I hope you can help me with my little problem, it’s really got me down lately. I’ve been with my girlfriend for nearly 6 years, and we’ve always been a very close couple without any real problems, but recently she’s been acting very distant, making excuses to stay late at work, and she seems to be on her phone a lot of the time.
This has been going on for a few months now, and I didn’t worry at first as I thought it was just me, but now I’m sure something’s up. I can’t talk to her about it as she acts like nothing’s wrong and that I’m just making it up. What should I do?
I think she wants to break up with me, but after 6 years I just can’t even think about it. If you have any thoughts I’d love to hear them.
I am so sorry to hear that you are going through such a difficult time. Six years is a long time to be in a relationship and the thought of losing such an important bond is, understandably, scary to even consider.
I know you’ve mentioned that you’ve tried bringing up your concerns, and that she acts as if nothing is wrong, but for the relationship to work and again be healthy, your girlfriend will have to be a part of the discussion.
Your sixth sense is no doubt running on overtime right now as your thoughts race around all potential causes for the distance you are feeling. Because you cannot read your girlfriend’s thoughts, this guessing is going to take a toll on you emotionally and physically if such an anxious state continues.
So my best advice is to approach her once more, so you can discuss your feelings openly. This time, however, I have some tips on how you should approach her:
1. Make sure it is the right time. If she isn’t feeling well, has a deadline at work, etc. wait for a more suitable moment.
2. Consider having the talk outside of your regular environment. Ask her to take a walk to the park for a picnic lunch but choose a quiet, private place. Changing location may help her be more open.
3. Begin by telling her how you feel about HER when you start – bringing up favorite memories, what you love the most about her, how you appreciate her – kind of like a verbal love letter.
4. Next comes the difficult part, which is telling her how you feel. Do not use the word “you.” Keep it strictly “I feel” when explaining the distance you’ve felt. Accusatory tones will end the communication abruptly or spin it in the wrong direction.
5. Be prepared for her usual responses. If she is notorious for saying “it’s all in your head” whenever you bring up her distant nature, come up with a way to keep the conversation going when she says it. For example, you could say, “if that is true, then I need you more than ever to work with me and help me restore confidence again because I love you so much and don’t want to feel this way anymore.”
These tips should create a healthy, non-threatening environment where communication takes place openly, in a peaceful setting when you are both feeling your best.
I do have to add, Jason, that your best intentions could still be met with yet more distance with your need to communicate openly not having been resolved. This doesn’t necessarily signify she wants to break up with you, but it does demonstrate some apparant problems in the relationship.
You will have to set boundaries with her so that you can decrease anxiety and stay healthy. For example, it’s ok for her to say one evening she isn’t in the mood to talk, but not the last six times you’ve asked. You will need to confidently explain to her what is acceptable to you, what is not and what action you may have to consider if you don’t start working on your relationship as a team in the future (taking a break, moving out, breaking up, etc.).
Neither you or I know what she is thinking or feeling – but if over time she consistently rejects your desire to talk, yet still acts the same (which causes you pain), where the relationship goes will need to be up to you, Jason. You love her deeply, I can hear that, but you need to love yourself as well.
You are in my thoughts during this difficult time. Please don’t hesitate to write again if you have further questions or want to share how your communication went.