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I am afraid of guys, and I don't know what to do.

Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:54 am
by MoonStone7
Hey everyone,

It's been a long long time since I posted here but I just remembered this website and how helpful it was, so I thought I'd jump back on the forums to get some more advice!

I don't know if feeling the way that I'm about to describe is normal, or common, or if it's as a result of my upbringing and/or previous abuse situation (when I was 9). I started attending university at the beginning of last year after having been at a girls-only school since I was eleven (I'm 19 now). All my life, my parents tried to keep me away from boys, so when I turned 18 and started university the amount of boys around really overwhelmed me and I was really intimidated. I'm better with it now but I still get these weird feelings.

I feel really vulnerable...I have guy friends who I'm comfortable around, but in general, when I'm walking around campus and I see a guy - any guy that I don't know - I think about how all that they want to do is have sex. Or that they have the capability to have sex with a girl when she doesn't want to since they're physically stronger than girls. And I know that most guys are nice people, so I know that my thoughts are unsubstantiated, but it's just that they're capable of that, that makes me afraid. It's not that the campus doesn't have enough security, it's just my head that's coming up with this. And then my mind changes when I talk to my friend or see a nice video of a guy being really kind/helpful on facebook and other social media sites that people share around. And then when I get to uni, I start feeling vulnerable again. Vulnerable is the best way to describe it.

Do most girls feel this way? I know I'm not in any danger most of the time but guys really intimidate me. But at other times I think they're really sweet and lovely but those thoughts immediately come back. I think this has been exacerbated by my childhood friend, whom I've known since birth, telling me a couple days ago that he liked me and wanted to be more than friends. I felt like, 'great, I thought we were friends, but the only reason he wanted to text with me and have all these deep conversations with me was to have sex with me' - which I still don't know if that's true or not, but it's a thought I've had a lot. We didn't even do anything (he lives in a different country, so all we did was text), and I still feel used.

I am worried that this kind of mentality will affect my future relationship with a guy. I feel like right now, if I liked a guy, I would be too afraid to have sex with him because I'd be worried he was just using me or that the only reason he wanted to talk to me in the first place was to have sex. I hate feeling this way because I know most guys are good guys. I don't really even know why I wrote this post, other than to say that this has been bothering me and if anyone has any advice then I'd really really appreciate it.

Thanks so much in advance.

Re: I am afraid of guys, and I don't know what to do.

Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:22 am
by Mo
Hi there, MoonStone7, and welcome back. :)
I obviously can't speak for everyone, but I do think it's fairly common for women, especially those who've experienced abuse, harassment, or unwanted sexual attention from men, to have some level of fear or worry about men in their lives. It sounds like your fears are pretty persistent, and are causing you some ongoing stress. If you're able to access counseling or therapy (which may be available through your university), that might be a good place to unpack some of these feelings and get some advice on how to better manage the feelings of fear and vulnerability you're having when you're around guys.
There are many wonderful men out in the world. There are also plenty of men who are less wonderful, and it's also not easy to know who you can trust. I think that if and when you do get into a relationship, it'll be important to look for a partner who is very respectful of your boundaries and doesn't push you for sex or intimacy that you aren't ready for or don't want. If you notice someone really pushing back if you try to say "not yet," or "I'm not ready for this," that's going to be a big red flag to tell you that he won't be safe for you. Someone who's communicating well and can discuss feelings and desires about intimacy without putting pressure on you is much more likely to be a good partner.

You mention feeling used by your friend who said he liked you; does it feel like things have changed between you since he said that, or that he has certain expectations he's placing on you?

Re: I am afraid of guys, and I don't know what to do.

Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:20 pm
by MoonStone7
In one of my posts a few years back I mentioned I’ll have to have an arranged marriage - I’ve been considering my options and know now that I can say no, legally, but just in case I get caught up in a situation I can’t get out of, I’m afraid that my future husband may want to have sex with me immediately. In an arranged marriage, I wouldn’t have had enough time to get to know him enough to trust him enough to have sex with him by the time of marriage. It may be at most a few months from meeting him to marrying him. That’s one thing I’m really afraid of. I’ve heard stories online of women who had an arranged marriage and their husband forced them to have sex on the wedding night. I know most men are awesome, great men...but I’m really afraid I’ll get that tiny percentage of men who think that once they get married, they can have sex whenever they want. And especially if my dad chooses a husband who was brought up in India, since that kind of mentality is super common there.

There’s no more university time left until March of next year for me because of the country I’m in, so counselling won’t be accessible for me until then. When I get back next year, though, I do feel like I should try to get some. A lot of cultural boundaries have been placed on me that I think have contributed greatly to my fears, and I think I need to unpack all that.

My friend told me he liked me, he’s really nice but I’m worried he was just nice because he wanted to be with me. Since he told me that, and since I said no, he did make it very clear that it was totally fine if I wanted to stay friends. But since then, he’s only texted me three times (it’s been a few days). Before he told me that, he used to text me good morning and good night most days, text me whenever my active status on messenger was on, text me about random things, text me pictures of the food he was making and eating that day. He used to keep texting even if I didn’t reply. I felt suffocated by how much he was texting me. Now that he’s told me how he feels and now that I’ve said no, he’s stopped texting me so much. Although I’m glad there’s less texts coming through, there’s this new feeling within me of, ‘he was only texting me so much because he wanted to have sex with me’ which is a really scary feeling to me. It’s like, ‘now that he knows he has no chance of having a relationship with me, being nice to me and talking to me doesn’t matter anymore’. So although he said he was fine with just being friends, and his texts were really nice about accepting this, his actions seem to speak differently, but I don’t know. Well, initially when I told him no, he just sent a thumbs up emoji, so I thought he was mad. A little while later he sent a few texts saying it’s ok and that he just wanted to come clean. I told him I’m sorry that I can’t change how I feel, and he replied that I don’t need to be sorry that I can’t change how I feel. I said, I’m glad we’re on the same page now, and he just replied ‘Sure’. It’s only been two texts since then, both of them being replies instigated by something I texted him. He hasn’t initiated any conversation since then.

Ugh I don’t know how to feel. My emotions are all tangled up right now. :/

Re: I am afraid of guys, and I don't know what to do.

Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:01 am
by Sam W
Hi MoonStone,

On the counseling, if you're interested in starting it sooner than your return to school, we may be able to help you find a resource that helps you do that. As you said, you've got a lot to unpack, and it might be really helpful to you to start doing that sooner rather than later. I also want to toss this resource your way. It's a new site for a sex ed organization based in India, and they're a place where you can additional advice and resources on things like sex and dating from people who are more familiar with some of the cultural elements of your situation:

I wanted to check in with you on how you're feeling on the whole arranged marriage thing, since when you first brought that situation to us it was something you weren't really into but felt as though you couldn't avoid. It sounds like you've been researching your options and know that there's no way, legally, for your parents to make you enter a marriage. That being said, are you worried that your parents may still have ways of forcing you into an arranged marriage that you're not interested in or comfortable with?

With your friend, it may very well be that he was trying to use that friendship to get into a position to date you and is now dialing back on his investment in the friendship because he knows you're not interested. But, it may also be that he needs a little time or space before he can continue the friendship as it was; being rejected can sting, and we often talk to people who need some space away from a crush once they've been turned down. All that being said, do you want to continue this friendship with him? Or are you feeling like it's not something you want to put energy into anymore?