Heather Corinna replies:
I'm a 15 year old virgin and at the beginning of the summer holidays a met this guy through a friend of mine. We got on really well and started dating about a week after we met. The only problem is now we've been going out for a few weeks he's started to change, he's not as sweet and caring anymore and has started to try to get me to do more sexual things with him. He says his last girlfriend and him had sex after two weeks and doesn't understand why I will only do basic things. Up until now I've found it so easy to tell people I don't want to do something, but I've told him I don't think we've been dating long enough to do anything serious and he won't listen. Please give me some advice, I'm worried soon I won't have the guts to stand up to him and I don't want to be rushed into anything I don't want to do.
It sounds to me like your best bet would just be getting away from this dope.
You're noticing changes in his behavior: he doesn't seem to be as sweet and nice anymore. Despite making clear that you're just not comfortable having any kind of sex with him, he's pushing it and also seems to be trying to guilt-trip and manipulate you by talking about what other girls will do or have done (which has zip to do with what is right for you, but can be effective in making some people feel like their own limits and boundaries aren't valid, which is what he wants to have happen, obviously). You say he won't listen to you.
All of those things send a pretty clear message that this just isn't a good person for you to be seeing, since he clearly seems to be someone who is less interested in you and who you are and more interested in just getting what he wants. Obviously, there's cause for concern there when it comes to sexual pressure: it is always tougher to say no to someone pushing or pressuring us. People who try and coerce us know that: someone pushing and manipulating is trying to wear down your resolve to get what they want. But the answer to that is always going to be to just get away from that person. Someone who does that just isn't safe to be around, and often that kind of behavior does escalate into worse.
But there's also cause for concern when it comes down to just wasting your emotional energy and your time.
Someone who is worth your while and who you're going to want to pursue a relationship with is someone who respects your limits and boundaries, and who also treats you WITH respect, not with petty manipulations. Someone worth your while doesn't actually have to understand why you have the limits you do: even if they don't, they can still make clear that understand or not, they respect them and respect that they're yours, even if they don't share the same limits and boundaries. You may find later in life that someone who earnestly cares for you doesn't understand why you feel or need to do a certain thing, but they'll make clear to you that that doesn't mean they can't accept that feeling or thing you need to do. Someone who is worth your while does listen to you, and also stays sweet and nice, rather than turning from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde.
Dating is a try-out, basically, to see if we want to date someone again, and/or to pursue a deeper relationship with them. When we're dating, we are likely to have some fish we throw back. Sometimes that will be because we just don't feel an emotional or romantic chemistry, sometimes because one or both of us just doesn't have the same interests, sometimes because we just clearly want different things, and sometimes it's just because the fish we pulled out was a stinker. You've got yourself a belly-up floater here, gal.
So, you don't stick around to see if you bend to his will or not. You toss him back, dust off your knees, and move on, saving your time and your heart for a person who isn't pushing, isn't making you feel this way, and who can -- and really wants to -- date in alignment with both of your wants and needs, not just his own.
Then you're free to seek out someone who is much better for you, and he can go right ahead and seek out someone for a relationship that's primarily sexual or where the other person also earnestly wants to get sexual right away. You both win. Who knows, maybe your actions might actually give this guy something to think about and he might be less inclined to try and manipulate or coerce the next girl like you who comes along.
When you find out this early on someone is like that, you get to dodge a bullet: imagine if you found this out after months of a relationship you'd gotten really invested in and sunk your heart into. Ugh. Imagine if you didn't see all of these differences in his behavior you're starting to so clearly. Whatever our own values are, whatever our own needs and wants in terms of relationships and when sex is and is not right for us are, they are meaningful, important and sovereign. If someone else doesn't like them, it's on them (or us, should we find ourselves in that position) to decline a relationship where our ideals and needs are in conflict.
There's just no sense in continuing to date someone when it's become clear that you're not only incompatible, but that rather than acknowledging that like a grownup, the other person is going to start acting like a bully. I can't imagine you want to date a bully, and not just because you don't want to be bullied, either. You deserve a better quality of person in your life than that.
Okay? You absolutely have the guts and the self-respect to walk away from people and situations who aren't good for you and who just aren't worth your while, and only invest time and energy in people who treat you with dignity. Doing that feels really good when it comes to our own self-respect and self-esteem, and it's also something we need to be able to do if we're going to be dating.
As Nancy Sinatra once put it, perhaps not eloquently, but certainly quite plainly, "Boots? Start walking."
Here are a few extra links for you which might help you out:
- Potholes & Dead Ends: Relationship Roadblocks to Look Out For
- Does Abstinence Make the Heart Grow Fonder?
- Be a Blabbermouth! The Whats, Whys and Hows of Talking About Sex With a Partner
- Safer Sex...for Your Heart
- How can men know if someone is giving consent or not?
- Blinders Off:Getting a Good Look at Abuse and Assault