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I dated a girl (early 20's) a bit about half a year ago, while she was on a break from her ex relationship. There's about 700 km between us, in different European countries. We chat every day all day and are having kinda serious discussions about our future, but it's all in the some unknown distant future.

She is still friends and roommate with her ex that she was in a bad relationship with for about 6 years. She loves both of us, and she currently doesn't want to be in a relationship with anyone, but she says that she'll eventually love to be with me.

My problem is that she gives me some very vague and contradictory answers to some questions, and they are sometimes opposite to her actions. For example she tells me she wants to be alone, but doesn't want to get her own apartment.

When I ask her directly some questions she either simply ignores it, or replies with a conversation ender like "ok", "if you say so" or just sad emoji. If I push harder she usually gets angry, saying that I don't ever agree with her. I've tried the approach with "I" statements but that just gets her to continue with "ok" or sad emojis, or turns the discussion about how horrible she is and why do I even want her. If I try to comfort her then the conversation completely railroads and the discussion ends. If we're talking about some specific thing that I'd love to be handled differently she tells me how everyone hates everything she does.

What doesn't help is that both her family and her ex are treating her very abusively, using direct insults to get their way and she believes that kind of talk is valid about her, i.e., her mother called her a terrible daughter because she didn't look something up online the moment mother asked her to.

How can I approach conversation with her about stuff that's relevant to me, like her future relationship with me or her ex, without her completely shutting down conversation? I would love to have some answers, whatever they are, to know if there is really some future for us or not. I would also love to get to know her reasons for doing and saying contradictory stuff.

Clarifications from comments:

  • We usually talk via texting, sometimes video. I tried to have a serious conversation on video too, but it got similarly shut down, with mostly silence.

  • If I ask her what she wants - for now or short term future, she answers that she doesn't know. I can't really visit her, especially now during quarantine, but she doesn't seem to be ready to live alone. At one point she mentioned it's a bit scary, but I can't get her to continue conversation about it.

A bit more about our relationship:

We met about two years ago, became friends in the mean time, started talking regularly. At some point it became a bit intimate and she told me there are problems in her current relationship. During that time her ex left her because she's not a good enough girlfriend for him, but gave her another chance to fix the relationship. That lasted for month or two when he left her, but they were still living together to make it easier on both of them.

We met in person 2 weeks later, spent few days together but she said it was going too fast. About a month later we met again few times in a row, had a wonderful time together, but she told me even before meeting her that she's not ready for a relationship. Before that times together she was living with her parents, her ex told her she's no longer welcome back.

During that he aproached her and asked her back, promised to change She gave him a chance for about half a year, for long it was getting worse, but then he promised to get better, but decided to end it about 3 weeks ago I only have her version of the story, but during some videocalls her mother would come and start yelling at her for what seemed to be no important reason (I don't understand her native language)

A "conclusion": I followed JenInCode's answer and made an ultimatum of sorts. We started comunicating a bit better and she's made a commitment to try to fix the problems. I understand the red flags and we spent some time talking about it, she understands her problems with anger, and we'll try making it work. Since then it did get much better even though still not perfect (but it's been few days)

I didn't look at some of the points mentioned before as serious, but now I'm looking at it much more clearly. I will still ignore the advice about giving up as long as it's getting better, but I'll be much more vigilant about the signs it isn't and stop it if it gets worse.

I don't even know if other people want conclusions like this, but I always like when I see some end to the "story" so I wrote it, mods feel free to delete it if it's not appropriate.

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    Hello network visitors! Please note that IPS is fairly strict about using comments as intended. Comments are only for clarifying and improving the question. Partial answers or general thoughts about the situation may be deleted without notice. If you'd like to write an answer, make sure to check out our posts on How do I write a good answer? and citation expectations first. Thanks! – avazula Mar 18 at 8:59
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    "She is still friends and roommate with her ex that she was in a bad relationship with for about 6 years. She loves both of us" - is she still sleeping with her ex? – Aaron F Mar 18 at 10:23
  • @AaronF She isn't, she stopped all intimacy with him like sleeping or kissing and they're purely friends right now – Idontwantmynametobegooglable Mar 18 at 11:55
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    @AaronF A bit over 3 weeks. It might be possible, there are chances to talk, but not really long or uninterrupted ones – Idontwantmynametobegooglable Mar 19 at 12:09
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    @JoshPart she studies in one city where she lives with her ex, and some times she lives at home with parents – Idontwantmynametobegooglable Mar 20 at 6:32
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This sounds complicated, and I've been in her position and it is not an easy one.

When I was in my early 20's I was in a controlling and verbally abusive relationship. My father was similar toward myself and my mother, so it was the "norm" for me. I was definitely unable to break out of that for a long time, and it took someone saying to me that I needed to break free and giving me an "out".

I did leave for another relationship, I moved in with him and ultimately that did not work out either. I had no idea who I was or what I wanted at that age, having never lived on my own. However, I was also really unable to see how my actions affected others.


The best way to handle this situation might be to give her more of what will feel like an ultimatum:

I enjoy spending time with you, and I want our relationship to continue. However, I am unable to maintain the situation the way it is and watch you allow (or choose, or continue to remain with people or in situations) that clearly make you unhappy.

Framing it like this lets her know you're serious, and that this affects you, too. Then, you can insert what you need. Do you want her to move in with you? Move out on her own? Once you can identify what that next step would be, try saying that to her. Offering reminders like:

I am here for you, and want to help our lives come together, what can I do to make that happen?

Ultimately, though, if she's still living with her ex, there is a reason for that. It is a very unhealthy place for her to be, and unfortunately, until she decides to make a change for herself, it is unlikely she will do something because you requested it. It is also probably not good for her to lean so heavily on you as an "escape" from that situation because it clouds judgement about what she may really want.


I also just want to say that it is not wrong for you to decide this is not right for you, either. It is incredibly difficult to help someone who doesn't want or think they need the help. The emotional distance you have described her to exhibit is a good example that she's not in a healthy place and that may not be good for you, either.

Edits: changed to add adjectives other than "allow".

Also, based on your explanations it does sound like you're being strung along a bit. You really may not get the answers you are looking for, so I suggest deciding what YOU want, and taking care of yourself here. Maybe taking the approach that you're here, but you're moving on until she decides what she wants will be the wake up call for her. If she doesn't reach out, you may be able to at least know you did what you could, but you took care of yourself, too.

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  • How much of my reasons should I explain in the ultimatum? There are some things she thinks are negative, but if I write it just as you said she might believe those are the reasons. – Idontwantmynametobegooglable Mar 19 at 12:29
  • @Idontwantmynametobegooglable think you can elaborate as much or as little as you are comfortable with. You can say it hurts you that she doesn't communicate, or that she continues to live with her ex, or whatever else is included. – JenInCode Mar 19 at 12:38
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Red flags everywhere.

I dated a girl (early 20's) a bit about half a year ago, while she was on a break from her ex relationship.

Classic rebound relationship. She doesn't like you for you, but instead likes you for the temporary emotional void that you are filling.

She loves both of us

No she doesn't.

but she says that she'll eventually love to be with me

If you won a large sum of money, and you really wanted a car that you could now afford ten times over, would you ever "eventually" purchase it?

She is still friends and roommate with her ex that she was in a bad relationship with for about 6 years

Because she's truly in love with this individual, and not you. But you serve as a decent safety net in case this guy goes poof.

When I ask her directly some questions she either simply ignores it, or replies with a conversation ender like "ok",

Well yea... you're a backup option that is trying to become the frontrunner.

or turns the discussion about how horrible she is and why do I even want her.

Aggressive but indirect rejection.

I would love to have some answers, whatever they are, to know if there is really some future for us or not. I would also love to get to know her reasons for doing and saying contradictory stuff.

There is no future between you two. There is no point in having any conversations. Your case is literally a textbook example of some combination of string-along and/or a rebound relationship.

How I do know? I was addicted to many dating apps in my younger years (late 20's now) and have seen both sides of the fence. On at least one occasion, I was even shown text messages that my "lady friends" have received from guys like you.

By no means do I mean to be blunt. But I also think you might be a little naive when it comes to dating.

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  • Thank you for the answer. I see this perspective, I considered all the red flags. I know I'm naive and unexperienced, but this is the only person I've ever connected in a meaningful way, and if that's all I am to her I will accept it, but what the point of the question is how to know that 100%. Because if there's even some chance for it to become a normal relationship I'll take the risk of getting even more hurt to find out and give it a chance – Idontwantmynametobegooglable Mar 19 at 12:34
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    @Idontwantmynametobegooglable "Because if there's even some chance for it to become a normal relationship I'll take the risk of getting even more hurt to find out and give it a chance –" This is not the right attitude. The right attitude is: "This woman is showing me all the signs of non-interest therefore I should stop wasting my time and focus on women that are showing me interest." There is something called "abundance mentality" which is exceedingly powerful in the realm of dating. – David Mar 20 at 17:54
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I've been in an identical situation and it was torture, so I'm sorry for the painful and energy draining situation you're in. I know her regular contact makes it all worth it, but there's a far better way to go about this, for both you and her. My best advice, and the only thing that helped me after over a year of us being stuck in this situation, was this:

End this discussion topic with her completely, and shift 100% of your daily, all day attention on who YOU want to be and what you want your life to be. Focus on your talents, interests, goals, bucket list, things you need to learn etc., but ONLY on things you have total control over (which won't include the romantic relationship, since that involves another person's choices). Get a pen and paper and write these things down, break them down into daily actions, and get hardcore obsessed with them. Make that your whole life. Lose yourself in these things. Resist the urge to base these things on her or her preferences. Of course you love her and are always her friend, but put that far in the background, you have bigger fish to fry right now- YOUR LIFE (and I promise, it's still entirely connected to the best romantic future you can imagine, but that has to happen by itself).

This will make you happy, fulfilled, confident; and more attractive in general. If she's your person, she'll come to you after she has that room to breath and solve the rubiks cube plaguing her mind (and it can only happen if she works through it without input from you or others). Also, assume you two end up happily ever after- it will just be your new norm at that point, and your mind will have the time and energy to regret and resent all the things you didn't do when you had the time/energy/freedom of a single person. So stop focusing on her and the "what-if's" with her. It will do more damage than good. Just trust that you will end up with the most perfect romantic partner in the future, and leave it at that. Be your best self and a good person, live the "right way" according to your values. There's confidence, magnetism, and direction in it.

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My problem is that she gives me some very vague and contradictory answers to some questions, and they are sometimes opposite to her actions.

I have found people's actions to be more reliable than their words at indicating what someone truly wants / believes. I was in a similar situation to you where I knew someone who claimed they wanted to be with me, but over a long period of time they didn't choose to make enough time for me. Eventually I had to come to terms with the fact that they wanted whatever else they were choosing more than they wanted to be with me.

How can I approach conversation with her about stuff that's relevant to me, like her future relationship with me or her ex, without her completely shutting down conversation?

A healthy / productive conversation requires two active participants. If she's unwilling to broach that topic, there's no healthy way for you to make her discuss it.

The most helpful thing I did for myself in my similar situation was to realize that if she did indeed want a future with me that she would have to take the next step.

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