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Ask E. Jean for DearSugar: Am I an Over-Analyzer?

Dear E. Jean--

I'm 31, never been married and have no children. I’ve been in several serious, long relationships. One issue about myself came up in my last relationship: I question things. I was described as an over-analyzer of problems. And people say I jump the gun when calling it quits (after several years mind you) if I feel that down the road the problem(s) will continue or spur other issues. I agree with these comments. Why can’t I let a problem simply be just a problem without looking down the road at the possible future and all it may imply?

I don't want to be the woman that can’t see the forest for the trees, you know? I’m not an uptight, stuffy person; but this quality of over-scrutinizing everything is causing me to reconsider my thought processes in my current relationship. I want this one to work. He’s a wonderful man. We've been dating exclusively for 6 months now and one issue keeps rearing its ugly head:

When he goes out drinking with his buddies, as he has on four separate occasions, he’s forgotten to call when he says he will. Also he has not come over when he says he will. This is really our main cause for turmoil. We've talked a lot about a life together and marriage but with the issues that are brewing, it's bringing out that over-analyzing side of me again! Am I being realistic by evaluating our current situation and thinking about the possible future problems or am I sabotaging myself?

To see E. Jean's answer

Honey, Honey, Honey:

Just reading your letter sucked the energy right out of old E. Jean, and knocked the spectacles off DearSugar. You’ve got yourself a fully primed chap there -- a “wonderful man” -- and you’re botoxing your brain because he didn’t phone? Gah!

You call that having “issues?” You think that's “ugly?” That's what’s causing your “turmoil?”

Men are supposed to forget to call when they’re out having beers with their buddies. Come on. Let the lad alone, for gawd’s sakes! This is not about you “over-analyzing.” This is about you being wretched the rest of your life unless you lighten-up and stop trying to control boyfriends you can’t control.

P.S. Send me a note when you’ve gone one full week without expecting the poor fellow to be perfect, and I’ll take you out for pineapple martinis. We’ll have a good laugh when you forget to phone him.

To see more advice from E. Jean visit Elle Magazine and

Join The Conversation
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
Aw, I'm sorry to hear it. It sounds like the timing just wasn't right and there isn't usually a cure for that. You can't sit around waiting for him to grow up for 5 years. That said, you don't want to be with someone who says things to you like that he wants to marry you, have babies with you etc. without meaning it. That's horrible. I know people say these things in the throes of being "in love" but with the right one they won't be idle remarks that turn out to be untrue. Someone will come around who has the ACTIONS to back up the words! And you deserve that person. I am sure it's hard, but you will definitely get over this in time.
Daddisgrl Daddisgrl 9 years
You need a vacation. Go sit in a hot tub and lay on the beach. You also need to try to move forward or this will suck the life out of you. IMO, you were right to question things (maybe I'm an over analyzer?) because little things eventually turn to big things. It's very hard to live with the problems you had.. as I said, I know. We've come close to splitting a few times. How old is he?
mandy31 mandy31 9 years
well, an update about the situation: we actually ended it yesterday due to the fact that he's too young to settle down and feels like he didnt take a break after 1)ending the relationship with his X that he lived with 2)graduating from college. we met in such an unual circumstance that neither one of us was looking for anything, but found instead that we really liked each other and decided to go for it. Despite the age difference and "time to heal from the X". Things went along fine and then he ends it out of the blue. Just days before there was flowers, poetry, loving words and affection. I dont know what happened so quickly to change things but he said it wasn't anything i did. it was his need to be himself and experience life. He kept saying "i wish i had met you 5 years later" any advice now? im devistated to say the least. i mean, this guy said he wanted to marry me, have children with me and that he had found everything that he ever wanted in me. how can that be true if he can walk away from me?? he said it was hard on him as well, but we all know its a hell of a lot easier on the one doing the breaking up. any advice would help
VixenMJ VixenMJ 9 years
Agreed. Men are supposed to forget to call. And women are supposed nag them to remember. It's the birds and the bees, my dear. That's just how it works.
Brittney Brittney 9 years
Four times in six months! The lad is no Lindsay Lohan. E. Jean is right on!
missmaddie missmaddie 9 years
Eloquent and oh-so-true... I can only imagine how terrible my relationship with Mr. Maddie would be if he threw a fit over phone calls... I abhore the phone!
mandy31 mandy31 10 years
Thank you so much for all your help you guys! I have since decided to lighten up, and specify the "nights out with the guys" as just that. A night out with the guys. I dont expect to see him on those nights and it has helped clear up alot of those issues. If I DO see him great, but its not expected. I also need to clarify that he has asked me to attend all of these outtings and for some reason or another I havent been able to go to most. But he always invites me. Things have been great since Ive given him some room and he's been the one bringing up our future, as in, marriage and kids. He wants to support me, and raise a family with me. He really is a wonderful man. Oh, and I dont know if this had any bearing on the situation, but Ive been going out too. Im not sitting at home waiting for a call (which I never was in the first place, but when you are expecting a call and it doesn't come you may as well be no matter if you are out with friends or not) I just wanted to express my thanks for everyone who has let me and my problems into your lives and have so graciously offered advice. You've all really helped me! Muah!!
Eternity Eternity 10 years
I want to address the over-analyzing thing, because that is really the problem she is worried about, not so much the catalyst of his drunken forgetfulness (which is typical in my opinion). Over analyzing WILL cause problems. Think about why you do it. It is born of a fear mechanism. The more you fear a certain outcome and then try to analyze everything to get the probability of it coming to that end, the more you are actually creating the reality you don't want. When I read your letter it struck a chord with me because we are so much alike in this situation currently. My best advice to you is to just let go, be in love, and TRUST the world to give you what you need. Que Sera Sera :)
partysugar partysugar 10 years
Pineapple martinis sounds like a fabulous idea E.Jean!
nessabum nessabum 10 years
the phoning part--yeesh, things happen. i mean, i boil up inside when my guy doesn't, but he always has a really good reason not to. and the not coming over part--what?? i don't think that all the details are there for me to say anything else, really.
Muirnea Muirnea 10 years
ohh and to add a little to my last one, if talking about it like I said doesn't work, then I agree with pop and I think you should find someone that really wants to help your realtionship grow and tries to also understand where you are coming from.
Muirnea Muirnea 10 years
I agree with pop. I think I am the same way (an over analyzer), even about tiny little things with my bf. What happens to me is I get upset about something, am in a bad mood, and when I finally talk to my bf about the problem, we end up getting in a fight. In some cases though, he agrees that I am right, and he tries not to do that thing that upset me in that case. Rather than just talking to him about the individual problems though, I finally told him that I thought I have a problem over analyzing things and he said that in some cases he agreed, so we had a huge conversation about it and we agreed that he will help me stop over analying things, and he asked me to help him notice when he does or doesn't do one of the little things that bothers me and to just make sure I tell him about it, just so he knows. So pretty much, instead of discussing the individual problems every time one of them comes up, we are getting to the root of the problems and the great part is, that we both understand that we are not perfect and have our problems and we are both trying to help each other get better. It just made me feel so much better to know that he understands that I am also not perfect (although he insists I am sometimes, lol :-P) and that he will help me. So although I love this website soooooooooo much and it is so helpful, I think that instead of only talking to your bf about how you wish he would call, also tell him everything that you told us on here, that way maybe both of you will understand better and be able to help each other with your problems.
Vdogg Vdogg 10 years
4 separate occasions?? That's the one that sticks out most in my mind.. 4 times is nothing!!! over the course of 6 months. That means within the 6 months you've been together he's been out with his friends 4 times? Think about it this way.. his buddies are probably teasing him about this new homebody lifestyle he's taken on.. & so when he's with them he doesn't wanna be the guy who's constantly on the phone with his gf or leaving his friends early because he told you too if they're still partying. If he stops seeing his friends, then he won't have any. Which would make it hard on you too, because you'd feel guilty going out with yours when you know he's sitting at home! I think that if you want to have a social life, you need to let him have his own. If you ask him to drop his friends: A) it won't happen, & B) it'll only drive a wedge between you two It's perfectly normal to forget things when you're drinking.. especailly when you have months of catching up to do like your boyfriend does every time he sees his friends!
vanyvrgs vanyvrgs 10 years
I agree with pop and lickety. If you do not like it that is your prerogative. I do not know about just 4 times but am more concerned about him saying he is coming over and not showing up. What is his excuse? How many times? When a guy does that to me and we have plans, I automatically kick him to the curb. It shows disrespect and disregard for the other person. Maybe this is what really upsets you and the calls are just a symptom of the disregard for your feelings.
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
if it's a problem for YOU it doesn't matter what other people think about "mr wonderful". what if you never get married; so what? better single than married to someone who has habits that you know going into the marriage REALLY bother you. single does not mean alone, it just means not married; that's it. all the things you want to do it life you can do with out being married. i think you need to get over the idea of "needing" a man or a relationship. relationships are work and the other person is going to do things you don't like, but going in you need to be confident that they are capable of being the person you need them to be. if they aren't why commit to a lifetime of that? 31 isn't old to be single. if you want to put it in those terms (which i don't really like doing) i would say 41 is old to be single. and then only if the person wanted to have biological children. and btw, when a person tells me they are going to do something i think it's reasonable to expect them to do it (like calling).
Marci Marci 10 years
I disagree with E. Jean here. She never even addressed the issue of the guy not coming over when he says he will. I think the combination of that and the not calling are symptoms that he's not as into the relationship as you are or you think/hope he is. The habit of not doing what one says they will isn't behavior I want in a lifetime partner.
Daddisgrl Daddisgrl 10 years
If pop is right and there is that big of an age gap, I think you might need to realize he's not mature enough... I don't buy the teasing bit. At my age we don't tease about people calling their spouse or GF / BF, it stops some time in the 20's from what I remember.
whiskeyrogue whiskeyrogue 10 years
better alone than badly accompanied.
bugness bugness 10 years
pop, you managed to say what I was trying to say but drastically failed at haha. it reminds me of the book, "he's just not that into you." i'm not saying he's not into you. but one of the points in the book is about wanting what you deserve and not settling for the lame excuses that all guys just get away with.
auddie auddie 10 years
When he doesn't come over when he said he would, did you have definite plans or was it a maybe-I'll-stop-by situation? There's a difference there. Also, as the only girl in a group of guys at the bar on many occasions, calling your gf or wife is definitely a way to get teased for the rest of the night (I'll even tease my guys about how whipped they are). Maybe he doesn't want to get harrassed by his friends. Or maybe he just doesn't see why he should need to check in with you when you know he's out with the guys. Think about it from his perspective. Not everyone is big on constant phone contact. If he's out for the night with just the guys, he might prefer to have that time to himself.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
I disagree with E. Jean. Honestly, if this is a behavior you really don't like, that is your prerogative. If you would prefer to marry someone who doesn't go out drinking until odd hours and doesn't pick up the phone, that doesn't make you a control freak. His behavior isn't exactly trust inspiring. I think it's a simple matter of respect to be home when you say you will be, or to call and say you'll be late. It's not a control issue, it's an issue of wanting someone to be polite and realizing that someone out there might be worried about you. If you talk to him about it and he doesn't change, then that shows a lack of being willing to compromise on his part. After all, you aren't asking him to NOT go out. You are simply asking him to be polite, which really isn't too much to ask of another person. Also, give this some more time. I remember another post of yours, and if you are 31 and he's 23, then talking about marriage after 6 months might be a bit premature. Just let him be who he is, and then decide if you want to be with that person for the rest of his life. And, don't let a big romantic coincidental meeting be a basis for a relationship. Sure, it was funny circumstances in which you met, but if you guys aren't really compatible it doesn't matter how you met. (I know this from another post.)
hills hills 10 years
i think u have to think to urself are these situations u say are problems really worth the hassle and that big of a deal, so he went out with his friends and didnt call, he proberly just either forgot or just wanted to spend times with his m8s which what he inteneded to do by going out, u dont want to scare him off by being clingy. i agree with E. jean lighten up on ur relashionship and enjoy it, these are really really minor problems
DanaBana DanaBana 10 years
Yes, i think i have to agree with E. Jean on this one. Forgetting to call here and there is not the end of the world in a relationship. Something like that can be brushed off easily, it just depends on how easy going the person is that's brushing it off. Now, if this "forgetting to phone" was happening EVERY time he was supposed to "check in", then i think it's reason for concern. Otherwise, i'd say cut him some slack and go a littler easier on him.
AmazonChick AmazonChick 10 years
I have to say that I agree with E. Jean on this one. Whole-heartedly. If you've been together 6 months, he's gone out with the boys drinking 4 times in that 6 months, and he's forgotten to call when he's been out - that's 4 calls in 6 months. And plus, if you're worried about him, the phone works both ways! Text him 'having a good night? :)' or something just to make sure he's ok. I mean would you really want someone who called you 3 or 4 or 5 times a day? That would drive me insane! I always think part of the good stuff is missing the person you're seeing, so that you're so happy to see them. If you miss them, then it's a treat when you do see them!
ALSW ALSW 10 years
Forgetting to call on four occasions? No big deal in my opinion. I'm an uber-organized person and even I occasionally forget to call or do things that I said that I would. It happens. Him not coming over when he said he would? Again, is this once or twice? Often? Personally, these don't sound like insurmountable problems and definitely no reason to kick him to the curb if he's such a wonderful guy otherwise.
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