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Girlfriend unhappy — despite her pay rise

Advice: Dr Nekia Walker (Photo by Akil Simmons)

Dear Dr Nekia,

My girlfriend just got a new promotion and I am happy for her, except that she seems more unhappy now then ever before.

She is making more money, but is more stressed and has little energy to put into other things when she comes home.

She says she likes her new job and doesn’t think that she has changed at all. She use to say how she wishes she could make more money, but now that she is it seems she still is not happy. What can I do to help because something else must be going on.


Unhappy Money

Dear Unhappy Money,

Earning more money is sort of like losing weight, when you want it you think that your life will be changed and you will be more happy, but when it happens, you notice that there is not much difference.

The Reason is because internal satisfaction is not dependent on external circumstances. We often romanticise about what life would be like “if only...”, but the truth is that if we are unhappy within ourselves, little other than ourselves will make us happy. Your girlfriend may have personal struggles that she will need to work through in order to find satisfaction in her life. Her job, although more profitable, may be causing added stress due to added responsibility.

She may think that she is handling this well, but needs time to adjust. Make sure that you are supportive of her during this time, and try not to point out every instance where she is acting stressed out as evidence.

Unless you notice that she is depressed or engaging in self-destructive behaviour keep the lines of communication open and give her a bit of time to get used to the new responsibilities that she may be undertaking.

We women on a whole need to realise that financial gain is not what ultimately fulfills us. As women we have an inner instinct and nature that is creative and nurturing. Employment and goals geared more towards cultivating a creative spirit usually foster a deeper sense of self-satisfaction within women.

Dear Dr Nekia,

I hear a lot of married couples give advice to singles about always having a plan B, but my question is, if you are one hundred per cent committed and in love, why would you need a plan B?


Always Committed

Dear Always Committed,

I too hear about the “Plan B” concept a lot. I think that a lot of it comes from fear. We seem to be coming more a more a society of distrust. We fear being hurt or abandoned so we set in place measures to protect ourselves from what we believe to be a strong possibility or the inevitable.

When we have one hundred per cent belief and confidence in something, we do not have a guard against it, and we hardly give any thought to it.

However, the more that we believe that something is likely to occur, the more we brace ourselves for it. It is a human adapted survival instinct. I do agree with you that it seems counterproductive to a relationship to have a plan B.

The more attention that you give to plan B, the less attention that you give towards your relationships. In fact, the very act of setting the parameters of plan B psychologically gives us the signal to beware; And as long as that signal is active, we are incapable of giving one hundred per cent to your relationship. Plan B could be anything from another person, finances, or actually saying that you will never fully give your heart to anyone. And although, we should be aware and smart about our circumstances, we must be very careful to not self-sabotage our own happiness within our relationships just because we are fearful of awful possibilities that are not yet realty.

Dear Dr Nekia,

I am a new mom to twins, one girl and one boy, and my husband and I have noticed that they both give a lot of attention to their genital areas. I am so embarrassed to even have to ask this, but is this behaviour normal? I can’t imagine that I have perverted children and it embarrasses me if they do it in public.


Embarrassed Mom

Dear Embarrassed Mom,

I smile at this question because it is a common but controversial topic.

Firstly let me answer directly by saying if you inspect the genitals and find no evidence of pain, discomfort, rash, injury, or trauma, then yes the behaviour is most likely normal.

Babies and toddlers often find comfort in massaging their genitals just like they find comfort in sucking on a pacifier.

I can understand your embarrassment, but try not to think of it with the mind of an adult. That is to say, try not to think of it as being sexual. I know that we are taught that the genitals have no other purpose besides sex or excretion, however this is false.

The genitals are not naughty places, nor are they dirty places.

They are considered to be private places because of the stigma that our society carries regarding human sexuality and because genital sensitivity leaves us feeling vulnerable.

However, your babies are not concerned with society’s thoughts and they are expressing their need to be comforted.

So no, your children are not weird or perverted. They are quite normal and the behaviour should not be encouraged, but neither should it be discouraged.

Simply try your best to ignore the behaviour.

That way your children will not be receiving positive or negative reinforcement from their behaviour of genital stimulation which could effect their overall security with sexuality later in life.

I should note for general knowledge that genital self-stimulation is also found in children who are being sexually molested.

Parents should be aware of this and should ALWAYS check for signs of genital interference.