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Yellowdog's avatar

She says she needs me, but it seems to be as in "I need thee every hour". How do I help with her separation anxiety/codependency?

Asked by Yellowdog (12183points) January 19th, 2016
18 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

She was pretty hard to get because she had somewhat a social phobia and did not grow up in a good home. She tried to keep me out of her private life because of this.

It was hard to win her love, but now she clings to me like a rock, if not an addiction. You’d think I’d be grateful, but she wants to be with me every available moment. Unfortunately, I live about an hour away from her and my life is here. I spend several lengthy times a week with her, three or four days a week and talk on the phone about 4 hours every day with her. But her loneliness and anxiety go back to normal levels as soon as we part. The phone is not enough for her.

I spend one night a week with her, but she wants me to stay every night, makes me feel guilty about leaving, and clings physically tto me when I have to go, looking devastated. Is this even real love?

I am reasonably busy and already find the time I spend with her to be excessive for an unmarried couple living this far apart. Marriage is not an option now for economic reasons.

Anything you think might work will be greatly apprecioated.

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Answers

Here2_4's avatar

So, before your involvement, I gather she was your time spent with her has been simply thew mainly a recluse.
Suppose you find a kid in the woods, and you give them shelter, food, and youtube. They will become completely absorbed in youtube.
It sounds like so far your time spent with her has been simply the two of you. Even if you went to the movies together, there is no interaction with other people. She needs to go places with you where social interaction can happen. Not parties. Parties are frightening to people who are accustomed to being alone. A long line for concert tickets where you could strike conversations with others who are waiting maybe? Do you have a good circle of both male and female friends? If so, an informal get together, such as a paintball war, or a bbq at a park, or maybe a photography hike.
Just find something informal, not crowded where the two of you can interact in a mixed crowd. Even working in a soup kitchen would be great.
You should do something very soon, or the both of you will become too frustrated to save what you have.
I love that you are willing to work through this discomfort in your relationship.

Jeruba's avatar

Even if you didn’t consciously intend the symbolism, the clue is in your quote: you can’t be anyone’s savior. You can offer love and support, but she needs help that you can’t give.

jca's avatar

You don’t sound enamored with her.

Does she have mental health issues?

jca (36046points)“Great Answer” (1points)
Seelix's avatar

I don’t know if you’ll be able to help her. It seems to me that she needs someone to be with her 24/7.

As for your question (Is this even real love?), I can’t answer definitively, but I’m tempted to say no.

Cupcake's avatar

That doesn’t sound like a relationship I would want to be in.

What are you getting out of it? Really… is this stroking your ego? Your savior complex?

You’ve admitted it… you’re relationship is not fundamentally helping her. You are a distraction, a reprieve, from her own issues.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

This gal seems to be a big bundle of problems. Her feelings for you sound more like dependency than love. She’s getting a crutch out of this relationship; what are you getting, and are your own needs being met?

Cruiser's avatar

Sounds very unhealthy and mentally exhausting. Not for me.

dappled_leaves's avatar

“Marriage is not an option now for economic reasons.”

Marriage is not an option for many more reasons than economics. You don’t seem to want to be with her. Why are you even dating, since it sounds like you are not suited for each other at all? You give no indication in your question or details that this is a person you love or want to be closer to. Instead, you seem to want more distance.

To be honest, I read the question and several lines before I realized you were not talking about a dog or other pet.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Personally, I’d run in the other direction. This sounds like a horrible situation and one you don’t actually want to be in. It’s lovely to be wanted, to be needed in a needy, dependent way, not so nice. Is this what you want for your future? Really, think about it. Is this the person you can see yourself being with in years to come? If not, run. Now.

Seek's avatar

As a social-phobic, anxiety ridden, woman from a bad family, I have to say she sounds exhausting.

janbb's avatar

As I recall, you have a lot of life issues you are dealing with, does she help you with any of them?

Yellowdog's avatar

She helps me stay organized (I have MAJOR problems in this area) and motivates me to move forward. With her, I have moved away (symbolically) from my comfort zone and have involved myself in more ‘adult’ social relationships. I am aiming for a professional career whereas before I was dissatisfyingly settling for life on Social Security disability (I have a masters degree but nver went far in life with it)

I am a loving, caring, benevolent person, even to my own detriment and this woman has never really been loved before—not by someone who really cares about her. She is experiencing real love from me, and covertly, she is my first “real” girlfriend. Women I’ve dated and courted in the past were not that passionate and there was distance or little more than “friend zone” relations (what qualified as a girlfriend in High School may have been love, but it was callow and never went far or deep).

I think she does have mental issues, but they are not nearly as severe as some of the problems I’ve read about with women who were bipolar or paranoid. Mainly, she is obsessed with the same spiel about her health issues and history and seems to think I am not listening. If she were on medication, she’d make a fine girlfriend or spouse—but no one can force her to do this. So she stays in misery or pity and needs me to make it right. I do love her, however. I accept her reality as her reality and kind of work with it or around it.

Cruiser's avatar

@Yellowdog You have admitted to your own “MAJOR” issues and choose to highlight the issues you perceive to be baggage that your love interest has…IMO that is a pretty bold assault on her true intentions to be with you when you have your own “issues”. . I do not hold hope that you possess the faculties to thoroughly assess what is best for you and her as a couple let alone your own best interests. You admit you are not in a position to tie the knot and that should be a clear signal to you that yes you are not ready to assume the responsibility of another persons hopes and desires for a stable life.

You are the dude here and if you truly love this woman…all falls on your shoulders to man up and make it clear to her that you are there for her AND WHY!. If you have any doubts in your intent and or ability to back up your desire to be with her then you should be man enough to let her know the truth.

Yellowdog's avatar

Cruiser— I am NOT ready for marriage and neither is she. I am asking for help with a re;lationship where the woman clings to me like a rock and wants to be with me every moment and is devastated when I can’t spend more time with her. I am with her on the phone about four hours every single day, and visit her 3–4 times a week (about 40 hours during the weekdays), plus Friday/Saturday overnight.

The real world DOES have other responsibilities, Cruiser. Working, or looking for work, comes to mind in these hard times. I have a book contract and other goals that must be fulfilled in order to become financially responsible and solvent.Other people need me for miscellaneous purposes and appointments. Are you saying I am being irresponsible?

When you love someone, it hurts to see them devastated and crying merely because you are leaving and will be gone 24–40 hours.

Cruiser's avatar

@Yellowdog Please take what I am about to share with a grain of salt. I will simply share my thoughts about what I feel works and doesn’t work in a relationship based on my 40 years of dating and 2 marriages.

First off clingy is not healthy for a relationship and you already know this much. Plus having a long distance relationship is not the best setup to fulfill yours and your GF’s emotional and physical needs. If she is simply insecure or the jealous type IMO there is little you can do to change this. Most women I have found simply want to feel loved, respected, protected and secure in their relationships. If you are able to give her those four things you are golden.

You also mention that it was hard to win her over so I assume you really worked hard to get her. I don’t know what that entailed but whatever you did to get her attention you almost certainly have to maintain. If you have tapered back your efforts to woo her that could be contributing to her clingyness and why you are now having 4 hour phone conversations. IMHO 4 hours is just way too long of time to be stuck on the phone. I had one GF tell me it is not quantity, it’s the quality of the time you spend both on the phone and together.

What else is key to a strong lasting relationship is you! You have to preserve who Yellowdog is and I can’t stress this enough. After every failed relationship I have had I looked back and noticed how I had sacrificed and almost completely abandoned the things I loved to do, I distanced myself from my friends all because I was overly focused, immersed in making her happy and perhaps even clingy in my relationships. I can’t say that if I had behaved differently that those relationships would have lasted. I was younger back then, life and work was a lot less stable and you have articulated that it seems your life is similar in this regard and I think it is healthy that you are able to acknowledge the importance of having a stable career before you are able to commit to your lady. You also have to make sure she is also being true to herself and if you sense she has backed away from the things that are important to her encourage her to do the things she loves to do.

I don’t have a magic answer on how to get your girlfriend to be less clingy other than to talk to her. Express your concerns about this aspect in a loving caring way. Maybe go so far as to share this thread with her. When my wife and I dated we were inseparable, 24 years later we every so often take vacations and weekends alone doing our own thing. And this only underscores how important it is to have a life of your own and her as well so you can feel happy and secure in your relationship and that you haven’t had to sacrifice who you are and what you love to do in life for the sake of a relationship.

Again, this is merely my views I have formed from over 40 years of relationship successes and failures. And these successes and failures were influenced greatly on the time of my life and many of them were at the mercy of fate. Bottom line is you have to be happy in your relationship and if are happy then your GF should be happy as well and if not then this relationship is not healthy for either one of you.

jca's avatar

To me, the description of her being clingy and looking devastated seems like a mental illness (anxiety?), probably combined with insecurity. Have you tried asking her to go for therapy or to a psychiatrist?

jca (36046points)“Great Answer” (2points)
Yellowdog's avatar

Yes—she goes to counseling regularly, even wants me to go with her— but reveals very little to the therapist—little more than work out a list of goals—goals which would apply to my grandma as much as to her. She says she’s a “private person” (diagnosed with severe depression) and yet won’t go without me in the room. But to really get involved with a therapist or counselor would indeed be the solution.

Cruiser: Thanks so much for your insightful and detailed response! I guess I felt wrongly that your earlier response was a personal attack. You have given me some real insight to the wants and needs of this woman, without telling me to leave it behind (that might be good advise but could really devastate someone so frail emotionally—probably do permanent damage—and I don’t want to do that anyway).

I love her enough to put up with just about anything, but this is getting mentally exhausting. My parents do not like this woman because they believe (wrongly) that she is “using” me—and have spread their preconceived ideas to the rest of my family (siblings, aunt, etc)— because this woman comes from a dysfunctional family she doesn’t understand my desire to maintain relations with my “family of origin” and basically says I shouldn’t let them “control my life”— but I’d love for my family to meet her and give her a more stable sense of family, if that were possible.

Cruiser, you’ve given me lots of good information to think about. Thanks for sharing your insight and experiences. It resonates true for me as well.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I recommend reading “Of Human Bondage,” by W. Somerset Maugham.

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