Q. I started a new job about eight months ago. The first person I met was the manager. Over time we became friends, and soon he asked me out. I said no at first, but against my better judgment I gave in and we had our date. After that date, we started falling for each other. He was so positive and goal-oriented. After time, we told each other we loved each other.
I’m 42 and he’s 34. I have two teenage kids from a previous relationship, he has three kids from a previous marriage. After dating for a bit, I became pregnant. I was in shock because of my age. We said we’d get through this together. It was two-plus months of me thinking I found the one, and I began getting excited about the pregnancy. Then I lost the baby. I called him after it happened but he didn’t get back to me because he was “busy” at work.
Two days later I texted to say I was heartbroken over losing the baby, and he texted back that we needed a break to concentrate on work and get our lives in order. He said everything happened too fast for him. Nothing I said or how I cried made him change his mind.
I mean, he told me loved me. We talked about looking for places together — and then he just went away.
How could someone tell me they love me and leave me like that? And how could he be so cold after I lost our baby (alone) and not even care? I feel so heartbroken. The kicker is that I have to see him at work too. I also lost our friendship in this, and I lost our baby, which is another heartbreak by itself. I feel like I’m on autopilot watching myself through a third person view.
The other night I was desperate to text him. I asked him if this is really just a break. He said he doesn’t know if he wants anyone right now. I find comfort in nothing. Everything brings me to tears. I don’t know what to do.
A. I am so, so sorry.
First, make an appointment with your doctor and talk about mental health services. You want to process what happened, and therapy can help. Find out what resources are available to you. Be clear about how you’ve been feeling.
Second, I want you to know that it’s very possible this man loves you and cares about you but can’t be with you because he’s not up for a partnership. His actions don’t mean he was lying about his feelings or that he’s not experiencing loss too. It’s not all-or-nothing. It sounds like you were both shocked by the pregnancy, and that you came up with a lovely plan to do this together. When things changed, he crashed. Perhaps he rethought everything and realized that even though he has strong feelings for you, this might not be the best path for him. At the very least, he needs space.
Is that nice? Caring? Fair? Maybe not. But it’s real. I wish he could be a better support system to you, but he’s set a boundary. As you get more resources for mental health, call on others who’ve been important to you during your 42 years. You’ve known this man for months, and the romantic relationship was still new. He is not the only person who can make you feel safe and happy.
Work will be difficult, but maybe it’s the kind of place where you can listen to music and develop new routines.
The autopilot thing is a step in the grief process. After a while, it turns into pilot.
His perspective was probably “office affair — future unknown,” and yours was love, marriage, and the baby carriage. It all happened way too fast and the close call taught him a lesson. You also have a lesson to learn, albeit a more painful one. #therapy #no-affairs-in-the-workplace #actions-speak-louder-than-words .
Ask yourself this: Don’t you feel like you avoided being in a relationship and co-parent with someone whom you cannot trust?
I’m so sorry this happened to you, but never work for someone who would date his employees.
I disagree a bit with Meredith’s advice about work. I think you need to get another job ASAP. Seeing this guy daily will stop you from moving forward emotionally, and when he eventually starts dating again (and he most assuredly will) you will be heartbroken all over again. Please make this a clean break, both emotionally and professionally. It will get better, dear letter writer, but you can’t properly grieve and process your losses until you have space.
I am so sorry that you’re dealing with the grief of a miscarriage. Please ask your doctor for a counselor or support group. You need that to help you heal. If you’re able to, I would also suggest reaching out to friends and family for support. I can’t tell from your letter whether they knew you were pregnant, so if you hadn’t shared, I suggest letting trusted people know so that you can find support.
I really disagree with Meredith’s comment “It’s very possible this man loves you and cares about you but can’t be with you because he’s not up for a partnership.” Love and care require action. Ignoring someone who is having a miscarriage and then giving vague explanations for ghosting is neither of those things.
Send your own relationship and dating questions to email@example.com or fill out this form. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.