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Breaking up in the middle of nowhere

descoladadescolada Registered User regular
edited December 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey all, long time lurker, first time questioner.

The place: I'm American and a recent college grad working overseas. The area where I live is fairly isolated, so there are only a few English speakers nearby. Though I speak the local language somewhat, I'm far from fluent. Suffice to say, I'm a little isolated.

The girl: I met her not long after I first arrived. She does the same work as me, and she lives about fifteen minutes from me. It wasn't long before we got really friendly, and we started dating one another about a month after I arrived. She's about four years older than myself and has had far more relationships than myself. To be honest, this is the longest and most serious relationship I've ever had.

Our relationship: We've been dating for almost four months now. Because I'm somewhat inexperienced I was pretty accommodating at first. Early on, I started to feel uncomfortable about how much time she wanted to spend together, especially given that we had just met, but she convinced me that this was normal and okay. We've seen each other almost every day for those past four months, and have also been in constant contact via phone and text.

The problems: As the above suggests, it seems she wants to spend all her time around me. And this really isn't a metaphor--I quite literally mean that she would prefer to spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with me. This has led to problems, as any suggestion of "me time" is met with strong resistance. I'm a pretty private person, so it has been quite demanding for me to be constantly in her company.

She appears to have become completely isolated from the local community, which I assume has a lot to do with her wanting so much time. However, any occasion I mention or hint at my desires to get out more, she reacts poorly. She either asks why I don't want to include her, or tells me about how all the locals think we're just weird, replaceable foreigners.

She also reacts very poorly to any kind of stress. Despite the fact she's been working here a year more than myself, she cannot seem to handle the slightest difficulty without having at least a mild panic attack. More significant responsibilities have led to her having major, debilitating panic attacks, which then led to her taking several days off from work. I honestly think she may have some sort of anxiety disorder but, given our location, seeking treatment isn't really feasible.

The dilemma: Because of all this and more, I find myself constantly spending time with her and helping her handle her problems. I feel like my work is suffering, and that I'm already distancing myself from the locals. I came here to work, learn and expand my horizons, and I feel as though I'm sacrificing all of that for the sake of this girl.

However, breaking up with her seems pretty complicated. She's a very high strung, needy girl who's virtually isolated. She already seems to hate her job, and breaking up with her could drive her to simply stop. If not, I'll still have to see her at monthly meetings. Also, the few people I know outside of work also know her too, which means we're that much more likely to run into each other.

If we were back in America, this wouldn't be so much of an issue. But seeing as how we're both so isolated, I'm not sure how to go about ending our relationship without creating a catastrophic mess.

tl;dr - I live in the middle of nowhere, I think I'm dating a crazy girl, and I don't know how to break it off under such circumstances.

descolada on

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    Blake TBlake T Do you have enemies then? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I don't think this is working out. You and I have different expectations for relationships. I don't think we should date anymore.

    So you'll see the girl once a month, big deal, grow up and be mature about it. You are under no obligation to carry her hand through this breakup, of course you don't need to be a dick to her when you break up with her but she will need to deal with this without you.

    Blake T on
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    RhinoRhino TheRhinLOL Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Try to talk to her first... explain to her that your serious about your personal time that she needs to back off off a bit and give you some space... More then likely she'll see it's important to you and compromise and give you the space you need... you have to let her know though that your serious about it and it means a lot to you and that you aren't going to take no for an answer.

    More then likely it sounds like she would be more willing to compromise then to get dumped; but you just have to let her know that it's important to you and that your "for serious".

    If you talk to her about it and she doesn't give you space, then just break it off with her. Tell her it ain't working and try to be nice about it, but breaking up is never easy on either side... just be compassionate and go easy on her and let her know exactly why your breaking it off.

    Rhino on
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    BomanTheBearBomanTheBear Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I would say that's it's time to have a serious "you're suffocating me" talk. Admittedly, most people who are the offenders in this type of situation merely get offended when you tell them they're doing it wrong. However, I think it's worth giving her a chance to fix it. With a little luck, she'll respect your request, or if not, she'll be less interested and you won't even have to do the work.

    BomanTheBear on
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    Idx86Idx86 Long days and pleasant nights.Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I would say that's it's time to have a serious "you're suffocating me" talk. Admittedly, most people who are the offenders in this type of situation merely get offended when you tell them they're doing it wrong. However, I think it's worth giving her a chance to fix it. With a little luck, she'll respect your request, or if not, she'll be less interested and you won't even have to do the work.

    Limed for great truth.

    I can't help but be a little bit curious, in which country are you currently residing? Sounds like a JET scenario to me.

    Idx86 on
    sig.gif

    2008, 2012, 2014 D&D "Rare With No Sauce" League Fantasy Football Champion!
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    descoladadescolada Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Actually, you nailed it. We're both JETs. Do you have some experience with the program yourself?

    descolada on
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    brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I have been going through this with my wife now for almost 4 years. At first I would want to hang with my friends like 1 day a week. Then I got the you don't love me BS. It all ended when I grew a pair and was like "I'm spending some time with my friends, I see you everyday of the week and I am lucky to see them once every other." Now she just gets mad and tries reverse psychology "Fine! Go hang out with your friends! See if I care!" to which I reply "Ok hun, see ya later" grab my coat and I am on my way.

    Moral of the story: Demand your time. This is a battle of wills, yours has to be stronger in this case, should you decide to continue the relationship.

    brandotheninjamaster on
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    Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against Russian warships) Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    descolada wrote: »
    Hey all, long time lurker, first time questioner.tl;dr - I live in the middle of nowhere, I think I'm dating a crazy girl, and I don't know how to break it off under such circumstances.

    How out in the middle of nowhere are you? Unless you're on some tiny island off the northern coast of Hokkaido, there should be several avenues you can turn to for help relatively close by. Your supervisor, firstly, block leader, prefectural adviser, I'm pretty sure that CLAIR maintains a psychological help line that could call and explain your problem too and ask them what should be done. There's a whole hierarchy of people who should be able to in some way help you, but you're going to have to get in touch with them for them to know the nature of the problem.

    Oh yeah. Every situation is different. I almost forgot that part.

    Gabriel_Pitt on
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    IreneDAdlerIreneDAdler Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    This girl sounds a lot like how I used to be, and as such, she has my sympathy. However, if the relationship isn't working out for you, you have every right to end it. You could try to work it out with her, though I have a strong suspicion that she's not likely to change. In my own case, I didn't learn to stop being co-dependent until my boyfriend moved 1200 miles away. Do you know anything about her past relationships? If she's like this with every guy with whom she's had a relationship, chances are she's been given the same ultimatum several times. Maybe she'll listen this time, who knows.

    If you do decide to break up, yes, it might be difficult, but nothing you can't get over. As far as you being isolated from the community, you could try to take steps to overcome that. I don't know about your specific circumstance, but maybe you could try going out more to meet more locals. I know not being fluent in the language is awkward (I'm a native Chinese-speaker who immigrated to the US at the age of 8), but you're not going to get better by hiding.

    IreneDAdler on
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    Idx86Idx86 Long days and pleasant nights.Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    descolada wrote: »
    Actually, you nailed it. We're both JETs. Do you have some experience with the program yourself?

    I was studying in Tokyo when a friend was enrolled with JET and living in Gotemba. I visited her and met some of her associates that were (relatively) close by who were also enrolled. Those people described exactly the isolation you are experiencing currently. It wasn't a shock to me that some of those JET folks were dating others in the same situation.

    My personal theory is that although I'm sure there is an attraction and sense of wanting to be in a relationship, perhaps the "clinging" thing is just her wanting to be close to something familiar. Japan is an awesome country but even when I was living in the heart of Tokyo I missed home and felt myself gravitating to "American" things from time to time. It can get very lonely from time to time, ESPECIALLY if she doesn't speak Japanese (zannen desune :( ) and doesn't have any other social outlet in a small town.

    Idx86 on
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    2008, 2012, 2014 D&D "Rare With No Sauce" League Fantasy Football Champion!
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    descoladadescolada Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Idx86 wrote: »
    My personal theory is that although I'm sure there is an attraction and sense of wanting to be in a relationship, perhaps the "clinging" thing is just her wanting to be close to something familiar.

    This is a big part of why I've been struggling with this issue. I can understand the stress and loneliness that comes with living abroad. Many of her issues could be a direct result of this. On the other hand, I have no idea what kind of person she was before she came, except for what she tells me herself. I can't be certain exactly what issues and quirks she might have possessed in the past.

    That being said, I realize that such things aren't particularly relevant, since I'm not planning on leaving anytime soon and she'd still have to cope with this situation which might have caused this dependency...

    descolada on
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    descoladadescolada Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Goddamnit, this is the kind of bullshit that really irks me.

    So she's currently gone back to America for the first time in, I don't know, sixteen months. It's been an opportunity for me to get my affairs in order, as well as try to put things in perspective. However, my latest phone conversation with her went something like this.

    Her - "I need you to call me more. I'm having trouble remembering you."
    Me - "I'm sorry, I've been busy. I'll try to contact you more."
    Her - "I don't want to spend time with my friends and feel that I'm single. I need to be thinking of you when I'm out with them."
    Me - "Okay... again, I'm sorry. I'll try to get in touch with you more often from now."
    Her - "If something happens, I know it's my fault but still... I'm just trying to warn you, that's all."
    Me - "?!?!"

    Look, I understand people have different standards and expectations, but this strikes me as bullshit. She's basically all but saying "hey, I might go and cheat on you if you don't call me more." Again, I'm just trying to get some perspective here... how many people pull this kind of crap, and how tolerant should I be of it? Maybe it's just me, but I think people should be responsible enough to control themselves. To hear her talk like this only makes me think she's playing some sort of game, one where she doesn't quite blame me for potential cheating, yet does.

    And this is how our conversations usually go whenever I've spent the slightest time apart from her.

    descolada on
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    brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    descolada wrote: »
    Goddamnit, this is the kind of bullshit that really irks me.

    So she's currently gone back to America for the first time in, I don't know, sixteen months. It's been an opportunity for me to get my affairs in order, as well as try to put things in perspective. However, my latest phone conversation with her went something like this.

    Her - "I need you to call me more. I'm having trouble remembering you."
    Me - "I'm sorry, I've been busy. I'll try to contact you more."
    Her - "I don't want to spend time with my friends and feel that I'm single. I need to be thinking of you when I'm out with them."
    Me - "Okay... again, I'm sorry. I'll try to get in touch with you more often from now."
    Her - "If something happens, I know it's my fault but still... I'm just trying to warn you, that's all."
    Me - "?!?!"

    Look, I understand people have different standards and expectations, but this strikes me as bullshit. She's basically all but saying "hey, I might go and cheat on you if you don't call me more." Again, I'm just trying to get some perspective here... how many people pull this kind of crap, and how tolerant should I be of it? Maybe it's just me, but I think people should be responsible enough to control themselves. To hear her talk like this only makes me think she's playing some sort of game, one where she doesn't quite blame me for potential cheating, yet does.

    And this is how our conversations usually go whenever I've spent the slightest time apart from her.

    Your right, its a game. She says that and your supposed to be in constant worry and think only of her and when she gets back, in her mind anyway its supposed to be this joyous occasion. If you wanna break it off do it now. This is only going to harder and worse as time progresses. If you wanna stay with her, you gotta stand up for yourself. When she says "If something happens etc etc etc." you should reply with "well if you cheat I'm gonna dump your ass."She has to know that this kind of behavior is not going to win you over. And when you want time to yourself tell her so. She more than likely will freak out, but will get over it. You really don't wanna have to deal with this the rest of your relationship do you?

    Long story short: She is playing a game, if you wanna stay with her play it back. If you want out then do it as soon as you possibly can.

    brandotheninjamaster on
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    DerrickDerrick Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    descolada wrote: »
    Goddamnit, this is the kind of bullshit that really irks me.

    So she's currently gone back to America for the first time in, I don't know, sixteen months. It's been an opportunity for me to get my affairs in order, as well as try to put things in perspective. However, my latest phone conversation with her went something like this.

    Her - "I need you to call me more. I'm having trouble remembering you."
    Me - "I'm sorry, I've been busy. I'll try to contact you more."
    Her - "I don't want to spend time with my friends and feel that I'm single. I need to be thinking of you when I'm out with them."
    Me - "Okay... again, I'm sorry. I'll try to get in touch with you more often from now."
    Her - "If something happens, I know it's my fault but still... I'm just trying to warn you, that's all."
    Me - "?!?!"

    Look, I understand people have different standards and expectations, but this strikes me as bullshit. She's basically all but saying "hey, I might go and cheat on you if you don't call me more." Again, I'm just trying to get some perspective here... how many people pull this kind of crap, and how tolerant should I be of it? Maybe it's just me, but I think people should be responsible enough to control themselves. To hear her talk like this only makes me think she's playing some sort of game, one where she doesn't quite blame me for potential cheating, yet does.

    And this is how our conversations usually go whenever I've spent the slightest time apart from her.

    Well she's playing mind games and threatening you with cheating.

    Why are you dating this chick again?

    Derrick on
    Steam and CFN: Enexemander
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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2007
    descolada wrote: »
    Her - "I need you to call me more. I'm having trouble remembering you."
    Me - "I'm sorry, I've been busy. I'll try to contact you more."
    Her - "I don't want to spend time with my friends and feel that I'm single. I need to be thinking of you when I'm out with them."

    Stop here. You don't want this. Your psychological health at this point would be better served by masturbating, and she needs to figure out how to be her own person, which isn't going to happen so long as she can use you as a crutch.

    ViolentChemistry on
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    Idx86Idx86 Long days and pleasant nights.Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Derrick wrote: »
    descolada wrote: »
    Goddamnit, this is the kind of bullshit that really irks me.

    So she's currently gone back to America for the first time in, I don't know, sixteen months. It's been an opportunity for me to get my affairs in order, as well as try to put things in perspective. However, my latest phone conversation with her went something like this.

    Her - "I need you to call me more. I'm having trouble remembering you."
    Me - "I'm sorry, I've been busy. I'll try to contact you more."
    Her - "I don't want to spend time with my friends and feel that I'm single. I need to be thinking of you when I'm out with them."
    Me - "Okay... again, I'm sorry. I'll try to get in touch with you more often from now."
    Her - "If something happens, I know it's my fault but still... I'm just trying to warn you, that's all."
    Me - "?!?!"

    Look, I understand people have different standards and expectations, but this strikes me as bullshit. She's basically all but saying "hey, I might go and cheat on you if you don't call me more." Again, I'm just trying to get some perspective here... how many people pull this kind of crap, and how tolerant should I be of it? Maybe it's just me, but I think people should be responsible enough to control themselves. To hear her talk like this only makes me think she's playing some sort of game, one where she doesn't quite blame me for potential cheating, yet does.

    And this is how our conversations usually go whenever I've spent the slightest time apart from her.

    Well she's playing mind games and threatening you with cheating.

    Why are you dating this chick again?

    I have to ask the same question. This gal doesn't sound right. And you shouldn't have to apologize for not calling her more often and making sure she is thinking of you 100% of the time. Plus the subtle threat is something that someone in a loving, committed relationship would never say. Ever.

    I think right now you have the opportunity to break it off when she gets back. Say that while she was gone you had time to think and that you don't see anything long term in her.

    Idx86 on
    sig.gif

    2008, 2012, 2014 D&D "Rare With No Sauce" League Fantasy Football Champion!
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    brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I think that we are all in agreement here that this relationship is unhealthy. OP, you had better do something and fast before this gets any worse. Maybe it would be good to break it off with her while she is still in the states. That way you don't have to reap the immediate psychological ramifications.

    Edit: By psychological ramifications I mean her going bat shit crazy.

    brandotheninjamaster on
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    JustPlainPavekJustPlainPavek Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    She's been there for a year already — how many other ALTs are in the immediate area? Is she friends with any of them, or did all her friends from her first year go home? Is there much of a community, or are you all kind of scattered? About this time during the second year on JET tends to be when all the realities of just how hard living there is, and just how ridiculous some aspects of your job are, come crashing down on you; at least that was the case for me, and several others in my area. It's a lot to take, and I'd say Idx86 is probably spot on in her analysis of her.

    It doesn't sound like you are particularly happy in this relationship, nor do the two of you share the same ideas about what a relationship should constitute. I think it would be for the best to get out of it, but given that she is sounding somewhat unstable you don't want to drop her without any safety net. It can be really challenging to navigate the faultlines of tiny communities like the ones JET produces; if you've got a good PA, they are supposed to be trained in counseling and are required to keep things confidential, so they might be a good place to start. It'll probably end ugly, but that's probably better than stringing things out until February, when you have to have a big I'm-recontracting-are-you-recontracting-oh-god-why drama. Best to try for the cleanest break you can and try and get those around you to help carry her through the rest of the year.

    JustPlainPavek on
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    descoladadescolada Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Thank you everyone for all the comments and feedback. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell when it's just me and when it's really her own issues, and I appreciate getting the multiple perspectives on the situation.

    I've decided to try and break things off as soon as possible, with her still being in the states. On some level it might be cowardly and cruel, especially around this time of the year, but I also think it would be better for her to be around friends and family.

    No doubt it will get messy, but it was bound to get messy at some point, I think.

    descolada on
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    IreneDAdlerIreneDAdler Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I think it's a good decision. Good luck!

    IreneDAdler on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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    brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Yeah, you don't wanna be there for all that craziness when you call it quits.

    brandotheninjamaster on
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