March 21, 2010 | 7:44 pm
Posted by Merissa Nathan Gerson
My girlfriend has an extremely taxing job, regularly working 14 hours
a day. She’s really bad at giving me accurate time estimates — she
tells me 8, I think no earlier than 10 — and we live together, so
this has a real effect on my life and our plans. She also has a
stronger need of privacy than I do, so she won’t always tell me about
her schedule, new elements of her job that might affect our life
together, etc. The combo of her absence and her hesitancy to share
details with me make me really paranoid and sensitive, and I wind up
getting angry at her in a pouty, non-productive way. When were
together I am happy as a clam, but when were apart and incommunicado,
I go into a spiral of bad feelings and mistrust. I’ve tried to get
her to do little things that I know would calm me down (texting,
less-hopeful time estimates) but she can’t seem to do them.
Basically I’m at my wits end. She’s said that her hours aren’t
permanent, and I have no doubt of our feelings for each other, but I
just can’t cope some days…
In Need of New Strategy
You might not only need a new strategy, you might need a new girlfriend. The key to communication in any relationship is that both parties are involved. If you are reaching out and she is backing away, shirking her commitment to honesty, and generally ignoring your needs and requests than I can’t say I’ll fight for her right to have you. Especially since you sound kind, sincere and devoted, meaning you deserve an amazing woman with whom you feel safe and heard.
There are a few unknown factors that could mean she is worth keeping. How long have you been dating? Months? Years? Longer? If you have made a deep commitment over time, and this issue is suddenly coming up, then it is indicative of a need to sit down and see what is bubbling beneath the surface. Perhaps your “pouty” replies are yielding further deception. This could simply mean you need new relationship tools. Try
Communication Miracles for Couples: Easy and Effective Tools to Create More Love and Less Conflict by Jonathan Robinson.
If, however, this is a fairly new relationship or this has been going on for a very long time, chances are it is time to jump ship. Why? Because whenever you find yourself worrying about your relationship on a daily basis, or even weekly, something is wrong. Trust is something that is built between two people, and your girlfriend does not seem to value yours. If she did, she might try to accommodate your needs for clearer communication.
There is a difference between needing “privacy” and actively withholding information to drive your partner insane with unease. While you should, in theory, be able to accept your partner’s ways and still feel safe and loving towards her, these “ways” sound less a matter of character and more a matter of choice. Your lack of ability to “cope” some days may be reason enough to be brave, face yourself, and seek some therapeutic assistance in whatever form suits you. Choosing a relationship like this is reflective of deeper unmet needs and issues.
Tons of people have jealousy and trust issues, but a good and solid relationship should quell most of these fears. That happiness you feel in her company should carry over to the times without her. Balance between two people means that your weaknesses are different, so you can be strong for each other. If you have fears of abandonment and/or cheating, then you need a partner who you can be sure is being honest, forthright, and present so that your doubts never come up. As impossible as this sounds, it is feasible. For help with this try, Why Can’t You Read My Mind? Overcoming the 9 Toxic Thought Patterns that Get in the Way of a Loving Relationship by Jeffrey Bernstein and Susan Magee.
Generally we are taught socially to commit quickly, even if it isn’t right, and in this case it sounds like you might need to start going against the norm, get single, and find a woman who can really meet your needs so you don’t live in a constant state of anxiety. According to the Talmud, everyone has a beshert, someone they are meant to be with. I have faith in this idea, and believe that when you do find the right partner, a lot of this anxiety will melt away and loving will be the easy part.
Other things to help you on the path to good love:
Unplugging the Patriarchy by Lucia René
A Course in Love: A Self-Discovery Guide for Finding Your Soulmate by Joan M. Gattuso
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