Apologies for a strongly truncated backstory, but stackexchange wouldn't let me post it, claiming it was spam.
I'm 24, my girlfriend's 25. She's my first girlfriend, she's had boyfriends before me. We've been together for 3 years.
Overall, it seemed like a good, healthy relationship thus far. We rarely had fights, lots of small problems we could clear by talking things out. However, one reoccurring subject seems to never be solved: She wants me to spend more time with her. That looks like a reasonable request to me, because I work a lot to get my degree in a scientific field. (She doesn't have regular work.) My issue is that for some reason, she never can tell me when she's unhappy with how much time we spend together; this problem always leads to explosions and drama and crying and all that. This happened 3-4 times so far. Every time, I explained that I sometimes just don't notice that she's not happy with how things are going. She always seemed happy, or can tell me what's making her unhappy, apart from this bloody issue. I explained that I need her to tell me when she's not satisfied, and that I need to count on her to do that. I can't read minds. But it didn't seem to bear any fruit.
Two weeks ago, we got into a big fight. In short, she got in a fight with my brother, where he clearly messed up, but later on sincerely apologised. We were not in our home town, but a place where it's nice to spend your holidays. I had two weeks of school there, those two and others were there to relax.
The next day, she left back home. She texted me when she was sitting on the bus already, and I got lucky that I went on a small field trip with the school that I was close to the train station so that I could meet her before she left. She did however promise to come back the following week with her sister without me asking, a promise she wouldn't keep, and later told me she never intended to keep.
For two days, she didn't contact me. I believed that she wanted some distance, so I waited for two days before texting her. As usual when drama is unfolding in our relationship, she didn't want to talk or text about it, but only in person. She wanted me to "think of her for a change and try to understand her". However, she wouldn't tell me anything. I didn't know for sure what was going on with her. She made a few comments (if you really need to know what, I'll provide it) that led me to believe that she wanted to break up with me. My brother and a more experienced friend confirmed my conclusion.
A week later I returned home, missing the last couple of days of school, to talk things out with her. It was a nasty talk at first, where she accused me of some horrible things that were demonstrably wrong. In essence, she accused me of doing nothing for our relationship, while she's being the one doing everything and carrying this relationship. And some other things I'll omit for now. She told me that she'd expected me to protect her, and felt unprotected. She also admitted that my reaction on that day destroyed her image of me being a white knight on a noble steed. She couldn't explain to me, at all, why she wouldn't want to give me any hint on what's going on inside her, all the while demanding that I understood her and empathise with her. I even offered to give her a call, and just let her talk and say whatever she wants to say, while I said nothing and just listened. She couldn't tell me why she wouldn't take me up on that offer; "Others talked me into it" is all she could tell me.
Following the advice of a female friend of mine, I suggested that my girlfriend and I get some distance and cool off. We agreed to meet this Friday, which will be a week after out last talk.
A lot of things she said and did hurt me deeply, and I feel that it created a distance between us. On top of that, I don't think that she has any intentions to reconcile things with my brother. I'm aware they won't be best buddies, but I want them to at least be able to be in the same room at the same time. Also her parents, as she tells it, quite dislike me now. She lives with them, and I'm not comfortable visiting or spending a night in a house where I'm not welcome. Furthermore, apparently she had some image of me in her head, which now is no more, so I can't help but wonder whether she was in a relationship with me or that image of hers.
But most troublesome of all to me is that it seems to me like my biggest mistake was treating her like an adult, mature woman. I can't trust her to express her discomfort with our relationship, it looks like I'll have to dig to get her to tell me some things. I don't understand this, because for some things she seemingly has no trouble at all expressing her unease with. I also ask her almost daily how she is, and how things are going for her. And we went over this subject multiple times. And when the fight broke out, apparently she expected me to not get emotional to her making me choose between her and my brother, as I see it to treat her like a child who still doesn't know how to deal with emotions.
Here is what I'd like advice on:
is it usual/common in a relationship to have to go out of my way to find out whether my girlfriend is unhappy with something in our relationship? Am I setting unrealistically high standards by not wanting to have to do that?
I prefer an analytical and logical approach to problem solving, and can't deal with what seems like a purely emotional reaction that she exhibits in such cases. I don't know what's going on, what happened nor what to do. Is there a chance in the future that she'd be able to meet me halfway across and at least give me hints of what is going on inside her in such cases?
Lastly, assuming we agree to try and fix this mess we're in. How would I/we go on about mending our relationship? I know that for me, this relationship can't continue in this manner. But I have no idea where or how to start mending. There is a lot of hurt and pain present on both sides, I'll have to somehow also mend relations with her parents, and she with my brother (at least to some degree). The main point remains that I need to trust her to talk to me when something's wrong, but I'm not even sure I currently trust her words at all.
I've been asked to limit my post to one question, so here's me trying:
As far as I can see, the main issue is that in this situation, both she and I were communicating in ways the counterpart didn't understand. Is there a way that this might improve in the future? Will I have to constantly explicitly ask her about her feelings towards our relationship for as long as it holds?