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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 13 November, 2018
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Dear Fifi: A not-quite work affair, rebuilding confidence and getting dumped twice in quick succession

It’s that time of the week.

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It’s absolutely maddening to find out that the nerds were right all along. Like, yeah of course drinking less and sleeping and exercising and eating right will make me feel good. We all know that intellectually. But then you do it, and you’re like… Damn

Not feeling good or doing what the nerds tell you? Story of my life. Tell me all about it

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I am married and attracted to married colleague at work and she’s attracted to me. 6 months ago, she made a move on me by inviting me to her place while her husband and kids were away. I was tempted and did not take up the offer as I was hoping my feelings for her would pass. 6 months later, I am looking back with regret as I have not been able to get her out of my mind. Now she seems to have cooled off a bit and I am heart broken. Should I tell her how I feel?

I never thought this would happen to me. It all came out of the blue when the moment we both first met in the office. It was love at first sight. I never experienced the power of love at first sight before. Please advise, what can I do to get through this?

Honestly? I think you should cut all non-work contact with this woman. Seems like both of you have crossed a line – there must have been considerable lead-up to her asking you over that night. If you’re texting, stop it. She has “cooled off” and that will make things easier. Perhaps she has realised the foolishness of all this. You would be only reopening a closing door. It’s not love, is it? It couldn’t be. Be really honest. It’s lust, compounded by frustration and close contact, turned into obsession. 

Look. You’re playing with fire. Ultimately, unless you’re both willing to uproot your entire lives (spouses, children, families, friends, colleagues) and run away together, then this will just result in an awful mess. The good news is you have not acted on these feelings. It is within your power to do the right thing. Be logical. Really think about what’s in store if you do this. Your job hangs in the balance, as does both of your families. Try to reignite what drew you to your wife. Bring your marriage back to health.

Leave this woman and her family alone. Move on. Be strong, be resolved, and do it today. (It may really hurt, but time heals all. Imagine the amount of hurt that lies down the other road not taken.)

I used to be so full of confidence – I was once asking guys out left right and centre but now I can barely follow through with one date (and I can’t bear the thought of asking anyone out at all). Any advice?

You once had the confidence, so what happened? Sometimes it can be difficult to take stock of where we are and what happened to get us there. The key to rebuilding your confidence is giving yourself an honest appraisal on where exactly it deserted you. A break-up? Change of scene? Bad experiences? Lack of practice? 

Figure that out, treat the root cause, and you’ll be back on the dinner dance circuit again in no time. Like riding a bike, my friend.

I’m 25 and have been dumped twice in the space of 5 months. The first was by an ex of 3 years. I was a mess after but managed to pick myself up and am much better off now. With my new confident self, I met this guy who seemed like everything I ever wanted in a man. But after 3 months, out of the blue, he tells me we needed to break up and that was it. No talking him out of it and when I asked if we could still be friends he said absolutely not. I’m devastated. I know it was only 3 months but it was kind of like a year long relationship crammed – it got really serious. The rug has been pulled from under me. I’m feeling the heartbreak again. How do I cope?

In your longer letter, you asked me some specific questions, but I’m just going to say this: it’s absolutely normal to feel as you do. Break-ups are absolutely shitty. They’re honestly just the worst. Two in a row is a gut punch. Be kind to yourself at this time. Treat yourself well and bear in mind that (cold comfort as it seems) time is the only thing that really works here. In good time, the pain of this will fade and you’ll be back to yourself. Seems impossible, but trust me: it’s true.

I don’t think you’re crazy to be as upset by a 3 month relationship ending as you were by a longer one. The fact of the matter is, it’s actually sometimes how the break-up happens that fucks us up, not why or when. Due to being blindsided and not getting enough communication, you’re still processing this. How he broke up with you may take longer to deal with – it’s sudden, and you’ll need to process things changing without warning. That said, if you learn something then the time wasn’t wasted. This might be a good warning not to go in all guns blazing and protect your heart a bit more next time.

(And by the way – please speak to your friends. And I’m not going to even dignify the ‘single at 24′ worry you have… You’re so fucking young! Fuck off! I say that with love.) 

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 Want to talk?

Confess a story, ask for help or just shout into the void for a bit and see if that helps. All welcome. Anonymity totally guaranteed always. 

Last week’s column – I feel pressure from my mother-in-law to have a big wedding

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