HOW TO PROCEED When Shes Acting Distant

The Dating Nerd is a shadowy figure whose whereabouts and identifying details remain unknown. What we do know is that he is really, really good at dating. He’s been on more dates than you can shake a lengthy bar tab at, and he’s here to help the average guy step his dating game up a notch – or several.
The Question
Hi Dating Nerd,
Things have been going great with my girlfriend. We started dating about four months ago, and honestly they’ve been the best four months of my life. Or at least, the first three and a quarter were. Lately she keeps acting kind of distant and I don’t know why. I just keep noticing instances of her being less talkative, I feel like. Is the relationship doomed or what? I don’t have lots of relationship experience, and I wasn’t expecting things to get difficult this early on. How do you approach this? What the hell did I really do?
– Dying By Distance
Hi Dying By Distance,
I’m really really glad that you wrote me, because, since it happens, I know why your girlfriend has been so weird. Listen: last time you showered at her place, you left a pubic hair on her behalf beautiful new bar of organic goat milk soap. Now, on a standard day this wouldn’t have already been this type of problem – she grudgingly acknowledges which you have hair, which sometimes falls off – but she had been in a foul mood, and, with this particular day, your own hair triggered a full-on breakdown. She raged around her apartment, breaking furniture and glasses, her face a contorted mask of rage. Then she drank her weight in tequila at the neighborhood bar, punched the bouncer in the facial skin, left, and set a hospital burning. In the morning, she realized she’d kind of overreacted, but she’s still a little bit mad at you, and that’s why she’s acting so strangely.
I’m kidding, obviously. I have no idea why she’s mad. If I were some kind of mystical girlfriend psychic, I wouldn’t be writing advice columns – I’d be working for the CIA, mentally spying on the wives of diplomats. Really, your girlfriend could be mad for any one of a thousand reasons. Maybe you said something stupid about her family that you didn’t think was rude, but she did. Maybe you aren’t doing that sex thing she wants (Your life will be better if you start doing that sex thing she wants.) Maybe you smell bad lately. I have no idea. Presumably you’re roughly as annoying as anybody else, so you could be pissing her off in multiple ways.
But when somebody’s being distant, it’s usually because they’re concealing some kind of conflict that they don’t know how to talk about. So your girlfriend is pissed off at you, but she doesn’t want to discuss her specific grievance. Now, she’s probably not giving you the silent treatment because she would like to drive you insane and make you write despairing emails to anonymous Internet columnists. She’s probably just afraid that you’ll not take her seriously, or it’ll inflate into some big fight So she’s wanting to smother her feelings, of open up instead.
This is irritating, I am aware. But try to recognize that women, generally, really aren’t encouraged to be as outspoken as dudes are. In a large amount, many, many workplaces, men who enthusiastically embrace conflict and speak their mind are usually badass Don Draper-types, whereas women who accomplish that are usually irritating troublemakers. Women are praised so you can get along quietly, not for stirring the pot. And this isn’t just about you. That’s due to training she’s received from douchebags her life.
Probably, she thinks she’s doing you both a favor by minimizing the problem. However, she’s no Oscar-winning actress, so she can’t conceal her feelings completely – her hidden woes manifest as hook whiff of meanness. And, you may already know, this isn’t better. It certainly sucks whenever your girlfriend is nonspecifically upset, and conversations are awkward, and she’s not holding your hand like she usually does. Suddenly you’re dating an ice cube. It isn’t fun.
It is possible to fix this, though. And how you take action is by showing her you are ready to hear where she’s via. You should demonstrate that she must not be afraid to talk about her feelings, but additionally you are enough of a guy to get criticism. So just ask her what’s wrong. She’ll probably say nothing.” And she’ll be lying, so here’s where you say, listen, I understand you don’t desire to make this into a big thing, but I believe it’ll be easier on both folks if you just tell me what’s going on, so we can focus on it.”
There’s a catch. You have to be willing to cope with whatever her problem is in fact. In the event that you get all defensive and whiny, and insist your testicles smell wonderful and you also don’t need to have a shower, or you are sexually perfect, or that all you say is right, congratulations, you’ve just screwed everything up. In the first place, you’re probably wrong – you’re hardly ever likely to encounter problems in your relationship where you’re genuinely blameless. Secondly, you’re teaching her an awful lesson – you are an overly sensitive lily-livered little dick who can’t cope with disagreement.
Go another way, though, and also have a productive discussion about what’s happening, and you’re on the way to a better relationship. Actually, if I were to identify the number one thing that keeps relationships healthy, I would probably say good conflict resolution. Because ultimately your girlfriend will piss you off sometimes, and you’ll do the same, so if you can’t look after these unfortunate moments, your relationship will be a flaming wreck in short order, and you’ll sleep with some dumb waitress, and she’ll subtweet you and start posting revealing selfies on Instagram, and life will become hellish immediately.
So, the more you openly address conflict, the better you get at it. Start today.
But. There’s always the possibility that, regardless of how hard you try, regardless of how understanding you’re, your girlfriend won’t start. She won’t let you know what’s wrong, either because she’s too insecure to become a little vulnerable, or because, which is way worse, she prefers being self-righteously indignant instead of being nice. Which, unfortunately, means that she’s not grown-up enough to remain a sane relationship. If you choose to never head for the net dating stick and hills with her, you are likely to spend your entire time wondering what you’re doing wrong, wanting to adhere to her every whim, constantly stressing from the truth that it appears like you’re surviving in a minefield, because, well, you’re.
I hope that’s not the case. And yes it probably isn’t – these things are usually resolvable. Don’t think of this being an issue – consider it as a chance to hone the man you’re dating ninja skills, and soon your relationship will undoubtedly be happier than ever before. Just arrived at it having an open heart, and, when she lets you know what’s wrong with you, don’t wail and scream such as a little baby about it.

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