When she called after she heard he was back in town, he said that he had forgiven her (again), that they were just friends, and that he’d told her he’d met someone. Around this time, he also decided to buy a house so he could have his son over more – and I’d also have a place to stay since he had been living with family to save money. He often asked for advice/feedback, and I spent countless hours going over properties with him. Meanwhile, he and his friend started to spend more time together as they would go exercising.
Eventually, when things graduated to their “catching up” during a weekly Friday night “appointment” (she’s a therapist), I became uneasy. I told him she wanted more than friendship and asked what he was going to do when she asked him out. He said that would never happen, but he later confessed she had asked to start dating him again and he turned her down. However, he continued to see her – albeit less frequently.
When he finally closed on a house, I asked that I be the first person to see it after his family. We had been making preparations for me to visit. I was invested in his success.
His friend got there before I did. He said she lived closer, so it wasn’t a big deal. But it was to me. I felt hurt, betrayed, used…it was the one thing I had asked him for. I felt it would have marked a turning point for us. And I felt her action was intended to cause friction, which it did.
I felt disrespected by her and by him. Even though she lived there, could she not have waited? Was I wrong for wanting to share that moment with him first? Am I getting relationship etiquette wrong? — Waiting for the Turning Point
Of course you’re not wrong to feel the feelings you feel. I think where you went wrong was looking for a symbolic “turning point” in a relationship in which you feel insecure and threatened, rather than for meaningful actions, behavior, and conversations. And it’s no wonder you feel insecure in this relationship. You haven’t seen each other in person in over a year and a half, and, prior to that, you had a year of what sounds like multiple breakups, alluded to by your “on and off” status.
I understand why you’d be looking for something to confirm that this guy is invested in you. But the house is not it. There isn’t going to be a symbol that he’s invested in you because he isn’t; all of his actions before showing his new house to this other woman illustrate that. There’s his moving away from you, his not seeing you for months and months after you resume “dating” long distance, his lying to you about the friend wanting to date him, and his continued friendship with this friend despite your reservations and her expressed romantic interest in him. His heart is not with you.
If this guy’s heart were with you, I promise you would have seen each other at some point in the past seven months. He would prioritize you and your feelings. You would KNOW, you would feel it keenly, if his heart were with you.
It’s not the other woman “causing friction” in your relationship. There really isn’t much of a relationship here in which to cause friction. You haven’t even seen each other in over a year and a half. The year that you actually dated in person was a year of tumult apparently. There wasn’t a strong enough foundation for a long-distance relationship in which you go many, many months without actually seeing each other. You were really doomed from the beginning, and this other woman is not the cause. If anything, she’s a mirror, reflecting the disconnect you share with this guy, the bond that never fully formed in the first place and has continued to fracture over the course of your time apart.
You need to move on already. That’s the only “turning point” that’s going to push you past this place you’ve been stalled at for way too long.
I went back to work last year after taking about seven years off to raise my children. With both now in elementary school, I was ready to return to work, if only on a part-time basis.
At my new job, my immediate supervisor “Kim” is not a real boss. Although technically my supervisor, she has no real authority over my position. She’s more of a chain-of-command lead.
There was a team-building conference about four hours away that the team wanted to go to. It was billed as all-expenses paid, but optional, and I didn’t really want to go. I’m the only one with children, and, it being summertime, my life is busy. I decided not to go. But then the pressure came – “You’re the only one not going….yada yada yada,” and I caved and decided to go. We car-pooled together in two cars as there were four men plus Kim and me. Upon check-in, I was shocked that I was to room with Kim while the men all got their own rooms. I was not happy with this. I cautiously asked for my own room, even offering to pay for it myself. The hotel was booked solid due to the convention. Reluctantly, I joined Kim.
Later that night after dinner and saying goodnight to my husband and children, I came down with food poisoning. It was coming out of both ends. It made my night hell, and worse, in front of my supervisor. She wasn’t rude, but she tried to make jokes of it, even going so far as to joke about it in front of the men of our team.
Wendy, I find all of this unacceptable, but I need some perspective. First, why, because we’re women, are we supposed to share a room? Because we’re giddy girls who love to be with other girls? No! Totally unacceptable. And second, I feel it’s completely inappropriate to comment in company about my sickness, something out of my control.
I’m so embarrassed and pissed off about all of this. I’ve made a detailed letter that I’m ready to submit to our HR and COO, but again my husband thinks I should cool down a bit before making that decision. I see his point too, but what do you think? And please, readers, I would like your opinions as well. — Perturbed in Florida
I agree with both you AND your husband. You are absolutely entitled to feel enraged by the seeming double standard set forth by your company in assigning the only two female colleagues to a room together while giving each of the four men his own room. You are right to feel angry and embarrassed by Kim’s “jokes,” which were probably her way of trying to lighten the mood (but were still totally inappropriate). And your husband is right that you should not submit a “detailed” letter to HR and the COO that you wrote in a state of immediate anger and embarrassment. Sit on that letter for a couple days, cool down a little, and then edit the letter to simply ask clarification about how rooms are assigned on business trips. Stick with the facts and not too many feelings. “Each of the men in our group got his own room while the two women had to share a room. For my own clarification, I’d like to know if it’s company policy for women to share a room and for men to have their own rooms? And if so, what is the reasoning behind this policy, and what’s the best way to ensure that, in the future, I have the privacy and comfort a private room would allow?” Leave all the stuff about it “coming out both ends” out of your letter, and keep things simple and brief.
My guess is that rooms were assigned when you decided not to go and then, when you changed your mind, there were no rooms left in the hotel and you were assigned with Kim. That should have been explained to you before you left for the trip, but it wasn’t, and now you know, going forward, to always confirm all details of a business trip — transportation, lodging, per diem for meals, etc. — before you go.
You are back in the work world after many years out of it. There’s going to be a learning curve, and you’re going to have to adjust to a “chain of command,” as you put it. Being a stay-at-home mom certainly has its own challenges and rewards. One of the perks is that you’re the top of the chain of command (well, except for the years you have a toddler in the house…) and you call the shots and set the expectations, but that isn’t the case when you’re on a lower rung of a work ladder. You have to tread lightly, while finding the balance of advocating for yourself and fighting the misogyny that is still all-too-common in the workforce. Sending what is probably an accusatory, inflammatory email to the top of command immediately following an incident that left you feeling vulnerable, embarrassed, and angry is not the best way to do that. Sending a clear, brief, simple, non-accusatory email after cooling down is.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.