Question: Dear Luise: My question is about my girlfriend and I. We have been together for one year and two months. I’m only 21 years old and she is 19. We both go to college. Everything has been going great until a month or two ago my girlfriend has been extremely depressed and stressed due to school etc. The thing is, she has now taken it out on me and it’s affected our relationship to where I have done absolutely nothing wrong, but she just remains less vested in the relationship. Examples are us not seeing each other as much and her complaining about really small things. She couldn’t tell me the entire time what’s EXACTlY wrong. She would say things that weren’t the main problem and had nothing to do with our relationship, but those just weren’t it. Today she finally told me that one reason she has done this is she feels that I’m too nice about the situation or kind of scared about losing her so I’m being extra nice to her, but the thing is I haven’t been that extra nice at all. I am so confused on the situation. I’m a nice guy so I know I have been nice, but I’m also not scared. What do I do? J.
Answer: Dear J.: Your girlfriend probably doesn’t know exactly what’s wrong. She may need some outside help with her overwhelm. It may have little or nothing to do with you. If so, there is little or nothing you can do to help beyond being supportive. Being understanding is a tall order when she isn’t making sense.
A live-in relationship can be a major adjustment and so can college. There is a certain protection to living at home with parents and having them take care of the many details and responsibilities of life. Moving out and away can be exciting but it’s not without a price.
You sound more stable and mature, yet your stability and maturity can’t be transferred to her. She may even resent you on some level…if she feels herself disintegrating under pressure.
It might be wise to rethink your living arrangements. Dorm life would allow her to be more of a child and less of an adult. She would be taken care of there in a way that she wouldn’t need to translate into failure. Perhaps adjusting to college is enough for her to have to cope with at this time and living independently should be postponed. Blessings, Luise