The last thing my girlfriend said to me this morning after I got dressed and ready for work was “You’re so adorable!” Mind you, I’m a 31 year old woman who works as a paralegal in a law firm. I’m wearing black slacks, a fitted white dress shirt, wingtip dress shoes and a gray flat cap. I am only 5 feet tall, so that doesn’t help trying to achieve “sexy” versus “adorable,” but there’s nothing I can do about that. After I tried to laugh it off I responded, “Yeah, adorable is what I’m going for.” She then let me know she also thinks our miniature schnauzer is adorable.
This is a two part thread. The first part being about my girlfriend. We have been dating for 8 months now. At the beginning she seemed really into me. She got jealous easily, she put me first, she would cook for me and bring things to my apartment to make it more “homey” while I spent hours reading and doing schoolwork to finish my bachelors degree. We had sex often, in the morning before work, at night before bed. Of course, the beginning of a relationship is always like this then tends to simmer down as you get used to a normal routine, but now we’re down to twice a month. She’ll say she’s having an abnormally long period or she’ll say she’s sleepy. She used to send me pictures to tease me and I haven’t received one in months.
Normally I would take this as a sign that she’s not into me anymore, but on the flip side she’s been pressuring me to move in with her. She’s still affectionate and likes to cuddle, just not sex. And when we do, it feels like she’s doing it out of duty versus any type of overwhelming attraction to me. It frustrates me and makes me feel unwanted and undesirable. I have shared my feelings with her before, but it didn’t seem to change anything. I pretty much feel at this point that she may be using me, but that doesn’t make sense either since she makes more money than I do. So, I just remain frustrated and confused.
The second part is regarding my job. I have been at this job almost a year and about 4 months ago I was told I was given 30 days “to change their minds” when they suddenly thought the firm needs someone with more experience. I asked what it was I could improve upon and all I was told was to spend more time drafting pleadings. I had not had any negative feedback until that day and had never encountered a task I couldn’t do. On the contrary, I was getting compliments from co-counsel, experts and clients saying things like “she’s very persistent” and “friendly.” I had broken ground when I personally drafted interrogatories to a defendant, and when their responses were due they objected to every question then started talking about settlement. The attorneys gave me zero recognition and instead took the credit themselves. I think that’s why I still have my job, but they assign every new case to the other paralegal. I’ve also been told we’re hiring another paralegal to help with these same cases that I drafted the interrogatories in.
I routinely get blamed for things not in my control, for example, my boss gets mad at me for “waiting until the last day” for him to review a document I’ve drafted when I’ve circulated it multiple times with PLEASE REVIEW as the header. It’s obvious he just does not read an email if it comes from me. I bring this to his attention and he then expects me to chase him around with a hard copy even though he’s almost never in the office. No matter what I do or how I perform, I’m seen as being incompetent before capable. I was helping a legal assistant learn how to file in federal court (I’ve done this countless times), and my boss told her to learn from the other paralegal instead. I’ve been having to treat my job like it’s possibly my last day everyday.
In the last year, I have grown my first gray hairs, developed ticks to try to manage my anxiety, and lost almost all self esteem I had for having a well paying job, a beautiful girlfriend and finishing my degree. I’m starting to have thoughts like “What’s the point?” I never let it show, but that’s how I feel.
Re: adorable love life. There’s nothing wrong with being called or feeling “ adorable” - that kind of teasing is quite normal between lovers. Is there other teasing taking place? Do you ever become playful with her? She may be trying to tease you and that’s her sense of humor. But you see it as condescending. Time to relax and join in the fun.
Now about the job: you are in the most male dominated, narcissist staffed industry, ever. Everyone scratching for the credit and the power. And there you are at the bottom of the ladder rung - kept there because to compliment or acknowledge your work is threatening to “the system”. Realize this and use your time in this hell to build your resume. Track every accomplishment and project. Look for another job and be ready to tout your work accomplishments.
Also - note what others at your level are wearing and look at the wardrobe those up the ladder are wearing. You may need to change your look. (I know that being a small person can be challenging. Get some advice on this)
You may be taking stress from work into your relationship. Be careful of that. Relax with your love and know your enemies at work.