On letting it get to you.

Dear Coquette,

Going through bad break-ups, my roommate/co-worker/close friend and I slept together. This happened several months ago and it’s gotten messy. He was sad and wanted company so he said some things that sounded more intimate than they were, and I was sad and wanted company and believed him for awhile. It stopped abruptly, and we went back to being friends.

Over time, I developed feelings for him. Recently, I shared this with him and he essentially told me he wasn’t interested. Okay, so that’s done. I know how the saying goes, don’t shit where you sleep, but we still have to live together, work together, and share the same group of friends for another six months, and although we don’t talk about it with each other I know he’s seeing other people, spending the night at their place, etc. and this is all going on three feet from each other.

It shouldn’t get to me, but it still kind of hurts. I think we’re trying to be friends now, but I don’t know how to be his friend or if I even want to try. What’s done is done, and I guess what I’m asking is not so much anything else except how do I let it go? I feel so angry with him all the time and I’m not even sure why anymore.

You seem pretty rational about this, and it sounds like you’ve processed most of your emotions already, which is why I’m surprised you don’t recognize that you’re not actually angry with him. The person you’re really angry with is yourself. You’re merely projecting your anger onto him, and it’s turning into resentment because of the close quarters.

Anytime you catch yourself saying things like, “It shouldn’t get to me, but…” that should be a big red flag. It means you aren’t giving yourself permission to feel your own emotions. It means you’re trying to rationalize your way out of emotional pain. That kind of thing never works.

You were rejected. Of course that hurts. It’s perfectly okay for it to hurt. Go ahead and let it get to you. Feel that pain, process it, and then move on. Whatever you do, don’t keep dismissing your feelings because your rational mind supposedly knows better than to shit where you sleep.

This guy represents a rejection after a bad break-up. That’s adding insult to injury. Acknowledge how that makes you feel, and then take a step back and re-assess your entire situation. I think you’ll start to recognize that it’s not even about him, really. It’s about how you allowed yourself to be vulnerable in the first place.

You’ve been angry at yourself for that vulnerability, and it’s been poisoning your friendship this whole time. The next step is to quit being so damned hard on yourself.

There’s nothing wrong with being vulnerable, so forgive yourself.

If you can do that, the anger will go away, and you’ll truly be over this.


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