Dear Dr. Love,I was curious on an issue that i’ve have been fighting fora while. Everyone in my family says that i spend too much time with my girlfriend, and everyone in her family says that I should be spending all the time i can with her (so that i can get to know her).Well we have been going out almost a year and my family feels as if they are neglected. I do not feel that i can go out of town for the weekend with my parents like i used to because she cannot go at that time.Is it bad that i still want to go and let her have the weekend to herself. I Love her to death, but sometimes i think that i need to go and be with my family, or just with the guys.My brother who is married says that it is good to have to have time to do guy things with other guys and her not have to be there. But somehow she doesn’t seem to understand that.Am i in a bad situation?Thanks.
You are in a tricky situation, which could get ugly. In many ways your situation reminds me of the ancient torture in which a person’s limbs were torn off by horses pulling in opposite directions. . . not a pretty picture. You, too, are being pulled apart.Your family wants your time and guilt trips you when you want to spend time with your girl. Your girl guilt trips you when you want to spend time with your family or guy friends. Every one wants a piece of you, but what I haven’t heard is what you want.The first thing you need to do is forget what everyone is telling you about what’s right and ask yourself what feels right for you. If it feels right for you to spend more time with your new girlfriend and less time with friends or family, then that ‘s what’s right. If it feels right for you to spend more time with family and friends and less with her, then that ‘s what is right for you.Once you are clear on what you want, then you are going to have to be honest with her and see if you can work out a compromise that suits you both. The key is to listen to her wishes and try to be as responsive as you can without violating yourself.Keep in mind that her wish to be with you all the time may conceal other feelings that aren’t being discussed. For example, she may feel insecure in your love and she may be clinging to you in the hope that this will make her feel more convinced that you care. If this is true, then words of love and reassurance may put her at ease and make her feel more comfortable to give you more room.It is also possible that this girl has ‘issues’ that predate your relationship. If, for example, she was abandoned or felt unloved or rejected as a young child, then that could explain why she might be clinging to you, in order to fill a void inside herself and/or to try to smother her fear of abandonment.The more you talk, the more you will have a sense of where her clinginess comes from. When you have a clearer picture, you will know the right thing to say to ease her mind. It is very rare for two people to have the exact same need for time apart and time together.Couples who are happiest share similar ‘space’ needs. There is always the chance that this girl’s need to be with you isn’t due to unresolved childhood wounds, but simply a sign that you two are too different. If this girl wants to be with you 24/7 and you don’t, then you are in for trouble.Let’s not assume that this is a case of incompatibility until we exhaust all the other options which include: examining whether her clinginess is due to unhealed childhood wounds; and your giving her the reassurances and other emotional communications she needs.