If you haven’t felt that way, then your lover probably has. Many things can trigger the confusion: new sexual desires, death of a loved one, new job, loss of a job, change in physical ability, new needs... hell, much too much to list. Many people in my space are going through such times, clients, friends…; to be honest, I am not sure if my lover recognizes me now.
Failure to recognize isn’t a failure to love. In my opinion, failure to recognize your lover is the result of two simple things: your lover has change, and/or you have changed. When working with my clients, at the beginning of our coaching relationship, I make it clear that there is NOTHING you can do to change your partner. I work with no one trying to change someone else. If you try to change your partner, you really change yourself. You lose the ability to see yourself as an individual and imagine goals that are special to just you. You lose yourself.
How To Find Yourself
Trust me, I know this may sound counterintuitive, but when you have lost yourself in a relationship and no longer recognize your lover, your job is not to find out what pleases your lover. Your job is to find out what pleases you. The more effort you put into understanding who your lover is and what your lover needs, the more you will push her or him away. Furthermore, you will not be any closer to knowing who your lover is. She or he has to reveal him or herself to you. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY (sorry for shouting)! Well, there is no other way that I have come across.
We observe our partners; however, we place meaning on their actions. Stacey does not love me because she doesn’t perform oral sex as frequently as she did. When Kevin is silent, he is mad at me. As many times as we see our partners behave in a certain manner, we cannot be certain of our assumptions, for our partners’ intentions may not even be close to our assumptions. Thus, I reiterate: the best thing to do when you no longer know your partner anymore is to get to know how you have changed over time, not to obsess over who your partner has become.
Some of us have been partners so long that we do not know who we are or how to begin finding ourselves. In the WikiHow article entitled How To Find Yourself, the editors give some pretty good steps (See hyperlink.). Here are a few:
1. (Step 3) Let go of the need to be loved by all and accept that some people still think you stink.
2. (Step 10) Be ready for dead ends.
3. (Warnings) Be careful, you might not immediately like who you find.
Let go of the need to be loved. As you find yourself, understand that some of the choices you make for yourself will not endear you to friends, family, associates, co-workers, and etcetera. Moreover, do not make your changes dependent upon satisfying others or making others love you, even your partner.
Finding yourself means becoming reacquainted with those things that turn you on; it means finding new things. It means understanding that finding you may mean letting go of others and giving up the need to please.
The number of different people with whom we interact in our modern world may be beyond the comprehension of our grandparents, maybe even our parents. There is no way that we can please them all no matter how hard we try. You ain’t always gonna make your momma proud either. In addition, if your momma demands that you make her proud all of the time, she probably needs to find herself again or maybe for the first time.
Be ready for dead ends. Finding yourself means trying new things. It means sucking a cock when you have been licking pussy or licking a pussy when you loved sucking cock…. Well, you do not have to go that far.
On the other hand, you do have to allow yourself to be open to new experiences. Some experience you won’t enjoy or won't want to do ever again. That is alright. If you do find an experience that you don’t like or even a string of experiences you do not enjoy, do not do them again. Your dead ends aren’t a sign that you should go back to figuring out your partner. Finding yourself may take time.
You might not immediately like who you find. I am still growing on myself. For years, I had looked at my notions about sex, sexuality, and spirituality as negatives, things of which to be ashamed. As I found myself, I looked at my notions again. As if I were taking them out of a chest after years of being locked away. Now, as a sex coach and life coach, I find my notions are empowering and humanistic. I love me.
Many of us lock away parts of ourselves in long-term relationships because we think the act will keep the peace or be better for the relationship. Contrarily, locking away parts of yourself changes who you were when you met your partner. Pushing aside parts of yourself may actually turn your partner off. (WikiHow has another article that may also be of use in finding yourself entitled How To Recreate Your Life).
Finding yourself may mean letting others go, sometimes your partner. In the article How To Let Someone Go, the editors included information concerning how to let go of someone who has unfortunately passed away, how to let go of loved ones, and how to let go of an intimate relationship. The entire article is useful, yet our main concern is letting go of an intimate partnership. A few of the editors’ tips follow (Also see hyperlink above):
1. (Step 1) Do not get up the morning after a fight, or a disagreement, and decide that you want to break up
2. (Step 3) Write down the reasons for wanting to break up
3. (Step 6) Make it a clean break, do not tell them that you can still be friends (although, it may work out that you CAN still be friends) or that maybe you can go to a movie together once in a while
Do not get up the morning after a fight, or a disagreement, and decide that you want to break up.
· Pressure from racism, sexism, heteroism (Heteroism is prejudice against people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transexual.), or any other -ism
· New goals
The list of outside influences could very well go on forever. Be honest with yourself as you think about letting go: “Am I better off without my partner, or am I feeling pressure from lack of money or from societal pressures.
Write down the reasons for wanting to break up. Really this step is connected to the last one. As you find yourself, be sure of your own mind and wants. Make sure that the way you feel is not a passing feeling because once you tell your partner that you do not want to remain in a relationship with him or her, the bell cannot be unrung. Your partner may not be able to easily forget that you wanted to leave.
Make it a clean break. If you find that it is time to move on, move on. Trying to remain friends with a partner while you move forward rarely helps your ex-lover/new friend. If he or she still has romantic feelings for you, you actually may be torturing her or him. Ttrying to hold on may be a result of your own selfishness or your inability to move forward without a crutch.
Who the f%@# has your partner become? Really, that doesn’t f%@#ing matter. There is nothing you can do about how your lover has changed. However, you can find yourself, and figure out who the f%@# you have become. The journey into self is a spiritual one that may lead you down many dead end roads. You might not like who you find, and you may find that some of those folk you love cannot follow you down the path you choose for yourself. Therefore, finding you is not some rosy trip filled with talking animal guides; catchy, magical songs; or happily ever afters. Finding yourself is filled with growth, increased self-esteem, and self-acceptance. Find yourself; love yourself: f%@# happily ever after.
I am honored to serve you. For one complimentary coaching session, give me a call or shoot me an e-mail.
Nwachi (Dr. T.) Tafari
Life and Sex Coach