Sylvia asks “I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and always avoiding having the courage to admit I was dealing with an emotionally unavailable man..well, after 2 years, the “next big thing” happened and I knew what I had to do. It hasn’t been easing staying away and sticking to no contact. We left it over a phone conversation where once again he was telling me the he liked me but maybe it wasn’t enough, and that most of the time he just couldn’t be bothered to be in a relationship. I finished that conversation saying “you need to think, i’m not putting up with this once again”, and we’ve had no contact since. He hasn’t attempted to, and I certainly won’t either because I can now see he will never change unless he wants to, he’ll never stick to his promises or step up to the plate and act as a proper boyfriend. So yes, I’ve had enough and am now considering myself single, focusing on doing things I love, for me, and stop thinking about him.

Not easy, but your blog has helped a lot.

Now this is where I need your advice: this guy works with me.

He has been away for work reasons, and I haven’t had to see him yet, but he’ll be back soon, and I’m gonna have to hear him, see him, and I’m just not sure how to handle it. What is your advice? I don’t work very directly with him, as we’re in different dpts, so we won’t be having meetings together for example, but he will be sitting in my open plan floor, and we’ll be using the same coffee machine, photocopy machine, canteen, etc. How can I stay strong and make sure I stick to no contact if I’m gonna have to see him 8hours a day? I’m sure when he’s back in the country is when he’s gonna try to get me again and be charming and do all those cute things that got me back every time before.”

Being with a guy from work and then breaking up with him is unpleasant business. Doing NCR at work will really test your resolve and the two key things that will help you at this point:

Being committed to the NCR more than you are to the idea of him or being with him, which in essence means being committed to you first and foremost.

Get real about him.

If you do the latter, you’ll find it easier to do the former. Then of course there are the practicalities.

So the reality is: he’s a flip flapper.
“Like” just doesn’t cut the mustard after 2 years. It’s so…non commital…which is exactly his intent. He’s not saying “I love you but I’m really f*cked up so I don’t think I’m enough for you”; he’s saying “I like you but maybe it’s not enough”. My reply to him would have been “No sh*t Sherlock! Of course it’s not enough!”

Here’s the cruncher: after two years of being with a man that you work with, why do you want a man who can only bring himself to ‘like’ you?

You’re focused on him potentially never changing and him never stepping up to the plate, but that’s not the main issue. This man doesn’t feel ‘that way’ about you. You’re asking him to access emotions that he either doesn’t have or are hidden deep inside him and he just doesn’t know it, but either way, it’s not a good sign. He doesn’t want a relationship and he doesn’t have the capacity or want to feel about you as you would like.
It sounds to me like you have decided that you love this guy so as a result, he should love you too. It just doesn’t work like that.

You, Sylvia, deserve more than a man who can’t muster up some genuine feelings towards you and you cannot foister a relationship on him or as another reader suggested, keep ramming your love down his throat.
With that in mind, we get to the work thing.

Whilst this situation won’t be easy, you can make this as big or small a deal as you want. The likelihood is that whilst you may attach some importance to events like bumping into him at the copier, the likelihood is that he won’t attach the same importance – they’re actually unlikely to register on his radar and if it does, they are not because he wants you but more because he wants an ego stroke from the place he relies on to get it.

Keep things above board and professional. If you don’t have to speak to him, don’t, and you don’t have to use any of the facilities at the same time as him, and if you do, don’t engage.

No Contact is about breaking the contact and habits that facilitates the relationship.
Work means that you have to approach things from a practical and professional level so as not to actually hinder your career.
You’re not breaking NCR by sharing a copier or an office – you break NCR if you decide the fact that you share a copier and an office is a reason to engage with him.

Here’s the kicker – if you engage with him or even start to pursue him or the idea of being with him, you’re opening yourself up to further hurt and rejection because he has told you what he does and doesn’t want, yet you would be ignoring this and pursuing your own agenda, as if expecting him to come around. This man is not playing hard to get – he’s not trying to be ‘got’.

If he attempts to make contact with you at work, either politely say it to his face or drop him an email so that you have proof should anything go awry, and tell him that whatever you’ve both had is over and that unless it is something work related, to respect your wishes and leave you alone.

Steer clear of listening to or joining in on gossip that may cause you to have to learn about him. People chat a lot of rubbish anyway and add their own conjecture.

Most importantly – don’t be helpless and resign yourself to breaking contact before it’s even started. The fact that he’s charming or does “cute” stuff doesn’t disguise what he has clearly stated. You have to change your mindset because you sound like a woman who is expecting to break NCR and perceives herself as too weak to stand up to a guy that just “likes” her. If you know what his modus operandi is, you know what to expect, which means you can plan ahead and build enough resolve to be ready for him.

Don’t think “how can I stay strong?” and think “I will stay strong”. Repeat it to yourself and do a bit of faking before you feel it.

Just because those things got you back before, doesn’t mean they can now.
Before, you were blindly pursuing in the belief that he loves you. Now, you know he just “likes” you and he can’t be “bothered to be in a relationship”. This means you have to adjust your behaviour to him accordingly, because now you know the truth. To ignore it, would be dangerous.

I also recommend that you read Coping With Break Up Drama in the Workplace


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