Hubby Dumps Her -- Why?
Q: Something I did has caused a female co-worker to hate me. She has asked me not to speak to her or contact her, and I'm currently respecting that. But I feel awful about this and tried to resolve it through the company's HR department. I asked her for a chance to meet and resolve this mess, but I have been asked not to talk to her or contact her in any way. Every time we pass each other now, I get the look of hate from her.
I am a long way from home when I am at work and she was a bright spot in my day. I miss the small talk. When other co-workers get together with her for work-related tasks, my feelings are hurt, because I have to stay clear, like some awful psycho she can't stand to have around. She looks at it as if she's keeping lovesick jerk away, when all I want is to fix a friendship that means a great deal to me. I would do anything to gain this person's trust again. She will shoot to kill the minute I try. -- Jim, 50
Dr. Susan: What part of "Stop or I'll kill you" don't you understand? Jim, I empathize with your frustration. Sounds like you're really isolated on the job. You used to enjoy your conversations with this woman, and considered her a valuable work friend. Somehow, though, you seem to have gone too far, at least in her view. You didn't say if it was a matter of sexual harassment or something else. Doesn't matter. You can't force forgiveness. Ever. Even the slightest hint of pressure is a total turn-off to most people, and the more you try, the worse she's going to feel toward you. Sometimes a mistake is made that isn't fixable, and by persisting, you risk being seen as a stalker or worse. In fact, by insisting she's the only possible bright spot in your day, you're fixating on her in a way that would make anyone uncomfortable.
The only reasonable thing to do is find other outlets for your friendliness, and leave this woman completely out of the picture. You need to stop obsessing about her, or you'll just make matters worse and end up losing your job. She's apparently got good firm boundaries and you crossed them. It doesn't matter if you agree with her boundaries or whether she overreacted, or even whether you're a totally new and better person now who would never do again whatever it was that you once did. She has every right to be stubborn in her refusal to relate to you. There isn't any way you can prove to her that you're a safe buddy if she's not interested. It won't be easy at all, but letting go is the only wise thing to do.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.