In The Moment

I have a coworker who has become my good friend. Our friendship stays outside the office and we remain professional at work. We are both single and have had sex on a few occasions.

Recently my friend travelled back to his home country where he had not been for four years. He came back with a bombshell. He is now in a serious relationship with his longtime friend of six years from over there.

They spent less than seven days together on this vacation and hadn’t seen each other in years. Now she is planning to visit him over New Year’s, stay for 10 days, move here and eventually get married. None of this makes sense to me.

With the news, I told my friend I have feelings for him. I wanted to tell him everything he is doing is too fast and not thought out. It seems like a huge mistake. They don’t have much backing for a relationship.

I don’t think this relationship will be a good one, but I don’t want to seem jealous in any way.

~ Vera

Vera, you are not an outsider. You had sex with him. You admitted to feelings for him. You are not a disinterested party. How could you not be jealous?

With teenagers, the “moving too fast” argument is powerful. With adults, not so much. You want to judge his speed because in a year and a half you weren’t able to change “friends with benefits” into a relationship.

Moving too fast doesn’t preclude him from going back home, seeing a woman he’s known for six years and acting. Six years ago they might not have been ready. Now they are both available and sparks flew.

It is their time. It is their moment.

And it is your moment to acknowledge it is over. If the friendship lasted only out of its potential to become a relationship, the friendship is over too. Their moment frees you from a year and a half of friends with benefits.

~ Wayne & Tamara

Just Words

My boyfriend and I have been together a little over six months. He is 10 years older, which is not a problem. The problem is the emotional scarring that occurred in his life over the past 10 years when I was not in the picture.

He went through one marriage and two engagements, all of which shaped his views on how to conduct a successful long-term relationship. I feel he has gained valuable insight.

The problem facing us now is our communication when I am unhappy with his actions. I admit in the beginning I had problems telling him my feelings, but since then I have tried to communicate better. I know it makes him uncomfortable when I am unhappy.

But when I mention a problem, he goes into this phase of unapologetic apologies. I am not sure he realizes he is doing it, but it totally digs at me.

As a result, I feel as if any issue I have with him will seem stupid and childish, or as if I am overreacting. How should I approach this?

~ Dee

Dee, you think he is wearing a badge of pain and suffering from what other women did to him. You may believe there is a set of communication techniques which, once learned, will solve all his problems.

And on the surface, he is willing to play along with you. But your scripted communication isn’t working because his unapologetic apologies leave you unsatisfied. He says the words and you know he doesn’t believe them.

We can’t live our lives through some kind of script and believe we have genuine communication.

If we can’t communicate with someone we love, it’s not a communication problem. It’s a love problem. Either we don’t really love them, or they don’t love us, or both.

~ Wayne & Tamara

Column for the week of December 8, 2014

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