So, I know this sounds awful, but I sometimes do not like my anxious and fragile girlfriend at all. What do I do now? (Long and possibly revealing-me-to-be-an-ass explanation inside)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (41 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Here's the story. And, like I said, I realize that this might make me look like a horrible person, but so be it.
I have been dating this girl, exclusively, for around 4 months. We were friends (more like acquaintances, really) first, and she was dating a friend of a friend. They broke up, and she and I saw more of each other as time went on, and we eventually "got together," with her making the first move and me being into it. I really like her a lot, and was really attracted to her, so it was a good move at the time.
I told her from the start that I was so busy, and so taxed emotionally and physically from other things in life (work, school, etc...) that I was not in much of a position to be a great partner. She said she did not care, and that she liked me enough to keep things relatively casual while I finish up some other stuff (school, work...). Fast forward to about a month ago, and my patience is just about gone. She wants considerably more than I am really able to give, in terms of attention and time.
Now, I really do care a lot about her, and I really do like her. But I have had to work really hard, and make a lot of changes in my life to get to the point that I am at. And a lot of those changes involved being more dedicated to my own life, and making myself a priority for a while. I was in a pretty bad place a few years ago, and have managed to get myself through school, with graduate school starting soon. Along with that comes a decreased ability to be a good partner to someone, especially someone who is pretty needy. When I refocused my life, one of the things I knew was that while I got my own issues worked out, I should not be in a relationship that was at all serious. I broke that rule.
I am not prone to anxiety, and it does horrible things to me when I let it in, and she is one of the most anxious people I have known. I feel absolutely horrible for feeling this way, but I honestly cannot help someone with that sort of issue without feeling like I am jeopardizing myself. Maybe in a while, when my life is more settled, I can be better, but right now it makes me feel a little too close to a familiar edge. I know, of course, that in a lot of relationships a willingness and desire to be there and be supportive is the whole point. But, right now, those things are not in me.
Other factors: she is a habitual texter/caller/needer at all hours of the day and night. I need more personal time and space than she is okay with giving. I have told her this, and she gets angry and upset about it. She told me she loved me about 2 months in, and I told her (kindly, and without insult or argument) that I was not able to say that to her yet, but that I was happy and content with things (I was, at the time); since then, she says it all the time, and wants and expects a response that I have told her I can not give her. She is also really jealous, which is a trait that I just find unbecoming... and I do not mean justifiable jealousy, I mean the sort of thing where I am expected to not talk to my female friends of 20+ years. The GF is a very fragile person, and I do not really feel entirely comfortable being responsible for fragile people right now.
What it all boils down to, I suppose, is that I am increasingly unhappy, and I am afraid that it is unfixable because so much of it stems from just the simple of facts of who she is and how that relates to who I am (right now, at least). I know that as long as I am unhappy with things, she is not getting the partner that she wants and deserves, and it is painful for me to know that I am unable to make her happy while doing what I need to do for myself.
So, mefites, what next? I think I clearly need to break things off with her, but I am really afraid of hurting her (her fragility and youthfully impulsive nature makes her prone to self destructive sorts of things). I know that all of this can pretty easily equate to me being a self-centered asshole, but I am really conflicted about it. How do I tell her that I need a change, without sounding like I do here (i.e., like an asshole)??
Bonus "I'm a jerk" factor: I still have some fleeting romantic feelings for an ex I was in a long relationship with years ago. Nothing crazy, but enough to make me feel a little uneasy. I am "friends" with the ex, in that we talk briefly maybe every 6 months. I do not have intentions of pursuing her romantically, but the fact that I sometimes miss her more than is appropriate may add somewhat to my feelings about my current relationship.