the rules have changed

Discussion in 'Relationships' started by adap03, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. adap03

    adap03 Active Member

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    I've been with my girlfriend for going on five years now. We met online, opportunities presented themselves and she ended up moving to be near me (about 300 miles away from her friends and family). I've never underestimated the sacrifice that she made and through all the stress, we've been very happy. The downside, of course, is that she has lost touch with a lot of her friends. She has always been welcome around mine...and we've become a package deal for the most part when it comes to hanging oiut with my friends. They love her. And we've always talked about the benefit of being a same-sex couple with mostly straight friends...that we get to hang out together, even when the guys and girls split off to do their manly/girly things.

    Anyway, I give all this background information because lately, the rules have kind of changed. She met a friend at work that I actually encouraged her to talk to initially because she thought they had a lot in common. She's straight, has a kid, so i'm not uber threatened in that respect. Where the problem arises is the effect that this new friendship has had on our relationship.

    She has started hanging out at her house until 2-3 a.m., picked up smoking (which she hasn't done in our 5 years together), and when I've mentioned that maybe I'd meet them out sometime, she tells me it would be awkward. Her only explaination for her not wanting me to meet this girl is because it's "her friend" and her buddies at work are allowed to hang out without their wives. I guess I get that...it's just a very different mindset than she's had before. I know this girl knows about me...my girlfriend is out at work and I've met most of her coworkers...so again, I'm not that concerned about cheating.

    I've tried to understand that she needs to have some things that are her own, but when she's with me, she's always making comments about how much more fun she has with this girl. Admittedly, lately, she probably is having more fun with her because I've been a bit down about how much less attentive and thoughtful she's been.

    We talked it all out and thought we had it all taken care of...then, the other night she volunteered to pick this friend up at the airport 3 hours away...in our SUV (the friend didn't pay for gas). As I was washing the car for her and loading some stuff out to the car for her trip, I saw that she had also bought this girl the alcohol of her choice, ready to give it to her at her arrival... whatever...I could convince myself that was normal. She let me know that they would probably have a drink when they got back. Knowing it would be 3 a.m. by the time they got back, I thought it was weird, but didn't say anything. She takes off around 9 p.m. I ask her to text me and let me know she made it safely...I text her maybe 4 times over the course of the next ten hours. I don't hear from her until noon the next day when she calls to tell me she fell asleep and is now on her way home. She was hardly apologetic, I'm sleep deprived from worrying all night...and mostly, I just feel disrespected. I'm trying to recognize and respect her needs to be her own person, but shouldn't she do a better job of respecting mine? Or am I being crazy? I legitimately need an outside perspective because she seems to think I'm being unreasonable...and i just have a weird gut feeling that something isn't quite right.

    I'm so sorry this turned out to be so long. But I just typed this whole thing on my phone, so imagine how I feel:)
     
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  2. AussieGirl2

    AussieGirl2 Active Member

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    Hmmm
    Well if this was me and it was my gf my first thought would be that something happened that night.
    Hate to say it but her being "straight" and having a child means zero to me. She could still be into your gf.
    This happened to me once and it turned out they'd cheated. But having said that I could be massively wrong! I'm just a big believer in gut instinct. ( That was what my instinct was telling me when my partner started acting Strange and not reurning texts and calls one night. Turns out my gut was right...)
    What does yours tell you?
     
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  3. AussieGirl2

    AussieGirl2 Active Member

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    Your definitely not being unreasonable by the way. Sounds like your being pretty level headed about it all.
    ( forgot to add that in my first post.)
     
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  4. adap03

    adap03 Active Member

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    She really gives little explanation except for they stayed up late drinking and talking and left her phone in the car. She apologizes and says she "literally didn't think about checking her phone." Isn't that the problem though? That we've been together this long, live together, share a life, and you don't "think" that maybe I would want to hear from you sometime over the course of 12 hours.

    As I write this now, I'm actually waiting for her to get home. She took off to this girls house last night at 8 pm to deliver some firewood for her fire pit. (Which by the way came from our yard and all the trees my dad and myself had just finished cleaning and cutting up..after doing some landscaping work). She was utterly obsessed with getting the wood over there, said she'd prefer if I didn't ride along to drop it off, I got a text said said "gonna stay for a drink," and haven't heard from her since. Its now 6:30 a.m.

    Its a serious problem. I certainly don't discount the fact that there could be something going on. I'm told this girl has a boyfriend, but where is said "boyfriend" when she needs rides to and from the airport and firewood delivered to her house.

    She has my car, and I hers, but as soon as she staggers in this morning, I suppose I'm gonna take my car and go stay with my sister for a few days...feeling out of options at this point. I know how it all sounds on paper and I'm losing a lot of respect for myself sticking around here.
     
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  5. AussieGirl2

    AussieGirl2 Active Member

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    Don't lose respect for yourself
    It's really easy for us ( the outsiders) to give advice and our opinions but at the end of the day it's your life and you have to live it ( and live with the decisions you make) it once took me well over a year to walk away from a dead relationship. I knew from the beginning of that year it wasn't right but I still had to be sure. At the end of it i cluld walk away knowing 100% it was the right decision. We all do things in our own time. So don't beat yourself up. These things are hard to walk away from sometimes..( not that you neccessarily need to do this in this situation)
    Have you confronted her straight out about the possibility of something going on between them?
     
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  6. AussieGirl2

    AussieGirl2 Active Member

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    It's probably a good move too staying with your sister for a few days.
    Make her stress ( see how she likes it- I know it sounds petty) but some people need to get a shock to realise that they could be losing something amazing from their actions. You not being there when she gets home from her lil "hang out seshs " might just do that.
     
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  7. Falk08

    Falk08 Well-Known Member

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    Right on to staying with your sister, I think your girlfriend needs to realize how she's been making you feel and see what she may lose. It sucks but often times people can get bored during a long relationship and of course this new girl seems exciting but hopefully this set of issues can make your gf realize she really wants to be with you and rekindle the spark you two once had.

    All that being said, as others pointed out don't lose respect for yourself. Regardless of if she's cheating or not, you two are in a very serious relationship and her just not returning your texts and staying elsewhere multiple nights is pretty unacceptable.
     
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  8. hanginround

    hanginround Active Member

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    Hey there,

    Sorry to hear about your situation. Just thought I'd chime in and say it doesnt sound like your being unreasonable. I've been with my partner for 8 years and I would feel it was completely inappropriate for either of us to repeatedly stay out all night with a secretive private friend. I'm not the jealous type but from what you have explained I would certainly feel threatened and under valued. I would go to my sisters as well. Give you a little time to sort through your thoughts and she through hers. Good luck.
     
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  9. adap03

    adap03 Active Member

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    Thanks for all the well wishes. Its good to have a little perspective. You can talk to friends and family and they can assure you you're not crazy all day long, but you always wonder of they're a little biased (as they should be:)

    She finally rolled in around 8:30 this a.m. with the same excuse...drank too much and fell asleep watching t.v. At this point, there's no point in discussing it. I feel blatantly disrespected and I'm unwilling to give up any more of myself.

    At my sisters house. No contact from her yet. My question is...how long do I make her sweat it out before I even consider answering her calls and discussing things? I'm really trying to avoid playing any sort of games, but I'm not sure what my next move should be.
     
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  10. adap03

    adap03 Active Member

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    And yeah...I have asked her if there is something going on a few different times. She swears there isn't, and call me naive, but I believe her. The thing is...I know she still loves me, but it feels like she's trying to prove to herself that she doesn't need me...if that makes sense. We've been guilty of a bit of codependency at times...and it feels like she's trying rid herself of that.
     
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  11. hanginround

    hanginround Active Member

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    I would say you know her best and if you do believe that its just an exploration of her independence, great! On the other hand, love can blind us all. Its hard to say how long you should wait until speaking to her about it again but my rule of thumb is to wait until you can communicate without becoming overly emotional. If it does end up being just a little rebellion or boredom on her side its probably time to talk about general respect that you anticipate to receive in the future.
     
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  12. Moses

    Moses Well-Known Member

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    Just a bit of alternative theory to the cheating one, which didn't jump out at me as an option when reading your origional post..

    You say you guys spend a lot of time together up to this point and most/all of her socialising has been done in the company of you and your friends...

    Sometimes, especially is the person is the adaptable type, a person can change a lot from being around their partner all the time...and by extension their friends. She might have 'fitted in' with your life and your people. She may have dropped aspects of her personality because they didn't fit in to your circle, and by extension enhanced or adopted other personality traits that would enable her to have more in common with you or your friends. I don't mean to make that sound so terrible...It is in fact quite a common human behaviour. People change to fit in and adopt to their environment.

    So perhaps, in meeting new people..people she choose and connected with herself, the 'old' aspects of her personality may have come to the fore in their company. (I'm not sure if it's just one new friend she has, or a new group, so change 'their' for 'her' if appropriate). That immediately jumped out at me as a reason why she wouldn't want you to hang out with them. Because she wouldn't know who to be if she had the two of you in the same room together. The 'her' you know or the 'her' her friend has gotten to know. And perhaps, more disturbingly, if she was the way she normally was with her friend in front of you, you wouldn't recognise her or even like her. Likewise if the friend saw who she was with you. Bear in mind this is only a theory now, and forgive me if i'm getting carried away...

    Sooo, perhaps it is a bit of a relief to her to get back to her 'old' self..and she is over-indulging in it. I would surmise that sooner or later, she will get sick of this behaviour. But for now, she is excited and perhaps a bit relieved by being this person, but over time she will realise that the person she is with you is who she prefers herself to be and is what ultimately makes her happy. If I was in your shoes, I would give her a bit of time. I don't think what you are doing i.e.moving out for now, is neccessarily the wrong decision. Ultimately you respect yourself and has certain requirements re how you want to be treated, and perhaps she really likes this about you. The only thing I would advise is to have a good chat. See what she is feeling without accussing her if you can. Likely, if my theory is anywhere near the mark, she will be a bit defensive and will have trouble explaining her actions, but see if you can get to the bottom of it in a gentle manner. Ask her a few leading questions; what she might miss about her time with her friend if the friend had to move away perhaps? Or how she feels when on a night out with her? A small bit of time might be what's needed for her to put her actions in perspective and for her to decide that she doesn't want to lose you.

    But for what it's worth, I don't think this is about cheating. I think it's about trying to regain, however temporarily, a part of herself she has lost. Hopefully she will choose that that part is not worth finding and decide to leave it go again, or maybe even she will learn to include it into her life in a less distructive/disrepectful way.

    Sorry about my spelling. I can't believe the new AE couldn't stretch to a spellcheck.
    Good luck with everything.x

    Edit: I didn't mean to imply that the only effective solution for the continuation of your relationship is her going back to exactly the way she was before. No, of course, a relationship involves two people and she needs to be fullfilled too. If there is something lacking in her life that she needs, the onus is on both of you as a couple (if you reunite) to find a way to have that need fullfilled without it wrecking your relationship or making you feel worthless. I was going to say 'groundrules', but perhaps that is the antithesis of what she gets from her time with her friend: independance, abandon, freedom and a bit of recklessness. Ground rules about what time she gets home or insisting she rings would only place you in the unfortuanate parental role and really highlight the difference between you and her friend. Sigh. It is a problem. The point is that she should want to let you know whats going on and 'should' have some empathy for you. So maybe this 'rebellious' stage has something to do with her being 'sick of' thinking about you (at least temporarily) or perhaps even putting you first, with the move etc.
     
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  13. adap03

    adap03 Active Member

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    Wow...that was incredibly insightful. With the small amount of information I was able to relay, I think you actually have a really good read on the situation...you didn't get carried away at all.

    That definitely gives me a much clearer perspective on her actions/mindset. Funny thing is, the proposed explanation you've given sounds really similar to what she's been trying to express (not nearly as eloquently).

    I'll try to keep that in mind as we talk things out, but like I said, whatever her motivation, boundaries have definitely been crossed and our relationship has been disrespected...so I'm gonna take a little time and give a little space (mostly for my own sanity and to give us both a little time for clarification).

    Again...thanks so much, everyone, for all the insight! I'll try to heed all of your excellent advice:)
     
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  14. Moses

    Moses Well-Known Member

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    well now, I do my best :D

    I do fully acknowledge how upsetting this must be for you and how your relationship has been disrespected and diminished by this behavior and of course, your right to take action to regain respect as a result of her actions.

    But...from what I can gather...You love her and are not ready to give up yet. You simply want to understand this behavior and I guess, you need it to stop too, and I suppose a guarantee that it won't happen again. Obviously I feel that she needs to have some outlet for the part of her that needs this, so wanting it to stop completely might not be ideal in the long run, but I can understand it's what you want.

    To achieve this, you need to understand what is at the root of it. There need to be talks...lots of gentle, nonjudgmental talks and you two need to get into the habit of communicating again. Often in a really happy relationship, there is lots of practice in saying the good stuff and an unwillingness to get round to saying the hard stuff or the stuff that the other person might take as criticism.

    So, I'd say it's obvious that she has issues within the relationship. Certain needs are being unmet. This is nobodies fault, so I'm not making a judgement here. If she didn't tell you, how were u supposed to know? I would also take a wild guess that her behavior now is as a result of pent up frustration, which leads me to believe she has being doing a lot of compromising without your knowledge.

    If I'm correct about what's going on with her, it is the 'elastic band' effect. She stretched herself too far in one direction, probably to achieve symatico with you. Then some survival instinct kicked in in response to a knowledge that she might be 'losing herself' or maybe she felt she was doing all the reaching and would prefer the two of you to meet 'in the middle'.

    This caused the elastic band to snap back suddenly and without warning. Often, when this happens, what appears to be very selfish, out of character behavior kicks in, combined with an apparent lack of empathy for the person/s they are hurting. This lack of empathy is often in direct contrast to the huge amount of empathy displayed prior to that. However it was the empathy and perhaps eagerness to please that caused the problem in the first place, hence the survival instinct cut off that channel.
    Now the good news is that this behavior is usually very necessary and often very temporary. It is necessary for the person's mental well being (even if it appears they are a little unhinged at the time) and once whatever it is that asserted this behavior within her has been 'given free rein' so to speak, 'it' is sated and the behavior calms down.

    A few things I would guess at:
    She thinks that if you knew certain aspects of her personality, you wouldn't like them.

    You good opinion of her is very important to her and she fears judgement from you.

    You are very grounded and definite in how you live your life, the types of people you associate with and perhaps would
    look badly on certain behaviors within society.

    You have high standards in relation to how you treat people and how you expect to be treated.

    Mistakes are rare for you and you rarely, if ever, make an idiot of yourself.

    She compromises a lot within the relationship, even if she chooses to make those compromises and believes largely that they are for her own good.

    Prior to this, she considered herself very lucky to have you.


    Again, I'm only kinda bouncing off what I hear from you, so if it doesn't apply, feel free to disregard.

    Any chat yet?
     
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  15. Moses

    Moses Well-Known Member

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    You are very hurt and are probably going to have a big problem creating the right atmosphere/conditions where she feels it is 'safe' to open up to you. Try your best to overcome this. It is very important. Try to remember that she is not criticizing you or dissing everything you had in your relationship. Just because certain aspects of the relationship didn't meet her needs, it doesn't mean she was unhappy the whole time. In fact, it's because the relationship meant so much to her and she was so happy that she didn't 'assert' certain aspects of herself before now. All she is looking for I'd say is a little more 'meeting in the middle', a space to be more herself within the relationship.

    Again, I'm speaking as if I have the correct take on what's going on. Don't take it as gospel tho if it doesn't apply. I'm only using my intuition which is fallible.
     
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  16. adap03

    adap03 Active Member

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    Thanks again...and once more, very sound advice and insight.

    An overindulgence of a good thing, like you mentioned before, is probably exactly what's going on here.

    I do understand that what she has going is a good thing. Just like you mentioned...having an outlet for certain parts of her that she feels she can't bring to the table in our relationship is important. I've never denied that, and have made a point to try not to complain when she takes off to hang out with people and she prefer that I not tag along. Where the problem really arose is in her being incommunicato with me for 10 hours at a time, and not coming home at night. Like you mentioned though, I think that some of that behavior is more a symptom of deeper issues within our relationship (her feelings of losing herself and conforming to certain standards that I uphold). During the course of our relationship, she's been very adamant of the fact that she's felt that I have made her want to be a "better person." That's all well and good, but I think that it has resulted in that "elastic band" effect - that would certainly explain the 180 I have been feeling she's pulled as far as her attitude toward me and our commitment. Makes sense.

    I did actually hear from her last night. She recognizes that enough boundaries were crossed that I need to take a little time for myself in order to regroup and de-stress. When she called, she mentioned that she just wanted to remind me that she loves me and she wanted to hear my voice, but she understands why I'm taking some time. Apologies were said, all of the above. As always, it was good to hear from her. I think she knows how deeply I've been hurt - she's not the type to apologize unless she really thinks that she has crossed a line. I love her enough that it's tempting to just assume that I could go home and everything would be fine. Unfortunately, we've had these talks quite a bit over the last several weeks, and to this point, it hasn't been quite enough for her to grasp a few of the requirements I have of her (again, not going completely off the grid for 12 hours at a time, and showing up the next morning/afternoon and expecting an argument not to commence). I truly want her to take a little time and figure out if that's the type of social life that she needs to feel like she's finding herself again. If so, that's fine, but I'm unwilling to be strung along. I'm a true advocate of people in relationships maintaining friendships (even completely separate friendships) outside of the relationship, but I can't subject myself to a relationship where one party wants the benefits of living the life of a single person with all the benefits of a committed partner waiting at home. A committed partner that's not supposed to ask any questions or have any inputs or needs at that.

    I think she's starting to understand that. I'm certainly starting to understand a piece together more understanding of her motivation behind things (thanks largely in part to your observations). I think next time I talk to her, I'll make it clear that it's safe to talk to me, and I will work hard to withhold any judgments that I may have. The difficult part will definitely be getting her to open up about it. I'm a talker myself, and I know in the past she has felt like we talk things to death...so I'll also work on my patience with that. More meeting in the middle, if you will :)
     
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  17. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    Wow, so glad for Moses' perspective, otherwise I would have suspected a little somethin' somethin' going on and not much else. But because of what she said, it made me remember a couple that I knew. The guy was a compulsive gambler, married a girl who didn't know but thought he could settle down and be the good family man his parents wanted him to be. Then sometime during their marriage, he met a guy who liked gambling just as much and off they went until all hours and at times, days. He definitely was not into guys but into gambling and them two were like two peas in a pod. His behavior didn't stop until his marriage fell apart and by the time he realized he had a problem his gal was long gone.

    I wanted to add that just in case your love is just blowing off steam and not having a drinking problem or something. She is doing something you are not approving of that is why you could not tag along, like, at all. That guy didn't want his wife scowling at him in some casino that was why he brought her once and never again. He figured he wasn't doing anything bad because he was not cheating on her, just going out and wanting his lifestyle, you know.
     
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  18. halfconfused

    halfconfused Well-Known Member

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    you're in a relationship but if she's always out drinking and sleeping over at this "straight friend's" place until the next morning without even bothering to give you a call? seriously, think about it.

    it didn't even cross her mind to call you because you didn't even cross her mind the entire night. ah why might that be? I'm not trying to freak you out, or maybe I am... because if I were you... I would have gone crazy. I don't know how you can stand this.

    Not only about the drinking and the sleepovers, but her reluctance to introduce you to her "straight friend". If you really suspect something and you really want to meet her friend, let her know. If there is nothing to hide, she will introduce you to her friend, albeit reluctantly, but she will. But if she keeps saying no, it's just more red flags.

    I don't even know why the sexual orientation of her friend was brought up in the first place. Was this before or after your concern about her hanging out with this friend of hers?

    Have you read the book, the gift of fear?

    Sometimes, we just have to trust our instincts.

    Best wishes.
     
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  19. AussieGirl2

    AussieGirl2 Active Member

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    How did it all turn out?? have to admit am slightly curious...
    Am hoping the silence means things are all good with your girl again and youve worked through it?
     
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  20. jennifer3

    jennifer3 Member

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    Have you asked if her friend is actually bisexual? It's possible.
     
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