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Girlfriend didn't know how to tell me she wasn't ready for a relationship


Sinfu

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Let me preface this by saying the reason that I am still worried about this from time to time, over 2 years later, is because I'm a deeply insecure person and I'm trying to work on this.

 

When my girlfriend and I started being exclusive (at the time she was 18 and myself 20), we had been talking for roughly 2 weeks, gone on maybe 1 or 2 dates, and I bounced the idea to her via text once night when she was at a dance. She didn't have much time to talk as she was busy at the dance, but agreed. We met on Tinder, and still obviously had Tinders thus far since we weren't exclusive yet. 

 

A few months later, maybe a month or so after officially dating, she admitted that for a couple days after she agreed to be exclusive, she was still speaking to a guy on Tinder. That stopped after a few days, but she admitted this happened. She wasn't interested in dating this guy, as he was openly polyamorous and she wasn't interested in that, but they continued talking a bit nonetheless for a few days after. She can't remember if it was flirtatious or not, but given his polyamory and his interest in that she doubted it was flirtatious. 

 

This really bothered me, and I think for good reason. After talking about this with her a lot, the reason this ended up happening was that when she agreed to be exclusive, she didn't feel entirely ready yet to be exclusive, but didn't want me to lose interest so agreed anyway. Also, in her previous relationship (she had one other relationship before me which she wasn't treated well in) she was sort of subconsiously taught that saying no to a guy didn't lead to things that would make her happy (she was never sexually abused, but her previous boyfriend didn't take saying no for an answer super well outside of the bedroom -- nothing super serious but just would be annoying about being refused). So basically, she wasn't ready but agreed, because she was scared to lose me as a potential partner and because she had negative experiences saying no to men in the past.

 

Either way, what she did was wrong, and it made me scared about her ability to be faithful. Thankfully, I'm more than halfway to dating her for 3 years now, and I've never once ever had reason to doubt her faithfulness. Not a single time. We're entirely open with using eachother's phones, reading eachother's messages (not because we don't doubt eachother but I might be curious to read her group chat with her gal friends and she might be curious is reading boys chat group messages or something, or just to play some games on my phone), and our relationship is very transparent. She still simply has never given me reason to not trust her, as it hasn't been hard to trust her one bit. We've both changed an enormous amount since we've begun dating, and I've grown to love the person I'm with now continually to do this day.

 

However, I still don't enjoy thinking about this moment, and sometimes my mind can play tricks on me about it. Why is that, would you think? I can't tell if it's because I need to move on and get over it as it was nothing more than a mistake that she hasn't made since, or what. Do I just need to get over this? Am I wrong in thinking this isn't that big of a deal considering how we've been since?

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Some people take longer to warm up to the idea of being exclusive. She's adjusted well. IMO you two need to stop sharing phones. I'm not buying the "It's not that I don't trust her." crap. If you weren't doing it, there would be more intensity in this thread about how you don't trust her.

Honestly, not sharing phones, and PWs shows way more trust than being involved in someone's person business.

It's not about getting over it, it's about do I trust her? or you just have trust issues no matter who you date.

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Just now, smackie9 said:

Some people take longer to warm up to the idea of being exclusive. She's adjusted well. IMO you two need to stop sharing phones. I'm not buying the "It's not that I don't trust her." crap. If you weren't doing it, there would be more intensity in this thread about how you don't trust her.

Honestly, not sharing phones, and PWs shows way more trust than being involved in someone's person business.

It's not about getting over it, it's about do I trust her? or you just have trust issues no matter who you date.

Don't honestly know if I have trust issues. I probably do as I'm quite paranoid. 

 

The thing about phones though -- I can promise when I open her messages I'm not expecting to see anything suspicious, it's either me being genuinely curious what her girl friends are talking about or just being insecure and pretending I'm just looking at her messages to see the girl group chat. I'm not afraid to be honest with myself -- I can't entirely rule out the latter, but that's a projection on me and my own insecurities, not her. 

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13 minutes ago, Sinfu said:

However, I still don't enjoy thinking about this moment, and sometimes my mind can play tricks on me about it. Why is that, would you think?

For some reason, you still don't feel secure in this relationship. 

That might indeed be a product of your own insecurity - you mention you can be quite paranoid. Do you struggle with this in other areas of your life? If so, what are you doing to work on it? 

Or maybe she's done other things along the way that have raised your suspicion in one way or another. Has she?

I will say, I would try as hard as possible to let go of this episode from 2 years ago. She was 18. 18-year-olds aren't known for their excellent decision-making skills. They fumble, they make mistakes, they behave immaturely because, well, they tend to be immature. We all are inherently immature at 18, to some extent. But, with any luck, we also learn from those teenaged mistakes. 

I really think you need to knock if off with reading the girl group chat, though. It's enabling your insecurity and clearly, it's not actually helping. You wouldn't be here if it was. It shouldn't be your coping mechanism for when you feel insecure. For you to demonstrate true growth and trust, you need to trust her enough not to "pretend" to read those group chats. And if you can't shake the compulsion to randomly read her group chats, you don't trust her enough to have a healthy relationship.  

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I can't help but think that what you're writing about here is connected to your other thread. When we don't feel secure, satisfied, or confident in a relationship, it's human nature to spin around, often spinning backward, in search of answers, explanations. 

So here you are, a few months into a sexual drought, trying to figure out what's what. And some part of your brain is going: ah, maybe it all goes back to the beginning, to her not being "ready." Not a comforting thought in and of itself, but there is comfort in having some kind of answer when the question (in this case: what's up with our sex life?) is even more uncomfortable. 

My few cents, at least. 

Your relationship has moved far, far beyond that early moment—a moment, all in all, that isn't exactly nuclear in terms of transgressions. People are often jittery when committing, especially when they commit pretty quickly. So it goes. I think you know this, in your core, and know that whatever you two have built is not going to come apart because of all that. Whether you two can get through this present moment of difficulty and disconnect—stay focused on that, and stay open to not having all the answers yet.  

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43 minutes ago, bluecastle said:

I can't help but think that what you're writing about here is connected to your other thread. When we don't feel secure, satisfied, or confident in a relationship, it's human nature to spin around, often spinning backward, in search of answers, explanations. 

So here you are, a few months into a sexual drought, trying to figure out what's what. And some part of your brain is going: ah, maybe it all goes back to the beginning, to her not being "ready." Not a comforting thought in and of itself, but there is comfort in having some kind of answer when the question (in this case: what's up with our sex life?) is even more uncomfortable. 

Well-said, Blue. 

I hadn't realized you have another thread open on the sexual issue, OP, but I wonder if your insecurities here are being triggered by the fact that your girlfriend has lost her sex drive. 

Is that what is leading you to check her messages, to make sure there isn't some other guy on her radar? 

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5 hours ago, Sinfu said:

However, I still don't enjoy thinking about this moment, and sometimes my mind can play tricks on me about it. Why is that, would you think? 

Well, remembering back to my first real relationship, I think I was on a similar track in terms of jealousies. Even now, more than 20 years later, I can't say for sure exactly what caused it.... We did work through it, though. And we had a wonderful relationship. One of the best I've ever had. 

But... we did eventually break up. 

I chalk it up to youth. We were different in a lot of ways that weren't apparent back then, but which became apparent as time went on.

We ended up getting together again, ten years down the line. But at that point, the differences were more obvious. I still loved him (and still have a lot of affection for him in my heart), but ultimately our coping mechanisms weren't compatible.

5 hours ago, Sinfu said:

I can't tell if it's because I need to move on and get over it as it was nothing more than a mistake that she hasn't made since, or what. Do I just need to get over this?

I think you should get over it. She came clean to you, which is evidence of her feelings of loyalty to you. And she hasn't done it again, which is confirmation of same. We are really just talking about a matter of days where she was talking to the other guy. That's small potatoes.

To put it into perspective, I've been with the same guy for eight years. He's a wonderful man, a wonderful partner. But when we first started dating, there were all of these girls in his life. Ex girlfriends, and girls who had more than a platonic interest in him.

It took a good two months to chase all those girls out of his life. He wasn't being unfaithful; he just had weak boundaries. We talk about it freely now, but for quite some time it was a sensitive issue for him, and I gave him space. I did that because, in every way, he has proven that he is a faithful and loyal partner to me. 

5 hours ago, Sinfu said:

We're entirely open with using eachother's phones, reading eachother's messages (not because we don't doubt eachother but I might be curious to read her group chat with her gal friends and she might be curious is reading boys chat group messages or something, or just to play some games on my phone), and our relationship is very transparent.

I know we are probably in the minority here, but my boyfriend and I are the same way. It started with him giving me the key to his apartment and saying, "stop in anytime." We now live together, and have been these past five years or so. It's just easier to be transparent and allow for each other's moments of insecurity--they are few and far between. Really, it's the intimacy that is nice. 

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Thank you for all the replies so far all and thank you to those especially who have been helping me out in both the 2 threads I’ve started.

 

My tendency to look at my girlfriend’s phone started before the dry spell, and I honestly don’t think it would take much for me to be fine with not looking at it anymore. I honestly only viewed it to view group chats I’m not in and out of curiosity. I don’t really know how to convince you guys other than to just state it. I’m not afraid to be honest, and while there is a synapse in my brain occasionally firing to scroll and see just who she has been messaging generally, I’ve never expected, once worried, or indeed ever did notice anything suspect.
 

I think this is just a me problem. I’m a pretty insecure person. 

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If it's not bothering her, I don't think it's that big of a deal.

But I wonder what is causing you to look at them at all?

I posted earlier that my boyfriend and I are pretty open with our devices. We have each other's passwords, and he would let me read all of his messages if I wanted--and vice versa. But frankly I don't want to read them. I would find it boring. And I think he'd feel the same about my messages. 

Do you think that viewing these group chats feeds your insecurity on some level? If so, you should consider stopping. Give yourself a break.

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7 hours ago, Sinfu said:

I think this is just a me problem. I’m a pretty insecure person. 

I think of myself as pretty secure person. That said, if there is a sudden and unexpected shift in my dynamic with my girlfriend? I'll become less secure, wondering what's going on. If that new dynamic becomes sustained? I'll become even less secure. If we struggle to talk about it, and confront it, in a way that feels mutually good, safe, positive, and productive? Again, I will be even less secure and prone, as humans are, to entertain stories where I blame myself, then blame her, and so on, just to get a grip. 

All I'm saying here is that it makes sense that you're feeling kind of insecure right now. It's okay! I'd imagine she feels insecure as well, in her own way. If you two can find a way to share these insecurities, and just honor them for a moment rather than think of them as personal flaws ruining everything, you may find they lose their traction. 

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11 minutes ago, bluecastle said:

All I'm saying here is that it makes sense that you're feeling kind of insecure right now. It's okay! I'd imagine she feels insecure as well, in her own way. If you two can find a way to share these insecurities, and just honor them for a moment rather than think of them as personal flaws ruining everything, you may find they lose their traction. 

I agree.

Levels of insecurity will increase and decrease according to your circumstances. Sometimes the best thing is simply to recognize that it's happening and let it go.

I used to journal extensively about my insecurities. While that helped me to define them and learn what my triggers are, the unwelcome side-effect was that the feelings of insecurity actually got stronger with all of the attention that I paid to them. So, it's a double-edged sword, sometimes.

Everybody feels insecure sometimes. You just have to figure out how to manage it in a way that works for you. 

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If you want to deal with your insecurities you need to stop your habit of looking for reassurance. When you open threads and trying to get people to say "it's ok" or look at her phone, it's only enabling the insecurity. You even admit this was an issue before dating her. It's a temporary fix and not the right coping mechanism to be using. That's why you are still paranoid, and have runaway insecure thoughts. Little triggers like her on her phone too much, or she hasn't responded to your text, etc. Takes you right back to when she admits she was talking to a guy on a dating app. Could possibly be you have some OCD contributing to this issue.

You want help? Find the right therapist. I don't think you can "get over it" or break this habit unless it's looked at by a professional. I'm not saying you need to hit the couch, and spend $$$ on therapy. Just learn a method to retrain your brain. Something to work on for yourself for the long term.

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You had only been on two dates.   Lets this go!   She has shown you for nearly three years that she is trustworthy!   I hope that you do not discuss this with her?

You are reading her messages because you do not trust her.  That should stop.

I strongly recommend therapy to deal with your insecurities, or you will sabotage your relationship.   

 

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You are getting a ton of great advice so read it over and over again.  Be brutally honest with yourself because frankly this is all on you.  She knows you are insecure so she allows you the security blanket of being able to look through her personal things anytime you wish to make yourself feel better.

Let's go back to when she was at that dance and you sent her a text about being exclusive.  Deep down you know you did that because she was at a dance and you were afraid she would meet someone and dump you so you tried to tie her down right then and there.  Her talking to some other guy for a few days is on you not her.  You pushed her into doing something because you were insecure and afraid instead of sitting down face to face and talking about how you BOTH feel and what you BOTH want.  If anything you should stop by the store and pick up some flowers and give them to her and apologize for your actions almost 3 years ago.

The thing about people that are insecure is that the things they fear most is almost always brought to fruition because of their own actions.  You fear losing her but your actions to make yourself feel better could very well be the things that drive her away.  Self fulfilling as it were.

If you cannot get over this one small insignificant thing that you instigated then you have not come near as far as you think.  After all she didn't have to tell you she talked to that guy but she did.  If anything she gets credit for being so open and honest with you, not these feelings you are dredging up. 

I don't recall if you are seeing a therapist but if not you need to so you can help getting to where you want to be and have a life with her forever.

Lost 

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If someone dropped the exclusivity bomb on me after only 2 weeks, even if I accepted, I'd still need to close up some old business.

It's not as though she had a chance to see this coming and start fading out on other guys as her interest in you had a natural chance to grow.

Consider that high-anxiety people often create their own problems in order to continually have a crisis to solve. That's a sign that you're not using your focus creatively enough to build goals and productive things to solve instead.

Dwelling upon this 'old news' about GF is not only unproductive, it's self-sabotage. You can do it if you want, it's not against the law, but question what you're getting out of it beyond a distraction from boredom.

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