My girl seeks attention online
Dear Dr Nekia,
I have been living with my girlfriend for a few months. At first it was good but now she is being so inconsiderate of my feelings.
When I try to tell her how I feel about things that come up in the relationship, it is an argument.
We go to bed and wake up in the morning not speaking and nothing gets solved.
As if this was not enough, I found her on Facebook and texting people, making it seem like she is this perfect woman doing everything she can for the relationship to work, which makes me look bad.
She is playing the victim to everyone and other interested men are giving her more attention, which she must like since she is texting them back.
I really do care about her and want things to work out between us, but I am beginning to think that it is just best that I walk away.
How can I get her to stop talking to everyone else and talk to me about our problems instead?
The Real Victim
Dear The Real Victim,
I do not know her side of things, but I would bet that she is carrying some leftover hurt. This could be from you, a previous relationship, or something completely unrelated.
Moving in together may have been the trigger for the change in her behaviour.
She may be feeling as though things are really serious between both of you and, for whatever reason, is putting up resistance to the progression of the relationship. She turns to social media and others for validation.
Know that she is more concerned with receiving positive reinforcement for her behaviour rather than being concerned with making you out to be the bad guy, which happens by default.
Even though this seems very unfair, try to not take this personally.
It is my guess that she continues to do this because she is receiving exactly what she is seeking, positive attention from others (men in particular), which counteracts the negative attention that she is receiving from you at home.
In order to move past this, you need to find the real reason behind her arguing with you so much.
This will be easier said than done if it is due to hurt that she has been carrying for a long time.
Try to give her some space. Carry on your days as usual, give it some time and do not confront her about anything that is bothering you.
During this time, keep watch of her behaviour and reactions to you.
If she becomes more loving, you may want to attempt to gently discuss your concerns in a non-blaming way.
If there is no change in her actions, and you are both committed to the relationship working, you may want to suggest that you seek further professional help.
Dear Dr Nekia,
I am in a fairly new relationship. We have only been dating since the beginning of the summer, and I must say that I had one of the most enjoyable summers ever. However, I’ve recently noticed a change in my boyfriend’s behaviour.
He used to be an outgoing guy, always active, loves water sports and the outdoors, and was always ready to be spontaneous, but now it seems all he wants to do is sleep more and more.
He says that he is still getting rest at night, that he has visited his doctor for a check-up and all of his tests came back normal. Even though he admits to finding it difficult to get out of bed, especially on rainy days, he claims that everything is OK. I am wondering if he is depressed.
He says there have been no major life changes or additional stress, but what else could it be? Please help! I am growing bored and our relationship is suffering.
He’s Always Sleeping
Dear He’s Always Sleeping,
Even though sometimes medical problems do not show up on routine tests, the good news is that, most likely, your new beau is pretty much healthy.
You mentioned that you suspect that he may be depressed, and if this is a cause for concern, then you should seek the opinion of a mental health professional.
However, because you have mentioned that he loves water sports and the outdoors, one condition other than depression does come to mind — Sad.
Sad stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder and begins to show itself during the late summer to autumn months when the season begins to change, the days get a bit shorter, and the temperature begins to decrease. This condition affects more of the population than commonly thought, even though many of us have never heard of it. Sad, appropriately named after how it can make people feel, is characterised by decreased energy, mental fogginess, and lethargy during the colder months and can present with symptoms that mimic depression (Sad can occur in the summer as well with symptoms such as insomnia and anxiety).
Often Sad is mistaken for bipolar disorder, but although some bipolar individuals are known to have Sad, Sad differs in that it has a distinctive pattern of presenting itself during a specific season each year while remitting for the rest of the year.
Ask him if he experiences these, or similar symptoms, every autumn/winter, and monitor if symptoms worsen as the days shorten and temperatures drop.
Further good news is that if Sad is the cause for his change in behaviour, medication is most likely not needed.
Phototherapy (light therapy), along with dietary changes and supplements, is highly effective in treating Sad and there are many easily available options on the internet.
If in doubt, seek the help of an MD or a physician who specialises in phototherapy.
They should be able to guide you both and offer solutions that will help him to regain some of his lost energy during the winter months.
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