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Ask Dr. Shirley Schaye Your Own Question
Dr. Shirley Schaye
Dr. Shirley Schaye, Doctor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1673
Experience:  PhD-Psych; Certif. Psychoanalyst NPAP& NYFS; Memb.APsaA;IPA; Pub.Author; Teach/Supervise Therapy
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Hello I have been with my girlfriend for just over 6 years

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I have been with my girlfriend for just over 6 years now. I met her at Uni and after 2 years we moved in together. In the past year or so we've been goin through a rough patch. She has been pulling away (sexually and emotionally) from me and I used to get very upset and shout at her - I did apologise for my behaviour and I have been very calm and understanding with her lately. She assures me there is no-one else and that she loves me. We discussed these issues several times and we've come to the conclusion that she is worried that she can't offer me what I'm really asking for (I am not asking for much and I made it clear - all I need is a little affection and for her to show me that she loves me every now and then) in a relationship and she's saying she doesn't know what to do. I can't bare this anymore, everytime I bring the conversation up she doesn't know what to do. I've even asked her to break up because I can't take this any more and she said that she needs me and she loves me and she doesn't want to lose me. I really love her but I'm not sure if it's worth sticking with her until she decides what she wants?
Thank you for contacting Just Answer. I am very sorry to hear about what you are dealing with. As I was reading your post and saw what you wrote and I quote you, "I've even asked her to break up because I can't take this any more and she said that she needs me and she lovesme and she doesn't want to lose me." I thought --- ok, that's a good sign but when I read further about what you have already tried and that you said that you haven't tried couples counseling because she doesn't want to, a red flag went up for me. There is no way that this can be resolved unless the two of you make some attempt to work on your problems with a couples counselor. I think you need to tell her that there is no point in being together if she is not willing to work with you on what is going on. It is not fair to you. It is hurtful to you and if she means what she says, that she needs you and loves you, then she has to put some effort into working on this problem with you. Actions speak louder than words. If this is the behaviour she is showing you --- watch out. Not great for a long term relationship. Over the years things happen between couples. You have to know that the partner you choose is willing to communicate about the problems and work together on them with you. She is showing you, loudly and clearly that this is not the way she does things. Watch out!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'll pause here and await your response so that we may continue with our chat.
Dr. Shirley Schaye and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.


Dr Shirley


Thank you for your swift reply.


I would like to point out that she did turn down couples counselling but she said she wouldn't mind going to see a counsellor on her own. She's a very shy and indecisive person in general and she finds it difficult to make decisions on her own. In my opinion she sees everything as black and white and there is always a right and a wrong for her or always someone has to be at fault. She keeps telling me that she doesn't know what the right thing is for her to do in our case and that nothing satisfies her at the moment could that really be the case?

Well she does need therapy, that's pretty clear from what you have described. You're asking me " could that be the case?" She's telling you that that's the case. That has to do with her pathology. Of course, it's ridiculous that nothing satisfies her but that's how she feels. If she sees everything as black or white and right or wrong, you are dealing with someone who has a personality disorder. Again, you may not like me saying this but Watch Out!.
I'm here if you want to chat some more.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.


What exactly is a "personality disorder" and could that be the reason for her indecisiveness?




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Customer: replied 6 years ago.


If you could please give me some ideas as to how I should approach this from now on (without couples counseling) I would very much appreciate it.


This morning I told her very calmly and politely that tonight I need her to tell me what she wants because I'm hurting - i.e. if she wants us to both try and work things out or if she can't do that to break up. Is 'forcing' her to come up with an answer the right thing to do or shall I take a different approach?



I think from what she told you she is closed off. As I said, you need to tell her that you are hurting and you need to know whether she is going to work on the relationship because it is not satifactory the way things are. (BTW, whereas I think you should say this, I doubt if she will look at herself and what she is doing.) I also think,if she agrees to go to counseling it won't be because she wants it but that perhaps she'll please you so that you don't break off with her. Bottom line you have to sit down and tell her we either work on our issues or I have to end this. It is too masochistic for me to be in the relationship the way it is.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.


Dear Shirley


Last night we had the conversation again and to cut a long story short she told be she cannot break up with me, she said she simply cannot do it.


I personaly think that the problem we are having is that she simply cannot let go of the past and the mistakes that we both made - she keeps mentioning to me that I have been pushy and she finds it difficult to believe that I can change my behaviour (when I was getting very angry and losing my temper before). I have re-assured her several times that I've learned from my mistakes and I am a better and more mature person now but she keeps telling me that she is afraid that what is happening now will happen again and again in the future and she doesn't want that. She keeps dwelling on past mistakes although I repeatetly said that this situation will only make us stronger and the likelihood is that we will not make the same mistakes again if we both try and communicated more effectively. Every time I say to her now that we both know what our issues are and now that we opened up to each other let's both try to see what happens she keeps telling me that we have tried several times but it didn't work although the previous times we didn't know what the problems actually were, we were arguing all the time without knowing what the problems were.

I really love her and she is a big part of my life and I don't want to give up easily. I genuinly believe things can get better for both of us. This is the first long term relationship for both of us (I'm 29 she is 24) and she finds it difficult to understand that all couples go through these stages and it's impossible not to have disagreements and argue sometimes.


I don't know if all this makes sense to you but please help!


Unfortunately, if she doesn't want to go to counseling there is nothing that will change things. The process is an active one, in the moment where the therapist interacts with the couple, in the moment, as I said. From what you have told me if you and she were in treatment with me, and I found out the same things while I was seeing the both of you I would eventually tell her at the right time that she must also enter individual therapy for her borderline personality disorder. There is nothing to help you with, unfortunately, if she refuses to see her severe problems. I wish I could give you some magic--- but she needs help.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.


Dear Shirley


One final think.


Is what we are going through common for couples in long term relationships?


Thank you for your support.

Only couples who have problems. Otherwise, the problems you mentioned are not common. She has serious problems that need to be addressed.