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Dr. Norman Brown
Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 839
Experience:  Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
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Ok so here is the deal, I was in what I though was a serious

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Ok so here is the deal, I was in what I though was a serious relationship wed both talked of marriage and children we were living together. We both thought the other was our missing puzzle pieces we've had our fights she left me at one point but came right back until our last fight that was caused by me simply asking her to stop bailing on our plans to go hangout with her friends or texting them while we are hanging out. She first said she understood and she has to fix this and will fix it but about a day and a half later that changed to I will try cause I know it upsets you but I do t see it as a big deal and that I was over reacting now I was obviously deeply hurt that shed say that the fight turned ugly where I told her I was do e with it all if she can't see or understand how this makes me feel and how wrong it is. The Next day I asked her if she was going to leave or are we going g to talk about what happened she told me she thinks leaving is for the best but is unsure that morning shed texted me she loves by the end of the day the break up happened got ugly with her tellig g me she just dont want this relationship anymore and why can't I respect her decision. I wasn't asking to her to stay I was trying to get her out of the house faster. Now im left heart broken and I want her hack
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dear Debra replied 1 year ago.

Deardebra :

Thank you for your question.

Deardebra :

One thing and I do agree is I feel when it comes to a relationship you should be first.

Deardebra :

She should not have been texting her friends when she was with you because when she is with you she should be with you. She should be giving you her time. This is your time and when she is out with her friends that is their time.

Deardebra :

It is only fair that you get her full attention it is inappropriate to be texting when she is on a date with you.

Deardebra :

Also when you make plans to go out with her and she bails on you that is not nice because you want to see her, you made plans and she bails out. That is showing you that you come second to her friends.

Deardebra :

The reason for the break up is because she doesn't want to stop texting or not canceling on you to go with friends.

Deardebra :

She chose her friends.

Deardebra :

The reason why at first she understood was because she was thinking clearly then when she went back to her friends I am sure they said things. Friends often do not want to share time, so they distract the situation.

Deardebra :

I am going to give you an example. There are people in life that need the attention on them at all times. No matter what you do it is all about them. Her friends when they know she has a date with you they make sure they make plans and talk her into canceling on you. Then if she does go out with you, they text the whole time to take away from your date. They are distracting her.

Deardebra :

So they do not want you to tell her that they can not text when you both are out because they will not be able to distract the situation.

Deardebra :

You should have showed her what it was like so that she understood. Some times people do not understand unless you show them. If you went on a date with her and she was talking about something and you picked up your phone and started texting she would know how you felt. You should have been put first on the date and she should have put down the phone. Communication is important in a relationship and if she is on the phone all the time it does not leave any time for you both to connect.

Deardebra :

You should tell her you know what all I wanted was your time.

Deardebra :

Her friends could have waited.

Deardebra :

They could have texted later, she could have told them that she is on a date and she will talk with them later.

Deardebra :

When she was out with her friends you should have texted her as much as her friends text her when your out so they could have seen what it is like what they do.

Deardebra :

Now what is happening is her friends will tell her your to controlling and that he should not make you chose between your friends. But this is not true so don't even listen if this comes up. This is about being considerate to the person you are with.

Deardebra :

You just are looking for her time and her not to be distracted. If she did not have a cellphone in her hand she would be fully focused on you.

Deardebra :

It's been a month since you spoke and I do not feel she is over you because a month is just not long enough to get over a break up.

Deardebra :

I would text her and see how she is doing?

Deardebra :

Some times it is good to start back off as friends, with you both not talking you do not know if she misses you or not.

Deardebra :

You want to text when you know she is by herself maybe later on at night or in the mourning just so she can process the text on her own.

Deardebra :

You deserve a second chance because I feel it was a misunderstanding.

Deardebra :

You were not wrong, just so you know. But she felt like she could not do what you were asking.

Customer: But why throw away everything like this? Does she just not care anymore
Deardebra :

It's not that she didn't care.

Customer: and after all the horrible stuff said and done on both our parts will she ever cone back or acknowledge any co tact from me?
Deardebra :

She just did not feel she should have to chose between you and her friends, so she left hoping to see if you would change your mind. I would contact her.

Deardebra :

I want you to contact her to just check in and see how she is doing do not talk about anything that was happened.

Deardebra :

Just ask her how she has been doing.

Customer: What if she rejects my attempt to contact her?
Customer: Im deathly afraid cause she said I was acting crazy during the break and that she dodge a bullet with me
Deardebra :

You were just expressing your emotions.

Deardebra :

That is very normal when you are in love, you tend to pour out all your emotions.

Deardebra :

I would just ask her how she is doing, see if she responds.

Deardebra :

The only thing that can happen is she doesn't answer or just says how she is doing or tell you to not text her.

Deardebra :

You want to see though if she still cares and not communicating you can not move on. So you need to know if you have to move on or you both move on together as a couple.

Customer:

i really dont know if i can do it im too damn afraid it will make things worse

Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

I want to add to what Debra has written, from a man's perspective. First I agree with her that you should contact her, by email, so it's a longer-than-texting message, because you can bet that she'll read EVERY WORD of it before throwing anything away. So everything you want to say will get heard, and without the high emotional reactivity that always happens when people are on the brink of breaking up.

 

Now I would guess that if she doesn't want to quit texting when you're together, that she's well under 30, probably under 25, and also that you might have moved in together in the rush of excitement when it seemed like you'd be together for eternity (first 3-4 months). So you haven't had time to make specific and clear changes in your individual self-guidelines about managing your own time. She might experience you as NOT needing time to yourself, and NOT craving to go out with "the guys."

 

It's possible that you're more of an Introvert, who's happy to stay home and happy to be with just one other person, but she's more extraverted and prefers to go out and spend time with groups of friends.

 

[You can take the Jungian Types test for free online at www.humanmetrics.com, and you can guess how she'd react differently from you, or include in an email an invitation to her to take the same test, without asking her to share her results with you. Comparing your 4 letter types can give you a lot of insight on where you fit and where you don't--without labeling either of you as Right or Wrong. But you might need to wait to compare types until she's ready to send your her results AFTER you've sent her yours.--You also get a few 1-page write ups for your type (or 2 possible types) out of the 16. They are Extravert/Introvert; SensoryData/Intuition; Thinking/Feeling; and Judgment(plannedOut)/Perception(go-with-the-flow).]

 

I would also guess that you don't realize how heated ("ugly") your emotions and hers got. So you don't recognize that your intensity might have scared her--cuz we men are usually much bigger and we roar louder, which is designed to SCARE off competitors, but also scares our womenfolk. (She said she "dodged a bullet.")

 

So your first email topic should be to apologize for possibly scaring her with your upset emotions. Anger almost always rises from HURT, and your briefly mentioned haste to get her gone from your apartment, was you defending yourself against the wounding you felt right then (which was probably more painful because your reactions had been building up for a long time). Much less often, anger can arise when a person has been afraid of another, and that could be where some of her reactivity was coming from. So your apology for being so loud & threatening could go a long way to relieve the fear she appears to have felt.

 

(Of course you couldn't be in her heart to feel how threatening your emotions were, because you were in your heart feeling hurt, outraged and righteous (IN THE RIGHT. That's the way such fights, with very little previous uproars to act as precedents for getting used to conflict.)

 

Then you can proceed to the 2 other issues that came up to trigger your runaway argument and apparent breakup. (But it's only temporary, until you get to discuss the issues involved enough to make the breakup final, because you understand why you could never get along after this--or restore your relationship with some new rules to cope with these 2 issues:

 

1. She needs to go out and spend time with people other than you, and to NOT feel guilty or expect that you'll be mad when she does that. (Yes, her friends are probably tugging on her, but Debra covered that.) That means that you need to negotiate from the safety of separate emails at first, then over telephone, all to keep your reactivities from triggering each other before you've got a tentatively workable set of guidelines established. Invite her to start with what she'd like ideally for herself. Then input how you'd like her to consider you in making her plans. This is normal stuff in the deepening phase of early relationships, 2 to 4 months in, when the new life as a couple needs to make room for your old lives as individuals. (I've dealt with 2 thousand students in such relationships and I wrote a textbook with careful attention to what needs to be solved in stages for love to ripen.) You ALSO need to focus on what YOU used to do by yourself (or with others) before you had her to excite you. For if you DON'T reestablish some of your individual pursuits and self-satisfaction, you'll go on assuming you have to be each other's Best Friends and almost-always lovers, and that's probably a burden she's not ready or willing to bear. (So I disagree with Debra. I've lived most of my adult life with partners, and now 28 years with my wife, and our daughter, so I know about balancing together and alone time, and not making your world revolve around the other person all of the time--tho it usually does for the first few months.)

 

Rebalancing together and alone time and time with others is a BIG CHALLENGE early on in relationships, and perhaps neither of you have ever dealt with this with sharp personal awareness before. So here's your chance. You won't want exactly the same balances, so you need to start approximating what you want and realize you'll have to keep tinkering to make guidelines that work well enough for both of you.

 

2. Point two is a bigger one related to point one. You might have moved in together too soon, and might not have been comfortable enough in disagreements to work out your own private spaces within your common dwelling, assuming perhaps-mi casa su casa-everything belongs to both of you equally. But then the one with the more dominant personality dominates how things are arranged. And that's especially difficult if one of you moved into a place where the other one was already Lord or Mistress of the terrain. [Since you apparently pushed her out, I'd guess the place was yours before it became "ours."] So negotiating for private space--and also for times when one of you can normally expect to have the place to him- or herself--is also a ticklish business. (Starting this by email is also good for keeping emotional reactivity under control. In fact, both of you may have not yet expressed your thoughts and feelings-- in this safe-because-separate setting-- about what's yours and what's hers, and how to feel your privacy in the apartment without friction.

 

So you might need to carry on a next phase of your relationship from separate dwellings, while you do your apologizing, negotiating, and soothing each other's hurt feelings--IF and WHEN you're ready to do that. Then you can meet for dates, where after your hurting and pricklies have been accepted as what has happened--and NOT as who was right and who wrong. [While I agree with Debra that texting during pair-contact is impolite & insensitive, I view it as a flashpoint through which your larger unsolved-mysteries-of-couple-life have poked their intense emotional energies. So once the 2 larger issues--both arising from the need for adjustments to fit your individual lives and your couple life together--are on track towards workable resolutions, it should be easy to make some guidelines about when texting is appropriate and when it's not.

 

[One way my college students found to manage their texting with their distant love-partners was to announce "school times" and/or "guy-times," "girl-times" and/or "down-times" during which they would NOT respond to texts. Then follow those times with SHORTER texting-times when they would read and respond.]

 

All of these contact- and separation-times need some organization, or most of us get crazy, unless we're so habitually afraid of a dull moment or of abandonment that we don't feel sane unless somebody could ring our bell at any second. The skill applied to this negotiating is called Assertiveness: And Assertiveness was invented in the 1960s by Feminists (and quickly picked up by psychologists) because until then it was Girls and Women who thought they didn't have the Right to SAY NO when anybody else wanted their time or attention. For it was typically Mother's duty to respond immediately to anybody in the house--so that's what daughters would naturally learn. One of the first Assertiveness books was called Your Perfect Right.

 

SO. Perhaps this will help you get your relationship back on track, even if it means living apart for a few months until you're both ready to move back together. Or maybe one of you has learned that living together isn't all it's cracked up to be during the first rush of "Heaven is in Your Eyes."

Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 839
Experience: Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
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