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Jude's avatar

This may seem like a silly question, but, if someone said "No, I have not moved on emotionally.", does that mean that they still love the person (or are in love)?

Asked by Jude (32134points) December 16th, 2008

I’m having a hell of a time communicating with a girl who I have been having problems with in a relationship. Right now, I’m “giving her time to think about whether she wants to be in this relationship”. A few things have happened to cause the seperation; I’ve apologized and explained why they happened. She said that she understands, but has shutdown emotionally and says that she’s numb to what is going on between us. Basically, she’s got this wall up it seems and when we talk and I pour my heart out to her, she seems non-emotional—almost robotic in her response. This girl really keeps everything in. I know since we’ve done our separation, she has been having panic attacks daily. Partly due to stresses at work and also to do with us. She’s been having these since our separation (for two weeks) and takes xanax daily to cope. When I asked her if she has moved on emotionally her response was “No, I have not moved on emotionally.” and that was it. She totally avoids talking about mending the relationship. Sometimes I feel as though I am talking to myself when we’re discussing things (actually, I talk and to get her to say anything is like pulling teeth. She will talk about other things, though). She’s told me that she is insecure and a bit sensitive when it comes to relationships. Do you think that she still does love me, but has just turned off those feelings (or numbed them) because it’s too hard for her? Should I back off entirely? This whole thing is killing me, as well.

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16 Answers

lynzeut's avatar

It sounds like she wold like you in her life but not as a partner. It seems to me that she needs your support but is not interested in a relationship outside of being really good friends. If you do seperate and start to date again, don’t be surprised if she becomes jealous and wants you back again. Girls!

scamp's avatar

What did you do that upset her so much? Maybe she just needs some time to sort through her feeling before she is ready to talk about it. My SO constantly pressures me to talk to him about a problem when I am angry with him. I tell him that I need some time to process how I feel, and don’t want to talk unitl I have done so.

If he continues to pressure me, what I say comes out the wrong way because it is tainted with blind anger, and is overly emotional.

She has told you that she has not moved on emotionally. Give her some space and time or you risk losing her forever. You say she is inder alot of stress lately. Don’t add to it by trying to make her talk about your relationship when she isn’t ready. Let her know you will be there for her by being kind, patient and supportive, and hope for the best. That’s really all you can do.

forestGeek's avatar

Sounds like you need to give her the space and time to sort things out for herself. You also need to be supportive towards her as best you can, without sacrificing your happiness. I agree with lynzeut, that she wants you in her life, but maybe cannot be in a romantic relationship with you right now.

The best you can do is be there for her if she needs you, support her in this and do what you need to do for yourself.

augustlan's avatar

Reiterate that you love her and are there for her when she is ready to talk. Then back off and give her a little room. Take care of yourself in the meantime!

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I’ve been reading your posts and I have to say… Your current situation reminds me, a lot, of one that I’m currently in. I do the same thing she does. If I’m hurt in a relationship with someone that I was extremely close to, on the surface, it seems as if I’m completely unemotional about what’s going on. Robotic is the perfect word to describe it, as I’ve used it about myself before. Under the surface though, there is so much turmoil going on that to express it all feels like it would only make things worse, not better. She’s in a lot of pain right now and is probably very confused about what direction to go in. She loves you, but she doesn’t know if the pain is worth it, or if she’ll ever be able to get over it. If she took you back, the pain and mistrust she feels may taint the relationship, even if she agrees to give you another chance.

My ex is in your shoes. He wants me back, he’s been very friendly and he said he’ll be there for me, no matter what. But in a way, saying those things doesn’t ease any turmoil for me, because I do still care for him, but I also don’t know if I ever want to get back together with him. So on top of the confusion, I’m also now worried about hurting him because I can’t just turn off how I felt about him for years. It’s a huge emotional struggle.

Just because I’m in a very, very, similar situation, but on the opposite side as you… Give her space. Other people have already said it, but it’s extremely important. Because she is so utterly lost on the inside right now, any outside influences are making her feel, quite literally, that if anything else happens she might lose her mind. No one can help her. She is alone and she knows it. She has no one to rely on but herself and that can be very hard. Let her try to calm her thoughts down, which could take quite a while. Until she stops stressing a little she’s going to be stuck inside, which isn’t good, because it’s probably a raging emotional storm, if she’s anything like me and it sounds like she is.

If when you back off and she doesn’t contact you for quite a while, don’t assume the worst. Just send her a “Hi” and see if she says anything back.

dynamicduo's avatar

You’ve left out some very critical points, as such I cannot give you my answer until we know some of the following:

- How long was your relationship?
– What exactly caused the separation? All you say is, I’ve apologized and explained why they happened. so I would imagine it’s something you did but you’ve taken obvious steps to not tell us what exactly it was. For me this is the one crucial point in interpreting your girlfriend’s current actions.
– Would you mind telling us your age range: high school, college, working adults?

The following is true regardless of the answers to the questions above though: two weeks is hardly enough time for someone to think about offering forgiveness and mending a broken relationship. It sure isn’t enough time to decide whether to abandon one’s love for another or to give it another try. I understand that the situation is causing you pain but you cannot rush her one bit with this without causing resentment in the future if times get rough again. Right now you need to give her space and not communicate at all. Let her come to you when she’s ready. If another two weeks goes by without a clue, I would suggest sending her a message via a non-intrusive method of communication, email or Facebook or a text message. This gives her control to reply back at her time of choosing.

I do hope you’ll reply back with clarification if you wouldn’t mind doing so. My partner is very emotionally withdrawn as well so I feel like I can give you a helpful answer. I just want to make the answer as helpful as I can and that requires a bit more info :)

wundayatta's avatar

When there are problems, a lot of guys want to fix them now! Tell me what’s going on and let’s deal with it.

Many women, on the other hand, seem to not know what they are feeling. They have to sort through feelings in some kind of mysterious process, and sometimes they drop it; sometimes they hold it as a grudge for years, and sometimes they will actually talk to you about it.

It drives guys to distraction, but everyone is right. It can’t be fixed now. We have to wait. If we wait with grace, so I’m told, they love us more for being there. Unfortunately for me, I’ve never been very good at that.

It’s kind of ironic. Women are supposed to be the great emoters. Men are strong and silent. In my experience, it’s men who know what they are feeling, and women who are clueless. It’s just a marketing gimick that women use to keep us men off balance. Emotions! Feh!

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I trust you know this is half tongue-in-cheek. Which half, though, I won’t tell you. ;-)

MissAnthrope's avatar

I think you can only give it time and see what happens. I have anxiety and OCD and I function similarly sometimes. Things get really overwhelming and consuming, and any outside pressure directed toward me just escalates the stress/anxiety. It can be unbearable. Taking Xanax daily either means she’s incredibly anxious or is perhaps over-medicating herself to deal. I don’t think it’s supposed to be taken daily for long periods of time, it’s meant to deal with acute anxiety.

It could go either way, really difficult for anyone to tell you, especially since we don’t know a lot of information. I’m sure it’s really difficult, particularly if you’re in love with her, but space and time are really the best route to go, in my experience. You may reach a point where you can’t stand it anymore and that’s okay. I’m sure it’s not what you want to hear, but maybe it’s not meant to work out.

To answer your question directly, not having moved on emotionally would indicate to me she still has feelings for you. But if she’s increasing distance and such, meet the distance with distance of your own. It’s a push-pull dynamic, which is pretty common in romantic relationships.. when one is pulling away, the other pushes to make up the distance. However, usually the pushing only causes the other to want to move further away. If you give her distance, you will give her the chance to miss you, rather than be chasing after her.

Jude's avatar

The relationship has been going on for a year. It’s a long distance relationship, but we see each other every 2 months for two weeks at a time. Two weeks before all of this happened (my last visit to see her) she said to me ‘If I told you how much I loved you, I’d be afraid that I’d scare you away’. She’s 30 and I’m 36. The reasons why I did and said what I did (although, at the time I wasn’t sure why, but looking back on it, now I know) is because she has an ex girlfriend who has been causing problems for the past three months. This woman, even though, she put my girlfriend through hell many times claims that she is still in love with her despite the fact that they broke up a year and a half ago. I think it’s a case of the old “you don’t know what you had until it’s gone” “or, maybe, now that someone else wants her, I do, too”. Many times the ex would say to my g.f while they were going out that she doesn’t want her and treated her like shit. My g/f went through a pretty tramatic childhood and is by nature sensitive, passive and insecure. She keeps it all inside, but, her emotions show through her anxiety (panic attacks).

Here is basically what happened. Keep in mind, when looking back now, I realize that I did these stupid things out of fear that I was going to lose her to her ex and at this point I was so in love with her and I felt helpless (in a way) and scared. The ex had been doing her best to get back into my girlfriend’s good graces and even though I know my girlfriend loved me; a part of me was scared shitless that the ex was going to interfere and things weren’t going to go my way, of you know what I mean? I’m here right now and they’re both there. What can I do? As far as the distance, our plan was to move to be with one another next fall.

Anyhow, here are some of the things that were said and done the last time my g/f and I were together. I copied and pasted this from another question that I posted here:

I was sick with the stomach flu and we were sitting on the sofa watching a movie, I got up and said that I was going to bed, but, she didn’t have to come with me. I told her to watch the movie, if she wanted to. She insisted on coming with me and I proceeded to tell her (big mistake!) that we don’t have to be on top of each other all of the time. Yikes.

We went out to a bar; she was dancing with a friend and I was talking to a couple of guys. She was hurt that I wasn’t dancing with her. When I was Austin, I went ahead and made plans with a new friend. She’s straight and we were getting together for lunch. I didn’t tell my g/f until the day of that we were getting together. My g/f was going to be at work and I thought it would be fun to go for lunch with this friend (who I have no interest in). My g/f never met her and I kind’ve sprung it on her that this girl and I were going to for lunch. She was upset by that. I told her afterwards how sorry I was and that I ‘get why she was upset’. When I was drunk, I made a stupid remark about a paper cigar ring. I said that it will probably last as long as our relationship. I said it jokingly at the time. But, why would I say that????

To tell you the truth, I felt closer to her this time around (of getting together). I truly love her and I don’t get why I did/said these things. She also has an ex who still cares for her that I worry about. The ex lives there and I live 1000s of miles away.

Any help/advice would be appreciated.

Trustinglife's avatar

When I put myself in her shoes, this is what I think of…

Some times I clam up. When I do, but I still want to talk, I need lots of open listening space in the conversation so I can stumble into speech. The worst is when the other person talks and talks, and I feel more and more distant. Once I’m clear where the other person is, I need space in the conversation.

If it’s all been said, and I say I need space, guess what: I need space. I’ll re-surface when I’m good and ready. Any intrusion will be just that.

You asked a previous question about sabotaging relationships. Given that, this space she’s requesting seems to be a perfect chance for you to get back with yourself. Forget about her ex-lover, even try to take your mind off her for a bit. Focus back on you. Maybe do some meditation. Clean your mind. Come back to yourself. Come back to your heart. Focus on what you want. What do you want? And let her be. Maybe eventually send a very gentle, loving message of what you want. Don’t demand a response. Just let her know when you’re ready to receive. But right now, I think you should take her cue and get back with yourself.

oasis's avatar

Wash your hands of it,lifes too short to play games.
If you hook back up,everytime you slip up she will take this stance(that is if she wins the mental battle).
I say ditch her.

dynamicduo's avatar

Thanks for coming back and clarifying. I’ve read through all of your posts a few times over. You’re in a very tough situation here. LDRs are known to be very very tough, and this ex living in the same place as your girlfriend really doesn’t help at all. Here are some of my thoughts, in no particular order.

1. She was likely upset at you for not dancing with her because you two have very limited time together and I get the feeling she’d want to use all that time wisely. Hence, you not dancing with her is interpreted as you not spending time with her, even though you are in the same venue.

2. Regarding the you having lunch with a female thing, the only way you could have played it out better would be to have introduced the friend to your GF verbally prior to having lunch, even if just a casual “so I met this new girl today at work/whatever” comment. That way you can tell her “oh I’m heading out for a lunch with FriendName” and it’s not as much of a surprise as “so I met a new girl and I went out for lunch with her” may be. Honestly though, I do agree that her reaction is a bit over the top, but considering your relationship is an LDR, I wouldn’t say it is an unfounded concern, especially if you have been vocalizing any of your concerns regarding your ex getting back together with her. I can clarify here if you’d like me to.

3. The thing about you sabotaging relationships really is a key here. You’re obviously not confident in your current relationship’s longevity, else you wouldn’t be saying things like you do. One reason is clearly evident as to why this confidence doesn’t exist (you’re worried she’ll get back with her spicy ex girlfriend). However since you’ve noted you have a habit of such behavior, I conclude there is also a deeper issue inside yourself as to why you’re a saboteur. Regardless, I highly suggest both individual therapy for yourself, and couple’s therapy for you and your girlfriend if she’s willing to help fix things. Of course that’s a bit hard given 1, the LDR thing, and 2, the taking a break thing.

4. I see some similarities between how she was treated by her ex girlfriend (cruelly), and how she interprets comments such as “this cigar ring will probably last longer than our relationship does” (as being a cruel comment). To me this is probably one of the biggest issues why she is taking this break from you now – she saw signs of her other relationship and was scared by it. Now I know you didn’t mean to be cruel, but do realize that these comments might be striking her closer to her heart than you think they are.

So here’s what I suggest – give her time, a week at least, while you write a heartfelt letter to her by hand. In this letter, tell her how much you love her, tell her that you don’t understand why you say the things you do but that you’re willing to get help towards solving it (of course only say this if you ARE serious about it). Tell her how much your relationship means to you, and that it means so much that you’d be willing to proceed with couples’ counseling if it’s something that she’d want to do as well. Don’t make excuses, just be honest. Don’t try to explain things factually, just talk from your heart and soul, yes talk about your feelings. End the letter by telling her how you will proceed from here, without sounding like an ultimatum. For instance, will you wait forever until you hear a response from her? Will you wait for two months before deciding it’s over? Maybe you don’t know what you’ll do, well tell her just that. Phrase this in an “I am, I feel” sentence instead of a “You have, You need”. Good Example: “I hope we can work together to solve our problems. I feel you are the love of my life, I have never loved someone as much as I love you, so I will be waiting patiently with my arms open until I hear what you think about all this.” Bad Example: “This needs to be solved now. Either we stay together or we break up, cause I’m wasting my life waiting here, and if you don’t want to love me I need to find someone who will. You have two months to decide.” Another good one: “I do not want to pressure you into making a decision. However I would like us to resolve this issue within the next two months so that we can continue pursuing what makes us happy. As devastated as I would be without you as my partner, I would rather us both be happy than be the way we are now. ” Another good one: “I am lost as to how we should proceed from here, so I would love to hear what you have to say. But one thing I do know is the way we are right now, is not the way I want it to be forever.” Finally, conclude that you will give her a phone call at a specific date and time that is at least two weeks after she would have received the letter to continue the discussion, again don’t be demanding here. I would phrase it like, “I am planning on calling you on January 23rd at 7pm to continue to discuss the issues in this letter, but I have no problems if you’d like to call me before then to discuss it.” And then for good measure, end it with another profession of love. “No matter what happens, I will always be there for you as a friend.” (again, if this is true). “I love you.” also works nicely. And sign it.

To me this is the last attempt at reconciliation. If after reading this heartfelt letter, she ignores it totally, or refuses to discuss it (changes the topic) when you call her at that predesignated time, well I would conclude she is not wanting to continue with your relationship, so I would then proceed towards ending it formally. Because the reality is her lack of answering your questions is not showing respect towards you or the relationship, and to me doesn’t sound like the good foundation for a partnership.

augustlan's avatar

@dynamicduo: I wish I could lurve you more than once.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Wow, DD, great answer.

jmah, not to be dense here, but are you a woman, as well? I ask because you mention your girlfriend having a female ex and you mentioned going out with a straight female friend. From experience, there is a hell of a lot of drama in lesbian relationships (not always, but many lesbians seem to be drawn to it like moths to a flame). Because the dating pool is so small, it becomes a bit incestuous, and there seems to be a strong desire to remain friends with exes, which can cause extra problems.

Jude's avatar

I know what you’re saying about the lesbian community and the ‘ex factor’. When my g/f talked to me last she mentioned that she has no interest in her ex romantically and has no intention on ever getting back together with this girl. I know my g/f, and she’s pretty honest with her feelings. She told me that she still a bit cautious about us and is trying to sort things out in her own head (on her own). She said that she knows that she cares for me very, very much. I told her that I understand and that I can wait.

Her best friend and his boyfriend got into a serious car accident the other day. The boyfriend (who was driving) was hurt pretty badly and is in ICU. He has a smashed up arm, they can’t move his neck out of fear of damaging his spine and his having to undergo facial reconstruction. It’s pretty awful. When she called me yesterday from the hospital she seemed really calm. I asked her if she was okay and she told me that she’s doing her best to keep it together. That’s pretty much how she is – she keeps her emotions inside (turns off emotionally) when things get overwhelming. Anyhow, it sucks that I can’t be there for her, but, she’s got some good friends that are there to help her. It’s tough, though, being here and not being able to support her.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Yikes, I’m sorry to hear about that serious accident. I hope he’s okay and able to recover fully.

If your girlfriend is honest and saying she has no interest in her ex, then I think all you can do is trust her. Put yourself in your girlfriend’s shoes and imagine an ex that you wouldn’t consider getting back with. I find it helps sometimes with jealousy to turn the tables like that. Also, I find that long distance relationships are very difficult and often frustrating, because of things like what you mentioned, not being able to be with her in this time.

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