Recently, I was on set shooting a TV show that I was asked to contribute to as their expert therapist. My job was to speak on camera to several of the show’s guests about any sex, relationship or mental health concerns they had. This is always an enjoyable experience, as I love being on camera and teaching people about good mental health and giving expert advice. My biggest pet peeve is that there are many people who don’t know their ass from their elbow and they always seem to be giving unsolicited advice which is normally shit. Quick tip — only take advice from a qualified professional!
One of the show’s guests brought up an important question — “What do I do about my boyfriend who won’t respond to my text messages?” They shared their frustration and confusion at why their boyfriend wouldn’t ever respond to their text messages. They wanted to know if this was possibly related to some of the sexual issues that they were having in the bedroom. The answer was “Yes!” Their sexual issues were directly due to some of the relationship issues that were unresolved, including the text messages.
As the cameras filmed, I began to speak about one of my relationship concepts which I’ve titled “The Stupid Game.” Individuals and couples that I work with play this game all the time, and the consequence are that it causes a tremendous amount of suffering and disappointment. Odds are, you’re playing this with someone now too.
The rules of “The Stupid Game”
- No one ever talks about the rules.
No one explains the rules.
Everyone is expected to play “The Stupid Game” as an adult.
How the game is played
This is how the game is played. If you hurt someone’s feelings, they’re supposed to tell you — “You hurt my feelings when you did or said…..” and then your part in the game is to acknowledge this and then apologise — “I’m sorry that I did that, it won’t happen again.” However, when it does happen again, this is no accident. The first time it happens we can call it an accident, the second time is intentional or careless. The other person is supposed to say “You did it again, that thing you know hurts my feelings.” Your part in The Stupid Game is to say — “You see, this is why I don’t like spending time with you, you are too sensitive.” “You know that this was just a joke.” “You are over reacting again, you always do this.” Let’s not forget my personal favourite — “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Now, this is where things usually get very interesting. What’s being asked of us when we’re given an excuse similar to those above is that we’re being asked to believe that the other person doesn’t have the commonsense of a three-year-old child. I say ‘a three-year-old child’ because it’s at this age that most children start to demonstrate that they have an awareness that their actions can influence other’s feelings.
Somewhere between three years of age and adulthood we start to play The Stupid Game. Don’t fall for it! Most adults have the commonsense of a three-year-old child, if they don’t, why are you trying to engage with them?
What To Do And The Facts
Only people who want low self-esteem will play this game. My advice is to respect yourself and don’t play this game whenever you’re invited to do so. Trust that most adults have the commonsense to understand how their actions will make others feel. The sad part is that many just don’t want to consider this inconvenient truth. There are only 24 hours in a day and they just don’t want to make time to take into consideration your feelings. You are not a priority for them, and they are telling this to you each time they play ignorant to the fact that they really do and can understand your feelings.
My advice is to call them out on what they’ve done, in a constructive way. Be honest, use simple language, and don’t let them get away with murder. If they refuse to answer for their crimes against love, then you’re faced with a simple question to answer — Do I stay and continue to be disrespected, or do I go? I hope you’ll answer with “Go.”
Love pushes us to be a better version of ourselves. It is patient and kind. It means that we hold others responsible for their actions and it also means forgiveness — but it doesn’t mean that we must act like a doormat in order to receive it.
Visit Justin’s website to learn more about his services or follow him on his professional Facebook page. If you have any questions that you would like Justin to answer or topics that you want him to write about email him at: [email protected] (Please note that the identity of those asking any questions will always be kept confidential).
We want to hear your opinion
“My first thought was — I’m dead.”
In 1985, Derek Canas underwent heart surgery to correct a congenital anomaly — he was three months old.
The surgery was a success, but 16 years later Derek was diagnosed with AIDS — he had acquired HIV as a result of a blood transfusion during the heart surgery.
Derek is now a DJ and a campaigner for HIV awareness. Derek shared his story with Mainly Male.
When you were first diagnosed, how much did you and your family know about HIV?
The only thing I knew at that time was a few memories of a Nick News episode years before. I was diagnosed in 2001. My first thought was — “I’m dead.”
Thankfully, I had a great doctor who told me that I would that I would be going to his funeral, that he wasn’t going to mine. I had an AIDS diagnosis and wasting syndrome — I was weeks away from death.
What sort of counselling and support was available to you when you first diagnosed?
Just at doctors’ appointments. I live in a small town, there were no support groups close by. Family and close friends became my support system.
Have you encountered any stigma or discrimination as a result of your status?
Yes — especially in the early days after diagnosis. It’s just part of living in a small town. The understanding of the virus is still stuck in the mindset of the early-90s. Sadly, that’s nationwide — public knowledge is really lacking in terms of HIV.
You speak publicly about HIV and educate people about the virus — do you ever feel like taking some time out? Do you ever feel like you don’t want to have to explain your status to people that you meet?
I don’t take time out for myself. My cardiologist hates that — I’m on my fifth pace-maker. I always welcome the opportunity to explain my HIV status. I wear it like a badge of honour. The virus nearly killed me, and I’ve fought back — I’m the one that’s kicking its ass now.
What advice or guidance would you give to someone who has been recently diagnosed with HIV?
The days after are rough — don’t be ashamed of the breakdown. You’ll feel better as your health gets better. It just takes time and patience.
Do you have any hints or tips for people on how to respond to HIV stigma or discrimination?
I use music to get me through. I’m a DJ, so I know how powerful music is on our minds and bodies. I always encourage people to find their music or movies — something that helps them laugh or get hyped-up.
Keep a calendar — put things on it, no matter how small — always look forward. Tomorrow can and will be better.
Everyone gets knocked down in life. It’s about how you stand back up.
Sharing the stories of our community
It’s not easy to talk about HIV, but talking about your experience can help to build your confidence and understanding of what HIV means for you. Your story can also help others who are processing their own experiences with HIV.
If you’d like to share your story with the readers of Mainly Male, please email [email protected]
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