The past few months I’ve had an on-off thing with this girl at university. I really like her, and she says she likes me as well I’m convinced she actually does as well. But she’s had some bad experiences in the past so doesn’t want anything serious, which is fine because I don’t either! However we see each other for a few weeks and, naturally, we start getting really close and intimate again. Which I find absolutely great, I don’t think/realize the attachment and I just enjoy the moment. But then all of a sudden she comes out with some excuse and she just calls it all off, only to then try to reconnect a week later or so. I recently confronted her about this and she said ‘I feel like I’m getting attached to you so I just try to distance myself a little’. Obviously I get hurt when this happens (it’s happened three times over about 5 months) but I still end up taking her back. What should I do? Do I try to move on with my life and just cut off from her completely? Or shall I just carry on and enjoy spending time with her before she spooks out again? Any advice would be much appreciated!
First things first, I don’t see anything inherently wrong with having a casual thing with someone with commitment issues. If you’re okay with their inability to commit, or the distance they might create in-between connecting with you and distancing themselves, then by all means go through with it. I think that if you’re both on the same page regarding expectations any sort of non-traditional relationship can work out. This opinion isn’t scientific, but from what I’ve observed most friends-with-benefits situations are born out of this sort of mutual understanding. Usually there’s one person who doesn’t want commitment, and the other person is cool with it, but wouldn’t be against commitment. At least, that’s the case when casual dating can work.
What I do think is inherently wrong is staying with someone who hurts you, whether it’s emotional or physical, unless it’s a BDSM thing then you know, you do you, but you know what I mean. If someone is upfront about what they can and cannot do while dating you, and you choose to see them knowing it will hurt you,I’ll never be able to support that. I think friends-with-benefits, casual dating, or whatever else we’re calling it is fine, up until the point where someone is doing so as a consolation prize. Are you sticking around because the situation is good, or just good enough? I can’t co-sign dating people you know will be bad for you and then staying in a situation that is clearly not what you want. There are billions of people on this earth, and I can promise you that whoever you’re settling for is not the best looking person in the world, or the best in bed, or some sort of special snowflake who you’ll never be able to replace. To hold yourself back from meeting someone with the same goals as you because you settled for someone not on your level is just silly.
Anyway, my thoughts on the larger issue aside, this is what you should do, specifically because you’re clearly hurt by her issues with attachment: End things. End them amicably, don’t blame her for her commitment issues, just say that you think it’s best if you move on. I’m not a mental health professional or anything, but it’s pretty clear that you want more from her than she is willing or able to give and sticking around is hurting you. It’s unfair to yourself to stay with someone who hurts, so do yourself a huge favor and end things now because things will not improve. If her cycle of attachment then distance didn’t bother you I’d advise you to stick around. Since it does bother you, I think you should move on.
There’s no best case scenario where she has a change of heart and solves all her commitment issues and a romance is viable. Your best case scenario is to move on, before you get hurt again.
Good Luck Out There.