While going through a separation, I’m seeing a co-worker whom I’ve loved for eight years.
She lives with her ex-boyfriend and says she’ll sell the house this summer. We vacationed together to determine whether we’d have a future together. The trip was a disaster.
She says she switched off and missed her boyfriend. I ended things. She started messaging me again several weeks later, saying she regretted what happened and wanted to try again.
Three months later, I see that she’s trying, but I’m having a hard time with her lack of affection. She says she’s never been the affectionate type, but once she’s actually in a relationship, she’ll be more affectionate.
I have difficulty buying that, and her constant on-off behaviour, e.g. she’s super- affectionate one night, then completely off for a week.
I don’t expect her to be as affectionate as me, but I need some. Her response: I’m hard to please.
Time To Go?
Yes, take a break of several months. This may be difficult since you’re work colleagues (that proximity to her may be why you haven’t ended this sooner).
She’s very guarded (or distrusting?). There’s no guarantee that she’ll be steadily affectionate when in an ongoing relationship.
Her tendency to turn it on and off so easily and often makes that apparent.
Deal with your separation process without relying on her being there when it’s over.
You don’t have to end it angrily… just tell her that you can’t keep being disappointed by her, and a break of several months will help you both recognize whether there’s a future for you together, or not.
Our eight-year-old grandson’s behaviour towards my husband and me is deplorable. He ignores us at family gatherings until he’s admonished by someone, resulting in a reluctant, meaningless hug from him.
Recently, when my stepdaughter and her son arrived at her brother’s house, the kid raced past us and spent the entire day in the pool, alone, constantly seeking only his mother’s attention.
Any attempt at conversation with him is met with a shrug. Most times he just turns his back and walks away.
If his mother notices, she’ll ask him to come back, but he’s obviously uncomfortable and quick to answer and escape. How do we deal with this child?
It’s the child’s mother and the child with whom you need to relate better.
Your much longer letter includes so many details about the child’s mother, her problems, and her negative behaviours, that I cannot respond to it in one column.
So, for now, I’ll deal with this immediate situation you’ve described here, and will publish and address the larger matters in Monday’s column.
My main advice is this: Don’t give up on this youngster.
The more relatives/people he has who encourage him, who find a way to relate even when he’s trying to avoid a connection, the more chance he’ll have of developing self-confidence and surmounting the negatives over which he has no control.
In future, watch him swim and admire his ability. Bring a new swim toy and talk about why you chose it. Bake or buy a special dessert treat for him. But don’t hand it over until you ask what other desserts he likes.
Reach out to his level and interests. If at all possible, say or do something that makes him laugh.
Watch for the larger issues with this child and my response on Monday, July 15.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the woman being stalked at her workplace (May 28 and June 20):
‘”I was a Human Relations manager. A single woman was being stalked by a man who didn’t work in her company but hung around the public lobby, called her at work, and professed love for her.
“Her HR Department provided security in and out of the building, sometimes through an exit on the other side of the building. Her direct phone line was re-routed to the main number. All of his calls and actions were recorded.
“Building security was informed and he was warned not to enter the building. She took out an order of protection and he eventually gave up.
“An HR Department can take action to protect an employee, without contacting a stalker's employer or family.
“The letter-writer should contact her HR Department, share any emails, and create a log of his unwanted contact attempts, should she need a restraining/protection order.”
Tip of the day:
Withholding affection while promising more in a relationship is a control tactic. And a red flag.