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Military maneuvering (8 comments)

Military maneuvering

Monday, June 09, 2008 - 05:06 PM

A reader writes... I've been in the military for seven years and just recently broke up with my girlfriend, whom I've been dating for three years. Recent stress on both sides caused us to argue and fight over the most minute situations. I never showed her my anger until now. She couldn't take it and left me. She would not answer my calls, texts, or e-mails. Finally, I agreed we could just be friends, but I am scared. If we are just friends she will continue on with her life. I don't think she will come back to me on her own. If I pressure her I may drive her even further away. All I know is I need and want her. I want to marry her and raise a family. The worst part is, even if we get back together, we will still be apart for the remaining three years I have left in the military. I am scared what may happen until then.
Murgatroyd
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Re: Military maneuvering (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, June 10, 2008 - 04:19 AM (#43211)

Bad situation, guy. You have my sympathy.

My suggestions:

* Remember that there are some things in life that you may want but aren't destined to have. Sometimes you know what these are going to be, and sometimes you don't.

* You're right -- if you pressure her, you almost certainly will drive her further away. Believe it.

* If you got back together with her now, you'd still be subject to the same stresses for the next three years -- you'd probably just fight and lose her again.

* Consider that the best thing might be to remain friends with this woman, and then when your hitch is up you can try starting over again, but without the stresses that derailed your relationship. Do things with her -- non-romantic things especially -- whenever you can, and stay a part of her life.

* Make sure that you tell her -- and show her -- that you value her as a friend, so (1) you don't drift apart, and (2) you have that basis for re-starting the relationship. I'm sure she'll be aware that you still want her as a lover, but keep things low key. Above all, don't get angry if she tries dating other people -- I guarantee that this will drive her away.

* Consider dating other people, too. Contrary to the way things might seem right now, there actually are other women on this planet who are just as well suited for you as the one you're pining for. Bonus: If you keep this woman as a friend, she might come to realize that she doesn't want to lose you. (But be cool -- don't throw the other women that you're dating in her face.)

* Remember that these suggestions might not work. Believe it or not, life goes on anyway.

Good luck!


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Threesome
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Re: Military maneuvering (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, June 10, 2008 - 05:04 AM (#43212)

Okay, I am reading between the lines here.

You never showed her your anger until now - and she could not take it.

What do you mean by "showing her your anger" ? You told her off sternly ? You screamed at her ? You slapped her around ? You tried to strangle her ? You threw a TV at her, followed by the fridge ?

Given that you used to fight a lot about the most minute things, "showing her your anger" must have been something else. So, my interpretation of this is that she did not leave you because of the fighting, but because you did something to destroy her trust in you. Maybe she started to fear you.

Her refusal to have any contact with you suggests to me that she was serious about not having you back in her life.

You finally agreed to just being friends ? How did you agree to that ? If she did not respond to your attempts of communication ?

You made one prediction - that she will not come back to you on her own. If this is so - why do you want to be with her ? If she won't come back to you on her own, why should she stay with you on her own ? Either someone wants to be with you, or doesn't. If they don't - they don't. You can't make them.

It occurs to me that you might also benefit from counselling or therapy. I know what being in the army does to you, and these fights might very well be a result of suppressed trauma. Get help. If you get better she might want to come back to you. Or she might not, but you'd still be better, so it's a win-win situation.


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TheOriginalJes
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Re: Military maneuvering (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, June 10, 2008 - 11:00 AM (#43217)

Murgatroyd and Threesome have the advice for your present situation pretty well covered.

So I'd like to suggest you take just a quick glance at your future.

In another three years, that will be 10 years you've spent in the military. Once you get out, there may be a huge adjustment period for you. Granted, I've never served (thank you, btw); but I have friends/co-workers who did. The one thing I do know is that military service changes how you relate to the world, not how the world relates to you. You just may not feel the difference.

My point is, that once you make your adjustments, you may find that she wasn't meant for a civilian life the way you wanted it, or thought you wanted it. Three years from now, your life options may be different from what you see before you now.

Also, in my opinion, the worst part about a split in a relationship is losing one's closet friend. Not everyone would agree that friendship is more important than commitment. But, the way I see it, preserving your friendship will preserve the opportunity for a future, whatever it's supposed to be.

On a side note- If you're concerned that she won't come back to you on her own; shouldn't that tell you something? If you see her as something to be possessed, then you might have a problem with most women these days.


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markdf
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Re: Military maneuvering (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, June 10, 2008 - 12:45 PM (#43222)
In Response to TheOriginalJes (#43217):

You should at least try to get her back. If she's that important to you, it's worth the attempt.

The fact is, there are some women that will leave a guy as, like, a test. Then they judge him based on what he does next.

Just remember though, there's a fine line between trying to win a girl back, and stalking her. Be sure not to cross that line.

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Murgatroyd
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Re: Military maneuvering (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, June 10, 2008 - 11:20 PM (#43237)
In Response to markdf (#43222):

markdf wrote:

You should at least try to get her back. If she's that important to you, it's worth the attempt.

Oh my. I disagree! He shouldn't try to get her back -- at least for the next couple of years -- for two big reasons:

* He seems to have made a promise.

* Even if he got her back, they'd still be subject to the same pressures and they'd end up fighting again.

The fact is, there are some women that will leave a guy as, like, a test. Then they judge him based on what he does next.

It really doesn't sound like that's the case here. She apparently broke up with him for cause. If I were her, I'd judge him by whether he does what he said he'd do.

Just remember though, there's a fine line between trying to win a girl back, and stalking her. Be sure not to cross that line.

If he goes back on his word and starts trying to woo her again, I think she'll take it badly and might even regard it as stalking.


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TheOriginalJes
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Re: Military maneuvering (Score: 1)
posted Wednesday, June 11, 2008 - 11:10 AM (#43247)
In Response to Murgatroyd (#43237):

In response to Murgatroyd (I'm probably just splitting hairs, here...)

--"If he goes back on his word and starts trying to woo her again, I think she'll take it badly and might even regard it as stalking."--

That's not necessarily the case. She might want him back (but, I doubt it).

Every girl (not woman - with respect to maturity level) I've met seems to judge every man's words/actions based on her level of attraction for him.

For example - If she isn't into the guy, a simple "hello" will can receive a kurt reply.

But, if she's really into him; even outrageous abuse gets excused for great lengths of time. Not because he deserves the benefit of the doubt. But, because she feels that will lead towards her getting what she wants.

Whereas the typical young male fault in these respects is, "why don't you see things my way?"

To Poster - You, however, may not be able to risk the possibility that she [might] want you back. If you're wrong, your next "love letter" might be returned to you escorted by the MP's


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absurdman
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Re: Military maneuvering (Score: 1)
posted Wednesday, June 11, 2008 - 06:08 PM (#43252)

Dude, first off, thanks for serving your country and good luck. Everyday I click on a keyboard I think... cool, people aren't shooting at me!

  But about the girl: Yep, it's a sucky deal but you're not going to convince anyone to be with you. They either will or won't and you can't force them. You may be able to trick her into hanging around for a while but if she can't deal with you (as you) it's over, rover.

  Maybe you've got anger issues, maybe not, but if she thinks you do (and she can't/won't deal) ferget about it. Be friends, that's cool but don't wait for her. Live your life to the fullest and if she wants to try and keep up with you (AS YOU), excellent.

   Finally, don't forget: plenty of fish in the sea, chicks in the bush, errr... gonna stop this analogy now.
Good luck and MOVE ON.


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anonymous
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Re: Military maneuvering (Score: 1)
posted Wednesday, June 11, 2008 - 08:11 PM (#43253)

It seems to me that one of the biggest problems you mentioned is perhaps the most difficult one to do anything about-- the distance without regular face-to-face time. So the relationship is sustained through calls, texts, emails, letters, etc. Now that she is not answering you, you're experiencing girlfriend withdrawal.

Maybe those little conversations and messages gave you something to look forward to once you got out of the military. Now that communication has been cut off, it seems like your future has been cut off. Either way, things may change once you get out in three years. Life has a strange way of working in circular fashion. During some time 'away' from conversing with you, she might do some reflection on her own. You never know.

If it was meant to be, it would be. You can't force something if it just isn't right. Also, lots of ex-girlfriends use the 'just be friends' line, it has become a major cliche. How can we be friends with an ex after basically telling someone, I can't stand to be in a relationship with you anymore? It seems to me that once you go the romantic route, and things go sour, it is very difficult to 'just be friends'. There's a great deal of history there, and at least one person didn't actually want to 'just be friends'.

I'd caution against pressuring her. Use this time to focus on building friendships within your unit and your company. Start cruising some online dating sites (there are literally thousands of women who LOVE men in the military).

Essentially you want to restore within yourself a sense of hope that there is life after the military.

At the same time, don't get so sidetracked on this that you put your safety at risk. I know you need her and want her. I know this is emotionally painful for you. Hang in there, and never give up hope.


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