Almost two years ago I met a woman online and pretty much fell head over heels in love with her at first sight. My feelings got so intense so quickly it was impossible for me to think straight. We dated for a while, seeing each other at weekends only, because we live about 2 hours apart. My intense feelings were getting extremely straining. It was insane, I was so exhausted and so sad having to part with her every week that I developed a sleeping problem over it. Then, we decided that we should try living together. She still had her apartment but spent a lot more time at my place. While we had a lot of nice times we also had a lot of bad times. A few months passed. Then, I was away on a work trip and she had promised to take care of my place when I was gone (water plants, take garbage out and so on). When I got back from the trip a few weeks later I was greeted by a messy apartment, garbage smells and dead plants. I got so angry I wanted nothing to do with her.
This is just one example of how this lady can make me angry like no other (it goes both ways). After this big fight I noticed her pulling away and it took a couple of months for her to come back to me again. A big problem for us was always that we can’t really talk about things that have happened without falling back into the argument. When she gets angry she just gets up and leaves and we never get to finish. She thinks I should just let things go. For me, that results in old conflicts just gnawing away at me, spinning around in my head without stopping. This too has been exhausting.
1,5 years into this I decided I wanted us to spend less time together since our relationship was just getting too stressful to handle on a daily basis. I broke up with her telling her I couldn’t take all the drama and that I needed to focus on me. I’ve been doing just that for 4 months now. In this time I have learned to listen more to my feelings and to take better care of myself. I have taken up interests and met new people. However, I’m still struggling with whether or not to let her go. We are extremely different; I’m an intellectual introvert and she’s a chitchatty extrovert, I’m high strung and she’s down to earth, the thing I value most is a healthy lifestyle while she smokes and lives off of refined carbs (she says she wants to enjoy life), she’s absent minded and often forgets what she’s promised and I would rather cut my own arm off than break a promise, she’s a dog person and I’m a cat person, the list goes on.
While my brain is telling me I could find someone more similar to myself my heart is completely uninterested in anyone else. It’s never been particularly difficult for me to find girls to date, so it’s not that I feel like I could never find another. We just really make each other laugh, she makes me live in the moment and our sex life has always been amazing. While she doesn’t always get me she’s always been very accepting of all aspects of me, even the ones she doesn’t like or understand. She is very independent and so am I. We understand each other’s need for space.
It’s soon two years since I met her. She wants us to go to a counselor to see if we can learn how to communicate better. She says she wants us to fix our relationship and maybe marry me some day. While I’ve never felt this strongly about anyone before, I’m just not sure about what I want. Even if we learn how to communicate, I’d still have a girlfriend who’s my opposite in almost every way. She’s a lot more ok with that than I am… How do I find out if I can live with all these differences? What about when all this passion wears off and I “sober up”, realizing I want to discuss Quantum Physics and she just wants to watch funny dog videos?
-Lost in love
You ask how you can find out whether you can live with all these differences? But I think you’ve already given the answer in your letter.
It sounds like your “down to earth” girlfriend walks away when she gets angry rather than trying to talk about it. And rather than come back when she’s cooled off to resolve the issue, she expects you to swallow your feelings and move on.
She pulls away from you, perhaps to keep you feeling insecure and to ensure you don’t insist on a conversation about your needs and your feelings.
She doesn’t respect your property or honor your requests, for instance when you asked her to do basic housekeeping while you were away. You’re an introvert so I imagine it’s probably difficult for you to make those requests, and you deserve to have them honored.
She stressed you out so much that you broke it off because you couldn’t cope any longer.
That isn’t a healthy relationship.
Okay, the sex is good and she makes you laugh. Those things are important. But taking all your evidence into account, this woman isn’t a good long-term partner for you.
It’s not even about extrovert vs. introvert, or intellectual conversation vs. binge watching pet videos. Your girlfriend doesn’t feel like extending the efforts to meet your needs or take your feelings seriously, and she has you convinced that she doesn’t need to because her chitchat extrovert personality is dominating the relationship and she is either guilt tripping you when you try—”why can’t you let that go?”— to process your feelings or she’s walking out of the room altogether.
Perhaps she is trying to change, as evidenced by her request to go to therapy together? I can’t say. If you want to give therapy a try, by all means, do that. But look for her actions to change, not her words.
If she can approach conflict differently, you may have a shot. If she can meet your needs outside the bedroom, you might have a shot. If you can be with her without feeling stressed and anxious, you might have a shot.
Do the therapy if you want. But if it doesn’t get results, it’s time to walk away. When you stop being in love with her, you’ll eventually find yourself emotionally available to women who can treat you well.
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