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Q: Relationship Help ( Answered,   5 Comments )
Question  
Subject: Relationship Help
Category: Relationships and Society > Romance
Asked by: hawkeye11-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 03 Sep 2002 11:47 PDT
Expires: 03 Oct 2002 11:47 PDT
Question ID: 61330
I have been dating my girlfriend for around 16 months. We have not had 
sex yet as we wanted to wait for the right moment. Things were going 
great but recently she has become unsure of how she feels about me. 
She is not sure why, possibly we spent too much time together in the 
past. She thinks she has lost the love she felt for me. We are still 
seeing each other and she misses me when we are not together. We have 
discussed what we should do and she wants us to keep seeing each other 
to see if she can get that "feeling" back. We are seeing each other 
less to see if that makes any difference.  I still think there is some 
hope left for us; I can still see it in her smile. Is it possible for 
her love to come back? What can we do to help it come back? 
Answer  
Subject: Re: Relationship Help
Answered By: eiffel-ga on 03 Sep 2002 14:02 PDT
 
Hi hawkeye11, 
 
I sure feel for you! You love your girlfriend, but she's not sure how
much she loves you, and you so desperately want her love to come back.
 
I've been in this situation myself. After three years, my girlfriend
had doubts over whether or not she loved me - but I knew for sure that
I loved her as much as I could hope to love anyone. After many months,
she decided we had to break up, and we had a tearful walk in the hills
as we said goodbye.
 
Then, our time apart made her realize that she really did love me and
in a few months we were back together again. A few years later we were
married, and now we're coming up to our tenth anniversary.
 
Naturally, there can be no absolute guarantee that your girlfriend
will rediscover her love for you. There's no magic formula. If love
was just a matter of following a formula, love would become so routine
that it would lose its fun and excitement.
 
Hawkeye11, I do really hope your girlfriend rediscovers her love for
you. But if this does not come to pass, it isn't the end of the world.
Tennyson wrote that "it is better to have loved and lost, than never
to have loved at all" and I have to agree. The most worthwhile parts
of my life have been the intense parts, whether good or bad. We come
through an unhappy experience stronger and wiser, and therefore more
likely to have a happy experience next time.
 
Everyone moves through life, pulled by a tangle of forces from many
directions. These forces are numerous and varied. Some, we can
control. Some, we can predict. Of those which we can neither control
nor predict, some we know about and some we don't. We can't manipulate
these forces to guarantee a specified outcome; the best we can hope
for is to control some of the forces to "tilt the balance" towards our
desired goals.
 
You are certainly not alone in your predicament. A Google search for
"love" and "get that feeling back" produced 321 hits, many of which
are about relationships where one of the partners wants to revive the
loving feeling "how it used to be".
 
Here's a "stream of consciousness" piece of writing from someone
desperate to "get back that feeling":
 
"Once Upon A Time" 
http://www.fortunecity.com/tinpan/costello/575/onceuponatime.html 
 
Here's how your situation looks from the "other side of the fence",
from a female in the same predicament as you:
 
"Livewire Forums -> Romance and Dating" 
http://www.golivewire.com/scripts/ikonboard/topic.cgi?forum=5&topic=128
 
It's actually very common for a relationship to encounter a difficult
phase after a year or two, when the nature of the loving feeling may
change.
 
"This lovely feeling usually lasts only 6 to 18 months. Then reality
hits and the couple enters into the second stage of building a
relationship - the stage of work, growth, and finding ways of dealing
with differences."
Relationship Basics 
http://www.aarp.org/confacts/lifeanswers/basics.html 
 
The internet is full of advice on restoring and growing relationships.
Here are some specific tips that I found.
 
THROW OUT OLD BAGGAGE 
 
Discard any preconceived ideas of what should happen, how often you
should see each other, and how you and she should feel. Let go of all
old hurts and disagreements. Forget any old arguments. The aim is to
leave behind anything which may be harmful to your future
relationship, and to create an open space in which your relationship
can be rebuilt.
 
COLLECT THE INGREDIENTS FOR LOVE 
 
Identify what you love about her, and TELL her. Know in your own mind
WHY you desire her as your girlfriend. Discover what it is about you
that she loves, and give it freely to her so that she may truly enjoy
it.
 
Give her the chance to do the same for you, but don't demand it of
her.
 
BEGIN MIXING THE INGREDIENTS 
 
Discover again your common ground, and make the most of it. Discover
and enjoy this common ground at every level - emotional, intellectual,
spiritual. Bask together in the simple "joys of life".
 
In areas where you and she nearly share common ground, take pleasure
in learning from each other so that you may in the future share that
common ground.
 
In areas where there is no common ground to be found - give each other
the space to retain their own individuality.
 
LIVE AS A COUPLE 
 
Thrive on the joy of being a couple. If there's something that you
both enjoy - enjoy it together. Books, movies, food, the beach,
travel, sports, conversation ... thrive on shared pleasures.
 
GROW TOGETHER 
 
A relationship needs to keep growing to thrive. Don't expect that it
will feel the same in a year or two as it did at the start. Over time,
most people find that the intensity of a loving relationship may
decrease, but the depth and completeness of the relationship increases
as the couple truly grows together.
 
DON'T LET SEX GET IN THE WAY 
 
Don't let the issue of sex get in the way of rebuilding your
relationship. You mention it near the top of your question - has it
caused tensions? Perhaps you are keen for the "right moment" to come
sooner rather than later, and she is not ready? If so, any pressure
from you would be likely to harm the relationship. The question of sex
is not relevant until your relationship is rebuilt - and if your
relationship is successfully rebuilt then the question of sex is
likely to resolve itself in time, and in the most pleasurable way
possible.
 
DON'T FALL FOR MISCONCEPTIONS 
 
Don't believe that you will be happy all the time (all relationships
have ups and downs). Don't believe that you must share everything
(everyone needs some personal space). Don't think that arguing means
it's over (people who care a lot will argue - but there should be no
recriminations afterwards; instead there should be a commitment to
communication and resolving problems). Don't think that you or your
partner can be changed significantly; this is very unusual (instead,
accept and love people for what they are).
 
BUILD FOR THE LONG TERM 
 
A long term relationship depends on some things that are not so vital
for a short-term relationship. These are a commitment to the
relationship (the desire to weather difficult times together), trust
(a belief in the integrity of the other person), flexibility (being
willing to discard established patterns and try different things),
communication (the ability to convey beliefs, values and priorities,
and to allow ones partner to do the same), and humor (the ability to
lighten up and laugh - because taking ourselves too seriously weighs
us down).
 
FINALLY, TREAT HER LIKE A LADY 
 
Show her she's special. Always make that extra little effort for her.
Never let her doubt that she's special. And, ALWAYS have the time to
enjoy listening to her, no matter what she wants to say or how
unimportant it may seem to you. This last one is REALLY important. If
you can't get interested in the content, you can still enjoy her
voice.
 
Hawkeye11, I hope this answer has given you some comfort and some
hope. I expect there will also be many pieces of wisdom posted by
others as comments. If you would like me to pursue any other lines of
research, or if you would simply like to keep a dialog going, feel
free to use the "request clarification" facility.
 
I know that many of the researchers will share my hope that you and
your girlfriend grow into a deep, wonderful, sustaining relationship.
 
 
Sources: 
 
Relationship Basics 
http://www.aarp.org/confacts/lifeanswers/basics.html 
 
"Repairing or rebuilding a relationship" 
http://www.davidbphillips.com/handouts/repairing_or_rebuilding_a_relati.htm
 
 
Additional links: 
 
"Remembrance" (a powerful piece of prose inspired by Tennyson's quote)
http://www.aboutteens.org/essays/lostlove.htm 
 
 
Google search strategy: 
 
love "get that feeling back" 
http://www.google.com/search?q=love+%22get+that+feeling+back%22 
 
"better to have loved and lost" 
http://www.google.com/search?q=%22better+to+have+loved+and+lost%22 
 
"rebuilding a relationship" 
http://www.google.com/search?q=%22rebuilding+a+relationship%22 
 
"growing a relationship" 
http://www.google.com/search?q=%22growing+a+relationship%22 
 
 
Good luck and best wishes, 
eiffel-ga 

Request for Answer Clarification by hawkeye11-ga on 03 Sep 2002 18:41 PDT
Thanks for the response. It is very thorough and honest. 
I notice that one of your comments is to emphasize what I love about
her and to tell her. I have been doing that. I think I should. I am
just unsure if its right. I feel like it might be highlighting the
inequity of feelings. In other words, it may seem I'm so SURE of my
love and she is so confused. It may make her feel uncomfortable and
more confused. Another thing, women like men who are unattainable and
a challenge.  It sounds like everything I am doing is making me seem
the opposite of that. I am not begging or anything like that, but she
is definitley in the drivers seat.
The sex thing has not really been an issue. She is a virgin and she
wanted to wait so I didn't press her. About a month ago she said she
was ready, but I wanted to wait a little bit longer. It was never any
source of tension. Its something I think we should experience
together.
We never really fight about things, we are very similar people and
fighting is just something we don't do.
 
Other Issues to keep in mind: 
I am 23 and she is 20 (and a junior in college). I am fairly certain
she has no interest in seeing anyone else and she has told me does not
want to.  I'm her first boyfriend and she is only my second
relationship. (My previous relationship was only 3 months). I am
willing do do anything for her and she is willing to try to get that
"loving feeling back." We still kiss each other and it seems like she
is into it. Should I be initiating it or should I wait for her? How
long should we do this? Should I bring up the status of the
relationship or just try to have fun with her? I think you can really
help me because you were in this kind of situation in the past.
 
Thanks again, 
hawkeye11-ga 

Clarification of Answer by eiffel-ga on 04 Sep 2002 03:47 PDT
Hi hawkeye11, 
 
Thanks for the feedback. You've raised some good points. And thanks to
those who have posted comments.
 
> > Identify what you love about her, and TELL her. 
 
> I have been doing that. I think I should. I am just unsure 
> if its right. I feel like it might be highlighting the 
> inequity of feelings. In other words, it may seem I'm so 
> SURE of my love and she is so confused. 
 
There are a couple of points here. Firstly, whatever you do, don't nag
- there's no bigger turnoff than nagging! The keyword here is "tell".
 
Secondly, the suggestion is to "identify what you love about her, and
tell her". This doesn't mean to spend all your time telling her THAT
you love her! Instead, it means tell her WHAT you love about HER, and
she'll feel good and be in no doubt that you truly do love her.
 
Don't lecture her on how much you love her - she already knows that
and, as you say, it might highlight the inequity of your feelings.
Instead, express the joy and delight and pleasure that you gain from
her virtues - and she will get a warm feeling from that. It doesn't
have to be heavy.
 
The following web page suggests thirty ways to "show her you love
her". Only a few of those involve "telling" her:
 
Romance 101: How to show her you love her 
http://www.pioneerthinking.com/loveher.html 
 
The next web page lists a hundred ways. I know some of the suggestions
are corny, but they're just examples and not a rule book. Different
things suit different folks.
 
1001 ways to say "I love you" 
http://www.geocities.com/Paris/Boutique/2649/ 
 
A Google search for the phrase "tell her you love her" leads to many
similar sites:
http://www.google.com/search?q=%22tell%20her%20you%20love%20her%22 
 
> ... women like men who are unattainable and a challenge. 
 
Of course this works both ways - standard advice to women is to "play
hard to get".
 
I have always assumed that this advice is directed towards the
original courtship rather than being ongoing advice for the life of
the relationship.
 
> It sounds like everything I am doing is making me seem 
> the opposite of that. I am not begging or anything like 
> that, but she is definitley in the drivers seat. 
 
Are you SURE she doesn't feel that you are begging? Are you sure
you're not coming across as a desperate soul whose happiness can only
be provided by her? She would probably find that burdensome. Who would
want to take on the responsibility for someone else's happiness?
 
It's important that she can see that you are confident and happy, and
have a full and enjoyable life in addition to your times with her. If
she only ever sees you as someone who is desperate for her, it doesn't
give her much to desire about you, does it? But if she sees you as
enjoying your work, enjoying learning things, enjoying doing things,
enjoying your social life confidently and competently, it reinforces
that you are the kind of person she can love. Happy, confident people
are always in demand from the opposite sex.
 
"A Happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but
rather a person with a certain set of attitudes." -- Hugh Downs
 
Kyrie26 (in the comments) suggests that men have been conditioned to
believe that women need them to be sensitive, but that women really
desire a guy "with a spine". This is discussed in the site that
Kyrie26 referred to, for example in the article that starts on this
page:
 
Are You A "Nice Guy"? 
http://www.askmen.com/dating/doclove_100/141_relationship_expert.html 
 
It's my belief that there's no conflict here. Women desire a guy who
is sensitive, and women desire a guy who is strong. The ideal guy is
both sensitive and strong - at the appropriate times.
 
In the comments, snapanswer wrote "My only suggestion is to be certain
you are with someone who desires you as much as you desire them". You
have written that you "can see it in her smile", and that sounds
encouraging.
 
In my case, my future wife didn't realize that she desired to be with
me until she wasn't with me any more (after we broke up), and a few
months later we were together again for good.
 
But it doesn't need a breakup to help a person to decide. Are you ever
away for a while? For work, perhaps, or to visit distant friends, or
for some other purpose? If not, perhaps you can arrange a fun holiday
away with some of your mates - perhaps to a distant sporting event
that interests you. How does she feel when you return, after she has
been without you for a while, during a time when you were obviously
having fun? That might clarify her feelings towards you. Do you still
see it in her smile?
 
> Should I bring up the status of the relationship or just 
> try to have fun with her? 
 
Don't "try" to have fun with her. Just do it! 
 
"Trying" makes it sound like hard work! Just enjoy your times with
her, and don't bring up or dwell on discussions about the
relationship. She'll enjoy your company more if you're enjoying her
company rather than worrying out the relationship.
 
> We still kiss each other and it seems like she is into it. 
> Should I be initiating it or should I wait for her? 
 
If she's enjoying it, then YES you should be initiating it! 
 
Have fun! Love is a great adventure, and it would be a shame to miss
the good bits because you were too busy worrying.
 
Regards, 
eiffel-ga 
Comments   Log in to add a comment
Subject: Re: Relationship Help
From: pinkfreud-ga on 03 Sep 2002 14:31 PDT
 
It is not unusual for couples to believe that they have "fallen out of
love" when, in fact, they are merely passing from the shallower
"infatuation" stage of love to a more mature, secure, long-lasting
form of bonding.
 
I speak from experience. I have been married for twenty-two years. I
cannot imagine life without my husband. Yet, at one point in our
marriage, I became dissatisfied. It seemed to me that the thrill was
gone, and I could not envision recapturing the excitement and delight
of our earlier years.
 
The bad news: the delicious combination of anxiety and desire that
characterizes the early part of a relationship is inevitably
transitory. It passes. The good news: what replaces these feelings of
need and exhilaration is even better, and it can last a lifetime and
beyond. 
Subject: Re: Relationship Help
From: snapanswer-ga on 03 Sep 2002 22:01 PDT
 
Aren't relationships tough?  I think we all sympathize with the
struggle.  There are many approaches one could take.  The one you
choose will depend upon who you are and what you hope to find in your
relationships.
 
One approach would be to hold on for dear life, and not let the love
of your life slip away.  Do everything it takes, say everything that
must be said, find out what she wants (both said and unsaid) and
provide or be that person.  I never follow this approach, but, I often
suspect that others who are more successful with relationships than I
probably keep this "do what it takes" approach in mind.
 
My concern with that approach is, the dynamics may become about
keeping the relationship or "winning" instead of careful consideration
of whether or not this is the right relationship.
 
There is this consideration of sex that must be addressed.  For better
or for worse, society has organized itself in such a way that sex is
sanctioned only with a primary partner.  Certainly, it is possible to
have sex outside of that arrangement, but, this is typically called
"cheating" or taboo promiscuous behavior.  Any other type of
fulfillment... from intellectual, to emotional, to spiritual...
society suggests that it is OK to go outside the primary relationship,
but not for sex.  So given that, if one is considering a primary
relationship, one cannot avoid the issue of sexual chemistry.  I think
it is advisable to take the feelings of both people into account here.
 Over time, one doesn't want to find themselves with a sexually
uninterested partner.  Likewise, one doesn't typically want to feel
that their partner is only having sex with them out of a feeling of
obligation.
 
So then, it comes to this.  I suspect you both love each other.  I
sense this from the commitment you seem to share in sorting this out. 
So it may be that you are the perfect couple, and all you needed was
some extra time and some extra effort.
 
On the other hand, it could also be that you love her, and when you
look into her eyes, you see a woman who is everything to you... you
see the woman of your dreams.  However, though she loves you and loves
the way you love her, when she looks across the table there is
something missing.  Maybe she doesn't know what's missing, but, she
doesn't see "everything" she wants to see.  She sees so much of what
she wants that she's afraid to let go, but she knows something is
missing, so she's afraid to stay.
 
From here, I can't tell which scenario it is.  Perhaps it is none of
these.  My only suggestion is to be certain you are with someone who
desires you as much as you desire them.  Good luck through this
difficult time.  Try not to consume all of your time together with
these topics... you may find it more enjoyable to take the time to
have fun together, regardless of which way the relationship proceeds. 
Subject: Re: Relationship Help
From: kyrie26-ga on 04 Sep 2002 00:27 PDT
 
Hi hawkeye11-ga, 
 
Please visit the site http://www.askmen.com/ and read Doc Love's
articles. I can't overstate enough the truth of his teachings. There
are two schools of thought here : (1) be a sensitive new age guy,  or
(2) have a spine. The key is that the world has conditioned men to be
in situation (1), when really what women want is (2). Wish I could go
into more detail here, but it's really important that you read Doc
Love's articles as there are many letters from readers like yourself
in similar situations. I myself attest to my life turning totally
around in the area of relationships with women, after understanding
the principles that he espouses. All the best, and know that we're
supporting you!
 
Cheers 
 
kyrie26-ga 
Subject: Re: Relationship Help
From: cobrien-ga on 04 Sep 2002 07:52 PDT
 
Hi hawkeye11, 
 
Having been in your situation before, as I'm sure most of us have at
some time in our lives, I can only say that I feel for you. One of the
hardest things in life is to let go of someone we love. You say that
your girlfriend is willing to try to get the feeling back, which is
encouraging.
 
The only advice I can offer you is to be yourself - ultimately, that
is the person your girlfriend fell in love with, and if she chooses to
stay, that is the person who she will live with for the rest of her
life. Allowing her the time and space to make up her mind will benefit
you in the long run, regardless of whather decision is - if she
chooses to stay with you, you get to spend your life with someone you
love and who loves you; if she chooses to leave, although it will be
painful, you are free to find someone who will love you as much as you
love them, and that can only enrich your life.
 
Having been through this recently myself, I know how little you want
to hear comments like that, but I realised over the past few weeks
that it is true. Knowing that the person you choose to share your life
with is as deeply in love with you as you are with them is one of the
best feelings in the world. I sincerely hope that things work out for
you.
 
Best, 
cobrien-ga 
Subject: Re: Relationship Help
From: fuzzydreamz-ga on 12 Sep 2002 05:04 PDT
 
Oye buddy, 
Don't despair.I think what u people need to do is to take it easy.Let
time provide the healing touch.What I dare to suggest both of you give
the whole meeting a break and better engage urselves in some other
activity.Then return to rediscover the magic.
Remember 
"If ur caged bird comes back to u after u set it free,its urs.Else it
never was.So don't worry"
All the best 
FuzzyDreams 
India 

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