This is kinda weird for me writing into a website an all, but when you need help… you need help.
I’ve been dating this girl for three months and we have our fair share of fighting and our fair share of sex. If we’re not doing either of those we’re kinda nothing. She has a problem conveying what she is feeling or what she wants from me (non-sexually), but when she tells me whatever is on her mind, it’s always “You aren’t romantic” or “show me some affection” or my favorite “All my friends talk about their relationships and they are perfect while our’s sucks. All we do is fight.” Though when I asked her if they actually said “We don’t fight at all” she said no. Go figure. I do have an issue with PDA. I’ve been in a few past relationships where it felt forced and I never really got into PDA because of these few other girls. It makes me feel weird and awkward. I can hold her hand, but it starts to feel uncomfortable after 6 minutes and 47… 48… 49… 50 seconds. She knows this, but she still tries to force it on me anyway knowing I feel discomfort.
We fall into classic situations of bad communication in our fights. It’s always my argument “you make me feel like you don’t care how I feel” and her’s “I don’t know if you love me and care about me.” She wants me to consider her feelings more than my own. Which makes sense seeing how it’s a relationship and you do have to put her first in some aspects, but if I even mention how I feel about anything having to do with us she gives me the same response every time… “you are so selfish.”
I need some advice for getting over my own awkwardness when it comes to PDA and what exactly does a woman mean by “you’re not romantic.” We go out, we have quality time, but I’m still not “romantic” or “affectionate.
I also wants some advice for her and the whole “selfish” thing because when I try to explain to how I feel like she doesn’t care about my feelings she takes it the wrong way and calls me selfish… again.
Give it to me straight Doc,
OK, let me see if I have this straight: you two fight all the time, she judges your relationship by her perception of other people’s, dismisses your concerns with “you’re so selfish”, she knows how you feel about PDA and tries to force you to do it anyway…
Why the fuck are the two of you still dating, exactly?
First things first: you’re uncomfortable with public displays of affection. Fine and dandy. There’s no law that says everybody has to be willing to crawl down each other’s throats in public at a moment’s notice. Some folks just aren’t comfortable being demonstrative in public. You’ve had some bad experiences that’ve left you a little gun-shy… not really a problem, assuming you’re with someone who understands and is willing to make allowances. If this is something you’re bothered by, you may want to just take things slowly and carefully start to desensitize yourself; hold her hand for as long as you feel comfortable, let go and try again a little later. Let it build slowly. If it’s actually a crippling anxiety, you should really consider talking to a therapist1 about it.
But for the rest…
“You’re not romantic enough” is a vague and nebulous term and could mean anything. For some women, “You’re not romantic enough” means that the two of you aren’t going through the same routines that you did when you were first dating and it was all flowers, compliments and little nice gestures for no other reason than you thought it would make her smile. For others, it means “Our sex life is boring.” For still others it means ”Why don’t we have a relationship like Edward and Bella”?
So if you want to know what your girlfriend means by “you’re not romantic enough”, the best thing you could do is ask her.
Well… second best. Because frankly, the best thing you could do is break up with her.
You sound miserable and she sounds like the cause. Once again, just to make sure it sinks in: She’s not listening to what you have to say, she’s refusing to compromise, she insists on making on you do things that she knows makes you uncomfortable and she’s blaming you for apparently not being able to read her mind.
This is not the recipe for a happy or successful relationship.
Dump her and move the hell on to someone better. Preferably someone who will actually take your feelings into consideration and work with you – gently and slowly – to help you feel more comfortable about being more affectionate in public.
Hello Dr. Nerdlove,
I’ve never written in, though there are times before that I probably should have, and I’ve read your blog off and on since it started. Anyways, I write now because I need advice, and an impartial judge because I can’t trust my own judgement.
To the meat now: I recently arrived at college (two weeks ago), and just now, I did something that I had never considered before; I pledged to a fraternity. Now, I’m a geek, and while I know I’m flawed, I have finally managed to get to a point where, god dammit, I like myself and my life. I don’t drink heavily, I don’t dress like a frat guy, and just by hanging around them for a while, I can easily tell that I don’t talk like a frat guy. In short, I don’t fit the frat mold.
Throughout high school, I was the shy little geek who had a few friends, but outside of that, I’d rather be left alone. Through a personal epiphany at the end of Senior year, I realized that I had just wasted four years of social experience by being so stupidly introverted. Since coming to college, I have changed my behavior (partly thanks to your blogs.)
Now, my question to you is simple; did I just join a fraternity because I’m afraid of repeating my own mistakes, or am I just freaking out about joining because in terrified of the new experience? I know there’s no way you could really answer without actually knowing me, but any insight you could lend here would be greatly appreciated, as I’m kinda freaking out here. Thanks for your time!
Homo Fraternus Minimus
I think it’s a little of column a and a little of column b. I think you decided to join a fraternity because you want a guaranteed social network that will almost certainly expose you to all the things you think you missed out on in high-school. I also think you’re freaking yourself out because you’re a nerd who joined a fraternity and nerds “aren’t supposed to do that”.
Now I know that frat-boys are stereotypically low-browed, sub-intellectual, binge-drinking, date-raping douchebags in polo shirts and baseball caps whose only purpose in life is to get fucked up and bang some tail brah. And in fairness… well, yeah, there’s a shitload of them who are exactly like that. There’re bars on 6th Street I don’t go to mostly because of the high level of UT frat Brosephs screaming for shots.
But there are fraternities and there are fraternities. For all of the Delta Tau Chi wanna-bes out there there are other fraternities out there that aren’t all about incipient alcoholism and questionable attitudes towards women. There are frats based around mutual religion, around ethnicity, philanthropic goals, educational pursuits… just because the club has Greek letters in the name doesn’t mean that it’s automatically a home for wayward assholes. Being in a fraternity brings many benefits with it as well; joining a fraternity plugs you into a community you might not otherwise have been a part of. Most frat members don’t call their fellow members “brother” out of irony; a lot of long and lasting friendships develop that way. Being a member in a fraternity can also provide valuable networking opportunities later in life; members of the same fraternity often go out of their way to help their brothers.
Do I think joining a frat is an inherently bad thing? No, not really. I wouldn’t have… but then again, the point was moot; I went to a school that didn’t have a Greek system. I would just say that make sure you’re joining a fraternity for the right reasons – they seem like a genuinely cool group of people that you would be proud to associate with, their organizational goals match up with your personal values and that you don’t feel pressured to be someone you aren’t or don’t want to be.
And hey, while you’re getting settled in to college, I’ve written a handy guide that may help you out.
- Remember: Doctor NerdLove is not really a doctor [↩]