Every day, porn star and University of Southern California journalism grad student Tasha Reign wakes up to a curious string of emails from her fans, a devoted group of men and women she lovingly refers to as “Reigndeer.” Said Reigndeer ask her questions — so many questions — about her perspectives on sex, love, relationships and life itself, and as someone who’s had more firsthand experience in these areas than four adult women combined, she’s become uniquely up to the task of answering them. Once a week then, Tasha will select a few of these questions and grace us with her insight, advice and expert wisdom in the hopes that she can help you fuck and love long, too.
How do you know when you’ve fallen out of love? How hard should you try to save a relationship that isn’t working?
Best question ever. I used to think that being in love meant you couldn’t live without your partner, and that falling out of love meant you could. But recently, when my bestie asked if I could live without my boyfriend, I thought about it for a second and decided that yes, I actually could. However, I’m happier with him in my life than without him, and that’s how I know our relationship is worth fighting for. But if you feel you’d be happier without your partner, well, that’s a big, screamin’ sign that you’ve fallen out of love and your relationship might not be worth saving.
Another signal is if you don’t feel like putting any more effort in. “Love” — whatever that means to you — is something you have to work on constantly. It’s not automatic, and it doesn’t come easily. It’s a collaboration, and if you’re done collaborating, that’s a sign it might be time to end it. So is the loss of romantic feelings for your partner. If you see them as more of a friend or a family member than someone you’re passionate about, chances are you’ve fallen out of love. That doesn’t mean you don’t love them as people or that your relationship is toast, but unless a companionate situation is what you’re after, I wouldn’t break a sweat trying to grasp at the pieces of a partnership that’s lost its romance.
As for how hard should you try to save something that might not be working? Well, that depends. Are the issues you have with your partner superficial? Can you move past them? Or are the challenges you face things that keep you out of alignment with your core values? If your issues are deep, trying to fix them isn’t working and your values are being contradicted, then I suggest you entertain the idea of breaking up.
If you’re not sure whether that’s the right step, my therapist says you can always think of breaking up with someone without actually breaking up with them. It’s a guilt-free way to imagine what it would be like so you can figure out whether that’s the best path forward. In other words, it’s completely healthy to have those thoughts.
The best advice I can give, though, is to try not to let your relationship get into a spot where you have to save it in the first place. Water it daily, make time for sex and intimacy, treat each other with respect, have plenty of conversations, do acts of service for them to show you care and communicate often, especially about feelings and finances (these are the most common causes of arguments).
If you’ve tried all that and your relationship is causing you more pain than happiness, I’d say listen to your heart. You intuitively know whether or not someone is right for you. Breaking up sucks, but life is short and you don’t owe anyone anything by staying with them!
I just started hooking up with this woman who I really like. Everything was going fine until she offered me a job. It’s actually my dream job and I’d be totally thrilled — if she wasn’t going to be my boss. I’m afraid that taking the job would compromise our relationship and my job, but am I being too old fashioned?
It’s cool that this woman thinks so highly of you. If anything, it’s an honor that she sees so much potential in you. But it would be inappropriate to work for her.
I should know. One time, I offered a younger man I was banging a job as my assistant. He refused and was offended I’d even asked. In retrospect, I think I was subconsciously trying to belittle him — whoops — but once I came to my senses, I realized it wasn’t ethical.
If I’d hired him, it would have created a power imbalance between us that wouldn’t have been good for our working relationship or our personal one. Whether I’d intended to or not, I could have easily created a situation in which he was just playing along or saying “yes” to me to keep his job, and that would have been both coercive and a possible violation of his consent. Not cool!
Though the #MeToo movement has done a fantastic job of bringing coercive workplace situations to light for female victims, we don’t often hear from men whose jobs and livelihoods hinge on whether or not they provide sexual or romantic favors for their bosses and superiors. That’s an unfortunate, inaccurate portrait of what’s really happening — plenty of men experience sexual coercion and harassment at work, and it’s time we started listening to their stories, too. No matter which genders are involved in a workplace relationship, it’s almost always true that anytime one person has more power over the other than they should, things get tricky and people can get hurt. That’s why workplace relationships are against so many company policies (they’re even illegal in some places). So I’d think that through a bit before you decide whether or not you want to accept her job offer.
Also, on a more practical level: can you imagine having to check in with your boss — who is also the lady you put your cock in — and then go back to working diligently? Ahh! Not a good vibe! Much better situations than this will arise, so just keep hustling and dating her and forget the job opportunity.
Unless, of course, she’s offering a panda trainer position. Definitely take that job.
My boyfriend won’t convert to my religion. What do I do?
I had a fight with my man about this exact issue this morning. It all started when I expressed my desire to say “Happy Hanukkah” on the Christmas card we’re sending to our friends and family.
See, I’m half Jewish. My dad, who has passed, was raised Jewish, and I really want to be the one to bring religion into my household when I have children. But my boyfriend, who was raised Christian, stated that he would never convert to Judaism, even if it was the religion I wanted to practice. I was so disappointed to hear him say that. And although I choose my man over religion, the whole conversation has left me with the following question: “Does he really love me if he isn’t willing to convert?”
This is a deal-breaking issue for a lot of couples, but it doesn’t have to be. There are ways to compromise, like putting “Happy Holidays” on the card instead (eye roll). Am I thrilled about having to meet him halfway on this? No. Did I think I was going to marry a Jew? Maybe. But you don’t always pick who you fall in love with and at least I get to send a holiday card.
I’m torn and upset, but in the end, you have to have a conversation with yourself about what’s most important to you and whether your specific religion is really at the core of what you need in your life. Personally, I feel like at the end of the day, most religions are trying to say the same thing: “Love thy Neighbor” and do good in the world. Does it really matter if you both go about doing that in different ways?
My best advice then would be to hash it out with your partner and figure out how you can compromise. What are some qualities both your religions share that you can enjoy together? Is there a way you can honor each of your practices and traditions without expecting the other one to convert to yours?
Obviously, it’s best to bring this stuff up well before it becomes an issue, like during the first couple months of a relationship, but if you’re too far into it, you might want to consider therapy with a therapist who specializes in religious differences. Assess your attitude toward religion and your partner and go from there.
Best of luck, and “Happy Holidays” from me to you.
Feel free to send me your sex, love and relationship questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.