Is it time to call quits on relationship?
Dear Dr Nekia,
When is enough, enough? Some people leave at the first signs of trouble and others stay through years of tears. How do you know when it is time to call it quits with no regrets, doubts, guilt, or feeling like you are a failure or quitter?
Not Sure When Enough Is Enough
Dear Not Sure When Enough Is Enough,
Knowing when to end a relationship can be a very difficult decision. It begins with taking a long, honest look at yourself. It is easy to point out our partner’s flaws and faults that lead to the demise of the relationship, but it is much harder to look at the part we play too. By accepting responsibility, you are empowering yourself to make a choice. While most of us ignore red flags and warning signs, or think that we can change our partner with love and affection, the truth is that ignoring warning signs creates destructive behaviours, and love can only help to change someone who is ready to be changed. Forgive yourself for ignoring or not being able to see the signs, and forgive yourself for not being able to fix things; no relationship can be fixed by just one person. With self-forgiveness, and by realising that you have had the power of choice all along, you will release yourself from guilt and the feeling of hopelessness that often comes along with failed relationships. Think back to a time when you felt most happy — this is the person you will want to reconnect with. Ask yourself, what makes you happy? What do you enjoy doing? What are your likes and dislikes? What are your goals? What do you want and need out of a relationship? Where do you see yourself in the next few years? If you find that your relationship has diminished your happiness, that you have given up the things you enjoy doing most, that your likes and dislikes have changed or conformed to what your partner likes and dislikes, that your goals have been put on the back burner for the sake of your relationship, that you hardly get what you need from your partner and you have lost vision of a future you, then chances are that you are in the wrong relationship. Know that neglect and abuse of any kind are always unquestionable reasons to walk away, and know that even though it’s possible to walk away without looking back, it is very normal to also experience a period of doubt, fear and uncertainty. Whether or not to end a relationship is really not about the other person, nor is it about friends and family. The decision is yours alone because only you know what it takes to make you the best you possible. Even if you are not sure of who that is right now, the answers lie deep within you. So be honest. Are you committed to someone who isn’t really committed to you? Do you like the person you have become while in your relationship? Do you receive the support and encouragement that a relationship should provide? Are you happy where you are and who you are with? Sure, relationships go through periods of ups and downs, but be real with yourself. Are there far more downs than ups? Do the downs seem to come frequently and linger on? Are you left feeling a little bit more drained after each disagreement? Answering yes to these questions would indicate that enough is enough for you.
Dear Dr Nekia,
I am in a same-sex relationship. It is my first real relationship with someone of my sex, but I have been curious for as long as I can remember. My partner loves me dearly and this is what makes things so difficult for me. The longer we are together, the more I realise that I want to be with someone of the opposite sex. I don’t want to hurt them and I don’t want to come across as though I used them or that they are not enough. The relationship itself is good but I can’t help but feel that there are things missing from it that I know I can only get from someone of the opposite sex. Most of my friends and family will be happy to hear that I want to go back to being heterosexual, but how do I break things off without disappointing my partner, their family, and our gay friends?
Same Sex No Longer For Me
Dear Same Sex No Longer For Me,
It is important that we all learn to live in our truth. This may come naturally in some areas of life, such as religion, politics, education etc, but far too often it is very difficult when it comes to sexuality. Unfortunately, for most of us, sexuality has been demonised by the ideals of others. We are made to feel ashamed and guilty for wanting pleasure, and there are endless rules set in place regarding sex. Anything that falls outside of these are called perversions and abominations. On top of this, most of us are products of our teachings instead of autonomous beings and our unfulfilled selves act out accordingly.
The human sex drive comes second only to our need to satisfy hunger and thirst. These are what we turn to for an outlet whenever we are feeling restricted, controlled, abused, neglected or lost. This accounts for much of our self-medicating through drugs, alcohol, food and sex. With sex specifically, we suffer deep-rooted fear, shame and guilt because of our carnal lusts and desires.
It is what leads some of us to venture outside of what we would consider our norm, to seek new experiences to numb the turmoil that we feel inside. Your truth is that you have always been curious about having a same-sex encounter or relationship. Your truth is that you explored this curiosity. Your truth is that you now would prefer a heterosexual relationship. I will not get into the whole socio-religious debate of whether homosexuality or characteristically homosexual acts — if such things exist — are right or wrong. What I will say is unless you intended to use your same-sex partner, you have nothing to feel guilty about. Relationships are not just about sex and sexual attraction, they are about companionship, sharing common goals and interests, working together and sharing in the enjoyment and disappointments of life. Relationships are the vehicle for individuals to come together to navigate life’s journey so it is very possible that you could have entered into a same-sex relationship without being homosexual. People do it all the time.
I do not think that same-sex relationships are ones that people should enter into lightly, or just try on for size, but I do see how people find an attraction and a bond that goes deeper than sex with someone of the same sex. Nevertheless, I am guessing that you are missing sexual experiences and chemical reactions that, for you, can only be had by joining with the opposite sex. I would suggest that you have this talk with your partner. Be prepared for the disappointment and heartache that inevitably will come. Once again, you are not doing anyone any favours by carrying on a relationship where you are not being your authentic self. The reality is that you both deserve happiness and love and a companionship that fulfills you — whether it comes in the form of a homosexual or heterosexual relationship. I am sure it took much courage for you to publicly explore your sexuality, and now you are going to have to rely on some of that strength to end the relationship.
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