A couple of months ago, someone asked me why it’s so easy for men to orgasm while many women seem to struggle to do so. My immediate response was, “Why do you think all men orgasm?” to which they replied, "I mean, because they ejaculate.” Their tone of voice had such a sense of “duh” to it that I had to be careful not to sound as patronizing as they did (LOL): “Just because a man ejaculates, that doesn’t mean that they orgasmed.”
I know. It’s something that isn’t discussed enough yet, aside from the fact that a lot of men fake as if they have “seen the mountaintop” (check out “Men Fake Orgasms (And 14 Other Semi-Random Things About Them In Bed)”), the reality is, when it comes to climaxing, an orgasm is a result of a release of certain chemicals in the brain while ejaculation is a genitalia response — and yes, those things can happen together — or separately. Men who are aware of this know that a full-blown orgasm can feel quite different than just a release of sperm and semen. So no — no woman should assume that she is automatically “turning a man out” just because she’s having sex with them, and he cums at the end of the experience. #themoreyouknow
And yes, it’s important to put that on record because that misconception alone is a part of the reason why many women experience what is known as orgasm anxiety — since they are so consumed with thinking it is easy for their partner to have an orgasm, they are wondering what is wrong with them if they don’t. However, the reality is that orgasm anxiety is a reality that both men and women face, and it has several layers to it too. Let’s look deeper.
Let’s Break Down an Orgasm Real QuickGiphy
Before I get into what orgasm anxiety actually is, let’s briefly review what happens during an orgasm. If you’ve heard before that there are “levels to this thing” when it comes to having one, that would be correct. Although sometimes the words vary, the basic breakdown includes these four things (although some articles will say that there are three or five stages):
Arousal: This is typically what happens during foreplay; it’s when your body gets excited about the thought of having sex which can include your heartbeat speeding up, your nipples becoming erect, lubrication rushing to your vagina, your vulva starting to swell, your clitoris growing in size, blood rushing down to your vaginal region, your vagina expanding, etc.
Plateau: This is when blood flow to your genital region has reached its peak, your clitoris tends to retract back towards your pubic bone, muscle tension increases, and your vagina may even change colors.
Orgasm: This is when the peak of pleasure transpires. It’s also why I don’t get how men don’t notice if/when women are faking it. I say that because when an orgasm happens, involuntary muscle contractions in the genital region transpire. Reportedly, this can last anywhere from 13-51 seconds for women and 10-30 seconds for men.
Resolution: This is the stage when your body starts to return back to “normal.” You tend to feel a rush of warmth, you might automatically feel drained and/or fatigued, and your breathing will slow down (by the way, even if you can have multiple orgasms, you will still experience resolution before starting the cycle of the phases all over again).
Physically, this is how you can know if you truly had an orgasm or not — although, what I oftentimes tell people is, if you have to ask, you probably haven’t because one of the best and most challenging things to put into words is the feeling of climaxing (at least in my opinion).
What Is Orgasm Anxiety All About?Giphy
So now that we’ve covered what happens during an orgasm, let’s talk about orgasm anxiety and what it entails. I’m pretty sure that, for the most part, you get the general idea by breaking down the term: it’s what happens when you’re anxious about having an orgasm (although some people experience this kind of anxiety at the mere thought of engaging in any type of sexual activity at all).
Whenever this happens, things like feeling overwhelmed, your body tensing up, you not being fully present in the moment, you overthinking the experience, you disassociating your mind from your body (because for an orgasm to transpire, these two things typically work hand in hand) are what you seem to notice. And when you’re in this state, it can literally “block” you from climaxing.
What Are Things That Can Cause Orgasm Anxiety?Giphy
Now that you know what the symptoms of orgasm anxiety are, you’re probably wondering what causes it. That’s a great question, and actually, there isn’t just one thing.
Orgasm anxiety can be “triggered” by:
- Anxiety or an anxiety disorder
- Body images issues
- Lacking sexual self-confidence
- PTSD from past sexual trauma
- Bad orgasms (yes, that is a thing; you can read more about it here)
- Feelings of shame surrounding sex
- An extreme form of people pleasing (being more concerned about your partner’s pleasure than your own)
- Being hyper-critical about your sexual performance/abilities
- Pressuring yourself to be a certain way sexually
According to The American Psychological Association (APA), anxiety is defined as being “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure.” And although an actual anxiety disorder is a more extreme and consistent account of anxiety, even the normal bouts of anxiety can prevent an orgasm. That’s because fear, tension, worry, and stress are enemies of this kind of pleasure.
If you’re someone who has a difficult time climaxing and you realize that feelings of anxiety have something to do with why, it’s important to do some sex journaling to see if you can get down to the root of why that is the case (for the record, this is something that reputable sex therapists can help you with if you’re struggling with getting the answers that you seek).
6 Things You Can You Can Do to Overcome Orgasm AnxietyGiphy
1. Talk to your partner. Good sex consists of open and honest communication. That said, I can’t tell you how many people have told me things about their sex life that their partner has no clue about. The challenge with that isn’t really if you are holding something back but WHY. If it’s fear of how they will react or respond, that can definitely create walls when it comes to mental and emotional intimacy that can make having sex with them…not as pleasurable as it should be. It’s not a coincidence that some of the couples who have the most fulfilling sex lives are the ones who are really real with one another. In mutual honesty and acceptance, there are feelings of safety, and with safety comes the ability to release anything that would hinder an orgasm from transpiring.
2. Talk to someone else too. It’s not about your business being all out in the street; it’s about talking to someone who can make you feel heard, understood, and not alone. Because the reality is, when it comes to all ten things that I mentioned that can cause orgasm anxiety, there are many others who can totally relate. Sometimes, just talking to a trusted friend can help to calm you down. Other times, you may need the assistance of a professional. Either way, just knowing that someone cares enough to listen and offer up some empathy can make all the difference in the world.
3. Celebrate your body. As a doula, I deal with a lot of women who are insecure about their bodies and project those feelings onto their partners. “Project” is the right word because they assume that, since (for instance) they don’t (currently) like their breasts and/or stretch marks and/or pooch underneath their belly button, “he” doesn’t either. Meanwhile, the men are constantly telling me how 1) they think it’s sexy that their child’s mom was able to deliver their child and/or 2) they just want intimacy to resume — the body changes are the least of their concerns. Know what this means? Your partner can’t make you feel desirable if you aren’t just as intentional about loving yourself — and that includes your body. And this doesn’t just mean after giving birth.
Celebrating your body can do wonders for relieving any stress that you may have about it. So, take yourself lingerie shopping. Pen a love letter to yourself about the things that you do adore when it comes to how you look. Dance in the mirror naked to some of your favorite songs. Choosing to like — no, LOVE — your body is a real game changer as far as sex is concerned.
4. See sex as an experience, not a performance. Back in the day, I was a Beverly Hills, 90210 fan. When Brenda was getting ready to give her virginity to Dylan at their senior prom, and she was showing how anxious she was, Dylan said, “We’re not going to be judging each other. We’re going to be enjoying each other.” Hmph. Words to live by. Although performance anxiety is normal, remind yourself that sex is about connecting, deeply and profoundly so, with another person. And if it’s the right one, they are not trying to score you — they simply want to share a special and intimate moment with you. That alone should take quite a bit of the pressure off.
5. Don’t make orgasm the goal. Along the lines of what I just said, if you see an orgasm as “mission impossible,” that’s just how you’re going to approach sex, in general. Besides, although I won’t act like an orgasm ain’t one of the best things that this life has to offer, when you’re connecting with someone who is as into you as you are into them, sex can be a wonderful experience — even sans the climax (no, really).
6. RELAX. Yeah, I know — easier said than done. Look at it all this way, though: If you don’t feel like you can’t loosen up, unwind and truly let yourself go in his presence — is he someone who you should be sharing your body with? It’s kind of another message for another time, but sometimes what might seem like orgasm anxiety is really nothing more than your discernment telling you that he is not worthy. Bottom line, try to relax, yet don’t force it. If you’re starting to enter into the force dimension, it’s time to take some steps back and reevaluate — because again, it might not be anxiety; you just might be sensing some red flags.
If you’ve had some anxiety about sex and, more specifically, orgasms during sex, hopefully, this turned on a few light bulbs for you because, although orgasm anxiety can be a bit unnerving and perhaps even a bit overwhelming, as you can see, it doesn’t have to remain your reality. Baby steps can get you free so that you can experience the absolute best that sex and orgasms have to offer.
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Featured image by Giphy
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Y’all, I don’t know if now just happens to be a heavy season for this or perhaps it’s just me, but whether it’s been on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, or “X” (which we all know is still Twitter…LOL), have you noticed that a lot of people have been talking about the pain of going through a friendship break-up? I’ll be the first to raise my hand in this class and say that some of the ones that I’ve personally experienced over the course of my lifetime damn near took my breath away; especially when it comes to the unexpected levels of grief that oftentimes typically follow (check out “How To Heal From A Broken Friendship”).
When I write my next book (that’s currently slated for release in June of 2024; just in time for a big milestone), I’m going to share some of the things that personally caused me to go through the ending of some friendships. For now, I’m going to share a big one: friendship infidelity.
Yeah, I know — oftentimes, whenever the word “infidelity” is used, the main (if not only) thing that comes up in people’s minds is someone cheating on their partner. However, if you’ve read my content for a while now, you already know that an “occupational hazard” of mine is the fact that, as a writer, I’m pretty word-literal. Therefore, when it comes to infidelity, I’m aware that it’s got more than one meaning. And when it comes to friendship (or so-called friendships — check out “Ever Wonder If A Friend Is Just...Not That Into You?” and “7 Signs Your Friendship...Actually Isn't One”), yes, there is a definition that totally applies. Let’s discuss.
What Does Infidelity Literally Mean?Giphy
In order for this to “scratch any itch” that you might have about this particular topic, let’s get into the definition of infidelity that I was referring to. While yes, the most popular one is “marital disloyalty; adultery” (one day, we’ll have to talk about how the Bible doesn’t define adultery in the way that folks think it does (check out Matthew 19 sometime), another definition is “unfaithfulness; disloyalty.” While we’re at it, let me share a few synonyms for the word too: betrayal, falseness, inconstancy (bookmark that), deceit, double-dealing, fraud, breach of trust, violation, dishonesty, and false-heartedness.
Okay, so now do you see how it is totally appropriate to use the word “infidelity” in the realm of friendship if someone has been unfaithful or disloyal to you in any of these ways (that inconstancy one is a mutha!)? Do you also get that there is a huge possibility that, even if you don’t want to admit it to yourself, there are times when you’ve committed some form of infidelity when it comes to one or more of the friends in your life?
Because be real — have you never breached their trust? Have you always been consistent? To violate is to treat someone or something with disrespect. Have you never done that before? Only your ego would tell you that you’ve been a perfect friend — and the ego lies.
That said and with the meanings of a different kind of infidelity established, let’s now talk about how to approach this type of experience…because it ain’t easy.
When It Comes to Faithfulness in Your Friendships, What Should Your Expectations Be?Giphy
As far as having my own accounts, I don’t do social media (still trying to decide if I will, a little bit, around my book release) — and it has been peace, wonderful peace, to live that way. This means that it’s pretty rare that I’ll read comments via any of the platforms I write for (also peaceful). Oh, but a few years ago, when I penned “Why I Prefer My Friends To NOT Be Friends With Each Other,” I did tiptoe out a bit, and boy, some folks were disgruntled with me, chile. I was called petty, problematic, and a host of other stuff.
Uh-huh first, I don’t get how you can be mad at me about what works for me and my life (being controlling manifests in all sorts of cryptic ways) and secondly, time and experience have taught me that it’s a boundary that has served me extremely well. One of the reasons is that, since friendship infidelity is a very real thing, my lines not crossing helps to keep people from betraying my confidence or double-dealing in a way that may not even be intentional.
An example? Say that I have two friends and I tell one of them something in confidence. Then she tells the other friend, assuming that I already had because she thought that the other friend and I had similar discussions. This would be a non-issue if I hadn’t brought them together in the first place.
Another example is, one of my closest friends has some people who I like a lot who live in Nashville (my friend doesn’t). Sometimes, when she comes into town, we’ll all hang out. I don’t do it outside of that, though, because there are things that she shares with me about them on occasion (from a getting a different perspective to make certain decisions angle; especially since I’m a life coach) that I don’t want to make her or them feel awkward about (even if it’s just due to somewhat of a shift in my energy). Plus, everyone just needs to have their own people. This ain’t high school; everyone doesn’t have to be in the same cliques.
If one of my friends wants to vent about me…I don’t care if/when they are talking to someone who I don’t even know…because I’m not friends with that person… because I don’t expect anything from a complete stranger. So again, this type of boundary has served me extremely well over the years — and my friends agree. It has made “faithfulness” so much easier for all parties involved because again, lines don’t cross and things don’t get messy.
Okay. I’ll give you one more example that has to do with one of my male friends and his personal friendship-related preference. Due to his high-profile profession, he doesn’t like to be discussed at all, not even casually (really). He doesn’t want me to bring his name up and, when someone else does, he prefers that I keep the conversation down to an absolute minimum, no matter what the topic is. For him, it works for his close friendships to be somewhat private, so that people don’t know who they can go to in order to get in touch with him or to receive any intel that he hasn’t directly shared — professionally or personally.
Some people may call that “paranoid.” For him, it’s safe to move that way. And so, as his friend, it’s not my job to try and talk him out of his standard. If I value our friendship, I simply need to honor his request — plain and simple. To do otherwise would be an act of unfaithfulness (especially if I agreed to what he asked me to do and then switched up on him).
So, when it comes to you, what are your expectations? What do you need — actually require — of your own friends? Have you stated those things? Because you should never assume that your definition of what a friend should be is exactly the same as someone else’s. Next, have you made it abundantly clear to them that if those expectations are not honored, you will feel some level of betrayal? If you haven’t, you should because, although most of us can agree that a partner sleeping with someone other than their own spouse is a form of infidelity, friendship infidelity isn’t quite so black and white.
If you want your friend(s) to be faithful — “true to one's word, promises, vows, etc.,” “steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant” — you need to be upfront with them about what they are vowing to do…what you want them to be constant in? Because, again, how you might roll as a friend may be something different to/for them.
Come to think of it, love languages in friendships is a good example of this. One of my close friends is a quality time person; I’m not. On the other hand, I am a words of affirmation person; she isn’t. She used to think that it was a given that I should want to hang out at least once a month and I used to get irritated that she wasn’t big on words. When we had a talk about our individual expectations, we found a “middle ground” and that made things so much easier…on both sides. Indeed, in order to be faithful (or unfaithful), you first gotta know what you’ve agreed to be faithful to. It’s not fair to expect someone to honor you and what you bring to a friendship if you’re not communicating your expectations on the front end.
So, what should your expectations in your friendships be? That, I can’t answer for you, because even when it comes to across-the-board traits like support, availability, and communication, honestly, even those are gonna manifest differently for different people.
All I’m saying is make sure that you share what your expectations are as you listen to theirs as well. That way, you both can move forward in your friendship knowing what you have mutually agreed to actually be faithful to.
What Should You Do If a Friend “Cheats on You”?Giphy
Okay, so what if, after you have established what you need/expect from your friend, they are unfaithful or disloyal? That’s kind of a loaded question because there are a lot of different ways that this box can get checked. For instance, I once had a friend who kept trying to put me in touch with someone who I knew was unsafe (on a lot of levels). She kept asking and I kept telling her “no.” One day, she called me and then handed that person the phone — she was disloyal because she dishonored my boundary.
Back in the day, I used to write devotionals and I shared the story (sans her name) in it. All of a sudden, she thought that she was the victim (gaslighting friends are something else). So wait — you put me in harm’s way and I need to apologize to you for it? If her identity was obvious (I didn’t even say “she”), I get it — it wasn’t. She just felt guilty and didn’t want to take accountability. As a result, she weaponized our friendship by going ghost for like a year and then tried to come back as if nothing had ever happened. Chile.
For me, there was no coming back. The way she handled that, on a few different levels, was emotionally draining and I honestly didn’t have the stamina for it. So, I ended the relationship officially. Years later, we saw each other and made our peace. I’m fine with it being just that (check out “Why I Don't 'Cut People Off' Anymore, I Release Them Instead”).
That’s kind of an extreme example. Still, the reason why I brought it up is because I wanted you to see how I handled one form of friendship infidelity: I thought about what happened, I pondered what I was getting (and not getting) from the friendship, I thought about how she handles things when she is in the wrong and I focused on what would be the benefits and challenges of keeping her in my life. The conclusion that I came to is I care enough about her that we’re not rolling our eyes in the mall or sucking our teeth whenever one of our names comes up to the other yet I don’t want her to continue walking closely to me in my journey. I’m good.
For you, it might be a bit different. What if one of your friends betrays you in some way? Is it fair to take a “one-and-done” approach? I dunno. Is that how you would want your friends to handle you? Do you want to feel like, no matter what, after you make one mistake (or poor choice; not everything is a mistake…some things are intentional), there’s no coming back? If so, you might not want to have relationships at all because humans are fallible, INCLUDING YOU. You might as well settle in with that fact now or you’re about to be triggered, irritated, or angry for most of your life, chile.
What Should You Do If YOU’RE the One Who Cheats?Giphy
Over the weekend, I watched a movie where a woman cheated during a long-distance relationship and then claimed that her boyfriend was “punishing her” because he wasn’t over it a month later. The first thing that came to my mind? A lack of accountability. Why? Because I’m pretty sure that if the shoe had been on the other foot, she wouldn’t be all rainbows and sunshine four weeks later…either.
Being that I grew up in an environment (pretty much everywhere, including church) where folks absolutely sucked at taking personal responsibility for their actions without trying to make excuses, using justifications, deflecting, or gaslighting, I am almost violent about making sure that I don’t follow suit. And because I’ve had times when I’ve violated someone’s boundaries (I used to be more controlling than I should’ve ever been) and/or betrayed their trust (just because I’m basically an open book, that doesn’t mean that I should assume that everyone is the same way) — I’ve had to learn how to take full ownership for my actions. Then, if the person is open to accepting my apology, I would take things up a notch by making amends (check out “Heads Up: It's NOT An Apology If An Amends Isn't Made”).
If you’re not sure what an "amends" is, basically, when you’ve done something that has offended someone or caused them some type of harm if you’re truly remorseful, it’s not enough to flippantly toss a “my bad” in their direction. No, when you really get the magnitude of what has transpired — and if you want to restore the damage that was caused — you need to be intentional about doing something that will help with the healing process. This can happen with a simple, “What can I do to make things better?” People who apologize and then ask something along those lines show that they really get what they did; not only that but they are displaying that they want to humble themselves enough to help the person they hurt to “recover” in any way that they can.
So, if you are the one who was unfaithful or disloyal — own it, address it, apologize (without any unnecessary extra-ness, make amends, and then give your friend space to heal…however they need to do so. Infidelity hurts in any kind of relationship dynamic yet when two people — BOTH INDIVIDUALS — really want to make things work, they can come back from it. Oftentimes better than they were before.
How to Heal from Friendship InfidelityGiphy
It really can’t be said enough that humans are fallible. In fact, it is my belief, that if more of us said that as a mantra, five times a day, we’d probably be a lot more merciful than we tend to be. Because since none of us are perfect — INCLUDING OURSELVES — it really is pretty ridiculous to expect to be in relationships with folks and have them never disappoint you (where they do that at?!). The reality is sometimes a friend may be disloyal — not in a malicious or redundant kind of way (another message, another time) but just…they didn’t meet your requirements, they hurt your feelings (even if not intentionally) or they simply made a poor decision. Just like you have before — and at some point, will again.
Yes, it can hurt; trust me, I’ve been there. At the same time, you can heal from the pain and your friendship can survive too. The key is to really process the character of your friend, the track record of your friend, and if the benefits far outweigh the challenges with them. If everything is on the upswing, talk to your friend about how you are feeling, pay close attention to how they respond (if there is remorse, compassion, and patience), and then make the decision that you want to move forward. And then move in a way that shows that you’ve learned from it all.
For instance, say that you told one of your friends something in confidence and they repeated it. After getting context, if it was reckless chatter, healing begins with forgiving them, them trying to make things right and then you easing into sharing anything else. No, it’s not about keeping the door shut forever — it’s more like, telling them something that you don’t really mind if it gets out. If it does, although that’s not a big deal, you will now see that yapping is a pattern for them and so, although you like having them in your life, being a “confidant space” is not where they need to be — at least not for quite some time.
And what if, in your opinion, there is no coming back from friendship infidelity? How do you heal from that? Well, you need to grieve it like you would grieve anything else. Go through the five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The key is to not stay stuck; especially in anger. Because really, how is that gonna help or change anything?
I’ve gone through some acts of extreme infidelity that took me a while to move to acceptance — really accepting that it happened and fully accepting that I had to let the relationship go. Yet once I got there, healing was waiting for me. Because I wasn’t beating myself up trying to read someone else’s mind or motive or exhausting myself by wishing things were different. No one can change the past. Even accepting that can restore you to some pretty unexpected levels.
This is the kind of topic that I really could write an entire book about. For now, I just hope that this article provides some clarity that, if you wonder if unfaithfulness is a real thing as far as friendship is concerned, it most certainly is. It’s also not automatically unforgivable either.
Last example: I’ve got a friend of decades who prioritized a woman that he barely knew over our friendship. Meaning, she was threatened by me being around and so he did whatever to make her happy even at the expense of what we agreed to do and be to each other, as friends. Friendship infidelity. He has since apologized and I told him what I am a firm believer in: the apology needs to breathe. I need to take some time, he needs to take some time and, in time, either we will still see value in our dynamic or, because an apology was made and then accepted, peace will always remain between us.
Infidelity is something that none of us want to experience — oh, but we probably will. When it comes to your friendships, perhaps you’ve got a (better) grasp on how to handle it.
Whether you’re on the giving or receiving end. Live long enough, chile, for better or for worse, you will know about both. I can almost guarantee it.
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