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Am I right to feel wary moving forwards or am I overreacting?


MrMan1983
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You sound emotionally unavailable. The lack of talk about your feelings,  not communicating your needs, not validating or even addressing her feelings and concerns, the overworking and physical distancing all point to an avoidant attachment style or you just not being that into her. This may also be evidenced by your lack of long-term relationships for someone your age. She sounded quite anxious and the mix of the two attachment styles is toxic, because the anxious person often feels deprived of intimacy while the avoidant feels suffocated. I would look into this if I were you.

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Don't chase after her. Shes thinking you are the problem, when this whole time she had you jumping through hoops, making you doubt yourself. This relationship was out of balance. It wouldn't have made any difference if you said "I love you" or gave her more attention. It would have never been enough for her. Then you would feel guilt for wanting time for yourself. Never was going to work.

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On 2/18/2021 at 12:44 AM, MrMan1983 said:

Hi,

My girlfriend (31) and I (38) have been dating for just over 4 months now, we spend most weekends together as well as meeting once or twice each week so we've seen a lot of each other in that time compared to a lot of new couples (probably partly pandemic/living close too).

My girlfriend has a lot of lovely qualities, she's very caring, thoughtful, beautiful and has a great sense of humour, she's also always up for going out and doing things which are all what I look for in a relationship as well as that spark obviously. The negatives are that she can be quite jealous and insecure, this is even before the world has started back to normality again so we haven't been in social situations yet such as meeting friends or family, or out in pubs together.

In general we love each others company and 90% of the time things are great, however little things have seemed like red flags to me and slightly push me away in what seems to be every 3/4 weeks they pop up, often once I start relaxing and letting myself really enjoy things.

Examples being questioning me about a guy mate that had texted me (she accidentally thought it was a female name, not that having a female mate should be a prob), questions about who I'm texting, accusing me of still being on dating apps when I'm not (her phone came up with a dating app advert whilst connected to my wifi, technically doesn't even make sense), sometimes overreacting to things I say/takes things out of context even if it started as something positive, little silly things that push me away a bit. She did apologise after every single time which is a positive, but they have still played on my mind after seeing as it's such a short space of time.

Some of those may be because she's an anxious person, also she was cheated on in the past by a long term boyfriend who was texting other women however I have had the same situations yet I go into new relationships with a clean slate. We have spoken about the above issues and she is genuinely working on them however we still seem to have something pop up every few weeks which seems to be clouding my feelings/excitement about everything.

The latest was after an amazing valentines weekend together, and again starting to really relax and enjoy what we have again I randomly got a message asking if I care about her at all, which was completely out the blue to me seeing as we had such a nice weekend along with exchanging thoughtful presents (such as custom pics together) and being very affectionate towards each other.

I then went over to hers and we spoke about things, she felt I don't open up enough about my feelings with her and that it causes her to question if I even like her, to me this was news, I felt my actions make it obvious. I've always been fairly reserved with words and lead with my actions (partly due to being burned in the past for being too open). I did explain this which she seemed to understand, but I got the feeling like she might be expecting me to be using the L word by now which we haven't yet, however I don't feel in that place yet although I'm very fond of her.

Am I overreacting reading into those little things so much and letting them cloud my feelings? I think I'm partly wary of the fact I'm 38 and she's 31 neither of us want to waste our time, also is it strange for me to not be feeling quite 'in love' or falling in love after 4 months when it seems she might be? I do like her a lot and each time there's a peaceful patch and no misunderstandings my feelings grow a lot more, but I feel like they get batted back down again each little incident.

Maybe I have too high expectations and the above are completely normal misunderstandings? I may be 38 but I don't have many long term relationships to compare this to.

Appreciate your opinions 🙂

It sounds to me like there are differences in love languages a bit, she needs those words or affirmation and reassurance, and I think even more so because she is an anxious character. Her fears that stemmed from her past relationships are currently affecting this one, and I see how being accused of things you didn’t do hurts, because it conveys that she doesn’t trust you. It feels almost to me like she’s punishing you for what the last guy did.

 

I think that putting expectations on when you can say the “L” word is also throwing a spanner in the works. Personally I feel like four months is way to early to use this word because I believe we fall in love with familiarity and deep bonds time to form. 
 

I know you say she has apologised and is working at it. I thinks it’s either you wait it out with her and work to build this trust and to build a more secure relationship, or you cut ties because her anxious attachment style and accusatory behaviour is preventing you from really feeling relaxed and happy in this relationship. 
 

I hope you can tell her bluntly and honestly how much her behaviour is affecting you. You articulated it well. 
 

P

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On 2/17/2021 at 8:44 AM, MrMan1983 said:

after an amazing valentines weekend together... I randomly got a message asking if I care about her at all

She's nuts.  RED FLAGGGGGGGG RED FLAG. When people ask you things like that out of context, it's a way to gaslight you to manipulate you. An insecure person may not ask, and instead fill out the boards asking if you like her.  A person who is turning into a controlling person asks, "if you care about her at all."

She will only get worse. And no, this is not normal behavior.

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At the end of the day, your primary relationship has to be more peaceful and more easy going.  So many things in life have to take priority as priorities shift. like birthdays, work demands etc. That's just life. its immature to think otherwise and to impose demands on time like that. 

You want a partner that understands things come up and is confident enough to trust you and the relationship will even out. 

You had a lot of plans and a lot of options for her. She was making it a power struggle.

You did the right thing. And now you know, for the next woman, don't let issues linger. Put your foot down. kindly but still down. Learn to recognize when a person is not capable of being what you need. 

All the things you liked about her. Yes. Those are great but those are the easy things. Compassion, empathy, understanding, supportive of you... those are the rare gems. 

Some people, both men and women, have anxiety and insecurities. It's on THEM to work to control them.  Not for you to jump through hoops. 

She needs to fix herself. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Lambert said:

At the end of the day, your primary relationship has to be more peaceful and more easy going.  So many things in life have to take priority as priorities shift. like birthdays, work demands etc. That's just life. its immature to think otherwise and to impose demands on time like that. 

You want a partner that understands things come up and is confident enough to trust you and the relationship will even out. 

You had a lot of plans and a lot of options for her. She was making it a power struggle.

You did the right thing. And now you know, for the next woman, don't let issues linger. Put your foot down. kindly but still down. Learn to recognize when a person is not capable of being what you need. 

All the things you liked about her. Yes. Those are great but those are the easy things. Compassion, empathy, understanding, supportive of you... those are the rare gems. 

Some people, both men and women, have anxiety and insecurities. It's on THEM to work to control them.  Not for you to jump through hoops. 

She needs to fix herself. 

 

 

Yep good advice and agreed, today I’ve felt a welcome feeling of relief now I’m thinking much more clearly. 
 

It’s definitely made it clearer what behaviours I will definitely be avoiding in future instead of hoping for the best! 

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Oh gosh bit of a follow up to all this, the other day she text asking if we could at least still be friends, I said yes we can be friends (I didn’t want to be completely cold about it all) but had assumed it would be in time. 

Today she asked if I could come re-fit a fire alarm on her ceiling we took off  (she had one above cooker that kept going off, has another in hallway), it’s her tenancy inspection tomorrow and she has no tall or guy mates so I agreed to pop by real quick to do it... got there and of course she had made herself look smoking hot (literally beautiful), then she’d bought a game I had said I liked a while back which was quite sweet and was excitedly like “please stay for one game”. I felt too bad to say no and stayed for one game.

This was the version of her that I liked from most of the time we were together, fun, light hearted and smiley she seemed genuinely excited to see me however the inevitable awkward questions eventually arrived asking me how I was getting on in my week without her, I just said I had been getting on with it (which I had) but probably came off a bit cold but was the truth.  Asked her the same she said not very well that she’s missed me 😞 

She asked how often we can meet and play games as mates too, which I found kind of awkward. 

Then was asking if I was back on dating apps yet (which I’m not). She said her work had given her the week off and said “because I’ve basically been dumped for PMSing” in a jokey (probably not jokey) way, so basically hinting to me that was what caused her behaviour and that I ended it just for that 🙈 ...and was also digging me a bit (with a jokey tone) for apparently over analysing things. I must point out it was said what seemed in jest, not in a cold serious way, and amongst other light hearted convo/banter these were more little comments here and there.

I guess she’s still hurting which is understandable given it’s only been under a week.

I didn’t take the bait on any of this, I did say I’m not on dating apps, but I didn’t get into some exchange about the PMSing thing or details about why we broke up, I just changed the subject as best I could each time it got awkward. She was also saying she might move somewhere up North to be closer to family, wasn’t sure if it was to test my response but I said I can see why that would make sense if her mates and family are there. 

It could of been very easy for me to kiss and make up, give in to temptation and let things happen but I avoided that. 

Was that the correct way to handle it, or should I of spoken to her more properly about things? I felt like I was a little cold in some responses but I didn’t want to give false hope yet wanted to be kind too. 

In the end I made my excuses and left but felt weird after, it had the desired effect of making me miss her warmth and company a bit but I guess that’s human nature.

I was completely at peace with my decision before. 

I guess on the flip side it hasn’t been a bitter end but I don’t know what to say the next time she inevitably asks to meet as mates, probably just say it’s far too soon for meeting up as it’s all still raw. 

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45 minutes ago, MrMan1983 said:

I guess on the flip side it hasn’t been a bitter end but I don’t know what to say the next time she inevitably asks to meet as mates, probably just say it’s far too soon for meeting up as it’s all still raw. 

This, in a nutshell. 

I think, deep down, you know she's a bit of an emotional live wire—since, well, that's why you broke up and because, even at her most chill, like this last hang, that live wire was hitting the puddle and throwing up little sparks of drama. 

In your shoes? I'd be putting some very real distance between the two of you. I get wanting things to be smooth, amicable, and that you don't want to appear in her eyes as some kind of cold-hearted dude. Thing is? At your warmest what did she see? A guy about to cheat on her, a guy who didn't care, so trying to appease whatever that is inside of her has already proven to be a black hole. 

Tough stuff, always. But let her know that you need some more time to heal, that you wish her only the best. If there's a genuine friendship to be had here, it's not going to come from these sorts of interactions. 

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11 hours ago, MrMan1983 said:

I didn’t take the bait.

Are you sure? You did go there and play handy man...then stayed to play games.

Are you sure you didn't step squarely into her friendzone?

It seems like that's where she wants you but not where you want to be.

 

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13 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

Are you sure? You did go there and play handy man...then stayed to play games.

Are you sure you didn't step squarely into her friendzone?

It seems like that's where she wants you but not where you want to be.

 

Bait as in get into an exchange, as for the rest you could be right I likely did the wrong thing by staying (was trying to not be cold and not hurt her more) however I got more of an impression that she wanted to be reconcile like old times and be more than just friends - I could be wrong on that, it’s just how I felt.

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11 hours ago, bluecastle said:

This, in a nutshell. 

I think, deep down, you know she's a bit of an emotional live wire—since, well, that's why you broke up and because, even at her most chill, like this last hang, that live wire was hitting the puddle and throwing up little sparks of drama. 

In your shoes? I'd be putting some very real distance between the two of you. I get wanting things to be smooth, amicable, and that you don't want to appear in her eyes as some kind of cold-hearted dude. Thing is? At your warmest what did she see? A guy about to cheat on her, a guy who didn't care, so trying to appease whatever that is inside of her has already proven to be a black hole. 

Tough stuff, always. But let her know that you need some more time to heal, that you wish her only the best. If there's a genuine friendship to be had here, it's not going to come from these sorts of interactions. 

Good solid advice, thanks. I shall try and keep my distance more. It’s so difficult when you see them in a good light again to not lure yourself into questioning your own decision too. Must remind myself of how it all felt at the time though. 

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On 2/28/2021 at 4:58 PM, MrMan1983 said:

Thank you, I needed to hear this was going out my mind hearing mates say all these things are normal. 

People normalise stuff like this all the time and as a result we end up in relationships that just aren't right! Trust your gut. (But learn from any communication shortcuts you might have made - unconsciously or not -  that made this situation more painful than it needed to be :))

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