Ask J-Ro: A Friend In Need Who Doesn’t Return The Deed

I ended a friendship recently as my friend’s an emotional dumper & was bringing me down. I talked to her&explained how hurt I felt. She refused to accept any responsibility for my feelings & said it was my problem. Now I miss her. We’ve been friends since we were kids. Do I get in contact?

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Friendships are a tricky business in the grown-up world. As people get older and change their priorities in life, it’s very common for friendships to change and for some to cool off as people go their separate ways. It’s a rare thing when someone actually specifically ends a friendship though; most people are content to just let such things slide naturally so as not to attract any attention to the issue.

I’m guessing it wasn’t a decision that you took likely in telling her how you felt about her behaviour towards you, and the fact that you didn’t get the result you wanted must have upset you a great deal. So I’m wondering what it is that has made you want her back in your life at this stage?

When you guys were friends, you found her quite draining, and referred to her as ‘an emotional dumper’. Friendship, like a romantic relationship, is something that functions at its best when both parties are benefitting from the union. It seems that she got the better end of the deal, in that she could vent to you at her leisure, and bring all her problems to your door, but you were left feeling like all YOU got was negativity. If she refused to accept responsibility for your feelings when you brought it up, chances are it’s highly unlikely she’s changed in the time since you guys spoke. So if you DO want to revisit the friendship, you’ll have to accept that not much will have changed, and she’ll still be the same person who brought you down all the time.

It could be that you miss the good times or what could have been, and things seem a lot better than they actually were through the rose-tinted glasses of time. Or it could simply be that you DO miss her. Only you can know the answer to that question. Once you’ve figured out your motivation, you’ll find it easier to decide whether or not you want her back in your life.

I would say that it’s probably no harm in reaching out, after all, life is too short to hold grudges, and it’ll be better for your overall well-being to eliminate animosity and strife wherever you can in your life. But if you do reach out and offer the olive branch, remember she may not want to get back in contact with you, and so you’ll have to make your peace with that.

However, if all goes well and you guys get back in contact, I would advise you to mind yourself in it from the beginning. You can keep her in your life, but keep your emotional cards close to your chest, and watch out for signs that you’re falling into old roles where you’re the designated shoulder for her to cry on constantly yet again. Just make a decision in your mind about what you will & won’t tolerate, and then avoid situations where the old habits could kick in again. Remember; you can’t change her; you’ll have to be the one to change. You can resolve to be more assertive, and set a higher standard for how you want your friends to treat you.

Best of Luck!

Ask J-Ro: Where Is The Love?

I’m head over heels with my guy. We’ve been together a year & now started talking about marriage. But I can’t keep him excited in bed, tho he has plenty of “privet time.” I’ve tried EVERYTHING. He swears he loves/wants me but we haven’t had sex in months. I love him but I also love sex. Advice?!

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Ooh, that’s a tough one. A year is a very short time to be with someone and having a dry spell in the bedroom department that lasts for months. That’s a considerable portion of your time together where you’re feeling rejected and unhappy and you have needs that aren’t being met. It definitely needs addressing with your fella. Your sex life and intimacy level can often reflect how your relationship is progressing, and if it’s non-existent, it’s worth further investigation.

What I find intriguing is that from what you’re saying, he’s got no problem meeting his own needs himself in private time? So he has a sex drive of sorts, but only on his own. It could be an intimacy issue he has or some internal worries that are preventing him from being intimate and loving with you. Masturbation, as well as a sexual release, is a way to relax and decompress without any burden of expectation on the part of an outside party, so I wouldn’t panic too much about that. What’s more important is why you guys aren’t talking with each other about something this fundamental. If he’s swearing that he loves and wants you, then if he’s plainly not wanting to be intimate with you and it’s gone on for months, you’re well entitled to ask for an explanation or at least get the ball rolling on some proper honest communication.

Normally if there’s a sudden lack of interest in sex from a partner, it could be that they’re under a lot of stress in other areas of their life. Stress and anxiety are the ultimate passion-killers, so have a think about whether you have noticed any changes in his behaviour in other areas of life. Are there financial concerns? Could he be depressed? Has he worries and fears about the relationship and where it’s going that he hasn’t spoken about? You guys are only together for a year and are talking about marriage, and that’s a big step. Have you guys really, honestly talked about it and what you want from each other in the long run? Sometimes when things move as fast as that, things tend to take on a life of their own and it can be hard to pump the brakes and really take a look at things to make sure you’re both on the same page.

Let’s tackle the other fear that may be flying around your brain: infidelity. The old “If he’s not getting it from me, he’s getting it somewhere else” cliché can rear its ugly head, but in this situation, I don’t know enough about the relationship to say that it could be a factor. Only your gut instinct and evidence will present that possibility. This would be my ‘last resort’ suggestion if you haven’t gotten any satisfaction (so to speak) with any of the above.

Bottom line: Talk it out. If he’s not willing to discuss it, then to me that’s a way bigger issue than a lack of sex. No point in talking marriage with someone who won’t communicate with you about any problems or concerns they’re having. That’s far too lonely a state to be in. Talk, listen, and face whatever comes.

Good Luck!

Ask J-Ro: Anti-depressants & Side Effects – What’s Normal?

Have you ever used anti-depressants? Any weird side affects? I’m currently on Venlalaxine and they cause me to sweat a lot and have dry mouth, just wondering if this is common for other people on ant-depressants to have recurring and annoying side affects.

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In my own experience: I’ve used anti-depressants on and off over the years (under doctor supervision), and been on a wide selection in the years that I’ve been treated. I’ve heard of one called Venlafaxine, so I think maybe that’s the one you’re referring to, because no search results are coming up for the one you mentioned. I’ve found Venlafaxine very helpful in the treatment of anxiety-based antidepressants, and is more commonly known through the brand names Ireven or Effexor.

There CAN be side effects to taking any anti-depressants, mostly in the first few months of getting used to the drug – the important thing is to take the time to read through the leaflets you get in the box, and that will make you feel a bit better about any strangeness while you’re on them. Sweating can be a side effect all right as far as I know, but if it’s giving you cause for concern, ask your GP for a detailed chat about any changes that occur after you start taking them. Unfortunately, it can be a trial-and-error process when you start getting treatment for depression, and some pills will be more effective than others. It depends on your diagnosis and the nature of your illness.

The important thing is to not give up or stop taking your prescription unless on the advice of your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking Venlafaxine then you’re REALLY going to experience some crappy side-effects, and you don’t want that. So keep taking them as prescribed until your next doctor’s appointment, and then have a chat with them about the side effects you’re experiencing and get some reassurance. You’re most definitely not the only one who gets these side effects, but consult your doctor before you do anything anyway.

Bottom Line: Talk to your doctor before doing anything.

Well done on being proactive in your treatment plan! Always be in tune with your body & mind and don’t be afraid to speak out if you’re not happy with what is being prescribed to you. The more information you have, the better you and your doctor can work together to find the best treatment for you in the long run.

If you haven’t before, I would also recommend bringing in a talk therapy aspect or some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sessions to help with recognising signs of distress or anxiety and learning how to manage and deal with them in everyday life, and in conjunction with meds, you’ll be fighting fit and happier in yourself over time! Who doesn’t deserve a little peace and contentment in themselves?

Best of Luck!

Ask J-Ro: A Not-So Beautiful Liar

I am in love with a liar. I question almost everything he says. It started when I found out he had a fondness for flirting over text with other women… Its been years since he has done that but he still lies about little things, money
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Good Lord, what a horrible relationship to have been stuck in for so long. It must be exhausting, not to mind soul-destroying for you. I think your opening sentence both asks AND answers your quandary. You’re in love – but he’s a liar. So you’re in love with a guy who has no truck with the whole ‘being honest and respectful to the woman he’s in a relationship with’ thing – which, for most self-respecting females, is Number One on the Deal Breaker List. That can’t make you feel very good about yourself, now can it?

From what you’ve said, it seems like this has been the status quo for years, and yet you wonder why he’s still lying to you about pretty much everything ever since you let him get away with his attempts at infidelity. You’ve been telling him in no uncertain terms for YEARS (without having to physically say anything) that you’re totally fine with him being deceitful, disloyal and sneaky. Of COURSE he’s going to keep doing it. Why not? There are no consequences for him whatsoever; while you get the lovely reward of tormented nights, self-doubt, distrust, and generally driving yourself up the wall as payment for your acquiescence. Who do you think got the better deal? And for how long more are you going to sentence yourself to this mindset? Is your time on this earth less important than his? Are you worth less than basic honesty and respect in a relationship? Only you know the answer to these questions. I hope you’re good and angry after reading this far into the answer…

To put it simply, this problem is about you. He’s not going to change, and you can’t make him. The only part of this you can control is you and the standards you set for yourself in relationships. If you don’t think, at the very fucking least, that you’re worth basic truth and respect from someone, then you stay stuck in this mental hell-hole and brace yourself for a lifetime of misery and insecurity.

I can’t tell you to stop loving him obviously, but I can tell you to try and start loving yourself a bit more. Would you let a dear friend or relative stay with a man who, by your own admission, is a liar? I’d imagine the answer is no. So why are you worth any less?

Either way, while you’re still involved with this guy, I’d start by immediately calling him out on every lie he tells you to let him know you’ve had enough. Write each deception down, keep a detailed list, and if you’re still with him in 6 months, hand that list to your best friend and ask her what she thinks. Her language may be far more colourful than mine.

Bottom line: Be nicer to yourself, prioritise your own mental health and happiness, and you will begin to command more respect and honesty from those around you.

What You Can Do Today: Tell him to cop the fuck on with the lies, or you’ll start a blog called My Lying Asshole Partner – and give his name.

If you end up doing that, send me the link.

Best of Luck!

Ask J-Ro: It’s Okay To Not Feel Okay – Get Talking!

Hey Jen, I have been really down lately, I have battled depression for a couple of years, but lately I have been lying awake beside my amazing husband thinking he would be better without me. I can’t work up the courage to get help. Some days I feel normal and tell myself I’m fine. Others are bad….

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First of all, thank you for contacting me. It must have been so difficult to write those words down. Suicidal thoughts can be louder than any other thoughts running around your brain, so to sit and put them down in concrete form takes a supreme amount of energy. Well done for reaching out!

Second of all, don’t despair. You will be okay. You’re still here, so you have options. If you think people would be better off without you, I can tell you now quite categorically that you’re wrong. Apart from your immediate family and loved ones who will be devastated and forever changed by such an event in ways you won’t be able to imagine, you have no idea how many other people you have influenced indirectly or connected with who will be affected by you deciding to end your life. So promise yourself that you’ll stick around, and in time you will be very glad you did.

It’s also vitally important to recognise that depression is an illness, and suicidal thoughts are a symptom of that illness, so thoughts are not coming from a place of logic. They’re coming from a brain that is battling with its chemistry & wiring levels, so when you get these feelings of despair and depression, don’t take them into your heart. Tell yourself it’s your brain chemistry, and it will pass. I’ve been there more times than I can count, so trust me on this one. It will pass. It may pop up again, but it will go again. The trick is to be self-aware. And that starts with talking to a professional.

Get the ball rolling with a visit to your GP, but also check out Aware (click here) for some fantastic support ideas. MOST IMPORTANTLY: Talk to your husband, and I can assure you, you will be glad you did, and so will he. You don’t have to do this alone. You would want to help him if the situation was reversed. What’s also fantastic is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, it helps you to train your mind and learn how to cope when you do have bouts of depression. There’s more info on that if you click the link here.

Pieta House (available here) are fantastic as well. Reaching out and saying that you’re not feeling good and you’re having those thoughts is a big step to take, so you should be very proud of yourself. Don’t be afraid to keep taking those steps. You’re going to be okay. You ARE okay. You can always keep coming back here as well with any questions or support you need! Best of luck!

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