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First of all, I am in a long distance relationship. She lives in Ohio and I'm in Texas. Of course, we've always missed each other, but we've never had any real problems until now.

Over the past week or so, I've noticed that she's been acting strange. So, I kept bugging her about it until she finally admitted that she "needs space" and needs to think over whether or not this (us getting married) is the right thing to do. She says she still loves me, and I believe her. She says this isn't about me, that I didn't do anything wrong, and that she just needs some time to think things over. I believe that she is being truthful. And she says she's about 80% sure that this is only temporary, but I have been in utter torture for the past 2 days.

I think a lot of this is happening because she spent the whole summer down here with me and she's having trouble with us being apart again. We met online, and the longest we had spent together before this summer was 16 days. So, we were used to having each other around and I think the separation anxiety has been worse for her this time around than it ever had been before.

I wrote her a rather lengthy email trying to tell her that we're gonna get through this, and reminding her of everything we've been through together...you'd be surprised what you can go through with someone that you only talked to online for 5 years, before actually meeting.

She says she doesn't know why she's feeling these things, but that she needs some time off. So, technically, we're broken up right now but she seems pretty sure that it's only temporary. We're not gonna stop talking or anything, and we still say "I love you." Her birthday is on Wednesday, and I just ordered a dozen roses to be sent to her, just as a reminder of how much I love her. She'll be coming back down here for Thanksgiving, and my hope is that she'll forget about everything she's feeling right now as soon as she sees me again.

I am convinced that if she breaks up with me we will both regret it for the rest of our lives. She doesn't seem to know why she suddenly started feeling like this, but that's why she wants to take time off, so she can think things out.

She finally told me about this yesterday afternoon and I have been in complete torture ever since. I'm in the middle of a master's thesis, and I haven't been able to work on it at all. The thought of going to work tomorrow is driving me crazy, because I don't know how I'll get anything done. I've cried for the first time in years, and I've done it several times. The mere thought that it could be over is tearing me apart. I hear all these songs on the radio about people with broken hearts, and I finally understand what they mean. I feel physically sick...like there's a big hole in my chest where my heart should be. I didn't eat supper yesterday, and all I've had today are some pretzels and about a third of a can of spaghettios. I can scarcely remember what my life was like before I knew her (about 6 years ago) and I don't want to imagine what it would be like without her in the future.

Please, no lectures, but any advice on how to remedy the situation or, at least, cope with what I'm feeling right now would be much appreciated.

Thanks,

David

EDIT: And now I can't find my tube of carmex. :D

Edited by Moose
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Hmm . . . if you were a girl I'd recommend chocolate and having a good cry, then sleeping for 24 hours. I'm going through something sort of similar myself, and I haven't been able to cry yet . . . or sleep . . . and I'm trying to avoid the chocolate as I don't need to be any more Rubenesque than I already am.

Anxiety does some nasty things to your body: you might want to work out and/or devote yourself to some heavy physical project like cleaning your entire apartment or house. Drink lots of water. Don't talk to people too much. NO ALCOHOL. NO CAFFEINE.

Does this advice seem weird? You already have all the info that you need to think about, but likely your mind (and emotions) will just keep running in circles if you keep chewing on it. Once you've gotten yourself physically relaxed, you can think about things . . . and your emotions will feel more natural. Then, think about your fiancee. Think about the things that she means to you, your love for her, maybe run through some scenarios in your mind. Get a rough idea of how you intend to approach her in the future (but don't work up a script) then write it down. It will give you a measure of calm to be prepared, and enable you to act rationally even when your emotions are getting out of hand. If you start to get anxious and hurt again, repeat the process, but instead of trying to come up with new ideas, read what you've already written down, re-affirming it in your mind. It will help you stay focused on what's important.

::coughs:: I've done this a time or two.

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I had a slightly similar problem when me and my HS girlfriend went off to separate colleges.

One thing I would suggest is to give her some space. Don't try to force her hand. I know from personal experience that the natural inclination is to constantly and repeatedly remind her of why you two are so good together. But whatever you could say, she already knows. Assuming she's not just pulling your heartstrings, you've let her know how you feel. Don't hide your pain from her, but don't make an issue of what she's putting you through either. It won't do for her to think you don't care, or that you're trying to guilt her into a choice.

Equally important, you've got to pull yourself together. IMO it'd be impossible for such a thing not to affect you at all, but don't let her decision (or in this case indecision) affect your other activities too much. Remember that this is largely up to her, and there's not a lot (if anything) you can do to alter it. It's hard, but just be patient.

And stop listening to those sad songs!!! Put some (good) rap or rock in that CD player :D

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When a woman tells you she "needs her space," why don't you do something truly revolutionary and GIVE IT TO HER.

Stop e-mailing her. DO NOT send her roses.

If she is confused and conflicted, let her be confused and conflicted. In other words, let her work things out on her own — as she has indicated she wants to. Stop trying to "tip the scales" in your favor, as you know full well you're doing.

This experience is no doubt excruciating for you, but you also need to know that it is not normal. This is someone you've been chatting with on your computer for five years, not an actual girlfriend. Your pain is real, but your words are those of a person with a dependency problem, not a healthy sense of romantic love.

There is a tremendous amount of rationalization in your post; you are TERRIFIED that this could be over. That's not a healthy response. Perhaps a "break," combined with some hard and HONEST soul-searching, is exactly what you need right now.

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When a woman tells you she "needs her space," why don't you do something truly revolutionary and GIVE IT TO HER.

Stop e-mailing her. DO NOT send her roses.

If she is confused and conflicted, let her be confused and conflicted. In other words, let her work things out on her own — as she has indicated she wants to. Stop trying to "tip the scales" in your favor, as you know full well you're doing.

This experience is no doubt excruciating for you, but you also need to know that it is not normal. This is someone you've been chatting with on your computer for five years, not an actual girlfriend. Your pain is real, but your words are those of a person with a dependency problem, not a healthy sense of romantic love.

There is a tremendous amount of rationalization in your post; you are TERRIFIED that this could be over. That's not a healthy response. Perhaps a "break," combined with some hard and HONEST soul-searching, is exactly what you need right now.

You apparently didn't really read my post. She is not just someone I've been chatting to online. We have lived together and we are engaged. We met online, but we are far more than just online friends now.

Edited by Moose
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From what I've heard from you in the past on this forum I would imagine that, even with as much as she obviously means to you, you wouldn't want her to be with you unless it was entirely her choice, her purely voluntary judgement of the value of you in her life.

If this is true (and I realize it's based on a big assumption of your character), I would work to keep my eyes on that fact. No matter the outcome, it will be wholly her choice--a choice that it seems you would respect either way. This would give me at least some peace in a situation like this and would allow me to get through these hours of decision.

From the way you described that you found out about this conflict of her's, it seems that there is little you can do to persuade or expediate her decision.

Edited by Proverb
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Personally, I could not continue a relationship with someone who accepts the idea of God on faith. It is not difficult to imagine myself with a Deist, and I have met Deists (unfortunately for me, they were men). That being said, I have little advice that will help you win her back. Regarding you staying with her, if you truly think this is best, good luck.

I should offer some advice for what is to come after, if she decides to break this off. I would first like to point out that what you are feeling now will subside so long as you accept that these feelings are temporary. Understand that you have the power to pull yourself out of the funk by recognizing that if she didn't want you, you shouldn't be together. In fact, if she didn't want you and you stayed together, there would be more pain for the both of you in the long run.

I'd bet that this is your first strongly emotional relationship. One, depending on your psychology (I know very little of the subject) these feelings can last for years. My first real relationship ended in a year and a half depression. The majority of this time I spent hoping that we would be together again. Once I accepted that we wouldn't, and began to realize that our values differed, the depression began to dissolve. I still think about it every day, but there is no longer any pain, only pleasure.

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Good advice from many there. I've been thru the same scenario (even with religion being a difference between us) :dough: and

My advice is most of all realize that your life is more important than your lives together! :)

Whatever you do to get thru - this remember : If you don't do anything to get thru the loss, your not worthy of the goal. Anyone not willing to face failure doesn't deserve success.

While this may seem to be saying you should do what you can to get her back, that is the opposite of what I mean. The goal is your happiness. -NOT "your happiness together".

Many thoughts are filling your mind I'd bet. They did mine. It may help to write all this out for yourself to achieve clarity. Organize your thoughts and then judge your conclusions. You'll probaly continue adding new things for a long time.lol It can help prevent "crowing out" and free your mind from losing focus on You and Your Life! :confused:

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Here's a suggestion you might consider. It may sound a little like Ann Landers, but it has helped me with some relationship problems in the past.

Try writing a letter to your lady friend telling her all of the things you want to tell her right now. Don't hold back. Tell her what she means to you and the pain that her current dilemma has caused to you. Tell her how angry you are about how she is behaving and any other emotion that you are feeling.

Then re-read and revise the letter adding any painful, angry, spiteful, needy thing you feel. Then re-read it again.

Now here's the most important step - DESTROY THE LETTER. Leave no trace of it on any document or computer that you have and never let her know what you have done.

This process allowed me to sort out all of the emotion in the situation from what I really wanted the other person to know and to regain a sense of reason. I, and I am sure most of us, have been in a situation where emotion and hurt feelings have caused us to say things that we really did not mean to say but which have damaged a relationship unnecessarily. By saying those things without saying them to your girlfriend may give you some perspective and may help you get to a point where you can deal with it rationally.

Good Luck.

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No, but it still worries me. I just practically cried on the phone to her...I've really gotta stop doing that. She just seems like she isn't being very compassionate, given the way I'm feeling.

Although, if any of you really knew me, I'm probably just being paranoid. Whenever it comes to the fairer sex, I get paranoid about EVERYTHING and EVERYTHING becomes a bad omen, even though it usually means absolutely nothing. So, I'm pretty sure she's not acting any different than usual...it just seems that way, given my current state of mind.

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I agree. Re-read Kevin's advice and give her some space. Sometimes people just want to think things through on their own. If she comes back at some point with concerns about the relationship, you'll get your chance to say your piece. If she doesn't, what you say now is unlikely to change that.

At the very least, set yourself a certain number of weeks for which you will let her set the tempo.

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I agree. Re-read Kevin's advice and give her some space. Sometimes people just want to think things through on their own. If she comes back at some point with concerns about the relationship, you'll get your chance to say your piece. If she doesn't, what you say now is unlikely to change that.

At the very least, set yourself a certain number of weeks for which you will let her set the tempo.

I pretty much discounted his advice when he said that she was an online buddy and not a real girlfriend. I'm gonna try to give her space, but I don't think there's anything wrong with sending her flowers for her birthday.

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Inspector likes to whine that accepting any flaw means you won't achieve "perfect" happiness.

(The quoted post has been split into a different topic. - softwareNerd)

Hah! My wife smoked when I met her, so there goes your pretty little theory.

Listen, I'm warning him because it is really and truly a terrible, bad, awful, corrupting idea. Might she give it up? Sure, maybe. Should he commit to marriage before she does? NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT! Should he keep dating her in the meantime? That's up to him, really.

I'm worried about him; that's my motivation for speaking out. I don't want to see him hurt.

Moose, you want some positive advice? Here:

You have to resolve big philosophic problems like these. You can't just let them lie. You don't have to do it RIGHT NOW, but you DO have to do it when she's ready. You don't have to push her but you CAN'T let her push you into getting farther into the relationship than her philosophical development deserves. Ah, but I sense that it wasn't her doing the advancing...

You can't make a person love you by loving them. You can't get her to accept your values by proclaiming your love, advancing the relationship, or proposing marriage, or with marriage. Many people have tried to "change" others by becoming more and more intimate. They failed MISERABLY. You can only do it with reason, patience, and being a good example. Only AFTER she changes is it appropriate to increase intimacy.

Why? Because YOU need to get a handle on YOUR superior worth. You need MORE self-esteem. You're falling to pieces over losing this girl... but who would be the bigger loser if you broke up? "She would, she should be so lucky to get a guy like me" should be your answer.

If such becomes your attitude, then you will no longer feel any desire to "compromise." You will attain the patience to take it slow and to DO THINGS RIGHT. I'm going to take a [email protected] here and propose that maybe things are going badly for you because you went TOO FAST. You increased intimacy before she was worthy, philosophically speaking, of your intimacy. She may be running because she SENSES that she isn't worthy yet and is scared that if she continues getting closer without having EARNED it, she risks the failure of the relationship. I wouldn't be surprised; women can be VERY perceptive.

Maybe not. Maybe she's clinging to her old values and has to do some soul-searching and choice making. Maybe bad values have led her to some bad choices that you don't know about. Maybe it completely, utterly unrelated to anything that's been mentioned, and unrelated to anything you fear. Maybe maybe maybe. You won't know until she's ready to tell you so don't give yourself a stomach ulcer!

[Edited to remove (quoted) reference to a member who was not a party to the thread in the first place. - softwareNerd]

Edited by softwareNerd
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People seem to be under the mistaken impression that she doesn't still love me. She does. She's just confused and doesn't know if she's ready to be married.

And I do think she's lucky to have me. And she knows it too, and I've told her that if she breaks up with me, she'll regret it for the rest of her life. That doesn't mean that I can't regret it too. And just because you may perceive her as being the loser doesn't mean that I can't be crushed too.

We did not move too fast. I've known her for nearly 6 years. Say what you will about talking to people online, but we were best friends before we ever even met. Until you've had the experience of getting to know someone that way, then you really don't have room to criticize it. We'd had a crush on each other for years, but only made it something real last October. We did not move too fast. She's just scared right now, and I think it will pass.

I'm considerably more optimistic than I have been the past couple of days. I even ate an actual meal a little while ago.

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Hi All. I haven't read all the posts up until now, but regardless I want to post my thoughts.

I know exactly what you are going through Moose, and I completely sympathize with you. In fact, I wrote a script for a movie I was going to make with my friends last summer about an instance similar to yours.

If anyone wants, PM me and I will send it to you. It is pretty short.

Be warned though, it is VERY painful - because everything is true.

I don't want to give any advice or lecture you, I'm sure JMeganSnow is doing a great job. Just know that this is the struggle for values that you hear about so often - you are in its valley. Don't ever give up, as trite as that may sound. You are a Hero; think of it as a choice of whether you want to win or not. You are an END.

I hope that makes sense.

BTY - "miedra", I concur with all the statements put against you so far. Not only were you completely wrong AND irrational, you sound like an ignorant Objectivist newbie. Did you just finish AS yesterday?

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A note for future readers:

Some members commented on the fact that Moose's fiancee is Catholic. This led to a discussion about marrying someone who was religious or non-Objectivist. The split thread can be found here (link). All posts have been retained in one thread or the other, even at the cost of some "jumps" and lack of continuity.

I think a separate thread was warranted because:

1) Moose started this thread to seek advice for a specific situation and made no allusion to his fiancee's religion in doing so. In fact, the only way we know this is because of an unrelated thread.

2) The issue of whether an Objectivist should marry an non-Objectivist is not so relevant to Moose, since he is not an Objectivist (yet?).

Even if that were not so, the issue of how to deal with a fiancee asking for "space" and the issue of marrying a person who is a Catholic are different issues. (e.g. The former could happen to a couple that both consider themselves Objectivist.)

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I pretty much discounted [Kevin's] advice when he said that she was an online buddy and not a real girlfriend.  I'm gonna try to give her space, but I don't think there's anything wrong with sending her flowers for her birthday.

Kevin's larger points were twofold:

1) Give her space: You are not doing so. I'm not speaking of the flowers. Actually, earlier I missed your comment about it being her birthday. Even if it weren't, I can't see much harm from flowers. Wanting "space" usually means wanting time to think things through, without commentary from an interested party (a.k.a. Moose). So, do not discuss your relationship with her, unless she wants to. Phone calls, email, etc. are fine if you have the discipline not to discuss the relationship.

2) You sound terrified: It "worries you", you say you cried on the phone, and mention that she is not compassionate. I understand that this is not just a girlfriend, but a fiancee and that you might be "terrified that she is going to make the wrong decision". However, the last thing you want is for her to make a decision out of compassion.

As a man, if I had doubts about a woman and she appealed in any way for me to be compassionate, there's a pretty good chance I'd have broken it off for sure. The only chance a girl would have, if I was the one having doubts, was to back off for a while and tell me: "We've waited 6 years, I can wait a another year; and don't take my waiting as an obligation."

I cannot say if a woman would react the same, but my guess is that a woman might react even more negatively to a request for compassion.

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Those are good points. First off, I didn't really cry...I was just close. I chalk that up to the fact that this hit me like a train. I wasn't expecting it at all, and she understands why I reacted the way I did. I'm coping much better now than I was, and I've been able to stifle the urge to talk about our problems. I've never asked for compassion though...all I've asked for is an explanation as to why this is happening right now, which even she doesn't seem to know yet. Tonight, she's more or less acting normal. I never thought I'd say this, but I was relieved when she exhibited her characteristic jealousy a little bit ago. She is insanely jealous, and I usually can't stand it, but I found it to be a quite welcome relief a little bit ago.

Anyway, thanks for the understanding and the advice. I really am trying to take everyone's advice, including the ones I've gotten in PMs. So, thanks to everyone who's offered it so far.

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And I do think she's lucky to have me.  And she knows it too, and I've told her that if she breaks up with me, she'll regret it for the rest of her life. 

Why did you tell her that? It's a very unattractive comment.

--Schefflera

Edited by Schefflera Arboricola
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