Girlfriend asked for space.

Postby cmac86 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:22 pm

Hello guys,

My first post.

Where do I start..

I've been with my girlfriend for 11 years. Weve spend all that time never really apart. The odd occasion here and there. To try explain how much I love her, words would cut it. We've had the best relationship from the beginning, very rarely argued and always loved how things were between us. I love her family dearly also. They are the most amazing people a person could meet.
We all get on so well together and have had some great memories over the years.

The last 2 months have been the worst of my life. To me everything was perfect and so for her. After a last holiday at the end of February something just changed in her and it's killing me to see. I've suggested it to be depression but she doesn't think so. She seems really sad and nothing makes her happy. The most hurtful thing for me is she's the most incredible person I've ever met, beautiful, caring and thoughtful. She never deserved anything like thid. She understands me and I understand her. I've lost apart of me. Actually feel I've lost everything that made me happy.

It's been tough the last few months but I've tried my best to stay strong. I've failed a few times and broke down as did she. I offered to give her time away at her mum and dad's because I thought it would help her figure things out. I thought myself to be a strong person but I'm not all that strong at all when I see what this is doing to her, and us. She's in bits because of it and always worrying about me. I try my best to pretend I'm fine when I'm staying at my mum's home but tbh I'm really struggling.

The last few nights have led to conversations about us taking time apart. I've bearly seen her much in the last 2 months but I've trying to show her how much I love her by letting her take time away. Anyways, I think we sort of agreed that we'd have some separation and she'll go to her mum's to see if she can figure herself out. If I'm honest I didn't want this but I never told her that because I didn't want to create more problems for us or seem selfish. She is the one going through alot worse than what I am.
I love her more than life itself. It's cliche I know but I'm hurting so badly it's out of my control. I'm trying my best to keep upbeat but nothing is working. I'm just heartbroken, mainly because I don't want to see her like this and the other reason because I know we deserve to be together.

I've told her so many times that I will try my hardest to help her and accept anything she chooses to do. I've said that I don't want to let this ruin us because we are perfect for each other. She knows this as well as I do. I told her I'm not leaving and I'm staying around, be that from afar.

This has only been going on for 2 months and there wasnt any previous things like this. It's the first time it's happened to us and it's ruining my life. I can't sleep, eat or be happy. I'm trying my best for my family and for her. My mum isn't well and I'm trying to look after her to take my mind of things.

My ultimate goal is to see my girlfriend happy again. To think that I'd not be spending the rest of my life with her is mental torture. If in the end she doesn't want to be with me I'll accept if I know she'll become happy and healthy again.

Sorry for the long post.

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Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:55 pm

She is rethinking the relationship, meaning she is rethinking her priorities in life and if those priorities or expectations are being met.

So, what are her actual expectations? Not necessarily what she has told you, but what she has expressed.

-1- Marriage?
-2- Kids?
-3- Career?
-4- Emotional/sex?
-5- Spiritual?
-6- Financial?
-7- Other?

What is missing from her life? What has she told you more than once she has wanted, but for some reason those expectations are put aside or never met?
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Postby cmac86 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:11 pm

Thanks for the reply although I find it a bit rude and to the point.

Let's go over the points so you know and understand my relationship.

1- Marriage? She always said she never wanted marriage. She and I aren't ones for the big wedding and all that. That we agreed on. We are still young. Marriage may come but it will be low key and its not a big thing in our relationship. No pressure

-2- Kids? Still young. We have been doing lots of traveling because kids or not on our minds at this time. Lots of time to decide on that.

-3- Career? Her career is I believe to take off soon. She has a degree and a master's but after a change in thinking doesn't want an office job. We suggested a different career path. She loves what she is doing. It's what she believed she should of done from the start.

-4- Emotional/sex? Sex and our relationship in these areas were great. We enjoyed it so much (at the moment you can imagine there is not much, that doesn't bother me I want her to be better. It's the last thing on my mind and I'm sure hers)

-5- Spiritual? I do not know what you mean by this. Her life and ours in general has been great. Great parents and family network. Lots of holidays and getaways. Spending lots of time with family and friends. She spending time with her friends and I with mine. Are friend network are all close. Her cousin is a good pal of mine and we are all great. Getting out, exercise and walking out dog.

-6- Financial? Money is not a hasn't been and won't be.

-7- Other? Other meaning what? That doesn't work as a question because I suppose there could be something else that I am missing. That is why I am here.

She has repeated nothing to me about anything that would stand out. We have a very close relationship were we promised we would talk to each other if problems came. If there was something she would have told me. Unless there's something she's not telling me. I do not know.

I didn't reply to you last night because I was angry at how you worded your post. I believe that you could be a little more sympathetic towards the people you are replying to. I am here asking for some insight and or help to see if I can figure out the problem.

I do not mean to come off rude. If I have I apologize. I just want to try understand what is going on and assumed coming here could help me relate to other people's stories and for me to get some insight into how this has happened.

Maybe I was wrong to assume that.
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Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:21 pm

cmac86 wrote:-7- Other? Other meaning what? That doesn't work as a question because I suppose there could be something else that I am missing. That is why I am here.

So you believe you have an explanation for the other six possibilities. Fair enough.

-7- is a catch all. The first six are common areas where couples often struggle.

Yes, what are you missing? What expectation are you not meeting? When you ask her, what does she say? What is it about her life that she believes is unfulfilled?

You won't get the answer in here. You will get the answer from her. You already have the answers for the first six possibilities. So what is she not telling you?

Instead of me coming up with #8, #9, #10 possibility and you having the answer, ask your girlfriend.

Her needing space is a very clear sign something is missing in her life and she believes your relationship is possibly holding her back from obtaining what she believes she is missing. If she says she doesn't know, it is a good indication she just doesn't want to tell you. She knows what she wants, she knows what she is feeling, but maybe it is hard for her to tell you because it will hurt you.
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Postby HumanB » Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:31 am

I'm curious as to what was "rude" about richards reply. Was it just that he didn't express sympathy? Why is that rude? You presented a problem, he suggested a way to look at that which (he believes) might help you. ??
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Postby Livetowin » Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:36 pm

The one mistake people often make in a relationship is believing they speak for both sides. No one does. You only control yourself. Relationships are also very transient, especially when both parties start out fairly young. Identity and contentment are not a universal measure that two people agree on. What satisfies you may be something that feels very different to another.

The other misunderstanding is believing there's a villain in the process that got you here. Often times there is not. When we see things slipping away for no apparent reason, the first place we often look is for oversight. " Did I say it wrong here? Did I not give enough time or attention here? Should I have been more understanding there?" That's our heart trying to take back control from a situation where we were completely content and happy. That's why you say you will assume the role she "needs".

It's a tough spot to be in and I immensely sympathize with your emotional dilemma. From all accounts, it does sound like you're trying to find that high ground to deal with this matter rationally and keep selfish aspirations to the side. But be careful what you hand out during this event. I say that because our emotional instincts are a tricky devil. When we see no apparent slight for the sudden void in our life, we can wear convincing masks to the world that say we are handling this well. But somewhere deep down inside you is a raw emotion of disappointment that is being fed. It might be more subconscious right now because you're still operating on surface emotions in hopes this crisis will pass.

But what if it doesn't? You're internal check list of resentment has already begun auditing the damage. And before you let your outward energy of goodwill and eternal sacrifice get the better of you, I encourage you to shorten that list by taking attention off her and turning it back on yourself. Remember - You only control yourself. You have a life that is YOURS. As much as we often define ourselves by who is in the picture with us, ultimately we are best define by what we see when it is just us. Don't forget you're every bit as important as what she is in this relationship. If she can walk away from you because she needs "space", then its time for you to take two steps back and reassess her net-worth in your life as well. You do not want this patched back together with servitude. She still has to be there for you as well.

There's also another perspective I want you to consider. Sorry for the long read but I feel it should be stated here. I've been married 25 years to my wife. I was VERY MUCH a person like you when I was growing up. I had girlfriends for long stretches, but they always had a self life. When I met my future wife, two years became four years, then came six. At this point I was past the expiration date to comparable partners. This was where I discovered I had gotten myself into a bit of conditioning in my life style.

I was so obsessed with being "free" to do as I wished, that I never really considered any alternative that would satisfy me. I felt (and still do) that marriage for most people is an imaginary tool to fix insecurities they're not willing to face on their own. That's why so many people get divorced. They place too much emphasis on the packaging and not enough on the contents, which is why so many are doomed from day one.

But by contrast, living a single life with what amounts to a friend with benefits carries it's own pitfalls. At some point you become conditioned to believe, " I want something different." And that is the mind set you have fostered. It may not be something that is consciously considered, but it IS in your dialogue. Love and marriage do not make relationships last. Those are myths. What makes them last is self identity and communication. If one is lacking, the union suffers for it, no matter how we package it.

But what I discovered for myself is that lasting relationships require a statement. Something that says it's no longer just about you. Now some would say, "Oh wow. He's telling him to get married to fix this crisis." No I'm not. I never said that. And I didn't get married because we had a crisis. But I did discover something profound about the process of doing it. It says you're not afraid of commitment. Getting married does not make you part of the same club. . Like all relationships, each one is different. So it's unrealistic to look at the bad practitioners of this process and say, "They all turn out like this." That's b*llshit.

Marriage certificates don't stop you from being who it is you are. Quite the contrary. They are a constant reminder of who you actually are. When we got married, it was just another day. It was on a Saturday and we were having this tremendous party with family from both sides. We were the same people and felt the same exact way about each other the day before as we did the day after. The pomp and circumstance was for our families. They loved it. We enjoyed it but no one felt like tomorrow would be a "new" day. We simply made a statement. And yes, it DID recondition me to stop thinking about freedom as just what I did on MY time.

I have as much freedom today to walk away as I did before we were married. I'm here because I want to be here. By all accounts she seems to be the same way, but I can only control myself. So that's what I do. So did the institution of marriage save us? No it didn't. We each already had lived that part of our lives that gave us our identity as individuals. We can speak for ourselves at every turn. But our relationship needed a definition as well. Something that said, it's not status quo with the rest. So deciding on a statement DID keep us from old conditioning that could have told us to move on in separate paths to repeat the same process we were familiar with.

We as human beings share one significant characteristic - we are all creatures of habit. Don't kid yourself and think time served is just an empty statistic. A six month relationship and six year relationship carry an entirely different set of truths because you're both at different stages of knowing one another and how you relate in that union. But if you ultimately never define your relationship as anything more than time spent with a "significant other", "soul mate", or "partner", then your habitual past may be looking for the same end game as the others that came before. Co-existing "moments" is only sharing experience, but not growing union if your relationship is not defined. Sometimes relationships need a statement so each of you know you're actually not looking for an expiration date. Mental conditioning is like a Ferris wheel. You can be on that ride forever if you don't do something to consciously make it stop. Funny how the mind plays tricks on you. And people think only marriage does that. Think again. A single life carries it's own traps in relationships.

So your partner has jumped ship. Parked it. Needs a pit stop. The emotional equation in this is complex, but the factual side is very simple. If you know without exception who you are and you feel she knows herself, then that means both of you are in tune with your emotions. That's where identity comes from. Loving and respecting one another is all good and fine, but that is not the life blood of a relationship. You have to know what you want. Somewhere is this relationship she began to ask, " Is this everything?" Did the relationship need a statement or is she simply wanting to move on? If she has a strong self-identity she already knows whether she wants to move on. The emotions of saying it might be hard, but it doesn't change the facts. So those are the questions you need to ask her.

You need to ask, " Do you feel like we're just doing time together without definition? Do we need, as a couple, to make a statement? Or is this something much deeper and you simply want to move on?" A defined person can give you an answer to the latter question. The former is something the two of you need to explore together. But before you ask these questions, sit yourself down and reach an inner understanding you will accept the answers which ever direction they go. I wish all the best.
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