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I'm in a long-distance relationship with my girlfriend Alice. We often text every day from the moment she wakes up till I sleep (time difference, not constantly because we have work, school etc.).

We do send voice messages and videos occasionally. However, when I suggest a voice or video call, she gets very shy and refuses unless it is a special day like a birthday or anniversary and even then it is only voice calls, we had a video call like once over the course of about a year of long-distance.

I would like help on any ways I could persuade her to be more open to calls?

I've asked her why refused, and she always says that it's not a good time, or she's too shy. I've met her twice. She's not concerned about makeup, but she does have body image issues. Sometimes she even refuses to send me a picture because she feels fat.

Alice is about 19 and her native language isn't the same as mine, but I can speak it with relative fluency.

Update:

I tried telling her everything I felt and my point of view rather than just trying to convince her that calls are OK. Surprisingly after hearing that I would take it badly if she kept this barrier and what I think about having no calls she agreed to arrange a weekly call. Of course she said to try it out and she isn't 100% for it, I guess she's showing consideration to how I feel about calls and she's making an effort.

Thanks all for the advice, I guess my approach was wrong all along.

  • how long are you in this relationship? when you see each other in person can you tell that she is really that shy? Women can be a lot more reluctant about this stuff (voice and video calls) than men. – NaiceGuy1 Nov 29 '17 at 13:10
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It sounds like she is very introverted (I'm seeing a lot of myself in her behaviours). Texting is easy, it gives her time to think about what she says and if needed, to read something back, delete it and try again until she is comfortable with it. Talking on the other hand requires her to speak as soon as she thinks to avoid those long, awkward pauses. This isn't a problem and is very common albeit it usually to a lesser extent. This also explains why she doesn't like sending pictures of herself, introverts are typically self conscious and even compliments can sometimes feel like you are being judged.

Her behaviour is pretty standard as far as introverts go and normally not a problem, but that doesn't help you. You may feel as if she doesn't want to talk to you, she doesn't trust you enough to open up and she would rather be alone with the option to send you a few messages if she's bored, than spend the time investing in your relationship.

Tell her how you feel.

Your feelings are important to and even though talking over the phone will be uncomfortable for her, this is bothering you enough to ask strangers for help. She has to be willing to meet you half way, to compromise and acknowledge that while her behaviour is comfortable and safe for her, it is hurting you and makes you feel bad.

I would suggest asking her how often she would feel comfortable calling you and start small. Let her be the one to initiate communication and perhaps try video calling like Skype once or twice. It will take a while for her to get used to being out of her comfort zone but as long as you are understanding and the experiences are positive, they will become more normal to her.

If she isn't willing to make these concessions you are left with a difficult choice. End your relationship over her unwillingness to change a behaviour that is hurting you or acknowledge that she is how she is and learn to live with that. She isn't trying to make things difficult but she has to be willing to accept that this is something you care about.

Good luck to both of you.

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    Hey thanks for the advice! i messaged her about how i felt and explained things from my point of view. I guess i was always focusing on her pov than actually telling her mine – SomeoneElse Nov 29 '17 at 23:54
  • @SomeoneElse - That sounds like a good start, glad to hear it! I hope things start to get better for you both – Lord Jebus VII Nov 30 '17 at 10:00
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Your update on telling her your feelings indeed sounds like a good step.

It would still be good to try to get a bit more on the same page before you push further, and even before you invest too much in the weekly call plan. You mention focusing on her point of view, and asking her, but do you know why she's been reluctant? It sounds like she's tried to give polite excuses that won't hurt your feelings, so she obviously cares, but she may not be confident yet she can tell you all her reasons.

So I would ask, but in a more understanding way: how does the prospect of these calls make her feel? Are there things she likes or dislikes about past calls? Are there things that make her more or less comfortable? Be sure not to try to debate any of her reasons. Tell her up front that you're not trying to ask her for anything or pressure her. This is all about finding out where she's coming from and what works for her, not being persuasive.

With that knowledge, you should be better equipped to judge whether the weekly calls are in fact a good idea or whether she's dreading them and feels pressured.

Either way, I might suggest adjusting your approach to the weekly calls if possible, to make it a bit more incremental. Start out with things like watching a movie together while talking, playing an online game together while talking, whatever works for your mutual interests. This gives you something to talk about, and takes away the pressure to be constantly talking and performing. This might end up being enough for you, and even if you do want simple calls still, it'll help develop comfort with talking.

And really, this shouldn't be a surprising suggestion, when you think about it. People usually go on dates, they don't just sit down for a long conversation with nothing to do. Even in long term relationships past the "dating" stage, it's common to have conversations where the opportunity presents, often associated with activities. It takes a bit of adaptation to do this long-distance, but it's still a good idea.

  • Hi Jefromi, i do understand where you are coming from, we do plan to watch a movie or for me to help her with some of her school work during these calls other than just a conversation! i might tone it down to once a month or so if i feel she is very quiet or feels awkward during our first few calls. Thanks for the heads up and i will be sure to ask her about it! – SomeoneElse Nov 30 '17 at 6:00
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All relationships needs to progress. In a 'traditional' relationship you would perhaps start out as friends, the occasional date, then more regular dates, spending extended periods of time together... you get the idea. A long-distance relationship needs its own benchmarks.

Where do you see the relationship going? If you are still in education then perhaps you have some barriers that mean this is it for the next x number of years. But do you talk about getting together after that? You both need to think and talk about what 'steps' you would take before then.

Assuming you are both on the same page and you see the relationship going somewhere then agree what the next 'step' is. This is your opportunity to express your desire to talk more, rather than text. If you really care about this girl, reassure her over her hangups - that you like her voice, enjoy speaking to her, etc.

It does sound like you are putting a lot of energy into this relationship. Texting can take up more time than a real conversation. It feels like you've talked for hours, but read back your conversation and often it doesn't seem like you've covered much ground in retrospect. You have good reason to want to move things along a level.

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