-- Question for John --
I began a relationship with a wonderful man a year ago. When our relationship was new, I confided in a female coworker my insecurities. I probably told her way too much. She kept asking to see pictures of my “beau.” So I showed her. Her reaction was shocking in that she started raving about how cute he was and that she “couldn’t wait to meet him.”
She also pointed out that she thought they would “get along great” – more than once! (that’s were me telling her too much comes in). I was stunned to say the least – her reaction really threw me for a loop. Of course, this really got my back up.
Ever since then, she has been consistently asking me what my boyfriend and I are doing on the weekends because she wants us to get together and she can’t wait to meet him! I find myself constantly making excuses as the last thing I want to do is get together with her! Yes, that sounds bad, however, I do not trust her (and looking back, I should have never confided in her), and I feel that she poses a threat to a relationship that I cherish and have worked very hard for.
Two things are bothering me about this. First, she is a beautiful woman with a very “flirty” personality. She has many men who flaunt over her as well as having many men she flaunts over. She also likes to be the center of attention. I know this sounds a though I am “jealous” over her, but I am not – she can flaunt over as many men as she wants, as long as it’s not mine!
The second thing that is bothering me about this is that she had absolutely no interest in socializing outside of work or “getting together” with me on the weekends when I was “single” or in my previous relationship. Why now??? What’s up with that?
I really have my antenna up about this one. I find myself coming to work everyday making an excuse in advance so that I will have one in case she asks me. On average, it has been once a week.
I can’t go on like this. What am I going to do?
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-- Answer from John --
The first thing to do is to realize that you actually do have full control over this situation. No matter how much excitement or energy or even deviousness this woman has — that matters absolutely not — it adds up to zero. She may well present herself as an attempted threat if she were to worm her way into a social encounter with your guy.
But you yourself would have to invite her to be there to do that.
And you are not going to invite her there — under any circumstances. Right?
You’ve got the keys to the gate. No amount of posturing or begging or whatever from her gives her the keys — unless you hand them over. And that is not going to happen. So relax already.
So what are you really looking for here? Maybe there are several issues:
ISSUE ONE. A way to handle her intrusive energy about this? Well, first, I am sure you don’t really care to serve her interests here. So get a firm grasp on your own personal agenda. Quite clearly — if it is not clear to you — your personal agenda is this: No way are you going to be a party to setting up a social interaction with her and your guy. Period. That’s your agenda. So what’s the next problem? How to tell her that. Are you seriously concerned with taking care of her feelings here? It sounds to me like you might be — and that you have some kind of hesitation to simply indicate to her that a social interaction with her meeting your guy is not going to happen. Period. Pick a way to say that.
THE BLUNT METHOD — “You are far too interested in meeting my guy. It is not going to happen. Forgettaboutit.”
THE KIND METHOD — “My guy and I are very protective of our personal space together these days. That is our priority. We are just into being with each other. We are not currently open to getting together with third parties.”
Bottom line here is that to end this situation you have to take the initiative. Passively just allowing her to go on and on about what she can’t wait to do is not going to deal with things the way you need to do it. Just figuring out the next way to react to her input is not going to do it. You need to face whatever form your fears or insecurities are coming up here too — in your relationship with her — and see this as an opportunity to grow personally, confront your inner demons, and speak up clearly for your own agenda. I sense this is at the root of your dilemma. And thus why I started this email with my main and best suggestion — get some ongoing coaching that will catapult you through these fears and insecurities and get you onto a more solid inner foundation to deal with her — and with the other stuff.
ISSUEs TWO and more: The other stuff here. Seems that when you imagine her moving in on your guy, you leave out one important factor. Which is him. There seems to be a part of you that almost assumes if she does her poses and makes her sounds and smiles and wiggles — he is going to fall for it and leave you. OK, I’m being dramatic here. Maybe you don’t assume that, exactly. But there is a major insecurity piece operating here within you that disempowers you. I encourage you to do yourself the biggest favor and consider getting some ongoing coaching for awhile from someone who can really help you. It is about you dedicating yourself to you — and committing to your own release from this pattern of internal suffering.