He called me ugly, left and proposed to another

What you need to know:

After my boyfriend was introduced to the new person, his behaviour towards me started changing. Our fights became more frequent and toxic. During one such spat, he called me ugly and said he felt embarrassed to be seen with me.

I am 28 and had been in a relationship with a colleague for three years. However, three months back, a new woman joined our office in the HR department. After my boyfriend was introduced to the new person, his behaviour towards me started changing. Our fights became more frequent and toxic. During one such spat, he called me ugly and said he felt embarrassed to be seen with me. The next day, he broke up with me and cut off all communication and a month later, he proposed to the other woman. He hit a sensitive spot when he called me ugly because I am dark-skinned and had always suffered from low self-esteem because of that. He attacked me with the exact words he knew would hurt me the most. Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

Love at the workplace is quite delicate as it may also affect other workmates who may be nosy about your relationship. It is even worse if your boyfriend starts dating another colleague.

It is also true that while dating, a relationship might go wayward and one of the partners breaks the engagement or even gets involved in multiple dating, which automatically crushes the bond.

Some workers may feel that they are being affected by the behaviour of the two lovers since it is only natural to guard your mate.

This kind of breakup, in preference for someone else in the same workplace, not only makes you feel replaced but also leads to negative emotions such as anger and even feelings of betrayal. At this level, you may feel inadequate, less special and even less attractive.

It is important to pay attention to these toxic feelings and work through them, especially with a counsellor who will help you name your feelings.

Your boyfriend called you ugly because he had found a new catch and like you mentioned, he looked for that spot that would emotionally bring you down.

I would love that we dwell on you as an individual since we may not influence another person’s decision. It is common for a weak person to bring down another through attacking them on physical appearance, which we have no control over.

You also mentioned that apart from proposing to another woman in the same office, he also hit a sensitive spot which you already are struggling with, which is low self-esteem. He opened a wound that had not healed which could have stemmed somewhere in your childhood. I would like you to know that it is not just the situation that keeps us in a low state for long, it also has a lot to do with our own interpretation.

The good news is that self-esteem can be learnt even if it is nurtured by the environment we were raised and the people who were with us in childhood. When it comes to your self-worth, only one opinion matters; your own.

 It is time to change your story, be less harsh and critical of yourself, go back to where this perception started, and slowly begin to love this black beauty in you regardless of the external comments from other people.

There is no international colour that we are all supposed to have. We are who we are because of the genes we hail from and it is self-harm to think that a boyfriend left because you are ugly, even when he mentions it most likely out of guilt.

Try not to carry someone else’s burden. It is possible that your boyfriend is not about to settle down and is also still lacking regarding intimate relationships. Whatever the reason is for his behaviour, realise that one window might have closed for you but trust that God will open another if you accept your situation. Cry if you have to, but most importantly, talk to someone such as a counsellor or a trusted friend who will not judge you.

Recovery will create room for you to trust again when another opportunity arises. Lastly, remember this is at your workplace. Step back, see the bigger picture of where you are heading and stay focused on your work. Do not let resentment, sadness, and anger creep into your work conversations.

In case it is not possible, ask for a transfer or a shift in the schedule so that you get a good space for healing without having to confront your ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend.

Reader advice

Work on your self esteem

Isaac Taban. I am sorry to say that, but how I pray that your self-esteem will rise above those negative statements. Being dark skinned does not make someone ugly as many are rocking the fashion show. I just want to tell you that your boyfriend had a plan to leave you before but he was just waiting for time. Compose yourself get someone who values you and you will never regret it in your life.

Embrace you

Nadia Kalema. You are beautiful and the right man who will embrace your beauty will come. Just be patient and believe in your self

Love yourself

Diana Dallen Kiconco. Sorry about that my sister. The only reassurance I have for you is that before God, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Love yourself because no one will love you more than you do.It is not over

Rose Ddumba. I hate emotional abusers. Some men use insults to put a woman down, but dear young girl, do not bury your head in that mud, let him go. At 28, you are still way too young to feel that no one else is willing to love you. Someone better is coming.

Better is yet to come

Blessing Chibueze Okoloise. My dear, move on with your life. There are still good men out there that will take you for who you are.

Move on

Robby Rob. If he knew you were ugly, why did he put up with you for three years? That was simply an excuse to validate his pathetic actions. Keep your head up, all will work out well in the end.

Appreciate you

Maggie Maggieson. Learn to love yourself first. Love yourself so much that no one’s words can doubt yourself. Then people will be drawn to your confidence.

Evelyn Kharono Lufafa, Counselling psychologist