Ask Brian: I'm in love with my gym instructor, but she's blocked me on social media
Our no-nonsense agony uncle gets straight to the point of your most pressing issues.
I've never been in a full blown relationship, I'm heterosexual. I've seen plenty of weddings and been the best man for my younger brother who now has 2 kids, who I adore.
The thing being that I lack confidence, and that's through years of bullying, be it in school, work over the years, even playing sport. Not that the adult years, from 30 things improved, but my confidence remained the same.
It's seen that I'm a good looking guy, but I lack the confidence to ask out a girl I like anymore. I've had my heart broken a few times, plus the little confidence that remains I'm keeping it for a rainy day.
I've been online, tinder, match, pof, etc. Had dated a few from each over a period of time, but decided to put the celibacy in gear until I had a relationship. I've been in a 3 way affair before, unbeknownst to me at the time I was the innocent party. But my reputation took a knock, and the other girl had told me she was single. But try explaining that to a gang of "friends" after a wedding and they in return text her ex boyfriend letting him know what happened.
I met a lady online, arranged to meet, and after the first date I was hooked. Had to be said not as attractive, but had everything I could ask for in a partner. She had travelled, was funny, very smart, just everything I could have dreamed of. I was hooked. But the morning of our fifth date she had text me in the early hours cancelling, and that ended out of the blue.
My confidence again was torn, again left broken hearted, not for the first time has someone I adored just ended it there and then, abruptly. And by text on the morning, I did what most men would and hit the pints.
I decided to get myself back together and hit the gym. I met the manager, and immediately I knew she had everything I desired, except a boyfriend, I was to learn this early on, so a no go, but nice to have someone I could talk to and hopefully not have my heart torn apart again.
Over a period of months I grew very fond of her, and I'm sure she was of me, but the thought of an affair was not one I was going to entertain.
In the background of all this was a failing business, family bickering, constant bills and demands, plus my parents' ill health.
So seeing this lady was my only solace, a voice, and my only break in what was a Ferris wheel of life, just the hamster needing a break. I had regarded her as a friend, nothing more. There was no intimacy.
After a while of knowing her I could tell I was falling for her.
When she moved in with her boyfriend there was a change in her, very hard to see her in the good moods she used to be in.
The last night we communicated properly by text my parents were visiting, She declined to train me as I had had an ongoing shoulder injury, and I did cancel the previous sessions due to this. But I actually yearned for her company, just one hour would make me feel better. I had told her what's going on, just looking for a friend, not trying to pile pressure on top, but that's precisely what happened, she said I was trying to guilt trip her, and that she wasn't a psychiatrist. I had told her I was cancelling the foreseeable sessions.
After that I had tried to communicate, in honesty I could see her when I want, but she didn't respond to any follow up texts, so I'm not the kind to pressure anyone for their company, not anymore after my previous attempts in the past with others.
Thing is I miss her, I truly do. I fell for her, not because of her looks, but because of all she possessed as a human, when she was happy in my company. I know she liked me too.
She has left a mark on me I don't know if I can replace, and what do I do, if anything, to tell her, even just to have that communication again? I've moved for a new job, gone off Facebook, she blocked me on that as well! But I have to move on from where I am, home is no longer where I feel wanted.
It's been months since we last spoke civilly, but by moving on there's the chance I'll never see her again.
(Portions of this submission have been edited)
As you can tell, we've edited large portions of your Email out from the published version.
You've mentioned issues with depression and I'm in no way qualified to offer you advice on that. You're obviously exercising which should help with your mental health, but I do think you should consult your GP also.
What I can offer you some advice on is your situation.
There are two distinct issues here; your self esteem issues and the current situation with the gym manager you find yourself in.
We'll deal with the latter first.
In many ways you have created this situation for yourself. You knew from an early stage that she was in a relationship, and that you were developing feelings for her.
Easier said then done I know - but you should have detached yourself then.
Even if she does have romantic feelings for you - and nothing in your letter makes me think she does - she is not in a position to act.
The fact she has blocked you on social media is a clear sign she is not interested in continuing with any form of relationship with you. You will probably never know why she has taken this course of action, but it speaks volumes that she's gone to that extent to cut off contact. Bluntly, you need to back off.
She knows how to reach you should she wish to re-establish contact in the future.
Now we move on to the self esteem issue, which really has spread out to affect so many other aspects of your life.
Building a relationship is like building a house, you need a strong foundation - if you're cracked, no relationship will last.
You should never measure your own self worth based on another person or how they treat you.
People will treat you badly. People will betray you. People will say means things a bout you - that's life.
As someone who was bullied you'll be more predisposed to taking these things personally, bullying in early life can leave a permanent scar.
You seem to grow attached quite quickly, and invest a lot of your emotion and self worth in fledgling relationships.
Then when things fall apart your self worth takes a battering. Relationships fall apart. It's not your failure or a reflection of your worth as a person. It just happens.
The cycle that seems be repeated - the gym instructor being the latest example - is you becoming attached very quickly, then taking the end of things incredibly personally.
Unless you've been getting really detailed feedback pointing out all your perceived faults from these failed relationships, try not to take it so personally.
How do you break the cycle? Focus on yourself, and not other people. You need to learn to love yourself, and enjoy your own company.
You're still young, so why not make conscious decision to be single for a while? Take the rest of the year for you. Try new things and put yourself in new situations, you'll discover new things about yourself. Moving for your new job gives you a ready-made opportunity to start a new chapter.
You can then choose where you want to go from there. Maybe relationships aren't for you, don't force yourself into one because that's what's expected of you.
You've spent most of your adult life in fledgling relationships, looking for relationships or being afraid of relationships. How about you consciously decide to drop the concept for a while? It will be liberating.
Do you have a problem you'd like some advice on? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to submit in confidence.