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my girlfriend seems distant. i need a womans advice
September 20, 2012 6:13 AM   Subscribe

How can i save my relationship with my girlfriend? We have been seeing each other for exactly one year. We are grown, she in her 30s me in my 40s. she has a young child and my kid is in college. Since we started dating its been pretty fun and loving sometimes hard also.

She has been busy from the start being a mom and finishing school to start an new career and its been hard to see each other at times also she still shares a house with her ex hub so its not like I can go and hang out with her at her house. So she always comes to my place stays late etc. Last month she started her first job in her new career which makes it so much closer for her and the ex to NOT share a house and will allow her to have me over more.

So now she just half way pulled back says shes run ragged, Says she feels guilty because she cant offer me the time she believes I deserve, she tells me because I have so much more free time that its not fair to me and that she doesn't really want to end our relationship. The last few weeks have been hard and we have both ticked each other off a few times and now shes really pulled back. She has initiated daily contact with me since the start via text or call and now since I made a crappy comment to her about her living situation she's pulled way back.. She will immediately respond to my text if I initiate or if I say lets talk she will call. I sensed this a few weeks ago and she said nothings wrong and shes just busy and tired and She is LOYAL to me. Last month (August) may have been the best month we have had together, we had a few nice family dates with her child (which I always play catch or something with I treat her child as my own) and our last intimacy may have been the most intense sexual experience to day. Now this month she is all about making me weigh the realities of her busyness VS. my freedom of time... What am I to think? does she need reassurance of my love and loyalty? We have never been the couple to toss out the I love you's, we both act tough in this relationship. I have been really great to her and she recognizes it and says Im a great man, but Ive never just said "im in love with you" does she need to hear this? or does she want me to break it off? Is she trying to sabotage this out of some type of noble idea that she cant give me what she thinks I deserve? Not long ago she said she has a good gig with me and is content.... Im all sorts messed up.... I dont want to lose this woman...
posted by tlrjr to Human Relations (18 answers total)
 
I have been really great to her and she recognizes it and says Im a great man, but Ive never just said "im in love with you" does she need to hear this?

Well... do you love her, or not?

This question is sort of all over the place, but if you want to keep her, tell her that you support her and understand that she'll be busy for a while, but that you still want to see her whenever she has time because (you love her/you don't want to lose her/whatever reason). I can't tell from this question if she is pulling away from you or if she thinks you're pulling away from her, but if you just have one honest conversation I think it will all become clearer.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:18 AM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


She's got a small child, a brand-new full time career, and a new house (from what I can tell) and while you are both grown as you put it, you're experiencing her during a period of profound change in her life. And, you've only been together for a year.

I wouldn't get overly dramatic about whether this relationship can be saved. If you're happy (and willing to understand that she won't have the time for you she did while she was in school - for now), keep seeing her. Be a low-stress part of her life. Right now it sounds like you're contributing to her overall job/kid/new place stress, which is causing her to think about ending the relationship.

Take it easy, sounds like you have a lot of free time - start volunteering at the humane society, and pick up a hobby.
posted by arnicae at 6:20 AM on September 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


So she just started a new job, in a new career. And she's tired and stressed out from that.

Are you supporting her in this new venture as much as you could? It sounds like you've jumped to some weird conclusions as a result of her being busy/tired. Maybe you need to back up, sit down with her on a day when she hasn't just been running around at work, and say to her, "Hey - it sounds like things with your new job might be tough. How's it going? How are you feeling? What can I do to help?"
posted by catch as catch can at 6:21 AM on September 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Since we started dating its been pretty fun and loving sometimes hard also.

As with all real relationships, I think.

Is she trying to sabotage this out of some type of noble idea that she cant give me what she thinks I deserve?

When people tell you things about themselves, believe them. What's she saying? "She doesn't really want to end our relationship". So, give her some space and time, tell her you love her (if you do), and let her know that it's cool and you'll take a cue from her in terms of how much time/space she needs.

Propose grabbing dinner or going out once a week, at least.
posted by ellF at 6:25 AM on September 20, 2012


Are you in love with her? If so, yeah, you should tell her. I don't know if she's pulling away because she doesn't think you love her after a year together, but it's certainly possible.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:25 AM on September 20, 2012


One quick point that stuck out to me is her statement that you have so much more free time than her. It can be really hard if you are "run ragged" as you say and she feels like you are just sitting around with nothing to do and she can't offer you any of her time. So, maybe find your own hobbies and interests and let her know that you are entertained and happy and will be available when she's able to see you. That way she doesn't feel responsible for your happiness on top of all her other obligations.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 6:28 AM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ive never just said "im in love with you" does she need to hear this?

YES!

Oh my gosh, yes! You've been together for a long time, she's moving on (and moving out) from her ex, she has a kid and a new career, she's stressed, and she thinks she's taking up too much of your time.

Saying, "I'm in love with you, so whatever time I can have with you is special. I will make it work with your crazy schedule, because I'm in love with you. I will help you through the rough spots, because I'm in love with you. I will be here for you, because I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU."

It might not fix everything, but it's time to say it, if you feel it.
posted by xingcat at 6:28 AM on September 20, 2012 [20 favorites]


does she need reassurance of my love and loyalty?

Reassurance? You don't tell her that you love her, and it sounds like you're critical of her living situation, so it's quite possible she feels judged and is suggesting that perhaps her lack of time is a problem for you. I don't think she's wrong.

You say you both act tough, but you control your own actions. If you want her to feel supported, outwardly support her. Don't stand on the side and judge her, because it sounds like she's trying her best to be all things to all people.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 6:29 AM on September 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Says she feels guilty because she cant offer me the time she believes I deserve, she tells me because I have so much more free time that its not fair to me and that she doesn't really want to end our relationship.

Do you feel this way, the way things are right now? It sounds like it's possible that she's picking up on something you're doing/saying on this account, and that's what's making her feel guilty. If you do feel that she's not offering you enough time, you need to talk about that/possibly reconsider the relationship bcause it sounds like she's at a time in her life where she actually can't offer you more. If you don't feel that way, make that clear to her, and offer your support.

And yes, if you love her, tell her. Do not tell her you love her if you don't, just to continue the relationship. That is bad news.
posted by dysh at 6:34 AM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay I've read your question through a couple times now, and the thing I'm not finding in here is what you want out of your relationship with this woman.

Do you love her? Are your desired lifestyles and goals compatible in a long-term way? If yes, then great. Above answerers have pointed out what might be wisest to do, and that is to step back and be a source of relaxation and simple pleasures in her life until it's settled down a little more.

If you're not sure if the two of you want the same or compatible things in the long-run, you need to make time and space for the two of you to figure that out. It's totally possible, too, that you guys might end up wanting the same things short term, and not care about decades down the line.

Either way, if you love her, you should tell her. If I were dating a man for a year, I would definitely want to know he loves me. Honestly I can't think of anybody within typical emotional range who wouldn't want to know somebody loves them, can you?
posted by Mizu at 6:35 AM on September 20, 2012


Now this month she is all about making me weigh the realities of her busyness VS. my freedom of time... What am I to think? does she need reassurance of my love and loyalty?

No, she needs you to not throw her sucky living situation in her face, and give her a break on intimate boyfriend time/energy because she doesn't have any extra energy to devote to you. Scale it back and give her the time/space she needs to meet her responsibilities. I don't even understand why you are asking what she wants. She's made it explicitly clear. Time and space.
posted by headnsouth at 6:36 AM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


all good answers... So yes I am in love with her. Also I dont want to make it sound like I harp and judge her about her crappy living arrangement. That is never a case, I only one time said something in a spitefull way and thats it. Truth also Ive never pressured her for anything more than here and now..
posted by tlrjr at 6:54 AM on September 20, 2012


How much time did your girlfriend spend alone after the end of her marriage? If she started dating you while still living with her ex-husband, I'm going to guess none. I'm going to guess that she basically went straight from being with him to being with you. And I hate to say it, but that's usually not a good sign.

If I had to guess, I'd say that she's finally reached a point in her life when she's stable enough, emotionally, financially, and otherwise, to be on her own. And that means that she's reconsidering a lot of things in her life, including whether she's getting what she wants from this relationship.

I could be totally off base about this. But I've seen it happen pretty often. There's a reason that "rebound guy" is a cliche.
posted by decathecting at 7:01 AM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think she is giving you an out. It's a warning and an invitation - to either accept that she is not going to have much time for you as things stand, or to become more involved in her life and help her out and be involved with her that way. Have you ever picked her kid up from school for her? Or, if not school aged, taken the kid for an afternoon so she can run errands, etc? Do you see living with her and her child in the future? She needs to know that you are going to be with her and perhaps she doesn't know if you are going to want to be involved with her as she gets on with her life.

It's time to have a real talk, I think. This whole 'being tough' thing is great while you are getting to know each other, but it's no basis for a real relationship. If you love her, you need to tell her - and if the issue of her living with her ex is an issue, maybe it's time to talk to her about other possibilities. Do you foresee sharing a home with her in the future? It's kind of a jerk move to give her hell about something she can't change right now without offering some sort of assistance. I think, in the nicest way possible, she is saying 'put up or shut up.'
posted by The Light Fantastic at 7:43 AM on September 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


We met after her divorce. She was divorced for a year before we met and I was not the first guy she dated after the divorce. Its only for financial reasons that they shared the house until she had school finished
posted by tlrjr at 7:43 AM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


ps... ive never felt as if it were a rebound type of thing.... Been there once before
posted by tlrjr at 7:45 AM on September 20, 2012


It sounds like things are very rough right now and she's overwhelmed. She probably needs a safe space where she can just be accepted without having to be tough or make excuses for the whirlwind around her.

Ask her if she needs any help with anything. Offer your place as a sanctuary away from it all. Say that she should never feel guilty for the ambitions she has and how proud you are that she is so high functioning in the midst of so much responsibility. Give her a hug and sit on the couch and listen.

Tell her that your fewer time constraints just give you more time to lend a hand where-ever she needs it. Tell her every time you see her is a gift.

Hold her head in your hands and look in her eyes and say that you love her, are in love with her, and that's that.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 8:27 AM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


She's in her 30s hatching a new career and a young child. Both of those things come way way way before you.

You really are asking too much from her. She has a lot of responsibility to handle right now.
posted by discopolo at 9:11 AM on September 23, 2012


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