Q: I broke up with my girlfriend a while ago. She ran into me at a movie theatre and asked that we meet for coffee. One thing led to another and she proposed that we have sex. We then met only for sex on a number of occasions and she firmly entrenched herself in my life insisting that we are dating again. The truth is that there were serious enough reasons for me to call of our relationship. I don’t like what’s going on. I want to stop everything including the sex. I feel terrible about the fact that I engaged with her sexually again and was not firm enough to refuse her proposal. How do I end it without any hard feelings? What do I say?
A: To end the relationship without any hard feelings is going to be hard for you at this point. It’s time to get realistic with her and with yourself. Based on what you have described; it is clear that she wants to continue associating with you in a significant manner and in a position of relational importance. The sex could be a means to that end. Sex is often used as a bargaining chip in certain toxic relationship situations where there is little left to explore as a couple. Sex becomes the last resort of enmeshment.
Sex is also a way to continue with the ‘hedonistic stuff’ that gives the relationship a dose of vicarious and naughty fun when there is little else to sustain it on a more continued basis. Sex could also be a ‘cop out’ or ‘interjectory indulgence’ when addressing points of incompatibility seems like a debate that won’t lead anywhere desirable. The hormonal head-rush of wanting to jump into bed sometimes becomes a tool to just ‘keep things going’. It’s more a continuity exercise than one based in forethought and insight on the health of the relationship.
Sex is thus often a way to keep someone entrenched in the ongoing dating or relationship situation. You need to be firm with her and make sure you create systems where you can exit her life after stating your case. This means not connecting with common friends for a while, being strong minded about your desire to break this relationship off and making sure that you cut all interaction with her permanently.
Only you can action this and being assertive with what you think works for you is the only way to successfully see this challenging situation through. There is no way you can do this without hurting her as you are technically denying her the fantasy of being ‘happily entrenched’ in a particular manner & lifestyle with you.
(Aman R Bhonsle is a qualified Psychosocial Analyst and a Professional Youth Mentor with specialisation in Transactional Analysis and REBT. He is available for consultation at the Heart To Heart Counselling Centre.)