My gf keeps irrationally trying to push me away.
September 30, 2005 4:46 AM   Subscribe

I'm in a long-distance six-month-old relationship with a wonderful woman (we see each other every weekend, and I plan to be with her next year), who recently, literally turns nasty on me, casting all sorts of wild accusations (details below). We "talk" all night - usually her throwing all sorts of things at me and saying we're over and how she no longer trusts me - essentially trying to push me away. I deny it and try to remind her of all the wonderful things we have.

The things she hates about me include:

- the fact that most of my friends are female, and she accuses me of fancying them or having crushes on them. Never mind that most of them are lesbians.

- that all my Internet friends are damn weirdos. (She's not net aufait)

- me occasionally mentioning her on my blog (since taken down). I stupidly referred to an early incident about six months ago which she found in the archives, and she took it to mean that I was making fun of her, whereas I was making fun of me.

- mentioning that my Dad has mistresses and once offered to procure me a non-white bride led to all sorts of wild accusations about me being too (ethnic), and wanting a "perfect wife" of my own. Despite the fact that outside my physical appearance, I'm about as ethnic as Dubya.

We both end up with sleepless nights, she calms down next morning, professes her undying love to me while acknowledging that she is trying to hurt me to scare me away because she is scared, she knows not why.

Then sooner or later, the same cycle starts up again. It's cropping up faster and faster - twice in two nights now.

What can I do - be the punchbag forever to keep her, or decide that enough is enough, and let her push me away as she wants?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (32 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:00 AM on September 30, 2005 [1 favorite]

It's just a phase the two of you are going through. Hang in there. Don't get mad. Scared people do get weird, and people really do get scared without knowing why. The best hope for her to get over her scare is for you to stick with her.
posted by flabdablet at 5:01 AM on September 30, 2005

Do you want to be a punching bag forever?

Here's one thing both of you can do: get some counseling. It sounds as though she's extremely insecure within the relationship which leads to jealousy of your female friends-- she is scared she will be replaced at any time (which amounts to her not trusting you) so she preemptively is trying to push you away. It sounds as though she might have other issues as well (don't we all?) and counseling could help her come to an understanding of why she is scared and hopefully lead to her trusting you. If she doesn't trust you, whether due to her own insecurities or other reasons, the relationship will not work.

Good Luck!
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 5:09 AM on September 30, 2005

Dear anony mouse,

I guess she actually _needs_ counseling. From what I read her behavior hasn't changed much or still follows the same scheme with minor variation ; I may be wrong but you suggesting her to visit a psycologist could be taken as an insult ..unless you put yourself in the picture and you BOTH go to a "counselor" as she badly needs somebody to help her with her strong insecurities she's very stuck into.

I seriously doubt that you, alone, will be able to take the effect of this on you forever....and why do that anyway, given that that's clearly causing you discomfort or pain ? You are as entitled as her to get some help.
posted by elpapacito at 5:22 AM on September 30, 2005


You aren't even living together yet and this is the kind of stuff you have to deal with already...she's having some incredibly serious overreactions to some of the most mundane aspects of your modern lifestyle. There are plenty of women who would enjoy this aspect of you quite thoroughly, and would enjoy it with you- your current, however, seems to be quite uncomfortable with these things. Unless you're willing to completely change yourself for her (which I hope you aren't), then end it fast before you move in together and develop a co-dependency...once that happens things will start sucking fast.
posted by baphomet at 6:14 AM on September 30, 2005

This kind of irrationality can be an indication of either bipolar or borderline personality disorder. When that's the case, the behavior is not their fault and does not reflect their true personality or feelings. There are many resources on the web if you want to read more about either and see if there are other parallels to your situation.
posted by Tubes at 6:53 AM on September 30, 2005

Read this.
posted by enrevanche at 6:54 AM on September 30, 2005

After six months of familiarity she consistently treats you badly when having problems of her own. She's going to have problems forever - we all do, it's called the human condition. If she's willing to be a jerk to you after six months of familiarity how well will she treat you after six years?

In a less general sense, someone who derides your friends and wants you to cut them loose and thinks little of the kind of people you like isn't very compatible. Long ago I dated a woman who said she didn't think much of the people I chose to associate myself with. I said "like you?"

That ended quickly.

Seriously - she doesn't seem to think much of your taste (which is a big part of You) and treats you badly. You want to stay in this why?
posted by phearlez at 7:08 AM on September 30, 2005

I would back away not-so-slowly from this unstable woman.

If she's acting this way just six months into the relationship - when you two should still be deep into the blissfully in love stage - what can you expect down the road?

She sounds extremely insecure and the fact that she's willing to accuse you of such things without basis, does concern me.

Punching bag aside, do you want to spend the rest of your life defending your every move, your choice of friends and paying for your father's mistakes?

posted by SoftSummerBreeze at 7:10 AM on September 30, 2005

When that's the case, the behavior is not their fault and does not reflect their true personality or feelings.

That's not helpful. It makes no difference at all whether her actions are her "fault" or not -- anonymous still doesn't have to put up with shit like that. Even if she can't help it. Hell, especially if she can't help it, since that makes it very unlikely that it will change.

If you want to be a real mensch, try to help get her into counseling and treatment. If she doesn't, break up and move on. If the problems continue well into a treatment program, and they probably will, break up and move on.

If you're not a real saint (and most people aren't), break up now and move on. There's nothing wrong with that. She's not your wife, she's your girlfriend. You can break up with your girlfriend for all kinds of silly reasons and nobody will think less of you, so you can certainly break up with her for big, she-might-ruin-my-life reasons.

It is very unlikely that she will enter treatment and have it be successful to the extent that you can live together happily in the long-term. Do not fool yourself about this.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:17 AM on September 30, 2005

Get. Out.

Man, do you want to put up with this crap forever? I've -seen- relationships like this and they never end well. The non-psycho always gets hurt.
posted by Kickstart70 at 7:17 AM on September 30, 2005

I think this is abusive behavior. I would get out quickly. Do some reading about domestic abuser profiles - I think you will find a lot of parallel behavior.
posted by lilboo at 7:22 AM on September 30, 2005

Absolutely, positively, get out.

There could be any number of reasons for this, but they all have to do with either:

a. She's a bitch
b. She wants out, but doesn't have the guts to do it herself.

Find someone better.
posted by eas98 at 7:29 AM on September 30, 2005

In my experience, six months is a big relationship milestone, and I've had many guys either freak out or break up right about at that mark. If she's been fine till now, and it's just a recent push-back, it might be a normal relationship freak-out that she's handling really, really badly.

That said, the relationships I've had that lasted past the six-month freak-out ultimately broke up for many of the same reasons that caused the freak-out.

I'd try to give her a week or two with no contact (no phone calls or emails) to cool down and figure out *why* she's scared. She's allowed to be scared, but the fact that she's justifying her awful behavior with that and doesn't seem to be digging down to figure out what, exactly, is scaring her -- that seems like the big red flag to me. Give her some time to do that, and if she's able to work through it in some manner -- on her own, with friends, with a therapist -- then it might work out.

If, however, she keeps trying to justify continued nastiness with vague emotional states, I'd end it. The idea that "You need to put up with me being nasty toward you because I'm in a bad mood that has nothing to do with you" does, in fact, only get worse.
posted by occhiblu at 7:38 AM on September 30, 2005

If you want to give this another shot, you've gotta say no contact for at least a week after she has one of these freakouts. What the fuck, man? What woman is worth this bullshit?
posted by klangklangston at 7:52 AM on September 30, 2005

Do you want to be with someone who believes that another person should be treated this way? Seriously - if she treated her boss/mother/waiter/teacher like that, would you be all "awww, how vulnerable!"?

Rule number one of relationships: the person who doesn't want to be in the relationship wins. You've got nothing to trump that, except for manipulation maybe, if you've got something to hold over her to make her stay. And hey, that's sure healthy and mature!

Rule number two: Sure, people change. It's got nothing to do with you, though. You cannot make other people do what you want them to do (see above: manipulation, healthy, mature). You have to take people for what they are right now, not what you hope you might make them be one day. And if what they are right now isn't okay with you, that's totally okay, it doesn't make you a bad person.

Don't ever stay with someone just because you were already with them.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:11 AM on September 30, 2005

Take a step back. Tell her what she does deeply wounds you and you're tired of this bullshit. Give it a week, then try again. It's possible (most of us in this thread think it's likely, by the way) that she's a psycho. Or bipolar, or schitzo, or any number of problems that can be dealt with but may not be worth the investment after only six months. Reverse the genders for a minute and you'll see pretty quickly you sound like a woman who's gonna become a battered housewife in a few years.

However, this may just be her acting up and being scared at 6 months, pushing the limits of how far you'll let her take this verbal abuse. If it's just a boundaries issue, then you need to let her know this isn't OK by taking a huge step backward and seeing what she does.
posted by Happydaz at 8:12 AM on September 30, 2005

Don't reward bad behavior. Tell her it hurts your feelings, that you've been trying the "tough guy" thing, and it isn't working, you have trouble sleeping, you feel bad about yourself, etc.

Then, if/when it starts to get mean, say politely - "I don't feel safe, I'm going to go now. I'll talk to you tomorrow."

Actually hang up.

Actually talk to her tomorrow.

It's all about Pavlov.
posted by ewkpates at 8:16 AM on September 30, 2005

say no contact for at least a week after she has one of these freakouts.

That's an interesting strategy. I never tried that.

What you may not realize (i.e., what I didn't realize for my first several girlfriends) is that this is not the price of being in a relationship. Ask her whether you deserve this treatment, and when she says no, ask what she suggests you do next time she flares up. Feel free to reject lame answers she gives at this time, like "dump me I guess", and demand emotional honesty in her dealings with you.
posted by Aknaton at 8:17 AM on September 30, 2005 [1 favorite]

Eject. Eject.

There are too many women in this world who don't come with ghastly baggage they feel it's OK to inflict on you. It doesn't matter if she has overwhelming mental issues, or she's just a bitch, the odds are overwhelming that this mess is going to go downhill from here. Get out while you're still young, and cut your losses before you invest any more time and energy in something that seems obviously doomed.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 8:19 AM on September 30, 2005

I always end up referring back to this thread (it's a personal favorite). Almost too many of them apply to this situation (namely, a few in Gucky's first response. Read it, and hopefully it'll pop in your head as to what the proper conclusion is.
posted by itchie at 8:36 AM on September 30, 2005

the behavior is not their fault and does not reflect their true personality or feelings.

People love to believe that their "true" feelings are not the feelings that they have all the time, and that their "true" self is not composed of the behaviors that they engage in all the time. BS on both counts.

Get away. You either don't understand that good relationships are nothing like this or (for various reasons) you're inclined towards not-good relationships. Either way, get the hell out of this situation.
posted by argybarg at 9:23 AM on September 30, 2005

If you really want to see if this relationship will work, both of you need therapy - separately and as a couple. It sounds like she has some underlying issues that need to be addressed. If the two of you also do some couples therapy you'll probably learn how to better communicate with each other which should fix many of the issues you're experiencing.
posted by Serena at 9:32 AM on September 30, 2005

Totally Hot Chick Also Way Psycho

And oh yeah: Run for your life. You cannot fix what is wrong with this person.
posted by LarryC at 9:33 AM on September 30, 2005

I'm sorry. It sounds like you really care about this person. You need to take care of yourself though. For whatever reason, this person is hurting you, and why she is doing it is simply not your problem. You must end this relationship immediately. Let her push you away.
posted by Sara Anne at 10:06 AM on September 30, 2005

Wow, that sounds exactly like my situation. I met a girl and had a long-distance relationship also. She accused me of all the same stuff you mentioned... minus the mistresses stuff, plus a million other things...

The sleepless nights, her making up the next day only to fight again in the evening are textbook to what I went though.

~Six months later, like a sucker and against the advice of people who warned me not to, I quit my job and moved across the state to live with her. It was good at first, but after a month it deteriorated rapidly. She actually became violent with me on two occasions and I now have a scar on my face from this that will be with me for the rest of my days...

Break it off, or even better... let her break it off and then refuse to go back with her when she realizes her mistake. You'll save your sanity as well as possibly your job and savings.
posted by starscream at 10:12 AM on September 30, 2005

ps~ I'm moving back to where I left in 2 weeks and 1 day from today. I was able to get my old job back after being gone for nearly 5 months.

You might not be this lucky.
posted by starscream at 10:14 AM on September 30, 2005

Damn! I'm glad I'm not the only one who has experienced this. I will just ditto most of the advice here, and say tell her your pieve, then be done with her.

rentalkarma - That was practically me (except for the cool-headed exit). Well done!
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 10:19 AM on September 30, 2005

piece, dammit!
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 10:19 AM on September 30, 2005

If you're not a real saint (and most people aren't), break up now and move on. There's nothing wrong with that. She's not your wife, she's your girlfriend. You can break up with your girlfriend for all kinds of silly reasons and nobody will think less of you, so you can certainly break up with her for big, she-might-ruin-my-life reasons.


I just wanted to make sure that anonymous got a chance to read that again.

I have been friends with several females who seemed to habitually ruin people's lives. This is probably part of a pattern of behavior. You do not want this to happen to you. Get out now, there are plenty of guys (myself included) who will tell you that no matter how much you love someone, there's a point at which you need to withdraw your involvement to escape serious psychological injury.
posted by baphomet at 10:39 PM on October 1, 2005

This is a long-distance six-month relationship of alternate weekends. So in reality, you've spent less than a month of days with her. And it sounds from your post as if you are willing and able to let it go. Perhaps that's the best course of action.

To revisit my mention of bipolar and BPD: the following is addressed to someone who is deep in a loving, committed relationship, only to find such bizarre behavior suddenly coming out, and learns that it is due to an illness. If you truly love the real person at the core, then there are ways to deal with the illness without giving up on the relationship.

If you're not the kind of person who can do this, then you're not the kind of person your s/o needs, and you should probably not prolong the situation. However, if you care enough and have the constitution for it, perhaps you are together for a reason and you should try to make it work.

I hate to think that everyone unfortunate enough to have such a painful, difficult illness must face a life of loneliness because the prevailing advice to any potential mate is "Run! Save yourself!"
posted by Tubes at 4:25 PM on October 3, 2005

After dating for nine months, I proposed to my girlfriend. Her dad was/is bipolar and/or manic-depressive. I never got the details, because I never really wanted them. I'd known her for years and never saw any evidence that she suffered from anything like that. Still, it was like a switch was flipped the moment we got engaged. The following five months were hell for me. Every single thing I did (good or bad) was cataloged and used as ammunition. The fighting wouldn't start until we went to bed, because why should I get to sleep?

This was all in 2002. One night, I had to listen for hours about how I didn't value her as a person because I had claimed that I picked up many people from the airport in 1998, not just her. Also, any mention of the word "Crazy", like "You'd be crazy to jump out of an airplane" would just trigger a fit of crying and anger. I gained over 35 pounds over this time. I worked a job I hated, and that was the best part of my day.

The worst part of it all was, I still loved her. I wanted it to work out. If my life was going to be worthwhile again, either she'd have to go to therapy, or I'd have to leave. I wanted her to go to therapy, but how do you tell a person who freaks out over the word "crazy" to go to therapy?

You call it "couples counseling." She was looney at this point, so I figured any therapist would call her on it. So I came home one day and dropped the ultimatum. She opted for couples counseling. The therapist said that she should get some counseling on her own and she worked some things out.

She wasn't bipolar, or manic or anything like that. But, having a father who was left her pretty banged up and as soon as we were engaged all of her anger at him got redirected on me.

Like I said, she worked it out. About a year later we did get married. We're still married over two years now and we've both been genuinely happy the entire time.

Had she refused counseling, I would have walked away, but it worked out. I'm not saying it does for everybody, but I assumed she was bipolar and I was wrong. I'd strongly recommend a professional opinion before throwing in the towel.
posted by devo at 6:08 AM on October 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

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