He is my best friend, I couldn t be happier with him! My boyfriend and I used to work at the same place. When I showed interest in him, a mutual friend and coworker of ours told me he was unhappy. Eventually he dumped her and we started dating. It was a pretty frequent stream of calls and texts, even showing up outside his apartment to get some reaction out of him. My boyfriend told me she did have some underlying issues, depression and Behavioral Personality Disorder, and the best thing he could do was just to ignore it. He finally decided it was time to block her everywhere he could after one particular freak, even though he was nervous what she may do. Her presence was no longer an issue.
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Until about three weeks ago…. I was getting lunch in the cafe with my friends at work, and I thought I noticed a familiar face. It was indeed his ex-girlfriend. Within minutes she approached me, asked if I was so and so, and told me she had dated my boyfriend. She said she was working there now, in another department, but wanted me know she would be around, so it wasn t “weird. ” For someone I was told was quite shy, I felt her approaching me was quite bold of her. While she very well could have been doing a respectful thing, it made me feel she was trying to make a statement of some kind. I was too shocked to realize I was now face to face with her, so I said hello and thank you, and carried on with my lunch. I cannot understand why out of all the places to work, she chooses her ex-boyfriend’s old job, and where his current girlfriend works. I do work at a decent sized company where a lot of people around my age work, I will give her that. But considering the history? ? ! Ever since she approached me I feel as though I need to make a presence of some kind. This is MY job, MY space … and now because she has invaded it, I feel so anxious. It was one thing to know she exists and was part of his past, you can put something like that away. But it is another when you have to see it at your job every day. Now I know she is there, I feel I need to make a presence of some kind. I want her to feel as uncomfortable as she has made me, and I hate that I care.
I am frustrated because I know how happy my boyfriend and I are, and I know how UNHAPPY he was with her. The issue lives solely within me, being aware this person is where I work every day. I just want to go to work without wondering if I’ll see her everywhere I go. I really just want to not care. Definitely do not try to make her uncomfortable. That will reflect really poorly on you to anyone at work who hears about it or observes it, and it could horribly trash your reputation there. You want to be known as mature and professional, not as someone who tries to make a colleague uncomfortable because she used to date your boyfriend. Seriously, it doesn t matter what the provocation is it will hurt you at work to do what you re talking about. It’s entirely possible that the reason she’s working there has nothing to do with you (you note that it’s a big company where lots of people your age work it would be different if it were a 65-person company). Or sure, it s also possible that it’s some kind of weird attempt to mess with you and/or your boyfriend — but until you actually see evidence that she’s doing that, you should proceed as if it’s not. To be clear, if she had been threatening to you in the past, that’s something you should share with your employer now. But it doesn’t sound like that’s the case. If she is trying to make some sort of point to you, the best possible point that you could make in return is to just be normal. Go about your job, be pleasant and professional, and don’t get pulled into game-playing with her. If she targets you in some way (other than just introducing herself in the cafeteria, which is actually pretty mature), then talk to your boss and/or HR about the situation. But until and unless that happens, this is just a new coworker who happens to have a history with your boyfriend. You say it s been two years. Assuming she hasn t been a problem all this time, I think it s safe to assume she s moved on. Yeah, she could be married with kids by now.
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She did the mature thing of confronting her past by acknowledging the ex instead of sneaking around the office. I d assume she has moved on. Yeah, the technique here is to stay out of the way and let her implode if she s going to, without putting your oar in (uh, sorry, mixed metaphors). You want to be a neutral third party who is calmly surprised if there s a problem, not the person egging her on! Truly, if there s one thing I ve learned over my career, it s that taking the high road is the best way to highlight someone else s bizarre and potentially career-ending choices. Exactly. She sounds like she handled it professionally and maturely. OP, it sounds like you want to do things that are the opposite please don t! She has not invaded, as you say, because that s not really possible in context of work or humans. You don t get to mentally pee on people and workspaces and expect others to stay away. And you want to keep an eye on the stories your boyfriend told you. I ll bet her version is quite a bit different from his. (Esp given the not-unusual post-being-dumped-unexpectedly behaviours you described. ) It s a pretty big red flag if someone just says exes are crazy/etc and the blame is one sided. The story you want to hear from an emotionally mature person is that both sides had a role. So, specifically you are asking how to manage the feelings in your head. Ok, so first is recognizing you re having feelings which is ok but that they are not speaking truth to you. So first, work on managing the anxiety schedule a 5-minute meditation at the beginning of the work day (I like Bonnie Groessel), drink chamomile tea, focus on deep belly breaths, take short walks in the brisk air. And lastly, my wishes for great peace for you.
This is hard for all of us to untangle good for you for reaching beyond the mental hamster wheel of anxiety to get advice. Oh my gosh, I was going to say something like this and I wish I could put it so well. Further if the ex-girlfriend was in a bad mental health state two years ago, it doesn t mean she hasn t dealt with those issues (in fact, I m keeping my fingers crossed that she s had some good therapy and is happier now). I hope you can put your anxiety to one side and act like she s not going to be a problem until she proves you wrong and hopefully she never will. Great comment. I just read about an exercise where you ask why, starting with the problem, and within 5 why s, you ve usually found or gotten close to the root cause. Can t force ExTina to leave without being pretty horrible yourself, but can limit ExTina s access to information about your personal life or avoid bringing Boyfriend to events where ExTina would be likely to attend). Yes the five why and three legged five whys for root cause analysis can be used for personal issues as well. I do it all the time! Sadly my last girlfriend has not responded to my request for a RFB (reason for breakup) report and a mitigation plan. Maybe that s better for my ego though no man wants to be told that they can t meet minimum uptime requirements or quality-of-service targets! Update: OP has written in below to say that the crazy comments were from the boyfriend s whole friend group, not the boyfriend. He just shared that the ex had BPD, depression, and underlying issues. I still side-eye the boyfriend a bit but not as hard. (He still shared intimate and damaging secrets with a hostile stranger who likely did not safeguard those secrets But didn t call the ex crazy. )It all subjective too. A lot of people can play games as well. I always side eye my friends when they are with crazy people in general.
Like what thought pattern are you stuck in right now where this is OK. Where it is OK for you to not only allow yourself to be treated this way, but also subject everyone you care about in your life to it as well? And for all you know, when they broke up, he may not have made it a clean break either That said, I have a friend who legitimately qualifies as doing nutty stuff So, now I discount crazy a little less seen I hear it. It is really not cool for BOYFRIEND or his FRIEND GROUP to characterize his ex as crazy. ESPECIALLY if she had some underlying issues he disclosed. It s a bit of a sexist trope frequently used by men to escape culpability of any bad behavior, dishonesty etc. (see also: gaslighting)Yeah the fact that it s not just coming from him but from his friend group makes it worse imo. That s a whole group of people engaging in and condoning that frankly misogynist speech. In my experience, buying into the crazy woman/crazy ex idea is a big ol toxic red flag that a dude is bad news. Please tread with caution. YMMV, I ve known plenty of people that ARE crazy exes, objectively on the basis of their behavior on both sides of the gender divide that it no longer bothers me when people say that. I m less than convinced by boyfriend s whole friend group you mean the people in whom he confided and who would have listened to him sympathetically? Do not keep repeating your grievances to your friends, because they will reflect unhelpful things in the attempt to be loyal. Yep. And they have no consequences to face from their advice. Just talked to my teenager about a co-worker who also goes to her school. The shared friends who are helping don t have a job at stake. I’ll bet her version is quite a bit different from his.
) It’s a pretty big red flag if someone just says exes are crazy/etc and the ‘blame’ is one sided. It s been two years. She did a mature thing even THE mature thing if you were looking at her as if you were trying to place her and she knew who you were. From your letter it sounds like you want to bring drama into the workplace and stake your claim to both the job and your bf.