Dear GF911: Help! Tornado Met a Volcano -- Part One
A few months ago my coworker and I started dating. He asked me out like a gentlemen and things took off from there. We worked closely together for almost a year before pursuing it romantically. He is 4 years younger than me and works under me. We started flirting a lot, even though I was aware he was dating someone else. After he asked me out, I told him that I was not looking to date casually, and that I was looking for something serious that may lead to marriage somewhere down the road. I also said that he needed to make up his mind who he wants to date, because I'm a one man type of woman. He broke it off with the other girl, said it wasn't going anywhere and we started going out.
At first, it was a lot of fun and we were spending a lot of time together. Then all of a sudden we began having heated arguments over stupid things. He started pushing me away and complaining that I'm clingy. He would get irritated when I got upset because he changed plans at the last minute. He would also curse and get loud. Then when I would ignore him for a day or two he would say let's talk and start over. This last time, I was anxious about a speech I was giving and called him to help calm my nerves. He got annoyed at me and was yelling for us to get off the phone so I could go work on my speech. At that point, I'd had enough and told him that I was having panic attacks because of him, and I hung up the phone.
He texted me the next day to say that he would not be sitting at my table with my parents, and I responded that was fine. On the day of the ceremony, I found flowers on my table and he came to say hello to me and my parents and sat on the other side of the hall. After my speech, he texted me, "congrats." Then he left early. I called him the next day and asked if I could come over, and he wrote back that it wasn't a good idea. I said, "I'm not happy with you," and he responded, "yeah, shit happens." I summoned up the courage to say, "ok then good luck." He said, "take care buddy." I have not heard from him since, it's been three days. I have to face him at the office in a few days. I really care about him, and I feel deep inside that it's not over... I hope I'm not in denial. What should I do?
You're not in denial. Clearly you guys have a great chemistry and attraction, but obviously there is something that keeps making your co-worker self-sabotage and push you away. Maybe he's afraid of how strongly he feels about you, maybe he feels inadequate because he's younger and not as established professionally as you are. Whatever his reasons, it's obviously causing him to behave badly -- and at times irrationally -- towards you. The good news is you have all the power to change this. Only when you start to respect yourself, will he respect you. You will need to create a high standard for yourself and an appropriate boundary for your co-worker.
The way to do this is to get him out of your life until he changes his behavior. You deserve only the best, so as long as he continues to misbehave and disrespect you, he is not allowed to be in your life. As you work together it's very important that you keep your relationship only professional. When your co-worker starts to behave like a man and an adult who is ready to have a long-term, healthy relationship with you, then you can be open to talking about trying to date again.
I highly recommend you buy a copy of my book, Girlfriend 911, where I explain all of this in great detail and provide tons of examples. Step number one is to change your behavior. Once you change yours, I promise you, he will change his for the better.