Am I weird for being this upset?
October 3, 2010 9:54 PM   Subscribe

Am I weird for being this upset? Met up with co-worker I'm interested in.

We met up and spent all night talking, listening to music, drinking wine and being physical with each other. The day after, I was confused as to whether or not she was interested in me. We hung out and I asked her out and she declined. I was pretty upset over it. But I eventually felt I got over it. We kept hanging out just as friends and just casually spending time with each other. Except this time she's rather distant. (No hugs goodbye or anything physical).

I know for a fact that I'll meet more women and maybe even meet women who share more common interests but right now I don't have anybody. I think I'm becoming upset again over the whole situation. I feel like I'm bothered and angry over what happened. I feel stupid that I made myself so hung up over a night I spent with this person. And at times I catch myself constantly waiting for this person to suddenly have feelings for me. I feel really dumb for feeling this way and hope the next morning I'll forget all about it. I figured venting and talking about this would be helpful since I can't really confide in anyone and I really wouldn't want to because it's not really a big deal.

I just miss having those nights where you feel something for someone and you connect. That night I really felt like I was going to continue seeing her and felt like something to look forward to. I think I've just been really lonely lately and at night it's the worst. I also don't understand how people can just lead other people on and do certain things and expect the other person NOT to get attached. Am I weird for being this upset still?

Thanks for reading..
posted by morning_television to Human Relations (33 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What is "being physical together"? Rubbing shoulders? Kissing? Sex? I feel like this would be useful information.
posted by threeants at 9:57 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

In what way, exactly, did this woman "lead you on?" Did she say that she would be your bed pal for the next several months?
posted by BostonTerrier at 9:59 PM on October 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

Physical meaning laying on top of each other, back rubs, flirtatious touching. We didn't have sex or kiss.
posted by morning_television at 10:00 PM on October 3, 2010

Am I weird for being this upset still?

Everyone is weird.

It's normal to want someone you like to like you back.

It's OK to be upset at your situation.

It's not OK to be upset at her.

What exactly is your question here?
posted by phunniemee at 10:01 PM on October 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

When you say "asked her out," do you mean asked her out on a date or asked her out to be your girlfriend?
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:08 PM on October 3, 2010

I guess you can say my question is "are there other people who have been in a similar situation?" Of course I know there are but sometimes it's nice hearing it from other people.. And I never mentioned being upset at her. That's not my personality at all.

I asked her out on a date and she just said she wasn't looking for a relationship.
posted by morning_television at 10:12 PM on October 3, 2010

It is pointless to ask whether or not it is weird to be upset. You are upset. So, first and foremost, deal with that anger. Accept it, acknowledge it, be friends with it.

Having said that, I would advise you to examine whether its wise to become attached after a single night. It is excessive, given that you don't know anything about her.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:21 PM on October 3, 2010 [4 favorites]

I also don't understand how people can just lead other people on and do certain things and expect the other person NOT to get attached.

You have a right to feel however you want to feel about a situation but I think you're overreacting. She also isn't leading you on. She turned your date request down and then respectfully chose not to give you "hugs goodbye or anything physical" because those things can be taken as leading someone on.

I guess you can say my question is "are there other people who have been in a similar situation?"

Yeah, everybody. I would say that 99.99 percent of the population has been turned down for a date, multiple times. You move on and find someone else you like and then ask them on a date. Rinse and repeat until successful. Stop obsessing over this girl and move on.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:23 PM on October 3, 2010 [5 favorites]

It's weird to be angry at her, because it doesn't sound like she's done anything wrong or "led you on", whatever that really means.

But it's not weird at all to be angry at the world, or upset in general. Sometimes you get hung up on someone you haven't dated for a while, or even at all. That's part of being human and having a heart. Move on, but don't feel bad about having those feelings.
posted by vanitas at 10:28 PM on October 3, 2010

She probably didn't intend to lead you on. Whether or not you got attached probably didn't enter into her decision process, which was about if she wanted a relationship with you or not. She probably likes you, but there are always hills to climb before you can fall into a relationship (such as, the fact that you are coworkers; her residual feelings from her last relationship; how much free time she has lately; etc etc), and the attraction wasn't enough to launch her over those hills. She's done the right thing by assessing the situation and stopping it now, as soon as she realized that it would have to stop sooner or later. She's continued to do the right thing by staying distant, so as not to lead you on any further.

You're in a bit of a dark place right now because you're lonely and you've just been rejected by someone you like. It's normal to feel sad in such a situation. Be thankful that you gave it a try: at least you did what you could to make it happen.

The way out of the dark place is to take responsibility for your own happiness. Whether it's her or someone else you haven't met yet, you feel sad because that other person is not there to give you what you think you need. The problem with relying on other people to make you happy is that they will often let you down, because they have to look out for themselves before they can look out for you. Don't dwell on thoughts of loneliness. You will meet someone when you're in the right place mentally and when the right person crosses your path. (Both of these have to be true. That wasn't the case here.) In the mean time, take care of yourself and do what you can to enjoy your life as it is right now.
posted by PercussivePaul at 10:29 PM on October 3, 2010 [4 favorites]

No you're not weird.
posted by John Cohen at 10:34 PM on October 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

I think I've been where you are. Maybe you feel like you haven't connected with anyone for a while- did you have a bad breakup, or some other big nasty life change, recently? Or have you been sort of awkward your whole life, and are just now coming out of your shell? I've been both, at different times.

If you've been alone for a long time, and then one day you finally feel like maybe you're ready to tackle this and move on, and it fills you with such hope that maybe things are going to be different now... and then you meet someone, and you think they might be the one to take that journey with you... they become a symbol of how you're going to change your life. You pour all this hope into them, and if they disappoint you, you can't keep it in perspective. You just can't, because it's not really about them at all, it's about you.

You're acting like you were promised something and then had it taken away. But this person didn't make a promise to you; you made a promise to yourself. So it doesn't matter what they did. They didn't take anything from you- the only person who can take your hope away is you. But you still have the power to keep going and look for the connection you want. That's what this is really about, and if you remember that, you'll be just fine.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:35 PM on October 3, 2010 [18 favorites]

This is a coworker? Is it worth making your job difficult? I'd hate to be the one to point someone to the HR handbook, but getting involved with coworkers is really not worth the trouble.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:59 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

You're not weird. You're not wrong. At the same time, she's not evil. Recognize that this will likely happen to you again -- and it happens to everyone, sometimes frequently -- so you can take some useful lesson from this and move forward as a better, smarter, warmer person.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:07 PM on October 3, 2010

It might help if you make this Not About You. Because it's totally not. Having a relationship with a coworker is always tough, and it's more than likely that she just doesn't want to go there. You guys had a night of fun together, and she enjoyed it! But that doesn't mean that she's interested in making her work life difficult or weird. And the extra distance between you two is just her way of easing that. She doesn't want you to become more emotionally attached because making relationships at work messy just isn't a winning strategy.

So, don't take it personally. You could be absolutely the best and greatest person in the world and you two could have the best and greatest connection, but that still wouldn't make for a great relationship because you're coworkers.

Give yourself a chance to meet other people in a nice one on one way so that you won't feel so lonely. Your longing for her is about the idea of her (your whole last paragraph is talking about what she represents) not so much her. You don't know her that well, even if you spent one night together hanging out. She could be absolutely the worst to have a relationship with EVER. You don't know! But that one night of not being lonely makes her super awesome in your head and heart. And that makes sense! But she's not the only one who can make you feel that way. Don't let your fixation on her get in the way of meeting someone who *is* ready to have a relationship with you.
posted by stoneweaver at 11:08 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

but right now I don't have anybody.

I just miss having those nights where you feel something for someone and you connect.

I think I've just been really lonely lately and at night it's the worst.

I don't think you're so much upset about the particular situation with her as you are with your loneliness in general.

My suggestion would be, if you aren't doing this already, is to date multiple people at the same time so you don't get hung up on the one, and eventually you will find someone you connect with who is looking for the same thing you are.
posted by biochemist at 11:18 PM on October 3, 2010

No you're not weird. Sometimes people take incomplete information and turn it into a story about how they're being victimized. Look, maybe something's going on with her. Maybe it's got nothing to do with you, and maybe in a weird way you're being protected from a bad situation. Things are not always obvious. You actually put yourself in this situation by being physically intimate with someone you don't really know that well. And that's totally okay, not judging you. You're a very caring and emotive person, and that's a great quality. Try to be patient, everybody has lonely nights.
posted by phaedon at 11:25 PM on October 3, 2010

That is SO normal. Dude, it's completely natural to feel that when your overtures are rejected. Make no mistake, you did make them. Dating and falling in love and the things between men and women that men and women will do with each other are all just a matter of spitballs at the wall. Some stick, some don't, because of god knows how many issues; timing, emotional vulnerability, because you work at the same freakin' place... Remembering that even when attraction happens there's still a 90% chance that things won't work should put this in perspective. Why doesn't it work? Because. Sometimes it's none of your business, sometimes it's too painful to talk about, sometimes they're ashamed of something, sometimes they see something odious in you and get scared off (in which case you don't want them either, because fighting those expectations is not a recipe for happiness). The times when you actually get to know why it doesn't work are the exception.

Coming off a bad breakup, this is what I have to tell myself several times a day not to sink into a yawning pit of depression: attraction, because of factors out of your control, usually comes to nothing. Attraction did happen, so it's NOT about you. You are capable of attracting people you are attracted to. Spitballs at the wall.

And also, please realize that when it doesn't work, the kindest thing you can do is strangle the feelings. It's the vampire theory of relationships: if the conditions aren't right for a relationship to happen/continue, the effort required to keep it going will suck the life out of both of you. What if she has a boyfriend??? I mean, do you even want to go near that tarpit of drama? No you most definitely do not. Just steer around it.

At night it's bad because: 1) You're tired. When you're fatigued, you lose control of your feelings. 2) Night is when people sleep, and there's you sitting up at home with nothing to do. Put on a movie, buy a big fat pizza, cook up some Pop Secret, and distract yourself by any means necessary. It won't sting after awhile. Nothing wrong with some coping behavior. Or, go out to a bar, get likkered up, and talk to some other ladies. You'll find at least one or two of them slightly engaging, and it'll take the edge off this one.

You had a wonderful night with a wonderful person. Relish that you did, calm down, and find more wonderful people for more wonderful nights.
posted by saysthis at 12:12 AM on October 4, 2010 [6 favorites]

she doesn't want to see you and that's her loss. find another gal. There are like several billion of them on the planet.
posted by naplesyellow at 12:45 AM on October 4, 2010

Physical meaning laying on top of each other, back rubs, flirtatious touching.

Can I be weird with you? Because if someone laid on top of me, rubbed my back and touched me in a flirtatious manner, all night long with wine and music in the mix... I'd feel very much rejected, stung and hurt if they turned down my request for a second date. I'd also feel misled because this is not how one carries on with someone they have no interest in. At least not someone who gives a damn about other people's feelings.

Let's frame it differently, if your co-worker were married, would her behaviour have been cool with a hypothetical husband? "Oh hey hon, just went out for some wine and music after work with MT, laid around on top of each other, gave him a back rub and we touched flirtatiously. How was your day?" Not sure how one could explain this behaviour to an SO as being strictly platonic.

Sorry you went through this, but your co-worker sounds selfish and somewhat immature; I know it sucks being alone but why not hold out for someone who doesn't play games?
posted by braemar at 12:47 AM on October 4, 2010 [5 favorites]

:( I feel for you. It hurts to feel like you really click with someone and for them not to click with you back. And it's even more upsetting to feel upset over something that the other person would not think a big deal.

That being said, your co-worker was playing games with you and leading you on. If I were in her situation and all I was interested in was a purely platonic friendship, I would be very careful to observe certain physical boundaries and not send very strong "Kiss Me" signals, which are what most people consider back rubs, flirtatious touching and laying on top of each other to be.
posted by moiraine at 2:16 AM on October 4, 2010

tl;dr She is a flirt and it's normal for you to feel disappointed (because you are a normal human being with a huge capacity to be attached and love someone else); it happens all the time, such is life.
posted by moiraine at 2:25 AM on October 4, 2010

It's impossible to tell whether she was leading you on from this question. Plenty of people do, but plenty of people also don't realize that the person they're hanging out with is attracted to them. A couple of times in the past, I had shy guy friends who were very huggy and cuddly towards me and, in retrospect, clearly interested in me - but they never actually said anything and I never figured it out.

So, anyway, better not to assume her intent, because you don't know it, and it doesn't change what's happened.

But, yeah, been there. This is what happens when you really want someone to be with, and hang all your hopes on one specific person to save you from loneliness, and that person turns out to not be interested. And not only are you rejected, you feel like you've missed the one chance to be loved. You've built up an ideal version of this person in your head, and it doesn't reflect reality, and you can end up heartbroken over someone without realizing they're not at all like what you want from a partner. It can be really hard to break the habit when you don't meet a lot of potential partners, but if you do it will save you tons of heartbreak in the long run.

You will find someone. However, you probably won't know who that someone is until after you've gotten into an actual relationship and really gotten to know them. If you assume they're The One before you've even asked them on a date, you're setting yourself up for a huge crash.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:38 AM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

OP, most of what you've described are totally normal feelings that practically everyone feels. You shouldn't feel ashamed. Rejection sucks, as does loneliness.

That said, there is an undercurrent of anger at the woman in question in your post that really scares me. Women and men have the right to kiss or not kiss, date or not date, be in relationships or not be in relationships. If she laid on top of you and gave you a back rub, maybe what she wants is a friend who is comfortable being physically touchy, and as she said, not a relationship.

Sometimes people do things that hurt us without their realizing it. Sometimes being hurtful is part of their personality and it will happen over and over again, even if they have the best of intentions. But the fact is that feeling anger towards someone who has rejected you is a dangerous thing to feel. Sadness, disappointment, and loneliness are not weird and you shouldn't feel ashamed. But if you feel angry... you have to nip that in the bud.
posted by telegraph at 4:40 AM on October 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

Yes, being rejected sucks, but...

I'd also feel misled because this is not how one carries on with someone they have no interest in.

I've happily had sex/gotten physical with people who I have no interest in dating. I try and make it clear beforehand, but I've definitely had people take it too far....

Them: So we're together now, right?
Me: No, I thought I made it clear that I'm not interested in a relationship?
Them: But we had sex! That means you changed your mind!
Me: Nooo... That means I'm OK with having sex outside of a relationship.

So I would look back at your interaction with her and see if she said anything along those lines, or maybe if she's coming from a background where it's implied that being physical is casual unless you have a specific talk about it beforehand.... Not that she needs an excuse to say she's not interested, but maybe it'll help you re-frame the situation.

And in the future you'll know when the burden is on you to make it clear what you want (a relationship) before getting into anything that will lead to you feeling attached.
posted by anaelith at 4:47 AM on October 4, 2010

It's important to evaluate the same evening from her perspective. What if she was just looking for some pleasant company?

Many guys tend to attach much deeper meaning to physical closeness than women. If you see two guys giving each other a hug, that's a bigger deal than a two women given each other "hello" kisses. The invasion of personal space is the same, but the meaning is different.

Hey, I could be wrong.

But that's my point! Just because you view your "date" in a certain light, doesn't mean she does too. Odds are good that she was just hanging out with you for fun. Maybe afterwards she realized that you might be advancing to a relationship that she wasn't interested in. And her distance is just her way of warning you away.

So relax! You weren't being rejected; it's just a miscommunication. The trick is finding someone who wants the same thing you do. And for that search, I can only recommend patience and perseverance.
posted by scraimer at 5:58 AM on October 4, 2010

I also don't understand how people can just lead other people on and do certain things and expect the other person NOT to get attached.

Respectfully, you need to meet more people. I think your Of-COURSE-I-would-get-attached-ometer is set pretty low. Yes, there is nothing close to a universal standard of what is considered behavior that broadcasts "I am interested in you", but some common thresholds include: making out, having sex, and accepting an offer of a date. She hasn't done any of those things.

I get that it totally blows that you found someone that you like who doesn't like you back. But trying to make her out to be someone who led you on is just going to end up hurting you more than helping you. You hung out once when you had been drinking and you were very physically close. That happens like every night all over the world, and not every time do those two people want to go on dates with each other. Something like this will probably happen to you again. I think the take home lesson here for you is "Maybe I shouldn't get so attached to someone so soon."
posted by 23skidoo at 7:11 AM on October 4, 2010

She doesn't want to get involved with someone at work. If she didn't work with you, I think she'd give it a shot - the ole "Hell why not?" But you can't give it a "Hell why not?" to someone at work because in the likely event it doesn't work out after 2-3 dates it becomes even more awkward than it is now.
posted by yeti at 7:51 AM on October 4, 2010

People don't always know what they want and often have mixed feelings. It sounds like that's where she was on that first date but since then has decided that she just wants to be friends. Only way for you to move on is to move on.
posted by callmejay at 8:28 AM on October 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

I have to agree with callmejay.

Sometimes people seriously don't know what they want until they are shown the options.

I was the girl in this situation once a few years ago, and I liked hanging out with the guy, he was a great co-worker, we ran together, went to movies, went out to dinner/lunch, etc. just hung out, alot, as friends.

There was some mutual interest, in friendship, at least, so I thought I'd (or we, together) decided to dabble and had a very similar evening that you did (no sex, but kissing). Only, afterwards I realized I didn't want to be any more than just friends with him after all. I don't really know why, I can't explain it; he is/was a very unselfish person in every way and would be a great, loyal relationship material, but I think he became the type of guy who I'd wished I had had as an older brother (egads!). Although I never told him the "brother" thing, I did have to stand firm with him on the fact that I did, after all, want to remain just friends. He was not happy about it, but it was my responsibility to let him know the truth about how I felt as soon as I knew it. And to this day, we felt like our friendship was something we did value, so we are lucky to have managed to find our way back to it (he and I are both happily dating other people).

Anyway, like I said, people just don't know sometimes.

Of course, she could have been leading you on, or maybe she was just testing your waters. But like many others here, please move on. She is giving you very obvious signs that she is not interested any further. There is someone out there who will return what you give.
posted by foxhat10 at 8:54 AM on October 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

We all want to know what our love life is gonna be like in the future. And it's really tempting to treat an encounter like this as a sign — like, if I can get with this girl, that means I'll find true love someday / if I can't, that means I'm doomed to be alone.

But it isn't really a sign. It can't predict anything about your future, any more than seeing a black cat or walking under a ladder or finding a daisy with an odd number of petals ("he loves me... he loves me not..."). You really just can't predict when you're gonna meet someone. Even past encounters don't predict how future ones will go, because everyone you date or try to date will be different.

I don't know what it is about sex and romance that makes us superstitious like this. It happens to me too, all the time. Sometimes it's a helpful way to keep our expectations and anxieties under control; sometimes it's just counterproductive; but whatever, it's totally normal.

Anyway, I wonder if you're sort of playing the IT'S A SIGN game here: oh no she doesn't want to be my girlfriend that means I'll never find someone to love. Well, no. It just means you'll have to find someone who isn't her. So, okay, go do that — and recognize that your odds are just as good today as they were yesterday.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:43 AM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

She gave it a try, didn't like you that way, and that is all there is to it. Getting mad at her for trying is kinda mean.
posted by meepmeow at 9:44 AM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

What you feel is normal and understandable.

It seems like you wouldn't treat others like this lady has treated you. In that case, isn't it better to be alone than with the wrong person?
posted by xm at 6:16 PM on October 4, 2010

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