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Thread: Not sure what to do

  1. #1
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    Not sure what to do

    Hi everybodyÖ

    I had a thread on here about six weeks ago, and appreciated the good bad and the ugly that folks on here had to offerÖ so, I could use some support again.

    I have known my lady friend for about a year, and have been dating formally for about six months. As expected, itís been a bit up-and-down.

    She came from abusive relationships, I have been single for the past four years, and we are both in our mid 50sÖ No spring chickens.

    Itís been well known that things have been difficult for her over the last while, coming from an abusive relationship, and there have been times where she has backed away and questioned whether or not she was capable of being in a relationship right now, given where she is in her ďhealingĒ. I see symptoms of this problem when she overreacts to things or gets very anxious under certain circumstances. I have my own issues, as well, so that is part of it, too.

    So, we got through our first major difficulty about six weeks ago, when she all but ghosted me for about a week. That seemed to pass, but now it seems to be happening again. We have had a couple of major political ďargumentsĒ which somewhat made it clear that we were never going to agree on political issuesÖ But we seem to get through it.

    Early last week we had another one, and we had a strange interaction by texting this past Sunday which seemed a bit odd. Since then, That seemed to pass, but now it seems to be happening again. We have had a couple of major political ďargumentď which somewhat made it clear that we were never going to agree on political issuesÖ But we seem to get through it. Since then, she still reaches out time to time to text, but itís getting further and further in between, and we didnít actually talk on the phone yesterday, which was the first time since I can remember that we havenít spoken on the phone. Her demeanor has been very passive, and her texts and phone calls are free of any emoticons that would indicate that sheís doing OK. Up until late last week, we always ended our phone calls with ďlove youď, but that hasnít happened since. I even asked her the other day on the phone if there was anything she wanted to talk about, or anything that was on her mind, and she calmly said no. That being said, she says that she has been really busy over the last while, with reasonable things that she has described, but she was evasive the other day when I asked her when I would see her next. She just doesnít seem to have any interest or energy to engage, and wonít say why.

    You have to understand, her and I would never not text early in the morning and late in the afternoon, and it was always understood that I would leave it to her to reach out first, given that her schedule is much busier than mine and that Just seemed like the protocol that worked. Lately, she just doesnít seem to have any interest or energy to engage, and wonít say why.

    So what am I asking from all of this? Well, my head just spins around and round trying to understand why this girl would be waffling the way that she is. I could be imagining it, but I donít think I am. I think sheís struggling with something, and itís related to me more than likely, and she just hasnít been interested in talking about it, and barely interested in talking to me.

    For our last interaction that seemed to be testy, we were having a basic conversation about something related to my childcare needs, and she told me she disagreed with my theory on it. So, in order not to make it a debate, I simply forwarded her some professional articles that underscored what I was trying to say. She got very defensive and said a few things that seemed angry that I would dare to challenge her opinion on a subject. I didnít think thatís what I was trying to do, but clearly it didnít fit well for her.

    However, I sensed her distancing herself even prior to that text exchange, so I am a bit bewildered as to where her head is that and why. We seem to have a really nice time the last time we got together, and planNed to get together, which she bailed out on during that day because she said she was too tired. Same for the next day.

    OK, this is way too long long winded. I know thereís way more folks on here that have more challenging issues than this.

    What would you do? This whole scenario is starting to make me think that this girl is just not ready for a committed relationship, although the month leading up to this was just fantastic, minus a heated debate here or there. She always seem to insist that those debates were never an issue, though.

    So, I donít get it. Truthfully, although I love this girl, Iím not sure I really want this kind of drama.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    If you take a step back, what's happening isn't really a mystery now is it?

    From the get go, she has told you that she is not healed and not really sure she is in a place to get involved. In short, that should have been your clue to exit. What you are dealing with now are basically consequences of not exiting.

    Yes, she is up and down. No she will not handle conflict well. You are also learning some things about each other that appear to be more red flags or more like the tip of the iceberg of serious incompatibilities - politics, child rearing, etc. These are not small things. Sure, some people can easily agree to disagree, but it doesn't seem that yours is such a case.

    If you don't want drama, then let her go on her way. Love from afar. Quite frankly, it doesn't sound like it's even an option as she seems to be actively checking out. Also, in the future, when you date again, be sure that you don't get so fixated on "I like her I want this to work" that you completely ignore major red flags slapping you in the face. Choose more wisely who you invest in.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member boltnrun's Avatar
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    Nothing has changed since December. I'm not sure why you thought it would.

    What you see is what you get. If you're willing to stay on the merry go round, don't expect things to be any different than they've been all along.

    This "girl" (are you a "boy"? ) is who she is, just as you are who you are. You're the type who MUST counter being disagreed with (sending articles to prove you're "right"??) and she apparently is too.

    You can be happy or you can be right. You're choosing to be right and then wondering why there's conflict. And if you enjoy debating with the person you're supposed to be in a romantic relationship with, you can't be surprised when there's conflict.

    Decide what you want; a debate partner or a romantic partner.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Sorry about all this.

    Recalling your last thread pretty vividly, this really just sounds like oil and water. Trouble is, best I can tell, you really, really want to turn oil into water. So rather than continue to view it through the lens of her being dramatic or not ready for a committed relationship, I would challenge yourself to view it more generously: that the two of you may not match well for the long haul, that you may not be ready to be in a committed relationship with her.

    You do not seem to take disagreement very well, so it does perplex me why you'd invest in someone who clearly operates from a very different belief system, one you seem immune to respecting. That kind of dynamic is only "dramatic" if you can't accept that what you believe, and what another believes, hold equal value and weight. I suspect she was upset about the avalanche of links you sent, for instance, because it carried a whiff of "mansplaining," of you needing the final word, of you needing to be right and for your rightness to be validated by her.

    That can get exhausting, quick. Also exhausting? The sense that someone will go into a panic if you don't text message them constantly. To want to win every debate and want constant attention and soothing from a 50something "girl"ówell, that is a lot to ask, a very particular needle to thread. Possible? Perhaps. With her? Doubtful, as time as showed.

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  6. #5
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    Thank you, you guys are not the first people who have Asked whether I want to debate partner or a romantic partner. Itís not always that simple. I think everyone has differences that often seem fairly significant, but the difference this time around, at least for me, is that Iím trying to put those things away and not let them get in the way of an otherwise good relationship. Iíve been trying really hard to not let molehills become mountains, and I think I have done OK with that. My brain goes up and down, as well, but Iím trying to focus on the positive things that she brings to the table, and there are many.

    As for our argumentsÖ She was trying to coach me on issues relating to my daughter. I appreciated what she had to say, but then SHE openly disagreed with ME about one of the ways to handle it. So, I tried to deflect an argument by just sending her some of the professional literature regarding the topic, which has been well researched over the last 30 years, and then I tried to let it go. Thatís when she started to get nasty, simply because she said that she thought her meager opinions must not matter, compared to the ďauthoritiesĒ. Quite frankly, what she was saying didnít seem to make a lot of sense. She was upset that I was relying on the opinion of professionals that have spent a good chunk of their careers studying this kind of stuff. Not sure this makes a lot of difference, at this point. It is what it is. Sheís barely talking to me, but as you say, I now know who she is and what the red flags are bringing.

    So I guess I have a couple of options. I can tell her that I care about her but we need to talk to see whatís going on, or I just let it fade away and let it be. Maybe it will come back, maybe it wonít. Given that this has happened a couple of times before, once a lesser than this and one more challenging, I suspect she will probably suddenly reappear, like she did last time, as if nothing at all happened and as if things were returning to normal. Thatís a roller coaster ride that Iím just not sure Iím ready to continue spinning on.

    Sadly, the thing I struggle with, is that we have so many other things in common and there are so many good things between us. Iím just struggling with the merry-go-round. ThatÖ And that she just isnít ready or willing to articulate what she struggling with. Maybe itís nothing, and maybe sheís fine, and sheís just up to her eyeballs with stress. If thatís the case, and thereís a good chance that it is, thatís a whole other issue. That, once again, leaves me riding on the merry-go-round with no end in sight

  7. #6
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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    Sorry about all this.

    Recalling your last thread pretty vividly, this really just sounds like oil and water. Trouble is, best I can tell, you really, really want to turn oil into water. So rather than continue to view it through the lens of her being dramatic or not ready for a committed relationship, I would challenge yourself to view it more generously: that the two of you may not match well for the long haul, that you may not be ready to be in a committed relationship with her.

    You do not seem to take disagreement very well, so it does perplex me why you'd invest in someone who clearly operates from a very different belief system, one you seem immune to respecting. That kind of dynamic is only "dramatic" if you can't accept that what you believe, and what another believes, hold equal value and weight. I suspect she was upset about the avalanche of links you sent, for instance, because it carried a whiff of "mansplaining," of you needing the final word, of you needing to be right and for your rightness to be validated by her.

    That can get exhausting, quick. Also exhausting? The sense that someone will go into a panic if you don't text message them constantly. To want to win every debate and want constant attention and soothing from a 50something "girl"ówell, that is a lot to ask, a very particular needle to thread. Possible? Perhaps. With her? Doubtful, as time as showed.
    You make some good points.

    However, we have a lot of other valuable things in common that are worthy considerations.

    As far as arguments, I tend to try to look at things from multiple perspectives as much as I possibly can. I tried not to get into a back-and-forth debate about child rearing with her, because I sensed she was going to not agree. I just told her my perspective on it, based on professional literature, and it was her that got defensive back to me and started going on and on that she didnít care what the authorities said. I let it go pretty much right after that for the exact reasons that you are describing. I feel I am pretty good at negotiating disagreements and arguments, and I felt like I bailed out of this one fairly quickly.

    As a oil and water. Sometimes. Maybe. We talked about that or something like that a while ago, and she told me that she thought I was really good for her. I think, at least previously, I made her feel a sense of peace and groundedness, because I donít think she had felt that, and does feel that, in much of her other environment. As for whether it will work in the long run.... there is a lot of good in this girl, and thereís a lot of good in me, and I am waiting right here to share those things that I know she feelsÖ I guess itís really up to her.

    I suppose my biggest question is what do I do?

  8. #7
    Platinum Member boltnrun's Avatar
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    Sending her professional materials is not "deflecting" the argument. It's an attempt to shut it down by proving you're right and she's wrong.

    That simply is not conducive to a harmonious relationship.

    Deflecting the argument would be saying something like "It's cool if we disagree. We don't have to agree on everything. So, would you want to get together for dinner tomorrow night? I'm craving hot wings!"

    I can see you like a good debate because you even engage in it here. I remember your last thread and how you countered every single responder.

    Again, that's fine but don't expect harmony. Some people love a "spicy" relationship. If that's your jam, terrific, but it's not everyone's cup of tea.

  9. #8
    Platinum Member Lambert's Avatar
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    When people say they aren't ready for a relationship, we really have to believe them.... bc this is what happens.

    You are showing, love, support, benefits of the doubts and so on... but in the end they are a MESS! And will not see it, appreciate or reciprocate....

    I would stop being so caring and understanding... don't lay out all you've done and all you'd still be willing to do for the bare min she is giving you.

    Down to brass tacks- you see, now, she was right, unable to be the partner you need and you're sorry to say, but you need to move on.

    the eggshell approach does not help the broken. It only confirms they are broken. if you walk, she'll either step up and try to fix this. Or you have your pride and self confidence somewhat in tack and can focus on meeting someone that will work WITH YOU.

    In your fifties, you gotta be more practical. Do not waste time on projects.... This is who she is....

  10. #9
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    You can have 100 things in common and only 3 things you are incompatible on and that's enough to break the relationship. Can you wrap your mind around that?

    You don't agree on politics, which is the tip of the iceberg of incompatible values at large. You don't agree on child rearing. Your biggest incompatibility of all though is the way you both communicate and ironically, you are too alike in that respect. You are both stubborn, thin skinned, you need validation from your partner to feel secure, and you need to win. Both of you. This will always cause immense conflict no matter the topic.

    In the situation about the kids, a more confident and easy going personality would have simply stepped back with "your children, your business". Basically, this is what I'd do, but ultimately you need to do what you see fit. You'd have never reached the level where you send articles to prove your point and even if you did, a more secure, easy going person would still look at it as "do as you see fit with your children." instead of getting defensive and insulted and feeling demeaned as if their opinion doesn't matter. Unfortunately, this argument at its heart became about who is right, who wins, who gets validated in their approach and neither one of you has the capacity to step back from....being yourselves. This is your go to approach in life like it or not.

    The dynamic between you is that every time there is disagreement it will result in gasoline on a fire situation. That's a serious, major incompatibility and at some point it does get old regardless of other good times you may have....when you aren't in a toxic cycle of arguments and hurt feelings.

  11. #10
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    Originally Posted by boltnrun
    Sending her professional materials is not "deflecting" the argument. It's an attempt to shut it down by proving you're right and she's wrong.

    That simply is not conducive to a harmonious relationship.

    Deflecting the argument would be saying something like "It's cool if we disagree. We don't have to agree on everything. So, would you want to get together for dinner tomorrow night? I'm craving hot wings!"

    I can see you like a good debate because you even engage in it here. I remember your last thread and how you countered every single responder.

    Again, that's fine but don't expect harmony. Some people love a "spicy" relationship. If that's your jam, terrific, but it's not everyone's cup of tea.
    You know, itís interestingÖ I have a good friend that lives far away, and we talk about this kind of stuff all the time. My brain doesnít feel that it is a debate or an argument, it feels like it is sharing information. My friend and I had almost this exact discussion last week, by text, and it is no defensiveness or argument that came from the discussion. He had the exact same perspective as my lady friend does.You know, itís interestingÖ I have a good friend that lives far away, and we talk about this kind of stuff all the time. My brain doesnít feel that it is a debate or an argument, it feels like it is sharing information. My friend and I had almost this exact discussion last week, by text, with no defensiveness or argument that coming out of from the discussion. He had the exact same perspective as my lady friend does, and I even said to him the same things I said to her, which is that the professional literature all agrees on a particular ideology. He wasnít defensive. It didnít turn into a big argument. And I still donít get it. I like to share information, and I like to hear if someone has something that I donít know, because it might be relative to what my belief system is.

    Clearly, the way that I am doesnít work as well for her in this capacity. I work hard at understanding how things work, it was part of my profession quite a while. I feel like I should be able to provide evidence within a discussion that isnít taken as being a personal attack, which it is almost never intended to be. Itís conversational. I donít take it that way when people show me new things that I hadnít thought of before. My mother says itís a boy/girl thing. I scratch my head.

    As far as me needing to have validation by text and phone calls on a regular basis, well as I mentionedÖ I pretty much have exclusively let her get back to me. Always. With that being said, I wonder if I should reverse that role a bit and reach out to her a bit more.

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