Dear Thelma: He made me feel special but flirted with everyone


  • Family
  • Sunday, 13 Jan 2019

I am a 23-year-old girl who has finished medical school, and currently doing my internship. I started internship 10 months back with no expectations about work or people.

It was my first posting. We were a unit consisting of professors, associates, assistant professors, postgraduates and interns. My postgraduates were two men. One of them seemed very quiet and completely ignored my existence and never asked me to do any work. That’s probably because he thought I was disinterested and maybe because I was extremely fat and unattractive (I still am).

So he ignored me week after week and didn’t allow me to do any work. This irritated me because I wanted to learn and he wasn’t giving me an opportunity to learn. My co-interns (who are girls) would get all the work.

However, I was attracted to him because he was cute. But I felt he was a misfit in the medical profession because he was very cold and rude. However, as time passed, I saw his good side. I saw how he did his job very well and how he was extremely caring towards the patients.

I was even more attracted to him and felt bad for judging him. However, I never did anything about my feelings.

I started working hard because I didn’t want to give him an opportunity to yell at me or demean me for making mistakes. He noticed that I was getting better at my work and started speaking to me.

One day, he was sitting alone at the hospital canteen eating breakfast. I had finished eating but went to sit with him until he finished. From that day, things changed. He started teasing me and giving me his attention.

That kind of behaviour progressed to teasing me at every given opportunity he would get. He would call my name a hundred times a day. He would touch me while assisting in surgeries. He was kind. He would speak to me in our local language and not English.

I was already attracted to him and respected and admired him for his hard work and caring nature towards patients. So when he started giving me all his attention, I enjoyed it and liked him even more. I thought of him as an introverted person who had a hard time talking to people and he was opening up to me. I was falling in love with him.

My co-interns wondered why he kept teasing me and gave me all the work and they came to the conclusion that he liked me.

I thought he liked me too but was having a hard time expressing it so I would always stay quiet when he teased me.

Then, my posting at that department came to an end. I was leaving for another department and he took us interns out for an end-of-posting treat. He was very quiet and didn’t speak much during that dinner. I spoke a lot because I wanted him to know that I liked him. Not sure if he realised that.

After I left, I learnt that this guy was the biggest flirt on the face of this Earth and he was doing the same thing with his new intern. I learnt that he flirted with all the nurses, students and interns.

This shattered me and I stopped speaking to him whenever I bumped into him in the hospital. He tried talking to me but I told him that I didn’t want to speak to him because he used his interns to get work done and was nice to them only because they had to work for him. I also said another reason was that I was a form of entertainment to him. He said that he has never been so close to anyone and has never teased anyone other than me. He also said that if that was what I thought of him, then he should stop talking to me and said good bye.

Since then, we haven’t spoken to each other and he kept flirting with all his interns. He recently told his intern about how he lost his virginity to his ex and how she reminds him of her. He said the same thing to his next intern but this time told her that he really liked her.

For the past 10 months, I have been crying almost every day, not being able to forget him nor fill the void that’s been created with his absence in my life. I miss him. I like him despite knowing how he is. I have neglected every aspect of my life like my health, my studies and family because I want him more than anything.

I am not able to understand why he did what he did to me. Why did he not like me further? Was it because I was fat and ugly? Why? I am not happy. I am lost and uncertain of what I would do if I were never able to see him again. What should I do? Why did he flirt with me and not my co-interns who are beautiful? Did he ever like me even for a moment? Does he know that I like him? I want answers for all this. I miss him. I really need your help Thelma.

Yours faithfully

The heartbroken girl

Your doctor has discovered that being surrounded by adoring staff is very useful to him. With just a bit of flirting and attention, he has you all running around, desperate to please him. And woe betide those who don’t fall under his spell! To them, he’s cold and rude.

I’m sure he’s thoroughly enjoying his position as king of the castle but it’s neither kind nor ethical. He is abusing his authority and hurting the people who work in his team.

Also, I don’t like that sex discussion. It is totally inappropriate in the workplace.

I can’t tell from your letter whether he understands the consequences of his behaviour but the fact that he’s doing it is a problem. He’s either cold and manipulative or not bright enough to see how wrong his behaviour is. Neither reflects well on him, does it?

I’m very sorry you are hurt but my dear, this man isn’t worth your tears. Don’t waste your time on him; invest it in you.

From your letter, you have a very poor opinion of yourself. You disparage your appearance and suggest that you aren’t measuring up to your colleagues.

Where on earth is this coming from? You are succeeding in your studies and in your training. Not only are you perfectly capable but from your letter, you are intelligent, kind, thoughtful, modest and forgiving. What’s not to love?

Go and see a therapist as soon as you can and start building up your self-esteem.

Also, you say you were irritated because being shy meant you were almost denied an opportunity to learn. It may be your lack of self-esteem that is to blame but you could probably do with a little self-assertiveness coaching as well.

Finally, those feelings of sadness and hopelessness are typical of depression. When you consult your mental health professional, have yourself assessed. And remember, you can influence and change your feelings, so know there’s hope for good change, okay?

With a little bit of help, you’re going to be much more confident and that will help you reach out for the love you deserve. Pick a decent man who doesn’t play mind games and be happy.


Is something bothering you? Do you need a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on? Thelma is here to help. Write to Dear Thelma, c/o Star2, Menara Star, 15, Jalan 16/11, 46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor or e-mail star2.thelma@thestar.com.my. Please include your full name and address, and a pseudonym. No private correspondence will be entertained. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, usefulness, fitness for any particular purpose or other assurances as to the opinions and views expressed in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses suffered directly or indirectly arising from reliance on such opinions and views.


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