Thank you so much for your detailed response. I realize I didn't explain everything terribly well - sometimes it's hard to know how much detail people will tolerate
I'll try to respond as well as possible. A lot of what you said is very helpful.
That reads off. You "consistently bringing things up" is NOT "giving her space to deal." Do you realize that?
Yes, I see how that sounded. In my mind, I am holding back a whole lot in terms of bringing things up when she doesn't want to talk, but it is likely that we are on opposite ends of the spectrum in our desire to talk right now (I feel the need to talk a LOT and she wants a LOT of space). I have messed up with this, in that I have not respected her desire to not talk because I just couldn't hold it in. I see that now, thank you for explaining it this way. I have tried to ask her for a time that we could talk, and have gotten nowhere with this. I will try again. I guess I feel a little bummed out because previously, anytime she was struggling at all, I was always there to talk, even when it was hard for me. I guess I operated under the belief that this was how we support each other - which I see now is not the best way.
Could ask her if she's willing to read articles with you and circle anything on there that she or you are feeling. If she is willing, give her copies and a pencil to cover at her leisure.
This is a great idea, I will try that. Thank you!
You ask her a question -- "Are you willing to talk about serious relationship stuff?"
She answers you -- "No. Not right now. I am tired."
You then continue talking about your needs and how it eats you up etc. In essence... ignoring her answer and her need for rest. How does this make her want to do anything for you and YOUR needs when you ignore her needs?
You are right, I have done this a few times when I just can't handle not talking, when I feel like I'm about to burst. Maybe then I should put physical space between us so I am actually able to respect her needs. But many times, I do - She tells me she can't, or she isn't in the mood, and I respect that. But I have screwed up - good to be able to reflect on how.
Is she ACTUALLY pulling away or you just PERCEIVE she's pulling away? Then go chasing her down and she feels crowded and argh? The it BECOMES something wrong between you because of the tempest in a teapot when there was nothing wrong at the start? Other than her wanting some space and you wanting attention and to know WHEN to expect attention from her next?
She has told me that she is putting distance between us to deal with the move, and I have told her I respect and understand that. She is protecting herself emotionally, which is understandable. This has been happening for several months. I think the issue that is most difficult for me is that I know we are at the point of a relationship redefinition, and I know that things are changing. However, because we haven't had as good communication lately we don't know what that means for us yet. Yes, the uncertainty is scaring me, and that's why I'm going freaking nuts right now. She told me a week ago that she has dealt with a lot of her issues and is coming to a place where she feels a lot better now. We are still very distant though, and she still doesn't want to talk. She has been making some efforts, which I am trying to recognize are a big deal for her although they seem very small. I still feel like there is a silence around what our relationship is evolving into. As I explained to her the other day, I realize we both need to work on our own internal processes alone, and be able to deal with our internal issues, BUT what I am really hoping for is to feel like we are working on our relationship together, not just on our own and then informing each other about it later. Is this a valid desire, in your opinion?
How does her asking you that shut the convo down? Could you type the whole conversation out so forum people can read it?
Do you not answer something like "No. I am not ok. I crave connection with you. I am worried we are growing apart now or could grow apart after the move. Could you be willing to just hold me for a moment so I can feel connected to you through body contact? Or disclose how you feel right now so I can feel close and connected through heart-to-heart talk? Or make a date with me to cover these things so I know that connection time is coming soon?"
Good point, it is hard to see what I am trying to convey the way I wrote it. This one is difficult because it is more of a tone, which is tacit and hard to address, because it can be easily denied. When I ask her if she is ok, she very aggressively asks "are YOU ok?" in a tone that conveys to me that I shouldn't dare ask her that question. A better example would be a conversation we had the other day. The context was that she told me she would call me and we would talk on the phone that day. I was alone in a different city and was really struggling with all of these issues, which she was aware of. She never called and didn't respond to any of my texts. Finally I called her at midnight and was very upset - she was with a girl that she is sort of courting (this is another issue, I am very supportive of her being with this girl but in the midst of all the shit we are dealing with it makes it very complicated for me. She also had promised she would let me know when they were going out, which she didn't. That was a boundary and not a rule, and I know for some that seems smothering but it was on her suggestion and I said that would be the best way to make me feel positive about their blossoming relationship. Moving on...). So I told her that I was feeling rejection and that I felt like her not calling or responding to my texts seemed to suggest that I was becoming a low priority for her, whether or not she meant for that to happen. She told me that it made her feel really shitty when I tell her that I am not getting what I need from her, or when she is not calling me enough. I told her I wasn't expressing my needs to make her feel shitty, but so that we could figure out how to fix the issue. I told her exactly how it felt to be stood up for another girl when I she knows I am having a hard time. She said "well I'm sorry, I'm trying to spend time with my friends while I figure things out". I felt like in those moments, she was not validating my feelings or saying anything that would help the communication. I felt like it was up to me to bend to her needs despite what I might be feeling. But I am trying to understand how I can frame it differently, so I very much value your opinion. I know I probably shouldn't have called her like that.
Thanks so much again for all your suggestions and advice.