How Often Am I Supposed To Call My Girlfriend?

How Often Am I Supposed To Call My Girlfriend?
Hi Evan,

Firstly. I have very much been enjoying your “Advice from a Single Dating Expert” forum. It’s very helpful to get a moderated forum from an expert. And the folks who post seem to be halfway intelligent.

OK question.  My girlfriend of one year wants to talk to me on the phone every day. To me it feels like I am checking in with my mom. I say “no way, it pushes my buttons.” She says “If you really loved me you would want to rather than feel like you have to.” Evan, since you have dealt with many daters and have some perspective, where is this phone call frequency on the range of daters who call each other?

I know it seems nuts, the woman is otherwise great for me, but I can’t get past this feeling.

–Hadley

Dear Hadley,

Thanks for your kind words about my readers. I would have to agree that they’re a smart bunch. They ask tough questions and are open to challenging answers.

Which leads me to the very predictable portion of today’s blog where I challenge you.

So you have this girlfriend who you’ve been with you for a year. Your constant source of tension is that she wants to talk to you every day. You don’t want to do this because it makes you feel like checking in with your mom.

Got it.

Hadley, my friend… If relationships are about compromise, what exactly is it costing you to talk to your girlfriend every day? That’s right. Nothing. The only thing it’s costing you is “being right.” And that’s where most couples stumble. We want to be right. We want to tell our partners how it is – what we do, what we don’t do, how we’re not going to be bossed around. And what for? So your amazing girlfriend can feel insecure that her boyfriend of a year doesn’t really love her? How does this arrangement possibly help you?

Think of it as simple cost/benefit analysis.

Time it costs you to call her to say good night and ask about her day: Ten minutes.

Time it costs you to argue about not wanting to do this simple task: a lot more than that.

Women crave connection. And until you’ve got a ring on her finger and are signing your marriage contracts, it’s very reasonable for her to be concerned about the health of your relationship. The way to reassure her? Constant contact, constant communication, constant affection, constant talk of the future. Let any one of those things go for a day or a week, and I get a letter from her saying, “I’ve been seeing this guy for a year and I think he loves me but doesn’t want to talk to me as much as I’d like.” And you know what my answer to her would be?

If he can’t see fit to accommodate you by calling you every day, he probably doesn’t love you that much.

It may be annoying, Hadley, but it’s a small, small price to pay for a healthy relationship. Pick up the phone and let her know you’re turning over a new leaf.

10
10

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Comments:

  1. 61
    Spring

    Well Hadley, women think and feel differently, you will never really understand fully why.
     UK law, American Law, German law is different in a way, one just has to accept it without deep analyzing why.It is not going to help, neither going to change anything. Lets accept the fact that she wants to talk to you every day. Sounds it is important for her. To my knowledge (and I am woman myself) it is important for majority of women. Obviously there will be exemptions, but trust me those few women will/might have other issues you will find difficult to put up with, may be even more serious issues from your point of view. Do you want to spend your life analyzing why women they way they are??? Why not to enjoy life instead, if it only takes 5 min call to her every night? She will compensate I am sure in her own way, you may actually benefit from it. After all she just wants a bit more communication, give it to her, it is easy and free :) Good luck

    PS I know where you are coming from though, but you can’t have it all unless you prefer single life

  2. 62
    Joe

    Why does this have to be so hard?  If a woman needs to talk to her man every day, she should call him.  If she feels he should be the one to call her every day, she needs to accept that she’s needy.  Then it’s up to the man to decide whether or not he wants to be with someone needy.

  3. 63
    Goldie

    @ Joe, based on the original letter, it doesn’t matter who makes the call – it irks the LW either way. The letter doesn’t even specify who calls whom. It just says the guy doesn’t want to talk on the phone.
     
    My girlfriend of one year wants to talk to me on the phone every day. To me it feels like I am checking in with my mom. I say “no way, it pushes my buttons”.

  4. 64
    Michelle

    Consider reading the book Attachment by Levine & Heller. It talks about 3 types of attachment styles:  Secure, Anxious and Avoidant.  These styles we are primarily born with but our life experiences can contribute as well.  Most people are Secure, and that’s what it sounds like you are Sarah.  It sounds like your boyfriend is Anxious.

    In any relationship, there has to be compromise, period.  If you care and/or love this man, then for God’s sake, make some sort of contact with him each day or return his contact.  You know what makes him crazy and upset, but yet you aren’t willing to do anything to help avoid that.  Or perhaps set him up for you know you will not be able to have any contact with him so he knows. 

    If you can’t deal with an Anxious attachment style, then leave him and find another Secure person.  Beware though, no one is perfect, so getting another Secure person may result in other things that aren’t acceptable to you, like a mismatch in values and beliefs, not valuing family, etc.

  5. 65
    Spring

    :)
    So if man  is hungry he should cook for himself, but if he expects a woman to cook dinner for him he is needy. Then she should decide if she would like to be with this needy man. Also if woman wish to get married to a man she should get him a ring and propose, otherwise if she is expecting this from him-she must be needy.

    Guys just try call your woman if you really need her, only takes few minutes and get on with your life, expect nice food, love affection and so on. Or analyze analyze analyze analyze and look for that special lady who is not needy neither she is not interested in hearing your voice
     

  6. 66
    lindsey

    “If you really loved me you would want to” is not if you love me you will X…

    Why has no one asked what is wrong with these guys who equate calling someone who they profess to love with “checking in with mom” or talking with clients? Really? You see your girlfriend as falling into these categories? That is your issue to work through in therapy, not hers.

    I agree that if you are in love with me and thinking about me, you will not be able to resist reaching for that phone. If that makes me needy (!) then consider this: if I don’t need you, then I DON’T need you. Maybe that is what you are going for – but that is not an emotional relationship.

  7. 67
    Mark

    re: lindsey
    Guess what? We’re all different.
    “If I really loved YOU, I would want to…”, and “If you wanted to show me you loved me, so that I’d really get the message, you could…” would be fair game.  Saying “If you really loved me, you would want to…” isn’t.
     
     

  8. 68
    DMC

    I agree with SWF42 (#2) – she sounds whiny and needy, and this type of thing will be the tip of the iceberg

    You need to set boundaries.  Women like when you leave them wanting more to a degree, and telling them no can be quite the turn on.  And remember, women aren’t exactly know for being unfickle are content.  It will always be something. 

    I think I know what Evan was going for here, but he missed the mark. It’s not a compromise when one side is totally giving in.

    1. 68.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Darren, you always tell me I miss the mark. Have you ever considered that I’m actually hitting my mark but I’m just not writing for you?

  9. 69
    DMC

    @ EMK

    Maybe I misunderstood – I thought you were trying to give helpful advice.  Also, I think you are being a little over-sensitive:  I’ve often agreed with things you’ve said.  I’ve just pointed out where I feel you’ve been incorrect. In this case, I think you are effectively telling this guy to be a pushover and simply give in to his woman’s neediness.  I think this is a poor long-term strategy (and and even worse short-term one).  You are suggesting a band-aid, I’m suggesting a remedy

    1. 69.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Hey, DMC, one more sarcastic crack like “I thought you were trying to give helpful advice” and you’re gone. Look around: there’s lots of dissent on here. You just happen to consistently cross over into disrespect, and I’m pretty much done with it.

      And to be crystal clear: you may disagree with me, but that doesn’t mean I’m “incorrect”.

      Perhaps you should start your own dating/relationship blog instead of polluting mine with your borderline misogynist take on the the world.

      Yes. I think that would be best. You give advice to people receptive to your worldview and I’ll give advice to those who are receptive to mine.

  10. 70
    DMC

    I apologize if you thought I was disrespecting you.  I simply disagree with your assessments at times, this one in particular.  To be fair, I said where I “feel you are incorrect”.

    I think you calling me a misogynist simply b/c I said the man should not be a pushover and should stand up for what he wants is a little over the top/

    And I apologize if you thought I was polluting your blog.  I was simply stating a view that was different from yours. 

  11. 71
    starthrower68

    The use of the phrase, “if you loved me you’d do such-and-such” is manipulative.  However, if Hadley is not willing to do a small thing for his GF then he won’t be willing to do a big thing.  

    And DMC, would that really be the hill you want to die on?  Is it really too much in your opinion to do a small thing to make a woman feel loved and valued? What if the tables were turned?  See we are ALL required to be meek at times in order to have successful relationships.  Meek does not equal weak.  Meekness is strength under control because its a choice you make.  If you are not concerned about a successful relationship, then that’s another discussion entirely.

  12. 72
    Clare

    Wow, Hadley sounds like a real joy to date. He would rather write to a dating coach, have a full-length blog discussion, watch relationships fail and have who knows how many arguments than accommodate this relatively minor and reasonable concern.

    I suppose you can look at it as what she wants vs what I want, but I think if you did you’d be missing the point. There is a third element here and that is the relationship. What is good for the relationship, what is good for *any* relationship, is connection, communication, togetherness, intimacy. I disagree that this is just about her whims and desires. I think she was standing up for the relationship.

    I have a policy (now) when I am in a relationship, that if something is for the good of the relationship, if it serves the above goals, the answer is always yes. This is my way of putting the other person first, and building something bigger than myself. So if my boyfriend tries to have sex with me, even though it’s 12 o’ clock at night and I’ve had a long day, the answer is yes. If he wants me to go with him to the hospital to get his test results, even if I have something else planned, the answer is yes. If he wants to discuss his feelings about something, I always make time for that.

    Now when it comes to which movie to see, or what to have for dinner, these should be 50/50 situations.

    This is how I reconcile the constant struggle which can result when you are always trying to assert your will.

    But I do believe there are behaviours which build relationships, and behaviours which break them down. Sometimes, it is not about you, it is about building something bigger than yourselves.

  13. 73
    Tony

    Whatever happen to absence making the heart grow fonder. Give us a chance to miss you. To think about how our day may have been better if you were around. The reason make up sex is the best sex is because you been apart physically or emotionally. Im hearing all this talk about women being insecure. Isn’t that a personal problem only the women can fix. If it’s up to another person about how you feel then your fucked. Being needy is the quickest way to suck the oxygen out of a relationship and put out the fire. ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER… For the love of God your driving your man away. 

  14. 74
    Newly Married Woman

    Hadley, my friend, your posts were full of “junk science.” The 20k to 7k statistic has been discredited for some time. If you don’t believe that, take the mean word count of your own posts and compare it to the mean word count of the ladies’ comments here.  The fact is if you do love your gf, you WILL call her every day. A) You can’t wait to hear her voice. B) You want to make sure all is well in her world. C) You can’t wait to share plans/ideas/happenings with her.
    Not calling for 4 days? What if she had been in a car accident? What if pipes burst at her house? What if she just got the news her sister has cancer? You don’t want to be the one to console her? Ipso facto your “love” for her is extremely weak. 
     
     

  15. 75
    Kevin

    This is really bad advice. He should not have to call her everyday simply because SHE wants him too. If he genuinely does not want to call her everyday she should understand that. The best solution would be to come to a compromise where they both get what they want. Relationships are not just about the women which is what this advice makes it seem like. “If you love her call here everyday?” Since when does calling someone everyday prove that you love them? This is non-sense!! 
    On another note, in order for a relationship to work you have to understand women psychology. Women are attracted and will REMAIN attracted to A MAN. A man sticks to his core beliefs and doesn’t break them for anyone. Women love this, they claim they want to be put first, but deep down inside they want to know that they’re man will put his integrity first. Why do you think nice guys finish last, because they do everything their woman wants them to do EVEN when the man doesn’t. There is a fine line between calling her because he truly wants to and doing it simply to please her. 
    She will respect him more if he does what makes him happy as opposed to letting her “order” him around. This isn’t about playing games, its about being true to yourself. This example of calling is not so severe but the point is, both partners want different things, neither should give in to simply please the other. A compromise, happy medium will work best here.
    Insecurity will KILL a relationship, no matter how much love their is. That is the issue here also, she needs to deal with that too.

  16. 76
    Evan Marc Katz

    The advice is fine. You’re just a bad boyfriend because you think it’s more important to stick with your principles of not calling than to take a minute to call and make her happy. 

  17. 77
    Selena

    If one is so put off by making a phone call to someone they supposedly care about – why are they calling themselves “boyfriend/girlfriend” anyway?

  18. 78
    starthrower68

    For the record I do not enjoy phone chit chat because I don’t really enjoy small talk e in though I do it.  But I will reiterate. One who will not do the little things probably won’t do the big things either.  Why go through the evident hassle of a GF? Just have casual sex buddies that you never have to do little things for?  Courting is a dead art because we have become lovers of ourselves in this increasingly upside down culture.

  19. 79
    Kevin

    He clearly stated it “pushes his buttons.” He wants to be a boyfriend/lover not her father that has to call to “check” how shes doing all the time. Also, are you saying woman should not be considerate of that, it bothers him that it feels like hes calling mom. He wants a girlfriend/lover not a mommy, he already has that. 
    If he continues with this dynamic of doing things to make her “happy”, eventually the relationship will grow boring and stale. She will see her man having no backbone to stand up to her and say ” listen babe I love you but calling you everyday is too much, lets lower that rate please”. There is nothing to challenge her she already has it all. You seem to not really understand women psychology, if doing things to make her happy was all it required than why the divorce rate so high with women filing for it over 50% of the time.
    What attracted her in the first place is what will keep her forever. Its only a matter of time before she sees the weakness in him and starts to loose attraction. 
    Women want to marry a man she can respect. Without respect there is no love. If she gets her way always she will not respect him and begin walk all over him.
    Think long term! Compromise. 

  20. 80
    starthrower68

    Yep. She just needs to know her place. 

  21. 81
    Selena

    Kevin, this thread is 6 years old. If you read through the comments you will see how the OP worked it out years ago.

  22. 82
    Julia

    @Kevin
    Women want to marry a man she can respect. Without respect there is no love. If she gets her way always she will not respect him and begin walk all over him.
     
    As a woman I think I am more of an authority on what women want. Women want to be appreciated and to be made to feel special. We also like men with integrity and we know that men with integrity when they care about us, want to make us happy. If calling your girlfriend everyday to say “hey did you have a good day?” makes her happy, a man with integrity would do that for her. Its really not a big deal, honestly.

  23. 83
    Kevin

    @Selena I didnt read the entire thing.
    @Julia, just how a needy man will turn off a woman. A needy woman will turn a man off regardless of how “in love” they are. Its just simply social dynamics. Too much of something especially when you don’t want isn’t good. 
    In the end everyone will do what they find best. I personally find greater success with women when I let her know my boundaries. I don’t mind calling her but everyday that’s just too needy and annoying. I love her but, let me breathe for a second. Women should find inner happiness with themselves, rather than finding happiness off external things such as a phone call. 
    A woman nor a man should need someone to make them happy only happier. Some people are just too damn insecure. Love yourself first before someone else can love you. Simplest saying in the book yet goes so deep into many aspects of life. 
    Good luck to all!

  24. 84
    Joe

    @ Selena #83:
     
    If you define “worked it out” as “he broke up with her”, then sure, he worked it out! ;)
     
    Yes, daily phone calls from your SO are needy.
     
    Yes, you can decide whether or not that’s what you want to live with.

  25. 85
    Selena

    He did work it out for himself Joe. He went out of town, didn’t call his girlfriend for 4 days, she was upset, they broke up. He subsequently found a woman he could compromise with texting instead of phone calls. (Anyone interested see #44 for details.)
    No Joe, daily phone calls from your SO are not needy.
     
    Everybody does get to decide what they want to live with. Or not live with for that matter.

  26. 86
    Sparkling Emerald

    HP@44 “Moral of the story for me? blah, blah, blah . . . .”
    Moral of the story for her ?  HJNITY.
    Dump an emotional tight wad !  Don’t let him string you along for 3 years, so he can dump you to find a woman who is content to be his week-end booty call and settle for crumbs during the week in the form of text messages. 

  27. 87
    blueberrie

    Well as a girl I do understand wanting to hear from a guy I’m dating for that long once a day, honestly a text or email or Skype is just fine with me though, just a hi how’s your day is enough.  talking on the phone I do think IS a long drawn out affair and dumb if you have nothing to talk about so I could care less about that. 
    Yes I get men who want to talk/text almost all day in some cases.  I think it is EXTREMELY needy to need to do this, even worse is accusing someone of not talking enough when you know they have a busy schedule.  save it for when you see each other is my opinion.  I find it manipulative of another person to dictate how much or when you should talk… not into being emotionally manipulated or having someone need me that much, makes me wonder WHY? why can’t they get by without talking all the time?  I understand women need communication but I think a lot of it has to do with putting ALL your emotional needs on your partner, which I think is unfair, evidence of someone who cannot find outlets for their emotions in other ways, and it simply puts too much pressure on the relationship.  I’m just not a joined at the hip codependent type I guess…
    I don’t actually agree with Evan in this case… I’ve been on the receiving end of someone asking me to talk more with them in a relationship and at that point it feels like an obligation and me having to meet their needs, that they aren’t self sufficient enough to entertain themselves or simply require too much of me.  I can’t do it and I tend to check out at that point or explain my busyness.  I think it’s just a difference of needs and if I don’t need to be in that much contact with someone and the person i’m with does, then I think there is a general disconnect and even if all other things are great in the relationship, I feel I’m with someone who simply needs me too much, more than I can or want to give and it no longer feels like a good relationship, it feels like an obligation.  I don’t think either party is happy with that and in my opinion likely better to go separate ways… but that’s just my opinion.  some people may be willing to work harder at it. 
    you ask the man to compromise in this case, I ask the woman to find other people to talk to and not need this man so much and put undue pressure on the relationship.  I think they have a difference in needs.  He could just go along with the giving her a call once a day thing, but then he’s going to feel obligated, see her as more of an obligation and I believe in time, someone he’s not all that into.  just my 2 cents 

  28. 88
    astaria

    i disagree i think hadleys gf needs to stop being so needy and give him space…next time they chat they will have more to talk about..jesus theres a whole world of people and things to do see out there not just making puppy eyes at one person…jail sentence lol and i’m a female! theres more to life than love. ambition for one!! we are on this planet to learn and excel in our ambitions to enrich the establishment of life!. love is an indulgence and it can get borrrring if theres nothing more to excite…

  29. 89
    Marie

    I know this thread is old but what I suspect the gf was doing was sensing their emotional disconnect and trying to repair it by creating more opportunities to connect with Hadley.  As OP had pointed out, he values logic over emotion and this probably permeates his relationships.  The gf tried to solve the problem the wrong way – what she should have said was I would love it if you could call me even for a short while because otherwise I don’t feel connected to you.  And if he didn’t she should have just walked long before 3 years because clearly they were not a good match and he could never give her the level of emotional connection she needed.  Personally I think going on a trip and purposcall not being in contact for 4 days in a 3 year relationship knowing full well that your gf would be worried and distressed is very passive aggressive.  If this is the kind of behavior he was exhibiting in the relationship no wonder the gf was distressed.  There are two sides to every story and we can’t just assume that she was needy.
     
    For the record, I think both quality and quantity of calls counts.  I dated a guy who was a lawyer and he insisted on calling me every day.  He was the most boring and obnoxious person, always insisting he was right about everything and debating me on the slightest point.  If I said the grass was green he would say well, actually it’s also a little brown and yellow in that corner over there (and my parents are lawyers so no I don’t hate lawyers).  I dreaded his calls and ended that relationship.  My husband on the other hand called every day without prompting and we really looked forward to our phone time together.  He still calls me every day towards the end of work to see how my day went even though we would see each other soon.  We just like talking to each other.  And before he met me he was not a phone person either. Guys, if you are finding it a chore to call a girl regularly and need to miss her, I suspect she’s not the right girl for you.  Your level of contact should just feel natural and work itself out.

  30. 90
    Chris

    I am at a complete loss about all of this. Considering my own relationship, I can’t say I have any insight into what is too much or too little. I enjoy the time I get to spend with my girlfriend on the phone OR in person. We live very far apart so phone conversations are usually the best way to make contact. Text messaging helps. What brought me here is that I have only spoken to her less than an hour over the course of two days. Not sure how to handle it really. Forget it. Maybe I am being obsessive so I am just going to go to bed without any further communication on my part. We shall see.

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