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Kristin, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 454
Experience:  Psychotherapist and Relationships Expert with 11+ years exp. Dating, Relationships, Marriage.
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I am a single 32-year-old man. I started a romantic affair

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I am a single 32-year-old man. I started a romantic affair with a 32-year-old single coworker. We mutually agreed to end the affair after six months because it had become too difficult to conceal our feelings for each other in front of our coworkers and feared that we would be disciplined since workplace relationships were not permissible. For the past six months we have grown to be good friends and have both moved on to work elsewhere. We would meet up at least three to four times per week and speak at night nearly daily. Since we both moved on to work for different companies, I have long desired to start a romantic relationship with her. Two days before New Year’s Eve she asked to meet me at a coffee shop. She informed me that she was thinking about getting back with her ex boyfriend. They had a messy off and on three-year relationship. She had cheated on him. He, in turn, cheated on her on multiple occasions. I was devastated, but did not let my emotions show. I could not bring myself to call her for three days. I finally contacted her and told her how I felt about her. She was obviously upset that I didn’t tell her sooner and that she had decided to try to build trust with her ex and get back together with him, despite her friends urging not to. She also said that despite my feelings for her that she felt ashamed of her past actions and that she fears that should we ever have a relationship that she would hurt me. I told her that I didn’t care about what happened on the past. Additionally, she asked that I not contact her for two weeks until both of our emotions could settle down and she worked on things with her ex. After our break she said she would figure something out and call me. This is tearing me up inside and I don’t know what to do. I am so tempted to reach out to her again, but I feel that I would be defying her wishes and the waiting is unbearable. Shouldn’t she know if she wants to be with me? It seems like she’s punishing herself by getting back with her ex who hurt her so deeply. Why would she get back with someone she can't trust? Even if I am not with her, I don't want her to be hurt. I know this is complex, but what do you think I should do?
Hello and thank you for your question.

If she asked for no contact to get her feelings sorted out and she is working on things with her ex I would definitely NOT reach out to her again. That will only push her away, if she feels that you are being clingy and also if she feels you are not respecting her wishes of giving some space right now. Two weeks really is not that long. It is odd that now you are both able to have a relationship, she is seeking out her ex. It's obvious she has unresolved feelings for him and you would not want to continue with her until that is all sorted out, once and for all. Otherwise, you will only get hurt in the long run. I advise to go out socially, and try to stay occupied and don't contact her at all. Wait for atleast two weeks and if you don't hear from her, then you can request to meet for coffee and see where things stand with her. If she is still unsure, then move forward without her.
Please click ACCEPT if satisfied, Or ask for more info. if needed. Thank you.

Edited by Kristin on 1/7/2011 at 4:10 PM EST
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I don't follow the following sentence included in your response:

“It is odd that now you are both able to have a relationship, she is seeking out her ex.”

Once we stopped our affair, we grew to be great friends. I did not muster the courage to ask if she was willing to pursue a romantic relationship until it was too late. This is what bothers me most.

She did not inform me that she was considering getting back with her ex until several days before New Years. I was too upset and torn up inside to respond until days later.

I fear that because of her past transgressions she feels that she can never be with me. I don't understand how she can be with someone who she can't trust. He has repeatedly cheated and lied to her. She seems to be a masochist. Is she punishing herself for her past?
What I meant is that you are both now free to be with one another, and now she is seeking out someone else. Even while you two were friends, and stopped your affair, she could have asked you to pursue a romantic relationship again as well but didn't. But maybe she felt you were only interested in her as a friend. Her past transgressions have nothing to do with you at all, or your relationship with her past or present. So for her to say that is either an excuse, or she feels she is not worthy of being with someone (you) who could treat her well. She may have some self esteem issues which is why she is seeking out again a man who has cheated on her and she cannot trust. I don't think she is consciously punishing herself for her past, but more likely she has unresolved issues around her ex and what happened while she was with him, that she is trying to remedy through him. She can certainly work on these issues without involving him which would be healthier, but she is choosing to work through them by involving him again. She may feel that since she cheated on him that this is why he then cheated on her and therefore she is to blame (which she is not). Regardless, all you can do is let her sort out her stuff with herself and with him. If you get in the way of that, it's going to be really sticky and hurtful. So, again don't contact her and let her know after the 2 weeks that you want a fresh start with her and that you accept her fully for who she is today and that she deserves to be in a loving and healthy relationship, either with you or with someone else. And then she will have to decide the rest.... for now, give her the space and don't try to convince her of anything. She will appreciate the space and will make her more receptive towards you when you do meet up. Please click ACCEPT so that Im credited for my help today. Best wishes... and think positively about this. Best wishes...
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
You had previously advised me concerning a relationship issue last week and I was hoping that you would be willing to lend some additional advice. I am patiently waiting and hoping that she'll contact me in two weeks, but I yearn to understanding why I did not tell her of my feelings sooner. I am not sure why myself. The one thing that I do know is that I wanted and still do want to have a chance at a healthy and loving relationship with her. I think that subconsciously I feared that she would reject me and I was hoping that my actions would speak louder than words. Yet, I recognize that even some of my actions that might have shown that I was interested in being more than a friend to her were inhibited (e.g., I resisting the urge to hold her hand). She also asked me if I would have ever said anything to her if she had not considering get back with her ex. I can tell you that I thought about telling her all of the time. I guess the event was a trigger. I recognized that I had to say something now or risk never having the opportunity to be with her. What are your thoughts? I feel remorse for telling her now. Should I be? I feel that I have put her in a very difficult situation.

Also, if she tells me that I am not good enough for her if she meets with me again, would it be a horrible mistake if I ask if that is truly the reason or my thoughts: (1) is an excuse, (2) she may feel that since she cheated on him that is why she cheated on him –which she is not, (3) she feels that she is not worthy of being with me because of low self-esteem. Is the previous statement fair? Should it be amended?

If you can answer each of these questions in detail I would greatly appreciate. I will tip accordingly. Thanks!
Hi again. It sounds like you were fearful of telling her, because you thought she might reject you, and so you put it off. Also, you probably hesitated as you were already seeing her often and enjoying her company, and figured she wasn't seeing anyone, and you two would naturally perhaps fall back into a romance. Maybe you felt you didn't really need to bring it up and as you said the event triggered the realization that she was in fact seeing her ex again. She says to you that you should have told her sooner, but she also could have told you sooner that she was interested again in her ex. So that goes both ways. I still think you should not contact her and wait out the 2 weeks, if not longer (meaning maybe one more week). you don't want to appear too eager.
I also don't think there is any reason to feel remorse for telling her your feelings! People often regret what they didn't do, rather than what they did do. Telling her is completely fine and you did not put her in a difficult situation. So don't worry about that...
If she tells you that she can't be with you because she is not good enough for you than I would wonder why you would want to be with someone who feels that way. Meaning you do want to be with someone who has a good self-esteem and feels worthy of you and a good relationship! If however you doubt her sincerity if she does say something like that, you can certainly ask her if it's just an excuse or if her past actions make her feel bad about herself. But it's not your job to get her to tell you the truth or try to analyze or fix her. If she tells you she doesn't want to be with you, I would recommend that you ask her whatever you need to, so that you feel like you have answers that you can then move forward. And then I would allow her to do what she needs to do (with her ex, or just whatever she wants) and not contact her. I wouldn't try to convince her to be with you or give it another try, if she tells you she doesn't want to, regardless of her reason. I know this is really difficult for you and you really want to be with her, but remember that all you can do is see what she wants to do, and then respect her decision. Of course, you are free to ask her whatever you need when you two meet again. It sounds like she is quite confused though about what she wants at this time, and so you will just have to be patient a bit longer and see what happens when you meet with her. Hope this helps! Best wishes...
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I don't plan on contacting her until at least three weeks have past. I am justing trying to organize my thoughts.

She has told me that she feels bad about what she has done in the past. I have told her that it doesn't matter to me. I don't know if there is anything else I can say to her to comfort her. Further, she seems concerned with the fact that we are from opposite sides of the socio-economic spectrum. It makes no difference to me.
I think that these concerns she cites are perhaps indicating something else, such as she is not truly ready to be in a committed relationship, or she is unsure of being with you specifically, or she does have low self esteem and therefore is only attracted to guys who aren't going to treat her well (as the ex who cheated several times, etc.) To address her concerns, you can simply state once and calmly, why you feel those reasons are not issues for you. And then drop it... don't get into any kind of trying to convince role... she will only resist to that kind of dynamic.

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