Feel like a secret

Discussion in 'Relationships' started by mediumcool, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. mediumcool

    mediumcool Well-Known Member

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    Hi everyone....

    So, I met this girl about 5 months ago at work of all places. We don't currently work together however. We had instant chemistry and attraction to each other and starting spending time together immediately. Our first date she asked to kiss me and it was like one of those silly movie kisses where you get butterflies. Anyways, when we first met I used to go over to her house and either eat dinner or we would do work together. I've met most of her friends and housemates at least once. However, in the last two months or so it seems that clear to me that she doesn't want me to be around her friends or people to even to know how close we are. I picked her up once for a date at her house but I found out later she was being secretive about it. Prior to me picking her up some friends were over and a mutual friend was surprised when I mentioned it was me she was going out with that night. They told me that they had been teasing her about being excited and nervous and that she was being very vague about who it was. I found that weird but didn't think too much of it. Example #2 One night we all left a party at the same time and headed to the subway. We live in the same neighborhood so we all use the same stop. She was with her friends and they were all talking about going back to her place and hanging out. She didn't directly invite me though. I felt really uncomfortable and made different plans with my own friends and got off at a different stop. She texted me immediately after I got off asking me where I going /why but then when I asked her directly if she wanted me to come over later she was vague she was just hanging out with her friends watching tv so I shouldn't come over.

    It's just sorta continued now to the point where I kinda feel excluded from her life. When we are together it's great and I don't see the reason for it to be a secret. I guess we haven't really defined our relationship though so it could be that. I want to ask her about it but I don't want to push to have the "talk" since last time I asked she said it was too soon.

    Maybe I am overthinking but I don't like feeling like I am a secret and I want to be part of her life. I know we have different friend groups and that's fine but it shouldn't be weird for me to be around them on occasion. What do you think? Am I being silly? I really like her but this is just one aspect that I find very confusing.
     
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  2. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    You are not silly at all and I think you two are not on the same page. I would never invite someone and exclude another while in a group of even casual friends. You two are dating and no one should feel like a secret unless you two have an understanding.

    If I were in your situation and she does not even try to communicate with me about it then I would wait for her to be ready instead of putting myself in occasionally uncomfortable situations with her friends. She has people around her quite a bit and it will come up.

    On the other hand if I were your girl and I really am not ready to be out I would explain it at least to the person I am dating. I think it is good manners. When I was a kid I wish I wouldn't always have to mind my manners because simply the way adults admonished me sometimes just made me uncomfortable. I thought manners were a bad thing and it is just good to be easy going and not too picky. Now I realize it is a kind of empathy and goodness and comfortableness that is needed as people are more and more squished together. Your inner voice is telling you this is uncomfortable because you matter.

    Edit: Another read on the subway example makes me wonder if her invitation was just thrown out to the group which would be inclusive of you. When you ask her about whether she wanted you to be there after you had taken off she might had been vague because she was surprised you had taken off and didn't want to sound like she was begging.

    Also, she might not be ready to have "the talk" but it doesn't mean you cannot simply ask her if she is shy about letting others know you are going out. Tell her she doesn't need to be pressured to define your relationship just yet and have a full talk but you would like to not feel like a secret either by her behavior. Tell her how you would like to be treated when you are out and around friends and see if she is comfortable doing that.
     
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  3. mediumcool

    mediumcool Well-Known Member

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    Thanks so much for your reply. It really made me feel better. I don't know why I am so afraid to confront her about it I think I am just afraid of her response. There were a few other things I did not include like the fact that we both attended a conference out of the country and whilst there she mostly blew off even though we texted everyday. In all fairness she had told me that she wanted to catch up with some old friends and I totally get that. I just don't understand why when we are around her friends who know me, she acts like we are hardly acquainted. To be fair she isn't openly mean or nasty but she will avoid speaking to me for a long time and/or won't touch me. The easiest way to put it would be that she doesn't seem to want to show any type of intimacy between us at all. Previously she had told me that she wasn't sure if being together was a good idea because she didn't know how compatible we were and also that she isn't a risk taker. She then told me that I make her feel out of control. I told her that I'd take that risk for her because we have compelling connection and I really care about her. She told me she is afraid if we don't work out that she would lose me in her life and she doesn't want that. I suppose this explains the secrecy but it's still pretty frustrating. Since that conversation however, we have gone on several romantic dates. I guess it could be personality difference. I adore her and just want everyone to know how special I think she is.

    I am not sure if this is important or not....but in her previous relationships she has always been the more masculine one. With me though it's the opposite. I've been essentially courting her and she let's me take the lead though in general she is a very kinda bossy and assertive person. I don't think she is used to someone treating her the way i do.

    Thanks again. I will try the "Can you act like this around...." method with specifics and see if that works.
     
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  4. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    Hi MediumCool, just want to clarify on my suggested approach. I think it is always good to be able to tell someone how their behavior make you feel and how you would like to be treated. To specifically ask her at this juncture to act a certain way maybe pushing it a bit and puts the request in a different light even though the end result maybe a change in behavior. You can say, for example, "When we are with your friends, I feel like I am on the outs. I don't need you to be all over me, but I don't like to feel like a secret. I am not trying to talk about where we are at our relationship. I would like things to be comfortable and easy at least when we are with your friends."

    Some people are uncomfortable showing intimacy in front of others and that is okay. But I think she is overcompensating a bit into her fears. I hope you can tell her how you feel and she will take it well. I know why you are afraid to approach her because it may scare her off even more. But you should not be uncomfortable either and you deserve to be treated well just as much as your heart's intent.
     
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  5. mediumcool

    mediumcool Well-Known Member

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    Hi greylin,

    Thanks for clarifying what you meant! I have not had this conversation yet with her (though we were just together earlier tonight) and now I'm glad I waited and can heed your advice. You are right I should be careful how to word it. I really respect her and I would never want to show her that I can't honor her boundaries and comfort zone. At the same time I suppose I just also want to shout it out loud how into her I am. We have to work hard to communicate as she intellectualizes everything and I am very open about my feelings.

    At the end of the day though I am not sure about our future. If she can't ever decide to take the risk than we will never be more than what we are now. I am not sure how long I want to wait either since i think holding on would make things worse if we do part. What do you think? What makes people hold back? I mean I am a sure thing. I obviously adore her and she knows how I feel. We love being around each other. We are so in sync and comfortable with each other when alone. Why would she still be afraid of greater intimacy with me? If you knew you had a person who accepts you for who you are how could you be afraid to be close?

    I've had a lot of relationships but this always baffles me. I am just not afraid to take a risk. What can you really lose?

    EDIT: I just now noticed your comment about the subway greylin. And you are actually totally making a point since I didn't actually tell her that I was meeting other peeps I just sorta left (like a weirdo - I am an introvert and can be really awkward). I believe that her friends had decided prior to leaving the party that they were going to her place. It's a big hangout spot for her group of friends. So no announcement was made on the train - though she indicated for me to seat next to her she never addressed the convo about plans or extended an invitation. I felt uncomfortable that she didn't say something that's why i got off and did something else. In hindsight a silly way to be. But now that you said that it made me think about how whenever she wants me to do something she always adds "if you want" at the end. I can tell that she wants me to come over or etc but she qualifies it. I suppose she is somewhat afraid to give me commands tho it'd probably not change how i react.
     
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  6. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    I don't think her saying, "If you want..." is being all that vague. It sounds like a person who is a bit shyer around her friends. That happens. I can be missing a lot of subtle vibes that you are getting while in the situation as well. But so far I think both of you are holding back a little because this is new. And perhaps her friends have never seen her like this before and the teasing won't help her get more comfortable.

    Perhaps you can put it in a more constructive way, like, "Sometimes I think you are a little shy when we are around your friends. Are there things I can do to help you feel more comfortable?"
     
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  7. mediumcool

    mediumcool Well-Known Member

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    Wow greylin! You really make me think! Thank you so much. I never really connected the dots between her friends teasing her and her being kind shy about us. Now that you say that it sounds really obvious! I guess that would connect back to her kinda wanting to be in control of the situation and not facing "rejection".

    I really like your suggestion about how I should ask what I should do to make her more comfortable.

    How do I prove to her that she can trust me? I buy her thoughtful surprise presents from time to time, I take her on romantic (and expensive) dates. I tell her all the time how much she means to me. I do favors for her. I can't think of anything else to do. I am totally falling for her but it scares me a little to allow myself to do that if she can't even acknowledge to others that we aren't just friends.
     
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  8. mediumcool

    mediumcool Well-Known Member

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    quick update: (if anyone is interested)
    Earlier this weekend there was a joint birthday party at her house. One of the bday people celebrating is the best friend of one of my friends. So, my friend invited me to come since she didn't want to be the only person not from their school. I texted her first and asked her if it was okay if i came. Obviously, she had known about the party for awhile but hadn't invited me. She made it seem that she didn't really want me to come since she said "well if she invited you - you can come" and made several reasons that seemed to indicate it would not be fun for me. Surprisingly, she said "it will mostly be my school friends which i know is sometimes annoying to you". I was a little taken back since I feel like it's not her friends who bother me but her behavior. Either way she said "i will be hanging out with everyone, so this isn't an opportunity for us to have one to one time. If you want to see me this isn't the reason to come but you are welcome for other reasons".

    I decided to go since my friend really didnt want to go alone and we stayed for around 10 mins. It was extremely awkward for both of us since everyone was definitely very cliquely and high school like. She saw me and came over and touched my arm and said hi but kept walking the other way. Later that night after we had left I texted her and she said "you left before we could talk!" Overall, I felt like this went better than the previous times with her friends since she at least let me know the ground rules beforehand so I knew what to expect.

    I will add even though we are students we are in our late twenties and my friend is in her 30s. I feel like we should be old enough to not act like this.
     
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  9. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    I find her ground rules and her responses are quite odd. She is definitely giving off the vibe that makes you uncomfortable. If you were invited then calling her was just a courtesy. I would let her know straight that her friends don't bother you, her discomfort does and really ask her how you can help her feel more comfortable.

    If I am dating someone and I am kinda serious about it, I would invite her to any party going on at my house. I would run to her when I see her coming and take her in my arm and show her off to all my friends. Touching your arm and kept on going is really odd and would make me skittish. But I would have told her at least that I was leaving and not left without saying goodbye.

    I hope this is all a misunderstanding, but to figure that out, you need to talk.
     
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  10. mediumcool

    mediumcool Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't too upset since I sorta was expecting her to act like that. Maybe that is a bad thing? She likes to keep us private. I forgot to mention that I did try to ask her how she felt about me, since I really am confused most of the time. And she kinda "played dumb" and acted confused and then told me eventually that she didn't know. I guess she might not want to show me off since she doesnt know how she feels. The difference is that I already know people in her social circle, so it's kinda going backwards. I wanted to see her this weekend and she had said she wanted to come over. But she ended up telling me that she didn't want to see me because she has some stuff going on that is causing her stress. She said to trust her it was unrelated to me. I told her that she could call me, and I support her. At this point she totally knows how I feel. I am potentially more confused than ever and hurt she doesn't want me to comfort her. If I was upset I would want to see her so I feel sad I guess that she is pushing me away during a time of stress instead of pulling me closer. She is really independent though, and we have previous conversations about how she can "take care of" herself. At some point things will come to a head....hopefully soon. I've pressured her on it in the past...so I want to try and back off a little even though it's really confusing for me.
     
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  11. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    There are a few things going on here. The main thing, and I think I had mentioned before, is that you two are in different places. While it is okay to make requests and speak your mind, it backfires when you press. I know, I inadvertently do that all the time and didn't realize that I was pressing someone when I was just showing a lot of concern. You have a certain ideals in a relationship, it maybe that she is really not measuring up to your ideals and you would have to look elsewhere. But you do see the potential with her and you are investing further.

    She is independent, and I am guessing she also has been burned enough before so it would take her a while in any relationship to build up enough trust to lean on someone emotionally. It is quite the scary thing to do. In your narrations here, you have mentioned twice now that you had taken off without saying goodbye. That does not build up trust. And again, I might be missing a lot of nuances in the interactions at the time and not fully understand the discomfort that drove you to just ditch the scene. However, I would say that if you want to be her person, the one who will always be there, then you have to be confident yourself and at least be able to read her situation and either try staying past your discomfort into her comfort zone or at least say goodbye graciously before leaving. Make her miss you rather than have her wonder where you had gone.

    She is also shy about her love life around her friends. That is just the way she is. I can be shy but I still like to show off whom I am dating whether I am sure about the person or not. I am different from her in that regard and I am surmising that you are different from her too.
     
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  12. mediumcool

    mediumcool Well-Known Member

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    greylin spot on again! You are right and I think a lot of the miscommunication or what not is happening is because of our inherently different approaches to relationships (including friendship). I am 100% in once I decide I am in and am ready for us to be super close and be each other's person. I recall in the fall when I asked her "who am I to you" she said that it was too soon for her to know but that we were friends and co-workers (at the time) and she really enjoyed both those parts. She made a comment about how we had only known each other for less than 2 months. Now we have known each other longer...and I am also willingly to dive in and take a risk. She has told me that she is a cautious and it takes her a while. And that she trusts too easily and then gets hurt.

    I never thought about it but you are right me just leaving without saying goodbye is weird and confusing. I just get really really uncomfortable at times around a large group of people who I am not friends with. It is the introvert in me and I have not tried all that hard to be more confident and comfortable when it is not in my comfort zone. When I left the party this time I did think about saying goodbye but she was surrounded by people, and the thought of having to deal with those other people made me hesitant so I just left. She hadn't done anything wrong and in fact she was the one who did come up and say hi to me and I acted weird. It was more my own personal problem with large groups of people than anything she did.

    Because we haven't defined our relationship necessarily it's okay to me that she hasn't introduced me yet as her girlfriend. We aren't just friends but we aren't in an exclusive relationship by any means. She is actually poly and has a longterm partner in another state. I've been with another poly person so that doesn't really bother me. We never talk about it and just focus on us and I think that is the big elephant in the room that we are both ignoring. Several of her friends have told me that it isn't a problem but seemed to hint that she hasn't actually seriously considered anyone while being with her partner (outside of say a physical relationship). This definitely complicates things more for her as I am ok with non-monogamy and don't expect her to leave that girl. I think one of the tenants of being poly is honestly and openness. I feel like a secret and that bugs me because that makes me feel like we are having an affair which is not the same thing.
     
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  13. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    Hi, I think you have some conflicting feelings about this that you need to figure out. So she is right about you being uncomfortable around her friends. It sounds like the awkwardness just escalates up with both of you. Her not acting a certain way around you around her friends doesn't mean she is not open and honest.

    You are saying things that do not jive, like you say it is okay for her not to be all over declaring you to her friends because you are not there yet, but in the same paragraph you still feel like a secret. So maybe your head is saying something is ok and your heart is feeling it is not? I think if you are really happy with her while you are alone you can just give her time. You can openly talk about things to her. If she doesn't want to discuss her side at least just tell her how you feel. Tell her she can trust you that being poly is okay. Also, she might think that you are jealous of her friends and jealousy is definitely a hard thing to deal with for polys and make sure you let her know that you like her friends, you are just shy is all.
     
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  14. mediumcool

    mediumcool Well-Known Member

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    I suppose you are right. I do have some conflict a bit about us but that is mostly I think because we have not decided where we stand. I am not sure if her partner knows about us or not, and I am too afraid to ask. I feel like I can not ask since neither of us know right now either. I am really happy with her when we are alone and so I'm going to try to give her more time to decide.

    I never thought of it that way but I guess in some ways I am jealous since I am not part of the "club" with her friends. They are all really tight and know each other in a way that I don't. I feel like the outsider, though I don't dislike any of them. I'd like for us to be friends too. They are kinda cliquey though and that's not just a personal observation. My introvert nature makes it hard for me to interact with them all in one big group. I tend to be better with them when there is less of them. I just want her to make me feel more included when we are in a group. I just need a little hand-holding so to speak at first and then I get more talkative. She is an extrovert and is always floating around and talking to a ton of different people. Our personalities here are not in sync since I don't think she wants to have to kinda coach me into being social at times. I get that but I think that's what I need until I can get more comfortable.

    It's like what you said in my head I am saying it's yada yada but there are lots of unresolved feelings or uncertainties in our hearts. Writing stuff here etc has been really helpful for me to process my thoughts and feelings. I really appreciate you reading and responding!
     
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  15. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    Poly partners can have different agreements. Some partners don't have to hear about everyone their partners date but some do. It is absolutely ok to address that if you don't want to be a secret secret. A lot of people who are poly are up front in the beginning and made sure the people they are dating know that all is in the clear. No one should have to wonder about that. Some things you do deserve to know about the person you are dating to be safe.

    Always, look into best practices on safer sex in this situation. Find out about the hpv vaccine from your doctor and get checked out every once in a while.

    You guys are different in social situation, that's all. If you need help from her, don't expect her to read your mind, work out some signals. If she is someone who communication make things worse most of the time then it is probably not all that compatible.
     
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  16. mediumcool

    mediumcool Well-Known Member

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    I didn't know she was poly actually until her roommate told me. She apologized for not being upfront. That was pretty much the only time we have talked about it. I guess I am just uncomfortable to know and when we first met I wasn't sure if we were going to just hookup or date. Now that things aren't just physical is when I've wondered how much her primary knows.

    We are really compatible in a lot of ways but one area we are working on is communicating well with each other. You are right though that you doesn't know perhaps how awkward I feel with big groups of people. I need to be more assertive. She has asked me before to tell her directly what she can do to make me feel more comfortable and make our relationship better. I guess part of it is that we both have some of the same flaws. We think we are being clear but we aren't. We avoid talking about uncomfortable things (like about her primary partner) etc.

    Our feelings are so strong, and everything is so passionate and intense...I think we are both afraid that this really means something. It's not simple as maybe we want it to be.
     
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  17. mediumcool

    mediumcool Well-Known Member

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    Update: Well, we have talked since I was last on here. She told me she can't give me anymore than she is giving me now because she isn't capable of having that type of relationship. She said that if I wait she can give me more emotional intimacy in the future. I agreed to this. I am not sure exactly what that means. I've never really "waited" for someone in terms of emotional intimacy only. How do you even do that?
     
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