She wants a fling, I'm wishing for a relationship
December 13, 2011 3:58 PM   Subscribe

Met this incredible girl who i fell head over heels in love with. However, she's reluctant to move our relationship forward because of her past. I'm left confused and wanting more..

Recently I've met a very interesting girl and we really hit it off straight away. We have lots in common and really enjoy each others company. It's been a while since I've met a person with whom i share so much and someone who really gets me and i feel myself falling in love with her rapidly.
However, she seems reluctant to commit more and freezes up whenever i mention anything that could hint at a relationship, and I'm starting to have some doubts about what to do next.

I don't wanna pressure her into a relationship if she's not interested, and I definitely don't wanna get too clingy and needy with her and scare her off.
However, I'm not really looking for a fling or a casual relationship and I don't want to spend too much time on it if it's not going anywhere and she just wants to keep it casual forever. It's not just the time that is wasted, but i feel like I'm being used emotionally and sexually and made out to be a fool. Also, i feel like a hit a emotional wall whenever i wish to tell her how i feel about her, because i know she dislikes it whenever i try to talk about deeper feelings and love.

I know that she's had some troublesome and abusive relationships in the past, which is making her reluctant to go into a new one. She's been cheated on by her previous boyfriends and there might have been some physical abuse also.
I have a feeling that I'm a very different type of guy than the ones she usually falls for. That could be an advantage since obviously I'm not the abusive type. But it could also be the reason she is hesitating to be with me and maybe she's just keeping me at a distance for that reason.

I'm really confused about what to do next. I really care for this girl and even though i know she has had a rough past I'm not gonna let that get in the way of our relationship. If anything, I want to help her and support her in any way possible, but i just feel like she's not letting me get too close. It's an very unpleasant feeling of being helpless. So it seems like her past is getting in our way and there is not much i can do about it.

So i guess I'm looking for advice on how to handle it. How do i support her and help her mend her past and show her I'm not that kind of guy her previous boyfriends were. Or do i simply cut my losses and move on because this is a lost fight and I'll just get hurt by trying to "save her"?
posted by kampken to Human Relations (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You can't fix her.

There are two options here: force the issue, or wait to see if it resolves itself.

By forcing the issue I don't mean being rude or pushy, I mean saying that you're not interested in a casual relationship anymore, and be prepared to walk away if she doesn't offer more.

If you want to see if she'll come up with the desire to have a relationship on her own, give yourself a deadline (if we're not in a relationship by x months/weeks from now, I will move on) and stick to it. This is an agreement you make with yourself to keep yourself from investing more than is reasonable.

Good luck.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:08 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: When people tell you who they are, believe them, the first time.

If she ain't ready, she ain't ready, and there's really nothing you can do about it. Sure, you can offer "support" and "help mend her past," whatever that turns out to be, or whatever that means to you. But you're never going to be able to do the work for her.

Not saying you should just move on, and neither should you hurt her or give her any ultimatums. But adjust your own expectations and don't get hung up on this. Relax. Take a deep breath. Date her. Have fun. Try to be the good boyfriend, not the ultimate-boyfriend-why-can't-you-see-that-I-love-you-what-can-I-do-to-make-you-love-me-my-precioussss boyfriend.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:09 PM on December 13, 2011 [10 favorites]

You sound a lot like you're trying to be a white knight to this girl- "not gonna let that get in the way of our relationship".

It may be the case that her past is getting in "your" way and you feel like you need to fix it. Well, it's not your problem to solve. If she has issues with letting guys in quickly too soon, how exactly do you expect to solve that problem for her? By asking her nicely to let you in quickly?

If she dislikes it whenever you try to talk about deeper feelings and love, then why do you seem to want talk about deeper feelings and love? If you really want to support someone, then you should respect things that they have communicated to you. If she doesn't want a relationship, then back off. If she just needs time, then give her that. I don't see what you gain by trying to force the issue. If she needs to work on her issues, let her do that. But that's not a guarantee that she will, or that after she does, she's going to want to be with you (or that you'll want to be with her).
posted by thewumpusisdead at 4:12 PM on December 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

Sounds like she is a red hot mess who prefers the excitement of jerks and losers. You don't stand a chance. Even if you do get her to commit for a while, she will get bored and do whatever she can to create drama.

Run, Forest, Run....
posted by myselfasme at 4:23 PM on December 13, 2011 [8 favorites]

Best answer: Sounds like people are being unnecessarily harsh on either you or her. It doesn't have to be so. If she isn't ready, then she isn't ready. Who knows what her "real" reason is or whether she'll ever even be ready. Just take her words as they are.

Having said that, you need to decide what you are going to do. You can't change her mind, you can only change yourself and your actions. Protect yourself by any means possible (and judging from your post here, it seems like you will have to start protecting yourself, or else you'll get very hurt). If you have to, break up with her. If you feel like you can withstand the uncertainty, then keep things as they are. You choose what YOU need, and NOT what she needs. Because, after all, you are not in a relationship.
posted by moiraine at 4:39 PM on December 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

Sometimes, people want different things. You have to decide how much time you want to invest in hoping she changes her mind. But being in a relationship where you 'hope' someone realizes how great you are can be incredibly painful. If you can't enjoy the moment and feel like the relationship has to be a committed one, then you have your answer. Neither of you are wrong. She's told you how she feels so lighten up and enjoy your time together or start looking for someone who wants what you do.
posted by shoesietart at 4:44 PM on December 13, 2011

Best answer: just please slow down . Her experience is that relationships hurt .
What is the difference between what you have now and what you are trying to get her into ? What do you mean by "relationship"?
Let her really see that you are different (are you ?). When she "freeze" , or make "emotional wall " or somehow else trying to protect herself from your pushing in the form of talking of your feelings -- why don't you back up ? You are not just "talking about feelings" , you really pushing some agenda , so you'll get some "relationship", because you are "not like these others in her life"-- how does she know ? Your job is to prove that you are that good , and not just today , but many times . Learn to respect her and her boundaries . Why would she let you go further if you don't listen to her now , at the present level of your relationship ?
posted by Oli D. at 4:49 PM on December 13, 2011 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I know this sucks, but I think you should cut your losses.

Or trying telling her how you feel, and then she will react badly and end things, and then it will be over anyway.

Here's the thing: You want a relationship in which you are safe to have feelings and to express them. You want a relationship that is more than casual. This is not that relationship. It really, really sucks, I know, because you like her and click with her, but what you really want is some other her who is like her except is willing to build/be in a relationship with you. Hanging in there just leads to heartbreak and resentment.
posted by J. Wilson at 4:49 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

It's entirely possible that she just doesn't want to be in a relationship with you. Sorry. Cut your losses and disengage before you end up being this guy.
posted by supercres at 4:55 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

I agree with the advice to ask her for what you want, and be prepared to let it go if she doesn't want the same thing.

From what you've posted, I don't see any way this will work out for you.

(If you ask, she says no, you go on without her, and then she changes her tune - run run run.)
posted by Lesser Shrew at 4:56 PM on December 13, 2011

Cut your losses and move on.

I'm her. My last boyfriend spent a long time convincing me that he wasn't like the previous ones, he would never hurt me. I'd spent years being happily single but this guy worked on convincing me that he was different.

Eighteen months later, he broke my heart... and even worse, my kids' hearts. After worming his way into our lives, he devastated us with one drunken night of violence.

Since then, that's it. I'm single for life. I have a knack of picking the bad boys, I admit. Never ever again will I trust any man who gazes into my eyes and says that he could never hit a woman. Maybe she's been through something similar.

Don't try to 'save' her. Be her friend. Or yearn for her from afar, or write her off as a lost cause and find someone else. If she's ever ready to take it further with you, she will. But don't force it on her because if she's distrustful like me, she'll assume it's manipulation and you'll be doing more damage than good.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 4:57 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I know that she's had some troublesome and abusive relationships in the past, which is making her reluctant to go into a new one. She's been cheated on by her previous boyfriends and there might have been some physical abuse also.

Presuming this is true, you need to know that issues stemming from this kind of dynamic can take a long time to get over -- like years. Decades, even. I'm not kidding. It also requires the desire to do the very hard work to get past these issues, and quite possibly working with a therapist.

What won't fix it, in and of itself, is just having a new type of guy being present in her life. No matter how kind, considerate, supportive, etc. you are, you are not enough to fix her. This is not because you are inadequate in some way; it's because no one can fix her except her. This is simply the nature of this sort of situation. Your presence, support, and affection are not and will never be magic bullets that can heal her.

This doesn't make her a bad person, nor does it make you a failure as a (potential) boyfriend. It is just one of those things where two people who are attracted to each other and may even care for each other, but are simply at fundamentally incompatible places in their lives. It sucks. It's sad. It's like being stuck in a Shins song. But there's not much you can do.

People can't really save each other; people can really only save themselves. If you can genuinely encourage her to seek help for her issues, that's great. But please don't set yourself up for heartbreak (nor set herself up for your resentment) by having any expectation that you'll win the prize (i.e., her love) for doing so. It's not fair to either of you.
posted by scody at 5:03 PM on December 13, 2011 [13 favorites]

Best answer: If a person is into you and ready to have a relationship, they are excited to talk about "deeper feelings and love," and excited that you want to talk about it with them.

Whatever her reasons, she's telling you what she wants by her actions: nothing serious. If you want a serious relationship more than you want to just be with her, then no, it's not worth your time.

I have very recently been this girl (without the abusive relationships) and I think as hard as it may be to hear, it may not really be about her past at all. She may just not be that into you, and she doesn't know how to say it. Avoiding talking about serious things is how she's communicating this -- I knew it was immature as I was doing it, but it's easier and keeps things status quo: enjoying your company without any commitment.
posted by bluestocking at 5:15 PM on December 13, 2011 [6 favorites]

Best answer: She's telling you not to get close to protect both you and herself. You know when you see a dog that's had it's legs run over by a car and is still alive, and it growls at your if you try to approach it, and if you touch it it bites you? It's wounded. She's wounded. She knows she'll hurt you if you get too close cos she's she's wounded. It sucks to be you in that situation, and it really, really sucks to be that girl cos she DOES want to heal.

But in this situation, you can heal her a LITTLE just by being gentle and not being an asshole when she pushes you away (cos she will), and not pressuring her, just being around and letting her observe you, but don't think that you can magically and quickly fix this. That's going to take a lot of time, and a lot of work from her. It's going to be about HER being ready, and her regaining her courage. Right now the situation feels safe to her. Getting closer feels unsafe. That's a powerful barrier.

It sucks. Please try not to take it personally, and please don't believe that she's doing it cos she's a b*tch or loves drama. And please look after yourself and your feelings. It's ok to kindly and lovingly tell her that she's not ready and you don't want to get hurt, and to walk away, if that's what you need to do (and if you don't want to get hurt, probably what you have to do). She will be upset, but every time this happens she will start to realise that protecting herself is hurting herself, so it is a kindness.
posted by lifethatihavenotlivedyet at 5:19 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I wonder if part of the problem is that she senses that you are moving too fast (at least, for her) and are maybe more into her than she is into you. Doesn't take a bad past to be leery of a guy who is falling in love really quickly and wants to move into a relationship you aren't ready for yet. You can't really show her that you're different if you're pushing her into a pattern she's probably already familiar with; I'm sure your intentions are good, but I'm going with "cut this one loose" because you can't really dial back from where you are right now, and she can't get to where you are yet, for what might be any number of reasons.
posted by sm1tten at 5:21 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

bail out asap - this isn't a movie, and it's not going to get better. you deserve someone who really digs you and wants to be with you (i.e. someone who feels the way about you that you feel about this current girl). she might be unavailable because of her past, or that might just be an excuse, but in either case she's just not that into you.
posted by facetious at 5:30 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

How recent is "recently"? A lot of people -- even if they really like you, even if they aren't emotionally damaged etc -- don't necessarily want to rush into a relationship, especially when they've had some bad ones. It doesn't mean they love drama, on the contrary, they're probably trying to AVOID drama by keeping it easy-breezy.

she seems reluctant to commit more and freezes up whenever i mention anything that could hint at a relationship, She SEEMS reluctant, and you're hinting at things -- have you actually full-on said to her, "hey, I really like you and I can see this going somewhere. What do you think?"

Just ask the direct question, and then be silent. I may be misreading this question, but it seems like you're doing a lot of extrapolating. And you're probably right that she's not at the same place you are, but you should probably just have the conversation even if she gets all freeze-y at you. Then at least you'll know more firmly where you stand. Good luck!
posted by Countess Sandwich at 5:33 PM on December 13, 2011

Best answer: I refer you to my recent question. Lots of different details, but same basic gist. I broke it off, but that's because I knew I couldn't handle it. YMMV.
posted by 3FLryan at 6:13 PM on December 13, 2011

Best answer: Never, ever wait for someone to be ready to be with you. She's not in a place to give you the kind of relationship you want. The thing to do is move on and try to find it elsewhere. Then, if she becomes ready, she can come find you, but this will never happen if you're just hanging around, waiting for things to change. You will save yourself a lot of heartbreak if you always interpret "I'm not ready to be in a relationship right now" as "I don't want to date you."
posted by Ragged Richard at 7:43 PM on December 13, 2011 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: Wow, wasn't expecting to many responses..awesome.
Lots of harsh comments also, but that's alright since I think this is a subject that requires me to be 100% sure about what i want and need and there's not any room for half measures.

This has been really helpful..thanks everyone :)
posted by kampken at 12:21 AM on December 14, 2011

« Older Whats eating Gilbert Grapefruit?   |   How to stop blushing when coworkers talk about sex Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.