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My ex and my work friends

He hangs around my co-workers and now he wants to propose! How can I stop feeling guilty?

Stop being so hard on yourself, says our elder. It’s time to look to the future.

Dear EWC

I just broke off a relationship after nearly four years with a guy I was relatively happy with. I broke things off because he was very manipulative and didn’t respect my boundaries. We sort of ping-pinged back and forth over them. I know I’ve made the right choice, but now he hangs around my friends at my work, asks them to get coffee and catch up, etc. The thing is, he was never close to them before we broke up. When I ask my friends about it, they tell me they don’t ask him there, but rather just don’t know what to tell him. I get extremely anxious when I’m around him, involuntary tremors and trouble concentrating, as I have a history of anxiety and he’s now one of my tremors. He’s shown up at my door twice, and at work when I was closing up alone, both times demanding answers about why we broke up, answers I’ve already sufficiently given to him.

Now, through an old co-worker he’s apparently been meeting up with, I got wind of him wanting to propose to me. Which makes no sense because we’ve broken up. I haven’t heard from him in about two weeks, as I returned his stuff to him and I think he may have gotten the memo, but now I carry around this guilt that maybe I didn’t try hard enough in this relationship, love enough. I don’t want to meet up with him again, and I know he can be manipulative. What’s some advice you could give about moving past this relationship and not feeling so guilty about all of this?

Here4U replies

I do not believe there is any reason that you should be feeling this guilty and I think you are being far too hard on yourself.

Not all relationships work out and there are some that just are not meant to be. I believe that you need to accept that yours was not meant to continue. I do not believe that it is anyone’s fault as that is just part of life.

I believe that you are taking too much responsibility for the cause of your relationship ending. There are two people in a relationship, so the blame cannot be put on just one. It sounds to me as if there were problems in it that had nothing at all to do with you, as your boyfriend was manipulative towards you and did respect your boundaries.

Would you want to still be in this relationship just to keep it going? I believe that would not only be unfair to you, but it would also be unfair to him as it would not be genuine. A happy relationship should not require so much effort. You would not need to question if you had enough love for him as you just naturally would have.

I do not believe that any relationship is a waste of time as you learn from each one. You have learned what it is that you want in a relationship and what it is you do not want. This will help so that your next one will be healthier and happier. I believe that it is time for you to begin to look towards your future.

In my opinion, you have probably been thinking way too much about the relationship, which has caused you to start questioning your role in its break up. I would suggest that you make the effort to avoid thoughts regarding it so that you can end the preoccupation you currently have with it. I do not believe that you can expect to move past it while part of you remains involved in it. I believe that once you make a concerted effort to stop your thoughts about him and the relationship, you will be able to move on.

I would also suggest that you not worry about him hanging around your friends at work. In my view, he probably does so now because he no longer has you. If prior to your break up he spent that time with you, there would now be a vacancy in his life and he probably does not want to spend it alone. It does not sound as if he is trying to get information from your friends about you, so in my opinion it is harmless and unnecessary for you to concern yourself with.
I wish you the ability to let go of thoughts about him so you can move on.

Letter #: 459144
Category: Dating/Relationship

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