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Ask Dr. Norman Brown Your Own Question

Dr. Norman Brown
Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
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I'm going to get my Ex the question is how To provide

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I'm going to get my Ex the question is how
To provide you with some back story.
She is 24 turning 25 in august. She's a cancer I'm a Sagittarius.I'm 20 years old
Me and her met at work. after a year of working there me and her started to talk.
Physically she is way out of my league. She's from a small country called uyghur.
she speaks 7 languages and is very family orientated. I love a woman not a girl. and She was a Real woman. Before me she dated a guy she loved for 2 years... then she left him. Oh by the way she was a virgin. So for two years she did nothing with this man other than a handjob
a year and a half later i come along.
We start talking and then go out.
i did things like buy her flowers and did things i never thought i would do. We were together everyday. after 1 1/2 months i took her virginity (kind of why i feel there has had to be something special about me since she was saving it for marriage)
the thing is i'm... well was the complete opposite of her. i never really was a family person, i'm a bit greedy, I'm immature (although i'm very mature in the right situations)
Also i'm really funny. for 6months we spent almost everyday together. she started sneaking me into her home with her landlords finding out. it was really romantic having the innocent girl doing these things for me. she would bring me pastries form her department over to my department doing her best not to get caught. Things were good. We never had a real fight. but thats partially my fault. I always avoided conflict and she didn't like that. so i worked on it. and got a lot better. but anyways 3 months ago she left me. because i lied to her (such a very small lie when i was drunk.... she also left her ex of 2 years for a lie) anyways i lied to her and i dindt realize other issues were building up.
You see, i am a realist so and everyone i know is like "never expect to marry someone you met at age 20"
so i always thought of that. so i never told her i wanted to spend my life with her. instead i would say things like "if we're still together in 2 or 3 years" and never give her that sense of security.
or i would say things like "i dont get how two lovers can be in a relationship but live on opposite sides of the world, they'd just end up cheating" (because her best friends fiance moved to turkey to study). and i'm really bad at reading emotions... due to i have a lack of understanding my own emotions. and she is very kind but extremly stubborn with a great memory. and she would never really tell me when she was upset or if there was a problem in our relationship. she only showed me her happy side.
but anyways i got a different job to make more money so i can ask her to move into together by september.
so 3days before i started this job... she did something that made me kind of angry... usually i would have let this go.. but i decided to be more confrontive with her and not run away. so i acted a little more mad then i was. so i decided to use my anger as an excuse to not talk to her for 2 or 3 days because i wanted a small break to decide if i was ready for this step. then they day before i started my new job is when i made a small lie.. then the day i started that job she met with me and broke it off. for 3 weeks a begged for her to come back etc. i really fought for her, i opened up told her that i did want to marry her one day and all that jazz. after awhile i gave up because i knew it was only hurting more. She said every rude thing she could to push me away (which is 100% not the girl i knew so i knew i hurt her bad)
Anyways 3months goes by... and i'm still maddly in love with her. i think of her every night. i had sex with 2 other girls and felt NOTHING no joy.. i just pictured my ex instead..and felt as if i was cheating or doing something wrong. Now my old job were she works offered me a lot more money to come back. And i want her back to. we went 2 weeks without talking to each other (she died her hair red (my fav hair colour..and also something she would never do in the right mind so i think it was out of spite after the break up). 5 days ago i got drunk and called her. she forgot my phone number so she forgot it was me... i acted like a bitch again asking to come back. then she tried to push me away by pretending she had another boy friend. i say pretending..because it wasnt convincinng and i never saw her as the type to jump from one guy to another. then 2days ago we had small talk at work. i wasnt being bitchy this time. i just told her that i will get her back.. and if she does have a Bf i will steal you from him (she is into romance drama's so maybe she liked that..idk) i told her every day i will text her somehting i miss about the relationship we had until she starts talking to me again..... She never replies to them though. Anyways any advice?
i feel like i have changed a lot. but i cant really show her that until she starts to atleast talk to me again.if u NeedMoreInfoLetMeKno.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.
You've set yourself a very ambitious goal, and pretty flattering to her. I'm glad you wrote as much as you did about the story of your relationship. I taught an advanced college class on love relationships for 21 years, so I can assure you, it's pretty common for young lovers to avoid open conflict as long as they can, since they're both afraid of ruining the appearance of easy harmony that they've been cultivating and really afraid that 1. they'll do or say something terribly wrong because they have no idea how to handle their own anger and 2. they'll LOSE CONTROL of their partner's thoughts, feelings and actions -- that she'll "become a totally different person" -- which is what actually did happen. But your Uyghur girlfriend is a conflict-avoider too; and one problem with conflict minimizers & avoiders is that they're likely to freak out when it finally comes, and she has probably done that twice already.
I'm going to suggest what you can do that might help you "get her back." But first I'm going to tell you something else that's more important in the big picture that you won't want to believe: You don't really understand why she runs her life the way she does. The two biggest clues to what I think she is doing (I can't claim to be 100% accurate, but I've known this behavior in the intersection between many traditional family-cultures and American relating style, so it's pretty likely. The clues are 1. that in 1.5 years she's never introduced you to her family, and 2. that she has kept a great many of the romantic gestures towards you a secret from as many people as possible, probably To Make Sure No Word Of Your Relationship Ever Got Back To Her Family.
To me these habitual actions mean that she knows her family expects to choose who she can marry. So both of her romances have been her own private experiments to help her learn how to love, with her "stubborn-ness" being her own way of trying to make sure she keeps the guy from getting too close or blowing her cover with her family. And she's not going to even try to marry a guy until her culture would say the time is right and her parents would say that the guy is the right kind of guy for her, with the right job and right attitude towards her family, etc. She did like you, but she's like an American teenager, because she can only get away with what she can hide from her parents. And she could keep up a playful and lustful relationship with you because the your main location could easily be at work and far away from her family.
That means that it's a good thing you backed off before asking her to move in with you. Because she can't do that, and even asking her to do so would have demonstrated to her that 1. you don't understand her motives for acting the way she does and 2. you're getting out of control and threatening to do things that might get her in trouble with her family for playing too seriously with "young love."
So now, how can you "get her back?" It's actually too late for me to write much about that. But if you are capable of being as "mature" as you think you can be, you CAN begin to work on resolving the conflict that triggered her to break up with you and begin her routine of saying the worst things to push you away. But you do it in writing, via email or texting--but email is better, because it doesn 't put as much pressure4 on her to respond ASAP OR keep up her STUBBORN gameplan by not responding at all.
You don't try to win a contest, but you DO confess to her what you feel you have done to hurt her. I noticed that you weren't willing to tell me what your "little lie" was that may have gotten the conflict started. In fact there will always be conflicts in couples, because people hold back on what has bothered them for fear of igniting an avalanche of trouble , so they start leaking their resentment and poisoning the interaction in many little ways. So it's very hard to decide WHO or WHAT started it all. It's more like the plate tectonics of an earthquake, where pressure between two minds&hearts going in different directions builds up until something's gotta give, and then all of a sudden the shaking starts.. And then the aftershocks.
But one value of an argument is that it gives both partners a chance to find out what bothered each one of them--which is often a contradiction between what each was privately thinking and feeling and wanting with&from the other and what the other was thinking, feeling & wanting; so the result is a painful mismatch of saying and doing. You start out by writing about what YOU were thinking, feeling and wanting (without including that you were wanting to have her move in with you, because that would probably cause her to freak out and find every excuse to NEVER talk to you again, since it's too far beyond what her playbook allows for her). That might include your "little lie" and why you did it. And all the other stuff you thought, felt and did, including why you pushed her away by jacking up your anger-drama.
But as valuable as this different way could become: by talking thru an argument & soothing away the hurt and anger by not blaming each other and just coming clean about what was going on with yourself and inviting her to do the same when she's able. It won't work very well right away, because neither one of you have much--if any--experience in expressing yourself clearly in writing about things that are difficult to admit to the one person who is most likely to use it against you. [But YOU did a pretty good start at coming clean in your backstory to your question here online, since you had not too much embarrassment about coming clean since you'd never get glared at or laughed at by the counselor who's supposed to help you.]
But it's much harder to do that with your now-apparently-"ex" girlfriend; because she MIGHT just use anything you admit to as an insult to push you away again, in order to stick to her existing plan to just play with love until the appearance of conflict offers a chance to rise up to the next level by dealing with painful emotions and getting through them to a place of greater trust.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
well i kind of understand that. Her last relationship new about her Ex but that was because there family knew him before they dated. because people of her culture are really close.
But it really seemed like she was looking for love. and something serious. when we talked once when we broke up within those 3weeks. she said if i told her that i wanted to marry her she would have been so happy she would have cried.Actually when we did break up, when i did finally decide to stop talking to her i got really mad and messaged her sister about how me and her dated for 6months blah blah an dhow i felt bad she was kept out of the dark.
The lie was that i told her that day that i made the lie that i just wanted to have fun with my friends so please dont message me. i havent seen these particular set of friends in a bit over a year.
At the end of the night i called her. told her i loved her and that my phone was at 1% so i wont be able to talk to her (it was at 40% i just didnt want to open up a conversation as i was still deciding. but i didnt want her to go the night thinking i dindt love her)
I've been sending her a text message a day with things i missed about out relationship. i sent her a email a month or so ago apologizing for my immature actions but she never replied.
she also never replies to my texts.
when i called her that night i was drunk i confessed what i think i done to hurt her but she didnt confirm it. but then again i called her at 2am on a night where she had to work a 13hr shift the next day.
also when i was drunk i told her my intentions to move in with her (well i f**ked up. i'm bad at timing)
But i also agreed. the way she left was very immature so i can see where her acting like an american teen comes into play.
It just sucks that when i go out with other girls i can only compare them to her and never talk to them again.
iv'e worked hard on everything that i thought was a issue and i want the chance for her to see that but i'm also very impatient. i even called her last night asking for some advice and she said she couldnt help me. i asked why and she hung up the phone. It's very difficult.
i've wrote her a letter when trying to get back with her at the begening being completely open. she did what she could to hold back her tears but it got me no where.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.
PS. She's not even a Cancer, but a Leo, which is an easier match for you than a Cancer.
I think you MUST realize that she won't be able to pursue any relationship that her parents don't endorse without separating from her family, and she has NO incentive to do that, since foreigners from a small immigrant group wouldn't dream of leaving their clannish security-base for a 20 year-old with no religious OR clansupport of his own: You just can't understand what communal-life-support means to people from a communal culture (instead of an individualistic culture like USA). If you want to practice trying to work out communication misunderstandings in the way I suggested above, you could still end up extremely frustrated, because your attempt to restore AND improve your intimate partner-understanding via written communication runs head-on into her ongoing habit of divorcing any romantic partner as soon as the relationship starts to reach towards more intimacy and commitment than she can afford when she KNOWS she can't aim for marriage unless and until her family approves of the potential matchup.
I know this may hurt you to even suggest, but has it occurred to you that she might have picked you as a guy who was so much younger and less aware of the ways of love (NOT SEX) than she was that she'd probably be able to manage the relationship however she wanted? and also be able to end it whenever SHE was ready--such as even if HER OWN FEELINGS started to get strong enough to possibly undermine her own intention to keep it light-hearted and fun?
Yet it is always better to have LOVED and LOST than never to have loved at all: EVEN if you only learn this time that you CAN learn how to recover from the loss of a love IN DUE TIME (like 6-9 months or up to 1/2 the length of the relationship itself) without just burying your feelings in new sexual adventures. If you're willing to read about how to benefit from the pain of a relationship breakup, you can start to develop a mature growth capability at your tender young age by buying and reading this book: Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You Paperback – by Susan J. Elliott JD MEd
I wrote a 15 page appendix to my 575p text on love relationships, mostly among college students, on how to breakup and recover from the loss of a love with dignity. My whole book has considerable value and a complete chapter for adult children of divorced parents, which I suspect you are. You could learn a lot from that appendix and also from several other chapters therein. That book is available USED from Amazon for about $7 counting $4 for shipping. A large percentage of my approximately 2,000 students in that course have probably held onto their textbook because their mothers and they saw so much of value in it--even though it was only partially a "how to" manual. (Apparently their dads didn't read, leaving even grown men in the dark-ages about how to make love more satisfying.)
I'm not sure whether you've considered going to college or not (where my text is no longer used because courses like mine are hardly taught anywhere), or if you've even had a real opportunity to learn what you want to learn, since you've been on your own at a young age. But YOU DO HAVE A CHOICE TO LEARN at a sophisticated level FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE OR KEEP DRAWING THE SIMPLEST CONCLUSIONS AND MAKING NEW & SIMILAR ERRORS UNTIL YOU CAN'T STAND IT ANYMORE.
If you were to take my recommendations seriously, I would be open to further coaching efforts. And don't take my negative prediction as gospel truth until you have exhausted your own efforts--since what you learn the hard way is more likely to stick with you than anything somebody else tries to show you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
so in the end you think she is just experimenting? and got with someone younger because she knew she could take control? because that would make since. 4months before me she made out with a 17year old twice who she liked. but she cut it off within a week because he was too young and she knew she couldnt get serious. to be honest. i didnt want to get serious with her either. i figured i'd dump her after 2months of me having my phone but it got serious extrememly quickly.
one of her reasons for leaving me.. idk if it was a excuse or not is that it was because she thought she loved me more than i loved her. and thats true the whole family thing.. but to be honest i never had a close family.... so i really wanted to be a part of that clan like family since mine was so broken and seperated.
Anyways thanks for the advice on the book but right now i'm low on income so i wont be able to do that.
i know she got annoyed by my daily text messages of why i missed our relationship so i stopped that haha per a friends request.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.
I think her excuse reflected a fear on her part that her experiment was growing on her too much. For LOVE and POWER are opposites that have to be in balance for a relationship to thrive. And she was trying to keep the lion's share of the power, and found out that love was getting into her inspite of her intention.
So her "excuse" was actually evidence that your own inability to keep love from taking over your own feelings--enhanced as it was by your yearning to develop a family connection to heal what was so broken inside of yourself--actually got thru to her and infected HER calculated reserve just as it overthrew YOUR calculated reserve.
Please forgive the comparison, but it's like having a pet Dog is really like thinking you have a pet God on your leash: The dog's unrestrained LOVE for you gets thru to you in fairly short order, and it teaches YOU how to love it back, because the Dog/God doesn't hold back on LOVE and that feels TOO GOOD for you not to want to feel it yourself, as much as you can. With a person you can feel and do many more kinds of loving actions; so even though the number of ways you can disappoint and hurt each other is way larger too, the joys and learning is so great that you keep lurching forward, until one of you gets too scared to go on.
So you succumbed to your feelings and dropped your power-trip first, and that enabled your feelings to eat thru her capsule and sabotage her power-trip too. So LOVE won out over POWER on both sides.
I suggest that you summarize some of what I've just written about your relationship and not text, but email it to her, so it's more permanent for her to look at. Because it will do her good to know that 1. she didn't actually love you more than you love her; you and she just feel and show it differently, and 2. you were actually both not planning to surrender your experimental plans to LOVE, but you did, so 3. you both got to feel what love can do to light up your lives, even if some of the conditions involved in YOUR PARTICULAR MATCHUP make it difficult or impossible to carry your feelings forward any further.
So even though your hearts may be hurting now, you will be proud in the future that you got to see & know each other through loving eyes, so you could know beauty and passion that makes life SO worth living. You can be thankful and grateful to each other that you each allowed that to happen. For those memories and those emotional capacities can never be lost.
You CAN send such honest admiration to her without her just wanting to push you away even harder (because she's still afraid of feeling the love you made her feel) IF you make it clear that you're NOT trying to get her to come back to you anymore. But you just want her to know how much having the relationship with her has been good for you, and how she will always have a place in your heart lit the flame of love in you and helped you see your life in new ways.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thank you so much
i would send this to her. but i know she ignores everything i sent you. if me and her get on open talking terms i will 100% send this to her.
I still love her but you made good points.
I think i'm going to reflect on my self some more. and stop trying to sleep with other people etc.
I was on a power trip with her especially when i took her virignity. but i think you are right. none of us was planning to get serious at the start.
i know she's the type of girl who wants to get married etc. but maybe she knew deep down inside that she was experimenting. i dont think she knew thats why she was doing what she was doing. and oh sorry. her month is 07. so shes a cancer haha. oddly enough i dated a leo and it was the worst experience i had
weirdly i never planned on getting married ever!
i thought marriage was useless...but this girl opened my eyes to so many things and feelings i never knew i would feel.
I would never be mad at her
when we were together i told her if things dindt work out. i would never regret it because she has shown me so much and made me so happy. (althought when we broke up for a month i thought she was a waste of time but that was out of anger)
Anyways thanks
if there are any updates I'd let you know but i'm not sure if i could ever write back to you after this session is over. but you helped me realize a lot of things. Once again Thank you
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.
I agree that it doesn't help much to bury your feelings in unconnected sex. You'll gain more from writing more about your experience and insight from being in love. You could even address it to her or to me and never send it to either one.
Don't worry about whether you could ever write back to me or not. What you've done here online is very courageous, a lot of looking in the mirror at yourself. When your family has failed you so thoroughly for many years it's a real stretch to trust anybody except somebody you'll never know, or an exotic girl from the other side of the world that you fell in love with. But you fell in love because you have the capacity to love within you, and you were ready to let it come out. And you trusted me with your inner searching, because you were ready to learn about love, so your teacher appeared.
Because you let your love blossom once, it might be a little easier to let it happen again. And ever since the days of chivalry in the Middle Ages, some poets and writers have said that "love makes you want to be a better man." Plato also said the same thing about the mutual love-admiration relationship between philsopher-teacher and student 1500 years before that. Welcome to the human family.

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