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Confused about "progress"


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Sorry this is kinda long, but I would really appreciate any help I can get.



My girlfriend is turning 23 and I'm (male) turning 27 shortly. We've been going out for nearly 3 years. We've been living together for 18 months. I love her very much and have always put her first. We didn't live the most healthy of relationships because we lived out of eachothers pockets for most of it. It caused problems with friends and rows between us, etc, as that kind of thing would. We've had very little time apart socialising with respective friends, etc, I much preffered spending time with her anyway. My girlfriend also has issues at home (especially with her father), and on top of stress with work and I know sometimes our relationship caused her strain, she subsequently went on anti-depressants last July. These for the most part seem to have helped her. I am very much by her side and help her with everything that causes her stress. I work in the same area as she, and have more experience, so helping her with work is not a problem. Although instead of doing the work for her, I try and give her the confidence so she can succeed on her own.


Some good news in our relationship is that a few months ago, she got very stressed with work and on top of that she couldn't cope with our negative lifestyle, so she flipped. She had several issues with our relationship and the way we lived (not spending enough time apart, etc). I started attending councelling (because my dependence on her is directly related to my childhood). Anyway I am still going to councelling, she was also going and she just stopped (eventhough she wasn't scheduled to do so). She is not going back for the simple reason that she cancelled a session before on short notice and her councellor was quite annoyed at the fact (from a business perspective). She now doesn't want to go back to her councellor because she is afraid of seeing her after she knows she was annoyed. I have been making progress in councelling myself and I benchmark this on the fact that my girlfriend says she can see real progress. Our sex life is terrible, we've had sex twice in the last month, it used to me much more regular. This issue was raised in my girlfriends councelling and it turned out to be a poor self image she had of herself. For now I am happy that she can at least acknowledge this, because she blamed it on so many other things, the list seems endless. I used to get bothered by this, but because putting pressure on her or making her feel guilty only makes matters worse, I say nothing.


Now we work together and live together, so outside that (which is evenings & weekends), she does spend a lot of time with her sister or her only female friend, she's had trouble keeping friends (all through her life). Sometimes I feel like I have to plan around her freetime schedule or have to come up with better activities to do, so she will spend time with me. Now I don't always say this to her, and for the most part I put myself straight and tell myself that it isn't right, and do nothing. She spends a lot of time at home with her mother. So a very typical day (5 days out of the week) we will get up, go to work, come home, have dinner, go to her sisters or parents and come home with just enough time to go to bed and get up for work again. She wants to do this and I can't exactly stop her. If I say to her, can we not go tonight, her reply is always "you do your thing and I'll do mine". There are times I wish we could do things together, instead of work and play house.


The Story

Sorry for the long post so far, here is the story...

A few days ago we had another argument because I asked her not to go to her sisters and we go out together instead. She threw at me that I was falling back in to my co-dependence mode. I denied this, because I think the relationship is getting unbalanced in the opposite direction and I just want a bit of give and take. It's like she is not happy socialising with me (or my friends), only with her sister or her friends. She nearly views the former as work and she can't relax.


So yesterday morning she said to me, we should get out today and do things. She suggested I call one of my mates, so we could all go out together, so I did. As soon as I organised a place for us to meetup, she asked me to drop her off to her parents and that she would join me and my mates shortly. She never did and even my friends asked "is she joining us or what?". So I spent the afternoon calling her and trying to keep her in the loop as our plans evolved. My mates wanted to go out for a few drinks last night, so I said to her "listen we're heading out later, can I pick you up". She said that she didn't realise that I wanted to go out that night. I told her that we were invited out and that I thought she might like that, as opposed to sitting at home on our own. Because of the anti-depressants she is off alcohol, so I suggested that I keep the car and not drink also, and that way she wouldn't feel uncomfortable being the only sober person. I've done this many many times. She told me that she couldn't leave her sisters (where she was at that stage) because she was making food and doing her sister's hair. So instead of going out drinking, I had soft drinks instead and took the car, so I could be more mobile if she changed her mind. While with my friends, they insisted that I needed a drink because I was uneasy, distracted and not enjoying myself. So I called her again and told her I was bringing my car home and asked her if she wanted to join me with my mates (who I should add had their girlfriends with them also, it wasn't like a guys night or anything like that). I repeated to her that if she wanted to join me I wouldn't drink either, but she still insisted that she wasn't going to go out; and even though she told me to go out, her tone was completely uneasy with the idea. So I brought the car home and she and I talked. She told me that she didn't want to go out and that if she had known earlier in the afternoon that I was going to go out that night, she wouldn't have spent time away from me in the afternoon. I personally think that's not right, because that's like she is happy to spend time away from me as long as she has control over when/how we spend our time apart, but as soon as I make a decision to spend time apart it's not cool. So I told her so, and she disagreed completely. She said that I'm free to spend time with my friends, just like she does with her family, but that I didn't give her enough notice.


So I went out, had 2 beers and came home 2.5 hours later (3 hours before she expected me, to surprise her and because I just couldn't get her off my mind). When I came back she didn't care I was early and was extremely annoyed with me, but said that she was more annoyed with the situation than me. She said that she wishes she could drink and I sympathised with her, but I offered and always have not drank myself so she doesn't feel like an odd one out. She insisted that was not the point and it wasn't fair, and that she felt extremely hurt that I put my friends before her. So I asked her, "why all of this, considering you are the one that argued with me on many occasions before, telling me that we don't spend enough time apart". I mean I've only recently started to get my head straight with the idea and now I feel like she is not cool with it. I'm confused.


So now she is gone away for the day with her mother and won't be back until late tonight. Tomorrow she will be gone all afternoon, and most of the evening with her mother and sister. She planned these excursions days ago, and said that I clearly dont' want to spend time with her considering I knew she was going to be gone away for these two days and I left her to go out with my friends last night. I don't think that's fair because I have no control over her choosing to spend 2 days away from me and the fact that she wouldn't join me last night.


What do you think? What should I do? - I am perfecly able to sit down and talk with her, but she flips depending on the issue for discussion. I know that she made me out to be a right bastard to her mother and sister. I saw her mother this morning when they were leaving and she asked me in a very stern way "did I enjoy myself last night?", I told her I didn't and came home early.


Please help us

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Hey anotherperson, it certainly seems as if she is giving you mixed messages. I think she really needs to figure out what she wants and expects from you. Other than that,she'll always accuse you of doing the wrong thing.


Not being able to communicate with a partner makes it very difficult to work through any issues. I think the communication itself is an issue that you need to focus on.

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