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I really like this new woman but she's freaking me out with demands!
May 18, 2014 6:41 AM   Subscribe

I've been dating this great woman for a month now. I really do like her, but she seems to want more and more of my time and energy to the point that life getting out of balance for my self-care and recharge time. Special snowflakes inside.

I met a woman on OKCupid and it has, for the most part, been so great. I really do like her a lot and she likes me a lot as well.

We've been dating about a month now. The beginning of the relationship was a total whirlwind. Big feelings, big passions, and lots of time together. Part of the excitement was centered around helping her work up to a big event she was planning when we met. I helped her pull off the event and figured things would balance out afterward. It was big New Relationship Energy happening.

One factor: She's an Italian/Irish woman from Long Island. I'm of Swedish descent from Southern Indiana.

She's very high-strung and is *very* extroverted. I'm laid-back and mostly an introvert. She gets off on being around people all the time ("I only need a night to myself about once a month"). I need nights to myself about two or three times a week to recharge and just take care of myself.

She's also real nit-picky about certain things that I've never had anyone I date get upset about. Things like this: I say "man" a lot. As in, "Man, I think that was GREAT!". She'll say back to me "I'm not a MAN, BRO. We're DATING. Don't call me "man"." And I'm just dumbfounded. This is how I talk.

We have SO much in common. We are both serious musicians, both love a lot of the same art and music. We make each other laugh. We both mesh extremely well in the kissing etc. dept. We're both responsible adults within 4 years of age with each other.

The problem that is starting to arise is that I'm beginning to feel as though she wants more than I can give her attention-wise. Last week she was up to texting me 30-50 times a day. I was trying to be subtle (I was at work) and answer when I took a breather (I work in video so I'm constantly in front of my computer online), but then she would text "Is everything okay?" when I didn't answer right away.

Then, after all these texts, when I got home I told her I was letting my dinner digest before I started my exercising. She asked if we could talk on the phone in that time. I wanted to be nice (though I was slightly annoyed) and said yes. She just wanted to shoot the breeze. I don't like shooting the breeze on the phone with people I see every other day. I'm sure I came off as blah. She asked me later "Are you distracted"? I answered "Only in that it's a work day and a workout day."

I've told her about the space and time I need to recharge my batteries and take care of myself. Things like: do relaxing, going the gym, catching up on work, catching up with friends, working on my music, etc. She said she understood. She even said "I want you to do those things. It's who you are that attracts me to you so much. I don't want to change you."

But I'm getting the sense from her that I'm not moving fast enough or falling hard enough or spending enough time for her taste. She tells me how crazy she is about me and asks me, "What are you so SCARED of??" in a slightly accusatory way. This freaks me out. Keep in mind I DO find her attractive and she does have her shit together.

She's gotten angry at me a couple times and given me terse responses. When I told her I was tired and going to bed in a few the other night, She said a terse "OK Goodnight." and signed off. I called her, letting her know that if something is bothering her to just TELL me and don't be passive aggressive. It came out that she felt like she didn't know when she was "allowed" to talk to me. And that I was "distant".

When we go out I try to treat her like a queen. I always compliment her. Always do stuff she'd like to do (she always has ideas about what we should do), and generally try to make her feel loved and important when we're together. But I'm beginning to wonder what more she wants this fast? As this "balanced" part of our relationship has kicked in, we're seeing each other about three times a week, which seems totally reasonable to me.

But, I'm really starting to get freaked out about her demanding behavior because I really do like her.

She's very high-strung and aggressive while I'm pretty mellow but smart and sweet. I certainly am not an unconfident dude. I just don't have this East coast DRIVE that she seems to have about everything.

Is there a way for me to lines around my time and space without making her feel marginalized? I want to be good to her but I also want to balance my life and self-care. I'm afraid she's going to kill any passion I have for her by getting greedy about my time and my life.

Thanks for any advice.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (59 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I was exhausted just reading that. It's been a month. Let her go.

It's OK to really like someone but not keep her.
posted by mochapickle at 6:45 AM on May 18 [102 favorites]


If you're only in a month, I'd get out of this. I'd barely read the first few paragraphs when the stress of trying to please her smothered me! She sounds pretty needy to me, and needy in a way that really drains you. Don't feel bad for needing your space--mental and physical.
posted by bluespark25 at 6:46 AM on May 18 [15 favorites]


Goodness gracious this doesn't sound like you're compatible. I'd break it off now before it gets serious. Just tell her that you don't think you're compatible - because you're not.
posted by sockermom at 6:50 AM on May 18 [12 favorites]


This would drive me nuts. She needs an extrovert and you need an introvert, or at least an extrovert with an introvert best friend or something who understands what it's like to be 100% OK with home alone and not talking to anyone.

It's just a month, let it go.
posted by mibo at 6:52 AM on May 18 [7 favorites]


You're not compatible. There's nothing wrong with realizing that after a month. Let her go. These are basic personality and communication differences that cannot be changed.
posted by RainyJay at 6:52 AM on May 18 [7 favorites]


I could be you (temperament wise), and your gf could be my ex.

Believe me when I saw it will only get worse as time goes on.

Run.
posted by PlantGoddess at 6:56 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


Oh, people we find attractive: during the first months we also find them attractive when they're angry. That has nothing to do with true compatibility.

We have SO much in common
Your list? Doesn't mean anything. You need to be compatible as persons, no matter what the other likes or does. You don't need checkmarks on musical styles and the perfect balsamic vinegar or whatnot.

Double run.
posted by Namlit at 7:01 AM on May 18 [11 favorites]


You could try setting really directive boundaries/expectations with her around texting and your down time. "I typically have time to respond to texts at lunch and mid-afternoon. Please don't expect a response outside those times." "I would rather not talk on the phone on Wednesdays unless it's an emergency." And set up a "emergency" signal, like calling twice in a row.

A risk here is that you're taking flexibility out of your interactions, and that's a buzzkill. Common advice on AskMe is "a relationship shouldn't be so much work in the early months." Only you can say whether it's worth it to do the work of defining and defending your boundaries, but it does sound like it's going to be a fair bit of work.
posted by EvaDestruction at 7:01 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


I started making 'you're smothering me' gestures with my hands about a quarter of the way in (and said "WHAT NO." at the 30-50 texts a day.) It's great that you two have surface things in common, but your cores need to be in line too. Your cores aren't in line, and that's not especially changeable; both you and she probably won't suddenly stop needing the things you need.

Both of you will be happier with other people.
posted by punchtothehead at 7:07 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


As good as things are, you guys are not a good match. Crucially, a lot of the "more" she wants is stuff you are never going to want to do (like texting 50 times a day) no matter how besotted you are.

You need to be 100% willing to let this relationship go. At that point you can either a) have a really serious Come to Jesus conversation with her where you explain that the intensity of your communication does not reflect the intensity of your feelings or anything else other than your needs as a more introverted person and you need her to BACK OFF, or b) go straight to Miko's Breakup Advice.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:08 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


Nth'ing "Get out now." You've already explained your desires, and it sounds like she has utterly ignored them. Not rules-lawyered them, not tested them around the edges, but just flat-out "Oh, yeah, I totally get it, but No." That is not a recipe for success. Neither is the passive-aggressive "I don't know when I'm allowed to talk to you" after baiting you into asking her to talk to you.

Dump her gently. In a month, think about her for a while, after the relationship-fog has lifted. If you find yourself thinking, "Whoo, glad I got out of that," then great. If you find yourself wistfully thinking, "Yeah, but..." then maybe send her a message and say, "I'm sorry. How about a drink some time." How she acts at that point will let you know immediately whether you'll ever be compatible again: if she seems to be genuinely trying to change, then go for it; if she starts up with "Okay, now that you've come crawling back, here's how things are gonna be," then run like hell.
posted by Etrigan at 7:08 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


You keep protesting that you like her so much, but it doesn't sound like it. It sounds like you want to like her and you know she has terrific qualities, and you're trying to get yourself to like her, but it's just not working out. Cut her free, and you'll both be happier.
posted by xingcat at 7:12 AM on May 18 [8 favorites]


I don't think you have to be compatible. An introvert and an extrovert can coexist as long as there is respect and understanding. Your new girlfriend is not giving you that. Texting 30-50 times a day?

Maybe you need to tell her again. Have a direct conversation about how you need your time to relax and cannot respond to so many texts. If she can't understand that and behave accordingly than this is not the person for you. You've only been together for a month. Nobody is going to die if it ends.

"Man, I think that was GREAT!".

I'm a woman and this bothers me too. It sounds like you're talking to one of the guys. I understand where she is coming from on this one.
posted by Fairchild at 7:14 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


As soon as I saw the "30-50 text messages" thing I knew everyone on here was going to tell you to dump her. I've never sent 30-50 text messages in a week, but I think this may be partly a generational thing and the olds on here (myself among them) may be a little too freaked out by that to think clearly.

Regardless, I'm going to answer your actual question:

Is there a way for me to lines around my time and space without making her feel marginalized? I want to be good to her but I also want to balance my life and self-care. I'm afraid she's going to kill any passion I have for her by getting greedy about my time and my life.

Yes, there is. You know how she accuses you of being 'scared' ('Why are you so scared?') She is the one who is scared. Because her fear is driving her, she can say one thing ('Yes, it's fine if we don't text 30 times a day') but then her actions work against that.

If you want to give this relationship a shot, you need to sit her down and say some variation of the following: I really like you. I want to be with you. I am not ambivalent about you. But I really, really need you to give me more space, because right now, this is impossible for me and it is heading towards dealbreaker territory. I need my alone time and I need you to trust me enough to give it to me. Can you do that?

And then, if she agrees, every time she edges up into "too many text messages" anxiety territory, say something that signals back to that conversation (i.e., 'Trust me?')

The truth is she may not be ready or able to give you this, and if not, then you will have to end it. But the good news is, if she does discover she can trust you, she is likely to calm down and not require nearly as much reassurance and attention. I don't know how young you guys are, but this seems like something someone could grow out of. You don't have to give her the chance to improve, but if you do want to do it, this is how.

Please, please do not break up with her and then come sniffing back around if you discover you regret it, offering her a chance to "change." That is some manipulative shit right there.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 7:19 AM on May 18 [57 favorites]


This seems like a good opportunity to see how well the two of you get along in the 'resolving our differences with honesty and caring' department. Don't dump her - talk to her! about what both of your needs are, and how they both can be met.
posted by Dashy at 7:21 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Okay yes she's smothering you and you're probably not compatible. The one thing I can think of to salvage this situation-- that you will need to do in the future regardless of whether you stay with her or find another partner-- is to learn how to set boundaries with your time and energy, and communicate those boundaries clearly to your partner.

"It came out that she felt like she didn't know when she was "allowed" to talk to me. And that I was "distant"." Manipulativeness of "allowed" aside, it sounds like she's actually completely correct: you have certain times that you are really not up for conversation (as a fellow introvert, I get this). And when you need to recharge or get some time alone, you're hinting to her that you need alone time but never actually TELLING HER. She's constantly texting you at work... did you ever actually say "sorry babe, I can't talk right now, I'm at work"? Why were you trying to be subtle instead of just telling her you were busy and couldn't talk? Or "Hey I'm really spacey right now, let's check in tomorrow, when I'm not in a food coma." Your failing to give her concrete information about when you really can't or don't want to talk is feeding her anxiety-- I think the big thing will be whether the issue for her is that she "doesn't know" when she's allowed to talk to you or whether she objects to you setting boundaries at all.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 7:28 AM on May 18 [15 favorites]


Is there a way for me to [draw] lines around my time and space without making her feel marginalized?

No. She will feel marginalized no matter how you try to do it, because you two have irreconcilable views about socializing. If there's already this much tension and stress, things are only going to get worse. Update your OKCupid profile to be very clear about this aspect of your personality.
posted by John Cohen at 7:36 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


I was thinking EXACTLY the same thing as moonlight on vermont - you need (and deserve!) to be much more explicit about your boundaries at the point where they're being tread upon. It's a good first step that you abstractly told her you needed your time and space, but especially if that's not something she needs it may be difficult for her to recognize where/when she's violating this. Personally I agree that 30-50 messages a day is RIDICULOUS, but then, I'm probably more like you than her - maybe she assumes that if it was too much you'd tell her (and even if that's not the case, you STILL deserve to tell her!).

Additionally, it'd be a good idea to think about how you react to people when they pull passive aggressive crap on you. What do they want when they do that? Probably for you to run after them and "draw out" whatever they're mad about. What did you do when you immediately called this lady after her terse goodnight message? Yeah ... you got it. Don't play that game if you don't want to encourage passive aggressive behavior. She gave you a good night; if there was something bothering her she can use her words - that's HER responsibility to communicate, not your responsibility to winkle out of her.

On the whole I agree with folks saying that this relationship probably doesn't have staying power, but I think these are things you can take away from it regardless of what happens here.
posted by DingoMutt at 7:38 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


It's only been a month, and already she's texting 30-50 times a day (that's what, as much as every 9 or 10 minutes over an 8-hour workday?!?) plus the constant pushing for you to be focused on her 100% plus she's already gotten angry several times..... dude, one month is still the honeymoon period of dating, when people are on their best behavior: if she's this bad now, what'll she be like in six months or a year?!? Please save yourself from more of this, because she's only going to get worse: DTMFA!

(And by the way, the "Man" thing: it doesn't say much in her favor if she can't tell a conversational exclamation from a personal address.)
posted by easily confused at 7:40 AM on May 18 [8 favorites]


Man, I say "man" all the time. It's an interjection, not a form of address. But that's neither here nor there.

I do think it's okay to tell someone that you find one of their habits (verbal or otherwise) annoying, and to request that they ease up. It does require a little patience on the behalf of the annoyed party, however, and if she's doing this about a ton of things you do, it's not a good sign. Getting along with someone usually goes hand in hand with increased tolerance of that person's quirks, and a long list of minor irritations can be a sign of basic incompatibility.

I think it's fair to have one more discussion about expectations. The "I really like you and want to continue seeing you, but this is what I need in order for this relationship to work" kind of talk. Be sure to do this in person and not over text or email. Be gentle and non-accusatory, but be crystal clear on what you need. However, I wouldn't have high hopes, especially not if you've already communicated your needs and she doesn't get it.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:43 AM on May 18 [6 favorites]


DTMFA, man.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:09 AM on May 18 [14 favorites]


As an introvert, I'd run like hell from this situation, but I do wonder where her other friends are in this situation. If she needs to text 30-50 times a day about random crap, does she have no other friends who can soak any of that up?

If the answer to this question is "she has no other close friends", run, do not walk, to Miko's breakup advice.
posted by immlass at 8:22 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


I would have a serious come-to- Jesus talk with her in which you tell her everything you've told us - that you do like her a lot, but she is freaking you out. Point out that she says she wants you to be able to be who you are, but then point out that her actions are contradicting that. Tell her what you need and tell her that this is a dealbreaker because she is not being fair to you.
Then if you don't see Improvement, THEN get out.

(And thank you - I've recently been paranoid I've been a little too needy in a LTR, but my "one text every 5 days and I let it go if he doesn't answer" is WILDLY different from this and I feel WORLDS better.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:29 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


The only way to do this is to draw boundaries. Let her know what you need and make sure you stick to it.

Now, will this make her unhappy? Will that sour relationship? Maybe. Probably, even. But the relationship right now is not working, and if you want to give it a shot, you have to stand up for yourself.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:32 AM on May 18


Can you set very strong boundaries and stick to them? As in, telling her you prefer not to text at work, that you're an introvert and need down time, that you really like her, but are not able to be as attentive as she may need. She has shown very clearly that she needs a lot of connectedness, reassurance, attention. She sounds emotionally volatile.

Stop Walking on Eggshells is a great book about dealing with someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder, also useful for dealing with anyone who has poor boundaries, is manipulative, highly dramatic, etc. You don't have to label her, but it's a really useful book.

Odds of success for the relationship? Maybe not fantastic, but there's a lot to be learned from leaning how to deal with the many ways people behave.
posted by theora55 at 8:46 AM on May 18


This has happened to me about 4-5 times with both men and women and no amount of clear and concise and honest boundary-setting made a whit of difference. It was exhausting and demoralizing and very very fucking annoying that my needs were constantly avoided, handwaved away, or outright steamrolled over in the extroverted person's desire for constant contact even at the expense of my work and sleep. I was also made to feel like I was the cruel and hurtful and thoughtless one in the relationship, simply because I didn't feel like, for example, having 2h+ long phone conversations every single day about absolutely nothing.

You may have to cede a lot of your personal comfort zone to make this work, and even then after a while you may not make it anyway because you are so exhausted.

There is no possible human being for whom this kind of thing would be worth it for me.
posted by elizardbits at 9:02 AM on May 18 [15 favorites]


Loving someone is not enough. Being able to actually be in a relationship with someone, to actually exist in that space, needs to come before loving them. If you can't coexist, then the relationship can't work, no matter how much you love one another.

Is there a way for me to lines around my time and space without making her feel marginalized?

No. You want what you want, and she wants what she wants. That Venn diagram isn't working, and it's not going to, because your desires are incompatible. That's going to leave one of you being frustrated.

It's OK for her to be like she is, just like it's OK for you to be how you are. But you're not compatible. No harm, no foul, just move on so you can both find someone your compatible with. Everyone wins.
posted by Solomon at 9:12 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


"Man, I think that was GREAT!".

That is so ridiculous. If you said "God, that was an awesome sandwich!" would she think you were calling her "God"?

It's a mild exclamation and doesn't refer in any way to the person you're talking to. Jesus Christ, you guys should split.
posted by the jam at 9:43 AM on May 18 [24 favorites]


nthing everyone else's "she is smothering you, get out now" stuff. hypothesis, though: the farther west you go in the United States, it becomes more and more common to use "man" and "dude" as a generic way to start a sentence. If this hypothesis is true, she's criticizing your dialect. Telling someone they talk wrong is a great way to make them feel like shit. Maybe she should go find another manic person from lawn guyland and stop trying to "fix" nice quiet midwesterners who don't need fixing.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:45 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


She sounds exciting and fun and exhausting and passive aggressive and unbelievably needy. And rude and manipulative.

If you want to keep this relationship going without making yourself totally miserable, it looks like you will have to set very firm boundaries and not waver when she pitches a cold shoulder tantrum (which she will, or some variation thereof).

You could try "I really like you, I think you are great, but I need more space/fewer texts," and negotiate what you both can accept. You may need to be as controlling as she is and give her exacts: no more than 10 texts a day/no calls right after work, etc. And then you'll have to police every time she oversteps your boundaries, because she will.

A reminder: As you have been seeing each other a mere, month, this her on her BEST behavior.
posted by Ink-stained wretch at 10:03 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


It doesn't matter how many "boundaries" you set because she clearly isn't going to stop doing what she wants no matter what you ask. Someone who has all the free time all day to text you 50 times in 8 hours is um....unhinged, in my opinion. And she clearly doesn't take no for an answer.

Break up with her, but be forewarned that she's gonna make it ugly and probably well, stalk you. I'd try to say that you just aren't up to giving her as much attention as she needs, though I don't know how she'll take the truth.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:41 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


There is a particular kind of extrovert who specializes in super intense short term dating. When it's new, it feels like the sun is shining just on you. It's great. But sooner or later, you get burned out or you reach the point where the thrill of newness wears off and they discard you to go find someone fresh to play their game with.

The plus side is it's WAY better for you to be done first.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:58 AM on May 18


Hah, she is definitely me in my last relationship (Greater NYC area with an Ohioan), except I ended that. Less texting, though.

It's easiest if you just end this relationship.

In conversation, you probably respond a few microseconds too slowly, as if you're behind the beat. Your vowels (does she hate 'fancy' also?) probably grate on her, and the mellowness probably reads as lack of ambition, which makes her wonder why she can't do better. And for lack of better, well, maybe she can get _more_ -- more attention from you, etc.

It will get better when you stop appearing like a pushover to her: your boundaries will probably make her feel more secure, that she's dating a man and not a marshmallow. She probably always has ideas of where to go now because she's dissatisfied with the quality or availability of your suggestions.

This "relief that you might not be so mushy" last for a short while, but once this wears off, she'll still be fundamentally unhappy that you're not on the same energy level. Dialect is really hard to change.
posted by batter_my_heart at 11:01 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


"Having lots in common" is actually a terrible basis for a relationship. Tastes in art and music and food often change over time. Core personalities do not change. If you need less contact, and she needs more, you might be able to enforce a boundary, but she will not actually stop needing it. If she told you that you must talk/text for X hours per day or she would break it off, you might do it, but you would still need your alone time. This is a recipe for frustration for one or both of you.

Go find someone whose core personality compliments yours, and introduce them to your tastes in art and music. You may be surprised.
posted by desjardins at 11:11 AM on May 18 [11 favorites]


i agree on the smothering and that no amount of boundary setting by you is going to solve the inherent mismatch at the base of it. i do think in your next relationship you need to get better at asserting your boundaries, though. it'll make this sort of stuff easier to suss out because you won't also be relying on your partner to be a mind reader.

i have to say that the "man" thing would really grate on my nerves, so you might want to consider if that'll turn off people in the future and if it's worth keeping it in your habits. you can learn different interjections and emphasis words.
posted by nadawi at 11:14 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


There's no magic combination of words that can guarantee that you can have your space and she will simultaneously not feel marginalized, no.

It also sounds like you've been catering to her, being subtle and "nice" rather than asserting your boundaries, which sets her expectations incorrectly, which is why she gets confused/angry and reads you as being distant when you aren't actually trying to push her away.

I don't think this is going to work out.
posted by sm1tten at 11:59 AM on May 18


She asked if we could talk on the phone in that time. I wanted to be nice (though I was slightly annoyed) and said yes. She just wanted to shoot the breeze. I don't like shooting the breeze on the phone with people I see every other day. I'm sure I came off as blah. She asked me later "Are you distracted"? I answered "Only in that it's a work day and a workout day."

I would be very annoyed by your actions here. If she explicitly asked you if it's okay to talk and then you say yes but act all uninterested that is passive aggressive. She tried to respect your boundaries by making it an explicit question. Not only that but when she asked you again you said "Only in that it's a work day and a workout day". Again, passive aggressive. I can see why she gets the feeling she doesn't know if she's allowed to talk to you.

It seems you've told her generally that you need space and alone time, but you're not willing to say anything explicit about it. So she always must wonder when she's intruding and when she's not and have an insecure feeling about it all the time. And of course she always hopes that you do want to talk to her because that's the degree of interaction that she likes.

It came out that she felt like she didn't know when she was "allowed" to talk to me

It seemed you've only spoken about your need for space and alone time in the vaguest way and that you've only spoken about your differing needs in the vaguest way, not like you've had a real discussion about things. If you had she would not have to wonder all the time, she could be confident that when you say you want to talk you do, and if you weren't wanting to talk you wouldn't. Wondering all the time is a horrible thing. Not only do you need to talk more thoroughly but if it comes up in specific instances like in that phone conversation you need to address it there about that phone conversation too, rather just saying "well she knows I like space". She shouldn't have to guess when you do and when you don't want space. It's possible you two are fundamentally incompatible but you're not even giving yourself a chance to find out because you're not communicating.
posted by Blitz at 1:06 PM on May 18 [11 favorites]


I know introverted Midwestern men, and brash East Coast women.
There is no doubt there is a culture mismatch here. But certainly, isn't that why others fascinate us? As they are "other"?

Some of the greatest marriages are between people that seem quite opposite. It helps immensely through life to have a different viewpoint and skillset in a partner.

I think the whirlwind of new love is still roaring. I think you should communicate a bit more and also give it more time.

She definitely knows you are introverted, but perhaps remind her that your need for alone time does not mean anything has changed in regards to how you feel about her. Tell her she can trust in your feelings for her, that they are strong and true.

You should also understand sometimes people just like to rattle on and need a second party to say "yeah" in the right spots in their train of thought. Maybe take her chatter a little less seriously. Put her on speaker while you exercise. She likely won't care, or it will become less enjoyable for her and she'll dial it back.

I think you have a great opportunity for a wonderful relationship, don't let that get away over some mismatch that can be resolved. Give it a little more time for the newness to wear off and some comfortable security to kick in.
posted by littlewater at 1:13 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Ok, so the whole point of dating is finding what you like in a partner to hopefully lead to a life partner (if that's your goal). It sounds like one quality that you like is the ability to have your own space and there is nothing wrong with that. It's just part of who you are. My SO and I are the same way - some nights we are both watching our own tvs (we live together) or or he's off playing poker with the guys while I go to the gym.

This woman may have all the other qualities which may cause you to care deeply for her, but if she isn't giving you that space that you need then she's probably not the best match for you. It happens quite often - plenty of people tend to ignore this however, and that's probably what leads to so many humans relations ask me posts. :)

Decide whet is important to you, then act accordingly. Just remember that done decisions are not the easy ones to make. That's just life.

Good luck. You will do what's right for you.
posted by floweredfish at 1:59 PM on May 18


She's not necessarily high strung or needy--- both really rude things to say about her. You haven't explained to her thoroughly your need for alone time. Most people who are healthy and socialize find that really weird. She diesnt understand. Instead of being passive aggressive, can you actually tell her/explain instead of asking her to read your mind?
posted by discopolo at 2:22 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


Though actually, you're describing her in such a rude way that I'm not sure if you remaining in this is in her best interest.
posted by discopolo at 2:26 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


This isn't extroversion, it's borderline harassment.

I'm an extrovert married to an introvert, and what that means is that I'm out of the house all of the time doing my own exciting things. We went through a phase of booking together time into the diary because we just didn't see each other otherwise, despite living together (sorted now my commute is less). However she doesn't sound like she does much during the day or sees many other people in the evenings? I would maybe try to reframe this as perhaps a lonely person who has clicked with somebody new and is overdoing it rather than as extroversion. I'm sure she's not actually a stalker, just a bit too enthusiastic. Everyone I've dated who was like this was actually an introvert, fwiw.

The good thing about this is that she can maybe feel less lonely and insecure in time (she's not going to get less extroverted). Sit down with her and explain that this level of contact is too much for you, and is damaging the rest of your life. I would phrase this as "can't talk at work", "got stuff to do this evening so I can only talk for 10mins", etc. And include her in your life as much as possible, and encourage her to do more things with her friends or on her own. If she still gets pouty about you not replying to 50texts when you have told her it might get you fired, well yes then she's just being unreasonable and you can dump her with a clear conscience.

The 'man' thing is just a weird foible, consider that a separate thing. Some people just don't like some turns of speech.
posted by tinkletown at 2:47 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


I'm a woman and this bothers me too. It sounds like you're talking to one of the guys. I understand where she is coming from on this one.

There is no gender-neutral equivalent of 'man', afaict. I use it constantly too and I'd like to pick another word, but there ain't one.

Anyway: yes, ditch. Not gonna work out.

She's not necessarily high strung or needy--- both really rude things to say about her. You haven't explained to her thoroughly your need for alone time. Most people who are healthy and socialize find that really weird. She diesnt understand. Instead of being passive aggressive, can you actually tell her/explain instead of asking her to read your mind?


30-50 texts a day is all the independent corroboration I'd be looking for.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:08 PM on May 18 [7 favorites]


30-50 texts a day is all the independent corroboration I'd be looking for.

Yes, this, pretty much. While 30-50 txts per day is not really a big deal between two people who are enthusiastically participating in a conversation, 30-50 from one person to another who is barely responding? Not a good thing.

OP, I think in that particular case your error was in responding at all. Even a generalized "lol" in response is enough to show that you COULD have participated in the conversation but chose not to. Simply choosing not to and then actually exercising that choice by not responding is a far better response.


Most people who are healthy and socialize find that really weird.

Uh? What? "Most people who are healthy and socialize"? literally what the fuck does that even mean, oh my god, this is such a creepy thing to say about introverts i cant even
posted by elizardbits at 4:10 PM on May 18 [20 favorites]


Sometimes these "opposites attract" things work and sometimes they don't. It depends in part on how much you are getting out of it that you feel you can't readily find elsewhere and if that is sufficient motivation to work at bridging the differences.

I suggest you be less "subtle." My ex was you. I was "her" in some sense. His dry sense of humor was completely lost on me. It just did not make my radar. (We were married a lot of years when he finally told me I missed most of his jokes.) Extroverts seem to generally be a bit more thick skinned about direct answers when they ask a direct question. Don't try to be "nice". Instead, give her an honest answer that works for you. Tell her, no, not really, I need this recharge time. If she really and truly has her shit together like you say and is the flaming extrovert you think she is, surely she has other friends she can shoot the shit with? (Just don't then give her shit about that, like it is some kind of unfaithfulness and you own her, k?)

But, you know, have a talk with her about the 30-50 texts a day while you are working. I grew up with this idea that you don't bother people for trivial social crap when they are working. When they are on the clock, the company owns that time. It isn't theirs to piss away as they see fit. So let her know that, no, expecting you to text back constantly while at work is just absolutely not fucking happening. If that is a deal breaker, I kind of feel it's better to know now than later and let her go.

Some of the other nitpicky things, it sounds to me like she is trying too hard to be a feminist or something. I would ask what is with that? Why is she so nitpicky about some of these things? What is the point? She may think she is doing her due diligence as a SJW or something by policing your language. And, while I know little things like that can matter, um, there are really bigger fish to fry, generally. And such judgment calls need to be made in context. There is no sweeping rule that works for stuff like that.
posted by Michele in California at 4:41 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


but then she would text "Is everything okay?" when I didn't answer right away.

Maybe it's just that i'm super passive and seattle freeze-y, but i would quit talking to someone based on this alone.

I just can't stand the "i'm going to text you and expect an immediate response when it wasn't an emergency, and we weren't in the middle of an intense conversation" thing.

Like, i might be projecting or making weird spitballing assumptions or something, but the way people interact with texting in my opinion says a lot about how they just kind of do social interaction in general. And that's really, really intense. Like, too much for the majority of people intense.
posted by emptythought at 5:13 PM on May 18 [4 favorites]


That's not just extraversion, it's extraversion, extreme anxiety, manipulation, and lack of respect for your well-being and boundaries. One month in. Run.
posted by ravioli at 5:36 PM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Actually let me revise: she sounds taxing but I'm not sure why you need to so much other than talk to her about it. I mean you're really bashing her when she's just exhausting and you'll probably be passive aggressive, so let her know you just can't talk to her as much without feeling weary. She honestly doesn't sound like she gets it.
posted by discopolo at 5:49 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


but then she would text "Is everything okay?" when I didn't answer right away.

Maybe it's just that i'm super passive and seattle freeze-y, but i would quit talking to someone based on this alone.


Yeah that would be my 'okay, we're done' moment.

There is never a time when "Is everything okay?" is an acceptable response to not getting an immediate answer to a non-urgent conversational input.

Nope, nope, nope.
posted by winna at 5:54 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


There is no gender-neutral equivalent of 'man', afaict. I use it constantly too and I'd like to pick another word, but there ain't one.

In most situations where you'd say "Man, that was..." or "Man, I think...", you can perfectly well substitute something like "whoa", "wow", or "hey" for "man". Or you can just leave it off; it's basically just taking up space.

-------------------

As for the original question, I concur that you're most likely incompatible, but if you really are super into her, it's worth having that serious conversation about communication style and seeing if you can find more common ground, with her more secure and you less smothered.
posted by ktkt at 6:35 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


My brother's dating a girl like this. She's great. I like her, but when she doesn't get enough attention from my brother everything goes bad. She gets passive aggressive and pouty. She also needs constant phone/text attention. He last week had a similar story about coming back from work, working out, and then wanting to just watch a movie while she constantly texted him. I tihnk when he didn't respond she even started texting "what's wrong" messages.

Your lady friend is not going to get less clingy/needy (or whatever you want to call) it as the relationship progresses.

I don't think it's so much am issue of setting boundaries this early in the relationship. I think it's just a matter of mismatched needs and expectations.
posted by Che boludo! at 6:55 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


To me this sounds like a fundamental difference between an extrovert and an introvert, a high energy person and a lower energy person. You are different from each other in this regard, and I think it will be hard to bridge that gap.
posted by Dansaman at 10:00 PM on May 18


Start reading 'The Good men project' site - they have loads of great articles on healthy relationships. Intensity is a different thing from intimacy - the more invested you get the harder it will be to get out of this, not a safe place for you.
posted by tanktop at 3:22 AM on May 19


the good men project has some good stuff, but read with a super critical eye. they can sometimes get it really, really wrong, like when they're promoting rape culture.
posted by nadawi at 6:13 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]


Also, I will suggest that you might need to sit her down and spell out super clearly that the amount of time and energy you gave initially was something you expected to be an aberration. She might have taken that initial experience as setting the bar for what to expect and you may need to spell it out super clearly that, no, that is not what you intend to give normally.

It is possible she simply wants more time than you will ever want to give. Find out now if that is the case and, if so, very nicely DTMFA. (I did this last summer -- met someone, really, really liked them, considered pursuing a LTR with them in spite of LTR being "out of the question" for me at that time, and got far enough along to say Nope after about 8 weeks. I emphasized to him that it went that way because I liked him unexpectedly much and thanks so much for the good time and all that but this is not going to work. I still get the occasional friendly note from this person. So I seem to have handled it nicely enough.)
posted by Michele in California at 11:03 AM on May 19


This seems highly like cultural differences. As someone that married someone from a Scandinavian background, while being from an extroverted cultural background myself, I found that explaining the cultural differences helped a lot, and let me know it was less a thing he was having with me, and more a thing that was happening because of different norms.
posted by corb at 11:31 AM on May 19


Yeah, I want to reiterate immlass's point. If she's such an extrovert and needs to be talking to someone All The Time, who was filling that void before she met you last month? Can't she go spend some time with all of them and leave you a moment to breathe? She can't? Then she's probably driven friends away with this level of intensity too, and it is not going to get better.
posted by MsMolly at 12:43 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]


If she explicitly asked you if it's okay to talk and then you say yes but act all uninterested that is passive aggressive. She tried to respect your boundaries by making it an explicit question. Not only that but when she asked you again you said "Only in that it's a work day and a workout day". Again, passive aggressive. I can see why she gets the feeling she doesn't know if she's allowed to talk to you.

I agree with this. I've been there, and it's really unpleasant to feel like you're constantly in the way.

I would try setting explicit boundaries about when you do and do not have time to chat, and what kinds of communications you prefer. For example: "I usually can't text until after work, and even later on days I go the the gym. Don't worry if you don't hear from me then. I also don't really like talking on the phone for too long. How about, instead, we plan on a quick goodnight before bed on the days I don't see you?"

I also think 30-50 texts per day can be normal (my current partner and I went way over that in our first few months of dating, and we're super happy seven months in) if everyone involved is okay with it -- which it sounds like you're not. If she doesn't respond well to the boundary-setting, you may just be looking at mismatched needs here. Also, be prepared for her to agree to your needs but then be perceptibly unhappy about them. I would have done exactly that in past relationships -- convinced myself I could meet my partner's needs when I actually could not. You may have to be the one to pull the trigger on the breakup in that case.
posted by Ragini at 3:48 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]


Just reiterating here, but with my side of it. I am... let's call it a needy introvert. I don't like groups, but I like spending all of my time with one person. I dated a bunch of more typical people who liked me but didn't want to spend all of their time with me and I was a total wreck. Then I dated someone who really did want to spend most of their time with me and I actually felt much calmer and relaxed and happy, because my needs were being met. The thing is that neither your need for not spending time with her or her need for spending time with you is more important, but they're incompatible and not in a almost-if-you-compromise-a-bit way. So I think you should lay it out to her in black and white and break up, so that both of you can find other relationships where your needs will be met.
posted by anaelith at 5:01 AM on May 20 [3 favorites]


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