Ask Freud : Games People Play?


I’m a 21 year old lesbian and I really, really need some help and advice.

I recently stopped going out with my girlfriend of four months because she got engaged. We study at the same institute and are in the same year. Since we started going out she had told me she was from a very conservative Hindu family and her parents had been pressuring to get her married. She’s only 23. We had intended to have a casual fling but things got pretty serious between us. I really like this girl and can see myself in a long-term relationship with her.

During the recent vacation, however, her parents sprung this engagement on her and despite my numerous attempts to tell her to not go ahead with it, she was unable to turn it down. She says this guy’s family was the first one to even allow her to complete her education. Coming out to her family would be ‘impossible’, and she’s terrified of losing her parents if she does. I know she’s in love with me. She’s crazy about me and vice versa. I know that she’s literally forcing herself to go ahead with the marriage. She has a year till she gets married. She came out to her dad telling him that she has had ‘crushes on guys’ but I know she’s much more attracted to women. Though we aren’t going out anymore, we have been very intimate and this proves to me that her engagement means nothing to her and that she doesn’t understand the gravity of the situation. I think that if she tells her dad that she’s seeing a girl, they might have her removed from the course at the institute. Ironically, her marriage happens before the course ends so she is kind of trapped (why is she trapped?).

I read through your article, ‘Overcoming Denial’ on the website. While it does offer some sound advice, it can only be implemented if one’s partner is willing to fight for the relationship. My ex, on the other hand, keeps telling me to move on. She says she’s unsure about her sexuality and I feel defeated whenever I offer her options.

Every time we’re together alone, we end up kissing and she says she can’t control herself around me. Thing is I know it’s more than sex. What cuts me up is that she doesn’t even want to fight for me and the relationship. I have no idea what I’m clinging on to, because she keeps defending the whole marriage decision.

My friends and I have all talked to her and I can see the pressure she’s under. I’m trying to give her space so that she realizes that our relationship means more to her than she thinks. But it’s incredibly hard because we’re in the same building and have the same friends.

What do I do? We both need help.

Thanks so much for reading.



Hi L,

It sounds to me like both of you are stuck in an unconscious psychological ‘game’. What I mean by this is when you offer her options and solutions she will reject them as she feels that they are neither good enough nor going to work for her. You are playing the rescuer and she is playing the victim; neither of you is consciously aware of this at present. Perhaps you are always trying to help everybody with their problems. This may be part of your life-script. Her life-script might involve playing the victim when she is pressured or is traumatized. I imagine that she might be distressed, seeing no other option than to comply with her parents’ demands and play the victim with you. This game is called the ‘Yes, but’ game, where to any option you suggest, her answer is “Yes, but…”

This can be extremely frustrating for you, but also for her. The transactions between you two are playing out in the unconscious or subconscious level. The feelings and beliefs involved come from a very young self, and are hard to control when unknown. If you were to become more conscious of these factors, either or both of you could step out of the ‘game’ and analyse the situation from a more adult, less-emotionally charged point of view. Potentially, all options can be discussed in a more positive and hopeful light when operating from this level.


There is clearly something about the relationship you have with each other that connects you the way it does. However, it sounds like your ex is unable to continue the relationship as the repercussions will be greater at this point in her life. If she werefinished with her studies then perhaps the scenario would be quite different.

Unfortunately, it sounds likeshe has made a decision already, and not much can be done. Perhaps you have done as much as you can. Perhaps you now need to start looking after yourself to prevent yourself from getting hurt even more. It is important that you stay ’alive’ in all this and that it does not take over your whole self. You can easily get lost, and even start losing other people in your life, if all your focus and dedication is narrowed on this.

You might want to consider being kinder to yourself by taking care of You – perhaps the best thing you can do at the moment is step away from her and let her have some space to think. The distance would also allow her to understand what it means for you not to be in her life and to experience life without you. She could then decide what she really wants and what is best for her right now.


If she is going ahead with the marriage, then it depends on you whether you can accept her decision and stay in touch. To play the devil’s advocate, you have only been seeing each other for four months. She is not sure about her sexuality, she told you about her family being conservative and you had decided it would only be a fling. Of course, I understand that emotions take over and facts are forgotten when things get heated. But she needs to consider if she can risk her future, possibly losing her parents and her education, which is a big gamble and quite a lot to think about. With pressure from both sides, she may not be able to make an adult decision that consults her emotions, and would rather take a more practical route.

If she were able to speak to her parents from a stable emotional then her parents might want to consider the right thing. She might even wait till her education is finished before she comes out. This does mean that she will be married by then but if she truly is enticed by the idea of liking women over men then she will have to do something at some point, she won’t be happy in her marriage otherwise. Her husband will want to know what is wrong and why she is unable to be with him.

That does mean that you need to move on with your own life and consider other options. I wish you all the best but please think about yourself, your feelings and how you can protect yourself.

Pink Freud.


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Pink Freud is a counselling psychotherapist in training. He currently sees therapy clients part time and manages a large team in a corporate environment when he is not 'in the therapist's chair'. Long term, he wants to specialise in working with LGBT individuals, couples and groups. As a gay man, who came out 10 years ago, he understands the unique struggles of the LGBT community and is here to help. You can e-mail your questions to and he will respond to you via the Gaysi Family website.
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