Ask ShanTellem: Should I Even Bother?
My child’s father and I have been together for eight years with one or two short separations. Lately, we have lost our spark. Part of this is due to past hurts and my inability to fully open up to my man sexually before I know we are connecting spiritually and emotionally. He is my best friend, but after our last separation, I feel he’s ready to jump back into the “on again, off again cycle,” and withholding sex seems like the best way to protect myself while working through the areas that actually need work (communication, etc..). How long is too long to spend in an “on again, off again” cycle? Is it normal to go through phases of not being so attracted sexually because you feel other areas are lacking? How can I get the trust and the spark back, and should I even bother trying?
Should I Even Bother?
Dear Should I,
Well this is interesting. If you’ve been with someone for as long as you have, it is very normal to go through dry seasons. Relationships are like the weather, subject to change at any moment because individuals are changing and evolving. I think you should figure out why you are holding on to past hurts. That type of grasp will only bring you pain. Have you forgiven him for his transgressions? Have you forgiven yourself? Forgiveness is a huge part of moving forward in love and in life. Without it, stagnation—along with a constant replay and experience of the pain you endured—will surely be present.
No “protection” is needed when you’re with who you are meant to be with. The fact that you feel like you need to protect yourself speaks volumes about your relationship readiness, as well as how you see your mate. Is he your life companion or the enemy? Only you can answer that question.
While I understand that things take time, there’s a major difference between healing and being controlled by fear. One leads to a positive outcome no matter what, while the other takes you down the road of self-sabotage. It sounds to me like you’re headed down the latter.
In reference to this “on again, off again” cycle, that’s never good… but you already know that. Each and every time you break up, your relationship weakens and the distrust is allowed to build. My suggestion is that you truly think about what you want and communicate it to your mate. Both of you deserve that undeniable, passionate love, and you won’t get it by withholding sex, not trusting your mate and, most importantly, not being true to your feelings.
Good luck and I wish you the best.
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Shantell E. Jamison is a digital editor for EBONY.com and JETmag.com. She’s also a radio personality, and cultural critic. Her debut book, “Drive Yourself in the Right Direction: Simple Quotes on How to Achieve Your Best Self” is available now at Amazon.com.