Why is she always to tired to hang out with me, but always has energy for her friends?
July 24, 2010 4:44 PM   Subscribe

Why is she always to tired to hang out with me, but always has energy for her friends?

Far too long to explain in depth, but also devilishly simple, so let me know if you need more info.

Basically my girlfriend has recently (in the last three months of an 18 month relationship) always been too tired to take our nights out beyond 9.30 - 10pm - she just wants to go back to mine or hers to fall asleep. Sec life is fine, to pre-empt any questions on that - it just always takes place in the morning when she's woken up.

My real problem is that while she is seemingly too tired for our fun nights out, she is perfectly fine going out with her girlfriends. She will be out to all hours of the night with them, but can't stay up much past sundown with me.

What the hell? I want a quiet night in once in a while, but also I want to have the odd wild night out dancing and having fun with her. But I feel like I'm her wooly blanket option right now.

I have tried expressing this to her, but she just says that she can have wild nights out with me as well, but coincidentally our nights out always coincide with when she is tired from working out or just working. But this has happened too often recently for me to accept this.

I do love her, but I want her to love me in the same way, and I feel like I am missing out on a big part of her by no longer having her fun side and only having her sleepy side. I love her sleepy side to bits, but I don't just want to be the boring old night in option.

Am I missing something or is this normal?
posted by plechazunga to Human Relations (24 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I should poitn out that "sec life" in the second para should read "sex life"
posted by plechazunga at 4:45 PM on July 24, 2010

I think this is completely normal. She views you as "home," and is comfortable doing nothing with you. She is probably a lot happier snuggling with you on the couch than going out with her friends all night long, which is why she prefers it. I am guilty of it myself with my boyfriend.

One way he combats this is that he buys tickets to movies or concerts in advance, so I can't bail at the last minute and I'm forced out for some fun. And I always end up having fun in the end whether I stay home with him or go out. Home is just so much cozier!
posted by katypickle at 4:58 PM on July 24, 2010 [7 favorites]

Do you try to plan these nights out in advance? If not, ask her out for a night on the town a few days or a week in advance. Be positive about it. The day before, reiterate how much you're looking forward to it. Sometimes people start to think of their partners as people they get to relax with. Fight it with positivity, excitement, and a little advance planning.
posted by studioaudience at 5:00 PM on July 24, 2010

How old are the two of you?

Also: how do you know what she's doing with her girlfriends? Does she tell you that they're having a wild time or are you just inferring that?

I think the only answer to the reason "Why" she's doing this that you can get is from her. From an outside point of view based on the information you've given is that she is a woman in a relationship who also has friends.

A lot of people compartmentalize their lives - especially in relationships. There's the sort of cliche of the guys who have Poker Night and get drunk with their buddies while their girlfriends stay home - or the girls who have "Girls night out." It's pretty normal for people to behave differently with their friends than with their significant others and to sometimes do more "high energy" things with said friends - maybe because being in a group makes dancing more fun or you need more than 2 people to play Poker or whatever.

Ask her why this is happening if knowing why is crucial to you. If you just want to understand the general phenomenon it boils down to "People do shit with their friends that they don't necessarily do with their significant others, whom they love anyway."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:00 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm going to make a bunch of assumptions here, just based on anecdata.

You've become, what I have no better term for, the Default. It's just what happens when two people are in a relationship long enough. She spends her free time, by default, with you. Because she loves you and wants to be with you as much as possible. Obviously, this is not a bad thing. However, when it is time to spend time with the girlfriends, she really makes the most of it and has a wild and crazy night.

The solution? Plan things in advance. Don't say "hey, we should go dancing sometime." Say "it's 80s night on Wednesday at Club Whatever, let's go this Wednesday." It won't always work, but keep in mind that she probably turns down her girlfriends plenty to just come back home because she's tired.
posted by griphus at 5:08 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I don't have an answer, but I'd be hearing alarm bells if my girlfriend was reserving her social life only for other people. You never do these things together? And she never invites you along with her friends? She may be trying to appear single to the outside world.
posted by rhizome at 5:08 PM on July 24, 2010 [3 favorites]

Seconding katypickle and I'm also guilty as charged; I have also found that it usually takes more than 2 people in a relationship for a wild night out. If it's just the 2 of us I am into more cozy nights in or intimate nights out tucked into a corner booth of a dimly lit restaurant or bar. That said, when we are out in a group, we usually have a great time as we are both very sociable and have the same sense of humour.

Perhaps the two of you can get together with a larger group of friends for a night of debauchery? I'm thinking that if there were others in addition to you in this said night out, she would let her party animal out of the cage and include you in the fun.
posted by braemar at 5:09 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Because she's in a relationship with you, but basically on a date with her girlfriends.

Also I draw energy from a group I am unable to draw from a single person, regardless of who that person is. Seriously, it could be dinner with Christ himself and I'm in bed by 11. One the very rare nights I go out with a group of girlfriends, I'm good for the whole night, but I cannot sustain the energy I levels I put out early on when we were dating unless it's a group setting like an awards night or wedding or something.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:14 PM on July 24, 2010 [4 favorites]

For me, it would be a matter of pressure - when I'm out with my friends I can't be the party pooper, I need to work to sustain the friendship and be social / awesome. But my sweetie is my sweetie either way, and I don't have to go be flashy and impressive... or at least that's the way it feels. For me I'd like to get out with my S.O. more often, but I totally understand the feeling that if you're tired or in a quiet mood, being out with other people means you have to power through if possible, and if it's just your partner well, he'll understand...
posted by Lady Li at 5:16 PM on July 24, 2010

(Sorry, by "we" I mean with my husband!)
posted by DarlingBri at 5:16 PM on July 24, 2010

Maybe she derives more energy from a group of her friends than she does from being with you. That could be a reflection of your behaviour, their behaviour or her behaviour.

Maybe it is truly a coincidence, as she says.

Maybe she drinks more or drinks less or takes drugs when she's out with friends.

Maybe ...

The point is, it could be a hell of a lot of things and some of them represent core problems with your relationship and some of them don't. All we can do is guess at what it might be.

Talk to her about what you want and how the two of you can work together to make it happen. If she seems like she genuinely wants the same thing (for you two to go out together and have fun) rather than just paying lip service to the idea or shooting down every suggestion, you'll eventually find a solution.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:16 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's possible that she prefers nights in, and knows she can do it with you and still have a good time because you are her boyfriend. I used to be this way with my ex. Additionally, it could be that having wild girls' nights out is one of the only ways she gets to hang out with her friends, because that's where their interests lie. It's also easier to get kind of peer-pressured into staying out later when it's with a large group as opposed to your partner. It happened to me sometimes, when if I'm with my bf, I know he'll be ok with going home and cozying up, while if I'm at a party with a large group of friends, I feel like I need to be fun, and being in the atmosphere and mindset causes me to stay more alert and maybe end up having fun.

I think it's perfectly normal (though not always ideal) for relationships to get comfortable like this. Agreed with the above that planning fun nights in advance might help. Additionally, is there any sort of trend in the days she seems tired vs not tired? Are you getting her on weeknights while she goes out with her friends on weekends?
posted by lacedcoffee at 5:21 PM on July 24, 2010

stop asking her out. Find things to do yourself. Get busy.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:26 PM on July 24, 2010 [7 favorites]

I would ask her. Are you doing things she's interested in doing? Who makes the plans for your nights out, you, or her? And when she goes out with her friends, what is she doing with them?
posted by crunchland at 5:32 PM on July 24, 2010

Maybe she likes going to bed early with you and waking up to that morning sex. With her friends, she doesn't have that constraint and can therefore stay out longer.

You (apparently) see "going home and crawling into bed with you" as a non-event; she might see it as a fun thing to do, just like on other nights she finds "going out with the friends til all hours" a fun thing to do.
posted by foobario at 5:44 PM on July 24, 2010

You ask "why?" and "is this normal?" and even if we tell you "[very good reason]" and "totally normal," you still won't be getting what you want, right? So I'd move forward assuming there's a "[very good reason]" and it's "totally normal," but that you want something different, and talk to her about what you want and how you guys can achieve that.
posted by salvia at 6:07 PM on July 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

nthing the "could be that she draws energy from the group" thing. You might want to ask her about that because it's a whole lot easier to not take it so personally if you know what's going on. It can become a major issue over time if you don't develop strategies to deal with it. I'm the opposite of your girlfriend - I draw energy from solitude - and I can't emphasise enough how important it is that you both understand what the other needs to regroup, re-energise and remain resilient.

You haven't mentioned how often you'd like to go out on a wild night together as a couple, but it might be relevant - especially if she'd be tagging along mostly to make you happy. She mightn't be willing to sacrifice sleep for something she doesn't find particularly enjoyable now if she was willing to do that when the relationship was new.

Perhaps making your "fun nights" activities which start during the day and don't end too late would be a compromise you can both live with.

The "problem" isn't what's happening in your relationship. As others have pointed out, relationships change from being all excitement and fun all the time to being something else over time. The problem is that you're not happy with the change even though it's a normal one. That may mean that you're at a point in your life where you want a relationship which is more about romantic love than it is about stability and security. It may just mean that your girlfriend has gotten to the point of your relationship feeling comfortable and familiar before you have.

This is the kind of stuff you really need to be able to talk about if you want the relationship to last long-term. I look forward to you letting us know how your talk with her went.
posted by Lolie at 7:35 PM on July 24, 2010

Many times I have seen guys ask this question, the real problem is that they're coming across as totally passive to the girl in question. Gonna be harsh here: Her friends are probably way more fun than you. You're not going to seem more fun by having a "serious talk" about your "needs" with her. The way to seem more fun is to plan something so mind-blowingly cool for her that she can't turn it down. Get tickets to her favorite show. Find an event she'd really dig. Be funny and entertain her for a while. Heck, buy her flowers for no reason. After two weekends of this, if nothing has changed, there's some other problem. But dude, I really don't think she's sneaking around on you or holding out on you. You're probably just coming across as pretty boring old news. Sorry to be blunt. I have found that relationships work better when you continually try to work at making it new and interesting.
posted by Nixy at 8:30 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

She may be trying to appear single to the outside world.

You're probably just coming across as pretty boring old news.

For the moment, this is a line of thinking I'm going to urge you to ignore. Seriously. This way lies madness. Approaching your relationship from this angle is a damn fine way to alienate your partner in a hurry. If she likes crawling into bed with you and having morning sex when you guys wake up, I think you can be confident that she's still into you. Insecurity is total poison - don't take a drop.

Lots of other points of excellent advice in this thread, though. The compartmentalization thing sounds apt, as does the notion that she draws a different sort of energy from a group. She said she's open to having fun wild nights with you? Well, since you're only gonna drive yourself nuts trying and failing to read her mind, you have my permission to go ahead and take her at the words that she actually speaks. But it does sound like it's gonna be on you, at least initially, to make some fun nights out happen.

You guys got any mutual friends? Other couples you dig hanging out with? Why not lead off with some fun group nights on the town? Hit up a bar with a dance floor - you got group times and couple times that way. Plan events well in advance, as others have advised, and be positive about the entire process. Dress nice, make it easy on her, and be grateful for the time you get with her rather than resentful about the time that you don't.

Good luck!
posted by EatTheWeek at 9:45 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think this is pretty normal, meaning you should not read overly much into what the current dynamic means (e.g. that she finds you boring). A not insignificant fact is that when you are out with friends, there is likely to exist a subtle or unsubtle pressure to keep the good times rolling. You check your bank account of rest and fatigue and decide you can keep up with "the pack". When you are with your loved and trusted significant other you know you aren't going to get too much shit about begging an early night. This process is likely largely unconscious and I'm sure to her it seems like it is just the luck of the draw, but there is doubtless definite decision going on, and you're not wrong to call her on it - but tread carefully and respectfully.

From personal experience I'd say inwardly respect your girlfriend's need to have those no-strings-attached free nights with friends. Getting pissy about specific instances of her behavior on her time is a recipe for pure bad feelings. But that doesn't mean you have to just accept the status quo. It is totally fair to keep this issue alive and express (best in calm, happy intervals not tied to any particular night out, with you or them) that you want and deserve a slice of her "good to go" pie - when she can skip or belay a workout, when she has time off work - be nice, be fair, keep on the message that it is about wanting to be with her and share a certain aspect of her life, i.e. the up-late good times part. This is really all positive.

I'm talking as the old, going on 12-years married dude here - this is a normal long-term dynamic of stable relationships that takes management. On the whole it is a good thing - she trusts and is comfortable with you and in the long time that is a much more sustainable base of a relationship than "woo hoo, party time!" You are integrated with her routine - the person she still is with after the workout etc. - but you're not off base at all to resist being relegated to solely "wooly blanket" status. Respect, stay positive, be pro-active: people get all weird about "scheduling" whatever in relationships but it can be a godsend in these kinds of situations, a well-scheduled party night can be just as much fun as a spontaneous one.

The last thing I'd say is as you look back over a good relationship these things go in cycles. Just because she has been in a period where going out with the friends and ignoring the clock for a few months has been scratching some social itch recently doesn't mean that's the whole new story. The allure of these particular outings will ebb and flow. If the relationship is working and developing the constant is you and her: you will both adjust your wants and needs and find balance. It helps a lot if you have your own active social life outside the relationship, don't neglect that side of the equation, it feels a lot more imbalanced if part of the problem is that you rely overly much on her for party time (again, from experience). If you want to vent on an old married dude and pick his brain about dealing with this dynamic, in which I totally relate to your side but we've come out the other side happy, feel free to me-mail.
posted by nanojath at 11:25 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I kind of agree with sgt. serenity; I'm not suggesting playing games but for many reasons (including for your own plain enjoyment and well-being), I would also suggest that you yourself "get busy"--spend time with your own friends, join something that does not involve her. She might realize that she misses you and is a bit jealous that you're not sitting around waiting for her, or she might not care. Either way, do it for your own good and for your own enjoyment. Perhaps she'll decide she wants to be a part of whatever you're doing, and want to get together with you and your friends and her friends.

Just don't sit at home waiting for her to call/come home from a night out with the girls. Don't be too available. It sounds stupid, but it's true, sort of a psychological thing. It's okay to do your own thing, and a little mystery never hurt. The fact is, if she's already bored hanging out with you and has more fun with the girls, and you're not even living together at this point, then it's probably not going to be a life-long/long-term relationship. It would be a different story, perhaps, if she was just a homebody in general and rarely went out period but the issue seems to be going out with you rather than going out at all.
posted by 1000monkeys at 11:36 PM on July 24, 2010

Also, if you were married or even had been living together for awhile, it would be a totally different situation.
posted by 1000monkeys at 11:39 PM on July 24, 2010

Find some other couples/mixed groups to go out with.

I hear you about the "girl's night out" thing. It's always driven me nuts. You gotta get this stuff out in the open, because it's a sore spot and will be an issue.
posted by milinar at 12:17 AM on July 25, 2010

Maybe it's just that she feels so relaxed with you that she gets drowsy.
posted by crunchland at 7:25 AM on July 25, 2010

« Older looking for a bedside alarm/iphone dock - iHome?   |   Relationship is newly long distance -- online... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.