Red

Dilemma at work

26 posts in this topic

Ah yes, it's me again. Hi! :D

What can I say, it's my favorite topic. I also happen to learn alot from the feedback I get here, which I greatly appreciate. Besides, this part of The Forum needs a little more life.

This time around it's a different girl. Same workplace. That's the great thing about my workplace. Lots of people, and many of them beautiful, ambitious and smart women. I love it! And since i'm wonderful, except for early mornings, they love me. It's fantastic.

Anyhow, i've run into a little dilemma and i'm trying to decide which way to go. But before I get there I think you need a little more context. I also happen to think it's a fun story, so i'd like to tell it, but i'll try not to make it into a wall of text. So...

A while ago there was this new girl starting to work at my team. She had just moved from a small town to Stockholm - a slightly larger small town. I liked her from the first day. Sure, a little quiet and introverted, but she's got these big curious eyes and a smile that could melt ice. And she's not even my type... strange!

I figured I better take things slow. Get to know her, make her feel welcome and introduce her to new people. The last thing I want to do is make her uncomfortable. She already had a little taste of that when a (much) older gentleman hit on her. Not very nice.

We hit it off really well. That feeling was clearly mutual. While I don't think there's any "the one"-potential, I like her. Even though she holds some bad ideas, she likes to discuss them and we have never had any problems when disagreeing with each other. I like that very much. I think it's very important to be able to discuss ideas, and it sure is a good sign when both of us enjoy it even through disagreements.

Last wednesday we had a little after work. Actually, a pretty big after work... we enjoyed the conversations so much we were left at the pub one and a half hours after closing time. Thursday was brutal. My coworkers thought it was very funny, especially when they asked why I left so late: "Well, Linda was there".

On friday we only worked to noon. A few friends asked if I liked to join them for lunch and some drinks at a pub. Sheesh, again... but... but...

"Hey Linda, some of the guys upstairs just asked if I wanted to join them after work. Wanna come?"

"Haha, again? Are you serious!?"

"Sure, but i'm only going there to eat, chat for a while and then go home early. You should come. I don't think you've met them, but these guys are really fun."

If you've ever been to a pub with a group of people you really like, I think you know that "i'm just going to stay for a little while" is never going to happen. And when people are dropping off and she wants to stay... well, I wasn't going home early that night either.

I don't remember how the conversation took the turn that it did. Someone said something, I did not quite catch what, about me and Linda dating. I could see she got startled...

"Haha, gosh! How would that look? Working together and all! No way!"

Ha! Gotcha! A little unexpected. I did not plan for it. But... it was on!

"I have no problem with that."

"Haha, you're not serious, are you?"

"You know i'm serious."

"This is crazy!"

"It's fantastic."

"I never knew..."

"But you've thought about it alot."

"...."

"Listen, i've had my eyes on you since the first day. I want you."

"Gosh, I can't believe this is happening... it can't - what about work?"

"I don't have a problem with that - I can handle it. Tell me you haven't thought the same way about me..."

"No, i've thought about it since the first time you came and said hello."

"Ah, the secret handshake. Works everytime. Come here..."

Naturally the conversation dropped off a bit, but we later discussed a few things...

"Maybe I don't have to find my own aparment after all..."

"Maybe, but let's take one thing at a time."

"Do you have any plans for the hollidays?"

"Aside from spending time with my family and getting tortured by my sisters little brats? No, not really. Love them to pieces, but my plans are fairly changeable. Why?"

"Will you go to India with me?"

"I'd love to. If I can."

"Why don't we go to your place?"

"Not today. Too far and too messy".

"Well, my roomate is home so..."

"The office?"

"No way!"

"Hotelroom it is then. Looks like we don't have to worry about breakfast."

---

The next morning everything seemed fine. On my way home I got a text saying something like:

"I'm so sorry, but I don't think I can see you anymore. Blabla, and so on".

"I'm sad to hear that. Is it work that bothers you? As I told you yesterday, we'll just handle it like adults and don't let it get weird. Are you sure this is what you want? I want to see you again, and if you change your mind you're still welcome over tomorrow."

"Yes, i'm sure. I'm glad it happened, but I think it's best to end it here."

"I'm hurt and dissappointed, but i'll get over it. Take care now, and i'll see you on monday!"

(Well, that's a brief and condensed version of the texts)

---

After that, work has been fine. We talk, have lunch together and text each other privately. She looks at me the way she did before, but i've made sure not to go there - just kept it friendly. I'm just the way I always am at work. Sure, a bit sad and dissappointed but... no reason to act any different.

And here's my dilemma...

I'm trying to decide wether or not to just move on or try to pursue her further.

Though she did not specifically say it, I think she got scared, thought out a million ways things could go wrong and figured it would be better to break it off before she got more emotionally involved. At least it seems like a reasonable conclusion. It could be something else, but other explanations seem more far fetched considering she voiced alot of concern regarding work(actually alot more than i've written here, but I tried to keep it brief).

There's certainly attraction left. Should we end up alone together, who knows what will happen...

On the other hand, trying could perhaps push her away further. At the same time, I don't want to play any games like pretending to move on. I either do or I don't. I haven't decided yet. And if I decide to pursue further, i'm not exactly sure how.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this... um... very brief recollection of events.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If she wants to cool it, then best respect that. You can still remain your cheerful self without putting pressure on her.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm leaning towards that as well. I guess it's hard to accept because I know there's attraction left, and there was more to it than just fooling around for one night. On the other hand, she did tell me straight, in no uncertain terms, that she wants to end it. That's why i'm inclined to think: "Well, that sucks - moving on then...".

Of course, either way i'll remain my cheerful self. I was thinking about some of the advice i've gotten, which been in line with: "keep your distance, pretend that you don't care, and she'll come after you". I don't like that because I don't like to fake anything, and I dislike not moing in any certain direction. Being passive would make me miserable. I'm either going for her or someone else. Cheerfully so, of course. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the risk of being obvious - why don't you just ask her why?

I did, but she didn't answer that part. I thought about pursuing it further but decided not to. It doesn't make much difference to me either way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You got sexually used, my friend. I know, it happens to me constantly...

Are you complaining or bragging?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I may be too sexy for my shirt, that explanation - as much as I like it - is simply untrue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I may be too sexy for my shirt, that explanation - as much as I like it - is simply untrue.

Don't take my word for it. Take HER word for it.

A woman has sex with you one time, then drops you (by text message, no less) immediately afterward? While you're driving home?

Doesn't she know that texting while driving is dangerous?

But seriously, if YOU had done this to HER, she — along every one of her girlfriends, and the majority of her Twitter followers — would regard you as the filthiest pig on the planet right now.

Something tells me there is a Sex in the City DVD boxed set somewhere in this lady's apartment.

(And Betsy, I'm neither complaining nor exaggerating. I'm kidding. It doesn't happen to me constantly, only every other week... :))

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I may be too sexy for my shirt, that explanation - as much as I like it - is simply untrue.

Don't take my word for it. Take HER word for it.

A woman has sex with you one time, then drops you (by text message, no less) immediately afterward? While you're driving home?

Doesn't she know that texting while driving is dangerous?

But seriously, if YOU had done this to HER, she — along every one of her girlfriends, and the majority of her Twitter followers — would regard you as the filthiest pig on the planet right now.

Something tells me there is a Sex in the City DVD boxed set somewhere in this lady's apartment.

(And Betsy, I'm neither complaining nor exaggerating. I'm kidding. It doesn't happen to me constantly, only every other week... :))

First I thought, well... I would not be very popular had I done that. But, on second glance... actually, I think i'd get away with that: "Hey, i'm sorry. I've thought about it and this isn't working for me. I went in with the best of intentions and I think you are an amazing woman, but [insert whatever reason I would have to break up with her], best to end it now before things get serious". Can't say that i've tried that approach, but I don't see the problem if you're honest and sincere.

However, that's a bit beside the point. The reason I don't buy that explanation is because of the context.

She was very worried about work. On top of that she's got about a million other things to worry about right now, like a complete change in environment and finding a place of her own. She mentioned later that if things got serious she would consider getting another job. During the evening I had to stop her several times from drawing up too many plans for the future, and just focusing on one step at a time. She wanted to come over at my place on sunday.

I made sure she got home safely. I was on the train when I got the text a couple of hours later. By the way, I forgot that she did briefly mention that she's got so many things going on right now.

Of course I cannot say for sure what's going on in her mind. However, I see no way where it would have been just about sex. That would contradict just about everything else but the text, which she could have sent just because she was scared.

I suspect that when she distanced herself a bit she got to thinking, and worrying, and thinking some more. Then decided it wouldn't work, and there we are.

There could be other explanations as well. Maybe she didn't like the sex, my feet smelled bad or she suddenly met Brad Pitt. I don't think so, but there are other possibilities.

On the other hand, it doesn't really matter that much. I mean, I can either say "too bad, next!" or find out if she will change her mind.

I have almost decided on nexting. I don't think i'm that interested in her anymore. And frankly, i'm looking for a woman who comes back rather than run away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Red and I have been over this very issue before on The Forum, so I don't imagine that what I say will convince him. But for everyone else, this is a classic example of what I call psychoanalyzing (or "playing Sigmund Freud"):

She was very worried about work. On top of that she's got about a million other things to worry about right now, like a complete change in environment and finding a place of her own. She mentioned later that if things got serious she would consider getting another job. During the evening I had to stop her several times from drawing up too many plans for the future, and just focusing on one step at a time. She wanted to come over at my place on sunday. [. . .]

However, I see no way where it would have been just about sex. That would contradict just about everything else but the text, which she could have sent just because she was scared.

I suspect that when she distanced herself a bit she got to thinking, and worrying, and thinking some more. Then decided it wouldn't work, and there we are.

You're not allowed to do this, Red. You're not allowed to speculate on or guess at another person's motivations in this way.

When a woman tells you it's over, you must take her at her word. Legally as well as morally, you are obligated.

It's also the only way to retain your masculinity, and preserve your male sanity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, I think you're right here that I should take her at her word. So, that's it.

I don't agree with your reasoning though. Looks like a double standard. I'm not allowed to consider everything else she's said, the whole context, and draw conclusions from that? Because...?

It is in fact not that uncommon for a 'no' to mean 'yes'. I'm speaking in general now, and not in this particular case. The difference, as I see it, is context. And that's why I try to take that into consideration.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not allowed to consider everything else she's said, the whole context, and draw conclusions from that? Because...?

You must always consider every piece of evidence available, within the appropriate relevant context. In a situation like this, the only relevant fact is that she explicitly told you she is breaking up with you. Nothing else matters — you cannot try to "weigh" other considerations against it.

It is in fact not that uncommon for a 'no' to mean 'yes'.

Perhaps there are people who say "no," when they really mean "yes." I'm not sure how common this is among adults, but in any event, it's not your job to figure out who might be telling you the truth, and who lives in bizarro land.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You must always consider every piece of evidence available, within the appropriate relevant context. In a situation like this, the only relevant fact is that she explicitly told you she is breaking up with you. Nothing else matters — you cannot try to "weigh" other considerations against it.

I'm listening. So, why?

Perhaps there are people who say "no," when they really mean "yes." I'm not sure how common this is among adults, but in any event, it's not your job to figure out who might be telling you the truth, and who lives in bizarro land.

I guess it depends alot on the particular situation. Can't say I know how common it is, just that i've been in a few situations like that and know others have as well. This girl told me "no way!" at first. Good thing I knew exactly what was going on. In that particular context i'd say it was my job to get a clue and take it from there. Don't you agree?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm listening. So, why?

Because otherwise, you waste your time, and as I indicated above, you make yourself crazy.

This girl told me "no way!" at first. Good thing I knew exactly what was going on. In that particular context i'd say it was my job to get a clue and take it from there. Don't you agree?

"No way" to what, exactly?

As far as I'm concerned, your mission as a man is to bottom-line everything people say and do, and keep your life and affairs as simple and straightforward as possible. (Granted, there are many different schools of thought on this, but you asked for my opinion.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Avoid alcohol when first getting to know a girl on a date.

It wasn't a date, so it's fine then? ;)

Seriously though, we've been getting to know each other for weeks. There just happend to be alcohol involved when went outside of work. Not really a problem. It was well under control.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Because otherwise, you waste your time, and as I indicated above, you make yourself crazy.

That's certainly possible, but it doesn't have to be that way.

What you could do is hypothezise and test it against reality. Take this situation for instance and consider the context. Getting back to work on monday I thought it looked like it was still on. Pretty much like I could just lead the way and take her. I could be wrong of course. Only way to find out is to try, with the risk of failing. In this case I didn't want to, but that would have been the way to find out.

Or a different scenario. You're dating a girl and it seems to be going well. You want to kiss her, and there are indicators that she's up to it as well. In order to find out you'll have to try.

She may respond with a yes, no or maybe. If she asnwers, it's a yes. If she runs away it's a no. And if she draws back but stays it's a maybe/not now. When you get a maybe/not now you may want to give her more time and try again later to see if she comes around.

In this case I thought it could be a sort of 'maybe', considering she might have gotten a little scared and needed time to get used to the idea. However, things have cooled down since then and I have reconsidered.

"No way" to what, exactly?

As far as I'm concerned, your mission as a man is to bottom-line everything people say and do, and keep your life and affairs as simple and straightforward as possible. (Granted, there are many different schools of thought on this, but you asked for my opinion.)

"No way!" to dating me. And although a simple example I think it illustrates that those words need to be taken in context, and not literally. The important stuff was all the little things leading up to that. From there all I had to do was to tell her where I stand.

I think it's best to keep things as simple or as complicated as they really are. No more or no less. For example, I think your explanation of being used for sex is a an oversimplification and flat out wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I won't respond further to Red, because to do so would require me to violate certain Forum rules, and I don't want to burden Besty with the task of deleting my post.

I will close by saying that I think this thread (chiefly Red's statements, not mine) is extremely instructive for both men and for women to read.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps she came to her senses? Relationships among co-workers is, in almost every case, toxic to the work environment. My recommendation to you is to stop dating co-workers. If you are a supervisor it opens you up to accusations of patiality from other workers when the relationship is going well and accusations of harassment from the employee when the relationship isn't going well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Work is one of the most common places for couples to meet. Where I work there are a total of ~2000 people, 400-500 in my office, and there are lots of people who have met that way, started dating and even getting married. I work in a team of 15 people and 3 of them are married to someone from work. That includes my boss.

I've dated a few and I know what it's like when things don't go well. I've also witnessed stormy relationships with people who've worked closely together. It has never, ever, been toxic. Things may be a bit more difficult, but when people act like adults problems can be worked out.

Had I been her boss it would have been a problem. I think that's against employers policy. A problem like that can easily be solved by someone relocating to another team. Which is usually what happens anyway if co-workers start dating.

I think it's much more sensible to realize that life is finite and you have to seize the opportunities you find. I'm not going to allow myself the luxury of rejecting a potentially great value because the circumstances could make things more difficult. When I meet someone I like, I go for it. Then solve any problems that may arise.

And I know there are some popular sayings, which i'm not going to repeat, about the matter. I've heard it a million times, and I consider it all a bunch of nonsense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have already been in difficult situations. Yes, things can get more complicated. There are better places to look for romance. But, whatever happens - I can handle it.

Regarding work environment there's one important thing i've learned. Whatever the problem may be, like failed romance or conflicts, make it your responsibility to have a good environment. Lead by example and you'll get others with you to create an environment that you like working in.

I say that just as a general reflection, since you mentioned work environment. It's such a simple thing, but people tend to forget that which can make a little friction into huge, nasty, problems(I noticed that when I started at my current job, and today the environment is simply wonderful).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say your approach to problem solving is correct...but nothing really to do with your question which as I understood it "why doesn't she want to be involved with me anymore." I will however say that most interpersonal problem solving in an office environment is more akin to Fight Club and therefore it is wise to avoid the potential problems. This would be particularly important for someone new to the company. I will go on to point out that her decision isn't about how YOU approach problems in the office but her understandable and conservative approach to office relationships...all be it belatedly.

That said, my position is pure conjecture but since you posted this in a public forum seeking input you can't really expect more than that. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites