Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I made a stupid mistake. I slept with someone in my bridge club and
book group. That’s one person, not two, but most importantly, he’s
someone in both of the places that I use for recreation and escape
from my busy professional life. I’ve been single for three years since
my husband died. I’ve dated but hadn’t gotten serious with anyone
before this. This time I allowed myself to simply fall into bed after a
brief courtship, in part because he seemed like a very stable, nice guy.
A doctor btw. It turns out he is needy beyond belief, relentlessly
pursuing a relationship I’ve decided I do not want, primarily because
of his personality and neediness. This takes the form of persistent
calling, emailing, texting, and generally being a pain in the butt who
won’t take “No thanks” as a message. Is there some kind of silver
stake I can use to make him go away without having to drop out of all
my hobby groups?
You need to move from No, thanks to No! My advice, be very
consistent about treating him like a friend only. Simply don&'t buy in to
anything else by responding to any or every overture or message. His
attention-seeking behavior will pass. It will take time. That will feel like
much too long but it will pass, eventually, if you refuse to engage in
anything other than what you would with a regular friend. That means
being cordial and friendly in group interactions, asking all the right
How are you? type questions but not volunteering anything personal
and avoiding anything remotely resembling a one-on- one interaction.
If he persists, he may take sending one simple, very short email that
says roughly: Your efforts to continue our intimacy have crossed the
line from persistent to inappropriate. I liked you enough to date you
but that part of who we have been to one another is over. O.v.e.r.
We&'re friends. That&'s all for now and future. I do not want to rehash
any of the why’s or why not’s. Please respect this boundary. If you
hold your ground he will back away, if only out of wounded pride. Just
be friendly to everyone else and don’t discuss—ever– what happened
between you and him with any of the other folks in either group. Look
forward, not back. And try not to let this sour you on dating.