My girlfriend hates my friends
September 20, 2005 4:48 PM   Subscribe

Here's the background. My girlfriend is from the republic of Ireland. I am antipodean. We both live in the United Kingdom. I am 33, partially sighted (although I lead a very main-stream life and have no disabled friends). I say the part about me being partially sighted because I believe it's a big part of what has made me ME and given me a slightly odd-shaped perspective compared to mainstream western society. My gf is 36. Our relationsip is about 18 months old and seems to suddenly be coming apart. Two main parts of this seem to be 1) the fact that she seems completely unable to discuss / articulate her feelings or accept any kind of responsibility for them and 2) she appears to be trying to drive my friends away. To the unsuspecting, this may seem like an obvious case of incompatibility. It is however similar to what hapened in my previous relationship of five years. The question: I want to know if anyone else has had the same experience and if so and if they managed to drag things off the rocks, how they worked with their partner to go about it?

Some more background perhaps to help you answer?: My gf told me point blank a few weeks ago that my friends were rude and that we would no longer be able to see them. Obviously, I rebelled and an argument ensued. A flimsy compomise has been reached where she has agreed (after I told her that not seeing my friends anymore was completely out of the question) to give them another try. The relationship has sustained significant damage now though after that debacle.

Now, there do appear to be differences in our groups of friends which on the surface may point to incompatibility between the two of us. Her friends although they claim to be Irish through and through - stereotypically cheerful, generous of nature and in tune with their emotions (STEREOTYPICALLY ANYWAY) - were in the main brought up in England and from what I can see have inherited what I believe (from 7 years of living there and observing the people as an outsider) to be British repression (or reservedness or prudishness or whatever you like to call it). i.e. discussion of subjects concerning the act of sex, the bathroom etc are off limits even (it seems) to couples in private. Discussions of ones feelings are almost as taboo, especially between men (though most of the western world suffers from that despite how modern we think we are?). On the other hand, (not necessarily speaking for my culture but maybe just my crowd), my friends and I can / will talk about anything and everything very frankly. We also have a tendency to say what we think and assume familiarity after knowing people for only a little while (and expect the same in return).

So my gf thinks my friends are rude and cruel (she frequently mis-understands our senses of humour I think) whereas although I am not nearly as passionately judgmental and hateful as her, I find her friends to be a little on the boring side and a little 'unfriendly' and standoffish since all they'll really talk about when I'm present is 'the weather' even after what is to me 'all this time' knowing them.

We have still more issues in that her 'clock' is ticking. Whereas I'm not even sure if I want a child at all let alone in the next couple of years. I think when I'm ready to have a kid, it will be more a case of "I don't mind one way or the other" than "Oh I'm so desperate to pro-create". But that's fine. If it gets to that point, I'm sure the new person will bring me joy I never knew was possible etc etc if and when it finally does come and I have no problem with the fact that I may be missing out on that joy now - too many things to do with my life before I'll be ready for children. I have also been honest with her on this count right from the outset. And she's been honest with me about her intentions too.

I think I'm quite a 'self-examined' character - I know myself fairly well and I'm not all sqeamish (in a red-neck male kind of way) about having an emotional side. I've done a patch of therapy (baggage from being a partially sighted kid I guess) and I think about my feelings and search my soul as a matter of course. I like to talk about my feelings and other peoples' with them. I find these things interesting. My gf on the other hand pretty much blames the first external cause of her bad feelings she can tie them to. Everything is therefore typically 'my fault' as I'm usually the closest by when an emotional catastrophe occurs. I'm sure SOMETIMES it is. But come on, around 5 times a week now (I'm not anal but I have gotten so desperate as to feel the need to count), there is a four to six hour sulk where I've done something (I know not what!) and instead of telling me what it is (despite my trying to console and plead for an answer and forgiveness), she just lets me suffer as long as she wants then decides to snap out of it when she wants.

Discussion of ALL of the above 'in times of peace' just makes her 'slam the door on me' and cut up rough again and accuse me of not loving her anymore and further sulking ensues etc etc. I.e. she will brook no criticism. Furthermore, she denies these sulks even happen.

The only thing that makes me wonder whether the relationship isn't truly over is he fact that I had almost the exact feelings of frustration and wanting to escape the relationship and thinking it was hopeless with my ex (obviously about different 'practical' things but the feelings were the same).

So as you can see, the rocks are very sharp and the water is very shallow and the waves are crashing over them.

I have tried everything. Wondering if everything really IS my fault and trying to change - but I just started getting depressed and after all we are who we are, reassuring her that I love her in case she is just feeling insecure - but she just laps up the attention and it all goes to pot again as soon as I stop, reasoning with her - but she won't listen to reason, EVEN IGNORING HER in case that's 'just how the Irish culture expresses itself'. But nothing works. I'm unhappy in the relationship and I would like to make it work (though that's fading by the day) and just can't see where the punches are coming from anymore. Help!

AFTERTHOUGHT: Many of my friends enquire as to the state of our sex life. Well, although I think a bad sex life is generally more a symptom than a cause, here it is for completeness in case it gives you some clue - The sex was never great. She is a 'lights out, no noise, missionary only' girl who accepts but will never give oral sex (one of my favourites to receive and a close second is giving) and she doesn't (and never did) kiss with her mouth open (sometimes a little but generally just touching lips only). To be honest, I have always wondered why that might be as most people I have kissed seem to enjoy lips, tongues, teeth'n' all, same as I do. But to be honest I'm not that bothered about the whole sex thing as long as the relationsip and friendship are good (you can't have everything in life). It would be nice if she would be a bit more kinky but it's not a biggie. RIGHT NOW however, the sex life is crap because I can't bring myself to have sex with someone I'm hurt by and angry with all the time. And this of course is exacerbating the situation because she now feels rejected. Best I can do is do it from behind with little preamble and no eye contact on a Saturday morning and consider my job done (OK, that last bit was partially a joke and a very useless male solution to a much deeper problem I know but you get the picture).
posted by azure to Human Relations (29 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
dump her
posted by darkmatter at 4:59 PM on September 20, 2005

You sure sound incompatible to me. When you get to the point of describing your SO as "passionately judgemental and hateful", I think it's time to go. It sounds like you are unusually frank and open and it may be hard to find someone compatible, but that doesn't mean the problem is you or something you have to fix. You just aren't right for each other, it happens. A lot.
posted by cali at 5:01 PM on September 20, 2005

My gf told me point blank a few weeks ago that my friends were rude and that we would no longer be able to see them.

That's all I need to hear. Bail out now!
posted by Scoo at 5:09 PM on September 20, 2005

Best answer: Sounds to me like she's trying to get you to dump her, so she doesn't have to do the dumping and you're hanging on with all nails to force her to do the dumping. She's passionately hateful and judgmental, she hates all your friends, she's uptight, her friends are uptight, and the sex isn't even all that good? Dump her already!

So you turn out to be the jerk and the bad guy in all her friends' stories, so the hell what? You don't like them anyway! The mild slice of satisfaction you might get now from torturing her by staying in the relationship is hardly worth it, and it *does* make you a big jerk if you steadfastly hang in this neutral space of palely-shaded dislike and her fertility runs out. You don't want a kid, she does- there ya go, dealbreaker.
posted by headspace at 5:09 PM on September 20, 2005 [1 favorite]

it sounds to me like you've got the wrong girl. if she doesn't like talking about her feelings and other topics openly, which is clearly important to you, you're not going to be able to change that about her. and i second what cali said... you know it's over when you describe your SO as "hateful".
posted by geeky at 5:09 PM on September 20, 2005

It seems like you want someone to tell you that this relationship can work out and give you a solution. I'm here, of course, to tell you to move on. Sorry.

From everything you have written, it seems like you are putting yourself into a relationship loop with the same types of women (emotionally, that is). You may be doomed to relive this situation over and over again because you are not breaking out of this cycle.

This may be misreading, but I feel some connection to what you have written. I had a similar history of dating (and unfortunately once marrying) woman who were way too much like my dysfunctional mother. This wasn't oedipal, rather, these women were the emotional type I had learned to be able to deal with very well. Having spent my whole life figuring out how to make a certain kind of crazy less crazy, I found that I was inadvertently attracted to the one type of personality that I felt comfortable with - I hated that type of personality, but I understood it well and felt at ease. Women who were quite centered emotionally were hard for me to "get" and caused much anxiety. I took this anxiety for their character flaw.

Now, shoot ahead to the last 5 years and I have dealt with all my baggage and found a wonderful woman who is nothing like the disfunction I had learned to love. We are happy and every day is like the first day we met. I never ever thought it could be this good. We talk about it often and both agree that it took going through all our bad relationships and life in general to become the people we are today that are so compatible with each other. Neither of us compromise and it is pretty much always great.

My point is that you seem to be trying desperately to fit a square peg into a round hole. She is obviously not comfortable with you as a whole - or with herself, it seems. She wants you to change, you want her to stop trying to change you (hence you want her to change). It ain't gonna work. If she changes, she'll resent you. If you change, you will feel the same way.

My suggestion is to move on and start to think about what kind of people you are committing yourself to emotionally. Is it because they are the best kinds of women for you? Or are they just the ones who feel the most comfortable to be around? Make sure you know what traps you have been falling into in your relationships that make them end this way before you start the new ones.
posted by qwip at 5:11 PM on September 20, 2005

Best answer: Unprofessional psychological-dynamic evaluation: One of the reasons she may be so bitchy of late is that she subconsciously feels your relationship is doomed anyway (perhaps because of the issue of kids, who knows) and is thus sabotaging it, hoping you will break up with her and end it, because she lacks the strength to do that herself. She sounds like a classic "victim." What I mean is that she spends her days living in an undeveloped ego-centric realityview, a childlike mentality where the things that happen to her cannot be her fault and where she deeply longs to be powerless (_thus not responsible_) and in situations where she can blame all her pain on outside forces.

I would say, go ahead and give her what she wants: break up with her. And give her the name of a life counselor / psychologist while you're at it. There seems to be so many problems here, ones -you- can't possibly solve, that both your future energy and happiness will reap many better rewards in a different situation.
posted by wavejumper at 5:18 PM on September 20, 2005 [2 favorites]

Yep, sounds like you're fundamentally incompatible. Time to go. All obvious problems aside, the way you're talking about her is not the way people in good relationships talk about their SOs, and that's pretty telling.

That said, I think you might want to do some serious self-assessment (or get a therapist for a while) to figure out why you're attracted to women who aren't compatible with you, since this has happened more than once.

Also, personally, I cannot stand it when couples are joined at the hip (and that kind of thing gets old fast) - there is no reason you can't see your friends, and no reason she has to see them at all, let alone like them (she's allowed to say that she'd rather not see them for whatever reason, but she's definitely not allowed to tell you YOU can't see them). I think it's healthy to maintain some independence. I'll also point out that if your friends are good people who know you well, it should be a big flashing warning light to you that your SO doesn't like them and they don't like her.
posted by biscotti at 5:29 PM on September 20, 2005

The sex sucks, she has boring friends and is no longer letting you see your friends? You aren't ready for kids she wants to pop them out at a good Irish rate of 15 an hour. Uh dude, what the hell? Just drop her and say things aren't working out. List what's not working out and turn away. None of you are willing to compromise and I see no points to compromise on. Other fish, sea, etc.
posted by geoff. at 5:30 PM on September 20, 2005

The lone reason you stated to be with her was to “make it work.” I read nothing about why you want to be with her, let alone a justification to continue experiencing the Four Horsemen.

To directly answer the question, no I haven't dragged a relationship off the rocks like this one. It doesn't seem healthy.

quip is spot on, methinks.
posted by pedantic at 6:09 PM on September 20, 2005

Neither of you sounds happy, so it's probably best to end it. It doesn't mean that you're great and she's not (I don't care for the "dump the bitch" attitude that tends to pop up in these threads). It just means you're not meant for each other. I'm sorry; I'm sure it's hard, but it seems for the best.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:11 PM on September 20, 2005 [1 favorite]

I would also break it off.

You seem to be worried that your behavior is causing this woman, and past girlfriends, to suddenly change and become unreasonable. As others have alluded, it's more likely that you're attracted to the type of woman who's going to become like this, not that you're the cause of it. You may want to try to examine early warning signs in this relationship in order to avoid them in the next.
posted by occhiblu at 6:41 PM on September 20, 2005

azure, you sound like a thoughtful, caring individual.

she does not.

if I were you, I would end the relationship instead of prolonging it much longer. it will only be the same tomorrow, only a day longer.

I don't see any joy or fulfillment in your description of this problematic relationship. My advice: say goodbye now, and begin healing tonight.
posted by seawallrunner at 6:45 PM on September 20, 2005

Please let us know what you plan to do... we're interested to hear how it goes.
posted by zek at 7:05 PM on September 20, 2005

Qwip's advice seems spot-on to me as well. End it as well as you can (no need to bog yourself down with additional guilt or anger over it ending badly, if possible), and use it as a jumping-off point to take the time to think about all the qualities you would like to have in place in a future relationship. Good luck!
posted by scody at 7:27 PM on September 20, 2005

Do her in the butt now, because your relationship ain't gonna last much longer, my friend.
If necessary, blame your poor eye sight.

Ok. If you are serious about saving this relationship (she must be really hot or something, since you don't seem to like her all that much), you need to fire off the ultimatum about how you've got to talk about the issues you just spelled out here. And you've got to do it without hysterics and fighting. Otherwise, fuck it.
I mean, I can not have sex with you and tell you that you can't see your friends, and I guarantee our relationship will be lower-maintenence and cheaper (though I do take cash gifts).
But man, she sounds like the proverbial psycho hose beast. Just beware that an ugly breakup may lead to insane retribution (like, you might want to move out without telling her where your stuff is)...
posted by klangklangston at 7:31 PM on September 20, 2005

Get out while you still can.
posted by sid at 7:38 PM on September 20, 2005

Why the fuck are you two still together?

Dude, take a step back and look at what you just wrote. That was at least a full page of rambling venting frustration, detailing all the ways in which you and your girlfriend don't get along and how unpleasant you find interactions with her. You hit emotional, friendship, sexual incompatibilities . . . It sounds like you already know the answer to your question.

The only reason you could consider the relationship to have a chance is if you just got off an argument before you wrote this question and in the morning you re-read this and decide you blew some issues out of proportion or saw things that weren't there. Though from the nature of the issues you listed it's clear there's some root to these things, at least.

So, um, unless there's a fantastic magical part that you're not telling us, get out. Now.
posted by Anonymous at 8:24 PM on September 20, 2005

/votes to dump.
posted by delmoi at 9:27 PM on September 20, 2005

It sounds almost as though you think this kind of strife is a normal part of relationships. It isn't. Set your standards higher and find someone you get along with.
posted by kindall at 11:12 PM on September 20, 2005

Another vote for the Spanish Archer.
(Spanish archer - to give her the "el bow")
posted by seanyboy at 11:40 PM on September 20, 2005

/votes for the Spanish Archer.

/votes for the 'Spanish Archer' to be a universally recognised term, along with 'handing someone their hat.'
posted by Jofus at 3:42 AM on September 21, 2005

Incompatible. Do both of you a favor and end it; consider this a mercy killing.

Like some of the other respondees, I'd say to re-read what you wrote. She may be, at heart, a good person and all, but you two are not making each other happy and don't sound like you have much of a future. There are many other girls in the world -- no reason why you can't find one that is more on the same page as you.
posted by desuetude at 6:57 AM on September 21, 2005

I applaud your self-analysis in questioning if this is your fault since it's not the first time it's happened to you - it's a good thing to keep an eye out for the ways we self-destruct. However it sounds like you're asking "is it possible I am doing this" rather than "is it possible I keep picking the wrong women?" Biscotti identified it as well.

That said, step one is jettison your current mistake and step two is consider ways to not make it again. Really, no open-mouth kissing? I'd agree to no sex before I'd agree to that.
posted by phearlez at 7:43 AM on September 21, 2005

Best answer: It's always interesting to read one-sided descriptions (which is all any one person can write, after all) and try to imagine the other side. It's a little difficult in this case, in that I don't have much truck with this repressed English worldview.

But I have known some such people, and they would have been miserable with you. Free this woman to find someone more suited for her. She could be so much happier.
posted by Aknaton at 11:09 AM on September 21, 2005

Damn, no update.
posted by zek at 9:57 PM on September 22, 2005

Response by poster: Thank you one & all for your comments.

I got the opportunity to spend a bit of time alone on the spur of the moment (needless to say not without great protest but fortunately, the situation was semi beyond my control so I got to use her trick and blame the circumstances - needs must... etc) so in my reclusion, I have read your replies and spent time wrestling with the problem in preparation for stepping back into the arena in a few days time.

I definitely acknowlege the comment re: the one-sidedness of my post and in answer to the inferred question (my inference may have been wrong) in another of the comments re: whether I'd written this post an argument. No, actually, I waited for a patch of calm water before I wrote it for exactly that reason. (And this is not to say all the other comments were not appreciated!)

Anyway, there were a couple of requests for an update. I will post one when there is one (seems only fair to all the posters after all!). Given that we own an investment property together (I know, I know ...), if things are to come to an end at my instigation then I will have to afford to be a bit careful about exactly when (would possibly rather be outside the cage at feeding time...).

But ta for the responses anyway. In the main very interesting and helpful (I think...) :-).
posted by azure at 3:17 PM on September 26, 2005

we own an investment property together

Point of terminology: she is therefore your "financée". A handy term I didn't invent, alas.
posted by Aknaton at 7:16 PM on September 26, 2005

You aren't ready for kids she wants to pop them out at a good Irish rate of 15 an hour.
Nice racial slur there geoff. Go eat a load of burgers that's all Americans do right?
posted by daveirl at 8:46 AM on October 2, 2005

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