Is our relationship over and time for us to move on?
November 28, 2013 6:34 AM   Subscribe

So me and my girlfriend of 6 months got into an argument over going to her house for Thanksgiving and she ended up break up with me.

So I've been dating this girl for 6 months now. Things were going fine before. But we recently got into an argument about me going over to her family for Thanksgiving. I had agreed to go thinking that we would not be there for long. Now I'm not a family person. Last time I was at her family, I was sitting there watching those guys talk. I don't know them so I usually don't know what to say when they are talking so I just usually just sit and watch people talk. I try to initiate conversation but I guess I'm just not social to talk to new people around me and I get nervous on what to say. Anyway, 2 days ago she reminded me that we will leave at 10 am (she lives an hour away from here). I freaked out thinking that we were gonna be there for the whole day and hesitated to answer her back. So she asked me if I'm not not comfortable then I don't have to go. I said fine I'll just stay home rather then just sitting there not know what to say for the whole day. She got mad for that basically broke up with me. She said I was really hyped to go before and then I backed out. Basically she texts me the night before she leaves that I can take my stuff out of her house and drop off her apartment keys. I didn't know it was going to be this big of a deal. She said it meant a lot to her if I went. Then I said if you wanted me to come that bad then you should've told me rather then giving me an option. I don't get around with meeting new people so I choose not to go for the whole day. I agreed to get before because I figured we would be there for couple hours and come back after. Anyway, she literally broke up with me over that. I tried contacting her saying if this meant a lot then I'll come no matter what. I didn't know you would take react this way. I literally asked her 100 times since that day that I'll come with you and meet your family. But she said even if I come, she'll still think about how I'll feel uncomfortable and all. So she said she'll think about it and let me know. At this point, I really don't know what to do. She went there a day early since I don't want to go first and made plans with her friends at home. I asked her I can drive there my self today and meet you. But she said she'll "think about". She cried when I went to her apartment to give back her keys. I tried explaining her that there was just miscommunication between us. I tried to say I'll come if its a that big of deal to you. I never celebrated Thanksgiving in my life so I would not know. She said that I lied and should've told that I never wanted to meet my family. That's not true. The real reason I didn't want to go was not know what to say to her family.

I have no idea on what to do from here. I didn't know things would get out of control over this situation. I tried talking to her saying I'll come and meet you family. But she hasn't contacted me yet. Should I approach her and call her and ask if she wants me to come over today or just leave her to be? I had asked her already and she said she'll think about it. So is our relationship really over? I never got kicked out of someones house like that before. I felt really embarrassed when she did that.
posted by Parh6512 to Human Relations (53 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
This situation, plus your previous questions, strongly suggest you should just let the relationship be over.
posted by jayder at 6:36 AM on November 28, 2013 [24 favorites]

I'm sorry this happens to you at this time.

Leave her be. If you've asked her 100 times, the 101st time is not going to do anyone any good.

From this question and your previous questions, it sounds like there's a lot of miscommunication going on between you. Both of you seem to assume a lot about each other and the other person's plans, without checking if those assumptions are correct. Could be the culture, could be the difference in personalities or communication styles, but in this case to be honest I don't see this changing anytime soon. If I were you I'd really reconsider if this relationship is really working out for you.
posted by Ms. Next at 6:46 AM on November 28, 2013 [3 favorites]

i would have totally broken up with a boyfriend of 6 months at your age if he did this. going to your girlfriend's family for the holidays is not always about a fun a joyous time, it's about supporting your girlfriend. she's probably been talking you up to her family and friends, telling them what a great guy you are, how much she loves you, how glad you are to visit - and you made her look like a fool. you put your own comfort above your commitments and her.

add this to some of what you've detailed in your previous questions, you should just move on and try to be better to your next girlfriend.
posted by nadawi at 6:51 AM on November 28, 2013 [66 favorites]

You say: "Now I'm not a family person"
She said: "it meant a lot to her if I went" which I read as her family is important to her
Besides considering it over, if I were you I would reframe it as your being lucky to find out early on that there is a key incompatibility. It's an abrupt end over a tricky subject, but at least it happened relatively early on.
posted by whatzit at 6:59 AM on November 28, 2013 [3 favorites]

So she asked me if I'm not not comfortable then I don't have to go. I said fine I'll just stay home rather then just sitting there not know what to say for the whole day. She got mad for that basically broke up with me.

I sorta agree with nadawi above but I think her implying that it'd be OK for you not to go and then getting mad when you took that offer is a similar dealbreaker. You don't really want to be with someone who gives you an option as some sort of test and flips out if you take it.
posted by wackybrit at 6:59 AM on November 28, 2013 [20 favorites]

I'm not sure what made you think that your girlfriend planned a short visit to her family for Thanksgiving, but it sounds like a weird assumption to make.

Granted that you've both made mistakes but she's not the one posting here, so:

Here's how I see what happens from her POV. GF invited you to a family Thanksgiving, you agreed. The day before, she let you know the timing, and you acted like you didn't want to go. Irritated, she says, "Well, you don't have to go", and you tell her that actually, you never wanted to go, you don't like her family and prefer to spend the day alone than with her and her family. She breaks up with you for whatever reasons (about this, or about this and other issues).

Then after she does that, you say, well, fine, I will go see your family! How could I have imagined that Thanksgiving was important to you? Which sounds disingenuous. She tells you she'll think about it to end the conversation and then ignores you hoping you'll get a clue.

I am, I know, not being entirely fair to you in this telling. But I think you haven't tried to see things from her side. You need to see this from her side not for this relationship, which I think is doomed, but for future ones.
posted by jeather at 7:02 AM on November 28, 2013 [13 favorites]

So she asked me if I'm not not comfortable then I don't have to go. I said fine I'll just stay home rather then just sitting there not know what to say for the whole day.

After eight years, I'm pretty in tune with my partner's comfort level when it comes to dragging him into big social situations. If I say "You don't have to go if you're not comfortable," I mean it and there is no backtracking should he choose not to go. No guilt trips, no bringing it up over and over, and certainly not a breakup.

In my relationship there are lots of compromises. Wedding of someone I went to high school with who he has never met? Nah, I can go it alone. My close friends' wedding? Yes, he will accompany me. In the latter situation I usually don't even have to ask because he has already realized it is important to me. Part of him loving me is sucking it up in awkward social situations sometimes and conversely, part of me loving him is realizing when I don't really need him there.

I think she overreacted greatly considering she told you that you didn't have to go but I also think you need to suck it up for someone you care about sometimes and attend the unfun thing where you barely know anybody. Family is obviously important to this one. For now all you can do is leave her alone and see if she comes around.
posted by futureisunwritten at 7:04 AM on November 28, 2013 [6 favorites]

If someone breaks up with you, never let them take it back, barring... I don't know, brain tumor or something. Even if you maybe should have sucked it up and gone, this is the sort of thing where you learn from some relationships and show up wiser in the next one, without having the previous mistakes still hanging over your head. This relationship is done, and you've learned stuff, and next time things will be smoother.
posted by Sequence at 7:10 AM on November 28, 2013 [6 favorites]

There is nothing wrong with sitting and watching pepper talk, if you don't know the people. Just smile and be polite. There is something wrong with stopping communication with your girlfriend just because you freak out about leaving at 10am. You guys need to communicate better, but if there are constant issues like this that communication won't solve, then maybe you two are just not compatible.
posted by at 7:12 AM on November 28, 2013 [4 favorites]

I think the ship has sailed on this relationship, and that you need to let it go.

That being said, there seems to be some cross-cultural miscommunication here. Thanksgiving is a very important holiday to most Americans and being included in a significant other's celebrations is a pretty significant relationship milestone. And--speaking as an introvert married to an introvert--you really do need to get used to spending time with the families of significant others. It doesn't have to be an awesome party for yo, but these are people that your partner loves and cares about and your response likely felt like a cold-hearted rejection of them to your girlfriend. Seriously, if I can spend a handful of overnight visits with my mother-in-law a few times a year, you can do this.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:15 AM on November 28, 2013 [14 favorites]

Response by poster: If I knew this was important to her then I definitely would've gone. I barely meet family when they come over. It's not that I don't want to meet them its just that I didn't realize the importance of this. I just don't know what to say to them. I agree that I should've kept my word.

I keep asking her to not overreact about things sometimes but she still does. For example, should would have issues with her car and panic and pay extra to get it done. I told her its not major and you can wait to get it done else for for cheaper. But she won't listen. And then after couple days she would say why didn't you tell me. So its just her over reacting at times.
posted by Parh6512 at 7:17 AM on November 28, 2013

Here's the thing...relationships are about compromise. If you're uncomfortable for a day at her family's celebration (whatever that is), but it makes her happy? You do it. It's just a day. If she is asking you to go to her family's event, that's a really nice compliment, quite frankly, and backing out because you might be bored or a little socially awkward makes me think you're not quite ready for a relationship yet.

It can't always be about what's the most comfortable for you. Sometimes, it's about accommodating the other person.

You should definitely stay broken up.
posted by xingcat at 7:18 AM on November 28, 2013 [26 favorites]

I keep asking her to not overreact about things sometimes but she still does.

But she's not over-reacting about this. Most college-aged American women will want their partners to be excited and enthusiastic about meeting their families, especially on major holidays like Thanksgiving. She didn't only want you to be there--she wanted you to want to be there. That expectation is pretty normal.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:20 AM on November 28, 2013 [65 favorites]

You guys seem to have terribly mismatched communication styles and cultural expectations. This doesn't make either of you bad, but it seems to make both of you unhappy together. I'm sorry you broke up, that's a hard thing, but it's also a thing you should probably not go back on.
posted by rtha at 7:22 AM on November 28, 2013 [13 favorites]

FYI, there is nothing more annoying in the moment of stressing out than being told you're overreacting. There are ways to calm someone down without doing that. But you seem very blunt and it's not always the way to interact with someone.

In any case, I don't think she is overreacting to this story.
posted by jeather at 7:27 AM on November 28, 2013 [28 favorites]

It's not that people don't overreact sometimes, but that's astonishingly dismissive of the emotional component in all of this, to treat it like her feelings have so little significance. You're going to need to learn how to deal with that emotional component to maintain a relationship, at some point. But in either case, you won't be maintaining that relationship with this person, because she's dumped you and you need to let her find someone who's going to actually be the person she wants, who she's come out and said is not you. The fact that there's some conceivable way to talk her out of that does not mean you should. Again: Learn and move on.

You're still young, you'll probably crank through a bunch of relationships that end poorly before you get things figured out and find something that lasts, and that really is okay. This is a normal part of dating, if a painful one.
posted by Sequence at 7:28 AM on November 28, 2013 [19 favorites]

I keep asking her to not overreact about things sometimes but she still does.

This is generally not a great thing to do in relationships. People have different emotional styles and different priorities and you can't dictate to someone else how they should feel or what should be important to them.

It really does sound like the two of you are incompatible.
posted by lunasol at 7:30 AM on November 28, 2013 [22 favorites]

Sounds like it is over, and you need to let it be. What you really need to do is to look at this as a learning experience.

Your girlfriend may have some things to learn herself, but she got frustrated with you for a reason. I will echo nadawi... I would've broken up with a partner if they did that to me in a young relationship, because you demonstrated very clearly that you have a lot of growing to do in two areas. I especially would've broken up with a partner who told me I was overreacting: your girlfriend really wasn't overreacting at all, actually.

The cool part is that these are probably the two most important lessons I had to learn in order to build a successful relationship with my spouse, so I hope this advice will really help you. They are things everyone has to learn (and everyone has to constantly work on improving), so you aren't alone here.

Lesson 1: The burden is on you to communicate how you feel.
You obviously didn't do that very clearly. Up front, you should've told her that you would be happy to go over for a couple of hours, but that you would feel uncomfortable if you had to stay longer than that. You didn't do that, so she naturally got frustrated when you started to qualify your "yes" later on, and "yes, I'll go" turned into "yes, I'll go, but..." I understand why she got frustrated, and you should too. You need to communicate your needs, or you will frustrate people when you seemingly change your mind and ruin their plans.

Lesson 2: Being in a relationship means you need to compromise and deal with things you may not like.
This was an even more difficult lesson for me to learn. It's healthy for people in a relationship to have different things they enjoy, different circles of friends and family, and all that. But each person needs to make an effort to be friendly and supportive in situations that are important to their partner. You say you find it difficult to be social in situations like this with new people. I'm an introvert, so I understand how you feel, but unfortunately, that just doesn't matter in situations like this. If it's important to her that you go over and meet her family, then you have to look at it as an opportunity to support her, improve your conversation skills, and improve how comfortable you are in social situations. In this situation, almost all of your mental energy seems to have gone into whining about how you dislike social situations, rather than thinking about what you needed to do to support her needs. Nobody likes to deal with whiners.

In my experience, these two things are the backbone of any relationship, not just a romantic one. At work, my business partner and I have learned that we have to communicate our needs clearly, and learn to step in and help each other (even if we don't feel like it, or even if we feel out of our element). As such, we have a really strong partnership and we're finding some success, even if it isn't always easy.

Keep working on these things, and look at this situation as an opportunity to improve. Sorry, I think it's over this time, though.
posted by Old Man McKay at 7:40 AM on November 28, 2013 [17 favorites]

I think she's just done with you. Sorry.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 7:43 AM on November 28, 2013 [5 favorites]

looking at this question and your previous one, you don't actually seem to like her very much. or rather, you might like 60-70% of her, but you keep trying to change the other 30%. maybe she got the same idea? i think you need to date someone with a communication style more similar to your own who you like more.
posted by nadawi at 8:01 AM on November 28, 2013 [10 favorites]

It sounds from this question and your previous ones like you think of your feelings and desires are more legitimate and important then hers. So if you think A and she thinks C, the answer is A. Not a compromise of B, and never, EVER C.

This doesn't make you a bad guy, it's how a lot of people act in their early relationships. I'm certain I've behaved the same way. But if you want to have a successful relationship, you have to really, truly believe that the other person's feelings count just as much as your own, and sometimes they are right and you are wrong. Until you learn to do this, I suspect you will keep getting broken up with.

For this specific girl: leave her be. She broke up with you; this can be your first practice in believing that someone else's feelings matter. She feels like you guys should break up, and you can't change that, so you should stop trying. You'll just make her angrier with you.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:08 AM on November 28, 2013 [16 favorites]

Response by poster: Should I apologize when she contacts me? How should I handle this situation when she tries to talk to me tonight or tomorrow? Because she will most likely contact me.

This is my first relationship and I learned a lot from it. I made lot of mistakes in the past 6 months and I told her if I do anything wrong then let me know. I'll be sure not to make the same mistakes again. Not that it matters now. Just all these emotions and anger feeling inside of me right now. I want to do what right. I know its normal to feel this way after the break up but I just can't think straight right now.
posted by Parh6512 at 8:12 AM on November 28, 2013

As a general rule, "Oh god, please don't make me talk to your family, I'd rather be home alone on Thanksgiving," is not a relationship builder, just for future reference. Also, not realizing that this would bother her is cluelessness on your part, not over-reaction on hers.

If you can't interact with her family, but "things were going fine", I think that maybe you mean "things were going nowhere, but I was fine with that".

Anyway, I have to go do some stuff before I get ready to go to my girlfriend's family's Thanksgiving. Her family are looking forward to seeing me.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:15 AM on November 28, 2013 [16 favorites]

Dude, make an effort. It's her FAMILY. They don't exist to make things happy and comfortable for you, you have to integrate yourself into them by, you know, being social and kind. Because her family will (would have) become your family.

She was absolutely right to break up with you over this. You would have just sat there like a bump on a log making everyone feel awkward and uncomfortable. It would have made her miserable knowing that you're not happy being there, so you would be a burden to her. You're being self-centred and childish.

She was absolutely right to break up with you over this. Try to learn from it.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:15 AM on November 28, 2013 [13 favorites]

Parth, I definitely can see your angle here. I am (for these purposes) a typical white American woman with a typical American family. My long-term boyfriend, although he was (just barely) born in this country, is from a totally non-assimilated immigrant family. He understands stuff like Thanksgiving intellectually, but he just doesn't care as much as I do. Plus, much of his extended family is dead (via Hitler), so he just can't get excited about cousins and all that. He probably would have reacted as you did in a similar situation.

Maybe, who knows, things will work out with this woman. Let her cool off and see if she returns. Let it be her decision, since she's the one who freaked out.

I do not know what your cultural norm is regarding big holidays and new relationships. Having been in her shoes, your attendance might not have been about Signaling a Big Commitment or Getting To Know My Family or anything like that. She might just have wanted to show her relatives, "look, I have a boyfriend, too." It may be a little shallow, sure, but it's a regular human reaction. In my family of origin, bringing home the college boyfriend/girlfriend is more of a status symbol thing (look at me, old aunts!) than a showing commitment thing.

For future reference...I would say a family Thanksgiving after 1 or 2 months of dating is overkill. But after 6 months you should do it just to show her that you're NOT telling her to go to hell and you COULD, possibly, see a future if everything works out.

Also for future reference, the football game is usually on, and these kind of parties often segregate by gender even if it's a comparatively modern family. Men are not expected to chitchat with one another anywhere near as much as women are. You can sit in the living room with the men and watch football and not say much and people won't think you're weird.

If, for whatever reason, the football thing is not happening at her house, go in and offer to help in the kitchen and ask her mother about traditional foods, etc. As a man in the kitchen, you can probably just sit down and chat with people while they're cooking to keep them entertained. It's tiring, cooking!

(Every family is different...but this is a pretty fair estimate, I'd say.)

Say you do patch things up with her...the same thing will probably happen at her house on Christmas (if she's Christian to some degree). There is usually not much of a religious component, and if there is, no one will expect you to attend church. It's football and turkey again.
posted by skbw at 8:16 AM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you don't go to her family's house for Thanksgiving, and you want to handle the conversation well the day after, I suggest you focus on learning about active listening (2) (3) (4) and assertive communication (1) (2) for the rest of the day today.

I think it might also be helpful to read more about how relationships work, in general. I don't normally suggest this, but I actually think books like Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus might be helpful for you. Just remember that it's a "how to" book more than a "this is how things absolutely are scientifically speaking" book.
posted by SMPA at 8:27 AM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

(Please read books written by Americans for an American audience, at least for as long as you keep dating American girls attending American colleges.)
posted by SMPA at 8:28 AM on November 28, 2013

I get the sense from both this question and your previous one that you have trouble seeing things from her perspective, or perhaps you don't think about doing so. You don't have to intuitively know a partner's every need and desire, and it would be unrealistic for a partner to expect that, but you should ask yourself "how would this make _____ feel?" before you make an important decision, change your mind, or say something that might be taken the wrong way.

She broke up with you; take her at her word on that. If she contacts you, apologize, but don't assume you're back together or attempt to get back together. Don't draw it out, don't argue with her, and once that specific conversation is over, let her go and don't contact her again.

She may try to get back together, but I think you should decline that offer if she presents it. This isn't the right relationship for either of you.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:32 AM on November 28, 2013 [6 favorites]

Let the relationship be over. This woman is really having to put in too much work to have you understand her. Just be done with it. I'm exhausted at the idea of having to explain why her feelings are important and how wrong it is to tell her she's overreacting.
posted by discopolo at 8:33 AM on November 28, 2013 [7 favorites]

I don't do small talk either, so here are the kinds of things you can say if all else fails:

"Believe it or not, I don't follow football...can you fill me in?"

"So of course you are making turkey...what about the rest of the stuff on the menu? Would you say that mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving food? Or just an American food?"

"My family makes a potato dish with [blank]...believe it or not, not ALL Indian food is spicy."

"So tell me about your family. In this country, we're all where did your ancestors come from originally? Ireland? Germany? Poland?"
posted by skbw at 8:36 AM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

This relationship is over. Let it be over.
posted by windykites at 8:39 AM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

How could you possibly think that visiting her family wasn't important? The Indian families I know make family the number one priority.

You need some empathy. NEVER tell someone they are overreacting. That's dismissing their feelings. If you really don't care about their feelings, break up.

I think you should get some therapy to learn how to better communicate with others and value them. This is NOT an incompatibility. This is your lack of basic social skills and empathy. You will need this in every job, relationship, friendship, or other situation where you interact with humans. Get some help.
posted by 3491again at 8:41 AM on November 28, 2013 [22 favorites]

Most people spend the day with their family on Thanksgiving. Your assumption that you guys would just be making an appearance was a strange one in the absence of other evidence.

Also, in my opinion, it's a little immature to expect every social gathering to always be about you and your needs. Sometimes adults have to suck it up and participate in a social event they aren't very interested in. I hate Christmas, and yet I fly home every year to run the holiday gauntlet, because it's a convenient time to visit family and it makes my parents happy. Welcome to adulthood. Sometimes others' social needs supersede yours.

That said, this isn't your family, and you really had no obligation to spend Thanksgiving with your girlfriend. Backing out at the last minute when you found out it wasn't going to be on your own terms was rude, but you didn't strictly have to go.

But here's why I think the fight and breakup got inspired by your behavior.

The six month point in a relationship is where you have to decide whether you're just playing around, or whether things are getting serious. One thing that communicates you're comfortable with being more serious is either being happy to spend time with your partner's family, or being willing to, as I said above, sucking it up and participating for the sake of your partner, because their happiness in this situation is more important than your slight inconvenience.

I would regard behavior like yours as communicating that you're not serious about me. I would start to question pretty seriously whether you loved me, whether you'd be willing to compromise with me and do inconvenient things for me in the future, and why tiny things like a family holiday needed to be such a struggle, so early in our relationship. If I married you, we would have to figure out whose family to spend holidays with. Is this a sign that every fucking year is going to pit me between boyfriend and family?

I also get the sense that this is somewhat of a cultural thing, and that you're not American and haven't celebrated Thanksgiving in the past. It paints you in kind of a bad light that, when presented with a holiday that consists almost entirely of eating delicious food and nothing else (watching some sportsball, making some small talk), you are so reluctant to participate even one time, just to see. Is every new experience going to be a battle? Is every thing I grew up doing and think is important going to get shat on? How much are you bending to her culture, and how much is she bending to yours? Because if I was dating an Indian and got invited to celebrate Diwali or Holi or some comparable fun and celebratory holiday, I'd think "cool, fun new experience!" and not "uuuuggggghhhhhhhhhh this is such a chore, I guess I could MAYBE stop by."
posted by Sara C. at 8:53 AM on November 28, 2013 [18 favorites]

Also, dude, you've been living in her house. That's not casual. There's no "we're just dating" nonsense.

In the future, don't just live with someone after a 6 month relationship and expect to avoid their family (unless she expressly doesn't tell them about you).
posted by discopolo at 8:54 AM on November 28, 2013 [6 favorites]

It's over. Let her be. You don't value her as a person at all -- look at how you talk about her in every question you've asked. She's just filling in a checkbox for you.

In fact, take look at the way you communicate on this site. I don't know you, obviously, but you only ask questions, you never participate in discussions with others. In all of your questions and responses you are dismissive of our opinions and of your girlfriend in general.

I think it's time to let her go and to do some solid work on yourself.
posted by AmandaA at 8:59 AM on November 28, 2013 [14 favorites]

Maybe stop piling on the OP? Metafilter is all about pluralism and this here is a cultural gap. Yes, you can live in the US a long time and not "get" Thanksgiving. A reasonable person might think that Christmas is the big family holiday and Thanksgiving is more like a 4th of July barbecue.
posted by skbw at 9:03 AM on November 28, 2013 [12 favorites]

Your question is written in a wall of complicated, impenetrable text. I have a feeling this is how you communicate in a relationship.

You say a bunch of stuff, get a negative reaction, then get defensive and then try to resolve the problem by completely backtracking and saying things along the lines of "I didn't know you would take react this way." and hope that that sentiment solves everything.

Then you "ask her 100 times" to forgive you, yet you cannot seem to comprehend what it is that upset her.

You say some needlessly dismissive things about your girlfriend in this question without fully thinking about how YOU have hurt her.

Dude - you've asked 4 Ask Me's about this 6 month relationship. I understand that this is your first girlfriend and everyone has a lot to learn when they are young and in love, but believe me - if you have to question SO MUCH during what is supposed to be the Honeymoon Period - it probably ain't working.

Learn from this and move on. If you take anything away from this whole experience, I hope it is that COMMUNICATION is key.
posted by JenThePro at 9:05 AM on November 28, 2013 [7 favorites]

Maybe OP's first language is not English.
posted by skbw at 9:08 AM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Maybe stop piling on the OP? Metafilter is all about pluralism and this here is a cultural gap.

I'm Indian, and judging from OP's profile name, part of the same Indian subculture. There's no cultural gap. Visiting family pretty frequently is the norm.
posted by discopolo at 9:08 AM on November 28, 2013 [12 favorites]

Understanding that Thanksgiving is a huge deal, on a par with Christmas, is not a given. Like I said above, a person could think it is a second-tier holiday and therefore optional. My immigrant boyfriend was not clued into the essential nature of Thanksgiving before I told him.
posted by skbw at 9:11 AM on November 28, 2013 [4 favorites]

It is really normal, and that doesn't make it hurt less, but it fades with time. Do some stuff that makes you happy, whatever it is--a nice meal, go to a movie, distractions are your friend. You'll do better with the next person you date, but the reason it's generally a good thing to date a bunch of people before you settle down is that then the person you settle down with won't remember all those stupid mistakes you made when you were young and just figuring stuff out. Try to take things a bit slower next time, but when you start dating late, rushing happens, don't beat yourself up over stuff like that. Not that there aren't a few exceptions, but early relationships tend to be like learning how to speak a foreign language.

I think there's something to the idea that you might want to spend a bit of time working on cultivating relationships, learning how to talk about feelings, learning how other people feel and see the world, etc, even outside of the dating world, that'll probably help you a lot. But it doesn't mean you're awful for not already getting this. Everybody has to learn, some people pick it up easier than others, starting late is a bit of a disadvantage but it's really not a disaster. LGBT people often start dating late and I think Dan Savage had a bit once about how we have to make all our early dating mistakes as adults instead of teenagers and it's hard but it passes--and it really does. Not any different for people who start later for other reasons.

Like, I don't think anybody would really blink if this was how your first relationship went when you were 15. When people say that you've made mistakes, don't tack on an "and you're a horrible person" where none exists.
posted by Sequence at 9:11 AM on November 28, 2013 [4 favorites]

"So I've been dating this girl for 6 months now. Things were going fine before. But we recently got into an argument..."

No, things WEREN'T GOING FINE BEFORE. Remember when you posted this question on 29 Oct 2013, asking us "am I with the wrong girl?," telling us about the time she called you "dumb" in public?

You were in a dysfunctional relationship, OP. There's a gap here between reality and your view of it. She did you a favor breaking up with you. As I said before, you are young. Date some other people already.

That makes a total of 5-6 questions you've asked here about this person. Seriously?
posted by hush at 9:13 AM on November 28, 2013 [10 favorites]

This incident aside, the fact that you asked 5 questions about this relationship in 7 months is enough of an indicator that you were never very comfortable with her.
posted by bleep at 9:29 AM on November 28, 2013 [9 favorites]

If I knew this was important to her then I definitely would've gone.

In general, it's going to be important to your future girlfriends that you be seen together at social functions. If she has to go alone, she's imagining that everyone will think that you don't love her enough to go with her, and think bad things about her. It's embarrassing.

This one, you embarrassed her because you didn't want to feel a little bit awkward for a few hours. She's probably done with you. Even if not, though, this is the kind of thing that gets brought up in arguments years later. Don't expect this to be a "kiss and make up, all forgotten" small thing.
posted by ctmf at 9:37 AM on November 28, 2013

@AmandaA gave you the best answer here, above:

"In fact, take a look at the way you communicate on this site. I don't know you, obviously, but you only ask questions, you never participate in discussions with others. In all of your questions and responses you are dismissive of our opinions and of your girlfriend in general."
posted by hush at 9:47 AM on November 28, 2013 [10 favorites]

I'm not going to pile on like everyone else, because i totally get where your head is at, and I completely botched a relationship for similar reasons when I was your age. This is what people call 'a learning experience'.

You were so desperate for a relationship and had such a hard time getting one that you basically attached yourself to the first girl that reciprocated any kind of advance, even though you didn't like her that much. And because you didn't really like her, you don't genuinely care about her feelings, and as the relationship has gone on, you've basically gotten lazy about it, and probably a little resentful. And I am sure she's notices that you don't care about her and has rightfully gotten resentful about it, too, and that thanksgiving is basically the straw that broke the camel's back, and not really the reason you guys are breaking up.

It's obvious from the tone of your question that your feelings aren't even hurt. You're probably just embarrassed that you'll have to tell everyone you don't have a girlfriend again.

Let me just tell you that that is not the way that relationships are supposed to feel. In them, or after they end.

But at least you've learned how to ask women out, and the basics of dating. I would suggest to you that you spend a little time thinking about how and why you ended up in a relationship like this, and then get started working on the 'getting to know you' part of dating. Go on lots of dates, and when you do, ask questions, and be genuinely interested in the answers, and if there aren't sparks flying, then don't go on more than 2-3 dates. And definitely don't just move in with someone just because they are a woman and haven't dumped you. Make sure you love them. That's not a feeling that just is in the movies. It's a real thing that you can and should feel.
posted by empath at 10:31 AM on November 28, 2013 [17 favorites]

So she asked me if I'm not not comfortable then I don't have to go. I said fine I'll just stay home rather then just sitting there not know what to say for the whole day. She got mad for that basically broke up with me.

This wasn't fair to you that she did this, but this was completely a trap you fell into. At her age, I was guilty of doing the same thing - putting an offer out there that "you don't HAVE to do [x]" as a sort of tension breaker when I didn't actually mean that at all.

I have since learned that this is a shitty way to communicate and I don't do it. Still, it's a way of defusing a situation that a lot of people use in relationships. It's generally understood that it's a bluff and your expected response is "No, no, I'm happy to go" and the discussion is over. You called her bluff and being as she was already upset, she took it to the next level.

Granted this is a really manipulative thing to do... But at the same time, no one really expects their boyfriend's response to be "Oh, fantastic! I really do want to stay home on Thanksgiving!" In this situation, breaking up is the reasonable thing to do as your communication styles and your priorities don't match up AT ALL.
posted by sonika at 10:33 AM on November 28, 2013 [7 favorites]

she literally broke up with me

Then this means that yes, your relationship is over and it's time to move on.

When or if you speak to her, stay respectful of her decision to end the relationship. It sucks to get dumped, but keep it classy and accept the new situation. Get your stuff or have a friend pick it up. There's no need to perform an agonizing autopsy of what when wrong or who's at fault for what. She made a decision, you adapt your circumstances and move on.

Next time you're in a relationship, recall this breakup. Dealing with other peoples' families is basic relationship skills. Sometimes it is just sitting and watching people talk, which is boring. You do it anyway because it's important to your partner -- yes, it's important, family is default important unless someone explicitly says otherwise (as in, "I hate my family and never speak to them.") Your ex-girlfriend probably feels like she should not have to explain that it's important to her to be with her family and for you to come along and participate.

You also sound young, new to American holidays and new to relationships. It can be awkward and weird to try and make small talk with people who you know are watching and judging you. Do it anyway. Asking people questions about themselves is the best way to start a conversation. You don't know anything about Thanksgiving? Ask! Ask who likes which football team, what someone's favorite parade float was, or ask someone about a recipe for one of the dishes. And, next time you're in a relationship, never underestimate the value of helping clean up the kitchen -- something to do, easy to talk, obvious questions to ask.

I digress. To answer your specific question, I'm sorry but yes, this relationship is over. Mull it over, learn your lessons, do some mourning, then move along.
posted by mibo at 11:25 AM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

Oh, and one more thing -- bear in mind that she may not feel she's overreacting, despite how you feel. You mentioned you've made mistakes in the last six months, so her irritation or disappointment or general unhappiness may have been building up and this was the last straw. It sucks, but it happens in young and early relationships. It'll take some practice to let it go.
posted by mibo at 11:29 AM on November 28, 2013

You make a lot of excuses for yourself, and you're very clever at this. Most in this thread are being too kind to you, hoping you'll take the hints they are making about the truth behind you're actions.

Enough of that. I'll give it to you straight.

You have a particularly ungenerous attitude towards this fellow human being you were intimately involved with.

I don't know if it's because this person is female, or white, of a different culture than yours, because you don't understand emotions and how they motivate others.... But gosh darn it, you are pretty awful to her.

Might you consider the possibility you lack maturity in relationships?

Step #1 for you here is to start seeing others not as "other."

Also, you knew you were being purposely obtuse about going to Thanksgiving, how important is was to your (now) ex girlfriend, and how long a celebration like that takes.

You could have discussed it earlier instead of flaking at the last minute.

Stop lying. Work on being honest, direct, and generous.

Stop the drama with this poor girl. Accept the break up and move on.
posted by jbenben at 12:51 PM on November 28, 2013 [18 favorites]

It seems like it is totally normal to be uncomfortable about spending the day with someone's family if you are from a different culture and that makes it difficult to know how to communicate with them and they are not very good at bringing you into the conversation either. I think back to my experiences studying and traveling abroad and how exhausting and draining social events could be, even when the people were very nice, just because it was so much extra work to translate situations and understand them (and this included in English speaking countries so it was not always a language issue). And if you haven't ever celebrated Thanksgiving before, how would you sense the importance of it as a holiday?

I feel like a lot of this is about cultural differences and I think there should be some respect for your culture and way of looking at the world here (and part of that might be not only culture, but just being the type of person who I have encountered often in science/engineering/IT type fields - tending to be logical and straightforward and kind of blunt, and some people can get their feelings hurt by this quite easily but others don't - date someone who understands you). I also feel like if you are in a good relationship the two of you will be able to work out issues that come up due to cultural differences and communication styles without there being lots of anger and drama about it.
posted by citron at 3:11 PM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

It doesn't sound in any of your examples like she's over reacting. Even in the car scenario, guys tend to dismiss how important having a reliable, perfectly working car is- it's a matter of feeling safe. Breaking down feels much more unsafe to women than it does to men.

Also, even if someone seems to be overreacting, there's often a reason for it. If you touched someone and they jumped away and cowered in a corner, they certainly over reacted but there's just as certainly going to be something in that person's history that explains it.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:25 PM on November 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm American, born to Indian parents, and definitely had to spend a lot of time learning what matters to the people of various races & religions that I dated. It's certainly not obvious what's important to a family, but the way you find out is by asking and really LISTENING.

Nobody's saying you should feel bad for not knowing, but that you didn't work hard enough to learn, and there are indications that the reason for this was you have objectified her too much to humble yourself by learning from her.

Don't try to fight for this relationship - it's a shitty, broken one, and you're both young and can do better. But think next time about how you don't just want "a girlfriend", you want someone who will be your peer and partner, with whom you can communicate effectively and anticipate tense moments before they happen and then talk them through.

The fact that your parents have already accepted you bringing a white girl home is a huge milestone! That along with the lessons you take from this breakup should cause some reflection and hopefully will inspire you to a more reciprocal and communicative relationship next time.
posted by anildash at 5:31 PM on November 30, 2013 [8 favorites]

« Older How can I get help from my work colleagues?   |   Toilet flush runs constantly after flush... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.