LJ-style post: Advice on sending a note to my girlfriend

Hi all. I just wrote this, but haven’t sent it. I’m going to sit on it for a day or so, but wanted some input. The very brief back story is that I started seeing a girl this June. She was here for the summer working at the same place I was, but is finishing college this year in the Midwest. We both fell in love with each other, and have each visited the other in the past few months. She’s finishing school this May and is moving to the New England area at least, if not here to be with me (job dependent).

We talk on the phone occasionally, and on an IM regularly. Well, sort of regularly. Lately that’s been happening less frequently than it had, and I’ve been having a very challenging time keeping the relationship “active,” if that makes any sense. Anyway, I’m thinking of sending the following note; please tell me if anything in it is begging to be taken the wrong way. My intention is not to place blame or hurt her for the sake of hurting her. On the other hand, I want to be honest with how I’m feeling.


Hey babe.

I started to get some things off my chest the other night, but I didn’t really get to formulate exactly what I was thinking, and we didn’t really have much time to chat. I’ve been feeling pretty frustrated lately, and wanted to talk with you about it. I love you. This isn’t me being angry, and I know that the things I’m frustrated with are not things meant to hurt me. But, I don’t like feeling the way I do, and so need to talk it through with you. Basically it’s about how we communicate. Being as far apart as we are, it’s really easy to lose quality communication without an intentional effort. And, being far apart, intentional communication is (at least I think) a fundamental part of keeping a relationship active. I feel like we’re losing some of that intentional communication, and I’d like to get it back.

I try to stay up every night until 2:30-3 sometimes for the chance of getting to talk with you for a little bit. If I make it that long and if you happen to get online it’s pushing 4AM before I get to sleep. It feels like lately I’m talking with you later and later at night, or not at all more often than not. Chatting on IM is certainly no substitute for actual face-to-face, but as you pointed out the other day, texting is no substitute for chatting on IM, but I feel like it’s becomming a substitute. I have things I want to tell you about my day, or ask you about yours, and it’s hard to remember what those are when I’m falling asleep at 2:30, and even harder two or three days later if that much time goes by between conversations. It seems like often there’s just enough time for a brief summary of the past few days before one of us is ready for bed.

I have no idea what you’re doing, usually ever. I want to know about your day, interesting things that happen, boring things that happen, how rehearsals are going, what you’re doing in your free time. Anything really, because I’m interested in you. I feel like I might get one or two little details if I am persistant about asking, and otherwise the answer is, “class, rehearsal, hanging with Emily.” At any given time I probably have no picture in my head about what you’re doing, and I’d like to! It’s a challenge to be interested in your life when I get so few pieces of information about it. The big stuff isn’t all that matters to me. I want the small stuff too.

I try very hard to keep you abreast of what I’m doing and what I’m feeling. I tried to communicate that a little bit the other night (in my after 2AM pretty-tired mental state), and your answer was, basically, “don’t worry, I love you. I’m ready for bed goodnight” (at least that’s how it felt to me). I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt a little put-off by your response. Not that I didn’t believe you, and not that it wasn’t really late and probably time for bed, but it felt like I finally had a chance to talk to you for a bit after quite a few days, and needed to share something kind of important, and you brushed it off.

For the last four or five months I’d gotten to talk with you practically every night, and then once this semester started it’s gotten progressively rarer and rarer. I know you’re wicked busy and have a lot on your plate. Maybe I’m spoiled by the amount of time I got to spend talking with you in the fall. But, I feel like I’ve been pushed to a back burner, and am now the last person on your list of people to socialize with.

We’ve never really talked about setting up a plan for talking with each other; we kind of fell into a pattern in the fall that seemed to work for both of us. And, clearly that pattern has changed, which is fine; schedules change and so on. But, what it’s changing to is something that is really not working for me. I love you, and want to figure out a way that we can talk regularly that doesn’t leave me passing out in front of my computer at 2:30 in the morning every night of the week hoping I might get a chance to talk with you, which makes me start to feel kind of pathetic, but then I feel like if I didn’t I’d get to talk to you . . . who knows when?

So, that’s how I’ve been feeling the past week or so. I love you. I love getting a text or two from you during the day. I love knowing that you’re thinking about me. More than anything or anyone before I want to be with you, and for this to work. I remember talking this summer a bit about being about the moment more than being about the future. Well, for the moment I can’t be with you in person, and so the moment is lacking in a way that it never lacked before. I have to look to the future because that’s where you are. So, I start to live at least a part of my day in anticipation of getting to talk with you in the evening. When that hope doesn’t get realized it’s disappointing to say the least.

Anyway, that’s a lot I know. Maybe we can find some time in the next day or two to chat about it?

Again, I love you. Trust me, if you weren’t immensely important to me I wouldn’t bother to bring this up.


Hell, that’s a great letter! Not everyone…maybe not even most people…can coherently state what they want in a relationship when there are issues; without that clarity, things rarely get resolved.

I think you should send it. Heck, I might plaguerize it myself; I’m terrible at that kind of clarity.

I dunno, it’s honest, but it seems like you’re putting a bunch of things out on the table without offering any solutions. What’s implied behind that is that you have no solutions since you feel that it’s the other person’s fault, and their job to come up with the solutions.

I mean, it’s a crappy situation in general. This is from someone who until very recently did nothing but long-distance. If I’m reading between the lines of how you’re interpreting things correctly, it sounds like she’s pulling away from you a bit. This isn’t because she doesn’t care about you (more than likely), but because IME it’s rare for a LDR to continue at the same level of solidarity indefinitely. Not impossible, of course, but rare.

Maybe it’s been different for you, but in every single one of mine, the conversations began to feel like they were exactly the same thing after awhile. Not because nothing new was happening, but because without shared experience it takes more and more effort to get your point across. And if you’re both truly as busy as you say and you’re tired while you’re talking, it becomes more and more difficult to make that effort.

For example, let’s say that you were good friends with Emily before you moved to NE. If something funny came up while the 2 of them were hanging out, it’s easy to say something like “Oh, Emily tripped up the stairs, she’s such a klutz!” Since you know Emily well, you don’t need the BG info that goes along with that. But if you don’t know Emily at all, and your GF has to say, “You know my friend Emily? I’m always talking about what a klutz she is. Well today she really outdid herself-- she tripped UP the stairs!” That may be just as funny, but it takes a lot longer to get across. And that’s just for a simple example. When the shared experiences become less and less, practically everything you’re trying to communicate takes just that much extra effort.

I dunno, I guess I’m on a bit of a ramble about LDR’s in general, and off the topic of what you asked, or at least asked directly. If you feel like you can make this one work, go for it. Just trying to say that I’m reading some of the classic signs of what I’ve been through over and over, and that you might be better off trying some other tactic, like taking a break until you can be together or something.


Hmmm. Without knowing anything more than what you’ve told us, I’d advise pretty strongly against writing such a letter. First of all, it’s pretty clear to me that she knows how you feel about her. You don’t need to bend over backwards reassuring her. Second, and I know this is just speculation, but based on what you have said, including this sentence, “I’ve been having a very challenging time keeping the relationship ‘active’” – it appears to me that she is withdrawing. It’s not like she doesn’t realize or know that this is happening. If she really wanted to make time to talk or IM with you, believe me she would.

There may be various reasons she started to withdraw originally that have to do with you or not, but one thing that is the very most annoying to the withdrawer is when the withdrawee becomes more needy and clingy. This drives the withdrawer away further. What you need to do is pull WAY way back. Doing that is not a game, it’s not “not being honest,” it’s simply the only way that has the potential to result in her un-withdrawing. Honestly, for whatever reason, she is withdrawing and she knows it. She may have already decided it indeed was for "the moment’ and not the future, and that moment has passed; she may just be not that into you; she may have met someone else and not know how to tell you. A letter like this is nearly guaranteed to drive her away further. The one way that MIGHT get her to come closer is if you make yourelf a LOT scarcer. That might not work either, but I can almost guarantee you this letter is not going to do it.*

The way to pull back a bit is to continue to be nice but just slightly more aloof, be BUSY (truly; get a hobby, do a sport, have fun), be invisible on IM sometimes, develop your own interests, try to forget about her for a bit and not pine away after her every minute of the day, DO NOT lose all your good night’s sleep just waiting for the possible morsel she might throw you on IM. If she starts a conversation with you first on IM, then yeah maybe respond. Don’t be the first to start the conversation. If she sees you online and the conversation never happens, she didn’t want to talk to you. Do this for a couple weeks. If she still withdraws, you already know the answer. At that point you can send a much shorter message and say, “Looks like our moment has passed, huh, babe?” and see what she says. I’m sorry that it is looking a bit grim. :frowning: Love can really suck.
*Have you ever seen the web site/books/whatever that advocate the “cocky and funny” approach? It’s not all good, but there are some definite grains of truth in it. Women, generally speaking, like men who are confident/have their own busy lives/are not afraid to say something a little bit controversial once in awhile, especially if it makes them laugh.

This sounds emotional, sad and needy. Which is possibly how you are feeling right now. I’m just wondering if you need to go to this level of drama about this.

You could do a much shorter email along the lines of "Hey babe, I feel like we’re losing touch a bit. Would you be up for making some set times that we chat with each other that aren’t 2.30am? I could really use a decent night’s sleep! ;)’

It seems a bit like you’re dumping on her. It’s a lot of “you” statements and no suggestions for resolution. Perhaps setting up chat-dates; a scheduled time you’ll both be on to talk. Something like that. Propose a solution, or two, and if she’s willing to work on it, perhaps she’ll take you up on them.

That’s about the most needy, clingy… whatever post I’ve ever read, and especially so coming from a man. If I was a woman and received a begging, clingy post like that I would run as far and fast as I could in the other direction. People need to be able to live their own lives. Women like men who love them and care for them, but who are also are self reliant and (to be frank) can get along without them if they need to.

Long distance relationships are very difficult for people to sustain unless both are totally committed to the scenario. If I’m a woman it may be a kinda-sorta ego boost to know that someone is very sad not to be with me, but that man needs to be able to handle his own life. You are passive-aggressively unloading your angst on her. Unless you are bringing something else incredible to the table all you’re going to make her feel (IMO) is exhausted disgust with having to handle your neediness in addition to and all other other stuff in her life she’s got going on.

If you are going to send it, cut it way short. Like this:

And that’s IT.

Mods - is this OK? I changed the quote text but I also changed the attribution - it’s no longer his quote. if not, I’m sorry.

I like this. See if that works out all right, and if not, then it might be time for We Have to Talk.

I saw that you only talk on the phone occasionally, but this sounds to me like something that you should bring up on the phone, so I wonder whether you need any note at all. Also, on the phone, I think you’ll be less likely to repeat yourself. I would start out with proposing a time change first. If you start talking earlier on a regular basis, she may share more about what she’s doing without your having to bring up the issue directly.

Is there a reason for your communications to be late-night (she works, or has some other late-night commitment)? If not, why don’t you suggest a time that is a lot earlier, say 11 pm or possibly earlier, and that way if she’s a bit late, it’s still a reasonable time for a quality conversation.


Thanks everyone for talking me down :slight_smile:

I know that the whole thing sounds clingy, or whatever adjective you want to use, and as you say astro, part of why I’m hesitant to say any of this is that I don’t want to make talking with me seem less appealing or a chore. On the other hand, I can’t believe the solution to a situation is to not talk about it.

I agree though, that this is just too much, and is throwing a lot of stuff out there that’s not really necessary to resolve the situation. How does something more like this sound:


Hey. I’ve missed talking to you lately. How would you feel about planning some times to chat that are earlier than 2:30AM so I’m more likely to be awake? I miss you!


Because really most of what I wrote earlier distills down to this, I guess (thanks to those of you who suggested something more along these lines).

I should also add that I’m usually not this . . . needy-feeling in relationships, but this is the first time I’ve been in a long distance relationship, and am finding that a lot of feelings become amplified for me in this situation.

[twickster, moderator]
Yes, it’s fine.

[/twickster, moderator]

[twickster, normal poster]
Agree that the long version sounded really clingy – I’m glad you’ve managed to distill it down to the specific thing you want/need to communicate to her right now.

Hope things work out!

[/twickster, normal poster]

Why not treat yourselves to a phonecall. I assume you’re avoiding the cost, but surely once in a while it’s okay? I recognize it might require some prearrangement as you seem to have timing issues that need be addressed. But it all seems doable. Pick a time you’re both available and talk on the phone for an hour. It might solve all your issues and make you feel better about each of the things in your letter.

Sorry for the Hi-Jack but I just wanted to point out that Twickster’s “Normal Poster” tag is an Oxymoron.

And possibly a great band name.

That’s what I was going to say. Pick up the fucking phone, for fuck’s sake. If she’s that important to you, then spring for a phone call.

Honestly, a text only relationship doesn’t sound like much of a relationship to me. Fucking TALK to the girl, for fuck’s sake, but keep it simple. No long preamble, no whining. Quit sying “I love you” every ten seconds, that’s a turnoff, especially for something that was basically a summer fling. Maybe it it will end up being a lifelong thing, but too much L-word too soon sounds desperate and clingy. Tell her you want to talk more often, and more directly, and that you’ll pay the phone bills if necessary. Tell her you feel like things might be slipping apart a little bit (and guess what, they very well could be. The odds were against being able to sustain this indefinitely to begin with, and it sounds like it won’t really improve that much in any forseeable future), and ask her if she would be comfortable with phone calls at regular times. If she’s evasive or squirrely about that, take it as a sign.

To be honest, I think you should start making contingency plans. If a girl’s really into a guy, she doesn’t blow him off as much as this girl seems to be doing with you. I don’t want to be harsh, but it might just be over, bro. LDR’s are hard to keep going, especially when they’re as young as this one is. You might want to start looking around at the local fauna again. At least mentally prepare yourself for the possibility that she’s lost or is losing interest.

I think the advice here has been good, but I think you should keep in perspective that she’s in the midst of a huge transition, assuming that she’s a full-time student. Obviously job prospects are tough at the moment, and she has the added issue of possibly trying to find a job near you. On top of that, she’s facing leaving her familiar life behind – friends, activities, and even the town she’s used to. She might be pulling away because she’s simply got a lot on her plate at the moment, and she may be trying to figure out how your relationship does and should fit into the plan. I think you should reach out to her, but perhaps lower your expectations a bit and give her some room to sort things out. Good luck with everything.

Oh, and to those who have suggested preemptively pulling away as a method for sparking interest, or assuming that what’s happening on her end is a lack of interest in me and so I should expect this to be over soon . . . well, let’s say that I have been on occasion the guy who loses interest and let my attentions become more and more vague and detached, and I felt like a total ass while doing so. I’ve decided to not put myself in that position again where I’m going through motions or being vague about my feelings. And, I don’t think I could be in a relationship where I assumed that’s what was being done to me. I need to assume that it’s not about not being interested in me, because the alternative is to assume that she’s making stuff up and lying because she doesn’t have the balls to say otherwise, and I don’t think she’d play that kind of game.

You tell her you love her far too many times plus the thing is too long as so many people have said. Cut it down and set a time and date to call her; don’t tell her you love her on the phone; she already knows that and it might be time for you to show a little independence. If she is withdrawing, let it happen and get it over with----no point in dragging it out. You’ll get over it, I promise. Good luck.

I’d just skim-read the thread, but was thinking of advising you to cash in your savings, and spring for a quick week-end visit by airplane. That would express your interest, and her reaction might be very informative.

But yeah, you could just “splurge” on a phone call instead.