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Can't Figure This Girl Out


Goodfellas

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Hello ENAers,

 

I've been seeing someone since mid-October and it's been... fine. Not great, not disastrous but good. I spent my last night in Canada with her before heading out for an African trip for three weeks over Christmas and New Year's. That last night we spent together was phenomenal - she even lamented my leaving for three weeks - then as I was leaving she brought up the "what are we?" topic. She's 31 and is no longer interested in just being a romp buddy. We chatted a bit about it then I had to go to catch my flight, so it was left somewhat unresolved.

 

During the trip, whenever I had cell service I'd text her, things seemed fine. She was happy to hear from me whenever we could connect, which was rare. Then 2014 rolls around, I sent things like "looking forward to seeing you soon" and "I can't wait to hang out" and get no reciprocation, instead she sends things like "ahhh I'm terrified for new job!!!!" and "I'm stressed out!!!" as she starts a new nursing job and has back-to-back-to-back 12 hour shifts. I landed the day before her run of three shifts and assume a hangout but get the slip. She's "a bundle of nerves" and "can't see past the three shifts" and "is super anxious" but assured me "it's not you, I'm just very nervous for this next chapter of my career."

 

My concern lies in the cliché where there's a will there's a way. So now my mind is racing with "what happened while I was gone?" scenarios - did she find someone else? Did she lose interest? Is it really about the new gig?

 

I realize you guys don't know either of us but I'm looking for some discussion on how this (new job) may be the case, personal anecdotes, and tips on how I should proceed. I'm thinking of stopping by her condo when she's at work and leaving a spa relaxation kit, the souvenirs I bought for her in Africa and a hand written note. I want to tread lightly so as to not push her away, but also want to express my disappointment in her not being able to hang out after 3 weeks apart. I also don't want to smother with compliments and/or gifts, buuuuut she could use them. Thoughts? Comments? Concerns?

 

Thanks in advance all y'all.

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Nursing is a lot of responsibility... and a new place...3 back to back shifts. She is stressed to the max. Her priority right now isn't the state of the relationship.

 

Wait to give her her gifts in person. The spa treatment is a great idea to.

You just came off a 3 week trip....rested and relaxed.

Your time.

 

She is not running on your schedule. I would not express that you are hurt or upset that her focus is elsewhere. She has no control of the schedule.

 

Give her some time to settle into work. This has nothing to do with you.

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What was the conversation like when she brought up the "what are we?" talk?

 

Do you want something with her or are you just freaking out because she seems to be pulling away?

 

Presentable women over a certain age (whatever child-bearing timeline they have in their head...I am in this category) develop habits of thought and action which compel them to keep moving. No matter how much it hurts and how much waffling I do behind the scenes, I pull the plug when the relationship extends beyond a few months/weeks without some sort of trajectory.

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mhowe - Thanks for the wise words and for talking me off the ledge a bit. I like the idea of a "surprise" gift hanging from her door handle as she gets back from her third of three shifts but I'll consider holding off for an in person exchange. She said something along the lines of "I'm sorry this coincides with your homecoming but I don't have control over it" which is eerily similar to what you said haha.

 

fifregister - She was apologetic for bringing it up before my trip but I could tell it was eating at her. I want to chat with her in depth about it but was delayed by this new job. That second line is a great question, I'm trying to determine now if I do want something with her (she can be abrasive and overwhelmed easily) or if it's just my ego kicking in as a defence mechanism because she is showing signs of disengaging - i.e. not responding favourably to my attempts to cheer her up. I think that third paragraph sums her up well, she was clear that she's not in for casual sex anymore. That was left in her 20s. Your last sentence seems to be where her head is at. Thanks for the insight, much appreciated.

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Sounds like she's checking out. You had your chance to solidify things before your month long escapade where you got to contact her at your convenience. It sounds like the spotty contact would've been fine if you had told her you wanted a relationship or whatever, but she took your noncommittal answer as she probably should have..you not being that interested in her.

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Sounds like she's checking out. You had your chance to solidify things before your month long escapade where you got to contact her at your convenience. It sounds like the spotty contact would've been fine if you had told her you wanted a relationship or whatever, but she took your noncommittal answer as she probably should have..you not being that interested in her.

 

I completely disagree. This was a newish relationship and she asked the ?? Right before you left. Presumably for peace of mind. That your trip was to remote area and preplanned. Nothing to be done about that. That your return coincided with new job/stress ....unavoidable.

 

Its called...LIFE. And it has a habit of needing attention.

 

If you are interested...get on the dance card. I don't see her disengaged any more than your trip to Africa was you disengaging.

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GinNJuice - It was 19 days, not one month, and contact was not at my convenience, it was whenever reception was available (third world countries and middle of Zambezi River are not exactly hotspots) and I pre-warned her about this issue. I can see your point but I doubt that's the case as she was apologetic for bringing it up and specifically said to "enjoy every moment, don't even think about this." There is, however, a measure of truth to her taking my noncommittal attitude as a sign of disinterest.

 

mhowe - It is definitely new, just an infant at 2.5 months with about a 6-8 hangouts. Her way of broaching the subject was unorthodox (as I've come to expect from her.) As I was about to leave she says, "be safe out there, you know, sexually, there are a lot of diseases in that part of the world." Then she goes onto say, "we don't owe anything to each other as we're title-less" which then led to the question she was trying to get to all along "what are we?" The difference in the disengaging - if it is even happening at all - is mine was physical for a trip and hers seems to be emotional as a job is more central in her life right now. What I really need to determine now is do I want to dance or am I just protecting my ego from her (potentially) early withdrawal.

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And her job should be the focus...it is the beginning of her career at this hospital. First impressions will be.lasting ones. I remember starting new jobs and being tired and stressed because you not only have to figure out the job and procedures, but also the.players and the politics. Be patient.

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I would play it cool and see if she comes around. She can only use work as an excuse for so long. I get the feeling she is checking out too but I've been wrong plenty of times when it comes to the ladies. You may want to start looking into other options too.

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Much appreciated mhowe, I value your insight on this topic. I know she's high-strung to begin with, and this job is in the ER of the largest hospital in Canada's largest city so, yeah, I should respect her need to acclimatize.

 

Glowguy, what exactly gives you the impression she may be checking out? I'm not disagreeing, simply curious.

 

She has - according to my sister-in-law who set us up - been known to get overwhelmed easily and make a terrible multi-tasker. I'm just curious if her (potentially) checking out is due to something I did, didn't do or general disinterest. Psychologically, I can handle and would much rather prefer if the job is more important and is dominating her attention right now.

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Just from my own experience I find that when women start brushing you off and use work as an excuse then it is usually because their interest has dropped. It's happened to me before (including very recently) and they have often dropped completely off the map or followed it up with 'I don't see this working out' kind of dialogue. It's possible that she is just ultra busy in which case you should give her plenty of space anyway. Proceed with caution.

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That was nice of you to think of her while on your trip, and to get her something.

 

I would forget worrying about it. And just throw out a "would love to see you, when you have the time, let me know when would be a good time and we can arrange something". That would be when I would give her the stuff. Check in and give her a bit of room; but I think a few things could be going on here why she isn't jumping to make time for you right at this time...

 

My guess, personally, is that she is actually busy and stressed. And on top of that, you've been away for three weeks, so she has been doing a certain amount of distancing (you kinda have to not think about someone you are dating while they are gone and it's so early in the game). More so if you two didn't establish what you are actually doing - are you exclusive? is it going somewhere?

 

So give her a few weeks to get settled, and if she hasn't put effort in to meet you half way and see you (I'd expect there will some texts and quick chats and such in between) for real, real time and not bite sizes....then you can safely say she has lost interest.

 

only my opinion. Kinda left things hanging with you leaving before knowing where you two really stood...now it's hanging more..

 

did you decide if you see potential with her, btw?

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Glowguy - It does seem like this could be a similar scenario. Like you said, she can't use the work excuse for too long. I did allude to a hangout next week and she said "I can't predict how I'll feel but I doubt I'll be up to go out so you can come here to hangout" which is a glimmer of hope.

 

itsallgrand - I like that line, it's direct in my intention, doesn't smother her and leaves the ball in her court. We're new and undefined so distancing is natural when there is physical distance ("out of sight, out of mind" comes to mind.) I know she asked but I didn't feel the urgency to respond especially because she said not to worry about it. The funny thing is I'm not sure I see potential with her as it stands now, but I need 2-3 more hangouts to clarify.

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Sounds like she's checking out. You had your chance to solidify things before your month long escapade where you got to contact her at your convenience. It sounds like the spotty contact would've been fine if you had told her you wanted a relationship or whatever, but she took your noncommittal answer as she probably should have..you not being that interested in her.

 

I was about to write the same thing and now I don't have to.

Exactly this. I don't think that it was convenient that you contacted her.. I recognize that was a gesture for sure.

A "where are we" conversation takes 5 seconds when both parties are on the same page. You open by describing the whole relationship as "not great". I think she's wise not to waste her time with someone who wouldn't jump at the chance to be with her. We all deserve that....including you! She's maybe not the girl for you if you're that lukewarm about everything.

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Compelling points, maybe I underestimated her urgency and downplayed the significance of "the talk." This may come back to fifregister's point about women of a certain age not wasting any time. I have never dated a 30something so this is unchartered territory for me. Perhaps if I was clearer on what I wanted she'd still be engaged, instead she may be pulling away to protect herself from inevitable heartache. Disappointing and somewhat insulting she could possibly detach so soon, however.

 

I'm still not convinced it's done - I need a hangout or two plus a "talk" to be certain where this is going - especially since she committed to a hangout next week. As for now my biggest question is (if she is in fact disengaging) am I not worth seeing it through a little longer? To potentially detach after ~3 months is a shot to my pride.

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Didn't you say the relationship was "not great"? That's no more insulting than her backing off. I agree it becomes futile to keep seeing someone after 3 months who can't answer the "what is this" question". If someone's really into you they usually lock you down as their gf with no prompting. To ask and get no resolution speaks for itself. It's a short conversation.

"Can you see this going anywhere?"

"Yes definitely. I'm not seeing anyone else and consider this an

exclusive relationship with lots of potential for a long term relationship"

If your conversation went on so long it had to be interrupted/continued later, her friends may have encouraged her to not get very attached at this phase since you were neither sure nor clear in your intentions.

The thing is...when you are *serious about settling down* you don't want to waste your time...especially in your 30s.

You still haven't said anywhere in this thread that you see a lot of potential or she's the kind of woman you see yourself marrying. In act you sound (to me) like you weren't all that into her until your ego was bruised and now suddenly you're willing to up your game..?

She wants to get married and have kids. If that's something you want in the next 5-7 years and/or you can't see yourself doing all that *with her* then be fair and let her find a guy who has the same desires and timeline as her.

It's not personal. She has goals, wants, etc that she's being very clear about. If those don't match yours then at least honor both of you by not trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole.

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I agree with MHowe. Not only is nursing stressful and entails a lot of responsibility, people outside of the field or in related fields are not likely to understand the pressures. I hope she will be able to get a better job as most people would burn out fairly quickly doing what she is about to do. She is also likely to be increasing other occ health and safety risks by working those hours.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using link removed

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savignon - Wow, just... wow. I shared your post with a friend whose up to speed on this issue of mine and she agreed with you wholeheartedly! I never considered the friends get-togethers over the holidays, someone asking where I was, she mentions I'm abroad then they start bantering about us. I've reviewed texts from a month ago and she expressed "being delusional by wanting more and getting less" so she's broached this even before the trip. How could I be so oblivious?

 

Silverbirch - While I still agree with you and mhowe and believe "busy with new gig" is a possibility here, I'm starting to see the other side. She's been active on Instagram today and not messaged me once, in the past she'd keep condos alive or send a "ahhhh nervous for day 2!!" message. Now? She's gone silent. Should I do the same?

 

Overall, my biggest ego hit is going from "I want to be with you right now!" texts a mere six weeks ago to this. I hate falling off the pedestal, it's a fall from grace. This is something I struggle with psychologically with ALL relationships, not just with this nurse.

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@goodfellas....based on these comments, I think your biggest difficulty is the ego fall. You're not suffering from the loss of the actual woman. You're suffering from the loss of her attention, her wanting more, her "want to be with you right now!"

 

We all feel that sting at the moment of perceived rejection. But the fact that you describe your relationship with her as "not great" is very telling. You probably don't need 2-3 more hangouts to determine. You're probably just not that into her either...

 

Not to generalize about women in their 30s, but overall, women who have any sort of experience in dating and know what they want can sense what you want very quickly, whether you know this yourself. Call it a "woman's intuition" =)

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Yeah, you're likely right fifregister. I do feel the need for some closure, though. It can't be as simple as, "I felt you didn't want more so I pulled away." I say this because she hasn't even attempted to converse with me since I've been back (granted, she's worked/slept for majority of my time back.)

 

I've reviewed texts from early on in the relationship and she has alluded to "not wasting her time" in the past. I also believe something happened over the holiday season (i.e. people asking about us, her being alone for the holidays, banter with girlfriends, etc.) and it clicked that I may not be into her and she's now disengaging. But why not fight? Or is she hoping I "man up" (a term she loves) and do the fighting?

 

Ahhhhhh!

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She might not want you to "man up" but she may have decided not to put all her eggs in one basket. If I were her girlfriend I would have advised her to keep her options open and continue dating since she gave you the opportunity to make it 'exclusive' and you didn't. She's clearly attractive (or you wouldn't be dating her), intelligent, has a great career, is ambitious AND knows what she wants for her life in the near and distant future...she really knows herself....she sounds like a great catch (for the right person) and if she's not insecure, she knows that. So she's not gonna keep texting you all the time/feeding your ego when you've made it clear by non-action that you're not all that into it.

She doesn't have to give you "closure" because you're not even in a relationship, right?

You've STILL not said you particularly like her or want to see where things go...you're still focused on falling off your pedestal. Kind of singularly minded about yourself/your ego/your pedestal/what you think you're entitled to/etc.

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I think your biggest difficulty is the ego fall. You're not suffering from the loss of the actual woman. You're suffering from the loss of her attention, her wanting more, her "want to be with you right now!"

 

BINGO!!!

Its really not a blow to your ego....she realizes you're not on the same page and is likely ready to keep it moving. And why shouldn't she?

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As a 30-something woman who also just got my career on track, coming from my experience, she may very well simply be focused on her job right now. She's concerned about the hours, doing well, learning the whole new place and environment, and the future of her career.

 

This point can kinda go one of two ways - either you are able to understand, give her some space and be there when she's available; or you can be needy, a little pushy, and a little jealous of her job/time.

 

My last boyfriend made the mistake of choosing the second route - not that he didn't work around my schedule (he did), but he tried to make me feel guilty when all my spare time off wasn't spent with him. At this age, we can't afford to play hooky on our careers for a boyfriend, and depending on the person, time off to recharge and relax may not always leave room for entertaining another person, no matter how relaxed they are, it's still a level of work. I got sick of him constantly hounding me, expecting my evening, weekends and then some - tried explaining my position, but it didn't stop. That VERY quickly turned me off. We had only gone on a couple dates before I got the new job, so it's not like we had a long standing relationship prior to that.

 

If you care about her, support her in her new role, and maybe try to set up some specific times to get together - once a week may be all she can manage right now! Be understanding, and don't hound her. Once she settles into the job, routine and atmosphere (may take several months or more), if you're still together, she'll find more room for you again

 

Just speaking from experience with the whole "just got my dream job" thing.

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