First Lesbian relationship... not going so well

Discussion in 'Relationships' started by Melantedgoddess, Jun 9, 2016.

  1. Melantedgoddess

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    I'm currently in my first relationship with a woman and we've been dating for nearly four years, officially together for about 2 and a half years. We knew each other in high school, and reconnected after our sophomore year in college. She had been with women prior to me, and our relationship started as strictly friends. I had never been with a woman before, and quite frankly never had any interest in it but something about her was different. The more we spent time together, I noticed I started developing deep feelings for her. She wanted to seriously date but I wasn't sure if it was exactly what I wanted. There seemed to be multiple complications; a) I was still attracted to men, b) our universities were nine hours away from each other and c) I wasn't sure if I was actually gay. As time went by, I fell in love and slowly all my reservations seemed trivial. We started dating, and everything was going great until recently. We both graduated with our bachelor degrees last May. She started working, and I continued my studies in a graduate program. Prior to graduation we had our long distance relationship down to a science. We would visit each other once a month, talk on the phone multiple times a day, fall asleep together on FaceTime every night, and text constantly. Since she has started working however, she has been very different. She is a GM at a store, and she is working 15 hour days five days a week and 8-10 hour days 2 times a week. Because of this, our communication is basically non-existent. Now, we exchange a few messages in the morning and then sometimes if I'm lucky I will hear from her at night. If she calls at night we talk for 5 minutes and then she falls asleep. This has caused major problems in our relationship because I feel like she doesn't put any effort in our relationship. She seems distant, and sometimes I feel like our relationship is a burden. I understand how difficult her work schedule is, and I completely understand that she needs her rest. It's just that since we are long distance, communication is essential in maintaining our relationship. Without it, I actually feel the 600 miles in between us. She has so much going on with work, I think she doesn't have time for us anymore. When I ask her about it, she says that she doesn't have the time to put into our relationship like she used to but she still wants to be together. She tells me she will try and do better. But when we make phone dates or FaceTime dates, she always cancels for work or she is distracted. I don't know what to do. I love her but I feel as if our relationship isn't priority for her anymore. What should I do?
     
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  2. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    First I find going to school alot more difficult than most types of work. But at the same time there is this hopefull energy when you are in school that carries you. Also, there is this extra umph I had in staying up and doing more to keep everything going at once.

    She sounds like she is really zapped by her job. Does she talk about it? Does she talk about personnel issues and people not taking her seriously because she has just gotten out of college and now suddenly in charge of people who have been around a lot longer? I would get her to open up more about it if she has been keepimg mum. Perhaps you could share her burden.

    The second thing is, is there resentment between you for either one of your choices keeping you two long distance? Did she expect you to be in grad school? Did you expect her to find work closer to where you are? Now that she is working, your future is suddenly so much more defined and you must wonder if this is all there is. She goes to drudgery each day and maybe you will catch her in transit. This, can not continue indefinitely, if you two are serious then you need to talk about a plan. If she is sincere about being together she needs to deal with this on her day off and have a sit down with you. You can make it fun and maybe say you want to catch her up on what you are up to as your career and maybe get her to talk about hers and then lead her gently onto what her aspirations are for the future.

    I am sorry things are not going well and hope you guys get back on track.
     
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  3. Melantedgoddess

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    Thanks for the reply! It was very insightful. You are correct on a number of points. She is extremely stressed by her job. They have her in a store with horrible employees who have a tendency to not show up to work. She can't really fire anyone because it is very difficult to hire for that particular store, she ends up picking up the slack and works like a dog every day. She feels unappreciated by the company, but she signed a contract so she's stuck there for another year. We try and talk about it, but its pretty exhausting because there is nothing I can say to make the situation better. She has turned into a completely different person. Whenever she does have free time, she goes to the bar and gets drunk. She rarely drank before, and it worries me a little. She says she's stressed, and when she gets off work she doesn't want to feel anything and alcohol helps. She now has also taken up the habit of smoking weed everyday. I beg her to confide me, I can help her with it but she insists that this is a situation she has to figure out on her own. It bothers me that the little free time she has, she goes to the bar instead of calling me. I do feel like she harbors some resentment over grad school. She has always expected me to go to school but I think she was hoping that I would go somewhere closer to her. The school that I currently attend pays for my tuition, a stipend, and affords me experience that I couldn't pass up. I personally never expected her to find a job closer to me.My school is in a mid-sized town with a lack of job prospects. My program is only two years, so I expected her to go wherever she gets hired, and then when I graduate I will move wherever she is. I have talked to her about her future, and even offered to assist in her job search and she's grateful, but she feels like she is stuck until the contract runs out.
     
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  4. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    I think you both know that it is a situation where you have to do something that can carry you careers into the future. Even the here and now is difficult and the choices are not best in sustaining a relationship. She is devolving and not finding her footing and going to all the wrong things to shore herself up.

    It seems that right now, the things you have offered is not what she wants in help. I would suggest that you try to keep your partnership communications high even when she is not responding like she used to. Ask her for something simple like schedule a time to say good morning and good night. And when you guys do fulfill the appointment together, praise her for making that. If she thinks she is failing you she might just give up and go and do things that feel good like drinking and doing pot. (But please don't think your relationship drives her to do anything.)

    Call http://www.al-anon.org/ and talk this over with someone on the signs you are seeing. Since such things are usually done with company, she maybe getting together with people who are not such good influences. Don't be her guardian on this, her drinking and perhaps bad friends. Just be very aware of your needs in this while you shine a soft light in a dark place she is in. Help her by being a supportive girlfriend and listen to her but please don't lose yourself in this.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 9, 2016
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  5. Spygirl

    Spygirl Well-Known Member

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    Ok..chiming in from a very stressful profession...yeah, the wine can be an easy "go to" when you've got a lot on your plate. Trust me, working 80 hour weeks and missing workouts and sleep because of it makes it really easy to reach for a glass of wine...but there are also limits. It seems to me she's self medicating and dealing with issues which may or may not be wholly related to work.

    The other concern is distance from you and there may be something there simmering under the surface on the relationship front as well -- could it be resentment that the two of you have different paths and are not together? Coming from a long distance relationship, there needs to be some sort of resolution there -- face time ain't gonna cut it when the one person you need isn't physically present to tell you that it's going to be okay. I know the real pain of that kind of situation because I've lived it as well.

    What you need to establish with her is that she still wants the relationship -- and that she's not deflecting or using other life circumstances to shut you out. You also need to make a plan to get through this shitty situation, because this situation should ideally be temporary -- long distance relationships don't work if you don't have a plan to end the distance part. You need to make sure she's being honest that she really wants to be with you -- rather than using other excuses to seemingly drift apart. Based upon the grad school comments and such, it seems to me that there's resentment there which needs to be addressed as well.

    Hang in there...but recognize that the problems she is encountering may be related to work and they may be related to the relationship (though she might not be completely forthcoming about it).
     
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  6. Plane Jane

    Plane Jane Active Member

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    Are you saying she works seven days a week? Even if she only works five 15-hour days, doing so in an "extremely [stressful environment] with horrible employees who have a tendency to not show up to work," and bearing the responsibilities of being in charge would be absolutely exhausting. And you said she's a GM of a store, which means retail (?), which is a nightmare of a higher order of magnitude. She's got crappy employees who probably don't respect her, don't want to be there, don't want to do their own work, let alone the no-shows' work, and she's got corporate holding her responsible to meet the company's goals every day, which probably wouldn't be attainable with excellent employees always present, but she has to try to meet them with those crappy employees. And let's not even get into the public and their impossible expectations (can't tell I've been retailed out, can you?)

    Working 15 hours, the minute you leave work the clock is counting down--9 hours till back to work, 8 hours till back to work, 7, 6, 5, etc., and from those hours you have to subtract commuting time to and from work, preparing/eating food, shopping for food/whatever, washing clothes, washing dishes, showering/getting ready for work, all the little day-to-day minutiae being alive entails, PLUS sleeping AND most people need some time to unwind for a little bit after work, to kind of veg or space out and decompress (which she's unfortunately apparently doing with alcohol/pot). I'm not surprised she doesn't have time to communicate. It's because she doesn't have time to communicate! It is obviously affecting her negatively; you said she's a different person and she's zoning out with pot and alcohol. It's not even a question of whether the relationship is a priority at this point--of course it's a priority, but first she has to simply survive each day.

    And you said she does five 15-hour days and two 8 - 10-hour days? So she works seven days a week? Five 15's in retail management would be a killer, but seven days a week? Yikes.

    I'm sorry, I'm sorry, this isn't what you'll want to hear, and I say this with all due respect to you, but she'll need all your love and support to get through this, not pressure that she doesn't put any effort/time into the relationship. She simply does not have the time she used to have to put into the relationship, let alone the energy. Like I said, it's not even a question of whether the relationship is a priority for her at this point--whether it is or isn't, she's in an impossible situation: You're 600 miles away, she's bound by a contract, working ridiculous hours in an extremely stressful environment that is affecting her adversely (which shows how freaking stressful it is)--she's in a struggle just to survive.
     
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  7. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    @Plane Jane really brought a lot of empathy to the GM gf's reality. It is quite impressive, really. I think this ties into what Spy is saying, it could be the job, but maybe the relationship too. If I were working 7 days a week, I would not spend time drinking at a bar or procuring weed. I would be stone tired and letting my gf know that I only have so much time and would like her to help me by clearing her schedule to fit me for a while. I would not spend time at a bar.

    But, if I were caught up with a substance abuse and making myself blind stinking drunk just to feel good, then everything else would fall away. Everything else includes my time to recharge and sleep and even the minutes I could spend with someone I love. I could be unraveling and talking to my own gf doesn't feel good anymore because she doesn't make me forget like some chemical does. I am not forthcoming about how I feel about this with my gf because I don't have the energy to get into it.

    When two people are in a relationship that is healthy, and one does something out of sort, a direct talk is the way to go. The OP's relationship is not healthy now. Still, the OP did ask her directly and the gf did say she wanted to stay in the relationship. She answered the OP directly but her actions and her gotos are telling the OP something else. The schedule and work is crazy, but something else has sprung up. This could be about the relationship or alcohol abuse, or both. When I suggested that the OP take a softer approach, it is in hopes to coax out how the gf is doing, to get her to spend time to talk instead of hitting the bottle and the weed. I would suggest texting the gf random and fun texts so she will start looking forward to the communications, I would not discuss anything she has to think about for a while. Draw the gf in with hot-chocolate moment dates and relaxing tiny meet ups. I think right now it will take some patience on the OP's part and she could try to do the little things that can get the gf to talk. And the 600 miles? It is a 2.5 hour flight, I hope the OP can arrange a short visit without much expectations some time in the future after having made some positive connections online.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 10, 2016
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  8. Melantedgoddess

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    Hello, thanks for the response. I agree with you. Sometimes I feel like she just doesn't feel like dealing with a relationship at the moment. She assures me that that is not the case, and says she still wants to be together. As far as seeing each other goes, we normally try to spend a weekend together each month (as well as holidays, spring break, two weeks in the summer etc.) but since things have picked up at work, she never has an available weekend. I don't know what to do, at times it seems like a hopeless situation.
     
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  9. Melantedgoddess

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    Yes she works seven days a week! Sometimes it gets so bad she works 26 hour days. I do understand were you are coming from. I've tried to tell myself that she just doesn't have enough time anymore, (she barley sees her family and friends either so I know its not just me) its just that I don't understand why we don't speak at length when she does have free time. For three years straight we literally were in constant communication, how is it possible that this past year she can literally go a day with out speaking to me on the phone? It's just strange to me, and I feel shut out sometimes.
     
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  10. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    Is a "take your gf to work day" possible? It is hard to go from joined at the hip to zero. Perhaps you could visit and hang out with her at work? There are probably ways for you to woo her a little and reconnect. It sounds like you will have a year of sacrifice ahead of you, and the good thing is, a year goes by quickly.

    Also, check with a doctor and employment lawyer. If she is getting so stressed she is having symptoms and having to self medicate, there maybe a way for her to get out of her contract. She just got started and if she gets out of her contract soon, perhaps it would not be a dent in her employment history because she could maybe leave that out of her resume. I have had friends in contracts who had to leave before because of very adverse employment situations. Every locale have different laws so it is something to look into.
     
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  11. Plane Jane

    Plane Jane Active Member

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    Yeah, I don't know why she doesn't talk more at length or check in each day. I'm not surprised you feel shut out for that, that would be really hard. I believe that extended exhaustion can affect your personality or seem to change it, but so can alcohol and drugs, so the two together are probably a really bad combination.

    That is an excellent idea. It sounds like her company is really taking advantage of/using her; at the very least did they mislead her concerning work hours (who would knowingly sign on to work 7 days a week, 15+ hour days)? Maybe there's an out there like greylin said, due to adverse conditions, or a misrepresentation of what the job entailed.
     
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  12. Kaorin

    Kaorin Member

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    She needs to get out of this job, and not for your sake, but her own. This job sounds extremely damaging to her physical and mental health, and trust me, nothing in this world is worth the cost of your health and well-being. We work to support our lives, not the other way around.

    I realise she is bound by a contract, but as Greylin says, she really needs to seek out some advice and see a doctor. Hopefully a doctor will sign her off of work, or something. What are the consequences to her disobeying her contract? Surely nowhere near as bad as the ones she'll face/is facing in terms of the impact on her health.

    I hope she can escape from this and get back on track. Support her as best you can, help her get the advice she needs, and let us know how you both get on. I wish you both all the best :)
     
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  13. rainydaze

    rainydaze Well-Known Member

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    I know I am late to the conversation, so you may have resolved these issues already or made some decisions or compromises. I agree with the other posters that there seems to be a lot of stuff happening here:
    -Busy, busy unhappy, unhealthy, stressful job for your girlfriend
    -no time & too much distance to have some much needed conversations about how to manage the impact on the relationship
    -Girlfriend is turning to alcohol/drugs and bar friends to manage the stress
    -There may be feelings about your continued education and her stress of joining the workforce that cause some unspoken conflict
    -A year can seem like an eternity when someone is in a miserable job or if there is no plan for unification with your love at the end of it.
    -While you are trying to work on completing your degree, it must be stressful to be worrying about your girlfriend's stress and activities (alcohol/drugs/friends)...
    -and on and on....

    One thing that you spent some time on in your original post, I noticed, was your explanation (it is even in your title) about how this is your first lesbian relationship and that, even though you have been involved for 4 years, you had your doubts at the beginning of it and (if I am not misinterpreting) you may be having your doubts again?

    Now, I don't think that the issues your girlfriend is having are specific to a lesbian relationship...this stuff pops up in all relationships as we manage distance, jobs, stress, and extra-curricular activities.
    BUT, I found it interesting that it was relevant enough for you to bring it up in your post and am wondering if there is more to your end of the relationship than just the worry about your girlfriend and her lack of time?
    (I don't mean to be intrusive here, but it just came across to me as something more important to you than it sounds. Is there something else besides her lack of time that has you questioning your feelings or the relationship?).

    Is there a way, if you have a break from school in the summer time, that you can take a weekend to go be with your girlfriend, even if she has to work a few shifts over the weekend and you have time to study or something while she is gone?,...that you could see here face to face so that you can get a better reading on what is going on for her...and for you?

    I know it is expected when you are in a committed relationship that you stick with each other through the rough times...but, you also have the right to have your needs met at minimal level. Like, if you have a facetime date scheduled (after work), you have the right to expect that it happens more often than not. Some times the timing is off for relationships and it just does not work for right now. And some times, under stressful conditions, we see sides of our partner that we really don't like and didn't know about before (like heavy alcohol use or turning away rather than toward for support). You may be feeling really lonely and not very hopeful that there is a good ending in sight. You wouldn't be an awful person for not being able to do the long distance thing as well as you had hoped under these conditions. Some times things change and it doesn't make you or her wrong for saying that it is harder than you thought it would be and that you need more than the other can give right now.

    Lastly, (not to sound too suspicious)...but is there a question of whether or not your girlfriend is seeing someone else, like someone with whom she is partying after work instead of coming home and talking to you like she used to do? Or are you having feelings for someone else who is closer to you... and it is becoming harder to be blown off by a busy, far away girlfriend who doesn't ever have time? I am not trying to be accusatory, but let's be clear that absence does NOT always make the heart grow fonder! Some times, absence makes you lonely, sad, and resentful.

    You are both still very young, (I know I sound like an old geezer myself). You may find as you are adapting to your post-college days that you want different things and have different goals and expectations than you did when you first got together. That would be alright. It happens. Better to realize it now than keep a long distance, lonely relationship going that isn't meeting needs for either of you.
     
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  14. Melantedgoddess

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    Sorry it took so long to get back to you! For some reason she is unnecessarily devoted to this job. Its like she wants to prove she can do it or she doesn't want to look like a failure. Unfortunately we agreed to go our separate ways a couple of days ago. It just wasn't working and it seems like our relationship is the last thing she wants to worry about.
     
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  15. Melantedgoddess

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    Hello, thank you for your reply. I will try and answer your questions to the best of my ability. I said it was my first lesbian relationship in the title because I wanted the commenters to understand that although I have no prior experience with women, my girlfriend has dated women before and I want advice that is from that perspective. I was hoping some of the commenters who had either been in my situation before, or have dated someone in my situation could provide some insight. I wasn't sure if there is something I was missing , if these things were common? I have no queer friends, and there is not a community of queer folk at my school or in the itty bitty southern town where my school is located so I usually feel like I'm out of the loop.
    At the beginning I did have my doubts because after things turned sexual, we decided on being friends with benefits. I was casually dating a couple of guys and she had gotten out of a relationship a couple of months earlier so we both didn't want anything serious. At that point I had never pictured myself with a woman before, and although I liked our situation I didn't expect it to go any further. After a couple of months it became evident that it was something more than a FWB situation, and she wanted to be exclusive. I knew for sure I wanted to be with her, I was just kind of confused about the logistics i.e. how would we make it work long distance, what does this mean about my sexuality, what if I wake one day and miss men blah blah blah. She assured me there would be no pressure, we could make the rules for ourselves, and we could just see where it goes. It ended up being amazing. I fell so deeply in love, like I was the happiest I had ever been in my whole life. She was so compassionate and attentive. I felt like we just got each other, like she was my soulmate. I didn't think about what all of this meant as far as my sexual orientation. I still kind of don't know. But I know I loved her and thats all I really was concerned about. As far as now goes....
    I've spent two separate weekends with her over summer. I would have spent longer but I work full time and I am in summer school. When I was with her she normally worked all day, came home around midnight, we talk for like 30 minutes (her complaining about work) and then she falls asleep. Things are definitely different but its like she's always too tired for us to really hash out our issues, even when I'm there in person.
    I realized that I just can't do it anymore. We ended it, and I'm going to try my hardest to move on. She's just been such a huge part of my life for so long I feel like I forgot how to even live life without having her there. I think I knew it was coming to an end but I just was afraid to walk away because I know this is going to be a difficult adjustment. I've asked her if there is someone else, she says there isn't. I have no reason not to believe her, and for some reason I have a feeling she is not cheating. Sometimes I did wonder if I should just start investing my time in someone else who could be there for me emotionally and physically, but I never did because I knew that not what I wanted to do. I just wanted to be with her. I know now that she's just not the same person anymore, and although I mourn for what we used to have, I know its not coming back. I wish her well. She was literally the kindest, most sacrificially loving, and devoted person I had ever been with until recently. Because of those things I felt like I just couldn't abandon her just because she is going through a rough time. Its been really difficult trying to move on, I went on a date with a guy I used to see before my relationship and it just doesn't feel the same. I do understand that I am young, and people change. I'm okay with that. It just really world-shattering now, you know?
     
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  16. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    I am so sorry and it is world shattering. It is hard to imagine now but you will recover and in time you may recognize something earlier in the relationship that could have been an omen to this end. She sounds like a very stick to it kind of a person but I guess she cannot do both bad career challenge and relationship at the moment. Sometimes, a romance can bring out the best in a person until a problem comes along that brings out the worst in that person. Something overwhelmed her badly and you have tried and but she had to be willing to try as well. Even though she said she did not want to break up, her actions had broken up with you already. I think she is going to wake up from this work fog one day and regret this love that she'd let go of.

    As far as anything about it being unique to a lesbian relationship, I don't think so. The world is full of couples who stopped getting along when stresses in life get to one of both of them. Sometimes it helps to have some common recreational interests that you and your significant other can enjoy. For now, do the activities that you like doing and when you are ready to date someone again, you just might meet someone even more suitable for you.
     
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  17. Melantedgoddess

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    Thank you so much for all your help through this! You have been so insightful, compassionate and understanding. I really appreciate it.
     
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  18. Eloise

    Eloise Well-Known Member

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    I think what's going on with her is that she's young and feels an overwhelming responsibility to her job. We all want to prove ourselves so much when we first go into the workforce that we are often taken advantage of. The only person who can change things is her. Is she is a salaried employee her supervisors probably have no idea how many hours she's putting in. It's unhealthy for her. Yes, she might turn to alcohol and drugs to help her sleep then get the energy to do it all over again. It doesn't sound like it has anything to do with you. In other words, she's working like that because she thinks it'll get her someplace career wise. It won't but she has to learn that on her own. In the meantime, you can take some of the pressure off of her by letting her go. Tell her you realize it's important for her to focus on her career right now and that she can't make the time for a relationship so you'll move on. Don't move to her. Plan your own life. You're young. This should only be the first of many short term relationships you have while growing up and realizing exactly what and who you want.
     
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  19. ChychD

    ChychD Member

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    Hi
    ,
     
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  20. ChychD

    ChychD Member

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    Hi I'm very late to the conversation. This same thing happened to me. Mine is that I graduated before my gf and had to go off for a year for a military training (mandatory in my country). Then when she graduated and went for her military training I was already working in another state in high demanding job.
    The relationship took a lot of hit and eventually separated. I'm not trying to discourage you as you can turn things around by trying to remember each day why you fell in love in the first place.
    Time is a bitch but if u guys keep in touch, with time she will get a better job and you may have more time too.
    Give a break. It's really hard trying to grow as a fresh worker.
    Thinking back now, it was really hard then. Funny enough we were committed for the two years hiatus things only became difficult when we were finally together! We broke up because of my work which involved a lot of traveling.
     
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