On Listening to Your Inner Voice [Dear DBN]
Passion is the kindling of the best sex, the most intense relationships, and the most ambitious goals. It’s not something you should avoid, nor is it something you should ever settle to be without. If you feel something, allow yourself to feel it, lest it concrete in your soul like a blood clot. And if you desperately want to feel something, seek it out, or be fated to maybe never feel it again. This week, how to trust your feelings and what to do when they’re saying something you don’t want to hear.
What do you do when a guy tells you that you “have no reason to be angry” or are “too angry” or “the anger was clouding your judgment”? I felt like I wasn’t being listened to, my feelings were VALID because they were HAPPENING, so I broke it off. Is that enough to end things? This not listening thing has been a continuing problem. I love him, so this blows, but I know either way, things will work out, so I’m relaxed about it… Thank God…
This is called gaslighting. And gaslighters will continue to try to invalidate your feelings. This is something that happens frequently to women. When a man is passionate, when he is shouting, hands-raised to an audience, he is strong and manly. When a woman acts in the same manner, she is irrational. Gaslighting is a power-play.
When someone makes a sexist remark at work that makes you uncomfortable and you have the courage to say so, gaslighters will say, “it’s just a joke – why are you freaking out?” That method of trivializing your feelings is rooted in a person’s selfishness. They are manipulating you into thinking your feelings are extreme, out of place. Learn to recognize this tactic so you can fairly assess when you are and are not being reasonable. The lack of consideration your boyfriend repeatedly showed for your feelings would have permeated your entire relationship, if it hadn’t already. You did the right thing. You do not stay in relationships with people who attempt to belittle and manipulate your feelings.
Oh DBN, I need your help! My boyfriend and I just celebrated our year anniversary. But our passion sizzled a long time ago. We probably have sex…once a month. Not exaggerating. We argue and watch TV. There’s nothing left to our relationship! I love him and I respect him, but we live together and I’m going to England to visit his parents in December and it would kill me to not be with him! But I just don’t see how to make this work. And I don’t know what to do. Advice, please?
Stop watching TV. Go out to dinner. See a movie. Go to a show. Be in the world together outside of this tepid bathwater relationship. Do you even enjoy each other’s company? Talk to him. Have that uncomfortable conversation about the sex because you have to. Having sex with the same person can get old. I love running, but if I ran the same six-mile loop every day, I’d be bored senseless with it. Dress up, sext, role play, buy some extra goodies, and give your year-long investment a chance. And if the romance isn’t there, then you need to accept that he’s a person you love and respect that you shouldn’t be romantically involved with. Stir your relationship and if the spice does not swirl up from the bottom, then leave.
Also, it’s important to note that living with someone and having plans to travel with them are not actually reasons to stay with a person. They are actually terribly convenient excuses to not do something proactive. You need to actively pursue a better relationship, and if you cannot build one, then you cannot rely on these excuses to save you because friends will take you in and plane tickets can be cancelled. Do not be so afraid to pursue the life and the relationship you deserve solely because you find Craigslist so daunting.
CollegeCandy is excited to announce that we’ve partnered up with one of our favorite Tumblrs, DateByNumbers, to bring you some of her very best advice. Each week she’ll tackle your questions. Life, love, sex, the real world…nothing will be off limits. To submit a question of your own, visit her “Ask” page and keep an eye on CollegeCandy every Thursday afternoon!