My Girlfriend has Become Distant

Visitor's Question from a 31-40 year old Male
My girlfriend and I have been together just over one year. We were knew each other casually for about five years before we began dating. I am 32 year old lawyer; she just turned 25 and is a retail manager. The first six month we had a long distance relationship, but I spent a lot of time with her. I had just graduated law school and could not find a job.

After 6 months, I found a job and she moved to New York with me. My job didn't work out and I was low on cash. She helped me out. The relationship was perfect until we moved in and the financial problems started. I was also quite self-centered and didn't take care of her needs. She then went to Las Vegas with her sister. She barely called me and when she did, she was distant. When she came home, she was upset and told me she was unhappy. I told her I would change, and I did. I did everything she had asked and more. But the financial problems persisted.

I had to take the bar exam in July and was studying all the time. She just let me go and went out all the time with her friend and sister who visited New York quite often. At this time I found a man's phone number in her cell phone. I didn't question her at first because I trusted her. After my bar exam I had to quit my job and move out of state to my parents to get back on my feet. Her parents lived 5 miles from my parents, but she moved to Washington DC to live with her sister. She said it was for professional reasons. She told me that she wanted me to get back on my feet and then we can get back together.

I confronted her about the phone number. She initially lied. She then conceded that she met this guy in Las Vegas but didn't sleep with him or even kiss him. Later, she erased the numbers from the cell phone. She told me she was upset over the fiancial issues. But we talked and resolved.

The next three weeks were great until we spent the last week at our parent's houses. As soon as her best friend started coming around, I was treated like an outcase. When I brought it up to her, she said she was sorry and spent the next three nights only with me.

However, when she moved to Washington, things got bad. Last weekend, she, her sister and her girlfriend went to the beach. She only called me twice in three days, despite knowing I was back in New York trying to make repairs we made in our old apartment and had no place to stay overnight. When I confronted her, she said that "I was a big boy and she didn't know she had to check in." For the next three days, she treated me indiferently and w/o emotion. She didn't tell me what happened at the beach, only that she was drunk every night.

I am supposed to go to Washington next week. She doesn't call me back all the time. She seems distant. When I confront her, she said she loves me and everything is ok. We still have sex and she still says loves me at the end of every phone call. Everything seems to have gone to crap. I scared. I love her very much and she is a beautiful girl. What should I do? Advice
While it is definitely important to keep in touch, to ask for daily phone calls is rather a lot, especially when people are busy. It sounds like you had some serious issues when you were together and now adding to that is the pressure of being "enough of a couple". She probably loves you but does not love all the pressure and worry that has become a normal part of your relationship.

You need to really get this realtionship a fresh start, to remind you both of what great friends you were before this all began. It sounds like you had a nice long friendship to start the relationship with, which is incredibly important. But it sounds like the relationship then got bogged down in money and other issues. You need to remind each other that you are great friends who care about each other, and that the other things are merely small hurdles that you can handle.

So I would take a few weeks and make them weeks focussing on friendship. Don't yell at her for not calling. Friends call because they want to - not because they're obligated to. The moment you make the relationship an obligation it becomes harder and harder to maintain. Send email often, send small presents, send origami, send real life letters. Arrange to watch the same movie one evening while you talk about it on the phone. Visit in real life as much as you can.

I have tips for long distance relationships here -

If you show her, even for a few weeks, that the core of your relationship is about friends who care about each other, that should help you then address the issues that you have.

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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