Hello Dr. Nerdlove
I am currently in a friends with benefits situation with a girl I met on Tinder. I have been single for about 5 years now and this is my second try at the friends with benefits situation. I have to say, so far, I don’t think I’m wired to be in this kind of relationship.
I always saw myself as a monogamist so sleeping around was not never really my thing. The first time, the girl had just gotten out of a long relationship and wanted to be her own person for a while. I thought to myself, I’ve been single for too long this is perfect to figure out what I want ! I ended it after a week because she didn’t want to cuddle or kiss. And she had already met another guy in that week anyway so that didn’t fly with me. That was last year. Now I signed up on Tinder and met my current friend in my second week. I keep my Tinder active but I don’t go on it anymore because I don’t like to sleep around with a bunch of women. I like security and simplicity. But this girl, we hit it off right away. Same kind of humor, same hobbies etc… On the second date with her, she told me that she had a lot of bad experiences with her exes and that she was just dating and taking things slow. That put me off a bit but we get along so much I didn’t want not to see her again. A few days later she invited me to dinner at her place and I made a move. I’ll skip the details but needless to say we are very much in sync.
She told me again that she wasn’t looking for a relationship, I told her that even though I am, I still want to see her again because we really do have a wonderful time when we are together. We text every day, pretty much every morning and night, she loves it when I kiss, cuddle with and hug her. We watch tv like I love to do when I am in a relationship.
We have known each other for about a month now and here’s the big problem, even though I get a big part of what I want, she still says things like: ” I’m gonna regret when you meet someone and I have to let you go. I just can’t be in a relationship right now.” and other variants of this. I tell her that I don’t want to meet other people and that this is enough for me right now, and it is. She also tells me that she is done with dating sites because there are too many weirdos (no shit Sherlock) and that I am pretty much the only guy she is seeing. But I get very anxious because I don’t want her to meet someone else. I guess my problem is that I am split between an amazing girl with whom I get along amazingly that gives me almost everything I want, including amazing sex but with the thought in the back of my head that its only gonna explode in a horrible way sooner or later OR peace of mind and trying to find a better partner who actually is ready for a relationship…
Is there a way to change her mind ? Is there a hidden message I’m not seeing ? What’s your take on the situation ? Please help me figure this out… And thank you for your time.
Alright, Giz, first things first:
You can’t change another person’s mind. You can set things up so that the circumstances will allow her to change her mind, but you can’t force somebody to want something she doesn’t actually want. So let’s just drop that line of thinking and work on something that might actually be productive… and maybe lead to her deciding that she wants a relationship with you.
And we’re going to do that by examining just what it is she’s saying and doing. You seem to be missing some pretty heavy clues she’s dropping.
She’s out of a recent relationship and wants to take things slow. You’ve been respecting her desire to take things slow. That’s all to the good; you’re showing her that you respect her desires. You’re not pushing her boundaries, you’re being sweet and caring… basically, you’re showing that you’re potential boyfriend material while still having what is – ostensibly – a casual relationship.
Now, while she’s saying that she can’t be in a relationship right now, let’s look at what she’s doing. She’s told you that she’s given up on dating sites. She’s told you that you are the only person she’s seeing right now. And then there’s her phrasing: “I’m gonna regret when you meet someone and I have to let you go.” Look at that sentence very carefully. Notice who is leaving whom in this hypothetical scenario she’s worried about.
Here’s a hint: it ain’t her.
So what’s going on here? Well… I think what happened is that your snugglebunny laid down a position that she thought she wanted. She was – not unreasonably – not comfortable with the idea of being in a committed relationship so soon after the crap she went through with her exes. A month in, however, she’s starting to realize that she’s settling in with you. She likes what you two have together. She’s in all likelihood starting to wonder about maybe changing her mind.
However: you met on Tinder. While lots of people start long-term relationships with people they met there, Tinder still has a reputation as being primarily a hook-up app. It’s not unreasonable for someone to think that a guy she met off Tinder – one who agreed that they weren’t dating – might still be on the market. And I suspect that she feels like she can’t bring up maybe possibly being in a relationship with you. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that she’s worried that if she tries to broach the topic, it’s going to blow up the cozy little arrangement you two have. And so she’s sending up these little trial balloons – little ways of trying to sound out how you’re feeling about things.
So… I think that you and she may be closer to being on the same page than you think.
While I don’t know if you necessarily want to have the full Define The Relationship Talk, but you can certainly float a trial balloon of your own. You might casually mention that you’ve decided to get off Tinder. Or the next time she brings up the idea of “It’s going to suck when you find someone else”, you can tell her “Well I don’t know about that; I’m incredibly happy where I am,” without the “right now” qualifier. Saying “right now” or “for now” implies that you see an end coming. And I can promise you: if she’s worried that you still see this as a temporary thing, then “right now” is leaping out at her in full 3D and screeching violin chords.
Or there’s even the classic “Wait… were we supposed to be seeing other people? Because I haven’t met anyone who interests me even vaguely as much as you do.”
But the best advice I can give you is: enjoy what you have, right now. Every relationship ends until one doesn’t, and you have no real idea of knowing which it’s going to be. Even if you two do have the DTR conversation and agree that you’re committed, that doesn’t mean that things won’t end. Break-ups happen, regardless of the type of relationship you have.
But if you spend your time borrowing trouble from the future and dreading the possible end of the relationship, you won’t have the time or energy to appreciate what you do have. So take a deep breath and just savor things. Enjoy your time with your snugglebun. And if you find an opportunity to gently (gently) see if she’s feeling differently about dating… well, there you go.
(Although, for the record: pretty sure she wants to actually date you, Giz and she’s hoping you’ll make the first move.)
Hello Dr. NerdLove,
I have been in a relationship with my girlfriend for a little over 4 years now. Our relationship is one of those relationships where everyone considers our relationship the “perfect relationship”. My girlfriend and I fought pretty often about 2 years ago and we stopped, communicated and decided that neither of us would like to leave our relationship because we were so in love. Suddenly, we have began to argue again and honestly I didn’t even notice with my busy schedule and hectic life. Two nights ago I noticed that she was acting very weird so I asked her what’s wrong and she told me that she noticed that we’re fighting again. I love her very deeply and I do not want to lose her. She told me that she loves me so much but she promised herself all of her life that she will not stay in a relationship that she is too comfortable with, and she wants to be genuinely happy. I feel that I have not been showing her the proper attention that she deserves and this is because I have been almost depressed lately because I lost my job and college overwhelms me. When we were talking two nights ago she said that she didn’t know if she wanted to stay in this relationship because she was afraid that we would be wasting our time and only hurt ourselves more if we ever broke up because we tried once before to fix our relationship and here we are arguing again. We ended up agreeing to working on our relationship once more- mainly because I convinced her to try again.
Confused College Lesbian
I hate to say it, CCL, but I suspect that you’re going to be having this conversation again in the near future.
A fact of the matter is: no matter how good your relationship is, you’re going to fight. Put two or more people together in a relationship and conflict will inevitably arise. It’s part and parcel of being individuals with their own wants, needs and concerns. Those will inevitably bump up against the other’s wants and needs and concerns and then boom: conflict. Never fighting doesn’t mean that your relationship is healthy; it’s entirely possible for a couple in a toxic relationship to never fight because one person rides roughshod over the other or someone has just learned to swallow their problems because their partner will just never address it.
It’s in how you fight that defines whether or not a relationship is in trouble. If your fights end with good-faith attempts to resolve the problem? That’s generally a good sign… as long as things actually get fixed, anyway. But if it just becomes a question of who is Less To Blame? That ain’t good.
Now, it’s possible that your relationship has come to it’s natural end. If you’re having the same fights over and over again, no matter how many times you’ve tried to resolve things then it may be that you’ve hit the point where you just aren’t right for each other any more. Which sucks, but it does happen; couples do sometimes outgrow their relationships and nobody is truly at fault. It sucks, but it does happen. It doesn’t mean that your relationship failed; it just means that your relationship has come to it’s organic conclusion.
But it’s the little things you bring up that make me suspect that the real problem is that your girlfriend wants out. Bringing up how she doesn’t want to stay in a relationship where she’s too comfortable, worrying that if you don’t break up now, it’ll hurt worse in the future… those are usually hallmarks of someone trying to find causus beli to justify a break-up. Some people feel like they need a “good enough” reason to end things and go looking for something that they can point to that says “this is why I had to end it.” And as much as I hate to say it, it kind of sounds like something your girlfriend is doing.
As painful as it may be, if and when she brings up the topic again, it may be time to call the question. You may just need to say “Do you want to break up?” and see where things go from there.
I hope I’m wrong, CCL. Hopefully things’ll smooth out as you get past the turbulence in your personal life and feel less overwhelmed by college.
But it may be something to bring up if your girlfriend brings this up again.
I am trying to find inner confidence that breaking up with my near 3 year relationship with my demisexual girlfriend. We have no sex life what so ever; maybe a bit of touching here and there but nothing major. I feel no commitment from her towards my family, and she has a view that we are going to be married in 4 years or less because that is when we finish college. I have lost many friends over her and lost my family’s trust more than once. I have committed to her and her family time and care and it feels like I can’t move forward with her. I have to call her all the time I can and if I do something wrong she will indirectly make me say sorry or feel bad. Any advice for me?
Time To Pull The Trigger?
Sounds to me like you know what needs to be done, TTPTT. All that’s left is just to do it. You sound pretty miserable and your relationship itself sounds like it’s gone toxic.
So the best thing you can do is do it quickly and cleanly. Just be firm: you’re breaking up with her, this relationship isn’t right for you and you don’t want to be in it any more. You don’t need to justify things or give any “reason” that’s “good enough” for a break-up. Wanting it to be over is the only reason you need.
So remember: It’s over, you’re not happy and you want out, goodbye, I wish you the best.