I’m in a relationship of around 6 years. i love my girlfriend very much, but unfortunately we have run into some problems recently. After 5 perfect years together I offered to help her out and got her a job working at my place. After a few months I noticed we weren’t doing so well, and that it had taken a bit of the romance of our relationship. Things that once felt like second nature suddenly have become hard, and I’ve found myself bottling up feelings. It’s frustrating, and now it seems I’ve been buried by depression for over a year or so, unable to figure out what’s wrong or how to move forward with our lives.
I wondered if you have any advice for people in a long-term relationship that might have lost some of its zing, and how you would try get that back?
A: Hello- Well, you already know this, but working together is NOT working. Whether it’s because you see too much of each other now and the “mystery” is gone, or it has changed the dynamic between you two, or whatever it is, I would try to address this first, and then reassess the relationship after some time. I know this is asking a lot! But if this is the root of the problem, then there’s no use in me suggesting ways to get the ‘spark’ back.
As for your depression, I’m really sorry to hear about this. I can only speak of my own moods and hope that something helpful comes of it. I realized at some point that I only have so much control over my mood when it shifts, so I now know what to do to help reverse it. It takes time and effort, though. Baby steps like Bill Murray in “What About Bob?” I’m not apathetic, nor am I in denial of its presence. I acknowledge it, like, “Why hello old friend. You may be here now, but may I remind you that there’s a good moment lurking around the corner.” I actively work on reversing it, even if my actions are forced: I read a lot, to get outside of myself, and into others’ inspiring and more expansive minds. I hang out with friends who are supportive and loving. Among other things… Usually my efforts help to lessen my funk. But I realize that I’m lucky, because I can be pro-active about my state. I’m not clinically depressed. I know people who battle with this disease, and it’s truly debilitating. If you think you are depressed, I would recommend that you seek therapy and perhaps medication as soon as possible. I think true depression is not having hope there there will be good times in the future. As someone once described it to me, it is “despair beyond despair.” I’m not qualified to give any advice on this topic, but I really really wish you the best in mending this mood, and things with your gf. Please keep in touch if you have any further questions! Much love to you!
Q: Hey Nedelle! I have a thing with a 25 year old male friend. Right now I’m not in a position for a relationship, so I thought I would try for a FWB. We’re both single, and I’m not a girl who gets attached after sex, so that won’t be a problem. And I’m pretty sure he’s a commitment-phobe. How do I ask for FWB without scaring him, or giving him the “slutty vibe”?
A: Hello! Well, if I were you, (and I have been you in this situation!) I would make out with the guy. Just kiss him. Then, during one of those awkward moments “after the fact,” say something casual like, “let’s just stay friends, k?” I fear that if you say something before the make-out session, you’ll jinx it in some way. (I’ve also done this, sigh.)
If he is truly commitment-phobic, then you’re ALL GOOD! Both parties win. But I must warn you, there’s a higher chance he will end up falling for you because you’ve uttered the words, “I just wanna be friends.” Isn’t that how it always works?
One more thing to consider- are you VERY good friends or more like acquaintances? I’ve noticed that weaker friendships can’t stand this type of test. If things get weird at all, your friendship might fizzle out. No harm done, but no reason to continue the friendship.
If you have a really solid friendship, however, then it will endure no matter what the outcome. In this case, you should definitely go for it. For funsies! Why not? (Pride is boring.)
Q: Hi Nedelle, I am going to try to be as honest as I can. I’m 20 years old, male, 5’-10,” racially ambiguous, the middle child, afraid of change, uncomfortable financially, a college student, sometimes grateful, an aspiring musician, and lonely. I feel as though my heart has been broken more than once, but I’ve never been in a relationship with a girl. I’ve never had sex with a girl. I’ve never kissed a girl. I would say I’m a late bloomer, but I don’t see any bloom in sight. When my friends started to make out with each other in junior high I was too scared to join in because I was afraid my parents might find out. At the start of high school I was debilitatingly shy to talk to anyone, let alone girls. These days I’m fairly comfortable in my skin.
Recently I’ve become more determined to overcome my deficit of physical love. I’m tempted, if I could even gather enough courage, to pursue casual hookups with strangers who don’t know my past. I understand that I would be using them, but at this point I don’t many other options. I understand how sad this is. I know it’s uncommon. I’m not embarrassed with being a virgin. I don’t really even want sex. I guess I’m just discontent with my inexperience. It makes me feel alone.How should I go about feeling less alone? Sincerely, xoxox
A: Hello! First off, we need to nix this negative Nellie attitude. I didn’t lose my virginity until I was 18… It really doesn’t mean anything, it’s how you start acting henceforth! I know it’s easy to dwell on the past, and ponder the reasons you’ve become who you are in the present day, but it is just not serving you anymore. You are making really positive headway right now in your willingness to ‘join the club,’ so to speak, and in doing so, you have the possibility to diminish your feelings of alienation. So let’s focus on the future- a whole life of sex ahead of you!
Luckily, you happen to live in a day and age when casual hookups are not only accepted, but encouraged. There are apps for that! I would advise that you download some of these apps asap. Get rid of the guilt and start living it up, boy! It might be awkward at first, but after one or two encounters, your confidence will soar and your game will improve. Snowball effect, you feel me? I bet you some girls will even be into the fact that you’re inexperienced. We all have our fetishes. (I might add that my dad was a Catholic priest for so many years that by the time he left the order he was a 40 year old virgin! And he went on to score my mom, babe of all babes.)
Also, let’s not forget the fact that all this time you’ve spent ‘single’ has made you who you are- intelligent and sensitive, and I’m sure musically talented, and so much more! Being alone has infinite value, and you probably possess all sorts of skills and attributes that promiscuous people, or serial monogamists, for example, don’t. Also, start playing more music. That seems to make me happier. And as they say, when you’re happy, other people wanna get in your pants. Jk. I meant, other people want to be ‘around’ you. XO! Good luck!
“I believe it was John Cage who once told me, ‘When you start working, everybody is in your studio- the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all, your own ideas- all are there. But as you continue painting, they start leaving, one by one, and you are left completely alone. Then, if you’re lucky, even you leave.’”— Philip Guston (via a-nanaban)
Just broke up with a girl who was 13 years older than me (i’m 21) ‘cause she got promoted at work and required to travel for whole months. She preferred it that way, said I should be enjoying a life that was according to my age and she needed to be alone in order to fully develop herself in this new and harsh situation.
We had a beautiful relationship for as long and it lasted and I know for certain the love was true. I understand the age thing played its part in the sense that we are at different stages in life and I respect her needing to deal with this in her own way.
It’s just hard for me to focus on the positive aspect of it all and simply be grateful for having been able to experience such beautiful times and i’m definitively having a hard time with the girls I “should” be enjoying (the ones my age) I just find most of them to be so dull!
This is a really difficult situation, I’m sorry. This may sound cliche, but it sounds like you just need time. Time to get over the heartache, and time to readjust to your life without her. I’m not going to tell you this is an awesome opportunity and you should have a new lease on life. Because really it just sounds rough. Endings are the worst- especially since you had such a great connection with this person.
You won’t enjoy women who are your age for a while, probably. You got used to someone with a lot more life experience, so your standards are high now. But that’s not to say that people your age can’t be intelligent and interesting, too! They obviously can, because you are!
Now at the risk of sounding pretentious, I was thinking about this quote the other day. Proust said, “Mystery isn’t about traveling to new places, it’s about seeing with new eyes.”
It sounds to me like this wonderful lady feels that in order to really explore and experience this new chapter of her life, she needs to be set free. You too, have the opportunity to “travel,” in the sense that you can see the world with new eyes if you focus on the right things and stay positive! Good Luck