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May 24, 2008 -
She's gone, but too immature to say so

My girlfriend of six months, who’s also my co-worker, has been treating me badly. I’m 28, she’s 21; I was her first. 

She used to call and text me, and was somewhat affectionate. Two months ago, she started to change. She doesn’t spend time with me, yet she goes off with her friends for a weekend of partying, beer, and possibly guys (she denies that). 

She promised to stay the night with me Sunday after she got back, but she made the excuse of doing her work assignment. 

At work, she talks with the guys but when we talk, anything sets her off. 

She’s left some of her clothes with me, but never sleeps over anymore yet won’t discuss taking back her belongings. 

She says she cares about me but we haven’t had sex in over a month. 

People and co-workers say to leave her. I love her and just want back the person I met six months ago.

- Hurt and Lost

That girl you knew is gone… your relationship has run its course for her, and she wants to be free to hang out with others. At 21, this isn’t surprising, especially as you were her first. She’s moved on, but isn’t mature enough to say so to you directly. That’s why she’s unwilling to remove her stuff from your place. 

Do not try to re-connect through your workplace contact. Romantic relationships between co-workers always carry a risk of future awkwardness, should the couple break up. This should NOT affect your coming to terms with the fact that this isn’t a lasting union. 

Rise above your initial disappointment (dating happily for four months wasn’t a commitment) and show her what maturity and classy behaviour look like: Polite but cool, without drama or false expectations.

My boyfriend broke up with me one week ago, after five years together. He said he didn’t love me the same way for the last year. 

This came as a shock, as he’s always treated me lovingly. He’s reassured me there’s no one else, which I believe. 

I’ve suggested trying to work things out but he doesn’t believe it’ll change his “lack of feelings” towards me. He says he’s been lying to himself about his true feelings for the past year. 

We’ve been talking online, like friends. I want to approach the idea of getting back together but am afraid to do so. 

Everyone says friendship with your ex is hard and impossible after a long-term relationship; so am I setting myself up for more disappointment and pain?

- Hurting

It’s not friendship you’re really after, so, YES, it would be a set-up for greater hurt. 

Do NOT raise getting back together, just one week after he’s revealed his changed feelings. He’ll think you either didn’t get it, or are determined to pressure him into changing his mind… and his reaction won’t be positive. 

Give him – and yourself – enough space and time to reflect on what’s happened. 

It’s unusual to miss such a change of heart in a partner over a year’s time. Perhaps you both took the relationship for granted. Or both of you failed to communicate regularly with each other about how it was going. 

Whatever led to this point, you each now have the opportunity to re-think what you want from a mutually loving relationship, so you’ll be sure to focus on achieving that goal, next time around… with whomever.

I’m 18 and moved out on my own but things are getting tight. I have a new car and bills to pay. 

My job treated me like a casual employee, so I left. 

Everyone’s been telling me to return home to save money, then move out again. But my family treats me like a maid; I get depressed there. 

Should I move back or try to tough it out?

- Stressed

You can’t “tough it out” at home nor on your own, if you’re not prepared to deal with some challenges. 

If home is unbearable, stick with whatever job you can get, to pay your way.

BUT, if home is problematic only because you dislike contributing to chores, then going under financially is no better a situation. 

Ask your family doctor about help for your depression; then decide what you can handle for at least one year, and give it your best effort.

Tip of the Day: When a workplace romance fails, carry on with your head held high, and your hurt kept private.

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