So, I'm sixteen and a half, and a couple of weeks ago I got asked out for the first time in my life. I go to a large public high school in a fairly good-sized American city. My little sister got a boyfriend before I did. These facts are not doing my self-esteem much good.
As for the guy in question, I like him all right. We have a few friends in common, so we've all hung out together and had fun at the mall and such.
But there's been a few things that have been making me a bit unhappy about being around him. Like when we friended each other on Facebook, the next day he told me he hadn't liked that I was in a "One Million for Gay Marriage" group. I informed him that I live with my mom and her girlfriend. He's been kinda insensitive about it.
Another thing about us, is that we both have medical conditions that required surgery this past summer. I've got conflicting feelings; one part of me is like "you two match!" and the other part is like "the one person with a worse medical history than your own..."
He had some spine issue that he had fixed, but he's still delicate (he can't do jumping-jacks or wear a backpack). With me, the medication I took to combat juvenile arthritis (or the arthritis itself) stunted the growth of my jaw and I had to get it surgically lengthened. He says he's had a kidney removed and numerous surgeries. I basically look like I have Marfan's Syndrome due to the arthritis and steroid treatment somehow giving me long bones and unusually flexible joints. I'd stand 5'9" if I didn't have scoliosis on top of everything else (I'm 5'7" and wear women's size 9 shoes). I don't have the heart or vision problems, although with the trace amounts of arthritis meds still in my system my eyesight could suddenly start failing, and I have to go to an optometrist every few years to make sure I'm not going to start going blind.
Before jaw surgery, I had a full centimeter overbite, a very snout-like face and no chin. Because of years of mis-matched-ness, my front teeth are extremely sharp, the skin and cartilage of my lower face doesn't fit or move like a normal person's, and to top it all off it is physically impossible for me to open my jaws wider than an inch without popping my lower jaw painfully out of it's socket.
I hate it when people comment on my appearance, especially now that my face has changed, because my soul, my personality, my identity, still feels like the beaver-toothed little girl I started out as. And, I hate it when people compliment me on how skinny I am. I have, and will always have, physical difficulties in feeding myself. It burns me to think that anyone would consider my painfully thin body with it's fickle arthritis-warped limbs some kind of ideal beauty.
Posts: 8 | From: NC | Registered: Aug 2009
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to be honest, i'd be put out if he made a point of bringing his disapproval of my support of gay marriage after adding me on facebook. I can't see anything offensive in such a group (and there are PLENTY of crass, offensive and frankly damaging groups on fb, which i tend to report) existing, nor particularly "bad" about you publically showing your support for your mum and her partner. If he has different values on the subject, /i/ would reconsider him being someone i wanted to be with.
Posts: 172 | From: Australia | Registered: Jul 2008
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If you like him, but aren't sure about dating and such, there is always the option of getting to know each other better as friends, and take decisions later. So you would get a deeper view into him, including the reasons he's homophobic and how central that idea is to him, because if it is a basic view and not just something that he picked up unthinkingly from his parents (but can reconsider if he gets more educated on the subject), then you two could have some obvious problems in the furure.
And if you're a bit unhappy around him, then why would you force yourself to be around him? Being with someone you don't like won't make you happy (even if there is societal pressure etc).
hi I've been thinking, and I'd like to add a few things.
First of all, let's say, that after that being-friends-and-getting-to-know-each-other-better phase, this guy might get to be attractive for you, so you two can have a fulfilling relationship. I don't know, what the chances are, maybe not that huge, but I wouldn't judge people based on forum posts - this is a thing YOU will have to check out, IRL.
But let's explore the possibility, that after that, you'll still have reasons to be "a bit unhappy about being around him". What's if you two just don't click?
And the next one is about sex, and an attitude toward it that people at Scarleteen would like to promote - that it shouldn't be just ok or consensual or painless, but something all the participants do positively and enthusiastically want.
I've linked it, because I feel, that it might be possible to apply to romantic relationships, too - if you don't sincerely like the person you are trying to get together with, if it needs a constant effort from you to try to believe that he is good enough for this (not "good enough" objectively, just compatible enough with your personal wants and needs), then the whole thing won't work well, and will be really different from something that you can experience with a person with whom you really click with.
I hear that you're under a lot of societal pressure, and I'm sorry about that. But please, don't convince yourself, that you absolutely HAVE TO get a boyfriend right now, even if you haven't found anybody who would attract you in that way (physically, intellectually, emotionally etc). And please, believe me, that something forced to yourself is very, very different from the genuine thing, and you shouldn't convince yourself, that going out with people you don't like that much is your only option.
You will have a lot of new opportunities in the future; your actual world isn't all you will get in your life (of course you know this, I'd just want to accentuate it).
I'm quite moved by this topic and maybe I'm already repeating myself, because I have been in such a situation.
During my life, I have been in love with someone, so I know, how attraction feels ("enthusiastical consent for being in a relationship"? [Smile] ).
I have also, at an other occasion, convinced myself, that my life is so empty, and my chances to find people are so low, that I should try to get together with a certain person (the only one who would think about asking me out at that time), even if I've felt, deep in my heart, that I don't like him that much.
I don't want to say, that romantic relationships can't develop slowly, or that they have to be dramatic and extremely intense to be real. The problem in the second case was, that I knew from the start that we don't click in a lot of areas that would be central to me, that what I like about him isn't enough to base a relationship on it, and instead of just enjoying the things we had in common and assuming the limits that existed, I've tried to force myself into a big-R Relationship with him.
I've done so, because I've needed a lot to have people in my life, and I tought, that maybe I can trick myself into believing, that what we can have, is good enough - that I can construct such a thing forcedly. It was like looking at a painting, getting a little further from it, maybe adjusting the lamp so the light doesn't fall at it directly, tilting your head,closing one of your eyes, and trying to see in it a beauty that you know, that actually isn't there.
And of course it had ended badly, and actually was crappy the whole time. Because there is a kind of connection that can't be constructed artificially with sex or declaring each other boyfriend and girlfriend (or other gender permutations).
This is a sad thing to know when one is searching for such a thing and can't find it anywhere (at a given moment). But this also has a lot to do with the fact, that we can be ourselves, free, unique and different, with a given identity, and not just standardized, mechanical machines.
(huh, the longer I think about that world where anyone can fall automatically in love with anyone, the creepier it looks, so I have to stop my mind now... )
hmm, I just hope that it wasn't too creepy of me to share this much personal detail. :\
With all this bragging about the "right" situation for entering a relationship, I don't mean to promote any given set of conditions that you could just check before doing it. Relationships can be different, and you do have the right to decide, what do you want from one and what not. There is a good article about this thing, that might make easier for you to make a decision (because if you will think about what kind of relationship do you want, then you will have something more articulated to compare with the possibilities that will appear).
As a last thing, I'd like to recommend you a thread from the "support groups" section, because, if I understand this correctly, things are kept public here at Scarleteen exactly in order to inspire others. It's a long thread, with a sad beginning, and somewhere in the more recent posts she writes about sex, that " I'm really glad I waited until I found someone I feel really secure with before doing this kind of thing, everyone should get to wait until they feel truly ready and not be pressured regardless of their gender". This is the link:
We've talked about the gay marriage stuff, and he's kinda cautiously curious about my side of the issue, but I can tell that he's been raised in a homophobic setting.
But it's been hard to see much of each other, because the only time during the school day we're together is lunch (and homeroom, but that is only the start and finish of the Quarter). About a week into our relationship, his mother grounded him for getting a bad test grade, and the terms of him being grounded is he isn't allowed to contact me in any way outside of school (which is getting kinda annoying). It's hard to have deep, meaningful conversation when in a noisy lunchroom or a strictly patrolled school library.
To marigold: Actually, you're correct in thinking we haven't known each other very long. When he asked me out, the next day we were both "What was your name, again?" And when classmates find out we're together, they tend to look at me and make "you know he's crazy, right?" hand motions; but he's different, not insane (I have experience with dealing with mentally disturbed classmates, I can tell the difference). He's been really respectful of physical boundaries, and we've talked a bit about kissing and snuggling, although our current relationship is more along the lines of "friend I hug often".
When I told my dad that I had a boyfriend, he proceeded to say "Really?! And this isn't a cartoon character? This is a real person? And does he know about this?" But dad's actually met him now, and says that we've got a kind of complementary weirdness, which is a complement considering most of my family (both sides) consider all the other family members as being weird.
Posts: 8 | From: NC | Registered: Aug 2009
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Hi lillifish! I just want to interject for a second. I'm glad you've found someone you're interested in, but something really sticks out to me that this guy is clearly homophobic to the point of feeling he has a right to tell you he doesn't like your Facebook group decisions: asking why you joined, starting a discussion is one thing, but telling you he thinks it's bad is pretty out-of-line to me. Also, what non-parent person feels he or she has a right to tell you what you should do or not do?
Something else to throw out is that in his homophobia, he's essentially disapproving of your family. And I think it's a big deal to invite someone to your home knowing they look down upon your family for who they are-- to me, it'd be like inviting someone racist home when you have a parent or sibling of a race that the visitor is prejudiced against. I wouldn't want to expose my loved ones to such hate and ignorance. And you've mentioned he's been (as in, continues to be) disrespectful about it. We can come from all kinds of backgrounds and it may explain where you're coming from on some issues, but it also doesn't excuse the negative beliefs or behaviors.
Also, if he's not allowed to contact you at all when he's grounded, that seems like a bad sign to me. Does his family know you two are dating?
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