Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Girlfriend Doesn't Prioritize Intense Conversation

DEAR HARRIETTE: My girlfriend and I have been going through it the past few months. We love each other, but we have not been getting along. I am a talker, and I want to work with her to talk things out. The other day, I was having an intense conversation with her about feelings, and in the middle of that conversation, she got a phone call from a friend. She excused herself and got off the phone with me to chitchat with her friend, then didn’t call me back for an hour.

How can I explain what’s wrong with that in a way that she can hear? It’s not about not talking to the friend but about prioritizing the discussion about our relationship. We were right in the middle of a heated conversation when she jumped off. I thought that was incredibly rude. -- Need to Talk

DEAR NEED TO TALK: I wonder how often you and your girlfriend have been having these “intense” conversations. It is odd that she would jump off of your call to “chitchat” with her friend. She knew that would upset you. Chances are, she does not want to talk, is worn out by talking or feels at a standstill about the success of your conversations. Her shifting to “chitchat” with her friend suggests that she did not want to continue to conversation. Your hurt feelings about how long it took for her to call you back further emphasize how unappealing the idea of continuing the conversation is for her.

You need to adopt a different approach. If talking to you about your relationship becomes something she dreads, I fear the talks will stop. You need to figure out what she wants in this relationship. Do your best to get her to tell you what her ideal relationship with you looks like. Then compare notes. If there is a meeting of the minds, you have a chance of success. I highly recommend that you get a professional therapist to help guide your discussions.