Q. Dear Alannah,
I’ve been in a relationship for a year in a half, and I just realized my girlfriend never says, “I love you,” unless I initiate it first. She also seems to have plans all the time, and when we do make plans it seems to be group events, never just the two of us. Work gets in the way, so it’s also situational sometimes, since I work a lot of weekends when she’s off. When I finally do get a day off on the weekend, though, she seems busy, or it’s some group event. I feel like some sort of third wheel in my own relationship and it’s getting uncomfortable to be around all of them.
She’s also always texting when we are together for new plans the following weekend. I seem to be the last to know when anything’s going on.
I am slowly not having the same feelings I once did; I still care for her, but it seems we aren’t as close anymore. I am willing to work on this relationship. I just wonder if these are signs that she’s not into me anymore. I am physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted, and I don’t know really know how to proceed; I don’t just want to break up because I feel like it would be such a waste. Am I just fooling myself?
Emotionally Drained Guy
A. Dear Emotionally Drained Guy,
Sorry to hear about what’s going on. There are one of two things that may be happening here:
1) Your girlfriend is either clueless about how you feel and how to maximize your limited free together, or
2) she is losing interest.
The only way you will find out is by taking the reins to make some positive change in your relationship yourself first, and if she still doesn’t respond to your efforts, to come clean with her about how you’re feeling and let her know exactly what you have just told me. The reason I say that you should put in the effort first to create change is because often, it is much easier to see what the other person is doing wrong in a relationship, but not what you are doing wrong. It may very well be that it seems that you two are drifting because you haven’t done anything to remedy or change this as well, so starting by putting in your own effort first negates this possibility so you can see if she really is losing interest.
You can start by taking the reins and planning a nice weekend for just the two of you. Let her know that you feel like you two haven’t had any time alone together recently, and that you have something nice planned. Then, plan a nice date night at one of your favorite restaurants, and be creative – take her out to do something you’ll both enjoy, but that breaks the usual routine and monotony that couples can easily fall into after being together for a long time (click here and here for some cheap date ideas). If you put in the effort in the relationship, chances are, if she’s still interested, she will notice and appreciate this. When you’re on the date, let her know you enjoy the time you spend with friends, but with your hectic work schedule, you’d like to find more time to spend one-on-one. If she is still interested but has just been preoccupied, this should help motivate her to start putting in more of her own effort as well.
If, however, you don’t see a change after putting in more effort and she still continues to plan group dates only/being inattentive when you’re alone together/not showing affection/etc., you should then be straight with her about how you feel. Be prepared for the possibility that she may just be biding her time to end things and waiting for you to bring the subject up first.
Take care, and keep me updated on what happens!