My Girlfriend’s All Over The Place

Question: Dear Luise: I am receiving mixed signals from my girlfriend. We are close for a while, and then I don’t see or hear from her for days. She seems very committed and then she seems very unsure. I really love her but I feel uncomfortable with how inconsistent she is and I’m afraid to take it to the next step, which would be to get engaged. How can I get her to settle down and decide what she wants? Thank you so much, Kurt

Answer: Dear Kurt: You can’t. You can’t get your girlfriend to be any way except how she is. Many of the questions that come to me have to do with one person wanting another person to be different. People are how they are.

That said, you probably aren’t totally consistent, either. None of us are. We focus on different things at different times. We have good days and bad days. We feel powerful and then powerless. That’s because we’re all pretty complex and situations and reactions keep changing. However, there should be an underlying current in a relationship, of trust and progress. That’s what you’re missing.

This girl doesn’t sound like a good bet to me, at least not now. It sounds like she isn’t sure what she wants. That’s where the mixed messages are coming from. Why would you ask for more when what’s going on right now isn’t enough? Do you think a ring and some plans will “fix” it? If so, you aren’t the first person to have the idea that a formal engagement could alter another’s behavior. The problem is, it usually complicates things further in the long run. The novelty wears off and you’re back to “go” or worse.

I would suggest a heart-to-heart where you offer her just the opposite. Give her some room. Give her a chance to tell you how she feels and let her know that you will be making yourself scarce for a while to see how that works for her.

This isn’t the “absence makes the heart grown fonder” solution. It’s giving her a chance to face what’s bothering her, and leaving her room to move on if that’s what she wants. There is also a chance that you will find it’s what you want. You aren’t “of a mind” right now. You’re on two different tracks. It’s time to face that fact. Blessings, Luise

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