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Girlfriend under stress


Starman
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Happy 1st Month to my GladysJane :)

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I am 44 years old and my girlfriend is 49. We have been dating for 9 months now. Our relationship started off great with both of us deeply in love with each other. Then about three months into the relationship she started getting some stressors in her life. First, was the child custody battle with her youngest child. When it first started she welcomed my emotional support and always told me she loves me. When the custody battle continued she started to pull away from me and the “I love you’s” started to diminish. Then I started to pull away from her for fear of getting hurt. I realize that was a mistake so I just kept loving her even if I didn’t always hear it from her. During this time she also lost her job but got a temporary job during tax season (she’s an accountant). During tax season she would call me everyday from work and we would meet for lunch or dinner several times a week (she worked like 60-70hours a week) and things seemed fine. I would baby sit her 2 boys when she was working and her older daughter had to work. She seemed confident that she would get a year round job because of her experience and responses to her resumes. However, when tax season was over she seemed to get depressed and didn’t want to leave the house. I asked her if she was depressed and she said I was being negative. During this time we have talked about marriage and agreed to take a premarital class in June. What bothers me during this whole time is that she doesn’t initially say ‘I love you” first but will say it back only if I say it. Our romance has been about zero during this time. Yet she still will show interest in the premarital classes from time to time. But now she’s in seclusion in her house and says she has to look for a job and decide what to do with her life now. She said she needs time alone right now and will call me when she’s ready. She has done this before when under a lot of stress. I kind of freak out when she does this because I think she’s going to break up with me. I realize these are real stress issues but I don’t understand the pulling away from me. I tell her I want to be there for her but she then says I’m pushing her. Its like she doesn't care about the relationship anymore, but yet still stays with me. Our relationship started off so good until the stessors in her life. Any thoughts on this???

I feel hurt and alone, and confused:sad:

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In a strong relationship people lean on each other for support in hard times. If she pulls away in times like that then she is likely to do that even if you do marry her.

 

I suspect that for some reason she isn't ready to be a full partner in a relationship. I would tell her that you are having doubts about her love and commitment to you and that unless she can convince you otherwise you are going to have to break up with her.

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I wouldn't take much stock in the diminishing "I love you" exchanges. That happens after the honeymoon period. Her actions, on the other hand, speak volumes. DN is absolutely right. People in a good relationship should lean on each other in hard times. That's part of what we are all looking for...one plus one equals more than two. If she's pulling away, she may have intimacy or other issues.

 

It's kind of up to you. If you want this to work out, leave her alone. She said that's what she wants, so give it to her. Be a source of strength and someone with a clear vision of what he (which is not necessarily what she) wants. She should be drawn to that. If you try to fix her problems or cling to her, it will be over and you will go through hell before it all turns to dust.

 

BTW, if she does contact you and you guys talk and the premarital class comes up, I would tell her that concept is off the table right now. Show her your strength and your ability to live without her. Don't be her fallback doormat she can use for moral support and babysitting anymore.

 

If this has a chance of working out, you have to plant in your mind that she's the one who screwed this up and she's got to be the one to fix it. She and only she can make contact and extend the olive branch. In the mean time, try to get on with your life.

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I don't know if this will help, Starman, but I am similar to your girlfriend under stress situations. I agree with the above posts by Richpart. You have to be helpful and supportive, but not overly so... When I am really stressed, and when my boyfriend is DYING to help, and is always asking what he can do, always calling me to check on me, always in my face wanting attention and to be involved, trying to FIX everything... it is almost like having another problem to deal with. I then pull away from him to try to clear the static in my head. NOT that you are doing anything wrong.... you sound like a great boyfriend.

Just some people need a bit of solitude in order to get their heads straight. The offers of help, and the calls are distracting. Let her know that you are there for her, and to let you know what you can do, and leave it at that. Don't try to fix anything for her. She will tell you what she needs. And yes, don't be a doormat... women never like that... It's a fine line between support and doormat-dom but your feelings will tell you which is which. If you feel used and crappy afterwards.... you know which side you fall on. I wish you the best.

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Missladybug:

thank you for your insightful answer. My girlfriend does express verbally appreciation for the things I do for. I guess the big issue with me is that our romance has dwindled so much because of her life stressors. Because she is not romantic with me I take this as rejection and start to feel resentment. I am used to someone in a relationship leaning on me and working together through difficulties whether they are mine or hers.

Like DN said in a strong relationship two people lean on each other, not pull away. But who's to say what it normal. Granted, she has been through alot lately. I don't want to come accross as selfish, but where do you draw the line? I just wish we could get on with our relationship. And you are right, when I talk about our relationship and wanting attention she pulls away and says I am pushing her away. I feel rejected and hurt and she gets upset. Since you say your kind of like this what is the best way I could deal with this without thinking she going to end the relationship. In other words whats going on in your head. How do you feel about your bf when he is like this. When he leaves you alone do you think about him or miss him? thanks

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you're welcome.

well, as we all know, the honeymoon phase doesn't last forever... when you are initially dating and courting, it is new and exciting. when it gets further into the relationship and real life takes over, sometimes the romance takes a back seat. i know, it's a total bummer. in any relationship you have ups and downs... how long has she been on the down?

i am the way i am because i have always been a very independent person. granted, i may have some slight intimacy issues too that may add to it, but for the most part, i like to solve problems on my own. i have learned to let others help me with my problems... but cannot stand when they try to "fix" them for me. it makes me feel incompetent. also, sometimes the person who is trying to "fix" the situation doesn't have the whole story, and it would be a big huge deal to clue them into every detail they would need to make an effective fix.

long story short, unless you are able to give her a job, that is something she has to deal with herself.

when i was looking for a job and my boyfriend was like... i'll do whatever you want, what do you want me to do? how can i help? etc... all the time... well, in reality he can't help unless he can employ me or he knows someone that will.

 

most importantly... you can't be scared to lose her. when you are scared to lose someone is when you get needier and do more desperate things... which really does push the other person away. you are just as important as she is. You must know that this has nothing to do with you. It is all her circumstances... You KNOW this, so don't feel hurt and rejected. If you relax, it will make a world of difference. Calmness is contagious. I promise.

When my bf gets too helpy, and clingy, and needy, i get super annoyed and feel like it is another problem to deal with. I retreat trying to avoid the situation. And sadly, the boyfriend situation is the one thing she can control right now when everything else is chaos. That's how I feel.

So my suggestion is... and jeez louise I wish someone would tell my bf this... is please calm down. You are worried about maybe losing her... I understand that. But the reality is is that you will DEF lose her if you are so scared to lose her that you sacrifice yourself. Love her, be there for her when she ASKS, still be kind, but find things to do for yourself to keep your mind off the romance part for a little bit. I know it's hard, because you love her and you want to take care of her... it's the manly way. Just relax and reassure yourself that you will be fine and it will work out, that this is just a little kink in the chain. Kind of like having the flu... it sucks when you have it, but you KNOW you won't have it forever. make sense? And if you give her some space, and make that one less thing she has to stress over, then it will so benefit you.

When you say things to her like I feel like you don't feel the same, or do you still love me, or why are things changing, etc... she feels like a failure in that arena too, on to of everything else.

So buck up, relax, and keep your head up! You are a good boyfriend just by being you, that's why she loves you! and for the record... when my bf is calm and relaxed and let's me deal with things the way i need to... I do REALLY miss him and can't wait to get things taken care of so I can spend time with him!! Hope that helps... let me know if you want any more perspective.

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Thanks, that really helps;

What you said lines up. I told her I felt she was stonewalling me and she got upset and said she just needs time to recoup after tax season and get her house in order. She later called me and said she's needs space right now and will call me when she's ready.(I try not to take it personally like you said). She said its not about me but about her (just like you said). So its been four days and I have not tried to call her, text her, nothing. I'm just giving her the space even though its hard but she will appreciate it. I guess I wasn't really hearing what she was saying, which is what she told me. I do now.

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I am so glad I could help, even if it's just a little peace of mind.

 

Also, remember to not just be sitting around waiting... take care of yourself and keep busy...

 

And, even though it will be hard, please try not to have resentment towards her for pulling away. She is just dealing with it in the way that she knows how and really doesn't want to hurt you. I am guessing she is kind of a perfectionist (if she is really like me) , so what she wants to do is get her self together so she can be the best girlfriend to you that she can be.

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yes, she likes things organized (kind of a trait you have to have to be an accountant).

What is odd is when I tell her I feel she is pulling away she sees it as an accusation. But she really is pulling away. ????

 

But anyway, how would you suggest I say to her when she does call. Obviously NOT resentful. How do you make a woman like this feel loved??

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I also see it as an accusation when he says this... well... maybe I don't see it that way, but it FEELS like an accusation. She knows she is pulling away... you don't have to tell her. She is trying to get a grip on her life, and then on top of it, her bf isn't happy... and now is hearing that it is her fault he isn't happy for not being as happy go lucky as she was at the start of the relationship. No one wants their sig other to be bummed...

She knows that you are upset with the situation, and there is nothing she can do about it until she can get the other things under control... she obviously can't let the job situation spin out of control... she has bills to pay and kids to take care of!

Just let her do her thing, and when she calls... be excited to talk to her!! Like "hey you!!! I was just thinking of you!!" but nothing too deep or mushy... let her cruise you guys back into that romantic water, and just take her lead.... mainly because she is the one having the issues, and this way, if she is leading it, then it will be to the level she feels comfortable. Don't jump at every opportunity to hang out with her... if you have something else planned, do it. She still has to remember that you are important too, and aren't just a doormat waiting for her to boss you around.

 

So basically, just relax, love yourself, and love her. Be warm and caring without being too mushy or needy. She needs to associate you with happiness, safety, love and respect, and not with obligation, her feelings of failure, and desperation. Kind of like pavlov's dogs... if every time she talks to you, it is you pining over the relationship and lack of romance, then she is going to associate that bad feeling with you, which equals more stress.

 

And I cannot stress enough... take care of yourself too. Do things that make you feel good. I am sure that when you question her about the relationship and about why she is pulling away, you don't feel good. So you have to figure out something else that makes you feel good... and when that is the case, it is likely that she will feel good about it too. Don't put her before you... take care of your own things, and do what you can for her, in whatever level is comfortable to her (and you). I am sure that when you want to do something for her and keep trying to help her, and then you can't, then you don't feel good then either. So stick to what you can control, which is yourself, and the little things that you can do to make her life easier (when it is in alignment with what is also good for you) and being her friend. those type of things make you feel good. and your internal compass (the feeling good about something or bad a bout something) is a REALLY strong indicator. People just try not to listen to that internal voice sometimes. And then our head and ego get involved....

 

So take your ego out of it... and see where it goes from there. Be a warm, caring friend.

 

oh and one more question for you... you don't feel abused or anything do you? Do you feel like she is using you? Is she appreciative? It is very important that she acknowledges and respects the good guy that you are.

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Missladybug;

You are a God send (literally) I have been praying for wisdom on this issue and well what can I say. I feel so much better when I can understand it, even if it doesnt make sense.

Yes, she does express appreciation with thank you's and such. I guess because the romantic part is lacking right now gives me the appearance of no appreciation. Its just that we had an intense romance in the begging and it just stopped when the stressors came. So I took it personally at first but now I realize it wasn't me. Yes, I need to take my male ego out of it now. Love is a decision, not an emotion. I decide to love her unconditionally.

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  • 1 year later...

Hi, MissLadyBug!

 

I read your post.. Because my situation is somewhat very similar to Starman over here.. Hahaha..

 

Well, it really is hard to handle these kinds of things.. Since, as a boyrfriend, we men (well, I'm only turning 16 ), as i was saying..

 

For us men, we only want to cling and help our girlfriend, especially in times of stress.. But there are times, if not all the time, we feel like we're being rejected everytime our girlfriend stop sticking around, or calling us, or being romantic.. You know.. That stuff.

 

But after I read your post, I realized that It's not actually a rejection.. It's just that, she really needs space when there are things that bothers her, that we cannot help with..

 

So there, Thanks a MILLION MILLION for your answer.. I hope for the best. Thanks!

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oh and one more question for you... you don't feel abused or anything do you? Do you feel like she is using you? Is she appreciative? It is very important that she acknowledges and respects the good guy that you are.

 

Oh bummer, that was all going good till you chucked that in to the mix. I have a similar situation with my partner, her dog has got cancer and she is handling it really bady. I feel I should be doing something to help her but she's really pushed me away because she's having trouble dealing with anything at the moment, so your post was great reading and I'd already made the decision to just back off and leave it to her to contact me. I was actually thinking of ending the relationship, not so much over the dog issue, just a general feeling that this wasn't really working at all for me

 

But after reading your post I thought well maybe I'm just being clingy and that's pushing her away, but thinking about it I'm not. I text her once a day max to see how she is going, if I don;t get a response I leave it at that.

 

We were suppose to be together this weekend but I've had no contact so I'll go do something else, but saying that I do think it's a bit off that we have been together over a year and she was going to let me know about the weekend and nothing, isn't that just common curtosy to at least send a text saying hey, I'm just not up to this weekend can I take a rain cheque, not just give the other person nothing

 

But what bothered me about the last part of the post is that she is abusing me. She's starting drinking way too much, easily a bottle of wine every night, sometimes more. And if I'm there she vents her anger at me, just picks a fight over nothing. Last time I was there she told me to leave because I yawned, said I was irritating and selfish because she is going through all this trauma and all I did was yawn

 

She did text me the next day apologetic, said it wasn't me, just she wasn't handling the stress.

 

What do you do in that situation, where your partner not just shuts down on you but disrespects you and only wants you in their life when it suits them?

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