The impacts of problem use are often intense and complicated if your significant other has a problem with Tina use. The impacts are greater still if you live together, share finances, have a long-term relationship or you are married. It is essential that you get support for yourself if your primary partner has problems with Tina.
While every relationship is unique, there are predictable patterns that emerge when with problem Tina use in a relationship dynamic. These elements are interrelated and you may not experience them sequentially. If anything, guys find that they move back and forth and in and out of these experiences.
It’s common that we will join with our partners in explaining or justifying their problem use to ourselves and to others. We give our partners the benefit of the doubt because we love them and the reality is often that there is another reason besides using for being late, breaking a promise, missing work, etc. We might have fallen into patterns where our partners problem use works for us. Maybe it gives us a certain amount of privacy, while they are preoccupied with their use.
At first, we will not always know when our partner using. This does not mean that we’re stupid or bad partners. It probably means that our partner is doing everything he can to hide it. Underreporting is a key feature of problem use, for him and for you. Pay attention to your own underreporting to others outside of your relationship.
Another sign of our colluding with our partner’s denial, is when we begin to feel a growing sense of frustration, disappointment and of not being respected. So check in. How do we really feel about his use and its effects on us and the relationship? What is okay with us and what is not okay? These questions can help us break out of denial and get real about how we really feel about things. When we are in denial with our partner about his use, we are Enabling.
Growing emotional discontent will eventually lead us to confront our partner about his use. It’s generally better doing this earlier rather than later because to do otherwise allows him to continue with the fantasy that we are okay with it. It’s generally better to plan what we need to say rather than exploding in a fit of anger because then we establish to the best of our ability a presentation that reports on how we feel rather blaming or attacking. We recommend reviewing the ‘Tips for Talking’ before you speak to your partner.
Despite your best efforts, it may not go well. Your partner may be defensive and see you as the bad guy. You may find yourself in the role of parent. Regardless, you have the right and responsibility to express how his using affects you.
You will likely have to have these conversations more than once, and this can be very frustrating. Do not pretend that everything is ok and seek out support if you begin to feel resentment building.
It’s common to feel like we’re on a roller coaster of emotions. Life can seemingly return to normal and then all of a sudden a conflict emerges. The apologies may continue, but we believe them less and less. Drama can increase in frequency to the point where it becomes the new ‘normal.’ We may be engaged in an ongoing role of crisis management. Feelings that indicate you are in this stage are overwhelment and exhaustion.
Sexual expression is a component of many gay, bi, queer men’s experience with Tina. Tina can be a powerful aphrodisiac. The differences in interest and libido between you and your partner may become large and unmanageable through this process of coping with his use. You may feel as if you are in a non-consensual three-way with Tina, that Tina is your partner’s mistress, that she gets more of his time and energy you.
When we lose trust, we often lose intimacy. Sex and intimacy can become things we avoid, withhold, use as emotional leverage, or simply do not feel having. Significant and even irreparable damage can result from the consequences of sexual and intimacy challenges. Infidelities and STIs can be introduced into the relationship by either party. It is advisable that you protect ourselves and make choices based on your long-term best interests.