What to do when your s-o doesn't come through in a pinch
December 14, 2007 8:21 AM   Subscribe

Tonight my car broke down and my girlfriend refused to come help me.

We've been dating for about nine or ten months, perhaps six months seriously. We've exchanged "I love yous" and generally are very supportive of each other. I've gone out of my way several times to drive her home or to make sure she's comfortable and happy. There isn't much that I wouldn't do for her.

Tonight I had car trouble (long story, not my car, but it involved a dead battery and required a jump) and in a panic I called the first person I thought of who might could help me - my girlfriend. She refused to drive down and give me a hand.

It's not that she could have done a lot. The car needed a jump, but it was dark and cold and I was in an unfamiliar part of town. There was no one else around to help me, and I don't have AAA, etc. What I needed was a friend who could jump the car off, or worse steer while I pushed the car into a nearby parking lot.

She told me flat out, "Sorry, I can't drive down to help you." She was at home, in for the evening. It would have been about a thirty-minute drive for her. It was around 7:30pm, so not that late. I was shocked and said, "Okay, well, I don't know what I'm going to do, so I guess I'll just try someone else..."

I eventually got a hold of a buddy who came down and helped. We jumped the car and I drove it home. End of story with the car...

But I'm really hurt that my girlfriend was so opposed to helping me. I would never leave her stranded and cold somewhere, there isn't a question in my mind about it. I would drop whatever I was doing and go help. I'm really at a loss of words for this whole situation. Frankly I feel really betrayed and let down.

This is the first time anything like this has happened. So, it's not like I'm a repeat offender. I've never asked her for anything before.

I'm disappointed and hurt. I don't know how to proceed with this. I'm very put off that she wouldn't help out. She didn't even call later to make sure I made it home okay.

In her defense she has had a few rough days stemming from some family drama. I know that all she wanted to do was to go home tonight and relax. Having to go out in the cold and dark would have been a pain.

So, I guess my question is: How should a react? Is this a bad sign? Have I misplaced my trust in this person? Should I just get over it?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (124 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Talk to her about it.
posted by Partial Law at 8:24 AM on December 14, 2007 [7 favorites]


It's a little odd.

I guess I'd have to reverse the situation and see how I'd react. It'd be sort of like my wife calling me to drive a half hour to see which shoes she should buy. Not only don't I know anything about shoes, or even care which ones she buys, but it's a long drive just to show up and stand around while doing nothing.

Myself I'd call the friend for a jump first next time and just give the gf a heads up as to what's going on.
posted by sanka at 8:30 AM on December 14, 2007


That's damned odd. She didn't give you any more reason for not coming? Seriously, I would break up with some cold-hearted witch that did that to me.
posted by xmutex at 8:32 AM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Opinion on shoes is a little different than assisting a loved one with a stranded vehicle...

Talk to her about it, anon. Start the conversation out with something like, "I am positive this wasn't your intention, but when you wouldn't come out to help me last night, I felt a little hurt and let down. Is everything all right? Was it a bad night for you?"

Don't go in guns blazing upset. Instead, presume she didn't mean to hurt you so you don't put her on the offensive right away. You'll never get a productive conversation out of her if you set her back on her heels. But it is important to let her know that she did hurt you and let you down. See how the conversation plays out from asking if everything is all right. Things might be really rough for her right now and she just wasn't thinking straight at all.

If this sort of thing seems to crop up more often, maybe then re-evaluate the relationship a bit.
posted by jerseygirl at 8:38 AM on December 14, 2007 [7 favorites]


Ask her. It's weird that she wasn't more specific. It could be something harmless, like she'd had wine with dinner and didn't want to drive, or it could be that she doesn't think you're worth her time. There's no way the hive mind can tell.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:41 AM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I would definitely get some additional information before drawing a conclusion. Maybe some other "drama" happened that you aren't aware of and she just wasn't in a state to drive anywhere. However, if you ask her and she doesn't give you a satisfactory response I would probably take a long hard look at the relationship.
posted by LiquidKarma at 8:41 AM on December 14, 2007


You really need to talk to her about this, and soon, before it becomes less about how you feel right now and more a weapon to use against her.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:41 AM on December 14, 2007 [7 favorites]


"You know, I have to say it really hurt my feelings that you didn't come help me with my car last night." should be all that needs to be said to kick off the conversation that will tell you everything to know. Which is probably why it seems so scary to say it.
posted by hermitosis at 8:42 AM on December 14, 2007


Your initial reaction is perfectly normal, given all the information you have provided.
What counts is your next action.
I think you need to get some more information - perhaps there was extenuating circumstances that really didn't permit her to leave the house or some emotional drama that had happened earlier in the day that kind of wiped her out and left her numb to your plea.
Depending on that information, you need to pick your battle.
If she was just being lazy and inconsiderate, you need to decide if you want to be with someone like that.
If she was truly, honestly, unable to come help you, and you empathize and understand the reason, then you let the sleeping dog lie and move on.

But if it happens again, then hey presto - I'd be out of there.
posted by willmize at 8:42 AM on December 14, 2007


For what it's worth, I broke down in the Boston blizzard last night. When I called my boyfriend last night he offered to bring jumper cables, call AAA, even haul his giant ass car battery in the snow to where I was to help. He's a wonderful guy to everyone, not just me, but that's the kind of stuff he was offering to do. I'm not saying your girlfriend needed to haul a heavy battery around, but it does seem surprising to me that the girlfriend you are reasonably serious with wouldn't help you, or even offer to call someone to make sure you'd be okay. I don't blame you for being miffed and I think it's definitely something you should bring up.
posted by olinerd at 8:43 AM on December 14, 2007 [5 favorites]


I disagree with sanka's analogy. She wasn't bringing nothing to the situation, she was bringing an important part of the solution (ie the other battery required for a jump)! Personally, I would feel exactly as the OP and if it was me who had received the call I would have dropped whatever I was doing to go help! Yes, it sucks but my bf is very much worth the time and effort, regardless of how shitty my day might have been.

I think you should talk this out with your GF, you need to find out if there was a reason she didn't come and help that's better than "I didn't feel like it". You need to determine if she can be relied on during stressful times; and, if she couldn't help you with this then can she be trusted to support you when things get really bad?
posted by LunaticFringe at 8:44 AM on December 14, 2007 [4 favorites]


I'd be pissed and might even escalate the matter into what they refer to as a verbal disagreement. Not always fun, but they sure get the issues out. Talk with her, but don't be as passive as your description either Make it clear what you are looking from her when stuff like that happens and that it makes you angry.

Arguments in a relationship can actually be productive. My gf and I had a rough time a few weeks ago, but after one such argument, we realized our faults and how we could be more responsive to our different expectations.
posted by yeti at 8:49 AM on December 14, 2007


That seems really cold. How big was the family drama? BIG? Or just the sort of once-a-month family drama that we are all used to?

I think there one of four things going on here.

1 -- she was emotionally exhausted from whatever drama had gone on and just could not deal with this right now. Which is a little lame. Maybe she was temporarily blinded by her own drama so that she couldn't see yours?

2 -- she did not understand the magnitude of your dilemma and/or did not think that her coming would solve the problem. Did she think she might get there with you and you both would still not be able to fix the car -- i.e., neither you nor she travel with jumper cables, etc? She may not know how to hook them up, etc. Even so, at least she could have offered to come for you and drive you home, instead of leaving you stranded there in the cold. So, weird.

3 -- she is a little dumb. (This is a broader version of #2 above -- she really didn't get that you needed her.) In which case, it's not that she doesn't care, she is just not that bright. This would probably bother me the least of all the scenarios.

4 -- she is selfish. Have you seen other instances of this in your relationship? This could be bad.

With any one of these I think you need to talk. I would not just break up without talking about it first, but you need to understand where she was coming from to understand whether this has really serious ramifications or was just some weird quirky situation. But yeah, man, it seems pretty cold. Good luck.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:50 AM on December 14, 2007


It's not that she could have done a lot.

Why? Doesn't she have a car (you made it sound like she does)? A working car and jumper cables are all you needed, potentially, so why couldn't she help?

It'd be sort of like my wife calling me to drive a half hour to see which shoes she should buy.

I don't see that at all. I see the fact that the boyfriend was stranded and the girlfriend (who has expressed her love to him) refused to help. Shoes v. stranded at night in the cold = not the same.

It would have bothered me a lot more than it seems to be bothering you, OP. I'd be furious and I would have expressed that on the phone right after she said she wouldn't come out to help you. Like LunaticFringe said, can she be relied on?
posted by cooker girl at 8:50 AM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Helping somebody out of a bad situation is a good way to stop obsessing over family drama that you can't do anything about sitting at home on the couch. Especially if that someone is your lover and would clearly do so for you if the situation were reversed. I've helped and been helped by people in far more casual relationships because, well, it's just good to be kind.

I think you have every right to be hurt and confused by this and by all means you should bring it up with her as quickly as possible. As for it being a bad sign, I would say it speaks, at the very least, to her maturity level and possibly to her definition of a committed relationship.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 8:53 AM on December 14, 2007


I don't know. If you can't count on her...
posted by xammerboy at 8:53 AM on December 14, 2007


How should a react? Is this a bad sign? Have I misplaced my trust in this person? Should I just get over it?

You should react by saying "why wouldn't you come get me" the next time you see her. If she doesn't give a hell of a good answer, peace out. Is this a bad sign? Hell Yeah! Especially that she didn't even call to check up on you. I used to get a call from my girlfriend when I would drive to my house, 15 minutes away, if I didn't call first. I don't know if "misplaced trust" is a good way of putting it, but yes, I wouldn't exactly depend on her in a time of need. You should never just get over it. That just leads to a build up and an explosion.

If you let this slide, you validate the behavior and she (or he in the reverse situation) knows she can just disregard your needs and not have anything bad happen. Is that what you want?

Barring some seriously compelling explanation, I would drop her like she's hot. You don't need to be with somebody who won't even lend you their mere presence, with hardly an explanation.
posted by cashman at 8:56 AM on December 14, 2007 [6 favorites]


I think you're upset because she didn't come down to give you moral support, right? Sounds like she's not the handyperson-with-jumper-cables you really needed, but in an emotionally vulnerable moment, you reached out to her for support.

It sucks that she didn't give you that support. It sucks a little less that she didn't come help jump your car. In practical terms, it sounds like you reached the buddy you needed to, and maybe shoulda called him first.

Your GF still should have given you support and sympathy and offered to come down and support you, but it's possible in her mind that she simply couldn't do anything, and wasn't up to an hour+ outing in the cold to offer mere emotional support. I hope she was at least nice to you on the phone.

If she said the following I think she did *okay* even though she didn't come out:
"Aw honey I'm so sorry. Are you okay? I don't know how to fix a car in this situation. Why don't you call your buddy? If you don't reach him call me back and we'll figure this out. I'll get the phone book and call someone to come help you."

If she just said "I can't come out." Then she obviously was preoccupied with something in her own head, or had some gender-based stereotype that was telling her it's not the woman's job to run out and help the man with car trouble.

Either of those amounts to losing points, IMHO. But talk it out. Don't be bitter.

People get into all kinds of trouble because they never articulate to one another what they expect of one another. She's supposed to "just know," is she? If you're thinking that, good luck.
posted by scarabic at 8:58 AM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


As this sort of thing hasn't happened before, it could very well be a one-time thing related to the family drama you mentioned. As everyone above said, talk to her about it from the perspective of wondering what was up, not telling her how wrong she was to not come help.
posted by Nelsormensch at 8:59 AM on December 14, 2007


Honestly, this would almost be a dealbreaker to me. This is nothing like shoes. Sure, her presence is not required, but the presence of a running car is, and it's absurd that she would not even drive out to offer the use of hers. At the very least, this is not a subject I would just file away. Relationships are about trust, love, and mutual aid. One out of three isn't going to work, if there's even that one.
posted by absalom at 8:59 AM on December 14, 2007 [7 favorites]


Is this a bad sign?

It's a bad sign that you're asking a bunch of people on the internet about it rather than just talking to her. All we can do is speculate as to her motives -- only she can actually tell you what was going on.

That said, if she tells you she didn't come because she just didn't feel like it then you definitely want to reconsider how much you rely on her in the future.
posted by tkolar at 8:59 AM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


But, yes, I agree that you should talk about the subject, not just dump her. Was she just not feeling like being inconvienced? Was she afraid to go into an unfamiliar neighborhood at night? There are a lot of questions left over from your initial one, and the devil's in the details.
posted by absalom at 9:00 AM on December 14, 2007


If this were me, I'd end it right now. I've dated people that you can't rely on to help you out in an emergency and it's one of my dealbreakers. I am of the personal opinion that if you love me and we are partners, then when I ask for help you should help. If you can't help, best have a good reason and explain it to me. Being tired and having a little family drama is not enough. Better to say, "Sweetheart, I would love to come help you, but I've just finished off a box of wine to deal with the stress and I'd do more harm than good. Can I call you a cab or something?" But no explanation is just...wow.

And for the record, I've gotten out of bed at 4 am on a snowy Monday morning to bring my boyfriend some fix-a-flat. And he's done the same type of thing for me. Sorry, I'm sure she's a lovely girl, but not being willing to help you out like this is not acceptable to me.
posted by teleri025 at 9:02 AM on December 14, 2007


I think it's a bad sign, but agree with the others to talk to her first. There had better be a really good reason.

I'm of the opinion that your SO should be the one person you can count on, maybe it's all that "for better/worse/sickness/health" stuff. It appears that she demonstrated that you can't count on her when you really need her, so take that as you will. It's a flat tire today, but will it happen again and what will it be next time?

You needed her and she didn't come through. Is this the first time she's displayed this (selfish?) behavior, or is it a pattern and this your wake-up call?
posted by ml98tu at 9:06 AM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


It'd be sort of like my wife calling me to drive a half hour to see which shoes she should buy.

No, it's nothing like that. How silly.

It sounds like your girlfriend dropped the ball on this. If my bf (or husband or whatever) was stranded somewhere unfamiliar and it was dark and he was cold, I would be there in a heartbeat. Even if for some reason I couldn't help him get his car started, I'd have something to offer, be it a hot cup of coffee and a hat, or just companionship and support until he was safe and the issue was resolved somehow. For me not to go, and to not even call to find out if he was ok, is inconceivable.

You need to sit down and talk with your girlfriend. Maybe her family issues are more troubling than you realize, and it's even possible that she feels you haven't been there for her, so why should she be there for you? I'm not saying that's right, but it's possible that right now she feels overwhelmed herself, and isn't able to put herself out there for you. TALK!
posted by iconomy at 9:07 AM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'd say find out more about what was going on. It's hard to say, and it's important not to make a character judgment based on one response. And all you have is one response. You don't know what the situation was. You say she's been having a rough few days. Did she come home, help herself some wine, and wasn't able to drive? Maybe she just got home from therapy, where the therapist advised her to set some boundries and start saying "no" to people. Or was she simply honestly answering the question you posed to her? If the question was, "hey, can you come and jump my car," I'd also say no, because I don't know the first thing about jumping cars, and the question was whether I was capable of jumping a car or not. If, on the other hand, you asked, "hey, I'm stuck here and I know that you don't know how to jump a car, but I do, so could you come bring your car and I can jump my car?" then the answer would be different.

Also, you say it was an unfamiliar part of town. Is it a high crime part of town? I know a lot of people who do not drive alone at night in certain parts of town. Some people also do not like to drive in unfamiliar parts of town either, if it means having to drive through the high crime parts of town, or a chance that one might get lost in a high crime part of town.

Also, people above who are saying that she could have helped are presuming that either she or anonymous had jumper cables. We don't know that. Also, anonymous wasn't asking for moral support or a ride home. He was asking for help with his car. If she is to take some of the blame for not going out to give moral support, then he is also to blame for not clarifying what exactly he was asking for.

That said, if I had been anonymous, I would have been horribly disappointed.
posted by jujube at 9:11 AM on December 14, 2007


DTMFA.

Late night car problems are par for the course in relationships. And if you can't handle that, you aren't equipped to being in a relationship. She's clearly not on the level.

Just to put this into perspective, a relative of mine ended up in some legal trouble. His longterm partner refused to bail him out and retain a lawyer for him, despite the fact that she had the money (and was the only person who did) because she didn't know what her therapist would think about it. I'm not even kidding.

Sorry, but "for better or worse" includes a lot worse than late night car trouble. And if she can't handle that, then she doesn't deserve you.
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:13 AM on December 14, 2007


I sort of wonder if there's something she'd been doing she didn't want to admit -- drinking her way through her family problems, perhaps. I'm not sure 'drinks to deal with stress' is a better girlfriend quality than 'is emotionally and physically unavailable when I need her', but it might help to realize that there are potential reasons for this that aren't just 'she didn't love me enough to drive half an hour'.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:14 AM on December 14, 2007


Bad sign.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:15 AM on December 14, 2007


I'm with teleri025. I've had girlfriends like that, and unless you're just dating for sport, that isn't what you want in a life partner.
posted by grumpy at 9:16 AM on December 14, 2007


I'm usually defending the insight that DearAskMes can provide to the Answer, but in this case, I have nothing to say but:

How odd. Welp, you'll have to ask her.
posted by desuetude at 9:20 AM on December 14, 2007


Please, people, stop making (somewhat sexist) excuses for her. Seriously, it's not like you need to be "handy" to jump a freaking car and it's not like a girl automatically can't help you out with car trouble (or like we should instantly jump to shoe analogies for women).

I personally would be pretty much out of there unless you really really think there were seriously extenuating circumstances. She could have easily driven down and picked you up, at least to take you to a store to buy jumper cables so you could jump your car off of hers. Hell, she could've stayed in a warm car the whole time and just provided you with transportation.

Or she could've even just driven you home so you didn't have to sit through a shitty situation on your own.

If I were in her position in this situation or anything similar (even something where I really couldn't even help that much), I wouldn't even think twice about going to help. I mean, seriously, if you've professed your love for someone, this helping them out in when they're in a pinch should be a no-brainer.

And, to this point, this is only a minor situation-- what happens when something that's actually bad happens? Is she just going to leave you high and dry?
posted by atomly at 9:21 AM on December 14, 2007 [9 favorites]


That's f'ed up. Talk to her about it. But unless she gives you a really good reason for turning you down, and for not telling you why, I'd say to seriously reconsider staying with her.
posted by amro at 9:22 AM on December 14, 2007


You are very lucky to have found this out about her in a situation where you were in such trivial difficulty, rather than when you were truly vulnerable after an accident or an illness.

Let me make a prediction for you: far from feeling remorseful and guilty about leaving you in the lurch, right now she is angry with you and disdainful that you could have even considered daring to ask her to do such a thing. I assume you've already called her, but if you haven't, it might be an interesting exercise to wait until she calls you. I'm betting it would be at least a week, and I believe there's a good chance she would never call.

I think the biggest issue here is that you chose a person whose emotions are an inch deep in the first place. I would say this relationship has died, except that it never lived. Before you find someone new to love, you must do some intensive soul-searching to understand how you could have chosen a person with so little capacity to love you in return.
posted by jamjam at 9:23 AM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


How incredibly selfish of her. Of course you were upset. And the fact that she didn't even call later to check and make sure you made it home okay, after you were so obviously shaken by the whole thing and maybe, since she didn't come, stranded in the cold...jeez.

Call her, tell her how you feel, but in the long run, yes, it IS a bad sign.

greekphilosophy has it right: DTMFA.
posted by misha at 9:24 AM on December 14, 2007


She didn't even call later to make sure you were ok? Jesus christ. My fiance (at the time "just" girlfriend) drove eight hours to pick me up when I got thrown in county lockup for a speeding ticket. I've had exes with whom I was not on speaking terms, who nevertheless were the only person I could get in touch with whose number I had in my cellphone, come give me a lift or a jump. And this person supposedly loves you? Fuuuuuuck that.
posted by notsnot at 9:25 AM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


You've just encountered a symptom of something. Find out the cause. Be prepared for relationship surgery.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:26 AM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Pull the ripcord. This flight is going down in flames.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:29 AM on December 14, 2007


It's unacceptable behavior without a real good reason. Some real good reasons have been speculated upon in this thread. But you will indeed have to find out what's up.

Maybe she doesn't realize that it's unacceptable, and you two can learn and move and get past it and laugh about twenty Christmases from now. But you'd best find out if that's the case.
posted by stevis23 at 9:29 AM on December 14, 2007


I had a battery die in the parking lot of my job after my shift. 1:00am. Saturday morning. In winter. Actively snowing.

Since I was the manager I was the last to leave, and no coworkers were there to help. I had been on one dinner date with a guy I had only met the week before. I knew the guy lived about 30 minutes away. I was young, just starting out, didnt have a lot of money, no AAA. I decided to give this guy a call.

I call him from the pay phone on the building (alarm was set, so I couldnt get back in), tell him the story and he says "OK. Stay in the car, lock the doors and crack the window. I'll be there ASAP". Wow, Theres something to be said about dependability.

30 minutes later he shows up not only with jumper cables, but 2 huge, steaming convenience-store cups. "Coffee or Hot Chocolate?" he says.

That was 10 years ago. We just celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary.

The moral of the story is:

If you have a car, ALWAYS have AAA. ;-)
posted by sandra_s at 9:34 AM on December 14, 2007 [94 favorites]


As most people have said, you really need to talk to her.

There could be lots of reasons she didn't come and get you, maybe she didn't fully get just how stranded you were, maybe she'd had a drink and couldn't safely drive, or maybe she just couldn't be bothered.

You can either get over it, assume her reasons were valid enough and let the matter drop, or you can talk about it with her and I guess hope she gives a good reason she didn't come out, what you do if she doesn't come back with a good reason is down to you.
posted by paulfreeman at 9:35 AM on December 14, 2007


I've been down this road, and could give examples that would leave you all aghast. This is a bad sign of a selfish person. I won't say DTMFA just yet, but talk to her about it, and be wary of these tendencies in the future. And be prepared to end it if this sort of thing continues. Life's too short to tolerate the bullshit I did.
posted by LordSludge at 9:41 AM on December 14, 2007


I had a similar experience when I was first co-habitating with my [now] wife. The short answer is "get used to it." The long answer is more complicated, but it's also more interesting.

I was working as the closing manager at a restaurant. At the end of the night, I would escort the staff out of the building, lock up, and sometimes give the mildly-retarded dishwasher a ride home. On one particular crisp October night, probably around 12 or 1am, I made a terrible mistake. I was jauntily carrying my keyring on one finger as I locked up for the evening. In the same hand, I was carrying the night's last bag of trash. This proved to be a mistake. With dishwasher in tow, I headed across the parking lot to the dumpster and my car. As I heaved the last bag of trash into the dumpster, I watched my keys arc up and off the end of my finger, glinting under the parking lot lights. I saw them describe a lazy somersault as they followed the bag of restaurant dishroom filth up and over the side of the half full dumpster. I listened as they slipped and slid off of bags bulging with half-eaten dinners of 1000 damned souls. I swore, loudly and eloquently, as I heard them splash into the puddle of unspeakable slurry that collects in the bottom of restaurant dumpsters.

Being young and stupid, I went in after them. After half an hour of fruitless digging in the most heinous food waste I have ever encountered, I gave up. I was a beaten man. I was drenched in dumpster juice up to my thighs, I had several cuts on my hands from broken glass, and I was tired of being told "you shouldn't throw away your keys" by a retard. I escorted the dishwasher to the lobby of a nearby hotel, asked if we could borrow their phone, and called him a cab. I also called my future wife. I asked her to come and get me.

She wouldn't.

In her defense, I didn't explain why I needed her to come and get me. But the pain and urgency in my voice should have been enough to signal that this was serious and I wasn't just drunk or something.

She did call her brother, who eventually came and got me. I arrived home around 3, exhausted, hurt, and smelly. We laugh about it now, but to this day a little piece of me resents the fact that when I really needed someone to come and rescue me, she passed the job off to somebody else.

This experience led me to develop a theory I call "damsels don't do rescues". I will likely be flamed and told what a sexist bastard I am. I don't care. This isn't about YOUR wife or girfreind, or YOU, if you're a woman. No woman acts like this all the time, but many women act like this at least once in their lives.

Societal norms tell women they are the ones who need rescuing. Men are supposed to be strong, silent, and self-sufficient. If we have problems, we need to get ourselves out of them. So when you place a distress call to your girlfriend, she's subconsciously thinking "If I help him, it will make him less of a man. I don't want him to be less of a man". She's also been trained to think that men just KNOW how to handle stuff like this. Which is why I agree with sanka. In the future, call a buddy first.

Sorry this is so long winded. Flag away.
posted by cosmicbandito at 9:42 AM on December 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


she's one battery that can't be jump started

time to get a new one
posted by Salvatorparadise at 9:54 AM on December 14, 2007


Why hasn't she called you? Regardless of whatever her excuse is, she should have called you by now to apologize for leaving you in the lurch and to make sure you're OK.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:00 AM on December 14, 2007


My wife was sick, so I offered to go get her some soup from the grocery store on my lunch break (5-6pm). I got the soup, started the car, but enough snow had fallen on the windshield and partially melted that I had to scrape it off. I wear flip flops in the winter, and take them off for driving. I figured I'd be out in the snow 30 seconds tops, so I left the flip flops there, got out of the car, closed the door, and cleared the snow off. Then I realized that I had closed and locked the door. Of the running car. While barefoot in -5C weather with snow and wind.

CAA said it would be at least an hour to get someone there. I called my wife, and despite being sick she immediately cleared the snow/ice off of her car and drove 20 minutes (I hit the grocery store by work, not by home as it's less out of the way) through rush hour to unlock my car with her spare key and pickup the soup I had meant to drop off.

Unless your girlfriend has a *really* good reason for stranding you, she's not a keeper. But you need to talk with her and find out what was up.

Knights in Shining Armor can be female.
posted by nobeagle at 10:15 AM on December 14, 2007 [9 favorites]


who knows, maybe she was a very generous and helping individual and a past bad experience cured her of the urge? Maybe she had a drink?
I focused on "unfamiliar part of town" -- maybe she's a total coward and is cringing with embarrassment that you've discovered this and that's why she hasn't called.

we simply don't know. You'll have to ask.
Right now you want us to share in your indignation and we do. I'd move heaven and earth to help a friend, never mind a lover. But I have a lifelong friend who would never do it for me. I've been let down by this woman but I accept her for who she is. I would still help her out if she needed me.

Having sad that here's a reason why the phrase "a friend in need is a friend indeed" is so ubiqutous.
posted by Wilder at 10:16 AM on December 14, 2007


This experience led me to develop a theory I call "damsels don't do rescues".

This is interesting, but it's also interesting that you specifically didn't tell her why you needed help... If she called, I'd bet she'd have provided the details. Still, I think the classic relationship roles do support this, that the guy is the agent, the suitor - the subject - and the woman is the prize, the beloved - the object (of affection, but still the object). A lot of people try to overcome these roles, but a lot of people kind of hold on to aspects of these roles as well. Little things like who pays for dinner, who dresses up to look good, who will propose, etc, reinforce the subconscious acceptance of them. In the modern age it isn't always immediately clear to what extent people accept or reject roles (I may think it sexist for a guy to always pay for dinner but another woman may think that's just polite, but the woman never driving is sexist... etc - people draw their own lines)

But if a woman has some sense that she is "the woman" in the relationship, that she is not actively pushing against that stereotype to try to be an equal partner but rather embracing the fact that she plays the one who is cared for and beloved, while the guy gets to be strong and in charge, then not only will she not want to help, but she may even be offended, or disdainful of you for asking.
posted by mdn at 10:20 AM on December 14, 2007


That is pretty messed up. I was dating a girl only semi seriously and drove almost an hour in the rain and then fixed her flat in the mud. And at that point I was pretty sure the relationship was over but knew she had turned to me for help so how could I not?

That being said she may have a valid excuse - of course without one I think you should bit her goodbye.
posted by UMDirector at 10:24 AM on December 14, 2007


Ask her

Don't dump her. Don't accuse her. Just ask her what happened. It's entirely possible that she was dealing with a family crisis and actually couldn't help. She might have been drunk or high or whatever, and unable to drive. She might have just been an emotional wreck, and unable to deal with putting on pants, much less spending a few hours dealing with your car.

(I say this in part because when I'm having a nervous breakdown and someone wants me to do something as simple as have dinner, my answer is often something similar to "I'm sorry, I just can't", which means "I'd like to, but there's no way I'll be able to pull my shit together".)

Call her. Ask her if she's ok. She might very well be perfectly fine and just a horribly selfish woman, but she might be someone who's family just imploded on the night her boyfriend got pissy because she wouldn't drive to a sketchy neighborhood to jump start his car. Now would be a good time to find that out.
posted by stefanie at 10:28 AM on December 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


Even if she had been drinking, wouldn't she have said, "Sorry, I've been drinking and can't drive" immediately, rather than just saying no? That's just weird.

This would be a dealbreaker for me. Unless she was pinned under rubble, there's no valid reason for her not to help even if it's just to call someone else to help you. Maybe she was pinned under another man... but that's just idle speculation.

P.S. Buy a battery pack/emergency jump kit.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:34 AM on December 14, 2007


I can't even imagine someone being that cruel. Any chance she was being passive-aggressive? Any chance you might have done something earlier that ticked her off? I am NOT saying this is your fault, and any person that would let a grudge prevent them from helping, well, anyone, is not worth having around, but it might be an explanation. Call her, let her know that she let you down big time. Ask her why she felt she couldn't inconvenience herself to help someone she loves. If the explanation doesn't sit right, those above have already said what you need to do....
posted by ms.v. at 10:35 AM on December 14, 2007


It might've been that she just would've felt too embarrassed or awkward to explain on the phone why she couldn't go over to help because she had just gone through something before you called (whether it be family-related or otherwise). She may very well have felt guilty and terrible about not thinking she was able to help. Maybe she was worried about how much worse you'd react if she did give her reason.

And she may not have wanted to check in with you later because she was afraid she might look even worse, and come off like someone who had been utterly useless and of no help to you. Some people just aren't able to be direct and straightforward, and instead keep their emotions and distress bottled up. Which doesn't make her undependable or flaky, just hard to crack at times. Let her know she can tell you anything, and that you won't judge her. Don't imply you were upset (unless her reason does in fact warrant it). You don't want to leave her snakebitten should something similar arise in the future.

You've known her for a few months, so if this is the first time alarm bells have rung for you with her, maybe it's just an isolated incident. If there was a subtle pattern of this kind of stuff until now, than I'd be a lot more worried. And maybe looking back, there has been a pattern that you just didn't notice here and there. But hopefully that's not the case. Obviously you made it through okay, so make sure she is too. Getting stuck in a strange town like that is rough, but for all you know, her night may have been even worse.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 10:41 AM on December 14, 2007


My wife wouldn't have come to help me, either. It's just not something she would do. After being with her for nearly twenty years, I wouldn't even ask. She's a wonderful, loving person, but she wouldn't do something like this for me. (I would do it for her, though.) She'd be happy to talk about it, though, and maybe your girlfriend will be too. Ask her.
posted by jdroth at 10:43 AM on December 14, 2007


You know, I am really leaning towards the "inexcusable" camp, but then the situation of some very dear friends popped into my mind. They've been married for a couple of years, and together for twice that. They live in a suburb of NYC, and she works in Manhattan. A couple of years ago, she had a sudden medical issue pop up at work that required she be hospitalized. It turned out that she was eventually treated and released, but there were several hours where no one knew what was going on. Her husband was called. But he did not come. Turns out he has a very serious fear of coming into NYC by himself. Serious enough that he could not bring himself to make this trip to be by his wife's side. Now, to his credit, he did call the hospital, talk to the doctors, and called her friends/co-workers to make sure that she was not alone. And he was quite agonized by the whole thing.

So maybe, just maybe, she had something similar going on. But unless she can give you some sort of justification that sits well with your heart, I think I would give her a pass.
posted by kimdog at 10:43 AM on December 14, 2007


I think the odd thing about this is that you didn't ask her why at the time. Does that say something about your relationship?
posted by probablysteve at 10:49 AM on December 14, 2007


Talk to her about it. This would have major warning bells ringing in my head BUT those bells could easily be an overreaction.

Here's a story: my father, when my parents were dating in the 60's, left my mother standing on an L platform in a very cold snowstorm when she needed him to drive her home after she'd used her last nickel in the pay phone in the time before cellphones, because he was watching Batman on teevee. However, some years later, my father called in a big favor to get a helicopter ride home from the war to the hospital when I was being born unexpectedly early. It could just have been one of those dumbass thoughtless things we all do sometimes, or it could be the death knell. You won't find out by asking us.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:50 AM on December 14, 2007


I say of course talk to her, but she better have a much better excuse than I had a rough day/it was cold/it was far/it's not like I could do anything, anyway. And by the way she could have done something, she could have driven you to a service station to get help. A lot more pleasant and safe than you trying to find one in the cold by yourself.

Not too long ago my roommate called me at 11 pm. She had gotten into a car accident over an hour away, it was snowing and miserable, the car was out of traffic and couldn't be dealt with until the next day, could she have gotten a cab or even a bus? yeah definitely. But of course I went and got her, because when people are freaking out in the cold, by themselves and their cars are out of commission, they want someone to be there.

I've never asked her for anything before.

She didn't even call later to make sure I made it home okay.


Unless, she has a really good excuse, I'd say she's officially failed the "being there for you when you need her" test of this relationship, and therefore, DTMFA.
posted by whoaali at 10:51 AM on December 14, 2007


I am very confused. It seems everyone else has more information than I do. You say you explained your troubles and asked her to come down. Then she said "I'm sorry, I can't". And.......that's it??

At any point, did you ask her why? Since this is anonymous I know you can't respond. I'm really surprised at all of the harsh answers about the girlfriend. I'm so surprised that I assume I must be missing something. He didn't even ask why. How do you know she was "so opposed to helping"? Cold? Passive-Aggressive? Perhaps she should have given a lengthier explanation on the spot, but maybe she couldn't (in a rushed situation and didn't have time, or feeling emotionally upset and couldn't say much unless asked, or a woman of few words who didn't realize more was immediately necessary, etc.).

People are saying this is inexcusable? Cold? Harsh? Huh? We don't even know that she just flat-out refused. She said she can't, not she won't. Now it could very well be "won't" instead of "can't", but no one has even asked her why yet. You say "I know she just wanted to go home and relax"...is that the reason she gave, because it sounds like you just know how she was feeling that night.

Please ask for a more extensive explanation. If you already have, you really should have included everything she said about this. I am seriously confused.
posted by Danila at 10:54 AM on December 14, 2007


Well the fact she didn't call later to see if he made it in all right is pretty damning.
posted by ozomatli at 11:00 AM on December 14, 2007


It seems strange that she wouldn't give any explanation as to why she wouldn't help you. And that you missed a great window of opportunity to ask "Why the hell not?" after she said no though I can understand how you would be distressed if your friend's car wasn't starting, it was cold and dark and you were in an unfamiliar place. Half an hour is not far to drive to help your loved one out in a situation like that. Then not calling to find out if you made it home okay? That's so weird and makes me think that she doesn't care about you or your well-being.

A few years ago during the winter my boyfriend's car died 10 blocks away from my apartment. It was around 9:30 at night and I was sick. He called me very distressed and I got on my parka and boots and I ran there. I didn't even have a car to help him jump-start his vehicle. We managed to find a portable battery at a gas station and we got his car up and running. We're still together today and there isn't anything I wouldn't do or try to do for him if he really needed me.
posted by KathyK at 11:03 AM on December 14, 2007


He didn't even ask why.

!? But he was the one stranded! Wouldn't she have been the one to say, I'm so sorry, I can't because....(whatever) ? To just say, "I can't" and leave it at that makes it sound like she doesn't want to or doesn't take seriously her role in helping him when he needs it. If she expects him to say, "oh honey, what's wrong, why can't you help" when he's the one stuck out in the dark without transportation, then she's already assuming she isn't the rescuing type.
posted by mdn at 11:06 AM on December 14, 2007


All this question leads me to think is: what would I have done, were I suffering from terrible diarrhea some evening when a guy I had been dating called, asking for me to come pick him up?

The point is, really, none of us know her reasoning. Talk to her, see what she says.
posted by Ms. Saint at 11:15 AM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I agree with the people that say that you have to ask her. Maybe there is some kind of excuse, and she just was really really bad about expressing it. So don't accuse, but definitely bring it up. And if there's no explanation besides "it was really cold" or "I was tired", then for me that would be an absolute dealbreaker. I see helping out people I love as part of being a decent human being, and I'd much rather be that than a "damsel" any day.
posted by MsMolly at 11:31 AM on December 14, 2007


Your story made me laugh! Hey, don't take people too seriously. I was just telling this to a friend last night. Men - they express their love for women through acts of sacrifice. Women? Not so much. Guys don't understand when women don't return the favor, and they get all sensitive. Don't sweat it. You want mommy to come by and help you get your car jumped?

Funny thing is, if you didn't help her out in a similar situation, you'd probably be toast. Sometimes in relationships, people don't treat each other equally, and if you just open your mind to how you two are different, you'll either find yourself more comfortable with her, or out of the relationship. And there's no such thing as bad signs. Live in the moment. Be happy with yourself. Know that you can always make things better by maintaining a positive attitude.
posted by phaedon at 11:32 AM on December 14, 2007


All this question leads me to think is: what would I have done, were I suffering from terrible diarrhea some evening when a guy I had been dating called, asking for me to come pick him up?

you take some immodium and hit the road.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:34 AM on December 14, 2007


Men - they express their love for women through acts of sacrifice. Women? Not so much. Guys don't understand when women don't return the favor, and they get all sensitive. Don't sweat it. You want mommy to come by and help you get your car jumped?

This experience led me to develop a theory I call "damsels don't do rescues".

You guys really need to start meeting some new women. This is not just the way women are.
posted by whoaali at 11:40 AM on December 14, 2007 [21 favorites]


Interesting range of responses. One response to some previous commenters: I had a bf who frequently had car trouble. Sometimes it was just from his own dumb choices, like running out of gas. Other times his car would break down. Once I was with him in one of his beaters when it broke down, and because I was the only one wearing sensible shoes, I was the one who walked 2 miles to get my car and rescue him. Damsels clearly do rescue missions. But after a certain number of rescue missions, we say "No."

Is there any chance that your gf feels like she has been catering to you a lot lately? It may not be obvious physical rescue, but it could be providing emotional support, agreeing to what you wanted when she really wanted something else, and any number of other things that she should have been assertive about but didn't mention. Then any additional trouble from her own family would send her over the edge. This doesn't excuse her, but it might help explain her. Obviously, you need to talk to her.
posted by PatoPata at 11:49 AM on December 14, 2007


I think it's worth noting that all of these interesting "men are like this/women are like this" generalizations aside, we don't actually know that the OP is male.
posted by Siobhan at 11:50 AM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


It seems strange that she wouldn't give any explanation as to why she wouldn't help you. And that you missed a great window of opportunity to ask "Why the hell not?" after she said no though I can understand how you would be distressed if your friend's car wasn't starting, it was cold and dark and you were in an unfamiliar place.

Well, sometimes I am so shocked to an answer I get to a question that my brain stops working and all I can do is sputter out, "Uhhh... OK." So it is possible that Anon was so surprised his girlfriend said no that he didn't think to ask why.

I agree with everyone else who has said it was a cold thing to do. If my husband or a friend needed similar-type help I would be there ASAP.

And to everyone who says women don't help men out... that is such BS. I'm with whoaali - you need to meet some new women because I don't know any women who are non-rescuing "damsels."
posted by sutel at 11:58 AM on December 14, 2007


Well this won't make you feel better, but the first thing I thought of was that she was "otherwise engaged." I certainly don't want to call her a cheating ho', but I am saying that that was the first thing that sprang to my mind as to why she was so reluctant to help out AND so reluctant to tell you why.

If all is as you said was in your relationship, that you were mutually supportive and she gave no reason other than family drama (so what, welcome to humanity) and it was 7:30 in the evening, and she hasn't called back since then, then yeah, DTMFA.
posted by xetere at 12:00 PM on December 14, 2007


Also thinking it's a little weird. I mean, bring it up now if it bothers you that much while it's still a recent event. You don't want something small like that to sit and grow into a bigger problem you have with her. There's a chance it'll tint your view of her actions unfairly as well. Like you're eating dinner with her one day and she doesn't offer to pass you the salt because and you flash back to this and think, "This is just like the time she didn't come get me when I was stranded!!" Hash it out with her to at least be fair to her so that you don't start viewing her in a negative light for no reason.

But seriously...no words of at least encouragement or trying to calm you down? Is this really the full story? I understand there could've been numerous reasons for her to not be able to drop something and drive out to help, but the way you're describing what transpired it makes it sound like her attitude was more, "Well, sucks to be you, peace," which is really kind of a weird attitude to have about someone in a bit of trouble if you care for them even the slightest, romantic or not. She didn't need to rend garments and wail, but did she at least say something like, "Aw, sorry to hear that..." and then say "sorry I can't make it though" or did she really just say "I'm not coming out to help you"?

Well here's my anecdote to add to the pile, not a car story but: I remember when in college a (then) boyfriend was freaking out about some computer virus problem. I had pages of reading and even had a papers due in the span of the next 2 days (one of them in the next 12 hours) and I really didn't know a lick about how to fix an infected computer, but I still tried to at least talk him down from his panicked state, and even went as far as to research the problem through Google based on what he was describing and sat through with him like a 911 operator with my findings and sent him a firewall program over instant messenger because he had a computer he couldn't do anything with because it was restarting every 2-3 minutes.
posted by kkokkodalk at 12:01 PM on December 14, 2007


Aww, cosmicbandito, I'm really sorry your damsel is that way. (Dare I speculate that you are older folks?) And phaedon, it's good that you can be happy in whatever moment you find yourself.

But people really should hold up their end of the bargain: if you expect to get help, you'd better be prepared to give it too unless you have a damn good excuse. Doesn't matter what gender you are or what role you play in the relationship, find a way to help. Don't know how to jump a battery? Just show up with a running car and charged batteries and let Anon take it from there. Or call your buddy who's super-handy, or call a cab, or something. Don't just turn your back on a friend who needs you.

Yes, Anon, you'd better talk to your girlfriend and see if there was some very good reason why she was not able to come to your rescue. Otherwise, bail out before you get hurt even worse.
posted by Quietgal at 12:03 PM on December 14, 2007


So when you place a distress call to your girlfriend, she's subconsciously thinking "If I help him, it will make him less of a man. I don't want him to be less of a man".

Huh. I must have access to the other subconscious soundtrack, where the women are wearily wondering for a second why they always have to have their shit together to fix whatever needs fixing, as they head out the door, keys in hand.
posted by desuetude at 12:05 PM on December 14, 2007 [7 favorites]


I didn't mean to come off sounding like I was condemning the ladies. I just meant to say some women don't do rescue missions, and that doesn't necessarily mean they love you or like you any less.

And you can't deny that I'm describing a complex that some guys fall into. Guy drives three hours in the blizzard to get girl a cup of chicken soup. Weeks later, girl doesn't call back like she says she's going to, and guy freaks out. Says, "I drove three hours to give you that chicken soup and that's how you treat me?" Please don't call me sexist for just saying I've seen friends get twisted up like this. I'm just telling the OP not to make the same mistake. Some people have more subtle ways of expressing their love that doesn't necessarily involve saving your stalled ass in the middle of the night.

It's obvious to me the OP is setting a standard of "what he is willing to do" and questioning his girlfriend's love for him because she is subconsciously not meeting that standard. That's fine if you want to go out with a carbon copy of yourself, but hey, people are different. I'm just pointing out that you have to learn that people love in different ways.
posted by phaedon at 12:13 PM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


You guys really need to start meeting some new women. This is not just the way women are.

Yeah, I certainly agree it's not just the "way women are" but it really does seem pertinent to the discussion. If the roles were switched, I wonder how many "you should talk to him" "maybe he's had a rough few days" type of comments there would be. I can't say with certainty, but my guess would be if a woman were left stranded by a guy with no reason given and no follow up call, there would be pretty much zero sympathetic responses on his side. However conscious people are of it, it seems as if the expectations of women still do differ, and that will affect how some women respond to calls like this.

It's a rough thing to navigate since a lot of folks like to have some aspects of traditional roles but not others. I'm pretty far along on the equal / androgynous end of stuff, to the point where I generally don't wear make up and would rather not get proposed to, so to me expectations of what we do to help each other are the same, but some people like having a sense of caretaker / cared for - the guy will feel emasculated asking for help, and the woman will feel bothered and stressed rather than useful and loving (whereas when the guy helps, the woman will feel cared for and the guy will feel strong, etc).

If people identify with these roles, then they'll be more flexible about what each person should do - they'll be more forgiving of the woman not being able to help, and have higher demands for the guy. There aren't that many voices in this thread openly proclaiming they see it this way (especially not from women) but I kinda think there is still a little bit of an underlying tendency, and I imagine there are people not speaking up because to state it baldly will get dismissed as sexist. That doesn't mean it's not what happened here.

I think it's worth noting that all of these interesting "men are like this/women are like this" generalizations aside, we don't actually know that the OP is male.

True, though a) even in a same sex relationship there can emerge a dynamic where one is the caretaker and one is the cared-for and b) statistically, and perhaps because of the use of the word "buddy," I'd say the assumption is defensible...
posted by mdn at 12:16 PM on December 14, 2007



Is this a bad sign?

Only if you think it's a bad sign. Ultimately, only you can decide if this is a deal breaker. I think she does owe you an explanation and this could be a great opportunity to start a conversation about relationship expectations, and what you each need from the other to feel loved.


The Five Love Languages is a great book about different communication styles and ways people express love.
posted by socrateaser at 12:16 PM on December 14, 2007


Get over it. And it's not a bad sign. She's your girlfriend, not Triple-A. It is a damsel thing. You do that sort of thing for her, not the other way around.
posted by wfc123 at 12:32 PM on December 14, 2007


It's not that she could have done a lot... What I needed was a friend who could jump the car off, or worse steer while I pushed the car into a nearby parking lot.

You seem to feel that your GF would not have been able to do either of these two simple things. I'm not getting why she wouldn't have been able to help if she was there, but her saying "Sorry, I can't drive down to help you." might have just been her saying she would not be able (instead of unwilling) to help. I think she should have helped you, but if she couldn't have done anything once she was there, and you would have had to call a friend anyhow, it does seem kind of pointless to ask her to drive down.
posted by yohko at 12:35 PM on December 14, 2007


[This is followup info provided by the original poster.]

A few other points of information:

- I wrote this AskMe the same night this whole thing unfolded. So I hadn't yet had a chance to speak with my girlfriend about the issue or really think about it on my own. I was hurt and upset and not knowing where to turn decided to bounce the whole subject off of AskMe. At the time I wasn't 100% sure my feelings were legitimate or not... I was exhausted from dealing with the car in the cold and didn't know what to think.

- My gf called the next morning and left a voice mail saying she was sorry she couldn't help me last night, that she was busy working on a take-home exam (we're late 20s, grad students, not undergrad-aged kids.) Her voice mail was pretty half-hearted. We've spoken several times since but haven't addressed the issue yet. I'm still a mix of angry and upset and she senses this, but hasn't brought the subject up yet. She hasn't apologized in person on the phone yet or made any other gestures that recognize my hurt feelings or seek to address the issue. Likewise, I haven't yet said, "You know, you really hurt my feelings the other night..."

- On the night I called her she said, "I'm sorry, I can't come help you." I didn't ask why not, I wasn't expecting to be rejected. I said, "Well, I don't know what I'm going to do." She said, "Let me call you back in a minute." So we hung up, I figured she was taking stock of the situation. She called back a minute later and said, "Yeah, I can't come, sorry." She didn't explain any further and upset and with my cell phone almost out of juice, I said, "Fine, let me go so I can try someone else."

- Regarding her family drama she called me at 8am the previous morning (day of the car breakdown) and told me the story of an argument she had the night before with her mother regarding some work she was supposed to do at their office (family business) that the mom was upset about. The gf was upset, had been upset all night, and as I talked to her throughout the day was still upset. I guess her mom said some nasty things. We were supposed to get together that night so I could comfort her, but she called in the afternoon and said that she was just upset and wanted to go home. I asked, "Are you sure, I'd like to see you and try to cheer you up..." but she had made up her mind. She is very sensitive and doesn't take criticism well and in general her mom can be over the top critical of even little non-consequential things. So I don't doubt that she was legitimately upset.

- Despite her being upset regarding her family drama (which seems kind of week to me IMHO) and her working on a take home exam (which was due the next day) I'm still fairly hurt and irritated with her.

I appreciate all the input so far, and I apologize for not being more clear about the way our conversation transpired. I wasn't expecting this much feedback or even the resulting MetaTalk thread, so I didn't think to include a throw-away mefi email address, but I have one now: throwawaymefi@gmail.com
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:35 PM on December 14, 2007


Well, working on a take-home final exam is a decent excuse. But this made me pause:

We were supposed to get together that night so I could comfort her,

But wait, if she had a take-home final, why would she even plan to have you come over? Wouldn't she be busy? Why didn't she mention the take-home exam before? Did you ask her more than once to let you come over?

Maybe she felt like you were trying to manipulate her for attention when she had already told you she couldn't pay attention to you.

If her family dynamic is really bad (and heading towards abusive), she could be extra defensive and very suspicious because she's still in "family" mode, where she has to be extra careful to avoid being manipulated.

It might have nothing to do with you and everything to do with the manipulation and deception that characterize her family.

If this sounds right to you, I would start by telling her that you were not trying to upset her or force her to do anything, and that it might have seemed like you were trying to manipulate her, but you were not. If I'm right, she won't believe you right away but will take the whole situation under consideration.

If I am right, you need to question your ability to have a relationship with someone who is so firmly entwined with her unhealthy family.

Of course, I could be completely wrong and she could be a jerk. You just need to look at her family dynamics and judge for yourself.
posted by sondrialiac at 12:52 PM on December 14, 2007


A lover may not help you in the middle of the night with jumper cables. But a friend would. I want my girlfriend to be both.

If she doesn't have a damn good reason for her inaction take back your letter sweater ( or whatever you kids these days do)
posted by Megafly at 12:53 PM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ok, now that I've seen the follow-up:

1) Working on a take-home final is a legit excuse for not helping you, especially as it was due the next day. Nothing fishy about that excuse for a graduate student. And, in fact, she may be thinking something along the lines of "I can't believe he didn't remember I had this awful take-home exam and he called ME to bail him out instead of calling one of his friends who actually has the time to deal with this."

2) Both of you seem to be acting passive-aggressively. She didn't tell you why she couldn't pick you up (even though she had a legitimate reason), and you're sulking around not telling her how you feel, either. It's possible BOTH of you are feeling hurt and irritated.

3) I have to quote a therapist I had at this point: "A healthy relationship is one where both people's feelings are allowed room in the relationship." If this is not true for the two of you, the problem is bigger than just this incident.
posted by lleachie at 12:55 PM on December 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


She's not a keeper. Not because she didn't come, but because she lacked sufficient empathy to understand the value of telling you why.
posted by NortonDC at 1:27 PM on December 14, 2007


I'd stay up all night to finish a take-home exam so I could help my spouse. All night. And if for some reason I absolutely couldn't, you bet I'd explain over the phone why and then immediately call a friend to go to the rescue. Something is up.
posted by ms.v. at 1:29 PM on December 14, 2007


I have a bad feeling she's lying. And if she's not, then she's the type of bitchy girlfriend that expects you to rescue her, even for a hangnail, but won't reciprocate.

That's total bullshit. You say "I love you" to each other and she doesn't care if you find a safe way to get home? She didn't even offer to call around, since your phone was going to die?

Sorry, she doesn't love you. Either that, or she's a selfish immature narcissist. Break up with her or continue to deal with a one-sided relationship where things like your basic safety and health are not an issue for her.

Hope she's amazing in the sack, cause that's all you'll be getting from her. Emotionally, she's not there.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 1:38 PM on December 14, 2007


Sorry. Still not buying it as an acceptable excuse. Like Ms.V, I would easily stay up all night to finish my schoolwork if my boyfriend needed my assistance. Hell, just last week, I delayed working on very important papers that were due to sit and listen to my boyfriend bitch about work. He didn't have car trouble or anything. Of course, I really didn't want to work on the papers. ;)

Like I said earlier, it's just my opinion, but I take the whole partnership thing very seriously. When we first started dating my current boyfriend broke down on the side of the road on the way to work. He was 30 minutes from my house and called me an hour before I had to get up and be at work. I promptly put on pants and ran and got him. Took him to work, drove home and was late to work myself. He was flabbergasted that I would do that for him, but I explained that it was the basic element of decency. He has my back, and I have his. No questions. He'd never had a relationship that was like that, but he does see the glory in it now. I know that any time I need him, he'll be there. If he wasn't, he'd be gone.

It's not about a damsel thing, it's not about "men have to rescue girls", it's a simple concept that you and your partner are united against the world. If you can't rely on your significant other to help you in an emergency, then who the hell can you rely on?
posted by teleri025 at 1:46 PM on December 14, 2007 [5 favorites]


I would feel unbelivably hurt if I was in that situation and I called my fiance and he said no. When I drive home alone at night (10 minutes away) he makes me call him as soon as I get home to tell him everything is ok. It just shows how much he cares and worries about my well being.

Even if there was a good excuse for why she didn't come to help you, I think it is super crappy that you didn't get a follow up call saying "I'm sorry I didn't come out, but did everything turn out alright?"

Or if she didn't feel she was in a situation where she could help you out, she could have offered to call a tow truck for you.

You definitely need to talk about this and soon.
posted by Becko at 1:47 PM on December 14, 2007


Being a grad student not so long ago, I still call a big "LAME". In fact, she is either lying or just over you. You can get good tail almost anywhere, good friends not so much. You want a chick that can help you which ever way you need a little help.
posted by stormygrey at 2:11 PM on December 14, 2007


Another thing you should consider. If you talk to her about this and she gets defensive, ask her how she would feel in that situation? Honestly, if she called you up to help her with car troubles on a cold night and all you said was "Sorry, I can't drive to help you" ask her to really think of how she would react.
posted by Becko at 2:31 PM on December 14, 2007


Yeah, even as an insane law student, this excuse doesn't quite do it for me. At the very very least she should have gone and waited until your friend arrived to make sure you were alright before going. Or told you that she could come pick you up and take you home, but she didn't have that you two would have to wait until morning to get the car started again. Basically, something could have been worked out.

To be honest the excuse sounds a little like it was thought up after the fact. She may have had a take home exam, but did she still have 15 pages to write by 8 am? It doesn't really sound like it. I mean the killer for me is she didn't even call until the next day to make sure you were alright.
posted by whoaali at 2:33 PM on December 14, 2007


Look, let's forget the 'no, I can't come' bit. So she had a take-home exam, family probs, whatever. Where she hits the big FAIL is that she didn't even call later on. Let's look at this from her pov: she's studying on a tough problem. She's been worrying all day. She's tired. Hungry. Whatever. Mr Anon calls - "no, I can't come." Yeah, sure, let's excuse her that one. But then later on, once the exam is done, she's getting ready for bed - wouldn't you think that her thoughts would turn to you at least once? She loves you, and you don't even pop into her head before she goes to sleep? "Oh hey, I should call and see if Mr Anon is ok! I do love him and care for him and want him to be well!"

But no, not even a call that night. That's damn cold harsh.
posted by humuhumu at 2:37 PM on December 14, 2007


She sounds self absorbed.
posted by onepapertiger at 2:43 PM on December 14, 2007


Sounds like a crap excuse but I'd give her the benefit of the doubt if you love her and it's the first time she's done it. Sounds like the honeymoon's over for you though.

Honestly, if I was her and REALLY couldn't go, I'd at least be more helpful and supportive on the phone, and I'd sure as hell try to make up for it later. She doesn't sound the least bit remorseful.
posted by mooza at 2:43 PM on December 14, 2007


this is only vaguely related, but you can actually sign up for roadside assistance over the phone. to get their phone number, you send a text message to google (GOOGL on the phone) and then the name of the business you need the phone number of.

i'm not into AAA because they are all about supporting the automotive industry, so i use http://www.betterworldclub.com/ instead. but i figure this might be useful information if you ever have car trouble again... i have it ALL the time, so i can relate.
posted by groovinkim at 2:48 PM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Despite her being upset regarding her family drama (which seems kind of week to me IMHO) and her working on a take home exam (which was due the next day) I'm still fairly hurt and irritated with her.

As well you might be. I've been a grad student too, and I would have unhesitatingly gone for someone I loved, and the hell with the deadline. Stay up all night, get an extension, whatever—you worry about that later when someone you love is in trouble. I agree with Ms. cob.
posted by languagehat at 2:51 PM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, and if she didn't mention the take-home UNTIL the next morning, I have to say that I think she's lying to you.

This situation sucks, man, sorry.
posted by sondrialiac at 2:53 PM on December 14, 2007


It's not about a damsel thing, it's not about "men have to rescue girls", it's a simple concept that you and your partner are united against the world.

That's worth thinking about - even if she's into the relationship, she may have a different philosophy of love, so to speak. Some people are really focused on the drop everything and help each other and some people are more into a kind of, two independent people who have multiple friends and avenues for help aside from each other. At 10 months in your late 20s, it's possible one of you is thinking more serious thought than the other, and it's probably time to get clear about that.
posted by mdn at 2:54 PM on December 14, 2007


Yeah, she's lame. At the very least she should have said:

"OMG you poor thing! But I have a horrible take home exam that's due in 6 hours. Sorry, but call your friend Bob first. If he can't come I'll come get you right away."

If this is the third time this month you've asked her for car help, a different response than this one would be understandable.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:11 PM on December 14, 2007


The disturbing part isn't that she didn't come down to help you. It's that she didn't seem concerned at all. Like everyone else said, you need to calmly get collect more details on this so that you can assess what happened.

Incidentally, even if you don't have AAA, you can call them anyway and sign up instantly, and they'll send a guy out to jump your car.
posted by ignignokt at 3:15 PM on December 14, 2007


Relationships are supposed to be a two-way street.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 3:23 PM on December 14, 2007


I actually think a take-home exam due in the morning is a very good reason not to come out. It would be different if you didn't have anybody else who could come out, but you did. But then again, I tend to have take homes worth 100% of the final grade, so maybe that skews things.

Anyway, I would guess there's something more going on here.

Her family drama may seem weak to you, but it could be very intense for her. Mother/daughter stuff often is. It sounds like she told you really clearly that she needed alone time to process and think, and apparently to work on her exam. Maybe she was upset that you took it for granted ('I wasn't expecting to be rejected') that, despite the fact that you knew that she was stressed out and needed alone time, that your needing a boost, something anybody/buddy could help you with, was more important than her emotional needs. Not only that, but you didn't even see whether you *could* get help from anybody else before you called her, and when she told you she couldn't, you made it her problem by telling her you didn't know what to do. I can understand that actually.

There's so little to go on here, everybody is speculating scenarios, so I will too. She can love you and care about you and want to do things for you, but that doesn't mean she's the same as you. Maybe she has different needs, and maybe she feels like you're not respecting her space enough. Maybe she really doesn't see why she should be the first line of rescue for something like a car boost, when it's something any of your friends could do, especially when she's dealing with emotional fallout and a take home exam. Maybe she didn't see a reason to worry about you, and was sure that you'd be able to handle a dead car battery. Maybe she sees that she's helping you out in different ways than you help her out, and maybe there are things that you've 'asked' her for and that she's provided that are more subtle than these kinds of favors. Maybe she's feeling crowded. Maybe she is both more comfortable asking for things and more comfortable with hearing a no than you are.

Or maybe she's just a jerk.
posted by Salamandrous at 3:32 PM on December 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


One of the most important things about a relationship is being there for each other. She wasn't. That is not good.
posted by caddis at 4:00 PM on December 14, 2007


It's probably worth looking at how you asked her. Did you downplay your problem? Not come out and directly ask her to come help you? In any other way give her the impression that it wasn't a big deal, there was nothing she could do, and she really didn't need to bother?

"Hey, my car just broke down, guess there's really nothing you can do about it, you were just the first person I thought to call" is different from "Hey, my car just broke down, I really need some help, could you possibly come down so that I can use your car battery to jumpstart mine?" A reasonable person could hear the first request and think, "Well, he's got the situation under control, he's got other people he can call, he just needs emotional support right now and I'm totally spent, and I can't help right now."

It's fairly important to actually ask for help when you need help, rather than just assuming the other person will understand that you need help. You may very well have done so, but it's one aspect of the situation that no one has seemed to overanalyze yet, so I thought I'd throw it out there.
posted by occhiblu at 4:11 PM on December 14, 2007


After reading your followup, DTMFA. No question. She can't be relied on and does not give a fuck about you.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:35 PM on December 14, 2007


jdroth: your wife wouldn't do that for you? are you serious? i'm sorry to pry, but if you don't mind my asking... how? why? your own wife would never come bail you out if your car died? dear god.
posted by timory at 6:48 PM on December 14, 2007


If a friend called me in this situation, and I absolutely couldn't go myself, and they told me their cell phone battery was dying (and incidentally, were all the calls throughout the day because of her family issues made on the cell phone, which is why it was low on juice?), the very least I would do would be to say, 'Hey, hold tight, I'll make some calls and call you back.' Even if I couldn't track down someone to give you a jump, I could have called you a cab or a tow truck.

You were there for her, that very day, but she wasn't there for you. It required 15 minutes of her time if she only made calls, maybe an hour and a half if she came out herself. If she can't be there for the little things, will she be there for the big ones?
posted by happyturtle at 7:26 PM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow. My wife would make that trip for me no questions asked, anytime. She'd also punch me in the face if I called her a "damsel". We're 10 years older than you, Anon. If she's still living in a Victorian world and you're not, it's something you'd better discuss.
posted by mmoncur at 7:48 PM on December 14, 2007


As a girly girl I would go out and help without a doubt or even go to just keep company to make sure my bf was ok, even with a major killer exam the next morning. Stop making excuses for her. What the hell
posted by Jimmie at 8:06 PM on December 14, 2007


Why did she hang up for a minute and then call back? Was she checking with someone else whether or not she could get away? Sounds to me like she had other plans and I don't mean a take-home exam.
posted by tamitang at 8:52 PM on December 14, 2007


Neither one of you is communicating very well. Now that I see you wrote this the same night it happened, I can understand why you hadn't asked her, but I don't get what seems to me to be hyper-emotionalism (it isn't really, but that's how it comes across to me).

I am a lot more like your girlfriend. She's avoiding you because she knows you're angry and she's upset too. You're both upset, and those times are not the times to make relationship decisions. While you are sitting here questioning her character, she may be doing the same about yours, because from her perspective, you didn't show much empathy. I would suggest that you approach her at a time when you are calm, and tell her how you feel and why. It is clear that the two of you have different expectations in a relationship. It does not make either of you evil, although it may make you incompatible.

You expect someone to be there for you in the exact same way you are there for them. This is not necessary in a relationship, you could both complement each other rather than being the same. That's just another approach, and it may not be what you want, which is absolutely cool. But I'm just saying, there's another way to look at it.

I think Salamandrous comment is really good, if you're looking for other perspectives. It's very possible that the two of you just aren't compatible and you may go on judging her as some bad person lacking in character. Doesn't seem a great way to end a relationship if that's what you have to do, in this case, doesn't seem necessary. Just learn from this what you need and what kinds of people you want to be with.

I understand that you were really upset and in the moment when you submitted your question. It wasn't true that she just flat-out said no. She thought about it and called you back. She doesn't seem very talkative, maybe that's why she didn't call you again the same night. You probably would have called her to check in if you hadn't been so upset. Maybe she knew you were upset from your reaction (Oh well I don't know what I'll do now). She was also very stressed and feeling the pressure from a number of different corners. I'm not dismissing your concerns and reactions. It is clear from this thread that a lot of people think some big bad line was crossed, and they empathize with you strongly. As I said, I'm a lot more like her and I get her reaction.
posted by Danila at 9:02 PM on December 14, 2007


Her family drama may seem weak to you, but it could be very intense for her.... It sounds like she told you really clearly that she needed alone time to process and think, and apparently to work on her exam. Maybe she was upset that you took it for granted ... that, despite the fact that you knew that she was stressed out and needed alone time, that your needing a boost...was more important than her emotional needs.

Would you feel the same way if it had been a boyfriend who was called on to help, and a woman stranded, or are you agreeing that sometimes it's different when a woman is asked for this kind of assistance?
I'm not trying to condemn or support any particular position - all that matters is that both involved parties are in agreement - but I am curious how it's understood.
posted by mdn at 10:21 PM on December 14, 2007


Pegging other people as rude or inconsiderate because they wouldn't do something the same way you would've can be a slippery slope. Granted, we do it all the time ("I could never imagine cutting someone off like he just did!" etc). But if you expect others to have the same morals as you do, that just leads to disappointment and bitterness (not that you'd avoid those feelings altogether otherwise). You can't just change how someone else is wired. Sometimes it's better to put yourself in their shoes, rather than trying to make them put themselves in yours.

And gender very well may play a role... If a female friend had called the OP's girlfriend in the exact same scenario, would she have felt more compelled to help in some way? What if a male friend had called the OP, and he had his own family/school distractions? In general, most people would feel more obliged to help a stranded woman (be it an acquaintance or stranger), than a man. But that's a whole 'nother issue.

As for the follow-up, she might've just clammed up in the heat of the moment. She'd been emotionally fixated on her mom troubles, and had to focus on studying for a test, and then her boyfriend calls with car troubles. It'd be easy to be overwhelmed, and maybe moreso for someone like her. Doesn't necessarily make her rude or selfish, just maybe not so great at dealing with extreme emotions.

And while she didn't offer any help, the OP himself couldn't say much more than "I don't know what to do." It's easy to draw a blank at a time like that. A really bad sign would be whether she was able to get back to her studies with peace of mind after the call. And whether she blames herself for not being able to help, or blaming the OP for calling in the first place.

As for the aftermath, I don't think either party is any more or less to blame. It'd be understandably hard for the OP to say "I was disappointed and felt let down," and it'd be hard for her to say "I'm sorry I couldn't help or explain why." Speaking from personal experience, it's very easy to just keep things status quo and act like nothing happened, when deep down you're dying to talk about it at length. But hopefully you can be more proactive and tackle it head-on to avoid any more misunderstandings down the road. Your post was certainly a start, as far as making an effort to figure out her behavior. You'll have to do the rest of the dirty work that we can't do, and that she's likely not able to do.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:28 AM on December 15, 2007


There's another point to consider - say, just say, she was in an emotional tight spot and basically fumbled it, and she generally wants to be nice and helpful. That doesn't mean you shouldn't dump her.

I had an s.o. who was a really, really nice guy. And he would go to pieces in any kind of minor crisis. One time I got pickpocketed - my wallet was gone. No biggie really - but he got so freaked out and upset that I had to park him in a cafe while I went and talked to the police and cancelled my credit cards and all that stuff. After I had dealt with the practicalities, I went back to the cafe, where he was still calming his nerves.

The thing is, you want to be in a relationship with someone who:

(a) Wants to help you in times of need;
(b) Is capable, mentally, of helping you in times of need.

Someone who, in a crisis, just adds to it, is not a good choice of life partner. You'll spend your whole life dealing with life's ordinary problems PLUS their unhelpful reactions to them.
posted by tiny crocodile at 5:15 AM on December 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


I've dated your girlfriend, a couple of times. Eventually I realized that I wanted a very different kind of relationship -- more explicitly a partnership, where everything is shared and both people do everything they can to support each other. Basically, I want my partner to be my best friend as well as my romantic companion. Lots of people don't want that kind of relationship -- they would call it stifling, too intense, claustrophobic, etc. They already have friends, and they want their SO to play a different role.

So when my partner works late, I go and meet her -- especially if it is raining or snowing -- so she won't have to travel alone in the dark. If I have a crisis, she will drop everything to help. I wouldn't want any other kind of relationship. But it's not for everyone, and it probably is not for your girlfriend. If that is what you want, you need to get back on the dating market -- she isn't going to magically wake up one day and change everything she wants in a relationship.

You definitely need to talk with her -- not talking isn't real adult, you know. But I also think that actions speak louder than words, and unless this is a real anomalous event, she has expressed more clearly than she could ever say where you stand in her life. Her actions, if not her words, show that she prioritizes school, work, and family above you. And that's cool, as long as that is the relationship that you are happy with. And if you also have those priorities, then you are set. But if not -- if you want to be the anchor of her life, and vice versa, then I think you need to confront that that is not the kind of relationship that you actually have.
posted by Forktine at 5:46 AM on December 15, 2007 [4 favorites]


You can have a damsel that doesn't rescue if you want to. I've met a lot of girls who would have reacted the same way your girl did, even without too many extenuating circumstances. "Why are you calling me first? You know I don't know a damn thing about cars." And these girls will have boyfriends/husbands who will be happy with them.

It's a matter of priorities. Personally, I want to be certain that if I go to jail for some reason, she would bail me out immediately and be gentle about it. I can imagine this girl coming to pick you up but scorn you so that you learn not to fuck up next time.
posted by philosophistry at 10:38 AM on December 15, 2007


Would you feel the same way if it had been a boyfriend who was called on to help, and a woman stranded, or are you agreeing that sometimes it's different when a woman is asked for this kind of assistance?

Here's another way to put the question: How would you feel about a woman who was in this situation, with a cellphone and a bunch of friends she could call for help, but who told her boyfriend, "I don't care if it means you're going to fail your course/lose your job, if you don't fix my problem, it means you don't love me and I'm dumping you"?

Although I agree with everybody who said that you should be able to ask for and expect help from your mate (male or female) in a crisis, even if it means failing an important course, or risking your emotional health or other relationships, but I think our definitions of crisis are different for men and women.

For me, needing a boost isn't a crisis, even if you don't have AAA - for either a man or a woman, unless there were some special extra circumstance. But everybody has a different level where a problem becomes a crisis. I just think that in our cultural setting, most people are more likely to see a woman in that situation as being in crisis, or at least in sufficient crisis to activate the masculine-coded hero/rescue impulse.

We as a culture DO have different expectations for girlfriends than for boyfriends. For example, if a man had just had a horrible interaction with a friend or family member that left him feeling drained and teary, and he said that his girlfriend didn't want to listen or comfort him, I think we would all think she was pretty cold, and what was she doing with him.

But if that happened in the other direction, I think we (we as in some/many, not as in you and I in particular) would say that maybe her boyfriend just isn't great at the emotional stuff, but it doesn't mean he doesn't care about her or want her to be happy, and maybe she should find a female friend for the kind of support she wants.

We also have different expectations for men and women, sometimes base on actual different experiences. We tend to expect a woman to feel/be in danger if she is alone at night, almost anywhere. I'm sure I get asked much more often than my brother, 'are you sure you feel okay walking home now?'

(We could argue, based on actual crime statistics, etc, whether women are actually in more danger than men, but from a cultural perspective, we do tend to act as thought they are.)

Additionally, one of the primary traditional cultural expectations on men has been the physical protection of 'their women.' We basically expect men to get all (physically) protective about their girlfriends, daughters, sisters, moms, etc., and my impression is that even if they aren't actually worried, they may feel that they should act as though they are, otherwise they may look bad.

All this to say that there's a lot of cultural baggage happening, but for me, regardless of the combination of genders, if this is an anomalous feeling of abandonment in an otherwise good relationship, it calls for serious thinking and conversation, not an immediate breakup.
posted by Salamandrous at 12:09 PM on December 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've seen a lot of people making excuses for why they think it might be ok that she would choose not to help you. I haven't seen anyone defend her failure to even explain why she was unhelpful.

Again, it's the lack of empathy that is the irreducible fault she has displayed here. Now that you know she has this fault, you have the responsibility to factor it into your decisions about the relationship. Ignoring what you now know about her character is not an option.
posted by NortonDC at 1:00 PM on December 15, 2007


I wouldn't be so quick to jump to conclusions here. In this situation, the take-home takes precedence over the car problems. BF had plenty of other resources to help him out, but GF had only this opportunity to take the exam. A caring GF on deadline would try to make a quick phone call to find someone else to help. But it sounds like BF hung up on GF before she could try to make any other arrangements herself to help him, and she reasonably decided to let him use the rest of his cell-phone battery to find help himself instead of keeping him on the line.

The real problem here seems to be a bit of passivity and lack of communication on both sides.
posted by footnote at 1:56 PM on December 15, 2007


Here's another way to put the question: How would you feel about a woman who was in this situation, with a cellphone and a bunch of friends she could call for help, but who told her boyfriend, "I don't care if it means you're going to fail your course/lose your job, if you don't fix my problem, it means you don't love me and I'm dumping you"?

Yeah, that's really not another way to put the same question. If someone called their SO first, and s/he really couldn't do it, they can explain why & suggest another person who might be called, and at least check in later. In this case, the GF just said no, and left the BF to fend for himself, with no explanation or remorse.

He eventually called a "buddy" - how close a friend that person was, and how comfortable he was calling to ask for a favor is unknown, but for a lot of people asking for help from someone isn't that easy, which is why you call those closest to you first. It's like the next of kin at the hospital, or whatever. I have had to call on friends to help me out in various situations, and though they've generally come through, it can still add a little bit of stress to a situation, whereas calling on someone you've chosen to partner up with is usually more of a tension reliever. It's different if you have a truly best friend, or if your SO isn't that S, but in general, if you were in an accident and taken to the hospital, would you call your boyfriend/girlfriend or a buddy first?

As I said before, I think there are two questions - whether this relationship is understood as the same level of seriousness by both parties (ie, whether they each would call each other first after an accident) and secondly whether there's a gender gap because it was car trouble / rescue mission (if she would drop things/ put aside "personal time" to see him at the ER, but not to jump his car)
posted by mdn at 3:12 PM on December 15, 2007


Dump her.
posted by arnold at 5:55 PM on December 15, 2007


My husband and I are happy together.

However.

At times, we've both called on the other for support (physical, or emotional) and gotten "Sorry, I can't right now" as a response.

We're both susceptible, at times, to emotional and/or physical overload. Seriously, if I had had family troubles, was probably wrung out emotionally, etc, I would have said the same as your girlfriend. That's because when I'm sufficiently emotionally unbalanced, driving is a really stupid thing to do if I'm not suicidal. And that's just the way I am. My husband is forgetful, so at times, when he's called at a bad time like that, and I've said no, it's usually because he's forgotten about my fragile emotional state and what the very real physical side-effects are.

Just last week - I was effectively stranded a long way from home, and he didn't come get me. I had to get my own ass back home. There were good and sufficient reasons for why we both did what we did; my reasons for asking, his reasons for refusing. We're still together, because we talked about it. It was a shitty situation, on both sides, and there were really no right answers.

What I guess I'm saying here is: you were both in the wrong. And you were both in the right. Talk about it and work it out. Otherwise this relationship is doomed, and not because of a dead battery.
posted by ysabet at 6:46 PM on December 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I just saw the comment about the exam. That she didn't bring that up at the time makes it sound a bit fishy to me. I doubt there was an exam. If there was really an exam and she failed to mention it, leaving you to rightly think she is just uncaring, she is not very bright. Either way it doesn't look good. It's one incident, but kind of a big one. You need to make sure that this is a person who you can count on to be there for you in the future. If it turns out she is not, then move on and find a real partner.
posted by caddis at 7:35 PM on December 15, 2007


...well? What happened?

Two more data points:
1. I have come home exhausted from work, then hauled myself out of comfy-zone to drive thirty miles through cold and dark bringing a gas can twice; once for a friend, once for a husband.

2. Once, I picked up a guy I was dating to go erranding. We get back to my car, it won't start. He exclaimed, "oh! this is terrible!" and went back inside. I had to ring his damned doorbell and ask to use the phone. I called a friend, at work, who said, "hey, that sounds like X. Where's the car now? OK. I'll borrow Bob's battery charger and pick you up." He left work, took the battery out, took me home, and charged the battery. The next day put the battery back in, followed me to the car shop, and then took me Christmas shopping. Guess which guy got dumped...


I may not know how to use them, but I do have jumper cables in the car. And a AAA card. The hundred-ish dollars annual membership is more than worth it.
posted by mimi at 12:51 PM on December 22, 2007


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