Too much judging on October 5, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I’m 16 years old. My boyfriend and I have been together for about 6 months…the first 3 were really challenging and hard, the last 3 have seemed to be smooth sailing. I believe I have found the guy of my dreams (I’m only 16, I know). But he is perfect for me and I love him more than anything in the world.
But there are two problems. For one thing, he is two years older than me and in college…before we got together he was a virgin, and I wasn’t. I constantly receive guilt from him for my poor decision to start having sex when I was 14. I do regret this decision a lot, but there is nothing I can do about it now. I feel like a dirty and irresponsible person with low morals compared to him. I constantly have the complex that I’m not good enough for him. I am not a jealous or controlling girlfriend but I still have my worries.
The other problem is that we don’t tell each other that we love each other. I said it once before I was ready and it caused a lot of problems. The thing is, now I really feel like I do love him, but I’m afraid to tell him because he has told me that although he cares for me a lot, he couldn’t say “I love you” yet. I’m worried that if he doesn’t love me yet, he never will. Please help BG!!
We’ve taken your feelings of “dirty, irresponsible, low-morality” and replaced them with slightly righteous indignation. Can you tell the difference? Let’s watch.
“Hey, boyfriend! The personal decisions I made two years before I met you are not yours to judge. “
Whisper that to yourself. Did it feel any different? ‘Cause it’s the truth. Look, I know you regret having sex when you did — but you can do that perfectly well on your own, thanks. But, of course, you’re not gonna say any of this to him because, vicious cycle vicious cycle, you have the “complex that [you're] not good enough for him” in the first place. Right?
Well, let me humanize him down to size for you. He is not a better or more moral or pure person than you are, Foxie. You should quit comparing, and he should too. He is just — understandably — intimidated by the fact that you had sex before he did. That’s hard on any partner, especially the boy. Here’s what Colin McEnroe wrote in the February 1998 Mademoiselle: “When guys have to deal with their girlfriends’ sexual pasts, they may act angry and judgmental, but they in fact feel scared and small, as though you’ve had experiences beyond anything they can offer.” See?
And about the love thing. Truth is, he may not be ready to say those three massive itty bitty words. If he can’t say them now, it does not mean he never will. It’s just that for some people it’s an even bigger step than for others. The thing is this: he may not say it, but does he show it? Quit hanging on the words and notice the deeds. Is he treating you like the fine tasty good responsible moral person that you are? That’s where you need to look in order to evaluate the present and your future. Not at his vocabulary, and certainly not into your past.