I had the extreme bad luck (as I’m sure so many of us do) of falling for a colleague. We had a disastrous relationship that lasted well beyond its expiration date and after it was over, well, it was only over for one of us. For months my ex continued to pursue me and since he didn’t understand “no”, it turned into harassment. I spent my days trying to keep him calm, trying to avoid the regular semi-public breakdowns that he staged in response to my meanness (my rejection of him). I turned into the unattractive hunchback with red eyes – wearing drab clothes to remain unnoticed, hiding behind my computer screen, dabbing my eyes with a soggy tissue, waiting for my ex to leave the vicinity to be able to leave my desk.
After numerous months and one melodrama to many, I broke down and told some mutual friends what was going on. I thought they knew. I thought everyone knew. But it turned out that they just thought that we were still together. They intervened and had a talk with my ex telling him pretty much the same thing that I had been telling him all these months – that it was over and there was no going back. He actually listened this time and, despite feeling like my dirty laundry was airing in the middle of the open space, things did get better in some respects. My ex left me alone, although he sulked around the office and projected his anger and misery for all to see. Every now and again he made an attempt to re-connect only to give up because I remained strong or someone intervened.
Then he found the grey areas. He worked out that there were situations where I could not block him and how to use them: work. I can’t ignore or avoid him if I have to work with him and there are times when I have to work directly with him. He found ways of dragging out these moments. Instead of giving clear concise answers, he would give me vague ones so I would have to follow up. Then there was the “after-project” where he would explain lengthily how he did not want to create more work for me… I think even if work had just remained work, these moments would still have been unpleasant to me.
So I’m not yet truly free, although a lot of progress has finally been made. Still, even on days when he leaves me alone, I wish he wasn’t there. I wish I didn’t have to see him. I wish he did not exist. I do not want to share any part of my world with him anymore and I feel like he’s grabbing on tightly to the only parts of my world that he shares.
Every “Get Over Your Ex” article says the same thing: If you want to get over your ex, cut him out of your life. Well, the only way that I can cut him out of my life is if I let him chase me out of my life. Now that’s not fair either.
Sometimes it is very tempting to give up this life and start afresh somewhere. Maybe I’ll do that. Just not today…