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Old 09-22-2004, 07:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: Pittsburgh
Girlfriend Problems...

Lately, my girlfriend and I have been doing nothing but arguing. I feel like shit, she feels like shit, and I really don't know if the relationship is going to last very much longer to be honest. I'm not sure where to begin... but here is some background on my current situation.

I'm 19 years old and she's 18 years old. We've been together for a little over a year (14 months to be exact), and for the most part, it's been wonderful. Even though I'm young and fairly inexperienced with serious relationships, I'd say that we're very much in love with one another. Lately, though, everything has sucked.

We're both going to school (and living at home -- she lives 20 minutes away and goes to another school) and working part-time. We both have very busy schedules right now, and we're lucky to see each other for more than an hour or two every week. It really has seemed to put a lot of stress on us. It wouldn't be nearly as bad if we *knew* that we wouldn't be able to see each other; ie living far away... but being so close geographically and yet not being able to see each other for more than an hour at a time is really hurting. It's like there's always that hope that we'll be able to see each other and it gets shattered again and again and again.

We talk on the phone every night for a couple hours. It used to be all happy/lovey dovey/friendly talking... but now it's just fighting and not knowing what to say. I don't know why this happened... the only reason I can think of would be the lack of seeing each other.

We actually "took a break" for one day -- it was her idea. She said that since she didn't get to see me anyway we might as well take a break so that we don't get sad/mad when we can't be together. I went along with it, but I really didn't want to. A day later, our "break" was over, and everything seemed like it was okay again, but now -- about a week after that, it's all going down the shitter again.

What should we do? I really don't know what to say to her about all this. I want to make everything all better, but I just don't know what to do. Any advice or commentary you have to offer is very much appreciated.
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Old 09-22-2004, 07:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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saut, tough to say exactly, but a quick question: How long has the relationship been on the down-turn? Based on a few things you said, I think y'all might be burnt out with each other. You've been together for a while, so you're past puppy love, and you're on the phone for a couple of hours every night? You're both really busy, and then you've got the exhausting two hour marathon conversation to go through? Before you pull the carpet out of this thing, check out the signal your gf gave you - take a break for a day - and the fact that everything was hunky-dorry for a week. I may be off target here, but in my experience in the past (18 was a while ago...) when I was in relationships that had those characteristics, you might find you're smothering an otherwise healthy relationship. I'm not saying it's necessarily a good idea to see other people or any of that jazz; but you might try a fifteen minute conversation most days, and a couple of dates during the week.
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Old 09-23-2004, 04:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, it's been on the down-turn for... I dunno, about a month (pretty much since school started back up). I'd love to try what you suggested -- cutting the phone convos down to a couple minutes and seeing her a couple nights a week, but it's pretty much impossible with our schedules. The phone is pretty much the only way we are able to hear from one another, so taking that away won't help I think.
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Old 09-23-2004, 04:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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saut - just think about it. It's obviously your call...I've just found that in the past, when I would get into situations where I would have these extended telephone conversations with my SO, and we weren't seeing each other a lot, that it seems to bring forth the arguments like water running downhill. It's almost like you run of anything unique to say, and you can cut through the "how was your day, honey?" crap pretty quick - some part of mind flips to frustration and the next thing you know you're arguing about stupid shit. Is there no way y'all can find a few minutes or a couple of hours during the week to see each other in lieue of the phone talks? I've just never, ever ever had good results with extended phone relationships. In any case, good luck with it.
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Old 09-23-2004, 05:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Wow, did I write this post? My partner and I live twenty minutes apart (eighteen minutes with no traffic), we go to different universities, she works part-time and most of my free time is taken up by study. I feel your anguish mate, I know what you're going through.

And I think pigglet's hit the nail right smack bang on the head when he points out that you've taken the phone conversations and made them into a routine, or a chore. When you basically do nothing else during the week but study (my situation) I have very little to say on the phone, and if you couple this with the fact that I HATE talking on the phone, it leads to disaster.

If you live so close to her, but can afford to spend a few hours on the phone every night, I think you should spend the forty minutes driving back and forth and the rest of the time actually being with her. A few minutes on the phone every night perhaps, and once or twice a week if you actually go and see her (and she comes to see you), and I think you'll end up a lot better. If you feel this way about the relationship, chances are she does too.

You've got two choices: break it off with her and hoping this won't happen again with someone else; or take charge of the situation and fix it. Notice I don't say that you should just live it out and hope it changes. Relationship problems don't generally sort themselves out. They don't just sit and stagnate, they fester. And if you think you're hiding your concerns, I'll tell you you're not. People (perhaps men, I don't know), think they hide their concerns, but however obvious they think it is, it's twice as obvious to their partners.

I think she enjoyed the break not because she used it and did crazy stuff, but because she didn't think about the routine of talking on the phone, she got to not stress for a day.

So mate, here's what you've gotta do. Follow pigglet's advice to the letter. Don't rely on the phone, instead use that time to travel and see her, but make a plan. Just as phone calls leave too much dead air, a night without a plan (especially when you are travelling 40 minutes) can often end in frustration. So limit your phone calls, don't acknowledge when you run out of things to say (ie. stuck to the interesting stuff), make the time to actually see her, and tell her why you want to make these changes.

It's late and I've been drinking after finishing an essay, so excuse any weirdness I re-read this and I'm worried I sound aggressive, but I honestly don't intend to be. Sometimes when I try to speak or type in a motivational "go team!" tone it comes out aggressively. So I apologize! But mate, write back here with your thoughts, and how everything goes
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Old 09-23-2004, 05:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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From experience, I think you ned to cut down on your "busy" activities. I always have lots on the go but I find that the less time I can spend with my boyfriend, the more niggly we get and start stupid arguments. I don't know what your activities are, but either way, you need to think what's more important to you, your relationship with this girl, or all these other things that are keeping you so busy that you have little or no time for her. You have to make time for relationships too, otherwise if you just don't have time for one, just accept this fact and let your girlfriend move on to someone who will make time for her. Sorry if it sounds harsh but it's not fair on either of you. Maybe she needs to hear the same thing?
Whether we write or speak or do but look
We are ever unapparent. What we are
Cannot be transfused into word or book.
Our soul from us is infinitely far.
However much we give our thoughts the will
To be our soul and gesture it abroad,
Our hearts are incommunicable still.
In what we show ourselves we are ignored.
The abyss from soul to soul cannot be bridged
By any skill of thought or trick of seeming.
Unto our very selves we are abridged
When we would utter to our thought our being.
We are our dreams of ourselves, souls by gleams,
And each to each other dreams of others' dreams.

Fernando Pessoa, 1918
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Old 09-23-2004, 07:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
Location: California
Adjustment to a schedule where you get to see each other less often and talk to each other less often is probably going to be the best thing at this point, but be careful not to drop off completely. Skipping a day or two every now and then if you're really busy is okay to do.

Right now my girlfriend has been exceedingly busy with her schoolwork, and furthermore, it's a long distance relationship where I only get to see her every 3 weeks or so. I don't get to talk to her more than 3 or 4 times a week, and it's been *real* hard adjusting to, but I think she's worth it, so I'm sticking it out. I mean, her final projects for the quarter are due this weekend, so after that we'll get to talk more.

I dunno, it is a tricky situation. Get her flowers randomly or something every now and then. Make sure she knows that you still care about her even though it's difficult to see each other. If it proves to be too hard to adjust, unfortunately it might not be meant to be. You're still young, so the worst case scenario here isn't that terrible.

Still, just talk to each other at least 3 times a week (every day if your schedules are really that busy might cause extra strain), and try to see each other one or two times a week for a date if your schedules can work it. Or try and get your work schedules more similar to each other so you both get the same afternoon off or something. There's probably a lot of things you can try, if you're both up for working at it.
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Old 09-23-2004, 08:29 AM   #8 (permalink)
i was in a long distance relationship through a good chunk of high school and now i've gotten myself into another one here in college. while the first one was very similar (we were 40 minutes away but couldn't really get to each other) my current relationship is a little different, but i think they both offer something to tell you.

my first relationship ended on a terrible note, we "took a break" for a few weeks and just never got back together, i realized (after quite a while) that i never really loved her and that it should have ended a lot sooner. check your case, if you're in one of these situations, don't let yourself stay in it. you don't deserve all the repercussions, no one does, they suck.

my current relationship makes me extremely happy, and i don't know if it relates too well with yours, but we have one thing in common (i think). you two probably spent the better part of the summer together (as we did) and now, even though you're only 20 minutes away, you might as well be on opposite sides of the country (as we are). theres a couple ways to look at this; you can either a) set apart some time to be with each other/talk on a daily/bi-daily basis (anything less can put a significant deal of stress on the communication situation) or b) do stuff you would do if you were on opposite sides of the country...

ok, now this might sound a little, well, ridiculous, but don't be afraid to send her a handwritten letter, or a package, or plan a trip together for a time when you can get away. bring the "puppy love" back into the relationship and let her know where you want it to go.

if your reasons for being with your girlfriend are better than your reasons for going to school, then by all means, make it work. if you see yourself going to school so that you can support and care for your girlfriend in the future, make it work. but, if you don't see this going anywhere, i can tell you from experience, it won't go anywhere. the only thing i can really tell you, other than offering up some of my experiences, is that you can make it work.

eat dessert. good luck.
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Old 09-23-2004, 08:35 AM   #9 (permalink)
hey man, im in a similar situation, but I suppose we've adapted. my girl lives 5 minutes away from me and goes to a school thats about 30 minutes away. she is pre-med, so she's a very busy lady and studies alot. we only get to see each other once a week for about 4 hours because her parents dont think she should be dating (religion thing).
we used to talk until midnight all the time because she wasnt busy or tired, despite the fact that I was. now that she's back in school, we rarely talk for more than an hour, and its ususally filled with interesting stuff that happened, etc or me being a tele(phone) comedian.

cut your phone calls back, and try to increase the time you can spend with her.
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Old 09-23-2004, 12:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice everyone, I really appreciate it. I'm going to try and cut my work schedule down a bit tonight (both for her and for school -- working 5 nights a week from 6-11 and having school every day from about 9-4 REALLY sucks). I guess I'll see what happens from there.
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Old 09-23-2004, 06:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
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An update on the situation: everything is fine again, we've talked it over and it looks like we'll work it out.
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Old 09-25-2004, 05:21 AM   #12 (permalink)
i'm happy for you, good job doing what needed to be done
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Old 09-25-2004, 04:51 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Everyone's given a lot of good advice, the only thing I think I have to add is just be aware that it is much easier to argue with someone on the phone. The fact the person is not standing right in front of you often times causes people to say things or interpret what is being said differently due to lack of facial emotion to read. Sometimes the "less is more" philosophy can go a long ways into spicing up a relationship
Calling from deep in the heart, from where the eyes can't see and the ears can't hear, from where the mountain trails end and only love can go... ~~~ Three Rivers Hare Krishna
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