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The Vine

The Tomato Nation advice column addresses your questions on etiquette, grammar, romance, and pet misbehavior. Ask The Readers about books or fashion today!

Home » The Vine

The Vine: May 8, 2000

Submitted by on May 8, 2000 – 9:52 AMNo Comment

Dear Sars,I enjoy your advice, and wondered if you have any for me.

I split with my husband around Christmas last year and have been seeing a really nice guy who works at the same company as me. He is lovely – considerate, respectful, cuddly, thoughtful, and I am falling head over heels for him. He was seeming almost too good to be true. Then I just start to get the feeling I am getting to really know him and he throws me a major spinner. Both have been about work things, not things to do with the Company, but things that have happened at work. One being the amount of emails (I admit it, I am an e-mail addict), and he went ballistic about it, and started saying I was “getting in his face.”

Over the Easter holiday I spent mostly the whole weekend at his place, only to be told that I’d outstayed my welcome. I spent the latter three days ill, and was tucked up in his bed being looked after better than my mom does! This blow-up occurred after this.

I don’t understand, the body language, the way he talks me are all “loving” and “fine” and I’m not getting any “I’m sick of you” signals. I do appreciate his need for space, I have the same need, I just (however much I would like to) don’t read minds. He says he can’t talk about this until he reaches exploding point. I can’t deal with “explosions” without any prior warning. I’ve asked him to tell me when he needs space, that I’ll understand and it’s not going to be an issue. What else can I do?


Dear Confused,

If you’ve already explained all this to him – that you aren’t a mind-reader, that you don’t want to “get in his face” but you’d appreciate a better form of communication than exploding – then I don’t think there’s anything else you can do.

But perhaps you should consider giving him space anyway, and taking time to think the relationship through. Do you want to continue your involvement with a co-worker (involvements which, generally speaking, I’d discourage) who seems to suffer from a signal-override problem? You say that both his blow-ups have stemmed from “work things,” but neither the e-mail glut nor the long weekend sound work-related to me; they sound like he resents having to put in so much “face time” with you both at work and after work, and if that’s the case, you might want to put the brakes on your affair with him until he sorts himself out. And whatever you do, make it clear that he shouldn’t take these issues up with you in your mutual workplace; it’s inappropriate, and he should know better.



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