Unsure if I’m ready for intimacy

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coppersof
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Unsure if I’m ready for intimacy

Unread post by coppersof »

Hi! (Just for background I’m 18) So my boyfriend and I have had a thing for 3 months but only been exclusive since the beginning of June 2022. The intimacy ball started rolling real fast. In my previous relationship (I was 17-18 when I was in this relationship) things were quite similar (he performed manual and oral sex on me regularly) and I now don’t know if I truly was ever ok with it (but I never spoke up to him about it). I think I may have thought I was ready because I heard of my friends doing it. I also struggled with giving him head and never grew comfortable with that. Now in my current relationship, he wanted to finger me and I thought I was ready, considering the fact that I was ok with it in my past relationship. In the moment I enjoyed it but thinking about it after the fact, I’m worried I made the wrong decision. I also have not given him head because I got nervous if I wouldn’t do it right or if I was making the wrong decision. He didn’t do anything wrong, he makes me incredibly comfortable, and is in no way at fault for my confusion. But I am confused as to why I suddenly don’t think the timing for this step in our relationship is right anymore. I informed my boyfriend of this because I didn’t want to be faking anything and I’m worried I ruined everything by telling him. He told me that he is glad I told him, but I can’t help but think that he is frustrated and upset. I am just so confused all around.
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Re: Unsure if I’m ready for intimacy

Unread post by Heather »

Hi there, and welcome to the boards.

It sounds to me like what's going on here is that since your last relationship, you may have learned to both pay better attention to your own feelings about all this and that you feel more able to communicate them to a partner. Those are both very, very good things, both for you by yourself AND for any relationship you're in. It also sounds like your boyfriend agrees. It also sounds like you felt able to be honest with your boyfriend because he helps create a relationship where you feel you can be. That's wonderful.

I hear you being pretty clear that things have felt too fast for you. We all get to have whatever our own pace is, and ideally, it really is usually best for us to try and go with what feels right for us there and be clear with partners about what we really want and feel ready for when, and what we don't, or just aren't sure about yet and need more time to suss out.

You say you feel confused about why you want the pace you do, and why some things feel too fast. That makes it sound to me like you think there is one "right" pace, or that we should want and be comfortable with the same things our partners are, neither of which are true. Can you say some more about why you're feeling confused or having conflicting feelings when it sounds like all the outcomes of you being honest have been positive so far?
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coppersof
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Re: Unsure if I’m ready for intimacy

Unread post by coppersof »

Hi,
Thank you so much for your response, I can’t tell you how grateful I am. I think I’m feeling conflicted because I feel somewhat ashamed recognizing that he is ready to move to this part of a relationship and I thought I was and then I changed my mind. I don’t want him to be disappointed by the fact that I have changed my mind because I ultimately do care for him so much, but I feel like I may have let him down. In saying this I feel quite ridiculous because he reassured me that my decision is valid but he is a little upset/confused by the situation (which I understand is completely valid, I didn’t expect him to be completely ok) because he thinks it’s his fault for my change in emotion. I told him it wasn’t but I think deep down he ultimately thinks it’s his fault. I am inherently a people pleaser and I think that by him being disappointed, I feel guilty for my emotions. It may be a fear of rejection?
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Re: Unsure if I’m ready for intimacy

Unread post by Carly »

Hey coppersof -- I agree with you, it sounds like you like to make people happy and feel guilty when you don't. We of course want to make people we care for happy, but it sounds like you're understanding the importance of not doing that at your own expense. I think this is especially hard to learn in the context of sex, because I think sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in what we think others do and what we think we should be doing. In return, it can leave us feeling like we aren't doing what we're supposed to be doing and make us feel like we're disappointing people. Is that how it's been feeling?

Something I'm noticing here is that you also tend to assume a lot about how others are feeling, even if they are also openly communicating with you. For example, him saying he's glad you told him how you felt but then you can't help but think that he is upset with you. He assures you the feeling is valid, but you also feel bad about it. Do you often think that people aren't sharing exactly how they feel with you? I ask because it's something I also struggle with, and do so in a really similar way. When you say that he thinks he is the reason for you changing your mind -- did he say that to you directly in those words?
coppersof
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Re: Unsure if I’m ready for intimacy

Unread post by coppersof »

Hi, thank you for the response! I truly appreciate the support and progressiveness of you helping me understand how I feel.

To the first question- yes, I think because of my people-pleasing nature I have an idea of what I should be doing and that may not necessarily be correct.

To the second question- I do, I’m scared that people don’t want to be honest with me. I think I ultimately expect people to go to the worst outcome, so I think that when a person tells me that they’re ok with something, I don’t think they’re telling me the truth. I don’t know if it’s anxiety or what it is.

To the third question- not verbatim, but along those lines. I told him I don’t want him to think it’s his fault for me changing my mind, but he responded by saying “it is to an extent though”. So I think he feels like he did something wrong, when in actuality, he did absolutely nothing wrong.
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Re: Unsure if I’m ready for intimacy

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi coppersof,

I'm glad you're finding this space helpful!

You know, something that's really helpful when we're learning how to be sexual (however that looks for us) is learning to let go of "should." Because, barring really basic things like consent, there's not one, specific way that sex should look or timeline it should follow. The things that matter are each person's needs, wants, and boundaries, not matching with some generalized idea about how sex "should" go.

Did he say why he thinks you changing your mind or needing a different pace was his fault? Because it sounds like you were pretty clear that this is about recognizing your own needs, not a response to something he did.

It sounds like you do have a lot of anxious feelings or thought patterns, and like they may be playing into how you're experiencing this moment in your relationship. Have you ever sought any help, professional or through things like self-help resources, for managing those anxious thoughts?
coppersof
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Re: Unsure if I’m ready for intimacy

Unread post by coppersof »

Hi!
Thank you for your response, I really appreciate it.

To the first question- He said he thinks it was his fault because he initiated it, and he asked me if it was ok and I said yes (and at the time that was a full honest answer, I wasn’t lying or just saying yes for the heck of it). I think he finds himself feeling guilty because he initiated everything. But I reminded him that I wanted it at the time, and I now just need a minute to step back because I want to experience more growth in our relationship before we get physical.

To the second question- I’ve gone through different websites to try to help myself but there’s been a lot of catastrophic events that happened this year with my twin brother causing him to go to therapy and a couple other places for his mental health. It put a lot of stress on my parents and I think I just don’t want to add to that, so I haven’t gotten any professional help.
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Re: Unsure if I’m ready for intimacy

Unread post by Sam W »

I think reminding him that this is about needing a step back instead of not having wanted sex at the time was a sound way to present it.

I totally understand not wanting to add more stress to your parents lives, especially if it's been a rough year for your family. But it may help to remember that just because your brother needs intense care, it doesn't mean you don't need or deserve care as well, even if you're not in crisis. And a reality of parenting is that sometimes more than one of your kids will need help at the same time, so hopefully your parents understand that. Do you think you could talk to one or both of them about accessing some mental healthcare?
coppersof
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Re: Unsure if I’m ready for intimacy

Unread post by coppersof »

I definitely could, they’re incredibly understanding people and they even offered it to me when everything started happening with my brother. I think I’m just scared to admit that I need help. I know it’ll help, and it has helped so many people, I just have a really difficult time asking for help.
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Re: Unsure if I’m ready for intimacy

Unread post by Sam W »

I get that in a big way. Do you want to use this space here to brainstorm how to ask in a way that works for you?
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