If I Want to Contact Her, How Long Should I Wait?

Nick Slade Nick Slade • 6/22/12

Reader Question:

I met this girl three months ago. She was very nice to me and we had a great time. Suddenly she called saying she didn’t want to rush into a serious relationship.

Because of that, I pulled myself out. Sometimes she asked me to go out, sometimes I asked her. Every time I hang out with her, I treat her as friend who cares. We hold and hug each other the whole night. However, she fell in the club and cracked her phone. I tried to make it up for her, so I bought her a new phone.

When she first received it, she was very happy. She asked me to meet up two days later, saying she wanted to return the phone to me. When I met her, she handed me back everything without saying anything and walked away. I didn’t text/call her that day.

But she text me at night saying, “Thanks for picking up the stuff. You looked upset”. I was fed up, so I scolded her badly in a text (my bad). I said I don’t want to be friends with her anymore. She text me back and explained why she can’t accept the gift.

A week later, she text me. She explained she wasn’t trying to send any signal to me. She’s just not sure she deserved to accept the gift. On that night, she said she was upset that I scolded her. I explained to her the reason, and I also apologized to her. We agreed we are still friends.

Since then, I haven’t texted/called her. I wanted to give myself a break and figure out what I want to do and adjust my emotions. I know the next time if I contact her again, I will just treat her as a friend first and slowly rebuild our trust.

I am not sure if I should do that. If I want to contact her, how long I should wait? Right now, I am planning to take a one-month break from it.

-Beckham C. (California)

Expert’s Answer:

Well, Beckam, it sounds like you have your hands full with this one. Thanks for writing.

There are two ways to handle this situation: the logical way and the human way. Logic says run for cover and don’t look back. One thing is for certain: Your lady friend is emotionally unavailable. This could be a clinical condition or just a temporary hurdle.

She may have been “all in” before her breakup, with her whole rack of poker chips. The rug was pulled out from under her life, and everything she believed was real is now under suspicion. She has developed a severe distrust for men, which she is disguising by blaming her own bad judgment instead.

She returned all of the gifts because she believed she would have to pay for them with romance and emotional attachment, even though you gave them sincerely with no strings attached.

Your friend responds to feelings of attraction by putting up an impenetrable wall and recalling all of the pain men have caused her. It turns into a kind of tango in which the two of you keep getting closer and closer, and when you finally get within kissing distance, she turns to ice and pushes you away.

You were right to scold her, although it should have been done as more of an ultimatum than a smack down. She needs to know that she can’t have you and not have you at the same time. You are a man, and you can’t leave your manhood in a jar by the door forever.

The human response is to let her know that you can be her shoulder to lean on, but you need a woman to hold in your arms as well. If she will become vulnerable enough to trust you with just a little piece of her affection, the two of you together can leave her pain behind. Otherwise, you will be gone, and her dependable yo-yo will not come back next time she tugs on the string.

You have to make it clear that there will come a point when, as Danny Ocean put it, “You’re in or you’re out…right now.” It’s going to take your tough love and her tears to work this out, if you think it’s worth it.

Good luck.

Nick