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Author Topic: Lost In His Thoughts
Cheyenne
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I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for about a year and seven months now. He knew from the beginning that I was also attracted to girls and had casually dated a few and have had sexual relationships with a couple of them.


Up until about a month or two ago I was not comfortable identifying myself as bisexual. I knew that i was interested in people from both sexes. But for some reason I was just not very open about my relationships with other girls and was not completely comfortable with my sexuality.


That changed almost two months ago. For some unknown reason I was all of a sudden very comfortable with labeling myself as bisexual. I was no longer worried, embarrassed, or ashamed. I realized tht its what makes me happy and part of who I am and that other people would just have to learn to adjust to live with that or to not be in my life anymore if they couldnt handle that fact and still be civil to me. I do not expect all my family and friends to support or even understand my choice, but I would like them to not be mean to me about it. And so far, things have gone pretty decently. Ive lost a few friends, but gained others. And thats okay.


But I am starting to have issues with my boyfriend. I explained to him that I care about him and I want to be with him. I was not telling him that i had feelings for a girl or another guy or that i was in anyway betraying him or cheating on him. I was simply explaining that i am now comfortable with my sexuality. This subject had never been a problem before, he had always been very open to the matter. We talked about it and he thought that before I only had physical attraction for women. He said that now he is uncomfortable with the fact that I could possibly become emotionally attached to a girl while i am dating him. But i am not even dating, casually or otherwise, any one but him.


I dont understand why this would make any difference to him than it did before. It doesnt make any sense to me. Im not sure how to make him more comfortable with this because I dont know why it changed anything in the first place. Any insight, suggestions, or advice to understand this is appreciated.

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Ecofem
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Hi Cheyenne, welcome to Scarleteen! [Smile]

I'm so glad to hear that you're feeling comfortable with yourself! I'm sorry that your boyfriend is suddenly feeling a bit differently. I agree with you that his feeling seem a bit odd: as you said, you're just seeing him and want a monogamous committed relationship. Is he also concerned about you falling for a guy? And is he worried about falling for another woman, too?

It sounds like you've done everything "right" here and it's really his responsibility to accept you as you are versus your responsibility to try to help him understand a non-problem that he's turned into a potential problem in his head. I have some more theories in my head behind his change of heart but I'm going to sleep on them and get back to you tomorrow. [Smile]

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bluejumprope
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Hi, Cheyenne.

Reading your post reminded me of a lot of the questions we've gotten from straight people panicked when their partners are bisexual. I wondered if maybe reading from some of their perspectives would be helpful. Here are two of those:

http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/15/t/000822.html

http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/15/t/000820/p/1.html#000000

Because I think you're right: I don't think it's generally rational, but fueled by a lot of misconceptions about bisexuality, fear, and unrealistic ideas about sexuality and relationships.

I don't know if your boyfriend shares similar fears as those individuals, but from what you wrote it sounds like it might be in that ballpark. Probably obviously, the only way to get a better idea of what exactly he's thinking is to ask him more.

I also totally second everything Lena said...I'm sorry that your boyfriend is feeling this way, congratulations about coming out, [Smile] and what Lena said about your responsibility vs his, I really agree with.

[ 02-20-2010, 09:22 AM: Message edited by: bluejumprope ]

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without tenderness, we are in hell. -Adrienne Rich

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Cheyenne
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Thank you for the links [Smile]

And I did discuss this topic more with my boyfriend today. He explained that he was afraid since I am openly and comfortably bisexual now, that I would not be satisfied being with only him, that I would want to date a girl also.

We discussed how this fact has not changed my view on our relationship or my feelings for him at all. He said that he was just worried that he wouldnt be enough for me anymore and a little paranoid that i had found someone else, be a girl or boy.

He has trust issues with people, although almost always unwarranted. But I know that thats part of how hes been for a long time now and Ive learned how to understand it and help him feel more comfortable by changing certain parts of my other relationships with friends and family.

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Heather
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It might help to point out that one guy cannot represent all guys, just like one woman can't represent all women.

In other words, if he's happy being with you, it's not that you fill his "woman quotient." It's about you filling his "partner I want to be with" quotient. And he yours. Often heterosexual or homosexual people tend to assume being bisexual adds something, when for most of us, it doesn't. It's more that it just makes gender fairly irrelevant: it creates a neutral, it doesn't add a factor. You may need to explain that to him.

And the same is true with you. No matter either of your orientations, you both will probably be attracted to at least a few other people. So, the trust he'd extend you is no greater than that you extend him, and this really isn't anything extra for him to worry about like he's thinking.

[ 02-20-2010, 09:21 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather
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Also, just for the record, if someone has trust issues, unless our other relationships were inappropriate in some way, the thing to do isn't to change your own relationships with friends and family. That's not actually healthy, and it also only may help that person AVOID their trust issues, rather than working on them.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Ecofem
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Hi Cheyenne [Smile]

Heather and bluejumprope have given you excellent advice but I wanted to second Heather's concerns about your changing "certain parts of my other relationships with friends and family" in order to "help him feel more comfortable." I can tell that you're a very thoughtful and considerate person but that really jumps out at me as a big thing. I say this because I think in good relationships we don't have to change our behaviors or relationships with others in any way, especially those we are close to. I mean, I can understand spending more time with a new partner after first getting together just because you both enjoy and want to spend that time together. However, stopping hanging out with a certain person because your boyfriend or girlfriend is jealous of them is another thing. Likewise, I can understand if a partner would prefer for you to not discuss minute details of your sex life with your best friend, like discussing your partner's genitalia, but I don't find it fair for a partner to say that you "shouldn't" or "can't" discuss your relationship with friends at all.

What exactly are the changes you're talking about?

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Cheyenne
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My boyfriend does get jealous easily. He doesnt like for me to hang out with some of my friends, usually guy friends in particular. He likes to know what I wear, who I hang out with, who I text, what we talk about. Everything. When we're not around each other he always wants these "updates" in the morning and at night.

I dont like it and it can get annoying and stressful but I know hes more comfortable if I just suck it up and go along with it. It gets frustrating having to tell him everything even if i dont want to but its just something that helps him.

Ive tried not going along with it but it just leads to fighting and arguing. He thinks if i dress how i like to then people will think im a slut. So i deal with it for him so he'll be more comfortable.

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Heather
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quote:
My boyfriend does get jealous easily. He doesnt like for me to hang out with some of my friends, usually guy friends in particular. He likes to know what I wear, who I hang out with, who I text, what we talk about. Everything. When we're not around each other he always wants these "updates" in the morning and at night.
Cheyenne: do you understand that those things are all well-documented signs of a controlling and potential or actual abusive relationship? What you are describing is not part of a healthy relationship.

[ 02-21-2010, 03:11 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Cheyenne
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I know that it sounds bad but hes not abusive. He's never hit me or hurt me. Yes, we argue and he says stuff that really gets me down but i think thats fairly normal. I know tht it sounds like he is too controlling but I think he really does mean well and just takes it too far.
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Heather
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Physical abuse is only one kind of abuse. Emotional abuse -- which sometimes is called battering, or other times called controlling -- is another kind. Some abusive relationships have more than one kind of abuse; others have only one. An most abusive relationships start with emotional abuse, then, over time, progress to including verbal, sexual and/or physical abuses.

What you are describing here ARE emotionally abusive and controlling behaviours, and are not the kinds of dynamics in a healthy relationship. For sure, he's "taking this too far," but doing that is abuse and/or control. Not healthy.

To try and be clear, in a healthy relationship, we want to talk to our partners to be close to them and have them be part of our lives. We may want to also touch base to make plans, or adjust plans. But what a healthy relationship doesn't have in it, or what healthy people don't do in relationships, is insist partners check in with us because we either refuse to extend them trust, or because we only feel okay when we feel we have control over what they are doing as much as possible. can you follow that?

As well, in a healthy relationship, partners don't suggest the other are "sluts" because of how they dress, try and control how someone dresses, or try and control what friendships a partner has and with whom. All of those things, like the "updates" are not about loving someone or wanting to be close to them in a healthy way. They are, instead, about control, and controlling someone that way or trying to IS abusive behavior. It also isn't about "meaning well." What are the good intentions you feel he has in behaving this way? How would those kinds of behaviors nurture love, trust respect? How would they benefit you in any way?

[ 02-21-2010, 03:25 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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Perhaps I can also ask you something, which you can answer here, but also just think about for yourself.

Is this kind of behavior what you really want in a relationship? Does it fit your idea of what it's like to be in something really wonderful?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Cheyenne
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I guess that the updates dont benefit me in any way. When we fight about it he always says that hes just trying to watch out for me.

He is very uncomfortable with my past, and hes always trying to avoid me getting back into that. Although I have no interest in any of it anymore. I guess he thinks that if he knows who Im with and what Im doing then he could keep me out of that stuff.

And yes, he does try to control how i dress and some of my friendships. He doesnt like it if I tell my friends more about something than i tell him. He tends to say that if he doesnt know everything then if a problem arises he wont be able to help me.

I understand what you're saying and how this looks abusive. He does say things to put me down but he always apologizes afterwards. He says he doesnt mean it and he was just mad. When we dont fight he doesnt say things like that and if I dont try to avoid telling him everything then he doesnt usually say stuff like that either.

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Cheyenne
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And no this isnt the type of behavior i want. I dont like it but i figure that the good times we have out weigh the fighting.
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Heather
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How is he watching out for you with this? In other words, are you not safe with your friends? Are you unable to keep yourself safe in your daily life? Even if not, what's he going to do to "watch out for you" via the phone? How can those updates have any impact on your safety at all?

quote:
He doesnt like it if I tell my friends more about something than i tell him. He tends to say that if he doesnt know everything then if a problem arises he wont be able to help me.
Same goes with this stuff. If you HAD a problem you told a friend about, couldn't your friend help you, too? And if there was something you wanted him specifically to help you with, couldn't you just ask him? Any of the times you have told friends something you did not help him, did you find yourself in horrible trouble only he could help you out of?

quote:
When we dont fight he doesnt say things like that and if I dont try to avoid telling him everything then he doesnt usually say stuff like that either.
Are you familiar with what a "cycle of abuse" is? If not, can I fill you in?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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quote:
And no this isnt the type of behavior i want. I dont like it but i figure that the good times we have out weigh the fighting.
So, if you could have an intimate relationship that had the good stuff, but none of this bad stuff, is that what you would want?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Cheyenne
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No, im not familiar wth that and yes Id like for you to explain it.

And i guess that he isnt watching out for me and my friends could help me with whatever I needed.

I guess that he wants me to depend on him more than anyone else.

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Cheyenne
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Yes, if i could have a relationship without the bad stuff then thats what I would choose.
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Ecofem
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Hi Cheyenne, I just wanted to come by and say hi. I also wanted to ask, in addition to what Heather's said, how would you feel if he were a parent having you do all these things? What would you think if a friend were in this situation with a partner or parent? I know the parent-child thing is different but, still, wouldn't it seem really restrictive and unfair?
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Heather
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I think depending on someone means they actually help us with things and do things for us that we are open to them doing. For example, I depend on my partner to be there for emotional support when I really need it, and he's always good for that, so I can depend on him. But if he didn't give me that support, but just wanted me to make him the only one I asked for it -- even when I'd rather ask a friend or family member, anyway -- that wouldn't be about what I depended on, that would be about how he controlled me for himself. Get the diff?

The cycle of abuse -- whether we're talking about emotional, physical, sexual, etc. -- is a relationship generally works like this. We have what we call a "honeymoon" period, where everyone's sweet and nice and lovey-dovey. That usually moves into what's called a "tension" phase. That means that tensions start to build up, with the abusive person getting more and more irritable or aggravated, sometimes even when the other person is following "their rules," or other times when that person isn't following them as well as they'd like. Then the next phase is the actual abuse cycle: where that tension erupts into some kind of abuse, whether it's yelling or name-calling, withholding time or affection, hitting, raping, etc.

And then that is usually immediately followed by the honeymoon period again: the abusive person says they're sorry, acts extra nice, etc.

That cycle tends to hold, btw for both the big picture of a relationship -- in other words, when we first get involved with people, they're usually not abusive right off that bat, but abusive people get more so as a relationship continues -- and in the smaller picture. In other words, over days, weeks or months, that cycle just keeps going around and around.

Make sense?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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quote:
Yes, if i could have a relationship without the bad stuff then thats what I would choose.
You can. Any of us always can. Mind, that can mean spending some times single while we're waiting to meet the right people to be in healthy relationships like, but all of us always can.

So, do you not feel like YOU can for some reason? In other words, you do have that option, so is there a reason that's not what you're choosing instead of this?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Cheyenne
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I understand what you're getting at and what you mean. Im a little overwhelmed right now so I'm going to take some time to think about this whole thing and when i come up with some thoughts or questions ill ask. Thanks everyone.
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Heather
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Of course. I know that was a lot of big information and questions all at once. Sorry if we overwhelmed you at all.

We're around whenever you want to come back and talk more about it. Take care of yourself.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Cheyenne
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Well after this week Im going to be grounded (phone, computer, tv, books, everything) for a couple of months so that will definately give me some space from him to figure out everything. On the downside, I wont have access to get any advice from here.

But anyways I do understand that he could be showing abusive tendencies. And i think that i do need some time and space away from the relationship to think about what i want and what to do. Im just not sure how to explain all this to him without him blowing up on me.

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Heather
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My suggestion is to process it for yourself and with other people you trust who you KNOW you have healthy relationships with first, before talking to him. Because I have to be honest and tell you that what we know about these behaviors is that unless the person engaging in them seeks out professional help and gets long-term counseling, they simply are not likely to change. With very few exceptions, the only way to stop an abusive and/or controlling relationship is to get out of it. There's not usually a right "way" someone can call someone out of abusive behaviors to somehow make them open to change to that will keep them from responding abusively. Part of being this way is about refusing to take personal responsibility, after all.

I know that may not be what you want to hear, but I can only be truthful.

Do you need help with some strategies to get you that time to yourself to think and talk to others and space/time apart from him?

Do you want to talk about what's going on with the months of groundedness? or how to talk to your folks to tell them about what's going on with your boyfriend so they might at least okay some kind of external support for you, be it here or a phone hotline?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Cheyenne
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My parents and I dont get along very well. They dont like my boyfriend, or any one that i choose to date, and they have an understanding with me that whatever I get myself into with these people is my own problem to get myself out of. Theyre not an option for support and they wont okay any kind of contact with anyone once i am grounded so external support isnt exactly an option for a few months, probably not until May or June.

Yes, I would appreciate some strategies on how to get that time to myself to think and talk t others and get some time away from him. Im almost afraid to try to have this conversation with him because it will only cause more yelling. I understand that its something I need to address, but im not even sure how to bring it up.

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Heather
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Can I ask if it's possible that they don't like him because they are aware or suspect he has been controlling and/or emotionally abusive?

I ask that because it's very common -- and understandable! -- for parents to dislike people who mistreat their children. Do you think it's even a remote possibility that talking to them about this might result in them responding differently?

Per time away from the boyfriend, am I understanding that your being grounded (can I ask why for so long?) will result in no ability for any outside contact? If so, might that not give you the space away from him all by itself?

I understand feeling afraid to have this conversation with him. It's typical for people in any kind of abusive relationship to feel afraid: really, we SHOULD be afraid, pretty much all the time, and ideally react by getting away the very first time we feel that way. Unfortunately, sometimes we don't see it clearly until we're deep in it, and that's not your fault.

Like I said, I don't think you probably CAN bring it up, or, to put it more clearly, I don't know why you would. Why we'd bring up an issue with partners where they're behaving in a way that isn't okay would be in order to ask they change their behavior. But someone who wants to control everything usually does not want to change their behavior, and will deny responsibility so much they'll always present this stuff as YOUR problem or responsibility (such as, if you'd just follow their rules, everything would be fine: a very typical abusive response).

So, unless you think this is someone who has in any way suggested that HE is not okay with his behavior, and that HE wants to do real work to change it (for himself, because he doesn't want to be the kind of guy he's being), bringing it up will likely be fruitless or just result in some kind of abusive outburst.

Again, I know this is rough, but almost all of the time, the only way people being abused stop being abused is by getting away from the person doing the abusing and severing that relationship.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Cheyenne
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Yes, the grounding will result in little to no contact with my boyfriend so that will solve the problem of trying to find space.

The grounding is due to a cell phone bill. About $200. I have the money to pay for it and I am going to assume responsibility and pay for it but my parents will still ground me anyways. I did not realize until it was too late that some people I were texting and talking to did not have the same network I do, therefore jacking up the phone bill without me knowing.

And about my parents not liking him. Yes, it is possible that maybe they saw something in him that i havnt noticed til just recently. But they havnt liked anyone that ive been in a relationship with since i started dating about four years ago. I am open about my bisexuality now, they dont like that and refuse to address the subject but they havnt been cruel to me about it yet. My parents are not the type of people that I can go to for advice. They assume anything I do or have gotten myself into is my fault and that its my problem to get myself out.

I dont think that they wouldve realized how he acts sometimes though because he doesnt do that in front of other people. If hes angry and is going to yell at me then he waits until we're in private to address the problem. In public he is never rude, hateful, or in any way mean at all. He doesnt do that in front of other people.

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Heather
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I hear you with the way abusive people can be very nice in public, but not in private, but sometimes they will still cross people's radar. I've had that happen to me many times, where a person like that is being pleasant on the surface, but I simply know it's artificial.

I'm sorry that you don't feel your parents are people you can go to for support. Want to talk about some other options? Does your school have a counselor, for instance? Or might there be a teacher you really like and feel you could talk to? Since you will be grounded but are going to still be in school (assuming you are in school), getting support and help there might be really ideal.

Suffice it to say that while it might be an odd offer, if you thought your parents might hear this better and respond better to another adult, I'd be glad to email them if you wanted to and tell them my sense of this and my feeling that you really need their support.

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Cheyenne
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I dont really feel comfortable trying to explain all this or having someone else explain it to them right now. I think I will speak to them about it but I am going to wait until they have calmed down about the bill. Probably will take a month or so for them to get over the yelling stage.

My school does have "guidance counsellors" but they do not do this type of work. Their meetings are strictly school related. If you have problems with other people in my school then you are sent to the security officer and he then reports the problem to either the parents or the police, depending on the seriousness of the situation. Thats the only two options I have at my school, neither of which appeal to me.

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Ecofem
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[Hey Cheyenne, even if you're at a school where the guidance counselors do mostly class schedules, they generally also do counseling stuff... people probably don't talk about it but they're for that, too. [Smile] ]
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Heather
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Okay, the offer stands if you ever think it would help.

You're right, that doesn't sound like a workable counseling situation at school. So, what about a teacher you like?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Cheyenne
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There are a few teachers that I like, but none that I am really comfortable talking about all this with. My teachers and parents tend to be closely related since I live in a small town and my mom is a teacher and my dad is a substitute teacher.

I did have one teacher/coach that I really respected and trusted but he got switched to a town about 2 hours away from here. We IM occasionally but again, the computer option will be gone soon.

And thank you for the offer [Smile] I appreciate that.

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Heather
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You know, my suggestion would be that you go ahead and step a little bit outside your comfort zone and tell one of those teachers at school. You can also ask that they keep what you are telling them confidential for now, and they should respect that, especially if you make clear you do plan to talk to your parents, you just need to talk to someone else first.

I doubt there will be anyone you DO feel totally comfortable talking with about this. Often being in abusive or controlling relationships leaves a person feeling ashamed or stupid, even though no one is stupid nor has any reason to be ashamed. So, in order to help yourself, you may just need to deal with feeling a little uncomfortable at first. We all often do in these kinds of situations.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Cheyenne
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Thanks for all the advice [Smile]

Im still not sure what I want to do but I will consider talking to one of my teachers.

One of my friends that i play basketball with, her mom is usually my portal for advice. So i may try discussing this with her first. She has sort of become like a second mom to me. She's been there through most of my problems in the last several years. She talked me through relationship problems, family problems, health issues, STI risks scares, birth control, everything. I dont know why I didnt even think of her sooner. My boyfriend has not liked me being at this friends house for several months now so I guess that has something to do with it. But yea I think Ill try talking to her the next game I have [Smile]

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