Keeping Them At a Distance.

I'm almost 21 years old, a heterosexual female, and I have never had a boyfriend. Perhaps you can count the 1 week (at the most, I think it was actually shorter) "relationship" I had at 14 a boyfriend, but other than that there have been none.

To start, self-esteem is not the issue here. I'm pretty comfortable with myself, and I've often been labeled the social butterfly. I can relate to people, and I have many friends.

Even male friends. Or so you would think. That's the thing -- I thought I had male friends too, and that it's normal for my best friends throughout my whole life to have always been girls. I mean, guys can't be best friends with girls, right? That's what I always heard. That and many other "common knowledge" kinds of things -- like guys only want one thing, guys are shallow, guys all like sports and fart jokes. And I swallowed it all because no evidence proved otherwise.

There was a mini Dad issue there. I idealized my father, I thought he knew everything. Correlating with that was this subconscious belief that a boyfriend was a reward to be earned, not a person to connect with. I envied those girls who got all the attention, who scored a boyfriend... what did they have that I needed to achieve? But then I turned 16. I started realizing that Dad's not so perfect. In fact, he was authoritative, didn't listen, and argued ever so tactlessly. That combined with the fact that the sole "boyfriend" I ever had (for a week at age 14) ended our "relationship" because I wouldn't give him head (and constantly talked sex afterward). And the result seemed so clear: guys are sexual.

Yeah, guys are sexual, duh. But at 16, this meant something completely different. As I matured [physically], I started getting hit on, catching looks, being flirted with. And it was all so disgustingly sexual. Where was in this whole game? I didn't think guys could ever see. I realized that the only people I could truly trust and connect with are girls. Thus, all my actual friends were girls. By senior year of high school, I had so much pent up disgust and confusion that I was not surprised when my friend's ex of two weeks asked me online to be his hook-up buddy (after I had just shared the story of my crush to him). I politely declined, as I have been taught to do.

College came around, time to establish a new set of friends. I targeted girls, but with them came guys. I befriended many, many guys. I felt like I was changing, learning to get over my bad experiences and appreciate the opposite sex. Of course, there was still a lot of sexual attention. But I noticed that some people could control it while some just let it loose. Hey, it's a step forward. I became the social mingler, the one dubbed "popular" who didn't understand why people said that. I was happy that I had male friends to joke with and with about school. I was sad whenever someone would start to like me and try to turn our friendship into something else. Looking back at it, I was probably upset at these individuals' lack of control... I saw their interest in me as a sexual side seeping out and corrupting our clean friendship.

**I'd like to say I've changed, but I haven't really. I have closer male friends now, but I still turn to girls for emotional support, for things that actually matter to me.

Now I'd like to fast forward to a recent experience. I've said I have closer male friends now, which I must say is uncharted territory for me. I don't know what's appropriate and what's not, among platonic friends. I just go with it as long as I'm comfortable.

I recently watched a late-night movie with a friend of mine, A. We had been at a coffeeshop until 1am, and during our conversation he suggested renting a particular movie we both wanted to see. We went back to his place and saw it together alone. I've been told that couch seating matters in these situations... so I'll say that I sat down first, in the middle of a couch, and he sat next to me. We kept our hands to ourselves. I thought nothing of the whole situation really, even though I went home at 5am.

A week later I was with my Mom (who, let me add, was raised in a much more conservative culture than I have been raised in here in the US). Our conversation made me think of when I saw that movie with A, so I casually mentioned that I saw that film with him. She asked more questions about where we saw it, and if there were other girls there. My answers infuriated her, and she scolded me for putting myself "in that dangerous situation". Apparently, A, my trusted friend, would rape me when given the opportunity. The reason being that "the Devil whispers in people's ears", so trustworthy or not, as a guy, a situation like this would make him want to overpower me for sex.

And this was when I realized -- it's not just my lame early experiences that affected how cynically and negatively I view men. It's my home. My whole life, I was raised in a house that believes that men are sexual beings who cannot control themselves; but I'm expected to marry one anyway.

This realization terrifies me. My issues run much deeper than I thought. How can I ever get over them now?

everperplexed everperplexed
2 Responses Mar 26, 2009

Its a step in realizing that issues run deeper than they appear at first glance.<br />
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Even I'm still trying to work through my own... its a process.<br />
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Also judgment is key... meaning you know there's an 'exit' if things aren't going so well or if they are taking things in pace... not going beyond what you feel ready for like the prior comment states.

Always stay in your comfort zone. But give some guys a chance. Not to have sex with. I dated a girl in school and we necked on dates. But when it came to sex I let her decide when. She did, but when it got down to it, when we were about to she said she was scared I asked if she wanted to stop. She said yes. We put our clothes back on and went to town and hung out until it was time to take her home. It is more about how well a guy respects a woman, and cares for her, I think more than anything else. If he doesn't then he will do what he can to get in her pants. But if he really respects and cares for her. then it is posslble he will not let that be his driving force. Atleast that is how I am. I can't speak for all other guys. I would like to think, That is the way it is. But also wether with a woman one respects or not, NO means NO