He called me ugly, left and proposed  to another woman

Thursday October 01 2020

He called , ugly, left ,proposed 
another woman

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 and 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. 

However, when it comes to inter-office dating, most relationship experts advise otherwise with a thought in mind that inter-office dating can attract worst scenarios such as a breakup, restrictions from your human resource (HR) office depending on the rules of the workplace, and HR guidelines. 


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 it 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 learned 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 when it comes to 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. 

Evelyn Kharono Lufafa,  counselling psychologis

Reader advice

Move on past his words
Nampa Patience Natie. It is up to you not to let his words hurt you. People might call you all sorts of things but it is up to you to know who you are and embrace that. Being dark skinned does not mean being ugly. It is the beauty that is reflected in that skin complexion that most people do not know about. Be you, appreciate the good in you and hold no hopes for appreciation from anyone. Do what makes you happy and you will realise that he lost the gold in you.

He is a child, not a man
Abuu Eunice. You should learn to love yourself before letting others into your life. If that man left you because of your skin colour, then he is still a child and not a man. Learn to love yourself and you will find the right man for you. Do not give into pressure from society. Take your time. It is better to be single and happy than unhappy in a relationship.

Build your confidence
Kirunga Joy. Your dark skin should never be a source of low self-esteem. It is entirely up-to you to build your confidence. Chose to see yourself as beautiful, dress well, get your career to the next level and above all, pray to God that the next man you meet will be the right one. 

Charity begins at home
Wabanasi Moses. The issue of low self-esteem among a number of women stems from fathers not doing enough to assure their daughters that they are beautiful. Know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Take time and do something for you such as building your career. 

Self-love heals wounds
Kell Glori. Only you can change your mindset. It took me years but I eventually accepted my skin colour and everything about me. Today, if I am to choose a body lotion, I would rather buy something that does not bleach my skin. Self-love, God, positivity,  and time can heal all wounds.
Beauty is defined by you
Brendah Martha. It is nothing to worry about. Beauty is defined by what you think about yourself and it starts with you to feel beautiful in your dark skin. Do not allow anyone to define you. Own it and be confident that at the right time, the right man will come along. 
Be patient for right man

Lord Kenn. God always saves us from such evil people although he sometimes does it in a painful way. Be proud of who you are and move on. At 28, you are still very young to stress over a man who did not value you at all. The right man will love you the right way. Be patient for such a man.

Dry your tears 
Phoebe Miriam. Cheer up. Black is beautiful and let no one convince you otherwise. Your ex is just into office romance and nothing more. However, such relationships never last since in most cases, even the foundation is shaky. Dry your tears and dust yourself off. Take good care of yourself and look good. Develop new hobbies and eat healthy. Someone else is eager to meet you and make you his forever.