Mixed Signals.... HELP!!

Discussion in 'Relationships' started by k.l.g, Jul 9, 2017.

  1. k.l.g

    k.l.g New Member

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    So I'm dating this girl who is amazing from the inside out. Everything she is, believes and the way she thinks is what I look for in a partner. We share the same morals and values and I believe that we could be something special.
    She has the biggest heart even though all she sees in herself is anything less than rubish.... if only she could see what I see.

    The thing is she's lost her father to cancer just over a year ago and had a falling out with her best friend in between all of this, and is grieving. She tells me all the time how much her life has changed and she misses her old life when she was happy.

    Knowing all of this is important to my situation...

    everything in the start moved so quickly, though I was not opposed to how fast things were moving she wanted to slow it down. she told me that at the end of the day im the one she wants to be with but where she is in her life she can't commit to a relationship with me. She wants me and wishes she could be my girlfriend but just can't right now and doesn't know if she ever will or not. She said "I can't love someone until I love myself"
    I appreciate this so much but it just makes me want her more!!!

    So you think it would end there and I would just walk away from her right but it doesn't.... the more I stay away the more she misses me and pulls me closer,
    Her texts, body language, and actions scream how badly she wants me and she chases me, then boom one day comes around and she is MIA, it could be for one day or a few hours or even a few days in a row and then she's back to wanting me again, chasing to see me and spend time with me and here I am left confused... mixed signals....

    The thing is I know what I'm worth and I know I deserve someone who will fight for me and make me their's with no hesitations, but I don't know if walking away from her is the right thing to do or not?
    She is something rare and I don't want to miss out on something so great because I'm being impatient. Also there is a chance that this has nothing to do with me at all because she is dealing with a lot.

    I really just don't know what to do...
     
    #1
  2. lorienczhiu

    lorienczhiu Well-Known Member

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    I am really sorry that you are getting such mixed signals from this person who - except for her stated inability to commit and her tendency to blow hot-and-cold - seems so great.

    Borrowing from the fabulous Captain Awkward, two things:
    (1) if she wanted to be with you, she would be with you. Let's remove the "right now" and "where I am in this situation" from the script, because those are things people say. If she wanted to be in a relationship with you, she would be in a relationship with you. "But she's having a rough time!" you (and she) will say. Yeah, okay. Everybody goes through rough times, and everyone needs space, but relationships with other humans happen when things are tricky and when we are imperfect, and when we want them to. If she does not want to make space for you in this tricky time, that is totally her call, but let's call it what it is and own that this is a choice that she is making, and that it is a choice specifically not to be in a relationship with you.
    (2) if this keeps going (flaky, hot/cold, using life situations as a reason to excuse this behavior), do you want this relationship? Because if you're only in it, riding it out until maybe she does "love herself" and doesn't act this way... then, to be perfectly honest, some people always act this way. This shift, where her old life is gone, might be permanent. She might be grieving her father for a long time, or not know how to operate without her friend. (She might also be looking at that old happy life through rose-colored glasses, and actually be a person who always has a reason that she's not in a great place for a relationship.) So that good time you're waiting for may never come. If that is true, is she great enough to put up with her occasional bouts of MIA-ness and commitmentphobia, and for how long?

    This in particular is making me squirm:
    So which is it? "The one" or "never"? There is a way to read it where she is being noble and self-sacrificing, but there is another way to read it where she reeling you in the hint of soul-mate-forever ("you're the one I want to be with!") but then letting herself off the hook of actually being accountable to you as a partner, because you know, she just might never heal. I think that this "love myself first" thing is perfectly fine, but I also think it's a tactic (probably unconscious) to have her cake and eat it too. I see a lot of "but I told you I couldn't be in a relationship until I loved myself, why are you so annoyed that I [flaked/went MIA/keep chasing even though it's not what I said]?" in your future.

    This in-between dynamic also gives her all the power and say-so in the relationship. She is the one setting the boundary of no relationship, but also gets to cross that boundary whenever she wants... and then put it firmly back in place when she gets uncomfortable. Intimacy, time spent together, whatever, is all subject to her needs, but not to yours. It's not exactly the same, but related to another situation you might have experienced - a pretty standard dynamic in relationships where one partner (you) are more interested/all in than the other person (her), so she gets to set the terms of engagement because you are always going to say yes. And as long as you keep going along with it and consenting to this boom/bust cycle, she has no reason to do anything else - she gets what she needs when she wants it, without having to commit or be accountable to the feelings of another person. So a relationship that starts and continues this way is probably not going to center your needs and feelings - and that sounds a little dangerous to me, and like it'll leave you in a bad place once all your honeymoon hormones wear off.

    And this is all possible precisely because you believe she is so "rare" and worth waiting for - you're willing to put up with this nonsense out of hope - but relationships don't just work out because people check a perfect list of characteristics. A relationship is created in the space between us, out of the care we show through words, actions, support, and accountability. If she shares your beliefs and values but leaves you feeling unloved and confused... then she doesn't care for you in a way that supports and build you up, no matter what her stated values. You can be with the perfect person who loves you the wrong way and feel awfully, imperfectly alone.

    If I were you, I would call her on this: "I am interested in a relationship with you, and have really enjoyed our time together.... but this in-between thing isn't working for me. I'm trying to respect your boundary, and that you feel this isn't the right time for a relationship for you; please also respect mine. I would love it if you would get in touch if and when you're ready to date with purpose, and until then I need some space."

    So what? It's affecting you. Even if you didn't cause it, even if her "but for my mess, I would be your girlfriend!" thing is legit, it is leading to a situation in which you are undervalued, confused, and uncomfortable. It doesn't have to be "about you" to be a circumstance in which you say, "no, this doesn't work for me."

    And - dealing with a lot is life. I hate to sound callous, and I really really mean this with love, but: life happens! Sickness, loss, mental health, losing friendship, financial strain, job loss, accidents - and all through it, people keep going, keep loving, keep showing up for their partners. I know this thing is casual and early-days, but I want to offer some married-lady perspective; my dad is not well, probably going to get very sick in the next few years, and I have a number of fraught friendships which I am worried about losing, and I just switched careers and got another degree and feel like I haven't slept in years - piled on top of long-standing anxiety and depression and insomnia. I am running on some serious empty, and none of that is an excuse to bail on my wife! Even when the emotional work of a relationship feels like a lot, it is a constant conversation and negotiation about how I can be there for her and manage my other demands and commitments.

    All of which is to say: do you want a partner who is not interested in figuring out that balance, however imperfectly? This woman's behavior suggests to me that she believes that when life is hard, relationships are impossible. But the thing is, life is... often hard? Parents dying and losing friends are big hits, but they are not unique, and this might be the first big challenge she has faced, her "old life when she was happy" was a blessed exception in the grown-up world where sh*t happens. But, if this works out and gets past this tricky time, there are other tricky times in the future, and I would want to know that my partner was willing and able to navigate those times with me without bailing or treating me badly.

    She might grow, and change how she approaches this - but she also might not! If I were you, I would evaluate whether the thing happening right now is something you want in the long term, and make a decision about whether to show up for this thing that is actually happening, rather than what you hope will happen.
     
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  3. k.l.g

    k.l.g New Member

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    Thank you all for your opinions they are greatly appreciated.

    The outcome was that I ended everything as I deserve someone who would do anything to get me, though I am dissapionted and sad as i have a soft spot for her and care for her a lot and would love to be apart of this amazing persons life not to mention I'm so physically, emotionally and mentally attracted to who she is and the things she does, I don't know what it is about her but there is just something about her and I have only felt this way one other time in my life and as painful as the ending was, the 4 years I spent with this person were absolutely amazing!!

    When I ended it she claimed to not have feelings for me in any other way than friendship anymore so all I could do was take her word for it though I can't say it didn't hurt.
    A few days past as we didn't speak anymore. Then out of no where she is talking to me on a daily basis even has called me just out of no where and even bringing up sentimental things from the time we spent together then out of no where she stops and I don't hear from her.
    I'm trying to go with the flow these days but I really do hate these games and I hate not being in control as yeah I'd like to talk to her whenever I want or ask her to hang out but I feel like I can't and she has all the power and I don't want that but at the same time if I'm patient and play it cool she might make the effort herself as she will have to go after me if she really wants me.

    Something tells me not to close the door on her but still guard myself. I hope I'm doing the right thing...... can anyone ever really know until something good or bad happens whether they did the right thing or not?
     
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    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
  4. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    Hey, thanks for the update. Congrats on the first steps to detangle yourself with her. It is a process, but hopefully, all your steps are moving forwards and not backwards.

    I think most of my grey hair grew out of wishing that things are different with a person, a situation, the world. But the only thing I can really do differently is myself doing things differently. This woman who has caught your eye for the last few years has been honest. The whole thing of not loving herself could be another way of saying she doesn't really know what she wants yet and need some growing up to do. She is giving you a guarantee almost and demonstrated as such that when the going's good, she will still flake.

    So, don't think of this as her playing games. She sounds like she is just going on impulse. Everyone needs attention and you are a well for her whenever she needed, so why not? People do a lot of things without thinking things through.

    I think that the only way you will be happy spending time with her would be one day when you don't see her as anything more than a casual friend. So, in the meantime, I would work on your own need to be around her.
     
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