I want my co-worker’s friend

A letter writer split from her boyfriend and now she has her eye on someone new.

Slow down, says our elder. Learn to love yourself first.


Dear EWC

Recently, I haven’t been feeling the same with my boyfriend. A few months ago, we were planning a camping trip. It was going to be a well-deserved vacation for us both, as we work so much because of the workplace being so short-staffed. We were planning to take someone with us; it was going to be his friend. I had mentioned on this particular day that his friend wasn’t going to be able to make it because he didn’t put in a request. After saying this, he completely blew up on me, saying that I find any reason to talk to this guy. I never did, at all. He thought I would cheat on him with his friend because of his past ex-girlfriend. Periodically, if I did something wrong, and it was the same as his ex, he would always compare me to her. Since he thought I would cheat on him, things didn’t feel the same. I let a bit of time pass and we went on our camping trip. It was fun, lots of adventures and time spent together. but that feeling was still in the back of my head and I was constantly thinking about it. 

After we got back from our trip, we had a deep cleaning day at our job. We work together, I forgot to mention. When this was done, we came home and for some reason I was angry with him and I started bawling. I didn’t know how to tell him I was unhappy. The way I still explain it is that I felt as if we lost our spark. We talked it out and he wanted me to give him a chance. and I did, because at the time I wanted to work it out. so, I did, and then time passed and it still felt the same. He was still getting angry at me and yelling at me. Some time passed and one day we had gotten into an argument and he punched our bathroom wall. He literally terrified me when doing this, because of my past. After this happened I called his grandma and we had a decently long talk about how he treats me. She told me she would stand up for me and how he is treating me, and if I’m unhappy I should break up with him. Then I talked to him a second time, and he convinced me to stay again, promising that he would go to the doctor and get his medications fixed, and work on his yelling. And he did – just like I wanted. He is being nicer, handling his anger better… just like I wanted. But something still feels off, not the same. So, I talked to him again, and gathered up the courage to break up. I was kind of prepared to be ‘kicked out’ by his grandma, who we also live with. She came home, and came inside. Kept asking me why, and then said, “One moment you guys are good and one moment you’re not.” I responded with a simple, “Well all relationships have ups and downs,” and continued to tell her that I have been unhappy and have been trying to fix it for months. After this, she asked me to leave and take my stuff and go, because he probably doesn’t want to see me. Her being so angry at me confused me, considering that she had previously told me that I should break up with him if I’m unhappy. I get as much stuff as I can and leave, then come back the next day and grab more stuff, but I left some stuff there. We had decided to make it just a break. 

This started about three weeks ago. It started out fine but I began overthinking if I made the right decision. I knew he was in literal pain and I felt like shit. I care 1000 percent more about everyone else than myself. I love him and I want it to work. But it’s not the same, I would much rather be by myself… but yesterday, after I got off work, me and my coworker went to Walmart and on the way, we picked up her friend she hasn’t seen in a while. I saw him… I thought oh my god. I felt safe and happy around him. I wanted to know every detail about him, get to know him. He was so sweet and kind. seems like he would treat a girl right. And I keep thinking about what to do. Like I have no clue. I don’t know how to do this. I’m so confused… but I know that at the same time I want my coworker’s friend… but at the same time I’m not sure how he feels about me. I don’t know how to disconnect myself from caring about others so much.


Amma replies

Thank you for reaching out and sharing your story.  I absolutely agree that you did the right thing for both of you by breaking up with that boyfriend. That must have taken a lot of courage and maturity to take that step. Of course, you will feel some doubt for a while because you cared for him and still do as most humans would. You may always care about his wellbeing but that is not the same as being ‘in-love’. This was a huge lesson for you in listening to and trusting your gut intuition. That intuition will never lie to you. 

Your co-worker’s friend showed you what you want and need in a relationship as well as what you don’t want (the angry outbursts, accusations, and wall punching). However, when you say, “I know I want my coworker’s friend,” you’ve jumped from getting a glimpse of a good thing to wanting to own it. That’s not how relationships work. Right now, you only know what you experienced of him in the short time you were with him, which was enough to create a healthy longing in you, but you do not know him. My point is that it takes time to develop a long-lasting, committed loving relationship. Slow down.  

In all the years – decades really – that I’ve lived, the most important lesson I’ve learned and want to pass on to you is this: Get to know yourself first and develop a loving and kind relationship with yourself before you make a commitment to anyone else. If this is confusing, there are a number of books written on how to learn to love yourself and “how to disconnect [yourself] from caring about others [too] much.”  I suggest you visit a bookstore or your local public library and peruse the self-help shelves. I recommend any book by Tara Brach and Brene Brown. Tara Brach also has a website: Talks: Audio & Video 

In the meantime, I am keeping you in my heart and prayers. 

Article #: 481208

Category: Dating/Relationship

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