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?

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    Very long back story, but having a clear concise question would help alot, seems you're asking alot in this. – SomeoneElse Aug 2 '18 at 1:54
  • @SomeoneElse I tried making it more concise, but yeah, I know I'm asking a lot of things. But honestly, I wouldn't know how to do it better. – nobodyknows Aug 2 '18 at 2:24
  • it's abit hard for any of us to answer what you should or should not do. but i'll drop a short answer to your three questions – SomeoneElse Aug 2 '18 at 2:38
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    I'm voting to close this question as too broad since it's asking 3 separate questions. Can you edit this to ask one question specific question about interpersonal skills. – sphennings Aug 2 '18 at 3:09
  • I think this is still very opinion based (i.e. speculative) after the edit - "will I always have to do this?" is basically asking us to predict the future. Maybe you could focus more on strategies for opening up communication about this issue or better ways to ask her how she is feeling? – Em C Aug 2 '18 at 15:12

This will very likely be closed soon, but I'm feeling generous, and I've been there and done that, so here goes...

You're both showing your age here. I know that's probably not what you want to hear, but it's the truth. Pulling the "you're emotionally immature, and I'm the logical one" is a pretty common thing that younger guys do to younger women, and it's not great. You're both emotionally immature. It's a part of dating in your early years, and as I fully remember, that's rough.

Let's unpack that a little bit.

She wants a partner that doesn't need to be told that certain things are upsetting. Like it or not, that's a completely reasonable thing to expect. I'm sure that you expect the same from her, just with different certain things. I'm sure that you have things that just seem obviously wrong, unpleasant, and upsetting to you; everyone does. Things that if they were to happen you'd feel upset about, and would probably feel more upset if you had to explain them to your partner. Dig deep, everyone has them. If you repress your emotions think of something more extreme - imagine that she crashed your car, and didn't understand what the big deal was... I know you're saying that that's different, and it obviously is. She probably wasn't raised with that whole toxic "boys don't cry" thing, so she probably reads and responds to emotional stimuli better than you do.

On the other hand, you expect your partner to clearly communicate what's going on with them. This is also a completely reasonable expectation. Healthy communication is a cornerstone in every healthy relationship. Being able to take a step back and really talk to your partner in a way that works for the both of you is really very important.

The thing is... This is clashing with her expectation of not needing to explain why certain things are upsetting.

I've been there and done that. I've been the logical, rational one, who was oh so frustrated with a girl for being too emotional. But... Looking back, that's not really the whole truth. The reality was that I was being emotionally tone deaf, she wasn't communicating in ways that made sense to me at the time, and it was easier for me to claim the higher ground than admit that we probably needed to meet in the middle.

Don't be that guy. You're not more mature because you were taught to repress emotions. You're just as immature and messed up as she is, just a different kind of messed up and immature. Learn from it, be willing to grow as a person, and as a partner, and even if this particular relationship doesn't work out, you'll be better for it.

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    This answer seems to make an awfully lot of assumptions about the OP. It's quite prejudiced to be frank. It's filled with it all over the answer, but especially this line: "Don't be that guy. You're not more mature because you were taught to repress emotions. You're just as immature and messed up as she is, just a different kind of messed up and immature." How in the world do you know anything about his upbringing? This answer could be severely repaired by taking out all unjustified assumptions about the people in question. – Eff Aug 2 '18 at 8:59
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    @Eff I think it is fair to assume some things. I for example am also pretty sure that this is the case with him because "been there, done that". It's just the way it is. If some things dont apply, he has a voice and he can correct him himself :) – MansNotHot Aug 2 '18 at 9:33
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    @MansNotHot "If some things dont apply, he has a voice and he can correct him himself :) " Comments are made to suggest improvements, and this is my opinion of an improvement. "I think it is fair to assume some things." Well, some things, yes. The question is to which degree is assuming things reasonable or justified. As far as I'm concerned, the assumptions in this answer are as justified as if someone said "She's a woman so she has never learned how to think logically." Namely, an assumption many would consider bigoted. I don't consider these assumptions (in this answer) justifiable. – Eff Aug 2 '18 at 10:36
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    Also been there, done that (as well as probably most who are past their 20ies) Still very much disagree with your analysis. To me, this makes more of a impression of a partner who has a cognitive dissonance - Either no more love, peer pressure or a pathological need for attention, but having no rational for it an thus reacting poorly. – user6109 Aug 2 '18 at 11:22
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    @Spagirl He did in fact make completely baseless assumptions on how he and she has been raised. However, let's assume you're totally right for the sake of argument. My criticism still stands that the assumptions made in this answer are unjustified. If anyone, based purely on the personality's as reported in the OP, actually went ahead and judged the girl in question as being unable to comprehend reason and logic, then people would still think that would an unjustified assumption. This answers goes way beyond what people would consider reasonable assumptions in any other circumstance. – Eff Aug 2 '18 at 14:32

From personal experience,

  1. It isn't very unusual for couples to take extra effort to find out if their partner is unhappy or angry about something. I often have to ask my GF multiple times "what's wrong" to get a definite answer.

  2. The way to make her tell you more or open up isn't to tell her she should, you have to make yourself more approachable, that being said, "being approachable" is subjective and since you know your gf best, only you can be the judge of what that means.

  3. your last query is abit of a bummer because i don't think any one here has the answer. Hard to give you something for this.

  • Some remarks on your points: 1.) Asking multiple times when I know something is wrong is not the issue here. My issue is not even knowing that she's unhappy with something, as she appears perfectly happy. It even appears to me sometimes as if she didn't knew herself. 3.) I wouldn't expect the answer, but any suggestions would be appreciated, because frankly I'm out of ideas. – nobodyknows Aug 2 '18 at 2:51

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