The Gabber’s semi-regular advice column, Dear Gabby, is here by reader demand. Have a question or a conundrum for Gabby? There’s no problem too small for our resident advisor. Send your questions – they can be anonymous – to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve been in a relationship for two years with a wonderful woman that I met on an app that rhymes with “Hinder.” Not super romantic, I know, but we’re mostly happy and we have two rescue animals together as well as a bungalow, a camper and a backyard full of tomatoes. It’s very lesbian of us.
I’ll cut to the chase: Modern suburbia aside, I’m bored. We go entire days without speaking to each other and our best moments are in front of the TV. I miss dating and the excitement that comes with it… Is settling down in your 20s doomed to a life of “what ifs”? Should I tell her how I feel? I think it would crush her – or worse, prove that she’s feeling the same.
Every romantic relationship has its unique challenges, but some of the issues are the same monster, different names. What you’re describing sounds like the end of what folks call “the honeymoon period.” It represents the end of the excitement, the end of romance, the end of that special thrill that made falling in love, adopting animals and planting tomatoes feel like an adventure. Regardless of what it’s called, it happens to the best of us, and there are many different ways to approach it, but it all starts with one crucial step: You have to talk about it. When the spark has waned, when folks aren’t speaking to each other, when it feels like your relationship is in a rut, it has to be addressed before you, and your partner, can decide if it’s something reparable or if it’s time to move on. I recommend having this conversation outside of the house, maybe while taking a walk or sitting at a park, so whatever negative energy is released won’t be trapped in the house with you. Also, don’t make the conversation about blaming. Make your statements “I” statements that center your feelings and what you want. Encourage your partner to do the same. You may find that you both have similar feelings and want the same things, whether that is more adventure between the two of you or more adventures apart. Either way, the way to potentially find a solution is to acknowledge the problem.
I am struggling quite a bit with life at the moment. I encountered a lot of loss very quickly around four months ago: My father passed, my uncle was diagnosed with terminal cancer and within two weeks my wife walked out on me abruptly… I seem to be going through waves of being somewhat okay and utter despair. I understand that these are all normal emotions to experience, but it doesn’t make it any less challenging. This is a lot of loss. The whole experience was kind of like hitting bottom for me; I feel like an entirely different person (in a better way). I would love to share my story as I have come to understand more about my life and how I ended up here. Any sort of advice would be wonderful.
This reminds me of something I saw on social media last year. It said, “Check on your strong friends.” It sounds like you are very strong, and I say that because the amount of loss and disappointment you’ve experienced could have broken you, but it didn’t. Even more, you feel that you’ve seen some level of triumph and want to share your experience with others. I love that you want to share your story of strength and resilience, sadness and recovery with others, and a great way to do that, since we are in an incredible age of self-publishing technology, is to consider starting a blog or newsletter, or if you aren’t into writing much, you can do a vlog (video blog). Be sure to keep the story centered on you and your experience. If none of those spark your interest, you can consider joining meet-ups or community-based groups (in person or online) centered around grief and loss to share your story with others who may have felt the way you felt or feel the way you felt. You may also find that the feelings and perspectives of others in these groups can help you build an even stronger foundation for your own healing.