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The 2-month mark is not the time to draw conclusions about your relationship

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

After two months relationship needs some adjustment

Q: I've been seeing a guy for about two months. Last week he went away to see family for the weekend and was supposed to come back Tuesday. That got pushed to Wednesday, which got pushed to Friday. In the meantime, I've had a pretty stressful week, and I wished he had been here for me to lean on a bit. My friends have been great, but I'm having problems not being resentful. Logically, I know this is dumb; I would probably have extended my own family visit. And it's not like he really knew I was stressed; I can't be mad at him for not being a mind reader.

Part of this is that it has felt like our whole relationship is about him — his social obligations, finding a new job, finding him an apartment, helping him move, etc. And now when I wanted him to be there, he wasn't. So now he's coming back tonight, and before I could tell him I've had a rough week, he's planned for us to go see a play that some of his friends are in. I am not excited, I'm drained, and I'm getting even more resentful because it feels like it's one more thing that's about him. Argh.


A: Since it's entirely possible he's being a jerk, and it's entirely possible you are, I'll stick to what I can identify as fact: "two months."

If we assume an expected lifespan of 78, that's 78 x 12 = 936 months of life. Two months would then represent 2/936 = .002 or .2 percent of your life. I wouldn't call that a meaningful sample.

Take several consecutive deep breaths, tell him you need to skip the play because you're pooped and see what the next .2 percent brings before you draw any major conclusions.

Step back, look at situation and figure out what you want

Q: Maybe it's obvious, but I've come to realize I get angry/jealous/irritable with a significant other when I know the relationship is on the way out, and I just can't accept it, yet. I am rarely angry when the relationship is strong. I'm noticing a jealous streak in my current relationship, so I know we need a tune-up conversation.

Not really a question, but it seems that some clarity could help people.


A: I'm sure it will. Jealous twinges are normal when you notice a partner's affection is waning; they're the alarm telling you that something you care about is vulnerable or threatened. Of course, it's only useful if you face the problem. Chronic jealousy is problem jealousy, because alarms are useless if they're constantly going off.

Being angry or irritable often goes the other way — pushing away instead of grasping. Often people start picking fights when they're unhappy, or interested in someone else, and looking for reasons to get out. Or, they want the other person to do the breaking up for them — or they're subconsciously creating justification for doing it themselves, since "I just don't like you" seems so cruel and selfish.

You've got an important insight; next step is to ask yourself, what is the outcome you're hoping for here? And is that the same thing as the best outcome here?

The 2-month mark is not the time to draw conclusions about your relationship 09/03/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 3:39pm]
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