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Dear Debra
Dear Debra, Advice Columnist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1817
Experience:  I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
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Trying to keep her around. Whatever it takes.

Customer Question

I recently got into a bad spot with my SO, and we took 2 weeks to ourselves to try and figure it out. More or less, I hurt her emotionally because of some traumatic life experience I never dealt with (I became an angrier more anxious person and she felt it and eventually I yelled at her over some dumb stuff and thats when we took the time). I have dealt with, and am dealing with it, and am trying to keep her in my life (when I explained to her what had made me so angry, the suicide of a friend, she understood better). We have been together for 3 years, and both still love each other. We are talking and have gone out twice and she will be spending a weekend with me in Colorado in a couple weeks. She has said we aren't romantic right now, just friends figuring out where we stand, and time will tell. When we go out it feels exactly like it did before, just no kiss or hand holding etc. I s'pose I would like to know what I can do to help show her that we are still what we were. I know she doesn't want to talk about it anymore, since we essentially re-hash the same points. I want to move forward, but not to quickly. I just want to do everything right because I really do think we are great together. Thanks in advance

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dear Debra replied 1 year ago.

Deardebra :

It sounds like she pushed back her feelings because she didn't understand what happened. Once you explained things

Deardebra :

that is when she realized how she felt, but you can not take back what happened

Customer:

That I know, and I still regret it. Immediately after i yelled at her I saw the look on her face and felt broken inside. That is not who I am or how I normally act

Customer:

She still says she can't really put into words her feelings, or where we are. That is why she doesn't want to talk about it, until she figures it all out. I just don't know how to behave until then

Deardebra :

She needs time to think about what has happened but in her own way, you can say your sorry and try to make her understand but she needs time to sort things out in her own mind.

Customer:

That I understand. We are spending time together though, going out to dinner and things. They feel like dates, but there is that awkward moment where we would normally hold hands or kiss where we know each person is thinking it but doesn't. I just don't know what is a reasonable amount of time to wait to bring it up. We have a military ball we will be at in 2.5 weeks (super fancy romantic weekend). I don't know whether it's better to have the experience be who I am and talk about it at the end of june when I see her again (I have some duty until then) or to bring it up that weekend. We will still talk in between and all.

Deardebra :

This is your time to get the connection back on the romantic weekend.

Deardebra :

I want you to try to hold her hand and I do not want you to bring up the past no more that is over and you both need to move on and start again together.

Customer:

So wait until that weekend to take that step? I will be seeing her before then. Just use these times to have nice conversations etc, but wait to step back towards romanticism for that weekend?

Deardebra :

I would keep trying o get her to open up, it is going to take her time to let her guard down and let you back in.

Deardebra :

But what you want to do is let her see the real you, the one she fell in love with. I would like to explain something too you.

Deardebra :

What happens when you love someone and you see another side of them, it sets you back.

Deardebra :

You can not help but wonder why the person you loved yelled and hurt your feelings and she is worried that it will happen again, so she is being cautious.

Deardebra :

She doesn't want for that to happen again, even though you said it won't she does not know that.

Deardebra :

She still has her guard up. But

Deardebra :

as she sees that this is not going to happen again, she will begin to drop her guard.

Deardebra :

Also it became a fear that you were so upset that she might have lost you so she never wants to upset you again.

Customer:

Yeah I can see both of those

Customer:

She said something along the lines of if this ever happened again I think I would lose you all together

Deardebra :

So she is worried

Customer:

I just worry, that with the military move coming it will add a lot of stress. Either become a difficult long distance thing, or she's have to move to be with me.

Customer:

So I feel kind of rushed in a process in which time is a key ingredient.

Deardebra :

I undersand, but you an not put time on a relationship. Falling in love does not have a time on it, I feel that when two people love each other they go through great lengths to be with one another.

Customer:

I will do whatever it takes, I know that. Alright well thank you very much. Anything else?

Deardebra :

This is going to work out for you, it is just going to take time. I just want you to do one thing and that is just focus on loving her and things will fall into place.

Customer:

That I can do pretty easily. Thank you very much!

Customer:

Did you get the rating?

Deardebra :

No I didn't

Deardebra :

I'm going to switch to Q& A so you can hit accept the chat is frozen.

Dear Debra, Advice Columnist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1817
Experience: I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
Dear Debra and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dear Debra replied 1 year ago.
Our chat has ended, but you can still continue to ask me questions here until you are satisfied with your answer. Come back to this page to view our conversation and any other new information.

What happens now?

If you haven’t already done so, please rate your answer above. Or, you can reply to me using the box below.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Just one last question. How often should I try and talk to her besides hanging out. I have been writing her letter, she loves getting mail. I mean with other forms, such as text or phone conversations. Again with the not wanting to smother her, but trying to giver her the space and time she needs.

Also it shows the rating went through on my end let me know.

Expert:  Dear Debra replied 1 year ago.
The rating did go through and thank you. Now to answer your question. She loves getting mail and you do write letters that is very romantic. If she likes your letters then I would text her some thing you would write in a letter that would be a nice gesture. You want to tell her how you feel. When someone can read something over and over again it is exciting. A letter is something that she can keep reading and going back to just like a text. Do not feel in anyway that you are going to smother her you want her to know you are there for her. You want her to know you care about her. When every you feel like you want to tell her something text her. You want to follow your feelings and your heart and do what comes natural.
Dear Debra, Advice Columnist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1817
Experience: I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
Dear Debra and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So I have taken your advice so far, and sent her a couple letters which she says she loves. We also went out for dinner and a movie yesterday. It was perfect, just like old times. I put out my hand when it started and she took it, and the whole movie we held hands or I had my arm around her (sounds like middle-school I know). Everything was amazing. On the drive back to her place I vaguely brought up some plans for the summer (something we have always meant to do) and she sort of brushed it off with a ya maybe. I was fine with that since I know she is being careful.
The kicker though was when I walked her to her door. I walked up there with her, she said she had a great time I gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Then I looked her in the eyes and said I love you, and all she said back was I know. It hurt. I just am not sure how to respond. She told me before she still loves me, it just doesn't feel right saying it all the time when she is mad at me or trying to figure it out. It doesn't make it hurt any less. I don't want to rock the boat to much since she will fly out to colorado in a week. I guess I am just asking if this is normal. Is she simply holding this back while she works on forgiving me, or is it a sign of a decision already made that she just hasn't been able to tell me yet? Or am I missing whats going on completely. (I answered here since I got the e-mail asking me if I had a follow-up and this way you can refresh yourself of the background. If it's no common courtesy to do so, just let me know.)
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
On a side note, she is out on some kind of group date tonight with her friends. Her friend got set up through some online thing and had to bring 2 friends with her and the guy is bringing two friends. I find it strange that she told me about it at all, and honestly I don't know if she wanted to or really just jumped in because her friend asked. Either way it kind of sucks and I am not sure if I should address it. I sort of took it in stride when she mentioned it. After initially bringing it up she didn't mention it again, when she was talking about her plans for tonight she said something along the line of happy hour with the girls, and I was mentioned that I remembered her date was tonight and she glossed over it with an "oh yeah that too" which was a turn around from bringing it up.
In this case my question would be do I just ignore it and keep doing what I am doing with trying to win her back, or is it worth addressing?
Expert:  Dear Debra replied 1 year ago.
Her going on a group date she was honest about what she was doing because she didn't want you to think anything of it. She wanted to see if you were ok with it and I feel if you said your were not she would have not gone. She doesn't want to lose you either. Going to the movies and dinner was a nice date. It sounds like it went very well. She did not say she loves you back and I know that hurt, but she is just not ready to say that yet, even if she feels it. She feels if she says it, then all her emotions are open. She is still trying to protect herself from hurt. You just need to take your time. I feel she is opening up little by little. Holding hands was a huge step that was her letting her guard down. You are getting through too her, but she is still going to need more time to trust you to open up her heart. What I want you to do is text her and ask her how her night was, you want to share in her life. You want her to always be thinking of you.
Dear Debra, Advice Columnist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1817
Experience: I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
Dear Debra and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I sent her a few texts over the few weeks, none of which she has answered (with the exception of when she started a conversation about meeting for dinner). I don't know if this is her ignoring them or honestly forgetting since she often doesn't carry or hear her phone. The only times we have talked have been on the phone, in person, or over Gchat. Would it be better to just wait until I call her this weekend, or see her on GChat? Thanks again for your advice, I know it sounds childish but I just really don't want to screw up, and I feel like I am walking the fine line between pushing to hard and stepping to far away. Also I know she is in bed already. She always goes to bed by 10 when she has work.
Expert:  Dear Debra replied 1 year ago.
You want to text again and say I wasn't sure if you got my last text. I wanted to see if you wanted to do something together maybe go out to dinner or you know what we can do anything you would like to do. I am open for suggestions.
I feel you are doing very well but this relationship it's not that you are walking a fine line. It is just a matter of time and effort to get her to see that you are hear for her.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry to keep this thread around so long, I thought it best so that the backstory was still present for you to see. She will be coming out to Colorado on Thursday. I am still not sure where exactly we stand. This brings up the issue of us sharing a bed as we will for four nights. I know this seems shallow, but I honestly don't care about the sex, I just want to handle this all right. We used to have a very healthy sex life, but since the middle of April I haven't kissed her. Now we will be sharing a bed again. Should I discuss ground rules with her before she comes, or just sort of let the moment develop?
Also i have recieved conflicting advice from a few other friends about how to proceed. With the distance making things even more difficult now, one friend said I should lay it all out, and pour out my heart to her. The other said that I should avoid talking about the relationship altogether and just keep winning her over. What would you suggest?
Expert:  Dear Debra replied 1 year ago.
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