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I’m stuck in this marriage

By Aunty Julie

Aunty Julie,

I have been following your column and now, I have a problem that I need to be solved. I’ve been in a relationship with my female partner for approximately 22 months, and it’s been going downhill since the beginning. Lack of communications and commitment seems to be the main problems.

I work in an oil firm and occasionally travel offshore and that is where most of the problems occur when we don’t see each other that much. Sometimes when I’m at home, she has to go to work in another town. It’s not a far distance but I manage to see her as often as possible.

Both of us have suffered temptation and I have this feeling we have both given in to it at different times. Lately we’ve been talking about breaking up, but the problem is we fear being lonely. Help me out here.

Dapo, Lagos

Dear Dapo,

Lack of communication and commitment are big obstacles. But what worries me is why each of you are afraid to be alone when you are without each other most of the time.

And talking about lack of communication, why is this lacking?

 

Usually, people have difficulty with being alone when they are anxious and they have to distract themselves continuously and when they are not feeling good about work or their social life or when they have not developed any creative outlets . Does that mean that outside each other, you do not have one or two close friends you can share genuine issues with?

Of course, let’s not minimize the 22 months the two of you have been together. That’s a significant period of time, even if the relationship has been sliding downward for awhile. You both may need the help of a friend, family member, teacher, spiritual advisor or, maybe, a counselor to help you grieve the end of the relationship.

 It doesn’t mean you can’t be friends. But clinging to each other out of some dysfunctional fear will just block your ability to emotionally grow and fully move on with your individual lives.

It has also been discovered that often, young adults have several unfinished emotional issues and conflicts with their families of origin.

Sometimes, these conflicts linger and can contribute greatly to communication difficulties. Your current partner is a catalyst for stirring up your old emotional “hot button” issues that predate her. And being unfinished emotionally with family also correlates with being unsure of one’s self-esteem and sense of identity. This vulnerability will certainly make commitment a daunting prospect.


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