Let’s see how good you are. Here is my story.
I separated from my wife of 21 years a year ago march and filed for divorce. In
October I met a wonderful woman who was also separated from her husband of 10 years living half way across the country from him. They have been separated for more than 3 years. She is currently working on her MBA as a family and marriage counselor.
She knows exactly what she wants in a man and I thought it was me. But in July she broke up with me because I didn’t make her feel safe (no not in the form of violence), I guess something made her doubt spending the rest of her life with me. Coming out of an abusive marriage I would react defensively anytime we had an argument. Being in another state with no family and few friends what she needs most is someone she can count on and be her best friend. We never screamed or yelled or name called but we did have several arguments.
I started going to counseling just before we broke up and she attended once with me before she broke up. The breakup was amicable, she did say she wanted to be friends, I told her there was no way I could do that at least not now. We had a little contact over the next few weeks (her birthday, I took her and her daughter out). As I was getting confused I finally told her I had to cut all contact for now. Knowing her need for someone she can trust and who will be there for her after 2 weeks I reached out to her, and got her a job interview where I work. That was 2 weeks ago; we have since been out twice as friends which is extremely hard on me.
She does know I want more out of it, and I have continued with the therapy (which I highly recommend) as well as reading several relationship books. I have not been needy or pushy and she contacts me as much as I contact her.
So what do you think does it sound like she just wants to be friends or is she opening up and what am I to say to get my girlfriend back? We spend more and more time on the phone every day; sometimes up to an hour (thank God for unlimited calls).
Do I just need to keep doing what I’m doing or do I try something else?
Sorry to hear about your current situations. I’ll keep it short: here is what NOT to say. Don’t say anything. Yup, you heard me. Talking on the phone for hours will put you in the friend zone, which I suspect you’re already in.
You’re obviously an intelligent man, but what intelligent males, such as yourself, never could fully grasp, is that you’re thinking too logically. Take a step back, man up a little, start dating new women and forget about this girl you’re chasing for a year or so. If the stars are aligned, she’ll be crawling back to you.
I’d like to take the opportunity to respond to your email, and I really appreciate it!
1. How old are you: 24
2. Where are you from: Southern California
3. Are you still friends with your ex: only on Facebook! I haven’t spoken to her at
all since her decision
4. How long were you together with your ex: 4 1/2 years
5. How long ago was your breakup: a little over a month ago
6. Do you consider yourself single now: yes
7. Does your ex consider herself single now: yes
8. Do you have kids together: no
9. Do you think your breakup was caused by cultural differences: no
10. Name 3 things or hobbies you both liked: traveling, skiing, wine tasting
11. Name 3 things or hobbies that you like but she didn’t: my taste in music,
fishing/camping, stupid comedies
We met about halfway through college, and after graduating, spent the last couple years in different cities (we both had to live at home for a while, and she’s going to school for three years in Los Angeles). We’re about a two-hour’ drive from each other, which was very manageable, since I can work from home and drive up any weekend she’s reasonably free.
She wrote me a detailed email 6 months ago telling me the relationship was over because I didn’t care enough about her and her friends, and I missed her birthday weekend last year (family obligations on my end that I didn’t communicate well to her!).
We kept talking for the next couple weeks though, and by my instinctively giving her space and not begging/persuading much, she pretty quickly invited me up to see her. She explained she still has feelings for me, but things need to change. I need to be more open with her and communicate better, and she needs to stop holding things inside for so long, until they explode into huge things like this.
We had a great spring – I was calling her regularly again, I took her to Paris for a week, we went on great little weekend trips to see places and friends. But this summer was very stressful for her with school and family issues, and I got lazy/bored again and just resorted to texting her throughout the day.
I could sense she was pulling back and getting distant and cold with me – but again
I didn’t want to be proactive/confrontational – I thought I could ride it out until I got up there to see her in person again! After several weeks of not seeing her, she finally called me up and said we should ‘take a break’ … ‘date other people’. She said it’s just the same thing over and over again’, that I don’t talk to her, and she’s tired of trying to pull it out of me. That things were great again for a couple months in spring, and it’s not just the distance – she can deal with that – but it’s how I act when we’re apart. We go and have the greatest times when we’re together, but then she feels alienated more and more while we’re apart and I’m not sure what to say to get my girl back.
I’ve met a couple girls to start dating over the next few weeks, and it really helps put everything into better perspective, coupled with the No Contact period of the last couple months. I’d love a real fresh start with her, because there are a lot of reasons I’ve dedicated the last several years to making a life with her. We mesh on a lot of levels and with our core values … we’re both good people who love being with each other … I know I need to overhaul my communication and conflict-resolution skills big time, but she also needs to understand and forgive the fact that I can’t always talk to her like her girlfriends, and I can’t read her mind most of the time. So what am I supposed to say to get her back?
Thanks so much for your advice, and taking the time and energy to read these individually Mike!
It’s always good to help out a fellow “Angelino” here. Anyway, your case is actually pretty simple. There is really nothing you can say to get your girlfriend back. What!? Did I just say that? Sorry, buddy. Your girlfriend put you both in the “friend zone” and “needs space” in consecutive dating periods. That’s a rough one that might take a miracle to work out.
She already broke up with you and you still kept in touch with her for a couple of weeks? Why would you want to do that? That was the perfect time for you to jet off to Paris by yourself or with another woman. But you still tried to “hang on” and rationalize her thoughts.
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