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Dear Mark,
I hope you still remember me. Well, I guess I haven’t written to you for a long time. I’ve been quite busy with my work and everything. I write to you this time to ask you for your advice one more time. You see, I did what you asked me to do to him. I asked him what exactly he felt for me and, to my disappointment, he said he’d already been in a relationship with another man.

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DEAR MARK,

I hope you still remember me. Well, I guess I haven’t written to you for a long time. I’ve been quite busy with my work and everything.

I write to you this time to ask you for your advice one more time. You see, I did what you asked me to do to him. I asked him what exactly he felt for me and, to my disappointment, he said he’d already been in a relationship with another man.

Can you imagine how I feel, Mark? I feel so empty, so devastated. I mean I love him with all my heart and I kind of hoped that he has the same feeling, but it turned out that he only took me as a friend. I feel so ashamed, so hopeless.

I need your advice of what I have to do next time I meet him. I mean we are coworkers and I meet him two days in a week. He said that I shouldn’t feel ashamed or anything since nobody knew anything aboutus, but still…

Well, I really counted on your answer, Mark. Please help me. I’m so sad.

Thank you,

Joshua

Dear JOSHUA,

First off, my apologies for not responding sooner. I can definitely sense from your email how upset and disappointed you must feel. You put a lot of time and energy into this man. I know you hoped it would work out with him in the end. It’s hard to hear that he did not feel the same way towards you. This is a universal wound. We all feel the same way when faced with deep rejection. Please feel no embarrassment in your feelings. They are quite normal and natural.

The best thing I can say to you is to put this experience under the heading of “Lesson Learned”. When we feel so deeply for someone and we want some kind of a response from them, it is our responsibility to communicate this to them. Many of us spend our time looking for clues from the other person or trying to read into something they have done or something they have said. This seems logical at first. We are trying to protect ourselves from the possibility of being hurt by that person. But what often happens is that we miss the opportunity to find out what the other person is authentically feeling. We don’t ask and they don’t tell. This “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy never really works. My suggestion is to take the risk of being emotionally vulnerable by putting your feelings out there. You may in fact get hurt. But there is always the possibility that you will not. Regardless, you will get information and understanding. And with understanding you have the ability to resolve a situation and move on.

This is your “move on” moment. Take a deep breath. Know that you did everything you could to communicate your feelings to this man. For whatever reason, he did not reciprocate. Settle into the knowledge that you are an open and honest and caring human being. There will be someone out there for you. Don’t let this experience dampen your search for that someone special. We are all just people searching for a connection. But we have to keep our eyes open or we might miss it. Let this knowledge guide you as you decide how to interact with this man. I say be respectful. Be kind. But keep your boundaries up. Don’t fool yourself into letting you think it’s ok to be a good friend to him. This is not what you want and it would not be authentic. Tell him you are disappointed and hurt and that, even though you care for him, you must keep your distance to protect your feelings. Wish him luck in his life. Tell him you will be a friendly co-worker from now on but that is all you can offer.

I hope this information helps you. If you want to write back, I’m here for you.

Take Care,
Mark Rutherford LCSW

Mark Rutherford is a  licensed psychotherapist in private practice in West Palm Beach.  He can be reached at 561-835-6821 or at www.MDRutherford.com

 

 

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