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22nd Aug 2017

Man ghosted his girlfriend of three years…now she’s about to be his boss

He moved out when she went one for Christmas

Keeley Ryan

He moved out while she was visiting family.

A man has asked for advice after he ghosted his girlfriend of three years – only for her to become his boss.

The anonymous man wrote to Ask A Manager for advice about his situation, adding that he was worried how it would affect his social life in the small community.

He began by explaining that “more than a decade ago, when he was still young”, he was in a relationship with a woman named Sylvia.

Sylvia and the man dated for three years and lived together for two, before he says Sylvia was ready to settle down.

He wasn’t “ready to commit so young” – and decided to ghost her.

His letter read:

“Sylvia wanted to settle down but I was not ready to commit so young. We clearly had different expectations from the relationship.

“I did not know what to do and, well, I ghosted her.

“Over the Christmas break, while she was visiting her family, I simply moved out and left the country. I took advantage of the fact that I accepted a job in other country and did not tell her about it.

“I simply wanted to avoid being untangled in a break-up drama.

“Sylvia was rather emotional and became obsessed with the relationship, tracking me down, even causing various scenes with my parents and friends.”

He went on to explain how he now works in an international school as a math teacher, and considers Sylvia a “sort of forgotten history” after other relationships.

Due to a family emergency, the director of the school had to move back home – and it turned out Sylvia would be taking her place.

He continued:

“I have no idea what to do and how to deal with this mess. It is clear this will be not only embarassing but I will also be reporting to my ex.

“I am not in a position to find another job at present. There are no other international schools so finding another job in this country is not an option.

“Even finding a job elsewhere is not possible on such a short notice.

“These jobs usually open for school terms so I have to stay put for few months. But more importantly, I am happy and settled here so do not want to move.

“To make the situation worse, the expat community here is very small and tightly knit so teachers also socialize a lot.”

Ask A Manager’s Alison Green advised the man to be prepared for the worst case scenario – warning him he had inflicted “serious emotional destruction”.

She advised:

“If you had ghosted her after a month of dating, it would have been rude but potentially salvageable.

“A month of dating more than a decade ago isn’t likely to loom very large for most people, emotionally.

“And ghosting after a short amount of time dating shouldn’t generally be devastating. Rude and frustrating, but not devastating.

“But you were together for three years, and you lived together! And then you disappeared with no word?

“That’s some serious emotional destruction that you inflicted there.

“I’m not surprised that she contacted your family and friends; she was probably worried about whether you were alive or not!”

She added that while she would normally advise people to put their personal emotions aside in a professional setting, she wasn’t sure what that would look like for Sylvia.

Alison continued:

“She’s most likely going to be shocked and horrified when she finds out that you work at her school, and that she’s supposed to manage you.

“I don’t know that you can salvage this! It’s not reasonable to ask Sylvia to manage someone who she has this history with.

“You can try and see what her take on it is, but I’d be prepared to have to move on, whatever that might look like for you.

“I get that it’s going to be inconvenient — maybe even quite hard — but there may not be an alternative here.

“Your best chances of an okay outcome are probably to contact Sylvia ahead of time to let her know you work there so that she’s not blindsided by it on her first day.

“Acknowledge that you made a terrible mistake when you disappeared, say that you’re very sorry for the hurt and alarm you must have caused her, and say that you realize that neither of you are in a great position to work together now.

“Be aware that apologies are going to sound pretty hollow and self-interested now, since you had 10 years to apologize and are only doing it now that she’s in a position of power over you.

“But acknowledging your behavior is better than not acknowledging it at all.”