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why has she changed?


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Sorry this is a bit long.....


I have been dating a girl for 4 months. Ever since we met she had been signed up to work abroad for a year. She went there after 2 months of us being together. These 2 months were good times and the relationship progressed very quickly and we both said we loved each other and talked about the future. It was great, so I was comfortable that things were progressing, although I was also sure I didnt do this myself to kind of rope her in before she left, or tie her down. To me it was just a happy match so I went with it. She had been keen for me to visit her abroad as was I, and when I booked up to do this she was so delighted she got quite emotional. She was very enthusiastic about the relationship indeed, as was I. This closeness continued right up until I visited last week. Throughout the 2 months of her being away she contacted me every day (insisting we MUST say we loved each other once per day - this was very important to her, so even though it was a bit contrived I went along with this as I did indeed love her and I knew she was homesick and wanted reminding of my feelings in her absence). Unfortunately she wasnt having a good time, homesickness, not getting along with house mates or her coursework. I supported her entirely. When this unhappiness inevitably turned to clear evidence of depression I didnt hide the fact I thought she should come home. She spoke of "dark thoughts" and hitting "her absolute rock bottom" and felt worthless and unwanted. I am aware of the type of self esteem issues people can have so I make sure she knows she is loved and that she is attractive. Neither are false. I took these things seriously and was naturally concerned about her wellbeing. The rock bottom thing was significant as she had previously of at least one other seemingly disastrous relationships she had previously, in which at least mild / moderate abuse was present. I have always been aware her being affected by this past abuse and tried to let her talk, tried to support any way I could. I was increasingly aware I may try to get her to talk too much so I decided to back down ASAP as she seemed to be becoming resentful of my probing. I wasnt too forceful, but whenever she brought dark issues up I do admit I encouraged her to speak more. I was the only one she chose to say this to after all. She became more and more fixated on our relationship, she seemed desperate to be with me. The most extreme talk was coming from her, always saying she loved me, all over facebook, telling her friends and family I was her source of inspiration, lots and lots (maybe too much?) of positivity about me, that was her choice. I reciprocated and we seemed happy together, even if she wasn't happy in herself.


A couple of weeks ago she decided to quit her job and would be home in 8 weeks for good. This seemed like totally the best decision for her. I was obviously delighted but I honestly knew she was so desperately unhappy so its not as though I had forced her. Worryingly, she had mentioned a few times that I was the main reason she was coming home. This was a bit inaccurate as although she missed me, her relationship with the housemates was dire, her unhappiness was not related to me. I didnt want her to come home just because of me, that would be unhealthy and could cause problems later. We both agreed she was doing that for her first and foremost. She continued to be very down, it has been a prolonged spell of that now - 2 months of depression but I thought she would get better as she knew it was coming to an end and I was coming to visit.


When I arrived to visit she seemed happy for a couple of days and was her usual loving self, a very keen and enthusiastic girlfriend. I gave her no reason to change the way she thought about me, but that is what appears to have happened next somehow. In the space of the next 5 days we had pretty much our first argument, then had several more. I should stress what I mean by argument as this may not be the best description: basically she began acting resentful of me. I am not one to exaggerate as I dont ever want things blown out of proportion, so I proceeded to act relatively normal and passive for a couple of days but observed closely, just to be sure. This began on a day when we were both hungover and a bit down and tired due to that. I thought the next day it would pass but it got worse. She made demeening responses to many of my suggestions or general everyday comments. She snapped at me for not speaking clearly, she reacted with derision when she did hear me clearly. She seemed indifferent, which would be bad enough, but what was worse was that rather than merely ignore, she went further and belittled and ridiculed my suggestions and interests. I am 7 years older than her at 31 and she seems to all of a sudden think it is an issue that she is interested in trivial TV, different music (only some, also lots in common) and appears to suggest I dont like to party when its never been apparent to me! Nobody says I am boring ever, I am balanced, I have various interests and I totally respect her right to hers. No problems I thought. When one particular put-down became one too many for me to take, I confronted her, saying this was no way to be treated and if she had changed her feelings she should just say rather than be nasty. She gave the classic response of saying I was in the wrong for bringing this up. She said if I did again it would push us apart and that arguements are part of relationships and I always made things worse by wanting to analyse things and talk until there actually was an issue. This isnt true, I just want to clear the air and to not be misinterpreted, I have no interest in having serious talks needlessly.


Finally, she confirmed my suspicions of a change in feelings by slipping in the information that we wouldnt be living together any time soon (as we had mutually loosely agreed before) and also that we had very little in common. This was never an issue before and want strictly true, but rather than antagonise the situation I tried to let her get whatever this was out her system by talking. I must stress that I had not been driving her to decide we would live together or commit, it was totally mutual. I like to keep my feet on the ground and build things naturally, albeit if things felt good I was happy to build things quickly.


On my last night before coming home she got drunk and we had a fun night with friends. Going to bed she seemed happy, even spoke about being desperate to have kids with me (I dont bring this stuff up, she does. She knows I wanted that life with her but surely she doesnt think I'm pushing to settle down too fast? If anything she is doing that herself). 10 mins later in bed she showed little interest in me and ran off to speak to flatmates who had arrived home. She came back to persuade me to come out but I tried to politely decline saying I was ready for bed and wished she would just come in seeing as it was her last night. She got a bit passive-aggressive (admittedly we both did and I said "look I cant stop you but Im not coming") so she stormed off and switched off the light as if to say she wasnt coming back soon. This was the final straw for me and I got up and packed my case. I wanted to take back control of my own situation and this was all I thought I could do. Dramatic perhaps, which is not my style, but enough was enough. When she saw this she went nuts, accused me of packing up just for a stunt, to deliberately upset her. I tried to explain things from my point of view that I was hurt and felt I had no option. She got worse and worse and worse, culminating in possibly the biggest shout-down I have ever received in my life. Fuelled by drink and whatever it was that she had been bottling up for days, she didnt give me a chance to speak. Incredibly, she accused me of hurting her and selfishness and when I started to explain it wasnt the case and that I do care, she responded by shouting louder over the top of me with an answer of her own. It was a control freak at work, she made wild irrational accusations of her own plus made the responses to fulfil each fear in the worst possible sense. I was trapped and her imagination was running wild, its a bit of a blur now but we both asked if either wanted to end the relationship and we both said no but agreed it was a possibility at that rate.


Trying to calm things down I apologised for scaring her and agreed it may have been an over-reaction. I kept trying to explain that I had only been protecting myself from further upset and she shouldnt think I would deliberately hurt her ever. She would not listen to that a single bit, she was totally adamant she had done no wrong. Scarily and much to my anger and disappointment, she acted as though I had instigated the entire thing and appeared to remember the situation as me being petty and trying to hurt her. In reality I only had the reaction to leave in response to her behaviour. This cycle was the case all week - her being cold and indifferent / me eventually trying to deal with that in an adult way / her blaming me for trying to upset her by always wanting to talk about such things.


When it calmed down she still tried to tell me that "I'd better cheer up quick" even though I was understandably rattled by events. I am always wary of people who try to "forget" about an argument quickly, it makes it more likely to happen again and more likely its their fault. The rest of the trip she kind of acted as though she was happy for me to leave (maybe fair enough by this point considering what had happened) but she seemed unable to even be civil at all. This was really hurtful, but I never said a word as I just wanted home myself too. Right before I left she appeared to flaunt the fact she wasn't too sad to see me go (Im not being precious or needy here but the previous time we parted a few months ago she couldnt even speak for crying and she had cried regularly on the phone since). She made trivial small talk waiting on the cab, decided not to go to the airport and ridiculed me for silly things (things that are trivial and dont upset me but it wasnt something she had ever done) and I saw this as an attempt at undermining the fact it should have been an emotional, special moment. I just tried to be myself, laugh it off, say once that I would miss her, then just leave. The crazy thing was that as soon as I was in the cab I started getting texts saying how much she was crying her eyes out, saying I shouldnt worry and that everything would be fine, as if I had been overly worrying or said so, like she was trying to calm me down or something! I was staggered at this. Basically she was acting one way then saying the opposite. I honestly dont know why. This is whats bothering me.


I have also noticed she is bossy and controlling. Many recent suggestions of mine are met with derision, even ridicule. Just things like where to eat or what to watch on tv. She tried to stop me from going out for a short walk while she was going for a shower. When I went anyway she said going for a walk in that neighbourhood was stupid (its not unsafe, not that great a place but I just wanted 15 minutes to myself). I have noticed she will physically take my hand and push and pull me where she wants me to go or doesnt want me to go. For example in a supermarket she grabbed me away from an aisle and snapped "no were not going down there dont be stupid" (how "stupid" can that be?) or leaving an elevator she will snap at me for not allowing someone else to leave first. In front of others she is becoming increasing patronising, like I am a child. She swore at me for filming her dancing around having fun and said I was making fun of her. When I asked her why she snapped at me she said I was patronising. I dont think many people say that about me, Im a pretty humble guy. Not saying Im a saint but all this stuff is her issue.


Im not scared of splitting up, I seriously dont want to but I wont be treated like crap. The thing that worries me is that although I know this could be tied to her depression and self-esteem issues and that she may miraculously get back to the way she says she feels about us, she kind of went over the line and there was really no need to be so nasty so consistently. So even though 3 days later she already says things are fine and she just wants to get back to normal, I kind of have to go by what she does rather than what she says though. I kind of have to believe she doesnt want me and to be honest I am thinking she may have put me completely off her anyway.


The possibility exists that she doesnt want to break up until she comes home. I am aware of this and I wouldnt break up with her while she was away either, there are too many complications to that. I plan to see how she acts between now and then (she currently acts like nothing has happened and says she misses me and hopes I miss her - unbelievable) and take it from there. Splitting up is the last thing I ever thought I wanted but right now I am unsure how I can possibly be with someone capable of treating me like this and it will take an explanation from her to convince me. I would walk away but I really really need to know what the hell has happened here. It is like the world has gone mad. I did ask if she had met someone else and she said a convincing no. Its not her style - she is a loyal, religious, family type normally. I obviously know its still possible and I know it looks like the most likely reason. Its happened to me before and I would accept it but she really has been in contact pretty much every hour for 3 months, it honestly isnt as likely as it sounds that somebody else is involved. I would be devastated but at least it would explain things. My gut feeling is that its not that though. I think it is something to do with how she put a massive importance on the relationship - someone cant change that much. It could just be I was a temporary solution to her and she got serious so she could keep me while she went away. Ive seen genuine emotion from her though and she seemed to miss me so so much. She used to back up the way she said she felt by being so caring and emotional. Now she still says all the in-love stuff (she starts it) but she acts differently to what she says. Its like I cant live up to something for her, I dont know. Its 6 weeks until I see her again. She wants things to "calm down" but Im at her mercy on that - she thinks we just had some disagreements she cannot see she instigated the lot.


I just need some kind of explanation. Please help!!!

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Well at 31 you're an adult and it sounds like she's still a kid. She doesn't know what she wants out of life, she's still searching. This means she's going to try things out, not like then, then need to learn and move on from the situation - like this trip abroad. I firmly believe that if a person doesn't know what they need themselves to be happy and have solid sense of self, they are not relationship material. She honestly sounds all over the map man, emotionally, etc - unstable really. There's nothing wrong with that, it's to be expected in your 20's for sure, but it does make it really hard to have any kind of relationship beyond superficial.

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