Dear ShanTellem,

I haven’t slept with my live-in girlfriend in months. In the past, I believed if you weren’t giving your mate something at home, they should be free to get it elsewhere. Is this concept fair? I assume she thinks I’m getting it elsewhere, however, I’m just working on me. Is it fair for me to ask my partner to wait while I get it together? I really have no desire for intimacy at the moment. You know the saying, if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love anyone else? Well I’m working on the “love myself” part. If somebody loves you, isn’t it worth the wait?


Celibate but Not Single

Dear Celibate,

Let me be the first to tell you that while we are constantly evolving and forever changing, you need to be alone. Sex is usually a large part of a relationship, and it is not fair for you to deprive your mate just because you are “working on” yourself. She needs you to work on her, point blank period. I’m all for self improvement, but I wonder what it has to do with being intimate with your mate.

I believe that individuals should define their own relationships. So you feeling like your mate should be free to get it elsewhere is completely up to you, but it honestly sounds like you do not wish to be bothered with all that comes with commitment. Long lasting unions take a certain level of understanding, patience, communication, and intimacy to work. It doesn’t sound like you’re being too understanding of your girlfriend’s needs, and it doesn’t seem like optimal communication is happening either. The assumption that you are getting sex from someone else should not exist. You should work to communicate and clear up any possibility of confusion.

One thing that you’re right about is the fact that you must love yourself before you can be open to loving another. Only two whole beings can successfully navigate, welcome and appreciate all that comes with being in love. While mates should understand of their partner’s place in life, they should never feel neglected or taken for granted. To assume that your mate should just go and sleep with someone else seems very dismissive of the bond you two may share, and it’s a very clear sign that you may need to let her go.

Good luck and I wish you the best.

Shantell E. Jamison is an editor for and Not confined to chasing headlines, this Chicago-based writer, radio personality and cultural critic is also the author of “Drive Yourself in the Right Direction: Simple Quotes on How to Achieve Your Best Self.”