Q. I met a girl three months ago and have been interested in her ever since. From the get-go you could tell that we were mutually interested and shared good chemistry (we initially would talk for hours). I will admit, I had to take the “courting phase” painfully slow and didn’t even feel comfortable getting her number till maybe the fifth occasion. We finally went on a real date and it went very well and seemed to reiterate the initial rapport we had formed.
Just as I thought things were progressing, it became hard to get her attention and she definitely started pulling away. I knew we had something solid though, so I continued trying to contact her, but she started calling less, texting less and would not commit to hanging out. After a month of this weak contact and periods of no contact I finally texted her and pretty much said, “No hard feelings, hope we can still be friends.” She immediately responded to my message and wanted to meet up and talk.
Our talk led to her apologizing for being distant and admitting she had been fighting urges to contact me. We also sort of laid out our wants/needs and left it in the state of “let’s make this work.” The jury is still out but so far she has been more forthcoming with contact but the big picture it is still pretty limited. I love the idea of my own space and someone who is not clingy but she takes it to a whole another level of distance.
We are both in our mid-20s but she has never had a real boyfriend. She is a very isolated person and seems to be afraid to let someone in her bubble. The overwhelming reason for her distance is she is extremely dedicated to studying music and playing her instrument. She is constantly stressed out about upcoming performances, teaching lessons, and practicing. The music literally consumes her and she has made it clear that it is her priority and a big reason for her being standoffish. She also sees a therapist about her stress/anxiety (I received the therapist’s approval!), and admittedly her lack of experience in relationships scares her. With all these obstacles I still find myself reaching out and trying to make this work. I have tried to explain to her that my career is important to me too and that relationships can provide a great source of support for each other.
Even after our promising conversation, I still can’t stop asking whether I’m wasting my time. Can I expect her to eventually mature and put a reasonable level of effort that would align closer to mine? Should I continue to treat her with “kid gloves” and give her a pass I would not give other potential partners?
Painfully slow, Texas
A. Slow is fine, but you should feel like you’re building a relationship. As the weeks progress, it should become clear that you’re prioritizing each other more, adding dates to the schedule, and becoming more intimate — emotionally and probably physically. If you feel like you’re fighting to make these things happen or taking steps in the wrong direction, let her go.
As you consider her potential, do some soul-searching about what you want in a partner. You say that she is consumed by her music. That passion is nice, but maybe you’re looking for a woman who can get that passionate about you.
It’s too early to make a call, so give it another month. See what changes and how much work it takes to keep this going. You shouldn’t be giving her passes if she just can’t make you happy.
You are also inexperienced. . . Though you’re smitten, try connecting with someone else. . . She should make some moves toward you if she’s ready, if not move on.
Last guy I dated gave me the spiel that he was all Career #1 blahblahblah. I read between the lines and got the real message.
To continue to pursue her and make something work, is a recipe for pain, maybe long drawn-out years-long pain. Either she’s obsessed with music just because her brain is made that way, or her upbringing has made her incredibly driven (you think Yo Yo Ma is just naturally good? He’s naturally good and insanely driven. All the best musicians are); or she’s turning to it and obsessing on it as a way to avoid dealing with other things, such as relationships. It doesn’t really matter which one it is, they each mean you are going to have a hard time and ultimately be miserable if you continue to focus on her.
Date the person who she is now, not the person that you’ll hope she’ll be. Wanting to change someone just sets you up for resentment and her for feeling like she’ll never make you completely happy. It sounds like you’re looking for different things. I think it’s time to move on.
You are a distraction from her real passion and interests. The only way you will ever have any kind of relationship with her is if you fully support her in pursuit of her real passion. This means giving her lots of space which is probably not what a mid-twenties person wants in a relationship.
Advice for anyone dating a musician: if you want long-term, you damn well better like the type of music they’re into. You’re gonna hear that crap for 50+ years.
It’s good that she is trying to address her stress/anxiety issues. However you cannot assume that she will magically become the girlfriend you want her to be any time soon. If she has anxiety issues, particularly related to relationships, this will take time to overcome (if it ever happens at all).
You are probably wasting your time. It doesn’t sound like she’s ready to be in a relationship, and even though you meant well, moving painfully slow in the beginning probably sent the wrong message to her. At best you will be her second priority, maybe worse. Are you OK with that? Because it doesn’t sound like you are.
RICH1273Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters to Meredith.Goldstein