How Much “Crazy” Can Someone Handle?

Name: Kellypanic
Website:
Question: How many chances do you get to come back from an episode of the “crazy?” Seeing a guy long-distance for four months. He travels for work, we met at work. Last night was the first “where is this going talk” which actually went well, except for my bad habit of needing answers repeated over and over. Insert obvious psycho-analysis here. Most of the time I can stay on top of it, but sometimes the neediness gets the better of me. Finally he told me I needed to go home and it was his last night in town this trip, unfortunately. Tears followed, of course. He called when I got home, a little more of the same. This morning he called and was in business mode, said he did still want to see me when he’s back, which probably won’t be another two to four weeks. Said we will continue this discussion. When I said that sounds not too promising, he said I can’t make snap decisions about long-term right now, I’m still upset and need to process this, it’s our first big fight, but I do have strong feelings for you and want to see you when I’m back.

I want to text him, but I see know he is not the type to respond to that, but it’s so hard not to when I’m so upset.
Age: 40
State: GA

Okay. You need to take a step back. Yes, there are some issues at work here that are going to end up pushing this guy away if you don’t get a handle on them.

I’ve spoken of my anxiety issues before, but something you said has me thinking this story might relate. When my anxiety gets triggered, I experience certain behaviors. For example, I’ll pay a bill online, but have to go back to that statement several times to make sure I paid it correctly. On a regular day when my anxiety isn’t in full force, which is 90% of the time, I’d pay it and forget it. But if I’ve been triggered, it will cause me to confirm and reconfirm something. (No, it’s not OCD.) The root of this is still being sussed out in therapy. I’ve experienced some irrational fears since childhood. Even though my rational mind knows I paid that bill, I will come up with all the possible errors that I could have made or that could happen to cause that bill not to be paid. It’s a trip, of reals. Now, obviously, my anxiety isn’t about paying a bill. There’s more to it. There always is. There’s a whole sub-set of causes and experiences that have contributed to it.

Your anxiety about this guy bailing isn’t really about this guy. Your reaction to his reinforcement and responses are just outliers to the real problem. And until you get to the bottom of that, you’re going to continue to do it.

Your “crazy” isn’t all that atypical. To a relatively experienced person, quirks like this are somewhat normal. Where the problem comes in is how often someone has to deal with this behavior. So, as long as this isn’t one incident in a string of episodes, you should be fine. But if you’re constantly pushing this guy for answers, you can bet he’ll back off. Right now, you need to stop contacting him and let him follow up with you. Your feelings aren’t his responsibility. That’s what you need to remember. You need to own your anxieties and fears. He’s not making you anxious. You are.

My sister has this precious habit of asking me to explain something, and then asking again 20 minutes later, and then asking again the next day. It drives me absolutely bat shit, because I make a concerted effort to explain situations are clearly as possible. In her case, I’m convinced it’s because she’s so consumed by how things affect her that she doesn’t retain anything that doesn’t relate to her. This guy appears to be answering your questions, but you might not be hearing him because you’re so consumed with your own thoughts and needs that you’re not listening to him.

I’ll tell another story.

So, several years ago i dated somebody who did the , “I really want to see you but I’m soooo busy thing.” In my gut I knew he was being disingenuous. But I wanted to believe him so I hung in there. The conflict between what I knew was probably going on versus what I wanted created all kind of unsuredness and insecurity with me. Getting together was way more important to me than it was for him because I didn’t create other options for myself. Fast forward to several months ago when I met someone else. He, too, gave the “I really want to get together soon/I’ve been thinking about you/Things are really crazy” responses. Nope. This time around I just replied and said I understood, talk soon, etc. I knew this was going absolutely no where. I also knew he was saying things to be polite and kind. There was no inner conflict to contend with because I just accepted the reality of the situation. He just wasn’t that interested. I answered the question myself. I didn’t need him to do it.

You want an answer to your question. He can’t give it to you. You don’t hear that. You still want your answer. Do you see the problem? You want reassurance so that you don’t have to sit and worry, when you have all the power you need to not panic. In most cases I would say that we can choose not to worry or panic. However, in cases where there might be actual issues with anxiety, it’s not as easy. For some of us, it’s more difficult. But it can be done. You need to work on your ability to wait things out even when you don’t have all the answers.

 

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48 Responses to “How Much “Crazy” Can Someone Handle?”

  1. AnnieNonymous Says:

    My experience is that a guy will put up with a lot of annoying shit if he already likes the woman.

    When I start feeling that kind of anxiety about a guy, it’s usually a good sign that things already aren’t working out. I’ve known guys who deliberately sought out long-distance relationships. They like having girlfriends (sex) that they don’t have to deal with in person very often. Kelly’s situation seems bad all-around to me.

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    • GI_JANE Says:

      I’ve also noticed guys who start fights over dumb little things, or blow things way out of proportion so they can have an excuse fade or break up with you.

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      • Ben Iyyar Says:

        You are so right, GI Jane, I have done exactly that. I have only gone down that road a couple of times, but it was only after I tried every other way to tell my partner that I wanted out and she did not either hear me or want to listen to me.

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        • Goldie Says:

          OK, I don’t get this one. You tell your partner you want to talk, sit them down, and tell them, “I want out. Good-bye.” and then maybe arrange for a way to exchange your things. And then be gone. How can this be misconstrued? I’ve been on both sides of this conversation and it is pretty straightforward, as opposed to, I don’t know, starting a fight over little things.

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          • C Says:

            I’ve heard of that one before. My good friend kept trying to sit his wife down and tell her he wants a divorce at which point she would start to cry saying, “Im a good person! I dont deserver this!” My friend would feel guilty and cave….and a marriage he wanted to exit after about 3 weeks dragged on for 1.5 years.

            Some guys are wimps around women and their emotions.

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      • Lamont Cranston Says:

        Odd – I’ve seen that behavior in women, but not in men. Men who end relationships poorly just fade away and don’t call (in my experience).

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    • C Says:

      I cant say if this is whats going on with the OP but I can certainly relate to what you are saying. I’ve never gotten a case of “the crazies” with a guy who was actually really into me. Many years ago I had a couple of cases of “the crazies” (i.e. clinginess, escallating angry emails, paranoid suspiscousness about cheating, etc..) and sure enough it was with two guys who couldnt really care less if I got hit by a bus. In retrospect, I really cant blame the guys for my stress. They just werent as nto me as I was into them. But the clingy desprate “I must be crazy” sensation came when I could feel the thing I wanted slipping through my fingers.

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      • BTownGirl Says:

        Same here, C! I got “the crazies” about a guy once and, wouldn’t you know, this dude probably wouldn’t have noticed if I’d accidentally set myself on fire when he was on his way out of my apartment. This was totally That Guy, i.e. the one that claims to be crazy (irony, right there) about you and, yet, despite only living an hour and a half away is so super, super busy, it’s tough to hang out! Incidentally, That Guy also has a lot of Facebook statuses where they are at a bar/golfing/at a bar having post-golf cocktails….sh*t, I see how he was so busy now. Anyway, it’s been my experience too that feeling mildly loony means something’s up. I’m not saying that’s necessarily true in the OP’s case by any stretch, but she should try to take an objective look at things.

        p.s. Moxie, if it makes you feel any better, when I’m randomly feeling anxious, I will triple check my phone to make sure I haven’t accidentally forwarded personal emails to a business contact. This has never actually, errrrrr, happened, but why not worry about it anyway?!

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    • Goldie Says:

      Yup, as soon as I saw the words “long-distance”, my bells went off.

      “I’ve known guys who deliberately sought out long-distance relationships. They like having girlfriends (sex) that they don’t have to deal with in person very often. Kelly’s situation seems bad all-around to me.”

      This sounds a lot like my recent ex. He used to go around telling people, “It’s great that Goldie and I live so far apart; this way, we can really appreciate the time we do spend together”. (He stopped saying this in front of me after I told him how it made me feel; but he sure as hell did not stop, you know, believing it.) Meanwhile I was trying to get him to do couple-y things like helping each other with housework, trying to work out the kinks in the relationship, etc. He ended things after two years, without giving me a reason why, and emailed me a few months later with the great news that he is now in another long-distance relationship. IOW, I think you’re on to something.

      I’ve dated the “I’d love to see you, but I’m so crazy busy right now” type as well. As inexperienced as I was after a long marriage, even I was able to see through the BS. One of those guys is still my friend; he’s a great guy, just not relationship material. I cannot tell this from the letter, f the OP’s guy really does fall into both of these categories (the long-distance quasi-partner and the super-busy), then she needs to move on fast. Mixed messages, like “I want to be with you, but oh wait, I don’t, but I actually really do” will bring out the crazy in anyone, if they try to take all of those messages seriously. If this is really what she’s receiving from this guy, then he’s not good for her.

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      • Howard Says:

        Sounds like you have some things to work on too, Goldie. Guys who don’t give a shit, but having sex with you, don’t go around saying anything like that and keep coming back. The fact that he did, meant something. He may or may not have been the nicest guy, but reading the way you put things, he may not have been far from the truth.

        Long distance relationships are hard. The blame game is however the worst way to address their challenges. One either has the ability to do it or not. If one doesn’t, it’s no shame or indictment on anyone, just stay away from it.

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        • Goldie Says:

          Of course I do, Howard. Who doesn’t?

          You’re right; I don’t care for long-distance relationships anymore, after trying that one. (And we were only an hour apart, so, not sure if that even qualifies as long-distance.) Looking back at it now, I feel that there was this weird expectation for me to be completely invested into it and completely detached from it all at the same time; to give it my all three days a week, and to just make sure to stay monogamous, and otherwise pretend that the relationship didn’t exist, for the other four. I worked super hard trying to fit into these requirements, and still take care of my kids and home. Lost contact with my friends, hardly ever saw my family. Towards the end, as I realize it now, I was ready to drop from stress and exhaustion. So you’re right, maybe I don’t have it in me to do long distance, if that’s the way it is supposed to work.

          With that said, neither I nor AnnieNonymous said anything about “guys who don’t give a shit, but having sex with you” – that’s a whole different beast. The kind of long-distance relationships that she and I referred to, boil down to having a stable sex/activity partner, that you can send home at the end of the weekend, be sure they’ll come back in a week, and not have to get into mundane household stuff or any kind of arguments with them. Kind of a “long-term relationship lite”. Committed, for sure, but not committed to doing *everything* together – just the fun stuff.

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          • BostonRobin Says:

            I don’t think of an hour as long distance! And you’re seeing each other three times a week, according to this comment. It sounds to me like you both need to talk about your expectations of each other. You feel so disconnected four days a week that it’s as if the relationship doesn’t exist? That’s frustrating. Why not let him know that you need more from him, perhaps more phone calls or some way of nurturing the relationship. It’s a two-way street, too. Pick up the phone and call him yourself perhaps!

            After reading this comment, I get the feeling that the “distance” is built into the relationship. It could be fixed by a good talk to clarify expectations.

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          • Goldie Says:

            Aw thanks Robin, but he already has a new gf, also an hour away… He left in August. I did try to occasionally sit him down and talk about what I wanted, and find out what he wanted. But he was pretty reserved in that regard. Oh well, moving on to better things now.

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    • noquay Says:

      Very true. When my gut starts roiling, I start feeling at all clingy, something’s wrong and tis time to bail.

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  2. GI_JANE Says:

    1. Men date crazy women all the time, I can’t tell you how men nice, sane, successful men I’ve encountered with the crazy ex story.

    2. Bottom line, he just doesn’t like you enough to put up with your crazy.

    3. Get yourself together.

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    • GI_JANE Says:

      P.S. I recently dated a guy who I wasn’t really into and was bat shit crazy for 2 dates. Guess what? He asked me out for a 3rd.

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    • HammersAndNails Says:

      Keyword: ‘ex’

      Sure I did it.Got some funny stories to tell. Dumped her. Never again.

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    • Eliza Says:

      Such a cliche–when these guys go on and on about their “crazy ex”. I respect a person that takes accountability for the demise of a marriage/relationship (afterall it IS a partnership)–rather than someone that places the blame “on the other crazy person”. By the way, it actually says a lot about (about one’s judgment) if a person repeatedly gets involved with someone that is “crazy” or unstable. That man or woman either craves the roller-coaster ride because they are unstable themselves…or they are not mature enough to recognize red flags in certain behaviors. And as for the OP’s situation, sometimes “silence is golden”…and it’s not what a man tells you – but rather what they don’t tell you. His actions will say it all…so you don’t need verbal affirmation. I never understand why some people need to actually hear someone say “I didn’t call back, or follow through–because I AM NOT INTERESTED”. I do understand how feelings can urge someone to want affirmation from the other person. But rather than escalate your own anxiety…I would suggest keep super busy, and go out…I know–easier said than done. This is why I personally don’t care for long-term dating.

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      • Eliza Says:

        I meant to say – I personally don’t care for long-distance dating. Long-term is great when it’s a mutually decided arrangement and there is no-second guessing, sans any coaxing or ultimatums.

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      • C Says:

        In fairness, I’m sure most guys have a crazy-ex story in their past in the same way that most women have a story about the one guy who treated them like crap (i.e. the moocher, the lier, the serial cheater, etc…). Everyone makes the occassional mistake.

        I do agree, that a person who fails to learn from his mistakes and has a succession of crazy-ex girlfriends in his past is as much a mess as the “crazy-exes”. The dude is either drawn strictly to sex appeal overlooking all other qualities, or he craves drama.

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    • Eliza Says:

      They all complain about “crazy–yet most men – have ex-wives that are “supposedly crazy”. Sure. You get what you ask for. Congratulations…don’t complain when she takes you for the fiscal ride of your life – to the cleaners! lol. I read tons of profiles – professing to want a normal, sane, easy going girl…that has her life together–yet when they come across such a woman…that woman is too “predictable”.

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      • C Says:

        “They all” dont. *Some* do.

        I’ve known guys who claim they want a nice girl but have nothing but crazies in thier past. These guys just love the excitement of drama.

        However, I dont think that most guys go for this kind of thing. Even the guys I know who got taken to the cleaners in the divorce were with selfish, spiteful women who were otherwise very normal and organized, not crazy ones.

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  3. Kelly Says:

    Hi, OP here. I don’t think at this point he’s either one of those, the I’m too busy or that he likes being long distance. At least not yet. That was our first real fight. The answer he gave me at the beginning of the discussion was actually just what I wanted to hear. It’s more what Moxie was saying, which she very eloquently explained. It’s exactly like she said about the bill-paying. I know it’s ok, but I just can’t “hear” it. I guess my question was, at this early stage, would something like that scare him off or would he still give it another chance? Hopefully it’s like Moxie said, if it’s one time, and he sees that it’s not a pattern, it will be fine. But it is something I have to figure out as far as real reason for having those feelings.

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    • D. Says:

      Yeah, one of the tough things in dating is getting used to the notion that you’re not necessarily gonna get the answer that you want the way you want it, and learning to be ok with that. Like, you may have hoped that he’d say “Of course I want to take this to the next level! Let’s [do whatever the next level is]!” If what you got back was “I don’t want to end this at all, but I’m not ready to move past where we are just yet,” then that’s not necessarily a bad answer — it’s just not your ideal answer.

      So, the question then becomes “Are you satisfied with what you’re getting?” Ultimately, you’re the only one who can answer that, but I’d say try to answer it with a full understanding and acceptance of the risks involved.

      Basically, own your decision, whatever it is.

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    • HammersAndNails Says:

      It depends. If it’s his first time at the crazy rodeo he might stick around. If any woman did that to me, I’d get crazy woman PTSD flashbacks and run for the hills.

      Crazy never gets better. Emotional closeness and trust will just let you feel less need to keep it under wraps. Any sensible man with experience will realize that a woman who can wind herself up with her own doubt and insecurity to the point she can’t even hear anything but her own bullshit negative inner monologue is the kind of partner who will leave a man forever exhausted, frustrated, and unhappy.

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    • Howard Says:

      Four months is still early in the game for him to make life changing decisions. Kelly, you should feel the same way too. Don’t hit the panic button. Maybe you need to find something to really occupy your mind, so you don’t over-think things.

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    • Eliza Says:

      Kelly, in my opinion (and from my experience) – when involved with someone that needed reassurance that what I was telling him was “real” and coming from the heart–it was very exhausting, and when I actually asked him “how much attention is enough”–he replied “it’s never enough”! To me, after hearing that – I walked away feeling that I would eventually always come up “short” – this man would never ever be convinced that all was cool, and that what I said/did was genuine, with no underlying motives…and the attention was enough…all I could give. I also didn’t view it as his own “anxiety issues”–but at times felt he didn’t trust/believe me – and ultimately felt that if my integrity was going to be questioned–I may as well either walk away in the beginning–before things got too intense, (easier to do when one is less emotionally vested) – or may as well have an indiscretion…since I am being accused of one anyway!

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    • C Says:

      Depends on how much he likes you as well as his level of tolerance I would say. If someone really likes you, they will generally want to give you a second chance. If they are “meh” about you, they may decide that your either “too attached” and they dont want to deal with the drama, or otherwise simply decide the drama isnt worth the benefit. Some people (often after a bad experience) develop a “one strike and youre out” policy.

      So in short, will he forgive this one time? Depends on the guy.

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  4. D. Says:

    The context, the nature of the episode itself, and the underlying connection are all factors that play into whether a single bout of crazy will end things.

    If the guy is really into her, the OP’s outburst will likely be taken as an isolated moment of weakness, which can be ignored. If it becomes a regular thing, that’s more of a problem. If he’s only sorta lukewarm, though, a moment of “crazy” can be the thing that flips him from “Ok, this is fun” to “Nope. Done now.” It also depends on HOW the crazy came out.

    Honestly, though, it sounds like the OP is way, way, more invested in this than the guy is, she realizes this (consciously or unconsciously), and the moment of crazy is driven by her feeling of insecurity at being so exposed. When you’re in that position, you basically have two options:

    1. Take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF. Recognize that you’ve gotta ride out your insecurity, relax, and just have fun. Accept that things may develop, but they may go poorly, and be comfortable with either outcome (even if you prefer the former to the latter).

    or

    2. Walk. Decide that you can do better, that you’re not getting enough out of this to put up with the “maybe yes, maybe no” bullshit, etc.

    How you arrive at either decision depends on you, really, and your read of the situation, as well as your own sense of what you can handle and your risk/reward threshold.

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    • Howard Says:

      The OP can take a walk from the guy as you suggest. Unfortunately she can’t take as easily a walk from herself. It still amazes me how a woman can write in, fully admit she is the problem, but women on this blog will clutch at straws to somehow indict the guy. It speaks volumes.

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      • Goldie Says:

        I don’t see people indicting the guy; there isn’t enough information to make any kind of conclusions about the guy. I do however see a number of people stating that, either OP and the guy aren’t that good of a fit, or the setting they’re in isn’t working out well for them. Whatever it is, OP doesn’t sounds like she’s happy in this situation; neither does it sound like she likes the person that this situation is turning her into. If it’s that stressful, and requires that much work on both sides, maybe it isn’t a good idea? – This is what I’m hearing people say on here. Not judging the guy.

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  5. fuzzilla Says:

    I dunno, I feel lots of anxiety even when things are going really well (in fact, maybe because things are going really well and I’m afraid to trust that). I can usually talk myself down before I get to the point of acting needy or clingy, but the feelings are still there to need talking out of. So an anxious feeling isn’t always a tipoff that something is wrong, although unavailable people no doubt trigger those feelings a lot more.

    The long distance thing is a bit of a red flag. It doesn’t sound like OP’s dude really has the time for her that she’d need to feel content or reassured. If she wants to give it a go with him, she needs other things to fill up the time she’d spend thinking, “OMG, where is this going? OMG, why didn’t he call me?” etc. Talk to a friend, go to a movie, re-engage in a hobby – basically your standard “how to distract yourself/break a bad habit” stuff.

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  6. Kelly Says:

    Just to reiterate here – he had actually told me before I got upset, that yes, he felt the same way I did and did see us having a future. So it’s not that he was playing me or being wishy washy there. It’s now I’m wondering about, after I pushed him and he responded, I don’t want to end things and we can still discuss this, but as far as getting back to how I felt before the argument, I need time, I can’t make a snap decision right now on the spot. He also said, it was just one night, we just had a bad night (sorry for that massive run-on sentence) but I def want to leave the door open. I hate that phrase, by the way.

    I’m trying to be a mind reader here, and I know that’s futile. Just in that “replaying the whole thing over in my mind” place. And waiting. Not good at waiting.

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  7. Kelly Says:

    Yes, Howard and fuzzilla – it was my fault. Totally. He did nothing wrong. And I do think part of it was because it was going so well and was so easy, not difficult like some previous relationships. The whole, “this is so great it can’t be real” thing. But I genuinely believe he is sincere. He has given me no other red flags. And Howard, maybe it was too soon at four months. So now how do I “salvage” it, if that’s even possible? Just wait for him to contact me? And then when we do see each other, just don’t mention it again?

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      Would it decrease your anxiety to “own your shit” with him (and, of course, always good to do in general)? Say, “I’m sorry I get so anxious, I’m just really cautious because I’ve been burned before (or whatever your feels happen to be)”? Have a meta conversation about it, or a “post game analysis” of your anxious feelings, so to speak. In other words, talk about it in a non-loaded way that makes no demands of him. Worked for me.

      I’ve heard advice about managing your nerves on a first date along the lines of, “Just say, ‘I’m sorry; I’m really nervous,'” to ease the tension a bit rather than keeping that under wraps at all costs. I mean, don’t hit the dude with a wall of sound about your history with anxiety issues and multiple attempts at therapy, but a short and sweet, “I’m really nervous” is simply owning your shit and being authentic.

      I like to think of being vulnerable enough to connect while keeping the cray cray at bay in terms of file folders on a desk. I’ll let people know certain issues exist for me, but won’t drag them through all the contents of the “file folders.” Like, there would be a file marked “abandonment issues” and one marked “daddy played favorites,” etc. Just say, “Yeah, I do struggle a bit with XYZ, but I’m working on it.”

      You have already talked to him, though, so you probably don’t want to bring this particular incident up again. Just general guidelines.

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      • Nicole Says:

        Totally agree on the “own your shit” recommendation.

        We all have our crazy moments. But what differentiates the “normal person having a crazy moment” from the truly bat-shit crazy is that we realize how ridiculous we’re being.

        I was in the middle of freaking out on my ex one time, fully aware that I was acting neurotic and needy, but still needling him in the hopes he’d say something that would magically calm me. Poor guy looked so lost. I finally said, “I’m making this needlessly complicated and I know that. You haven’t done anything wrong but I’m insecure anyway.” It wasn’t a magic bullet that made everything ok, but it helped… A lot. Largely because saying it out loud helped me realize how unrealistic my expectations were.

        Kelly, all couples have fights and bad nights. What really matters is if you’re able to be grown-ups about it, talk about what happened, forgive each other and move on. It sounds like this guy needs some space – that’s how a lot of people feel after a rough night. Give it to him, and let him know you’re ready to talk things through whenever he is. Waiting sucks, but trying to force a conversation when he’s not ready will just bring out the crazy again.

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  8. BostonRobin Says:

    There is not enough information here. LW says “four months” without saying how they communicate (the medium or the emotional depth) or how often they see each other or what that time is like. Long-distance rarely works out, because (as I have learned myself) it’s too easy for one or both parties to imagine something entirely different is going on. When you’re face to face regularly, it’s hard to sustain the facade for too long.

    With long distance, the normal process of getting to know the person behind the facade becomes delayed. You get to know as much as he wants you to know, or as much as you want to know–way too easy to ignore issues. As for your instincts? Very confusing when you have several sets of signals to sort out.

    It can literally be crazy-making. What I have learned is that I only feel crazy when I’m with someone who really isn’t good for me. Mixed messages will do it. I’ve had enough healthy relationships to know when “it’s not me, it’s you.” Not that I say that, but having that attitude helps to walk when you have to, instead of sticking with a bad situation because you don’t think you can do better.

    But you know, in real time dating timelines, four months is about the point you might have “a talk” if not “the talk.” In long distance though, you could very well be stuck in the equivalent of the first few weeks, depending on what stories you two are telling each other.

    I would suggest that you ask yourself, LW, where this is going. Then look back at the way things have actually been and see if it’s actually headed there. Not what he says he wants or what you want, but what is really going on.

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  9. Kelly Says:

    Fuzzilla, yes, I want to have that conversation. I asked him if at some point I could do that, explain why I did that, and he said yes, of course. I would do it just like you said, just short version, not the whole history of me.

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  10. D. Says:

    One other thing to add:

    Often, you can get caught up in “Where is this going? What’s the next step?” anxiety not necessarily because you want to actually progress to the next step (whatever it may be), but because you want to know you will have the chance to progress to the next step.

    For example, if, at four months, the “next step” is “move in together,” then I can totally understand him being wary about doing so. Hell, for some people, even a year is still on the early side. But while you’re in the midst of saying “So do you see us moving in some time soon?” maybe stop and ask yourself “Wait. Do I actually even want this now?”

    Sometimes the whole “next step” thing is really about wanting to move to the next step right then and there, but a lot of times focusing on the next step is just code for “I’m feeling vulnerable, emotionally exposed, and I need reassurance that you aren’t just going to evaporate on me.” Like, if the other person says yes, they want to move to the next step, then you know they’re emotionally invested, and can relax. But then there’s the practical, day-to-day reality of actually living with them to consider, and it’s worth asking “Is this really what I want right now, or do I just want some kind of reassurance that this isn’t going to end abruptly?”

    I find that, most of the time, worrying about abrupt endings is a fool’s errand in the last analysis. And asking the other person to somehow reassure you is even more foolish, since even if they manage to reassure you in this instance, there’s bound to be some instance later where you just start worrying about some other thing that they have to reassure you about again. And anyway, even if they say all the right things…there are still no guarantees in life.

    I find it’s better (albeit easier said than done) to make peace with the uncertainty that’s part of dating — even long-term dating. It’s out of your control. It’s out of HIS control, too. Instead, I find it helpful to focus on the stuff you enjoy together, and doing more of that because (A) it’s fun, (B) it doesn’t leave you with time to worry because you’re busy having fun, and (C) it helps strengthen what you already have.

    Basically, don’t grip the glass so tightly that it shatters in your hand. Focus instead on enjoying the drink.

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    • Eliza Says:

      There is are only TWO things a person in this world you can control–and it’s themselves – and the way they react to the outside world. If taking control of your emotions, which may be construed a bit premature perhaps – by this guy–yet he is not verbalizing it yet–why not enjoy the journey – and forget about the destination for now? If you haven’t had that “exclusivity conversation” – that was welcomed by BOTH you and the guy, then by all means, it’s obvious you can AND should date – rather than place all focus/energy on someone you do not seem to get together with that often. Secondly, everyone has different thresholds…and needs. Some of us need more “quality time” to feel connected, while some of us are fine with just 1-2 nights a week, due to other priorities, that are pulling us in all directions–like work demands, children, financial obligations. Sometimes the right person comes with not-so-convenient circumstances, work schedules, etc.

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  11. Kelly Says:

    Thanks for all the comments. One last question – do men as a rule in this type of situation just fade, or any opinions on whether he would contact me and say if he had decided to end it. The way it was left was I do still want to see you and continue this discussion, and I still have feelings for you.

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    • HammersAndNails Says:

      After four months of multiple times a week it’s generally thought of past the point of a fade.

      While I disagree with the face to face only ‘rule’ I do think a phone call is in order. He probably will come back. He’ll tell himself it was a one time thing. Hopefully you prove me wrong and it is.

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  12. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    “it’s our first big fight…”

    Is it possible that I’m the only one confused about this supposed “fight?”

    Here’s what I read: We had a great conversation about where things stood, except for my “neediness.” He left. I cried. First fight, yo!

    What is the subject of this awful first fight that he somehow has to reassure you that he “still has feelings for you.” Four months worth of long distance “feelings,” of course.

    Personally, I don’t think you did anything to drive him away. His odd reaction – an over-reaction, really, (albeit, a very highly, subjectively filtered version of it from you) tells me he was never all that into the relationship in the first place. If you’re playing the odds, long distance relationships are very often more about the “long distance” than the “relationship.”

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  13. LostSailor Says:

    Kelly, listen to Moxie’s advice. The first thing you need to do is take a deep breath and step back from the ledge. Relax. I know women don’t like to hear that, but it’s really what you need to do.

    It’s quite correct that as long as your behavior during your “talk” isn’t part of a pattern, then things will probably be fine. From what you’ve said, he has clearly indicated that he has similar feeling and wants to continue to see you. I would tend to take him at his word for the moment.

    He was probably a little freaked out at your neediness in repeatedly asking for reassurance, especially if he hadn’t encountered this with you before. I don’t consider this as acting “crazy” (I’ve seen real crazy, and this isn’t it). But you don’t want to push it or him at this point. And you also don’t want to start trying to look for secret messages in his every interaction with you and spinning detailed scenarios in your head; that is the on-ramp to the highway of real crazy.

    I’d suggest trying to maintain the level of communication that you had before the “talk.” I don’t think he’s going to fade at this point unless you give him further reason to. Believe him. If he’s going to bail, the signs will be pretty clear as he’ll likely start pulling back. If you’ve texted regularly him in the past, I would think it would be fine to text him with an innocuous message. Try to get back to the “normal,” it doesn’t mean that you two are not on a path to take things further, but the “normal” will reassure him.

    This isn’t about “owning your own shit” it’s about not freaking out. If you feel you absolutely must address what happened, make a mild apology–once–and let the matter drop.

    Good luck.

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  14. mari Says:

    I am with Lost Sailor. I wouldn’t mention this episode again unless he brings it up – and would aim for behaving normally like you did last time he went back home (thinking he travels to where you live). That said, it may just not work for you to see someone every two to four weeks..and that may be why you freaked out – you are spending a lot of time waiting for him to be back in town and then trying to figure out if it is worth all this waiting – i.e. if it is going somewhere. Clearly, it is too hard to answer, and too early, and no guarantees in this sort of stuff anyway. You need to either date others or keep busy with other stuff while he is away and decide whether you are up for this..that said, regular skype/phone calls/texts might tide you over, assuming that you have been doing some of this up to this point. As far as reaching out after the “crazy” episode, think the ball is in his court. You are just going to have to wait it out..ughh..

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  15. James Says:

    I met a woman once who asked me constantly if I was lying to her and cheating on her. CONSTANTLY. If I went out without her I was cheating. If I didn’t answer the phone I was cheating. And no matter what I said I was lying to her. It lasted about a month. Plus she expected me to be on the phone with her all day and night. That got old real quick.
    Or the one who went ballistic because I had the audacity to call her twice in one week.
    Needless to say they’re history.

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    • Joey Giruad Says:

      I’ve never have, but a hot-looking guitar playing buddy of mine had two psycho girlfriends. One shattered his windshield with a rock and broke the neck on his vintage Strat. The other was worse.

      Reiterating a question? Needing reassurance? Doesn’t even come close to true crazy.

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  16. Lamont Cranston Says:

    I have bad news. If you’re dating guys your age, you’re in trouble. Guy I know only put up with “crazy” when they were younger. By the time we’re 40, we’ve had about all the crazy we can stand.

    If I’d had a woman do to me what you describe, I’d take one bite of that apple. If I had the same experience again, I’d fade. I wouldn’t even make a clean “this isn’t working” exit because I wouldn’t want the expected drama. I’d just disappear.

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