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Worried about what our coworkers will think.


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I really need advice, but of course as usual, I don't have really anyone to talk to, so I turn to this site. I'll try to make it brief.


I am dating a good man. I truly admire and care for him. He's very thoughtful, and I thoroughly enjoy his company (more than I can recall enjoying anyone's company, even past loves). I know it's only been a few months since we have been together, but I can really see things working out with him for the long run. But then, there's a problem, not with him, but with me, and with certain dynamics of our relationship. We work together (please don't get on my case about this, things happen), but we are in two entirely different sides of the building, which makes it easy to keep things a bit discreet. He's not trying to hide me because he invited me out with him and his coworkers. He doesn't lovingly stroking my back in front of others. He's worked with this company for quite some time, so many people know about him... and his ex.


Lately, I've been down and feeling very alone but happy when I am with him. I realize that this isn't healthy relationship dynamics. WORK DEPRESSES ME. Here's the problem, I usually end up outcasted at work. I hate office politics, so I revert back to myself and people are totally fine with talking past me and acting as if I don't exist. This makes me feel even more misunderstood and alone. I hate working with women, because the moment you're a professional, strong performer, they become threatened by you and cattiness begins. They have their titles, I don't, I just want to be left alone. These catty women are my bosses and also my boyfriend's friends. He thinks highly of some of them. And the problem with being down and quiet, people form opinions about you. I'm in a situation where I don't want to embarrass my boyfriend just by being involved with me. These people know about his ex, and I don't know her, but of course with investigation via social media, she's cute and she seems quirky. There's a holiday party coming up, and of course my boyfriend wants me to be his date, and when that happens, other people will know about us. That makes me nervous, I don't want to be compared to his ex, but that might happen.


It was a hard to talk to him about feeling down, but I felt like he should know early on so that he can make an informed decision about what he wanted to do with us, if he still wanted to pursue things with me. I felt like having this conversation removes me from the list of being a happy go lucky care free girlfriend. I told him about my anxieties of meeting his friends and how I don't want him to be embarrassed by me. I also told him, that I have personal things that I am dealing with at the time, and how I cannot allow him to be the only source of my happiness at the moment. His response is that he would never be embarrassed by me, he could care less of other peoples opinions ( I did not mention his work friends/ my bosses). He also seems to be mildly amused at the possibility of having a co-dependent relationship, which I'm not. I can't heavily rely or depend on him for everything. He told me to continue being myself and loving, and I will always have a safe space with him.


I worry about him inviting me out with his friends because I am not sure which coworkers I'll be speaking to, and everyone chats with everyone. My anxiety kicks in. He tells me that I need to get out more with him so that he can help me become more social. He has a bit of a White Knight complex. I don't know guys, I want to be happy go lucky, fun and adventurous with him, I know it's in me, but I have a sever case of Corporate America blues. I know I should get help, working on that part. I feel like being down and out, he'll eventually grow tired of that and tired of me.

I am freaked out about this party coming up. Any advice is appreciated.

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I feel like you would benefit from having other strong women around you or female friends. I think you're getting cold feet and that's normal especially if you're feeling unsure about a certain crowd. Every confident person has some embarrassing thing and everyone has their own troubles. They're just like you. I wouldn't let this social anxiety get the better of you as it'll start to eat away at your relationship and the trust/respect that you both have for each other. I think a lot of your worries stem from the you versus them mentality; they're just every day run of the mill people like you or I. It doesn't matter what their title is or who they know or what they do.


Give yourself a chance and get to know different people, give others a chance too to get to know you. Go to the party and have the time of your life. I wouldn't say much more about your worries on this matter to your boyfriend as you've already brought it up and there's nothing he can do aside from disinvite you which of course would be rude and untoward. The other option is to decline going which might make you more miserable. If that's the case and neither are very appealing, I'm not sure what else there is to do but live life fully and embrace all of it. You did choose him for a partner and vice versa for him choosing you. Enjoy yourself and have fun.

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I think this is all in your head. Your bf is confident . He knows life is much easier if you don’t sweat over stuff. I think the majority of what you see as potential issues won’t happen if you simply stop worrying. When you have anxiety people can sense that so they ignore you because it makes them uncomfortable. Your perception is they are causing you trouble because of your higher authority....most likely not the case. I believe if you learn to think differently all this will change and your situation will be positive instead of this pending doom you keep obsessing about.

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I think you just act civil and professional at the holiday party. Unfortunately you've created this situation where you make assumptions about professional women who are successful or see their colleagues as successful as being catty. I think what really happened is that your negative vibes/energy repels your coworkers. Maybe certain of the people you work with are catty -I don't know - but please don't generalize/stereotype women in this way -it's not true and it's a copout -it's an excuse for you to justify acting towards others as you do at work. You don't need to be best buds but having a collegial, cordial relationship can only help you in your career success. I do speak from experience of all types -including dealing with catty people (yes not just women).


Also if you want to look for another job, personal references and networking with colleagues and friends of colleagues can go a long way.

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I too got the impression that you were using your judgement of woman as being catty to (perhaps subconsciously) justify your own introversion or your general anxiety is causing you to read people incorrectly. You know them better than us of course but when you generalize like that, it raises an eyebrow.


I think you would be a lot more happier if you concentrated on the fun you will have with your b/f and take your mind off of the negative narrative you have going on in your own mind and are focusing on. You are enjoying your relationship so do your best not to ruin it with your insecurity, negative projection and non confidence when it comes to your colleagues and how you THINK they perceive you. You perceive them in a negative manner and it seems you are projecting that negativity by assuming they feel the same way about you.


Most of us do not view shy or quiet people in any other way but shy and quiet. Those that view shy/quiet people in the way you are projecting aren't worth the worry so adopt the attitude that you are a prize that anyone would be happy to get to know better and if anyone can't see that, then pffft to them. Do your best to engage them with your charm... the same charm your boyfriend has found in you.

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You have written before casting him as an amazing man that you are not good enough for. Either he is going to get sick and tired eventually of you putting yourself down and being perpetually fragile or he is going to reveal in his actions and speech that he is dating you because you are vulnerable and he can control you. You seemed delighted that he would need a "good woman" to take care of him after mom and granny die....


Either tell him you want to keep your relationship a secret at work or go as his date. You have to choose one.


I really think you will benefit from some therapy as well as joining some clubs or volunteer groups or take lessons in something to grow some form of confidence.

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The level of codependency on both sides of this is so thick you could cut it with a knife.


I’m going to level with you, I don’t think you have anything to worry about.


This role of fragile bird that needs to be taken care of seems to by your dynamic.


Super unhealthy, but it is what it is, you’re both choosing this relationships so enjoy it for what it is: you are the neurotic insecure younger girlfriend who constantly needs reassurance and your boyfriend is the white night savior who gets to have his ego constantly stroked while being cared for and mothered by a woman finding joy proving herself worthy.


If it works for you two it works.


Why keep rocking the boat? I must say I don’t get it.


Is this dynamic starting to not work for you? Or do you need him to be more reassuring?


Serious question. No point in beating around the bush, this relationship is not one of equals, it’s not healthy nor will it ever be but it’s one you both chose, so what do you need? Tell him, he wouldn’t be in this relationship if he himself was healthy so I get idealizing him is part of your dynamic, but be realistic.

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Been trying to think of something to say here—and, well, FiO said it.


I mean, I could offer what I think is constructive advice, namely: that the easiest way to ensure that someone does not get tired of you is to ensure that you are not tired of yourself. So, make a list of things that make you excited to be you, or that you'd like to add to amp up that excitement, and do them. If anyone tires of that? So be it. Their loss, and you recover from that loss by taking comfort in the carnival of you, where nothing is ever tiring because carnivals are exciting. There's cotton candy when the Ferris wheel gets old, the haunted house when the funhouse loses its fun.


Some people outsource the carnival to a relationship, also known as co-dependency. Some do this without knowing what co-dependency is, others use an encyclopedic knowledge of "codependent dynamics" to rationalize it, as if the label can serve as a shield. It's not, can't. The label is the sponge, and the glue. If you're cuddling up and joking about being in a codependent relationship, it means you're deep in a codependent relationship. Ever see someone finish a glass of wine, smile, and say, "I think I might drink too much"? It's because they drink too much.


Talk to a couple who has been married for 10 years and ask them how things have changed, on a deep core level, from the first 3-9 months. "Not much," many will say, especially those in harmonious marriages, because that's the foundation, the engine. You're pouring yours right now, with much of the concrete already hardening.


Can you just enjoy it for what it is? That's not a question asked with a dismissive eye roll, but genuinely. At the end of the day relationships are what they are—not, well, what they are not—and the only real reason people stay in them is because they're getting something. You both are getting something out of this. Neither of you seem remotely tired of what that something is, him in particular. He digs being around you as much as he digs reassuring you. You've run both those tests through laboratory, and the results are positive.

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He digs being around you as much as he digs reassuring you. You've run both those tests through laboratory, and the results are positive.
and that is exactly when it doesn't matter if you are codependent. When you have accepted and are happy in the dynamic. You're only in something unhealthy if you are not happy but you keep at it while trying to change the other while failing at it.


Usually, in the beginning of the relationship it's cute and endurable. It's only when the new relationship energy has dissipated and you are getting to the nitty gritty of who the person is that the unable to accept rears its head. Lets just hope that you two don't ever get to the stage of no longer being able to accept, ConfusedLady. Rather than leave it to chance, why not get some professional advice and guidance on how to be more courageous, confident, trusting wherein you shine rather than hide? Are you afraid he won't find you as attractive if you are that woman? Don't you want to feel equal to the very woman you think are above you?

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btw, when i was 23, i was perceived as the "wounded bird". and you know what? When i changed and became stronger and more self assured (i already was not quite as wounded as my ex perceived me to begin with but i didn't give myself credit), my ex could not handle me coming into my own and tried to force me back into the wounded bird role so much that he would try to hurt me - to bring me back down to it vs appreciating someone was equal or exceeded him. just food for thought.

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I think you should try to find healthy and effective ways of managing your anxiety, and perhaps you may be suffering from depression as well since you mention that you’ve been feeling down. Perhaps I can suggest some therapy to help build your confidence, as your anxiety seems to be counterproductive to your wellbeing.


His ex should not be relevant at all. He is dating YOU. I don’t know why she would even be mentioned unless they broke up very very recently.


I think your boyfriend should be a little more supportive and reassure you when you’re feeling insecure or down. He doesn’t seem to know how to provide this kind of emotional support in times of need. His amused reaction is inappropriate and shows that he’s being dismissive and downplaying your concerns. Maybe that’s something you should discuss with him, and let him know how you would want him to help you.

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I think your boyfriend should be a little more supportive and reassure you when you’re feeling insecure or down.
Of course when the periods of insecurity and "down" are infrequent but no point enabling a show of over insecurity by rewarding it with MORE reassurance and support. That would be codependent relating if he were to entertain insecurity that has become an issue in their relationship. No one's bad habits should be supported in an ongoing way unless it is with a trained professional who can help nip said insecurity and "down" in the bud so it is cured rather than supported. JMHO
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Of course when the periods of insecurity and "down" are infrequent but no point enabling a show of over insecurity by rewarding it with MORE reassurance and support. That would be codependent relating if he were to entertain insecurity that has become an issue in their relationship. No one's bad habits should be supported in an ongoing way unless it is with a trained professional who can help nip said insecurity and "down" in the bud so it is cured rather than supported. JMHO


I agree. She has been lamenting over not viewing herself as "good enough" for months now. He's either going to get tired of having to reassure her or he's unhealthy himself and enjoys feeling superior.

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