful for me to see her again. I would be mortified to face her.


Where we used to work, she had rejected a lot of guys, but stayed friendly with all of them, and they all kept giving her attention, which I thought was pathetic. In private she badmouthed some of them to me. I refuse to be one of them. I never want to see or speak to her again.


I wish I could just go there and act indifferent, look her in the eyes, and be totally unphased, and treat her like any other co-worker I don’t give a damn about, but I don’t think I can. I would be highly reactive around her. In my mind I play out this scenario where she tries to make casual conversation with me in the break room, and I tell her to off and that she should be fired for her prior conduct toward me. I’m afraid the emotions are so strong I can’t handle myself and something like that will actually happen.


Help bro. What do I do. Should I apply there? If I do, what’s my strategy for dealing with her? I already know I will never give her attention beyond exchanging pleasantries, but what do I do when she tries to talk to me? She is very social and will try to talk to anyone within earshot. So either she talks to me and it's awkward for me, or she ignores me and it hurts. Should I just politely tell her to please only speak to me if it’s work related? What if she tries to hug me the first time we see each other? I really don’t want to hug her. Advice on what to do much appreciated.

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If you can manage financially without her then do so.


However the flip side is you could use this as a learning life experience. Go interview for the job. Pretend you don't know her from the next person. Be professional, don't let her know that you care, be the guy that moved on and let her go. She probably gets her rocks off having guys pining after her. Don't be that guy. If you do anything let her see you be happy and moving on with life don't let her see you acting like a forlorn lost puppy who can't find his favorite ball.

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Well first things first, I don’t see how she’s taking the blame for your arrested development.


You said multiple times because you were intimidated you pushed her away.She tried to continue you were too afraid to, she probably got her ego bruised and acted immaturely by making that announcement in front of everyone. It was wrong, but you can’t sit here and act like she led you on, your relationship had opportunities to flourish and you couldn’t take the dive. That’s on you and if you don’t stop playing hard to get out of fear youre going to have a hard time dating.


No I would not go work there, you’ve got a solid victim mentality going right now so I don’t think you’ll be able to differentiate. You just don’t seem emotionally ready.


One minute you said “ we dated casually for 5 weeks because I didn’t think we were a match” you told her you weren’t interested, and then you say she broke your heart? Were reading your play by play and it’s everywhere, I’m sure she was confused.


I’m sure you could meet a woman who is willing to go slow with you. But you’re gonna have to do your part too and communicate and not push women away. It’s counterproductive.

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I'm physically disabled and work in a damn call center for $15 an hour. I have no options. More hurt and humiliated than feeling like a victim. I do think she was irresponsible to have made advances on me while I was training under her, but it's not her fault that I was a weak timid douche with a negative attitude who wasn't on her level.

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You're the one who gets to assign the importance of this pathetic user to yourself. If you want to give her the power to deprive you of better earnings and commute time, you can do that. Or, you can adopt a convenient case of amnesia, accept the work, treat the woman as kindly as you would a stranger, and take pride in the fact that your resistance to ever giving her what she wanted and your ability to bounce back as though she's meaningless to you would not only gain you better employment, but it would likely drive her nuts.


You get to decide you own level of humiliation. I'd choose the opposite of what you're doing to yourself. The fact that she felt the need to rub your nose in her choice to move on means that you got to her. She's the loser in this, and her behavior on the job is whacked--what should that tell you?


If you want to work yourself up and blow off at her, you can do that, but it would only show your cards, which you've kept private. You're actually in the driver's seat if you can mind your own business and see her for the pathetic attention-seeker that she is. No need to confront her about that, you've already won--IF you decide to view it that way.


Head high, and minimize your barriers by turning your intelligence in your own favor instead of allowing it to work against you.

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