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Ask E. Jean for DearSugar: Is There Just too Much Pressure to Make it Work?

Dear E. Jean--

My girlfriend and I have been together nearly a year now. I enjoy spending almost every minute with her, however sometimes we get into pretty heated battles and say things neither of us really mean. When it gets to that point I begin to lose interest in hanging out because, frankly, I'm tired of fighting. It always ends up being my fault in her eyes.

I’m tired of taking the blame.

Two months ago we chose to move in together. We searched for apartments, found one we liked, and put a deposit down. About three weeks before we were supposed to move, I got cold feet and backed out. I understand that it put her in a very tight position because she had to find another place to live.

The reason I made this decision was because I care about her so much that I didn’t want to risk ruining us. I wanted to give us more time and see if we could both be on level ground. Unfortunately she did not take it that way. Nor did she give me the chance to explain myself. She took it as me being “mean,” “afraid of commitment,” and that I did “not care” for her whatsoever.

So we ended-up cooling our jets. Then we talked things out and got back together. It lasted for a week, then she started into me again about how I “won't step up to the plate” and how I’m “afraid of commitment.” It almost seems to me like since I didn’t move in with her, she thinks I don't love her or care for her. It seems I have to do everything peachy, or she’ll call me out. We have only been dating a year. That’s a lot of pressure. I just need some advice, what am I missing?

To see E. Jean's answer


Of course the woman’s irked. You must be the most lovable cad in the country because I’m stunned -- stunned! -- she’s still speaking to you. You made a deal to move-in together. The girl was gaga in love, probably half-crazed with happy plans for the new apartment -- where to put the couch, whether to paint the kitchen walls Cookie Dough Cream or Cappuccino Cosmico -- then, Boom!
You welch.
But Auntie Eeee, oddly, is on your side in this. You sound like a decent, semi-thoughtful guy -- an all-round bloke who’s simply fed-up to here with a pugnacious young lady who’s blaming you for everything.

I’m not saying she’s a total shrew (she has good reasons for blasting you about backing-out of the deal), but, come on. Many men would think twice about pledging eternal love to a woman who “calls them out” constantly. You possess a brain in half-bright working order -- use it. Treat her to dinner and $14 apple martinis, and tell her:

I love you. I love spending almost every minute with you. When things are good with us, they are very, very good. And, of course, you’re right, darling. I’m not ready to make a commitment. Why? I think one of the reasons may be because you constantly find fault with me.

She’ll leap-in, trying to interrupt; but do NOT let her stop you.

No. Wait. Let me finish, darling. Every time one of us tries to communicate, the love disappears. Let me speak. Yes, I agree I messed-up. And yes, I have a million faults. No. Please. Allow me to say this. I’m asking you a favor. Could you please only blame me for 99 of the things that go wrong instead of 100?

Then take it slow. And, for gawd’s sakes, have some fun. Both of you should go to the park right now, lie on your backs in the grass, and enjoy one another. Because without patience and compassion, you’ll both soon feel a stabbing, overpowering sense of estrangement.

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

Join The Conversation
ReverendZelda ReverendZelda 10 years
Ask yourself... how will you feel about 10 years of being blammed for everything? 15? 20? Will you make it that far? Just because the man doesn't want to move in with a woman who is not what I would call the picture of mental health doesn't mean he's scared of commitment either.
intensebandgeek intensebandgeek 10 years
E. Jean! What great advice. I hope everything works out for that couple.
Eternity Eternity 10 years
Wow this is really close to home. I am thankful my boyfriend said almost those exact things to me without needing Sugar to help him, though. Overall, I think there is merit tot he advice, however the bottom line is that you both have different expectations for a relationship...its hard to say who is more mature. I think it might be you, only because girls, while ready for commitment faster, seem to glorify what it means. Moving in together is a huge step, and quite honestly its one step away from being married. Everything about your lives becomes combined, from CDs to bodily functions, finances to friends. If you are young perhaps you could consider living together with another couple as roomates, or having separate rooms (regardless of sleeping together in one most often). I agree with you about getting steady on being best friends before you work on what time dinner is at and paint colors etc.
clarapl clarapl 10 years
I'm kind of surprised at how many people are ready to label the gf a shrew, or assume she's being unreasonable. Maybe she is...but how do any of us know? Maybe she's justified in "calling him out" on other inconsiderate behavior (I mean, besides making her temporarily homeless), maybe he really is not up to the obligations of a serious relationship...who knows? Just sayin'.
onesong onesong 10 years
e. jean, what excellent advice. still, though, bucko, you owe her some serious flowers and candy and extra sweet gesture time. that was an awful move. my boyfriend and i decided that we were going to move in together 4 months before hand, and then two weeks later he had the same reaction as you. the difference? it was still THREE AND A HALF MONTHS before i had to find anywhere to live! and i was still hurt and upset, and definitely feeling very much like "what's wrong with me? doesn't he love me?" but some of the sting went out of it because we hadn't even begun looking for a place, hadn't told anyone yet, and i felt respected by the fact that he said, "I don't want to spring this on you at the last minute, but I don't think I'm ready." Now, as it turns out, we kept the lines of discussion open, and ended up actually taking the plunge...but we had that opportunity because we had so much time. Because you didn't give your girlfriend (as much of a shrew as she may be) that gift of time, you need to face the music. Make sure that when you talk to her like E. Jean recommends, you absolutely abase yourself in regards to the withdrawal...make sure she knows that you DO take full responsibility for that particular issue, and then you can note, as you guys talk things through, that you DO know when you are wrong, and are ALWAYS happy to apologize and try to make things right when you are, but that it's impossible to always be at fault. Good luck!
reese05 reese05 10 years
wow great great advice you have there!
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
um i think your missing the whole "grown up/responsibility/do what you say you're going to do" thing. she told all her friends you were moving in together, was planning a future "together" and then you dicked her. she was humiliated and embarrassed by your decision. the fact that you did it out of your love for her does not lessen the sting (and frankly sounds like bullshit). she wants a relationship that has grown up written all over it and since she loves you she's hoping that you will be able to fill that position. that you have to ask what is missing is sort of incredible. if a guy friend had said he would move in with you and then at the last minute changed his mind would you be sort of irritated? well multiple that by about 1,000 and that's how she feels. cut the cord, she deserves someone with some insight who when they do things out of love can see past the end of their own nose.
EJean EJean 10 years
My darlings, I LURVE DearSugar because your sparkling comments add depth, humor, and wisdom. I always---ALWAYS----learn somthing. Ravishing Regards, E. Jean
BeachBarbie BeachBarbie 10 years
Nevah1978, great comment. :)
BeachBarbie BeachBarbie 10 years
Perfect advice, E. Jean. I couldn't agree with you more.
Daphonay Daphonay 10 years
He needs to be honest with himself and she (and women like her) need to realize they cannot be right all of the time.
esandman esandman 10 years
Good advice. Too bad she didn't post too because it sounds like she needs some also.
sparklestar sparklestar 10 years
Oh yeah and women need commitment. Don't try and figure out WHY we just DO.
sparklestar sparklestar 10 years
I would have dumped your sorry little ass as soon as you pulled out of the apartment deal. You are very lucky she is even near you, let alone speaking to you AND calling herself your girlfriend. She must be very insecure and doesn't think she can do any better than you.
cgmaetc cgmaetc 10 years
Cycy: No, I've got 5 older brothers!
kurniakasih kurniakasih 10 years
Oh E.Jean..::bow down:: I love your advice :) What a good advice. **P.S.DUDE, What's up with that 3 week before moving in--BACKed out thing?! If I were that lady, I'd have your balls in skewers!** Yes, he should man up then they should enjoy each other, very simple and effective advice :) I hope things work out between the two of them. Mind you, the gf might've felt insecure within herself to begin with and she probably depends on his reassurance (and in her brain, it's probably she needs him to commit to her WILLINGLY and IMMEDIATELY! especially after he screwed her over with the first time--unfortunately, the problem is the timing since the boy ain't ready). She'd probably think that he just wants the 'fun' and not the commitment with her and feel resentful and doubt her self worth (why doesn't he want to commit? what's wrong with me? what a jerk! and so on) and he'll feel resentful because she's going to keep bringing up the commitment thing and she will, and that'll probably turn him off or get him to commit (but not 100% willingly--she'll remember too how she had to push him to commit, therefore will have all these resentments reserved for their future together). And if he ended up committing to her, he'd either think the grass is greener (or other girls are greener...) or he'd forget about this whole commitment-phobia thing (men do have selective memory, mind you). But that's all on another show...oh I love relationships!!! :D
GiggleSugar GiggleSugar 10 years
At least the guy's being honest and thoughtful about this. Why would you want someone to move in with you who isn't at least 95% sure he wants to do it? If all these two do is fight, sounds like he's averting being committed to an institution....Good advice, E. Jean!
VixenMJ VixenMJ 10 years
Excellent advice. Enjoy each other while you are still hot. Save the arguing for the days of backgammon and wrinkles.
McSquish McSquish 10 years
Omigosh! This sounds exactly what happened with my guy and I last year. Everything was his fault, he couldn't do anything right, we fought constantly, when things were good, they were very good, etc. . .After a long distance relationship, we moved in together. Not the best decision, but not a bad one either. We can live together and we enjoy it, but we also realized we need our space for now if we are in this for the long haul. Conclusion: we moved out and live in the same city together. He lives with his buddies and I alone. We love it. One of the main things here is that it seems she is is rushing into this idea of how things should be and not enjoying time spent together and grass under your feet. What I learned from my guy is, take it slow and things will come with time. I know he loves me, therefore I should be patient. I love him, so I over look about let's say 70 % of what's his fault ;) It's all about compromise and being ready to take those steps, whatever they are.
partysugar partysugar 10 years
Excellent advice E. Jean...I wish you could do all of the talking for me in my relationships.
Cycy Cycy 10 years
Wow, cgmaetc! Either you are this guy's alleged gf or burnt yourself one too many times. :-)
cgmaetc cgmaetc 10 years
E. Jean's right: he needs to MAN UP and admit he's not ready for a commitment. He's afraid that if he tells her that he's not ready, she'll pull away or dump him, and what man is going to give up his unlimited opportunities for sex? No, he'll lead her on until he get good a tired of screwing her, then he'll be the one to break it off, maybe even after he's met the next sucker... I mean, girlfriend.
Masqueraded_Angel Masqueraded_Angel 10 years
I can understand why she would be upset about the apartment deal. However, you were the smart one in recognizing that you weren't ready for that. So you made a good choice for YOU. And I honestly don't think she'll stop haggling you until she gets what she wants. She's obviously taunting you by saying things like, "You're not ready for commitment." She's challenging you. It's up to you whether or not you want to continue playing her little game.
ccsugar ccsugar 10 years
Once again great advice from E. Jean!! I agree, it sounds like this gal is tearing into you a bit too much. And yes, you may have your faults... But we all do. Tell her to simma down!
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