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I'm Not Ready To Have Sex Yet - How Do I Tell My Boyfriend?

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Young couple in gentle embrace
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Nerissa asks, "I've been dating my boyfriend for the past year. He's ready to have sex, but I'm not. How can I tell him I'm not ready yet without losing our relationship?"

First off, let's discuss where your relationship is at. I'm assuming it's serious just by the length of time you've dated, but the length of time doesn't equal serious, either. In Am I Ready for a Serious Relationship? I detail the kinds of things you and your partner need to share before taking the next step. I'd think that, even more so, you want to ensure all of these things are checked off before you engage in a sexually intimate relationship. One of the most important in this case? Emotional intimacy before physical intimacy, as well as trusting that, no matter what you say to one another, it's respected and appreciated without any damage to your relationship.

Hopefully you see where I'm going, but if not, the crucial question you have to ask yourself is this: if you don't feel comfortable sharing your personal and sexual boundaries with your boyfriend, should you be in a relationship, serious or otherwise?

I understand completely the fear that he might not like you're not ready to have sex yet. I think anyone, no matter what their situation or age would get fearful with the possibility of this kind of intimate rejection. Still, what's more important to you: keeping your boundaries and values clear and intact, or making your boyfriend happy? Of course you want him happy to date you, but you also shouldn't change your needs or wants based on what you think he might feel.

Instead, have a conversation with your boyfriend. Tell him clearly that what you're willing and/or able to do, and what you're not comfortable with. As well, even though it's extremely difficult, watch his reaction. Is he relieved? Happy? Upset? Angry? Frustrated? Does he let you finish what you need to say? Does he say he agrees with you, but then tries to move things further anyway? His reaction, hopefully, will mirror his words. Unfortunately that's not always the case, and thus why I suggest you watch his reaction closely. Focus later on how you feel, and instead, see how it impacts him.

What if he says, "You would if you loved me," or another comment that makes you feel badly for your decision? For me, that would spell the end of any relationship, but it's a hard stance to take for some women, especially when we're younger. If your boyfriend pressures you in any way, tell him, "If you loved me, you wouldn't pressure me into doing something I'm not ready for yet."

There is the chance he'll end the relationship after sharing you're not ready to have sex yet. If this happens, it'll definitely hurt. Having said that, wouldn't you want to know now that your partnership is based solely on the promise of a sexually intimate relationship? Sure, attraction is necessary and definitely important in any romance, but at the same time, feeling respected and honored holds infinitely more weight. It might hurt in the short term, but in the long term, you'll keep your self-esteem intact.

Have you been through a similar situation? How did you deal with it? What happened in the end? I'd love to hear your stories, advice and suggestions about telling your boyfriend you weren't ready for sex. Share Your Story Here

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Readers Respond: Ideas on What To Say To a Partner Pressuring You To Have Sex

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