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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » How do I get my girlfriend to stop being so dependent on me?

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Author Topic: How do I get my girlfriend to stop being so dependent on me?
Cadence350
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I'm 27, she is 19, we've been dating for 16 months, both in our first relationship, and we are in love.

I love her and I love us, but I feel like she is far too dependent on me. This was my fear before we got together because of the fact that she was so young and that this was her first relationship. This is my first relationship too, but I've had tons of time to be single, so I am independent, and can handle a few weeks apart from her. I'd say the longest we've been apart is a week, when I went to visit family in England. I mean, we've probably gone longer than that without seeing each other, but since we are in the same city and time zone, we can talk to each other whenever we want. That week when I was gone, she cried so much the day I left and didn't really do much that week except work and lounge around at home. We spend a lot of time together, which I love, but I feel like she's more willing to give up time with friends than I am. I love my relationship, but friends are important too, and I think it's important that she has other people in her life that are as important as I am. I feel like she's slowly distancing herself from her friends because of our relationship. I definitely don't want that at all, I like to encourage time with friends, but she wants to spend time with me most of the time. I don't think it's fair for her friends, and I don't think it's healthy for her to be so dependent on me.

This isn't a huge problem by any means, I just slowly see this getting worse, and I wanted to hear thoughts on how I can get her to enjoy time without me more. Right now, she is just going to community college, which doesn't do much for her socially. She has a small circle of friends, but isn't seeing them as much, or isn't venturing out as much either. Last summer, she was working part time, which actually changed her a lot for the better. She met a lot of new people, started hanging out with them outside of work, and really seemed okay with time apart from me. I guess I sorta answered my question in that she simply needs something else in her life like a job, a hobby, or something else. I don't exactly know how often she ditches her friends for me. I know they are usually very busy too, so I'm not entirely to blame for her not spending time with them. I don't think she goes out of her way to plan stuff with them, and, with all their busy schedules, they haven't been planning as much so their hang out time has gone down.

I have talked to her about more friend time, and she agrees when we talk, it just doesn't really change much. Not on purpose, just don't think we realize how much friends are being neglected.

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Robin Lee
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HI Cadence350,

It sounds like you care about your girlfriend a lot, and want her to have the most fulfilling life possible. [Smile]

I wonder if, in addition to agreeing that you'll both spend time with friends, it would be helpful for the two of you to make a plan that would help both of you do this. Would it be helpful, for example, for the two of you to schedule "date times" with each other, so you're seeing each other regularly, but at other times you're finding different things to do besides hang out with each other? IN other words, I'm wondering if spending time with each other is the default when there's nothing else to do. There wouldn't be anything wrong with this if this was the case, just asking questions to see what's going on here.

In addition to spending time apart with your respective friends, do you also hang out with friends as a couple?

--------------------
Robin

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Cadence350
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Thank you for your response.

I do care about her a lot, and I want both of us to be happy. I don't think she is wrong in wanting to spend a lot of time with me, it's just one area where we differ. That's fine, and it hasn't been a problem, but I don't like that she doesn't handle it well when I can't spend time with her.

Well, when I say we 'hang out' with each other, I mean we go out on dates regularly. We live somewhat far apart, and a lot of times, it's easier to just meet up somewhere and go do something fun, rather than her come to mine or me go to hers. I wouldn't really say hanging out with each other is the default. We do make plans for each other, but, for her, it seems like that's the only thing she wants to plan. She hasn't made plans with her friends in a long time. If her friends make plans with her, and she hasn't already made plans with me, she will go with her friends.

We do hang out with friends as a couple sometimes as well. We've got a group of mutual friends that we get together with from time to time. Then she's got a group of friends, which are all female. I know them all, but usually when she's with them, it's a 'girls night' thing, and I have the same thing with a bunch of guys I've known since high school. These two groups of friends are the one that are getting neglected.

On top of the time we spend together, during the week, when we're both at our respective homes not doing anything, we'll constantly be on the phone/skyping as well. I've never had a problem with this, I just wonder if it's a bit much and it seems like she's gotten used to it as the norm. For instance, every weekday before class/work, she'll call me when she wakes up and we'll talk for about 30 minutes before she goes to class. Last night, I suggested she call later for just a quick 5 minute call, since I'm always half asleep on the call anyway. She was really upset by me suggesting that. I'm just feeling like the amount of time we spend with each other is excessive. It's not that I have a problem with it, I would just like to think that, because we spend so much time with each other that the few times I want to do something else, it shouldn't be an issue to spend time apart, but it seems like she's gotten used to the talking/texting/skyping 24/7 and just expects that now. At the beginning, I'd send an occasional good morning text once a week or something, and it made her day. Now we have to talk on the phone every morning, and if I sleep through her call, it upsets her. Just feel like things are better now than they were, but her expectations are so high that she's not as happy about it. I guess, in her mind, she's at the level where she is ready to live with me, and this is sort of her way of doing it. It's currently not feasible for us to actually be living together, but I guess this is close enough for her since we are always 'together' even when we are doing our own thing.

I'd also like to add that when I have plans that don't involve her, she respects that and doesn't constantly call me or anything. At first, I told her that, when I'm with friends, I prefer not to use my phone at all unless it's an emergency, but she said she would appreciate it if I 'checked in' occasionally, which just means sending her a text once or twice in the night just to let her know I'm doing okay and I'm thinking of her. Not unreasonable of a request, so I do that now. I guess I'm concerned that maybe this will slowly become more than just a text or two. Everything I'm talking about in these posts isn't really problematic, but I see that, as time goes on, she's becoming more and more in need of my attention, and I want to be able to address it before it becomes to much for me. I'm not saying I want things my way, I just want a way to discuss this with her and come to a compromise to where we are both happy.

[ 02-06-2013, 11:52 AM: Message edited by: Cadence350 ]

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Robin Lee
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What I'm hearing here is that while you're also concerned about her, there are aspects of the relationship that aren't working for you.

There's nothing wrong with this.

The two of you are in prettty significantly different stages in life from the sounds of it. There's nothing wrong with this either, it just means that you might be coming at the relationship from different viewpoints.

Have you shared with her how you feel (that is, what it's like for you) about talking every single morning?

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Robin

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Cadence350
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Yeah, I don't see anything wrong with the problem I am having. It's not even a huge problem, I just feel like, if I don't address it, it will slowly continue in the direction it has been going, which won't exactly work for me.

It's not a deal breaker for me at all.

You're exactly right about the two of us coming at it from different points of view.

I did tell her last night about the morning calls. I just suggested that she call me a little later, but that really hurt her. I guess, for her, she gets to start her day with the sound of my voice, which is important to her, so maybe I didn't approach the subject that well. I have no problem with the morning calls, for me, it's just the time we spend together in general. I love the time we spend together, but I want it to be okay when we don't spend time together.

I'll be seeing her later today, so I'm definitely going to talk to her about how I feel. I don't think I expressed how I felt last night, and that lead to her basically thinking I simply don't want to talk to her in the morning and would rather sleep.

It's always been easy to talk to her about anything. I think this is the first time I've consulted someone on the outside on what to do in our relationship, which just means that we've had great communication. I just wanted to know the best way to approach this without hurting her feelings.

Honestly, if she is doing all this because, mentally, she is ready to live together with me, I'm okay with all the excessive communication. If we were living together, we'd talk every morning and every night and even when we'd be doing nothing we'd be in each others' presence, which she might be trying to replicate with the constant texting/calling/skyping. I guess my problem is that I've always been the type of person to prefer in person communication over all this technology. That seemed to change when I met her. She was the first person I loved talking on the phone with for hours, but maybe now I'm at a point where I'm slowly tiring of all these non-in-person ways of communicating (which is how I've been my whole life).

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Hey Cadence,

I notice that in your posts that whenever you bring up somethng that you don't like or that isn't working for you, you say "but it's not a problem" or "it's not a big deal". But the thing is that if something is going on that you don't like, you don't have to explain it away by saying that it isn't a problem. You're feelings and needs are important too: if something snt how you would like it, it's an issue that can be addressed and made to work for you. There is no one formula, if calling every morning is good for Bobby and Sam, or Cameron and Casey, it doesn't mean it's necessarily good (or bad) for Cadence and [your partner's name].

What I'm trying to say is, you don't have to explain away how you're feeling, even if you feel like you shouldn't be feeling a certain way or like it is selfish, you still get to feel that way. Feelings don't have to be regulated and controlled, it the actions you make based on those feelings that you may want to control.

(I hope it doesn't seem like I'm trying to judge you, quite the contrary, I'm telling you that you appear to be going a bit hard on yourself).

--------------------
~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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Cadence350
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Yeah, I guess I sound like I'm trying to convince myself it is not a big deal.

You're right moonlight. I guess I just felt the need to reiterate that it's not a big deal just because I feel like people who post topics on this board have far greater problems whereas mine is small in comparison.

I did talk to my girlfriend about this. Turns out we sorta feel the same way, she just needed someone to point it out. I pointed out how we both used to get so excited when we'd call each other, and how we should just remember that feeling. Also compromised about things like the morning calls. I'll simply say that I'd like to sleep a little more, and she'll respect that, which I think is fair. I'm glad I was able to talk to her about it and it went so smoothly.

Thanks everyone for listening.

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Robin Lee
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Yay! I'm really glad to hear the two of you had a productive conversation in which you were able to share your needs.

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Robin

Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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