6

First, a little background

My girlfriend and I have been together for just over 8 months now, and I have to say that this is the happiest relationship I think I've ever been in. I'm 23 going on 24 and she's 21. I just graduated college and she is finishing her senior year this year. Our relationship has, for the most part, been a healthy one. I feel fairly comfortable and able to talk to her about things, except for one area that I struggle with. I've always dealt with pretty serious anxiety, specifically relationship anxiety. It hadn't been a major issue however until my previous girlfriend cheated on and broke up with me. I dealt with many of the issues that brought up, however there's still one that I'm struggling with related to my anxiety in general.

I will add that I am on medicine now which helps tremendously--I had been opposed to taking medicine because of the drawbacks of the major types of anxiety medicine at the start of this summer. However after a particularly bad week caused by starting a new job, being unable to communicate with my girlfriend while she was out of state for awhile, and the general changes that come with graduating college I decided to try Buspirone. No noticeable side effects and much less anxiety is a good thing.

The problem

Until the start of this summer my girlfriend and I spoke fairly often throughout the day. Not constantly, of course, and I'd never expect that from anyone. I know I certainly wouldn't like it if my partner demanded I was talking to them all day via text. Still, we held conversations between classes and in the evenings while we were working on homework. At the start of the summer she took a trip to New York and I was basically unable to talk to her while she was away, and after that things have just been... different. We exchange maybe a total of 5-10 texts per day, and mostly our "conversations" feel like two ships passing in the night. Goodmorning texts, a few "Hope your day is going well!" texts, the occasional complaint about work. That sort of stuff. I'll try and have conversations occasionally that attempt to go deeper but she either seems to ignore my attempts at conversation or somehow doesn't notice that I'm trying to engage more than just minimally.

There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with our relationship, either. When I'm with her in person (about once/week or once/week and a half due to distance while she's not at school) we have conversations, talk, and everything just seems pretty normal. She doesn't seem to notice anything different as far as I can tell.

Currently I'm trying to decide how to broach the subject with her, without coming across as desperate or needy or clingy or what have you. I know that because of my anxiety much of what I'm thinking/feeling has no real cause and that I shouldn't really be feeling this way, but I just can't help but feel that there's something off. Yet I'm nervous about talking to her because the last thing that I want to do is make her feel smothered or like I'm being demanding of her attention. She knows about my anxiety, and we've talked about it a bit in the past (especially after the week that convinced me to try medicine). I can tell that she occasionally makes an effort to give me reaffirmation when she senses I'm in need of it, but this particular subject I'm just not so sure about.

Should I even bother bringing this up? Part of me feels like this is just a "me" problem and it's something I should deal with to avoid putting any unnecessary burden on her/to keep from making her feel like she has to devote unnecessary amounts of attention to me. I just miss our conversations and the connection they brought.

TL;DR

I'm looking to avoid a negative interaction with my girlfriend due to a perceived lack of conversation/drastic reduction in conversation on my end of things.

closed as off-topic by sphennings, ElizB, Flo, Arwen Undómiel, Kaspar Scherrer Jul 27 '18 at 7:18

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Asking "What should I do?" is off topic. - Questions should ask for help achieving a specific goal. Your question is asking for personal advice on "what to do" without defining a goal; this is too subjective. Edit your question to explain what you hope to achieve and how you would like to interact with the others involved." – sphennings, Flo, Arwen Undómiel, Kaspar Scherrer
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    "What should I do?" Questions are not on topic here at IPS, can you edit it to align with what is described in the help center. What is the specific interpersonal goal you want to achieve? "Approaching her" and "Helping her open up" questions are broad, so if you find a specific interpersonal goal you would like to work on, edit the question please. – ElizB Jul 27 '18 at 3:08
  • @ElizB I'm honestly not exactly sure how to edit this to further clarify my question. My goal is to figure out a way to broach this subject without coming across negatively--that doesn't explicitly seem to go against anything on the don't ask list. There is a problem to be solved--avoiding a negative interaction with someone I love. Similarly, I don't feel that this is open ended or hypothetical. There ARE solutions out there, I'm just unsure of what they are myself. – Armonium Jul 27 '18 at 3:14
  • Is this your first serious relationship? – apaul Jul 27 '18 at 3:25
  • @apaul No, it isn't. I've had three "serious" relationships before this one. 4 years in high school, 6 months Freshman year of college, 6 months Junior year of college. – Armonium Jul 27 '18 at 3:27
  • 1
    In order to get your question reopened, I think that it will suffice to remove the "Should I..." paragraph and to highlight the actual question. As you see, people will tell you if you should anyways. – LinuxBlanket Jul 27 '18 at 7:59
5

Well, i think that the trip to New York has changed the mindset of your girlfriend about texting with you in a relationship. This isn't a particularly bad thing. personally, i'm in a LDR, and for me the only form of communication is text and the occasional call. I get a little anxious when she doesn't reply and the like.

You did mention that she is finishing her senior year, which could also mean her workload is increasing or that she is getting more busy as the finals come up. You need to see it that texting , while being a way to talk and connect, is also just a way to get to meet. If your meetings with her are more or less normal and have nice conversations and activities together, don't look too much into the text messages.

The Answer:

I would suggest bringing this up the next time you meet her. But do not say things like

"Why haven't you been texting as much lately"

But ask about her workload and more about her current state and how it relates to less time on her phone or on social media. Just a tidbit from my own experience, my girlfriend texted me a lot less after i told her about a hard project i was working on, and after i asked if she's busy and cannot text, she mentioned that i was the one who was busy and she didn't want me to be distracted from my work.

Making it known to her that the low amount of texts makes you abit jumpy can help, however you did mention you don't want to come off as clingy and over attached. In order not to seem that way:

  • Firstly, don't send multiple texts in a row without her replying or reading them, it always comes off clingy if she finishes up her work and looks at her phone to see 30 messages from you.
  • Secondly, to promote messages and the like, try to shape your questions interestingly, the good ol' "How was your lunch?" are ok from time to time but it gets dry and boring when you ask that everyday. giving interesting information about your day or things you found cool/intersting is always better. Let her know more about the important and key things happening in your day and she'll be more ,likely to share that with you.

However, if she still doesn't text more. Do not fret, maybe she's saving up conversation topics to talk with you face-to-face when cuddling each other, and that is way better then telling someone something over the phone. All-in-all, make her feel she's part and parcel of your day and life and she will be more inclined to give you updates. Just don't over do it.

  • I'll clarify in the post, but she's actually on summer break before her senior year of college. That being said, she DOES have a summer job which is a considerable amount of design work, alongside running the social media for about 6 campgrounds. So while she's not in school at the moment she certainly does have a heavy workload. – Armonium Jul 27 '18 at 3:22
  • i'll make edits due to new information. – SomeoneElse Jul 27 '18 at 3:24
4

It doesn't sound like anything odd or terrible is happening. Honestly it sounds more like you're transitioning from the exciting new relationship phase to the steady stable relationship phase. Which, believe it or not, is usually a good thing.

It's common for most folks to get super absorbed into their relationship in the first months. It's exciting, you're still getting to know each other, and so... there's lots to talk about. But obviously this can't go on forever, nobody would get any work done, and society as a whole would cease to function. (<- jokes, well mostly jokes)

I say it's a good thing because that new relationship excitement is ideally replaced with things like stability, reliability, commitment, comfort and so on and so forth.

If you enjoy a good drink, you may get this... New relationships are like shots of tequila or vodka at a bar. They're fiery, fun, exciting, always a good time, but not something you can do everyday without burning out, they require a certain amount of energy. On the other hand a good long term relationship is like a beautifully aged scotch, or bourbon in a rocks glass. They may not be as exciting, but they're worth savoring, sipping on, taking your time with. Don't get me wrong, both have their moments, both are enjoyable, but if you try to maintain the excitement of shots long term, you'll eventually find yourself hurting.

So... Now that we know this a normal stage in the development of a relationship, what do we do?

Well, if you'd like to talk with your partner more, talk to them more. You'll just have to work on developing some new material to talk about. This is part of where the work of having a long term relationship starts. Just like those fine whiskeys I mentioned above, this doesn't just happen by accident, it takes patience, effort, and skill to make something really great.

Rather than waiting by the phone for the next text, find something to do that you enjoy. Developing your own independent interests and hobbies will give you something new to talk about with your partner.

Beyond that... It's usually ok to talk to your partner about what you want and need from the relationship. It's not necessarily smothering or needy to have an open discussion about these thing. The healthiest, most fulfilling, relationships I've had were the ones where we could sit down and really be completely honest about our insecurities, vulnerabilities, wants, and needs. People don't read minds, so if you want something from a relationship, it helps to speak up.

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