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Relationship Health Message Board

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To start I should say that my advice is probably influenced by the fact that my personality sounds quite similar to your GF's. I'm fiercely independent, very strong-willed, impatient, especially when it comes to needing to reassure someone or if someone is acting clingy, and pretty stubborn. I've never longed for a boyfriend or more friends when I didn't have one, as I'm perfectly happy, sometimes even happier, enjoying my own company than being around other people. I'm about as close to the opposite of needy as anyone I know, and prone to argue more than I should, so I tend to react like your girlfriend to conflicts (i.e. saying, well, I'd be just fine without you, I don't need you, so why don't you just leave if you don't like it). I'd like to think I do a better job than your GF at admitting when I'm wrong and apologizing for my mistakes, but I know I still have a lot of room for improvement in that regard.

OK, so since I have a pretty good idea where she's coming from, hopefully my advice will help at least a little. First, I think she, not you, is primarily responsible for the problems you describe, but there are definitely things you can do to improve the situation or at the very least, improve how you respond to her behavior. Like me, your GF is probably someone who operates according to logic and intellect rather than instincts and emotions, so I'd bet she has little patience or respect for people she sees as oversensitive and whining about their feelings. With that in mind, keep bringing up actions that disturb you, but try to get through to her rational side by being specific and keeping your complaints grounded in factual details rather than speaking in terms of vague feelings and emotions.

Also, try to be upbeat and rephrase complaints as requests for her to do you a favor and help you out--that way she can go along with what you say without having to admit that she was wrong. When you want to bring up an issue that concerns you or request that she modify a particular behavior (she'll definitely respond better if you deal with specifics rather than generalities), try to say something like, "I'd really like if you wouldn't mind helping me with dishes tonight" rather than "You don't ever help me around the kitchen!" One of the more disturbing things you describe, which I hope I don't do, is that she turns everything around on you when you bring up something that bothers you...that is the issue I would try to deal with first using the kind of positive, upbeat approach I outlined above. If you phrased a concern of yours to her as a complaint (instead of a neutral request in which you appeal to her pride and empower her to compromise without feeling like she's lost a battle), she is likely to feel attacked and put on the rather than considering your request, she'll end up ignoring your comments in her instinctive urge to lash out in response to feeling attacked.

Unfortunately, whether or not she responds positively to these kinds of changes and efforts on your part is out of your control. The only thing you can change is your behavior and your responses to her behavior, and so I hope you will get some helpful advice in that regard on this thread. It does sound like you might be more clingy and/or needy than she would like, going by her comments about possibly breaking up whenever you disagree. I'm actually a little concerned that she wants out of the relationship but doesn't have the nerve to come right out and say it. When I've been in those situations in the past, I haven't had enough nerve either, so I usually moved on to another guy without formally breaking up with the last one or just started being a pain and hoped my BF eventually lost interest and left me alone. Now that I have more experience and maturity, I know it's a lot easier, more respectable, and more considerate to be honest and upfront when you want to end a relationship, but many people still have trouble cutting things off, so they try to find ways to drive their partners to leave or break up with them.

In response to your last few questions and statements in the above post, I really wouldn't worry about winning arguments with her (in fact, you'd be better off trying to minimize or eliminate arguments), but it sounds like you could definitely benefit by being a little thicker-skinned, less dependent on her and your relationship, and also more independent and assertive. I hope I'm wrong about her losing interest and possibly wanting out of the relationship, but if that is the case, it is most likely because she doesn't think you have the strong will necessary to successfully stand up to her personality and not be completely steamrolled. Women like she and I have such strong personalities that not every man can handle, challenge, satisfy, and sufficiently intrigue us...some men are better off with more traditional, deferent, and adaptable women, though they may not see that at the time they're infatuated with a fiery, strong-willed woman who's increasingly dominating them. Independent and assertive women want a man who shares their qualities, and I for one have never found guys who are too easygoing, too eager to please, or too much of a pushover to be appealing. I want a strong, confident man who is secure enough with himself and content enough being independent and on his own that he doesn't need me and never becomes clingy or overly dependent on me.

It's never a bad idea for anyone to try to become more comfortable with themselves, more secure and confident in their views and opinions, more sure of themselves and less willing to bend over backwards to please others. Most importantly, I think everyone would benefit from learning to prize and cherish their independence and enjoy their own company so that the idea of being alone is appealing, rather than scary. Therefore when you commit to a partner, you're doing it because you want to, although you feel your life is content and complete on your own, and not because you feel like you need someone to make your life complete and/or are scared and miserable about facing life without a partner. The former attitude is an outstanding foundation for a marriage, but people who go into marriage because they hate being alone and were eager to settle down ASAP tend to have more difficulties down the line. It's really crucial to be happy and confident with yourself and your life as an independent person before you will be able to be a good partner to someone else. Anyone who needs someone else's support and validation in order to feel that their life is fulfilling will likely end up in one bad relatoinship after another people who prey on and take advantage of their desperate efforts to avoid being alone. Happiness really has to come from the inside out if you are to have a chance of finding and building a stable, long-term partnership...and even if you don't find someone right away, increased confidence and independence will make you much more desirable to the opposite sex as well as much less likely to put up with anything less than the kind, respectful, and caring treatment you deserve from a lover.

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