Is it me or is it just not meant to be?
June 7, 2008 8:35 AM   Subscribe

Relationship Filter: Should I get back with my girlfriend? We broke up last night : (

O.k so, let me try and cover all the bases

She and I have been dating for 3 months on Monday. She is probably the nicest caring most giving girl I've dated. She puts so much into the relationship and I feel guilty because I am not matching that input. The main conflict rises from a few areas 1) a fear of committment (greener grass) on my part 2) me being emotionally closed off and possibly looking for issues and 3) we have two diffirent personalities.

She will do so much and go out of her way for people to like her. I am a more take me or leave me sort of guy. It frustrates me when I see her contorting herself for other people, including myself. Because of this personality trait she has trouble expressing what SHE wants and that frustrates me sooo bad. When I ask her if she wants to do something she'll say something and then follow it with "if thats o.k with you" or some variantion of reconfirming with me that im cool with it. This drives me bonkers! I need an assertive girl, a girl thats going to challenge me and hand back the crap i dish out.

She is 22, I am 24. Should I even have to work this hard 3 months into a relationship? We broke up last night and she cried and it about broke my heart. I felt 2 inches tall.

Part of me what to get back together, but I don't know if I can deal with that reaction from her again if it fails. She derserves SO MUCH and I don't think I can give it to her, for multiple reasons. Am I thinking about this too much? Not trying hard enough? On paper she would make an amazing girlfriend, but i just feel this inkling like I'll be settling, or maybe I am just emotionally clogged and think i'm settling. Maybe my expectations are too high... uggg What should I do?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you need an assertive girl, and she's not one, then you probably shouldn't get back together.

You can't be someone's boyfriend because they deserve one.
posted by mckenney at 8:42 AM on June 7, 2008 [3 favorites]

You're just not right for each other -- if you know you want someone assertive, you can't convince yourself otherwise.
posted by OLechat at 8:46 AM on June 7, 2008

It's nice that you feel bad and are having second thoughts.

If you tell her that, though, you'll only be getting her hopes up and dragging out the pain. Let her heal, and chalk it up internally to "Maybe in 5 years when she's stronger and I'm wiser."
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 8:47 AM on June 7, 2008

I think you've realized that you're not right for each other pretty early on - three months in should be easy and effortless. This is for her and not just you. You sound like a nice guy, so you know that stringing her along if you're not sure is wrong. Sorry.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:51 AM on June 7, 2008

Should I even have to work this hard 3 months into a relationship?

Sometimes, I think, you have to work the hardest at the beginning of a relationship. You have to work out all those kinks and find a way to understand each other. The question here is whether it's worth it to you.

You say she's caring and kind. That's fantastic. Lots of people are. But it doesn't necessarily hold a relationship together. The question is, do you care enough about her to say, "We're going to fix this"?

As the relationship progresses, if you two choose to get back together, she may feel comfortable enough around you to tell you exactly what she thinks and wants. She may not be naturally assertive, and she may need to grow into that. But you definitely can't bully her into asserting herself, because she'll just withdraw more if you do.

Do you feel two inches tall because you broke up with her and she's sad, or do you feel two inches tall because you broke up with her and she's awesome and you think you're an idiot for having cast her aside too easily?

Three months is a short time. It's long enough to work out immediate incompatibilities, but not long enough to work on accepting and understanding one another.

Final question: Can you accept her for who she is? If you can't, then you need to move on. Don't get back together with her if you're going to break her heart again three months from now -- it's not worth it to either of you.

Also, it's a natural instinct to regret a breakup immediately after it happens. Give it a week or two. You might call her in a few days and say you care about her, but you're not sure whether you can work it out, though you'd like to, and ask if it would be okay with her if you took some time to think on it.

Last thing: Talk to your friends about what's happened. What do they say? They know you best, and they've probably met her, and they can give you better advice than we can.

Good luck.
posted by brina at 8:53 AM on June 7, 2008

"She derserves SO MUCH and I don't think I can give it to her, for multiple reasons."

I think you answered you own question. You're still young, and If you feel this way after just 3 months you'll likely still feel this way down the road.
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb at 9:04 AM on June 7, 2008

Don't drag it out over a couple of years, you already know she doesn't communicate well with you. That's not to say you are without fault in this relationship/situation, but I know from personal experience about a relationship that just feels like so much work. All relationships certainly require work, but it shouldn't be such a constant struggle for basic, everyday communication. That makes the real issues almost impossible to talk about.

Also, brina has good advice about not jumping right back in because of the regret. I did that with an ex in college, I felt so guilty when I broke up with her that we immediately got back together (within two days). After that, it just kept dragging on as it did before, but with a larger issue of questioning myself if I had the balls to actually end it for real. It took me over a year after that first break up to do it again.

Finally, I think you're hiding some of your true feelings behind your concern that she "derserves SO MUCH and I don't think I can give it to her." Either you want to be with her or you don't, and she'll want to be with you or she won't. Things become a lot clearer and a lot easier when you approach a relationship that way; you aren't making a person stay with you, she will want to be with you because of who you are.
posted by shinynewnick at 9:14 AM on June 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you need to ask, the answer is no.
posted by Neiltupper at 9:16 AM on June 7, 2008

Don't get back together with her. Issues one and two are your problems and you should work through them on your own time (without hurting her further) and issue 3 is a compatibility problem between you two that, given your ages and how short a time you've been together, isn't worth the potential hurt caused by 1 and 2 to try and fix.

Move on to those greener pastures and don't torture the girl
posted by arniec at 9:21 AM on June 7, 2008

So in my younger days, I was under the delusion that I had to have a *reason* to break up with a guy. Like, he cheated on me, or something concrete. If he was a nice guy, I felt obligated to stay with him, even if we didn't have much in common, or I wasn't particularly attracted to him or just wasn't "feeling it". One day I figured out this just wasn't true. You should be with someone because you REALLY want to be with them. Not because you think they don't deserve to get dumped. Really, it's not doing anybody any favors by protecting the other person. You deserve a girlfriend you are crazy about...and she deserves a boyfriend who is with her for the same reason...not just out of pity or a sense of obligation.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 9:23 AM on June 7, 2008

Too soon.
Whatever answers you get in this thread, consider them on Monday. Or the Monday following.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 9:35 AM on June 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

You will almost always feel some sort of remorse and second guess yourself directly after a breakup. It doesn't really sound like you love her or even that she's a good fit for you - you like the idea of what she is. Those are two very different things, though. Don't get fixated on what you ought to like ... instead, find someone who is actually compatible with you without a drastic change in your personality.
posted by Happydaz at 10:39 AM on June 7, 2008

It's pretty normal to want to get back together with someone immediately after breaking up with them--you're usually in pain and the fastest way to feel better is to go back to how things were. I agree with others that telling her you're confused right now will only confuse her and prolong her pain. Saucy Intruder has it right--don't make any hasty decisions now, stay broken up and take at least a few days to process everything first.
posted by overglow at 10:39 AM on June 7, 2008

Seconding Saucy Intruder. Give yourself time to get out of the emotional mess you're in. Consider the question again when you're thinking a bit more analytically.

Regarding personality, though, keep in mind that people can and do change. I used to be much more assertive, too, but I've gained myself a few close friends with the exact personality that annoys you, and it changed me. Maybe you will give her the quality she lacks and vice versa.

Best of luck, either way.
posted by semi at 10:45 AM on June 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

The "on paper" reasoning has led to many, many bad dates, relationships, marriages, etc.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 10:45 AM on June 7, 2008 [3 favorites]

Think of it this way: it's not fair to you that she's placing her emotional well-being in your hands. It sounds to me as if she does a lot just to please you, and while that sounds wonderful and fun, it also means that you can't be displeased without triggering a negative reaction in her. This is, unfortunately, a behavior pattern that many people fall into and you have to realize that not only does it put you in a position where you intensely dislike having to reject her (which would make it difficult to break up, and difficult to stay broken up), it's also a behavior pattern that's detrimental to relationships.

People who cannot assert themselves initially are very happy to always do what you want and work hard to please you at the beginning of a relationship, but unfortunately that same act traps them in, since that level of enthusiasm is difficult (some say impossible) to maintain. Later on, they're unhappy with giving so much of themselves, but since it has become the status quo, they feel like it has become expected of them. Continued lack of assertiveness will result in someone staying in a relationship that is no longer rewarding for them, and because they become unhappy, you also will be unhappy, and the relationship falls apart.

Just as I would not engage in a relationship with someone who is selfish and abusive, neither would I engage in a relationship with someone who cannot be assertive. This isn't to say that she'll never learn to be assertive (it also has a lot to do with how much she trusts you to not reject her for being herself) but you mustn't confuse insecurity with being nice.
posted by reebear at 2:32 PM on June 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

No offense but she deserves someone better, let her go.
posted by cazoo at 5:11 PM on June 7, 2008

"She puts so much into the relationship" & "go out of her way for people to like her" kind of tie up there.

u: "take me or leave me sort of guy."
her: some kind of desperate need to be liked

good relationships are usually like jigsaw pieces ~ fit together.
Credit to you for sticking with it for this long but you aint fitting together atm and more time at it wont improve it any.

But Have you told her what drives you "bonkers"? and this apparent need to "go out of her way for people to like her"? I mean you can't change her, only she can do that but maybe talking about these issues and the stuff u need could help cos if somehow u did get back together, trying to pretend that you can cope with this stuff or sweeping it all under the carpet will end you back at the same place sooner or later.
posted by browolf at 7:27 PM on June 7, 2008

I don't know. At some point you may want to be with someone who does all the things she does, like checking with you before she does things. At the moment though, it doesn't sound like you're ready for that. You recognize she's great, but want something different. That's okay. Give it a couple days and really think about what you want. It could be that she's really good for you. You would need to want to make some changes though, and it doesn't really sound like you want that.
posted by xammerboy at 9:34 PM on June 7, 2008

OK, people here have made some very good points. I'd just like to comment on this, though:

When I ask her if she wants to do something she'll say something and then follow it with "if thats o.k with you" or some variantion of reconfirming with me that im cool with it. This drives me bonkers!

To me, that doesn't sound so much like she's unassertive as that she's simply polite! It's not like she always says "Oh, I don't mind, whatever you want to do." I can be like that, and I'm aware it's very annoying. But stating what she wants to do, while being prepared to fit in with you, sounds like the hallmark of a generous person rather than an unassertive one...

That said, obviously you know her better than us MeFites. I just thought I'd offer an alternative point of view...
posted by badmoonrising at 11:20 AM on June 8, 2008

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