She pushed me

Hi Mere,

I hope you can provide a bit of advice and an opinion on this. I dated a woman who works in the same organization (not the same department) for six months. In the early stages of our relationship, she would tell me she had horrible boyfriends, one in particular who left her shaken up. Knowing this, I treaded lightly and decided to be as open as possible, but it seemed to play into her insecurities.

One day, we had an argument and she got mad and slapped my leg in anger. I was shocked, but passively mentioned for it to not happen again. However, she put her hands on me twice more during arguments (a shove and an aggressive push) and I broke it off after the third time, literally walking out of our hotel room on the third occasion. I have not dated anyone since, and she does not acknowledge me in the office, but I feel bad for ending the relationship and not helping her get over her presumed issues. She really seemed to love me and though I wasn't the perfect boyfriend, I also didn't like what she did. Was I justified in breaking it off, even if the aggressive actions weren't slaps to the face or punches?

– Guilty feelings


It's not your job to help her get over her issues. Her method of dealing with conflict didn't work for you, so you ended the relationship. That's OK.

You were clear about your discomfort and concerns. You'd only been together six months; it's not as though you were planning forever. Also, you don't mention any personal growth on her part. It doesn't sound like she acknowledged your concerns or had any plans to address them. Her disclosure about her past might explain her behavior, but it doesn't excuse it. You don't have to stay committed just because she told you her exes were terrible.

This jump to the physical happened three times, and you wound up leaving a hotel because of it. Don't wallow in guilt for letting go. You left when you knew it wasn't going to work, which was the honest thing to do.

As for the office interaction, all you can do is be polite. Dating at work is usually kind of weird – and sometimes horrible – when a relationship ends, even when there are no hard feelings. It can take time for people to remember how to interact as officemates. Your best bet is to remain professional and give it time.

– Meredith

Readers? Should the LW be second-guessing the breakup?