DEAR NATALIE: I am 24-years-old and have never really been in a relationship before. The idea of sex always made me nervous and while I have kissed a few boys, it has never gone beyond that. I just started dating this guy I really like. He and I have been doing things that I have never done before but I am enjoying them. My only problem is, he doesn’t know that I am a virgin and I don’t want to freak him out. Do I have to tell him? Should I tell him? I don’t know what to do. Do you think he will understand? I want to have sex with him but afraid he will laugh at me if he knows — STILL A VIRGIN
DEAR STILL A VIRGIN: If someone were to laugh at you after sharing something so personal, then they don’t deserve to be with you. People have sex with other people at many different stages of life and when and if you choose to have sex with someone else is a very personal choice. There is nothing “wrong” with being in your 20s and not having experienced sex with another person. When and if you are ready is completely your decision. It sounds as though the pacing of this relationship has been positive for you and you want to take that next step. Do you have to tell him? No. But you might feel more confident and comfortable if you are honest about yourself. You may also want to share this when you aren’t in the throes of passion so that you can have a real conversation around it. Who knows? Maybe he hasn’t had that much experience, either. It may take the pressure off of you if you just tell him how you feel about the situation. Sex can be awesome when it is with someone you trust and enjoy being with. If he fits that criteria, share what you are comfortable sharing and see what happens. Who knows? The strength of your vulnerability may inspire him to share his story with you, as well.
DEAR NATALIE: I have been in a “relationship” for six months. Every time we are alone, he is sweet to me, affectionate and loving. When we are in public, he is often aloof, distracted and rude. He won’t introduce me to his family and whenever we meet his friends or colleagues, he introduces me as a “friend.” What is going on? Is he stringing me along? Why would he do this? I don’t want to be in a pseudo-relationship … so should I call it quits?
— KINDA GIRLFRIEND
DEAR KINDA GIRLFRIEND: It sounds like you are both in different relationships. He is approaching this with a sense of casualness and you are taking it more seriously. The question that I have for you is this: How long will you allow him to dictate the terms of this dynamic? You are clearly unhappy with how you are being treated. You need to confront the situation and ask him why he refers to you as a “friend” in public and why he has such a shift in attitude towards you depending on whether you are in private or not? He seems moody and manipulative. Is this the kind of person you want to spend more time with? Unless he is willing to work on himself and learns how to treat you with dignity and respect, I don’t see what the reason would be to continue this relationship. Why be with someone when they make you feel alone? Why give someone your heart if they don’t know how to take care of it? Relationships are a conversation and right now this speaks to the early stages of emotional abuse. Reevaluate and make the bold choice to protect yourself.
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