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My girlfriend has a habit of thinking of scenarios that will never happen and then asking me a question about them usually about our relationship and then getting upset if I don't answer correctly.

One such example is:

We were watching an episode of Doctor Who and she asked, If we were both married until we were 80 then you were made into a 20 year old body again would you still love me forever even after I died?

Now of course this is never going to happen and I said well I don't know and its possible I would eventually love someone else I mean I could live for a really long time after you died if I was 20 again and she was 80.

This upset her and she said I should stay alone forever after she died and should never love someone else even many years after.

I am 23 and she is 19 if that helps and we have been together 8 months. How can I tell her that I don't like these kind of hypothetical questions, without resorting to corny eternal-lover's oaths?

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    In your example, it sounds as if you responded seriously to a question she asked in light jest. Are you certain she is expecting a serious answer to these questions and not just engaging in small-talk? – user8671 Jul 20 '18 at 9:36
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    @Kozaky I do not believe so, She expected the answer that i would stay single and love no one but her until i die which would be like 60 years. – GamerGypps Jul 20 '18 at 9:51
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    Are all of these extreme hypotheticals about eternal love, or are they about a range of topics? – Spagirl Jul 20 '18 at 9:58
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    Please don’t write answers in comments. It bypasses our quality measures by not having voting (both up and down) available on comments, as well as having other problems detailed on meta. Use comments for asking for clarifications or suggesting improvements for the question. Comments used for other purposes will be removed without notice. – A J Jul 21 '18 at 5:20
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    Did you try just telling hre exactly what you told us ("I don't like these kind of hypothetical questions...")? What happened? – AnoE Jul 22 '18 at 18:17
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+100

She is playing a game

So play along and try to find the answer she is expecting. Even better, find an answer that she is not expecting, but that surprise her in a good way or make her laugh. This is how you win at this game, not by telling the boring truth.

Your answer could have been :

Of course

Or

I would love you even more, because I have to confess I love grannys

Or

It's impossible because if you die before me, I would die of sadness and loneliness. The age doesn't matter.

These kind of games are just a way for her to make you tell her how important she is for you, how much you love her. And I think it's funnier this way than just asking "Do you love me?". By telling an answer that is not the truth, you are not lying, you are courting her.


Edit because of Frame challenge

As well observed in a comment, this answer is not answering the question directly: I'm not giving any advice on how to make these questions stop.

I believe that you don't like these questions because you feel you have the choice between lying and making her upset. If you agree with my answer, you will start to enjoy this game. Indeed, you can make her happy and you can have fun trying to find intelligent and funny answers.

So you don't need to make her stop anymore.

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    This is not an answer to the asked question. If you want to make a frame challenge, please read this meta about frame challenges where it is explained what an answer needs to count as a good frame challenge and edit your answer accordingly. Thank you – Kaspar Scherrer Jul 20 '18 at 12:44
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    I marked this as the correct answer becuase i feel it fits more in line with mine and my GF personality. We both jest and have good banter between us so this feels more natural to make her laugh about it. I have a thing about not lying to her which is why this was even a problem in the first place. Thanks @Legisey for this answer! – GamerGypps Jul 20 '18 at 14:17
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    Please do not argue the merits of this answer in the comments. Per our site policy (outlined here), if you disagree with an answer, downvote and/or write your own answer. – scohe001 Jul 20 '18 at 17:40
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This is a classic misunderstanding between two people who may have differing personality types. Even though your perspective is that she is taking an impossible, hypothetical question too seriously, from her perspective it is you that is not treating the real, emotional side of it seriously enough.

For her, there is real human element in her question - your love for her. She is just using a hypothetical question to try and tap into your feelings.

It is interesting that you mention you were watching Doctor Who when this happened. Perhaps you included this detail because she drew her inspiration for the question from the Doctor's ability to regenerate in the fictional show. But what I find interesting is that you enjoy that fictional show, but you don't enjoy her take on the concept. Speaking personally, I find that when belief is suspended in TV shows or films it often draws us in and warms us to characters more than "real life" drama can, and then when there is real life drama in such a story it can affect us on an emotional level more. I've lived through some real tough times in my life and stayed strong, but I cry like a baby every time I see K9 get blown up in School Reunion. Fictitious or hypothetical situations can clearly tap into our emotions.

I get why you don't like hypothetical questions - because they can only be answered hypothetically, and many people find that meaningless. Yet it seems your lack of an answer is troubling your girlfriend. She likely sees them as a window into your true feelings, and that you are avoiding sharing your feelings for her. Your girlfriend may also be a little insecure and seeking reassurance. If she finds it difficult getting reassurances from you then she may also be using imaginary scenarios like this because of your interest in sci-fi, hoping to tap into your emotions via something you are interested in.

Rather than tell her you don't like these questions and don't want them, you'd be better discussing your reasons for struggling to answer them:

Perhaps say:

The other day you asked me a question about [x] and you got upset when I didn't answer it very well. The truth is I find it hard to say what I would do in situations that aren't real. If the question isn't real then the answer isn't real either.

Now it is time for some honesty. Tell her how you feel about her. I'm not going to put these words in your mouth. But once you've reassured her, go on to say:

I'd rather you ask me real questions about how I feel. Then I can give you a real answer.

19

By asking this question, your girlfriend seems to need to be reassured about your feelings for her. Beyond the hypothetical nature of her questions, she's asking for the strength of your love towards her. This may surprise you, as you may be repeating her that you love her, or offering gifts to her, or cuddling frequently.

How to ask her to stop

I'd go for a NonViolent Communication-based solution (NVC). Establish how you feel, what makes you feel that way (the trigger), and what you want to achieve. Do not sound judgmental, for it may offend her and the conversation would block.

An example of how it could go:

Alice, the questions about my love for you in hypothetical situations you're oftentimes asking makes me feel uncomfortable. I would rather like to focus on how I can prove you my love right now, because I don't know how to do it in such situations. Would you be interesting in [doing whatever you're doing together and makes you happy] and do you think about anything else you would like to do?

This way you do not blame her and it eases to find a compromise that would suit you both.

How to reassure her

Furthermore, if you see no sign of jealousy from her (which could explain her need to be reassured), then it may be that you two are speaking different love languages. If you're not familiar with the theory, Gary Chapman theorized the idea that people have different ways to express their love and to feel loved. There's actually 5 ways, according to him:

  1. Words of affirmation. Frequently telling your SO you love her, how important she is to you, in a nutshell, verbal communication.
  2. Acts of service. Offering her to do some chore, helping her by going grocery shopping if it needs to be done and she has something else to do, and so on.
  3. Receiving gifts. She's the happiest woman when you offer her the new book from her favorite author, or a tool she was planning to buy, etc. She feels loved by the gifts you're offering her.
  4. Quality time. If she's complaining that she never sees you, it may be her love language. She gives importance to have dinner together, go on dates oftentimes, spend the weekend at home and not plan to see anyone, aso.
  5. Physical touch. She asks for hugs, wants you to cuddle her. She seeks physical contact.

Chapman offers a test you can take to both know what's your love language and hers. You may be trying to show her your love with your own love language, but if it differs from hers, well, it may be as difficult as for an English-speaking person to understand Chinese out of the blue! By understanding how she feels loved and practicing her love language, you may get her to definitely stop asking those questions (which is what you're trying to achieve if I'm right). I'd suggest you take a look at it, for it may improve your relationship anyway (or confirm that you already have the most pertinent way to make her feel loved).

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I want to share another perspective. Legisey's answer is fine if you just want to avoid to make here upset, but by adjusting your answer to what she wants to hear, you are actively hiding a piece of yourself and denying her a possibility to understand you better. Of course, you don't have to show a partner every bit of yourself, but I think there is a risk of hiding too much of yourself.

From the example you gave it sounds like you have different views on love. This is perfectly fine, but if you're in a serious relationship you might want to understand each others perspectives. The scenario in the example is obviously not realistic, but the possibility of one of you dying much earlier than the other is very much real.

One way to show her your views in a less "offensive" way could be to flip the question and tell her how you would like her to react if it were the other way around. For example, you could have answered with:

"I don't know. If it were the other way around and I died long before you, I wouldn't want you to be lonely for the rest of your life. I think I would be glad if you eventually found someone else to love, as long as you were happy. What do you think?"

I think this might work, because things that she might think are egoistic if you do them is more likely to be perceived as romantic if you wish her to do them.

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Unpopular answer time.

This upset her and she said I should stay alone forever after she died and should never love someone else even many years after.

This is, in my opinion, not a good sign. If she is prepared to make such harsh statements in response you not wanting to play her 'hypothetical clichéd romance' game then it's a sign that she's probably a bit emotionally immature and probably somewhat insecure.

Also if she cannot process the concept of you loving someone else after she's gone then it may also be a sign that she's a bit clingy or overprotective.

If you play along with her games, you'll just be encouraging her to do it more, and you'll have to be willing to put up with that.


Next time she asks you a question along those lines ask if it's a hypothetical question or not. If she says it's hypothetical, be sure to prefix your answer with something along the lines of "I do not like these kinds of hypothetical questions because I'm not very good at thinking about hypothetical questions that could never happen", then proceed to try to come up with some kind of answer.

Keep this up for a while and hopefully she'll get the message. If she still doesn't get the message after several attempts, refuse to answer and state something like "I keep telling you that I don't like these kinds of ridiculous hypothetical questions but you keep ignoring me. Why do you insist on continuing to ask them when you know that I don't like them?".

Even relationships need some boundaries.

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This is a good opportunity to become familiar with the common communication concept known as "subtext". Most everyone understands that what people say and what they mean are two different things, but all too often become too enmeshed in the superficial context of the argument to explore anything deeper.

An example, the cliche:

A: How do I look in this outfit?
B: You look fine.
A: What do you mean by that?

Comedians love this kind of material because it exposes how communication often leads to misunderstanding. Person A isn't just asking how something looks on them, they're looking for reassurance that they are still attractive to Person B.

Wouldn't it have been nicer if instead the conversation went something like:

A: Do you think I look good in this outfit?
B: Baby, I think you look great in that outfit.

People are people, though, and only infrequently say what they mean. Sometimes it takes a skilled therapist days or weeks or even months to coax the truth out.

In a similar way, until you figure out the subtext of your girlfriend's "silly" question, it's going to be difficult to give her a satisfactory answer. A simple way to get the ball rolling in this direction is to ask:

Why? What are you afraid is going to happen?

There are any number of responses she could give, but suppose she replies something along the lines of:

I just don't want you to forget about me, that's all.

I don't know about you, but I would feel comfortable replying:

I promise I'll never forget about you. Ever.

This can be completely honest. I remember every one of my girlfriends, all the way back to my first kiss. Hopefully it's the reassurance your girlfriend is looking for.

To get back to your original question: There's really no way to avoid silly hypotheticals, at least without becoming a hermit and avoiding other people entirely. Start to pay attention to your own conversation to see how often you say things with some kind of loaded subtext -- you probably do it far more often than you think.

Better to learn to read subtext, and to ask the kind of leading questions that allow you to get to the heart of what others really want or fear.

protected by Community Jul 21 '18 at 10:25

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