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Archive for the ‘Breakups/Divorce’ Category

When DENIAL Strikes

In Breakups/Divorce, Drama, Mental Health on September 5, 2010 at 7:10 am

Caution: Blindness is not always involuntary. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Hey Bubby,

So a close female friend of mine told me a couple of months
ago that a friend of hers had just moved here and suggested we hang
out. I met her friend for drinks and we ended up making out at the end
of the night. I told my friend about it a couple of days later –
expecting her response to be anywhere from ambivalent to supportive –
but instead she responded, “I will tell her not to date you.”

Apparently, she thinks I was an asshole to one or two of my
ex-girlfriends. (I really didn’t do anything that terrible to them.)
I’ve seen her friend a couple of times since and I’m not crazy about
her or anything, but my friend’s threat has really gotten under my
skin. Why would she be friends with me if she thinks like that? I
don’t want my friendship with her to end, but I don’t think I can be
friends with someone who feels like that about me. I don’t know what
to say to her and she’s ignored me when I’ve tried to continue the
conversation. Basically, it seems like she’s done talking about it.
Also, she isn’t jealous like she wants to date me or anything.
That’s not the issue.

-Zadie In Waiting

Dear ZIW,

Might you be in denial? According to MindDisorders.com, “Denial is the refusal to acknowledge the existence or severity of unpleasant external realities or internal thoughts and feelings.” It seems to me that when a woman tries to protect her friends against the perils of dating a man, it is never in vain or without prompt. What happened with these exes? Did you unwittingly behave in a way unbecoming of yourself?

I don’t think any of this is so weird. You can love your guy friends as buddies, but not want them to go near the hearts of your female friends if you know they can be hurtful. Romantic involvement is not what your relationship with this friend entails, so the judgment of that side of you is null and void to your friendship. If she were IN love with you and thought you were a jerk when it came to dating, then you might want to question the integrity of your interactions.

It sounds like she cares about you, but doesn’t love the idea of you hurting another friend. It also sounds like she is controlling the conversation. But if you are in denial, then that is a pretty typical response. Some people hate going in emotional circles. When they know something and they find their partner in conversation faking like that shit doesn’t exist, well, continuing in that manner can be a sincere waste of time. Try reading The Elephant in the Room: Silence and Denial in Everyday Life by Eviatar Zerubavel to better understand this phenomenon.

Her girlfriends are going to trump you, because life sucks like that sometimes. So, do some personal gravedigging and yank up those skeletons. Re-visit the endings to those relationships and see if maybe you forgot to see something in the mirror of your ways. I wouldn’t abandon this friendship, I would abandon the self-avoidance.

According to LiveStrong.com we can confront denial by:

* Asking ourselves honestly why we are in denial.
* Asking ourselves what are the benefits to be gained by our denial.
* Recognizing the negative consequences that result from our denial behavior.
* Allowing ourselves to express negative or embarrassing emotions as we confront our problems (e.g., crying, feeling lost, feeling confused or feeling scared).
* Allowing ourselves to admit to being out of control.
* Trusting others to help us with our problem.
* Admitting our vulnerability and our need for assistance.
* Risking the loss of acceptance or approval by those who may be unable to handle our open, honest admission of our problem.
* Recognizing that denial is a natural stage in the loss/grief response.
* Believing that out of failure comes success; accepting the failure as a chance for personal growth.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
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Eeny, meeny, miny, moe

In Breakups/Divorce on August 1, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Dear Yenta,

My ex and I broke up a little over a year ago. While we’ve chatted here and there since, he has recently been trying to be a part of my life again. Specifically he has been inviting me to dinner dates and to his parties. I am currently dating someone else and its getting pretty serious, so I’ve been declining my ex’s invitations.

After my ex’s birthday party, which I didn’t attend, he told me that he realized that he still wants me to be in his life, even if we aren’t together. He said that I was the person who first made a big deal about his birthday, and he remembers the good times we had and even though we aren’t together he would still like to be friends and have me in his life.

The ex has invited my boyfriend to these parties now, so at least is not a secret ploy to get me back as a girlfriend. I miss my ex too, we are best friends, but can you be friends with an ex?

-Conflicted

Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Dear Conflicted,

Start by watching Sex and the City, Season 2, Episode 3, “Ex and the City” for food for thought. Next, weigh your own needs, emotions and general status with all of this. What role did the ex-boyfriend play in your life? Is your new boyfriend playing that role? Do you still need your ex, or for that matter, do you honestly still want him in your life? Is he really still your “best friend?”

If these questions are so hard to answer, it makes me wonder if you still have feelings for your first love. Is he the one you want around when things get rough, or the new “more serious boyfriend?” Also, are you getting off on the attention? Sometimes it is hard to cut old lovers out of our lives because they look at us and pine for us in ways that we miss.

You mention your ex’s voice a lot in your question. You seem concerned about how much he misses you, how nice it was that you made a big deal for him on important holidays. Maybe this guy needs to find someone else to pay attention to him, celebrate his birthdays, make him feel special, rather then crossing boundaries and yanking your love life’s chain.

Bottom line: friendship with an ex has to do with two parties and both of their intentions. If you both want “friendship,” then make “friendship” work. That means maintaining trust, maintaining respect, and not crossing the line repeatedly. It does not sound like your ex is being a good friend, it sounds like he is acting in his own, and only his own, best interest. If you want games and leftover lust; if you are having a hard time locating this so-called friendly relationship amidst your older more romantic feelings; and if you truly value your new man, then I would say be brave, cut the ex chord, and give your new boyfriend your all.

Your 28-Year-Old Yenta

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
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Naming Kids After Remarriage

In Breakups/Divorce, Marriage on June 27, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Dear Yenta,

I have one child from a previous divorce. My child and I have the same last name, my maiden name. In the event that I get remarried and have more children, what are your thoughts about what should happen to our last names? I am worried that my child will feel left out if everyone has a different last name than him. I am also worried that if I have a hyphenated last name, my other children will not want the hyphen.

-Name-Crazed

Don't make Billy Bob feel any more alien than he might already feel in a new family. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Dear NC,

I think, in general, we cross big bridges when we come to them.  If and when you get remarried and pregnant, then you will probably know the answer to this question on instinct, or with the help of your partner.

I know a lot of kids in the same family with different fathers.  A bastard knows he is a bastard, ie, each child knows their origin or their difference without needing a reminder.  All the children in these families I know have the same last name. In most cases, the child’s name was changed with the new marriage.

In your case, that your child has your maiden name, this implies that you could continue this tradition, and give all your children your maiden name, or have an adult discussion with your one child and say, “we are a family now, and it would be nice, I think, for us all to have the same name.”  You are the mother, don’t forget, the matriarch.  You decide, and everyone follows suit.

Think about lineage and think about a clan and think about togetherness; these factors can be your guiding light in this situation.  All in all, divorce happens.  Preserve an identity for your child that you think might transcend flippant relationships.  In this case, your maiden name sounds good to me.  Different last names are a no-go.  They simply highlight separatism within a family.

And finally, why worry if your children will want or not want the hyphen in a hyphenated name?  YOU name YOUR children, and they live with that name, period.  This is how we all had to deal, with the name given to us.  Have confidence and again, cross this bridge when you come to it.

Ask Yenta!  E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using www.send-email.org to ask anonymously.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

Haunted By Ex’s Penis

In Breakups/Divorce, Health and Body, Sex on June 10, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Find a replacement, but be sure he is as good, if not better, than the old. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Dear Yenta,

When I have sex, I think about my ex-husband’s penis. My new lover is amazing, wonderfully caring, and very talented in bed (which my ex-husband lacked), but every time we are intimate, I see my ex-husband’s face.  I’ve come so close to calling out his name but caught myself every time. I am very upfront and honest with my new lover, but this is one thing I just don’t think he would understand. I miss my ex, I won’t lie, but at the same time, I am much happier without him. How do I get him out of my bedroom?!

-Mentally Cheating

Dear MC,

There are two things that you can do.  One: Leave this man and mend your heart, do the work to get over your ex, and then resume dating him or someone else.  Two.  Deal with it within the relationship.

Thinking about your ex-husband is normal, especially if you were with him for a long time and that time included having sex with him.  But thinking about your ex while in bed with the new guy, that’s another story.  It indicates an inability to be present with the man in front of you, replacing his face with the face of another.

You can look at this as an opportunity to learn.  When your husband’s face or memory comes to mind, stop for a minute, look around, and check in with yourself.  What, exactly, are you longing for that you are not experiencing then and there?  Could there be a lack of intimacy and trust with this new man, making you long for the old?

Also, is this new dude up to par?  This regression into old memories could be a sign that the new lover is not good enough for you.  After a bad or ended relationship we often choose sub-par lovers in fear of never loving again.  Set your standards high enough and follow suit.

Either leave him, or nurture the relationship with the lover.  If, though, he is just a “lover” then who cares?  Maybe he is just a filler for the old, in which case this haunting is a sign from deep inside of you reminding you that you haven’t let go of yesterday.  Choose.  Then or now, and if now is the choice, then work hard at making your present reality and your present relationship one that sates you.  Build the trust, expose the edges, and begin again.

My guess though, is that you need to dump the lover and cry by a river somewhere or something to purge the ex from your body.  Do what it takes to address and mend the hurt parts so you can love and trust again, ie, be present and satisfied with the man in front of you.
For help read these simple steps for Recovering From A Failed Relationship.

Ask Yenta!  E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using www.send-email.org to ask anonymously.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

Lesbianism Ain’t Always Easy

In Breakups/Divorce, Dating, Drama, Mental Health on May 27, 2010 at 3:29 pm

It wasn't easy for Callie Torres to embrace this moment on Grey's.

Dear Yenta,

I’ve been in a relationship with someone who has been reckless with my heart.  I am in my first lesbian relationship. We began dating shortly after she was broken up with by her ex-gf.

After a few weeks of dating me, she dumped me for her ex then a week later asked me to be her gf again. I was really hurt but still had strong feelings and we got back together.  Should I stick it out knowing that she could possibly get back with the ex again?

Sincerely,

Woman Burn

Dear WB,

What I read when you say someone has been reckless with your heart, is that you opened your heart to the reckless.  I spent many a year as a Women’s Studies major, and then many years to follow attempting to ditch the victim/oppressor mentality.  We choose our lives, and shape them accordingly.  This woman is abusing you because she can, because you said she could.

In this case, there are a number of things you can learn from this new relationship so as to guard your heart from suffering in the future.  For one, be aware of your emerging self.  If you are newly out, or newly consummating your gayness, this might leave you vulnerable to wicked edges.  If the women you are dating in this first phase aren’t solid, caring and together, you might be more susceptible to recklessness.

It is not easy, those first weeks, months or years of an emerging identity in a society that still debates the legitimacy of lesbianism to begin with.  There are a long list of issues that come to the surface ranging from homophobia to questions of scripts and behavioral norms.  Do you have a community supporting you?  Are you using this woman as your support network?  That could be disastrous, and also explain why you would put up with this type of cruel flip-flopping behavior.

One book that comes highly recommended is How To Be A Happy Lesbian: A Coming Out Guide by Tracey Stevens and  Katherine Wunder.  Look for GLBT events in your community, or find out if there are peer groups, support groups, or basic fun events where your community can expand beyond this mean woman.  Also, try calling the GLBT National Support Hotline at  1-888-843-4564 instead of funneling yourself into this woman and her split heart.  They also offer Online Peer-Support Chat.

Another thing to beware of with both women, men and in-between, is that anyone who is freshly out of another relationship may not be totally present for you.  No matter how much this woman may like you, and no matter how much you feel for her, her heart is still tied up with the past.  This means she can’t be the girlfriend you deserve because she is still busy being a girlfriend, or navigating the oddities of being an ex-girlfriend to her ex.

It’s as if this woman gave you an awesome new toy(her), and then realized suddenly that she wanted it back.  When we receive people into our hearts and bodies we want to be sure that they are as present, as unattached and as loving as we are.  This recklessness that you refer to is her problem, but more so, it is your problem that you engaged in a relationship with the reckless.

Thus, YOU have been reckless with your heart.  Be gentle and patient in seeking women to love.  The beginning of a lesbian dating life is not always easy, but the signs of a maladjusted lover run clear across the board.  Steer clear of women in love with other women.  You will find another person to love, one that is as loving as you are.  In the meantime, look for some solid queer friends to support you in your identity and weave your way out of this destructive relationship.  You deserve a love all your own.

Ask Yenta!  E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using www.send-email.org to ask anonymously.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
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Letting Go of Ugly Voices

In Breakups/Divorce, Mental Health, Parents on May 24, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Change the script! "I am $10 Princess." Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Hi Yenta,

I recently separated from my husband of four years, who emotionally abused and financially used me. While I am trying to get my life back on track, I am living in my parents’ house for emotional and financial support. As I move forward, I don’t want to keep reliving all the negative things he did or said to me.

However, my parents repeatedly bring up all the ways in which he was a terrible husband and son-in-law. I understand that they also feel manipulated and betrayed (he used them financially as well), but every time they begin on these tirades, I feel guilty for bringing him into their lives. I’ve expressed this to my parents & asked that they not talk about him for the time being, but they can’t seem to stop themselves. What can I do to make this easier on my parents and myself?

-Homeward Bound

Dear HB,

Ugh, this sounds completely awful. Good for you for wanting to let the voices of the past go.  In the meantime, let’s map a plan for dealing with your present.

The rule about Mom and Dad is that they will always be them.  You cannot fix or change their behavioral patterns, you can only alter your own approach to both engagement and the subsequent emotions.

In this case, it sucks that your parents can’t put a lid on it.  When it comes down to it, you tried to express your need for a change in topic, and they couldn’t seem to respect that need.  That means you need to act outside the box in order to protect yourself, most specifically, your heart.

How to make this easier on yourself and your parents?  At this point you have no other choice than to move on.  Moving on means continuing to do what you have done to let go of this man and asserting your autonomy.  It is hard work, and work that needs to be continued daily.  Like an alcoholic attending regular AA meetings, you need to fully commit to letting go.  In moving on, and in moving out, you will eradicate those tirades from your life, but more importantly, you will give your parents hope and something new to focus on.

I am a weathered respiter.  Ie, I often return home after long arduous travel to reboot before refiring into the world.  There is, however, an important time limit to living at home.  When you are no longer resting, but choking on the confined role of “daughter,” run.

Going home is good until going home destroys you, then going home is bad.  This is a fine line because being in the den of your childhood can be destructive without warning and in ways you didn’t expect.  There is the normal drag of memory and regression, and then there are things like tirades relating to the past.  You get to choose to release yourself from this dull pang.  Only you know your threshold for parental drama.  Find that threshold and when it is crossed, make a change.

Tunnel vision is the number one side-effect of living with parents.  Make an effort to speak to people, go to places, and cultivate practices that expand your vision so that your girlhood is not the full scope of your perspective.

Make a plan and stick to it.  You want to move out?  Figure out what that will take and then do it.  Do what you can, even from your high school bedroom, to affirm your trajectory towards womanhood and autonomy and slowly those voices and tirades will shift.  You have to do the work, though.  You have to move on so they can move on.

Little things that maintain drive:

Write out your goals and tack them to your mirror.

excercise, Yoga, Dance – anything to keep your connection to your body.

Nutrition.  Good food feeds good thoughts.

Meditation. This will help you focus on the present and release the past.

For those who believe: Prayer works wonders.

Anything else to keep you inside of yourself and connected to your intention.

For help, try reading:

Self-Reliance:The Wisdom of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Inspiration for Daily Living Edited by Richard Whelan.

The Little Book of Letting Go:  A Revolutionary 30Day Program to Cleanse Your Mind, Lift Your Spirit and Replenish Your Soul by Hugh Prather.

Ask Yenta!  E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using www.send-email.org to ask anonymously.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

Radical Tutorial

In Breakups/Divorce, Mental Health on April 26, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Check out Phat Camp at NomyLamm.com.

Dear Yenta,

I grew up in Northern Montana in a small town and have lived here most of my life. I just left my husband of seven years and am feeling curious. He was so very straight and narrow. If my thoughts were ever too far out of his bounds, he shut them down fast. I am excited to be out in the bigger world and want to know about women-positive sites. Can you connect me to things he would have possibly hated?

Thanks,

Liberated

Dear L,

Kudos for leaving, for starting over, and for wanting the things you were told never to want. There is a giant world of feminism, alternative women’s media and more out there. I could probably write you for hours on sites and books. Maybe start by perusing my site, and the links/book list. Check out Bitch Magazine, Bust Magazine, VenusZine, Ms. Magazine and Jezebel.com to fuel your fire.

For some other out-there sites and voices by women/men/in-between choosing radicalism, see below. Again, so much admiration for choosing to walk in your own fire.

NomyLamm.com

DuckyDoolittle.com

LoriMetals.com

JigsawUnderground.blogspot.com

TheBumpideereader.blogspot.com

KnowingMeansSoLittle.blogspot.com

ElanasPantry.com

GossipyYouth.com

NoFauxxx.com

6 Years, Sexless Marriage

In Breakups/Divorce, Marriage, Sex on April 11, 2010 at 9:03 pm

According to the sages, marriage takes work. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Yenta,

Is there anyway to fall back in love with your husband after 23 yrs of a roller coaster marriage? Would it better to move on and try to build a new life at 50. If I we’re to try and make it work, that’s assuming he still wants to get w me, how would I go about having sex with him again after 4-6 years?

Signed,

Desperate for Directions

Dear DFD,

For you, I consulted two Rebbetzins, ie, the wives of good Rabbis. According to the first wise woman I asked, “I do think with a history of 23 years it is possible to fall back in love, its worth seeking help for this. Alone and single at 50 is not as simple as it sounds and the chance of meeting someone is not huge… I know too many women here who are still single at 60 and 70 etc and really regret it. I would say try every option first.”

As we discussed this dilemma we concurred that marriage counseling is in order. That, and upping the communication between husband and wife. Have you talked about your sex life openly with your husband in six years? Have you directly addressed the issues that are mushrooming between you? Communication builds intimacy; intimacy builds trust; trust builds safety; safety yields the possibility for wild sexual expression. Follow suit.

Later I contacted AskMoses.com, where there are live people with great Jewish knowledge waiting online to help people with their questions. I asked the woman there about your dilemma and she immediately said, “I certainly DO believe people can fall in love again…though it takes work. There are many many good books and counselors who can help a couple rekindle what they believe is lost.” (See below for titles.)

“Would you agree?” she asked me. “Yes,” I answered. Adding my own two cents I went on, “I agree. But there is something sad to me about a woman who is beautiful, alive and intelligent trying to make it work with a man who might not be good for her. I have faith in marriage, and respect its sanctity, but also know that we die one day and only live once. So to invest a lifetime in making a dead relationship alive again could be a gamble.”

Together we decided that you need to remember why you married this man, remember what held you together on that roller coaster for 23 years. Yes, it sounds like you had dips and whirls and nausea and everything that goes with a ride, but it also sounds like there was a proper seat belt keeping you alive, close to someone in the seat next to you, and possibly, a thrill.

Or, you held on for the sake of the kids, or out of fear. Or, you married out of obligation, or ignorance, or need. Do you love him? Do you want it to work? Are you staying only because you fear starting over again? I ADORE the brave women I meet in their 50’s and 60’s who did the hard work of leaving a bad thing and finding themselves all over again. Why? Because leaving the man they were with for 30 years and starting over leaves them at a virtual age 28.

I know that women are strong and can endure things for the sake of holding a family and children together. I also know that women make mistakes in choosing partners. But 23 years is a long time. Six years is too. So before you quit, put your heart into this like a brave warrior and see what it yields. The woman at AskMoses reminded me that the Mishna teaches, “according to the toil is the reward.” “In other words,” she explained, “the effort she invests in her relationship will reward her as they can grow to feel intimate (emotionally and otherwise) once again.”

Places to seek help:

Find a marriage counselor, stat, to see what is keeping you from getting intimate with the man you once loved.

For a Jewish spin on marriage and working with it, check out Can This Marriage Be Saved? a blog hosted by Chabad.org. This week’s feature is on what an empty nest does to a marriage.

I do wonder, do you have kids? One thing that happens as children age, is that couples can no longer deflect their issues into caring for their offspring. Once the kids become adults, the parents are left with each other again. In those years of child-rearing it can be easy to lose touch with one another, burying issues under soccer practices and birthday parties. Now you have to sweep up shop after all that production.

Also check out creepy but brilliant John Gray, author of Women are From Mars, Men are From Venus. His website has a whole arsenal of marriage-saving resources including Online Counseling, the How Do You Rate In The Bedroom Quiz, or the Monthly Romance Planner.

Or, check out the even creepier Surrendered Wife for marriage-saving ideas by Laura Doyle.

And finally… “As for her question on physical intimacy,” wrote the AskMoses.com operator, “I think she can invite him for an evening of long overdue romance and do all the classic things, music, candles etc., to get things rekindled that way.”

Or, try reading Kim Catrall’s book, (although she did write it with her EX-husband) Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm

She Dumped Me and Now I Hate The World

In Breakups/Divorce, Dating, Drama on March 24, 2010 at 8:44 pm

All that misery was probably born elsewhere. Photograph courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Dear Yenta,

I was recently dumped by a girl I was seeing for a month. I know it’s lame, and I may be reacting too much for such a short-lived experience, but I really liked this girl, and the breakup came out of nowhere, since things were going really well. Her reason was that she recently reconnected with an ex, and she felt guilty stringing me along. I’m having difficulty coping with the pain, and I’ve tried binge-drinking, making sad music mixes, and I’ve repeatedly listened to the Breakup Episode of This American Life. I really want her to feel the sadness that I do, but more importantly, I want to be happy again. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Wallower

Dear Wallower,

No matter what a lifetime of My So-Called Life, Dawson’s Creek, 90210, Part of Five and Gossip Girl will tell you, this kind of misery is not totally normal. When I say “normal” I mean to say that it is not an acceptable social standard to fall apart because some girl you knew for a month decided to go back where her heart came from.

That being said, I know that love can expand and flourish in even just a week. Time does not negate intensity, and I have no doubt that this relationship felt vital and moving. But, in the end, you are an adult and this human you loved on was not someone of enormous importance in the scope of your vast existence.

This means that something else is wrong. What is going on in your life? Could you be using this as an excuse to cry about other things? Chances are this chick just triggered a massive library of self-esteem issues. She just triggered the rejection valve and now you are probably wondering something along the lines of “Am I lovable? Will I ever be loved? Am I a freak? Why don’t she love me anymore?” Etc. A little sting is normal, a full-on collapse is another story.

Get out your diary and write a little ditty about what you are going through. Figure out why this woman, who you don’t totally know, was so awesome for you. Was it her, or was it the having of a girlfirend at all that felt so amazing? What did she validate for you? What are you projecting onto this woman, what kind of importance, what kind of role, what kind of romantic notions?

If you are seeking your self-worth from a stranger, it will leave you dead and cold in the heart region when they walk. Ie, look for that spark, that love, that acceptance within you and the bottle and This American Life won’t seem so delicious.

You want her, you say, to feel this same sense of gigantic loss. But she probably didn’t turn you into a mountain as you did her. Your loss is not necessarily about the girl. It is about all the things that being seen by another with loving sparkly eyes might do for you, things you should look for from within.

Be nice to yourself, remember who loves you. Spend some time doing things that nurture you, like running or swimming or hiking. Happiness will come inevitably, since all bullshit passes. But right now you might want to dive into why you got so miserable in the first place. My hunch: get some professional help for a short while to explore why it is you are so devastated by this loss.

She Wants To Sleep With Everyone

In Breakups/Divorce, Mental Health, Sex on March 18, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Desire can be a sign of positive bloodflow. Photograph courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Dear Yenta,

I’ve been dating my best friend Taylor off and on for about two years now. It’s been really great and I love him so much. He’s helped me through my dad’s death in the past year and we are very close. Lately though I’ve started having feelings towards other people and being less interested when we are intimate. On top of that, I’ve stopped ignoring the feelings I’ve had for one of my good girl friends. She wrote me a letter and in it told me how she’s always felt about me.

She said in it that when she first met me that she knew there was something nerve-wracking and beautiful about me. I don’t know what to do because I think about her all the time and how wonderful it would be to be with her! I think about the way her eyes sparkle when she laughs and how she always looks perfect to me and I just have this desire to be with her, even though she thinks she is dorky. I don’t know if this is just a phase or not. Also, lately I’ve just been wanting to have sex a lot. With Taylor and with my other guy friends that are interested in me, or my ex boyfriends. It’s like I don’t even care anymore.

Am I morally obstructed for wanting to be with more than one person?

-Sweet Jewish Girl

Dear SJG,

You would only be morally obstructed if you were to act on all of your desires while feigning commitment to your boyfriend. There is no sin in entertaining thoughts. However, nine times out of ten, when you start thinking about sleeping with everyone around you more than about sleeping with your man, it is a sign that things between you aren’t right.

When people help us through hard times, it is hard to let them go. Your boyfriend, I have no doubt, is a wonderful man who made the pain of losing your father far less difficult. But just because someone was there when you needed them most does not mean you need to be with them forever. Relationships shift and it might be time to end the romantic element of this one.

According to Elisabeth Kübler Ross, there are 7 stages of grief. These are:

1) Shock stage: Initial paralysis at hearing the bad news.
2) Denial stage: Trying to avoid the inevitable.
3) Anger stage: Frustrated outpouring of bottled-up emotion.
4) Bargaining stage: Seeking in vain for a way out.
5) Depression stage: Final realization of the inevitable.
6) Testing stage: Seeking realistic solutions.
7) Acceptance stage: Finally finding the way forward.

You, I am guessing, are somewhere between the Testing and the Acceptance phases. It sounds like you have waxed and waned through the hard work of letting a parent go and are now ready to begin to come alive again.

You can still show your love and your friendship, but sticking around out of obligation or guilt is not what relationships are about. Your desire to sleep with your friend and to sleep with everyone else is just your body’s way of saying that it is time to move on. Get bad with your lesbian half. Find what makes you tick.

Sometimes, sadly, those people who help us through hard times also remind us of the suffering we experienced. It might be time to end your intimacy with your boyfriend because he holds a lot of the grief you just walked through, and now you need distance from those feelings. It isn’t fair, but it can be part of the process of mourning, moving on, and continuing to live a good life.

You only live that good life once, so be true to yourself. You can show your love and appreciation for your boyfriend without being his significant other. It is possible to end this era of the relationship, while expressing how important he was and is to you. For help, see these tips on gentle breakups from AllWomenStalk.com. Figure out what you want and then go get it. Just be sure to be kind and gentle as you untie yourself from this guy: he sounds like someone who deserves it.

A Canadian girl at breakfast this morning also advises going out with a royal final hurrah. She suggests giving your man a threesome before dipping out. To each her own.