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Italy is no excuse not to call!

My fiancée is on the trip of a lifetime with her family. We should still speak twice a day, right?

Er… no, says our elder. Dial down your possessiveness right now.

Dear EWC

My fiancée (24) and I (26) have been together for five years. I moved from my hometown in Arizona to live with her in California. I have lived with her in California for four years. My fiancée’s father planned a trip to Italy for her, her brother, and himself. The trip lasts for about three weeks and has overlapped our five year anniversary. I really didn’t want her to go for so long, and especially on such an important day, but she wanted to visit her family that she’s never met. Before her trip, we made an agreement that we’d talk every day. During the trip there was a day she didn’t call me, or “didn’t get the chance to talk”. Upset, I still understood, and we made a deal then to talk twice per day. She tried to say we’d talk twice per day for 30 minutes each. I told her I didn’t want broken promises and so she agreed to 20 minutes, giving her more wiggle room. 

My fiancée got sick yesterday and I woke up without a message from her. I texted and called her with no response. Her brother then texted me to let me know that she had been sick all day, throwing up, she was in bed and the hotel doorman was checking on her. I texted him back a couple of times and he chose not to respond. She has insurance that works in Italy and I begged her father and her brother to please bring her to the ER if she’s been sick for an entire day. Come to find out, not even an hour later, (her brother made her contact me) she had actually been in the ER without them letting me, or even her mother know. I’m upset that I wasn’t told. But I left the situation alone after stating my opinion once to keep her from feeling even sicker. I gave her space for that day and now, I have been ghosted all day today. My fiance and I texted a little bit, but she chose not to call me. When I told her I couldn’t text anymore because I’m driving, that gave her ample opportunity to call me. She knows that I can talk on the phone in the car because of Bluetooth. At this point, I am beyond frustrated with the lack of effort she’s putting into our relationship. The way I see it is just because you’re in another country doesn’t mean you can’t still nurture our relationship. We are on exact opposite times, so she can call me in her morning when I’m going to bed here and can call me in her night when it’s daytime here. A phone call before bed, no? Am I overreacting? I feel like I’m not important, and she doesn’t put me first the way I put her. She comes back in six days, and I’m just not sure how to even react right now, or how to even feel. 

Nick replies

Since you are 26, in a long-term relationship and you need an answer ASAP because she’s on a trip of a lifetime right now, I’m going to be concise and blunt.

Your relationship is in trouble. It’s not in trouble because of her being away for three weeks with her dad and brother. It’s not in trouble because she skips some agreed-to texting/call times. It’s not in trouble because her dad and brother failed to notify you immediately that she was in the hospital. It’s not in trouble because she’s missing a five-year anniversary in your relationship. It’s in trouble because of your insecurities bordering on possessiveness and you’re blowing these things way out of proportion.

Before you go off like a firecracker, please hear me out.

Most couples spend time apart these days if they have the financial wherewithal to do so. Many couples counselors even advise that they do for two reasons: it gives them a break from each other so that they can refresh their commitment to each other (keeping it from becoming routine and stale where they otherwise take each other for granted) and because it strengthens the trust between the couple.

There is no way that a three-week gift of traveling with her dad and brother to Italy to visit the home of her ancestors, is on the same par as skipping the entire trip for a five-year anniversary night out. Expecting her to do so and making an issue out of her not doing so, is out of whack. The trip and the anniversary are not equal. The gracious thing to have done would be for you to have arranged to celebrate it when she returns. Hell, today, couples miss these milestones rather frequently because one partner is out of town for work or deployed overseas in the military or government service. If you are secure in your relationship, you roll with the punches.

I don’t know if you have ever had the privilege of traveling overseas and have found yourself in a different time zone while on vacation. I have. I can tell you that it’s next to impossible to abide by such restrictions as texting or calling twice a day when you are away. She’s not just on a different time schedule than you. She’s also on a vacation and can’t simply break away from her dad and brother or whatever activity they are doing, to be available (and often near a wifi site) to text or call. For her to do so, you really are demanding that she stops whatever she is doing, bends everyone else’s agenda to hers, so she can reassure you she’s still in a relationship with you. This is something she never should have agreed to and you never should have expected or demanded she does.

The hospital event and how her dad and brother handled it, seems quite reasonable to me. First of all, they were focused on her wellbeing. Secondly, there was absolutely nothing you or her mother could do from the States that they already weren’t doing. Thirdly, there was no reason to contact you until they had some actual medical information to share with you. I’ve been with a number of people in a medical emergency. In order to avoid drawn-out conversations and annoying calls/texts for updates, you wait until you have actual medical information to share and then start calling people. It seems that is what they did.

You ask, “Am I overreacting?” You are way overreacting. If you are secure in the relationship and if you trust her (btw, if after five years you aren’t secure, still have to be reassured and don’t yet trust her whether she’s in contact with you or not, then there is something majorly wrong with your relationship tbh), then you don’t need a reassuring phone call or to be intruding in whatever she is up to during her three weeks away.

If I were in your flip flops, I would work on becoming more secure about the relationship while she is away. I would begin with the next time she texts you or calls you. I would begin by saying, “Look I’m beginning to realize it’s not really possible for you to contact me twice a day and not always possible for you to do so before I go to sleep each night. I love you and love hearing from you. I want you to have a tremendous time, look forward to seeing you when you return and hearing from you whenever you can contact me while you are away. Let’s forget about our twice a day agreement because it’s getting in the way of our love for each other.”

You are right about one thing and I refer to “she doesn’t put me first the way I put her...” Nor should she. You see, when you are in love with someone, you need not put them first all the time. You know your love is solid and therefore accept that at different times in your life and in her life, there will be times when it is wrong to put each other first. For example, a soldier on the battlefield better be putting her fellow comrades first instead of her boyfriend/husband back home. Your girlfriend’s spectacular trip to Italy with her dad and brother is another time when she should not be primarily focused on you back home (and making sure you are secure in the relationship) but rather on making this a trip of a lifetime for them. It’s how a healthy relationship works.

I said I would be blunt and concise. I don’t think I was as concise as I intended but I hope I have helped you see this from a different perspective and also see that you need to be more trusting and more secure in your relationship or you will end up becoming possessive and suffocating the love and life out of it, whether she is in Italy or back home with you. 

If you have additional questions on this, shoot me a follow-up. Otherwise, try to loosen up, work on becoming more secure, and for goodness sake, free her up from the draconian demands of being in touch so much and huffing and puffing when she isn’t.

Letter #: 445614

Category: Dating/Relationship

2 Comments

  1. I love your answer. When I read the letter I found myself hoping the girl would write in about this issue and you would tell her to run from this guy.

  2. It seems as if she has a few lessons to learn, this does not mean she’s a bad person but simply doesn’t know some things.
    I have been through this too and I’m thinking of how it was for me and wondering….
    I have been hurt alot saw being with and having regular contact with my friends as a way to not feel the pain, even if only for a short time.
    If this is the problem she needs to learn not to expect that from any person as they never full it.
    And that people have their own life outside of the relationship. People do not spent all day on their phones they have other things to do and it can get very annoying receiving message after messages. Try limiting the amount of messages without a reply mine is three, and I always make them as short as possible which gives me time to proofread them, you don’t want to hurt them.
    If she continues on the same patterns she has been the friend might end the relationship.
    Goodluck

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