The help desk: My 'casual' girlfriend wants more. How do I get out of the relationship?
Q. A year ago, I broke up with my girlfriend of two years. Since then, I've had a few dates, but nothing serious. Recently, there's a woman I've been out with a few times. We saw each other perhaps a dozen times over a few months, but it was fairly casual.
As we got to know each other, it became obvious that we didn't have much in common and I told her I didn't feel ready for a serious relationship (which is true) and that I didn't really see our relationship going anywhere. She seemed fine with this.
The problem is that she now keeps texting me, often asking me when we're meeting. She gets upset when I don't reply instantly. She pressures me to meet, but last time we did, though she seemed happy at first, she soon became upset and seemed angry with me. She also keeps trying to befriend my friends online. I feel guilty, but surely I've done nothing wrong. How did I get into this – and how do I get out of it?
A. I'm so used to hearing this problem from the opposite point of view – that of the lovelorn sender of texts, wretched and furious about being "toyed with" – that it's actually rather instructive to hear it from the other side. I agree that you shouldn't have to feel guilty. You believed you were having a casual relationship, a bit of sex and company but nothing serious. She, meanwhile, was possibly steeling herself to meet the parents and mentally lining up a relaxing fortnight in Turkey for the two of you next summer.
There is a large cohort of people – many of them female people – for whom the phrase casual relationship would seem tautological. But I think most women who have fairly regular sex with the same person for a period of months believe themselves to be in a relationship. They might not feel confident it will last, but they would consider it to be ongoing unless informed otherwise. You'd do well to remember this in future.
The befriending of your friends does sound a bit creepy and I wonder if she's the sort who becomes slightly obsessive as men become more distant. I know some people who do this repeatedly. They tend to say they only fall for "bad guys", but often it's that they fall hardest for those who just aren't that into them – or they frighten off lovers with their intensity before things have had a chance to get going.
What it comes down to is that there are some who need to know exactly where a romance is going and how to define it, and others who are happier to see which way the wind blows. The former are often perfectionist types, inclined to interpret the outcome as a judgement of their all-round worthiness, so feelings run high.
So where did you go wrong? Your mistakes were, first, not to acknowledge that you were in a relationship; and second, not to say clearly that you wanted to end it. That's what you need to do now. This will hurt her, so treat it as an important task. Then stop seeing her, as any meeting between you will muddy the waters, and you can never give her what she wants and vice versa.
Your problem shared
Have a dilemma? Email your predicament no matter how big or small, to Louisa at email@example.com
Life & Style blogs
Jennifer Lawrence nude pictures leaked: Reddit removes 'The Fappening' board dedicated to sharing naked pictures of celebrities
iPhone 'Wave': iOS 8 hoax claims you can charge your iPhone in the microwave - you can't
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
From Topshop to Burberry, London Fashion Week spring/summer 2015: Distraction could not disguise a distinct lack of focus
Exclusive interview with Jourdan Dunn: Mother, one of the world's best-paid models and ambassador for sickle-cell disease
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
- 1 All Blacks Aaron Cruden misses New Zealand flight after drinking session, has brilliant excuse
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': TV reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 Clothes store Joy angers mental health campaigners with Twitter exchange on bipolar disorders
- 5 Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...
£90 - £115 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: We are currently looking fo...
£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Job Share Year 3/4 Teacher...