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Dear Captain Awkward,

I have a really great relationship with a really great person. She can spot a logical flaw in an argument at fifty paces, picks up new languages for fun, and has a hobby of organizing elaborate theme parties. I like her lots. But.

She is bad at at time.

Like, really bad. She cannot accurately estimate how long something will take or when she’ll be free to save her life. She always succumbs to optimism and substitutes what she wishes to be true for what is true.

This shows up in two main ways in our relationship:
1) We often end up spending less time together than she promised, because her life is kind of a jenga tower that needs constant maintenance to not fall apart.
2) She’s often late for our phone calls

(Our relationship is long distance)

This has gone on for two years of dating. It felt like there was progress in the first six months, but now it’s stagnated. It seems like weekly she’s half an hour or so late to a call with very little (or no) warning, leaving me standing around, my night in disarray. The time zone difference means that I’m often giving up prime social hours to talk with her, so this is pretty upsetting.

When we last saw each other, it was for much less time than we planned. It was pretty upset and told her that I was tired of excuses and apologies and promises to do better. It’s been two years and it all just feels like empty words.

In the month after, she was really good about time. Then she was really late, but gave me good advanced warning. I told her that I’d appreciated all her efforts and then everything went to poop. She managed to be late or suddenly change our call four times in the space of a week. One of the times, she changed it to when she was in a car with friends, a thing I’ve previously asked her not to do.

I feel really sad. I can’t help but parse this as her not caring about my feelings at all. Meanwhile, she’s too depressed by other things to even apologize or take any sort of responsibility.

I’m tired of being unable to do stuff because all I can think about is how hurt I am and how much she probably doesn’t care about me. How do I get my brain back? Do I have to end the relationship?

Sincerely,
-BlueAlien

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Pinocchio swimming away from a giant whale.

“Swim faster, Pinocchio! The whale is having emotional needs at us again!”

Dear Captain Awkward,

My girlfriend and I are both in our early 20’s and have been going out long-distance for several months. Neither of us are very experienced at dating and this is the longest relationship either of us have been in. It’s also the first serious relationship she’s been in with a woman. We were friends for about a year before we started going out, so we knew each other pretty well by the time things got romantic. It’s been good so far, except for one problem that keeps rearing its head: she feels smothered easily, is emotionally distant, and has trouble giving affection to a romantic partner. I’m an extremely affectionate person, and get kind of insecure if someone acts aloof, which I think is understandable? It feels like a contant tug-o-war between our needs. I try very hard to be respectful of her need for space, but it’s difficult sometimes, because she almost never reciprocates affection. She’s noticeably (as in, it’s something my friends have commented on) more affectionate with her friends than with me. So I sometimes end up feeling like just a friend–and not even a close one at that–instead of her girlfriend. Whenever I try to bring it up with her, she starts getting freaked out and feels cornered. So I end up apologizing and backing down and not asking anything of her, and telling her I’ll try to be less needy, that none of it is her fault, it’s all mine.

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Dear Captain Awkward,

I’ve been in a relationship for over four years now, initially long-distance but much closer for the past year and a half. We went from long-distance to living together in my mother’s house, and then, when she went to university in another city, living apart on the weekdays and back together on the weekend. This is the first proper relationship either of us have been in, and a lot has happened in the four years we’ve been together. We’ve broken up twice before, both times initiated by her, although they were apparently facilitated by her mother, who was becoming more and more mentally ill towards the end of her life. Her mother died in 2009, while my girlfriend was living with her uncle. Obviously this was a terrible time for her, but I did my best to support her through it.

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Dear Captain Awkward,

I’ve got a thing for this guy who I met through a mutual friend. He lives in another city so I don’t see him all that often [it’s close enough that a lot of people date (and non-romantically commute) between the two cities, but far enough that casual hanging out with friends can be difficult]. We’re fairly friendly on Facebook and the like though, which has kept the infatuation going.

Mutual Friend thinks we’d be perfect together, but she refuses to find out if he might be interested in me [because she is also awkward?]. I’ve reached the point where the fun of having a crush has worn off and normally at this stage I’d just go ‘fuck it’ and get a good friendship out of the deal – but that is probably why I am perpetually single with a lot of really amazing friends. I feel like I should be proactive about this and actually do something, but my issues with that are as follows: Read More

What's semaphore for "Let's break up?"

Dear Captain Awkward,

I started dating a woman late last year, but shortly afterward economic circumstances forced me to move to a town a couple hours away. We’ve been doing the long distance thing ever since, and it’s been going quite splendidly, actually. She tells me that she loves me and misses me and all that, but when the rare opportunity comes up for me to travel to my former city and visit her, she usually says she’s too busy. Which is fine, I respect that. But on a recent Saturday I had an opportunity to see her for a couple hours in the late morning, and she said she’d love to but would have to see about it. When I asked again a couple days later, she said she’d be busy the whole day. I accepted this and moved on.

The problem was that when that Saturday rolled around, she showed up on Twitter at about noon saying she’d just woken up. Again, I don’t care about that on its own. I understand that it’s none of my business if she wants to sleep till noon. But should it at least bother me that a) she’d rather sleep than see me, and b) she felt the need to lie about that? I’m just not certain how personally I should be taking this. Thanks for any advice you have to give.

This must be the week to talk about long distance relationships that aren’t actually relationships.

Taking the most generous possible view of your girlfriend’s behavior, like a view from space with the earth looking remote and blue and peaceful below us:  She has a very busy life (is she a filmmaker, by any chance?) and needs a lot of notice to schedule time to hang out with you when you visit, and is sort of setting a boundary about that by not making herself immediately available. Has she said this before in those words, like, “I want to see you but my schedule is very packed and inflexible and when you come at the last minute it stresses me out, so I need a ton of notice? ” Or, “I’m working nights all week, and while Sunday morning is *technically* free, that’s my one chance to catch up on sleep”?

No?  Even if she has fully articulated her needs about scheduling, how is that working for you?  You use words like “fine” and “splendidly!” but…um…really?  It’s going well and all your needs are being met?  All of them?  The ones you have “down there”?  When was the last time she visited you where you live?  What’s your plan for living in the same place eventually?

Moving down to the surface of the earth, I’d say, yeah, you can take this one pretty personally.  Despite her protestations of love, you are penpals who are never in the same place at the same time, and when you make the time to visit, she finds a way to not be in the same room with you.  This is what we call a red flag.

Time to ask your girlfriend penpal what’s up, and be prepared to let go of this one.

Dear Captain Awkward,

I am starting off with the intention of making this short, but I apologize if it becomes long, which it probably will. I just think it would be better if you knew the backstory. It’s interesting I promise haha.

So I guess I’ll just dive right into the issue at heart: How to tell a girl, that lives in another state, that you’ve never met, but have known for 3 years, that you are in love with her. Now I know this sounds strange, but just like those commercials on TV say, 1 in 13 relationships start online hahaha.

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