I’m Torn

I’m Torn

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I’m dating this guy, and we’ve been dating for a couple of months now. He’s very respectful and nice but, because I’ve been reading some of these stories, some of his behavior mimics what other abusers (including mine) have done to their victims.

I’ll give you two examples. From the beginning, every time he picks me up he gropes my ass. I don’t like this because, one, I’ve never given him my consent and, two, it reminds me of what Kyle did to me on our first date; he also groped my ass.

Another thing that my boyfriend does is sexually touch me when we’re lying down on the couch without my permission. He’s the first guy to do this to me all the time. It bothers me a lot but I never say no. However, I never say yes either. He usually touches my tits but on this one occasion he was also rubbing my vagina.

I wouldn’t mind it if he asked for my consent but he never does. And I’m conflicted because it’s not like he’s ever raped me or forced me into sexual acts. He even stopped during sex because I said it was too painful. And he never pressures me for pics or vids, unlike Justin.

I just don’t wanna be a victim again but I can’t help but feel like I’ve gotten myself into another situation with a guy who’s taking advantage of me. I’m terrified of being alone so I won’t break up with him, but I wish he would be more respectful of my body.

I don’t know what to do or what to think. Am I being dramatic or is this abuse? I need to know. Thoughts would be appreciated.


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26 comments

  1. Gamato04

    You are not being dramatic. The way you feel is completely acceptable and normal, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to feel. However, it is important to set clear communicative boundaries. Perhaps this would be easier with an intermediator like a couples therapist or maybe having a friend ready to get you if you decide to confront him. It is good that he is not pressuring you into any sexual acts and that he stopped when you said it was painful but he should be asking for your consent before touching you.

  2. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi zelda,
    I don’t think you’re being dramatic about this. Sometimes it can be hard to set boundaries, and it makes sense that you don’t know how to bring it up. However, I would trust that uncomfortable feeling, and I think telling him how you feel would benefit both of you. If he doesn’t respect you or your concerns, I don’t think he’s worth your time. I understand that fear of being alone, but I think it’s better to be alone than to be with someone who doesn’t respect you. You deserve love and respect, and you can have boundaries. Maybe this is something you could speak to your therapist about. It may help you figure out how to start the conversation.
    Thank you for the update. I hope the conversation goes well, and you can do this. We’re here for you, and you are strong.

  3. Ryan4121 Volunteer

    Zelda- thank you for voicing your concerns. When it comes to grabbing your behind and sexually touching you, he may be doing it out of inexpeience, assuming this is expected in a relationship. I think sometimes men (and this is an assumption on my part as a man) do things in a relationship that they may like, without understanding it can be uncomfortable for their female partner. Some men are ns, whaturally more understanding and avoid these actions, while others are a bit more impulsive.

    With that in mind, touching you in a sexual way without your consent can’t be considered acceptable. If you feel comfortable doing so, I think having a conversation about boundaries could be beneficial. It sounds like he will be understanding. If his behavior continues, then it becomes abuse.

    You are certainly not being dramatic at all. You sound very calculated and reasonable. Thank you for your message and please continue to confide in us!

    Ryan

  4. brodie_james Volunteer

    Hey, friend,

    Thanks so much for sharing this part of your story with us. I’m sorry that your boyfriend is making you uncomfortable with how he’s behaving around you. I can definitely understand how you are feeling conflicted around this situation. On one hand, he’s not treating you as badly as Justin did because he doesn’t pressure you into anything and acknowledges when sex is too painful for you; on the other hand, he’s still doing things that are making you uncomfortable. I personally don’t think you’re being dramatic, because the discomfort and uneasiness and anything else you’re feeling are valid and real, simply because you’re feeling it. I understand how you aren’t sure if this “counts” as abuse or not; at the same time, you said that you might feel better about him touching you sexually if he had your consent first. You have the ability to choose how (or if) you want to address this; that being said, if I were in your shoes, I may try to talk to him about how I’m feeling like he isn’t respecting me or my body. I might tell him that I do care about him a lot, and that I don’t always dislike the things he does, but that I’d feel a lot more comfortable if he asked if he could do that first. I might also say that he needs to ask every time he wants to touch me, because if I say yes on Monday that doesn’t mean I’ll also say yes on Tuesday or Friday or Saturday. That’s just some food for thought, and just because that’s what I’d do doesn’t mean it would work for everyone, but that might be a way that you could address your concerns with him without flat-out breaking up with him. You’re an incredibly strong human being, and you deserve to have your feelings heard and respected by the people around you, and especially by your significant others.

    Please feel free to write back to us at any time, if you feel you need more support. Sending you all the positive vibes in the world!

    Cheers,
    Brodie

    1. Kayla Volunteer

      Brodie said it really well here so i’m piggybacking his comment. I think it’s important for a relationship to be healthy to have firm and communicated boundaries. If something makes you uncomfortable, it needs to be addressed. He may not realize he’s making you uncomfortable, despite your lack of enthusiasm. If he doesn’t respect your boundaries, then I would escalate your response and consider ending things completely. You deserve love and respect, and to feel comfortable with those you love and with your body.

  5. Shannon Volunteer

    Hey zelda,

    you are not being dramatic, how you feel is completely valid. you should definitely have a conversation with him about how you feel about his actions. You deserved to be respected and listened to. Let us know how else we can help, and thank you for sharing. Be kind to yourself

    Shannon

  6. dzreid Volunteer

    Hey Zelda,
    Thanks for sharing with us on this issue. I agree with talking to him & being honest. Being honest with him might be freeing & provide you with a sense of self accomplishment. You deserve the right & freedom to tell him how you feel. Yes, I believe that by him touching you without permission is a form of abuse. You can get through this! Being alone can be scary, but at the same time, you don’t deserve to be revictimized! Take care of you.
    Dawn

  7. Amysue43 Volunteer

    I don’t think you are being dramatic. I think you have the right intentions in terms of protecting yourself. I would suggest simply bringing this up with him. He seems to be very understanding especially with what you described during an intimate time. Simply bringing up your concern and wanting for him to ask you beforehand, can be an easy change and improve your all’s relationship – communication. If he does not support the conversation or your concerns, then your effort for a relationship might be best to be taken elsewhere. You are in control here. You are strong and know what you deserve.

    Stay strong <3

  8. Harton.13 Volunteer

    I’m so sorry you’re feeling so conflicted. If someone is touching you in a way that you’re not comfortable with, that is not okay. The first step is talking to him about it. I know that kind of stuff can be easier said than done, especially when you’re so close to the situation, but I don’t think it’s a great idea to continue on this way. Relationships are supposed to make us feel loved, respected, and comfortable, and you deserve to be with someone who can provide that.

  9. Megan Volunteer

    Hey zelda,

    I’m sorry that this is going on. I would definitely talk to him about how you feel when he does that. He may just not know you don’t like it and might stop after you tell him. If he continues to do it after you have told him that you don’t like it, then I might start reconsidering the relationship. I know you’re scared of being alone, but being alone is better than being with someone who doesn’t respect you and treat you the way you deserve to be treated. Plus when you’re alone you have the opportunity to meet someone else that might treat you right. I know dating can be scary and confusing, especially for survivors, but don’t forget that you are allowed to have boundaries and you deserve to be respected and treated nicely. And if someone isn’t doing that then they’re probably not the person for you. I hope talking to your boyfriend goes well.

    We are always here for you,
    Megan

  10. Lizzi

    Hey zelda,
    I agree with many of the comments before me. I’m sorry that he’s touching you in ways that makes you feel uncomfortable. it’s obviously not okay if you’re not comfortable with it. However, i think it’s also fair for him to know that you don’t like it if you haven’t told him yet. I would hope that he would listen to you and would change his behavior, as maybe he really does think you enjoy it. If he doesn’t, that’s definitely not a relationship that seems respectful or consensual and would be a good reason to end things. Your previous posts about this relationship make it sound like he’s very respectful of you, so I hope that this works out for you.

  11. tayestlack Volunteer

    Hello love, thank you for reaching out to us. I think you are not being too dramatic and this could be considered a type of abuse since it is not entirely consensual. Maybe try to address the situation and make sure he understands that you do not want him to touch you all the time without your consent. We’re all here for you and please reach out to us again if you need anything. I hope you have a lovely day

  12. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    I would honestly talk with him about these behaviors. It is your body and he should ask permission. I am so sorry he is invading your personal space without your permission. If he continues to makes you feel uncomfortable please talk with him. Continue to stay strong and know we are here for you!

  13. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi zelda,
    I’m sorry he is acting like this. I think if I was you, I would talk to him about this. Tell him you feel uncomfortable by all this touching. If he can’t respect that, then I would break up with him. You have every right to be in control of this situation. You are not going to be a victim again. You are stronger now and have us to back you up. Continue to stay strong. We are here for you.
    -Alyssa

  14. musicislove

    Hi Zelda,

    Thank you for sharing with us again. It sounds like you need to talk with him about what your comfortable with and what your boundaries are. It sounds like he’s been respectful of your wishes in other aspects of your relationship so if you talk to him and let him know that he’s making you uncomfortable hopefully he’ll be understanding. He might not even realize he’s doing anything wrong so communicating your feelings is important. Good luck and we’re always here,

    Delaney

  15. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi zelda,

    Thanks for updating us. I’m glad he’s respectful and nice, but it’s definitely important to set boundaries. I know it’s hard to tell someone how you’re feeling in the moment, so maybe bring it up gently when it isn’t happening and if he continues to touch you inappropriately, you should tell him when he’s doing it? Maybe he doesn’t realize how uncomfortable it makes you. I’ve taken that approach before and it’s worked, but of course, everyone is different. I think you should definitely give him a chance to change his behavior before giving up on him. And no, I don’t think you’re being dramatic. You’ve had very traumatic experiences and these defense mechanisms are totally normal.

    Please let us know if there’s anything else we can do for you. We’re here for you! Stay strong.
    Marissa

  16. rkr18 Volunteer

    Zelda,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I believe that if you don’t feel right then you should let him know that it’s not ok. I understand it’s not easy. I went through allowing men to touch me and not say anything. I was just scared to speak my mind.

    If it’s difficult try telling him when he does it. Just say you don’t like it and it’s uncomfortable and I appreciate that you respect my wishes. You are brave and worry of respect. Please keep us updated.
    -Marie

  17. zelda Volunteer

    Thank you everybody for the suggestions. Usually I have no problem voicing my concerns but when it comes to sex or sexual things it’s hard for me to stand up for myself. He’s not a bad guy, and I do think he would stop if I said it was bothering me. I just don’t know how to bring it up. Him touching me doesn’t bother me, it’s him not asking for my consent that bothers me. I plan on telling him, I just don’t know how to bring it up. Wish me luck!

  18. Jess Volunteer

    I am so sorry that you’re struggling with this right now. Your thoughts and concerns are valid though. Listen to your reactions – if you feel uncomfortable, then there is something that needs to change here. I saw that a few other responders have suggested this, but have you tried talking to him about that boundary? Sometimes our significant others don’t understand that something they’re doing is harming us, which is why communication is so key. If you don’t feel safe addressing your boundaries with him, then re-evaluating the relationship may be necessary. You should feel safe addressing concerns and your own feelings. A little anxiety is okay, but listen to your body as best you can.

    If there is anything else we can help you with, please let us know. There are lots of other resources under our “Find Help” tab as well. We are always here and we believe you. Stay strong and keep fighting. <3
    -Jess

  19. Jevati Volunteer

    Hi zelda,

    I’m really glad you felt safe coming here and sharing these things with us. What you’re feeling is totally valid, and it’s okay for you to be concerned or worried. I think sometimes, we as a culture can make a lot of excuses for people about whether something is “bad enough” or what constitutes “abuse” and if it’s “enough” to “count” as abuse. I would say that you are the expert on your body and your emotions and what you’re comfortable with. No one else gets to tell you that something is okay if you don’t feel okay with it.

    I know it’s really, really difficult to draw boundaries with people, especially if you feel like it’s not “as bad” as something else you’ve experienced. But I would encourage you to listen to that part of you that is expressing discomfort with this. You deserve to be treated with respect. You deserve to be in a relationship with someone who respects you and seeks your consent. You are *not* being dramatic — you are being open and honest with yourself about what you feel, and it’s totally okay for you to set boundaries with him.

    You are important, and worthy, and you get to decide who touches you and how they touch you. We are here for you, and we have your back. Please keep reaching out to us, zelda. <3

    – Jev

  20. kelly Day Captain

    Hey, zelda. I’m sorry you’re struggling with this. I don’t think you’re being dramatic. If you don’t feel comfortable, pay attention to that feeling. Have you tried talking to him about it? Maybe he doesn’t know how important asking for consent is to you. I know it’s easier said than done but it’s important to set boundaries with people. Your boundaries are valid and should be respected. As survivors of sexual abuse, it can be difficult for us to stand up for ourselves, but it can be empowering too. If you don’t feel safe even having that conversation, however, I would listen to that instinct and re-evaluate the relationship. A loving partner will try to understand why you feel the way you do and you deserve a loving partner.

  21. Erin Kaileen Volunteer

    Hey Zelda!

    I see where you are coming from, maybe try and sit him down and have a conversation about how you are feeling and try to create those boundaries with him. He may feel as if he can because he has that title of your boyfriend and just doesn’t understand how you feel about those types of actions. I personally had this problem and just sitting him down and letting him know some of those things made me uncomfortable made all the difference. In the end if he doesn’t respect how you feel after the conversation then you have to let him go, you being comfortable in the relationship and mutual understanding is very very important. If you ever need someone to vent to or honestly anything I’m here for you, I am always down to talk.

    You got this!
    -Erin

  22. Breanna Grunthal Volunteer

    Hey zelda,

    Thanks for sharing this with us. I know it is really difficult to think about these things because it is confusing and leads to many “what ifs”. But I don’t think you’re being dramatic. You’ve had traumatic past experiences and you are totally allowed to feel uncomfortable by someone who is mirroring that behavior. Do you think you are comfortable enough with this person you are dating to tell them that the groping and touching-while-laying makes you feel uncomfortable? Of course if he asks why, you can choose whether or not you want to disclose your prior trauma. At the end of the day, that is your business and you are allowed to wait to tell someone until you are ready to do so. But I think (and hope) voicing your thoughts to this person will be both A) beneficial for your relationship together and B) empowering to you. Your concerns, wants, and needs are completely valid and fair and they deserve to be heard and respected. You got this – keep your chin up!

    Sending love and support,
    Bre

  23. Natalie M Day Captain

    hi zelda,

    I am so sorry you are dealing with this right now and have a lot of uncertainty about your current relationship. It is not okay for him to touch you without your consent. I want to encourage you to talk with your boyfriend about how important consent is to you! I do not think you are being too dramatic. It is very important that you are comfortable with him and that he respects you and your body. I hope that you are able to find some clarity! Always remember to put you first! You deserve the best!

    Come back and update us again! Anytime you would like. We are on your side!

    Sending lots of support,
    -Natalie

  24. zelda Volunteer

    Thanks Erin, I am seeing a counselor right now but I haven’t brought it up to her. When I see her in this next session, I will.

  25. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    You are not being dramatic. Anytime someone is touching you without asking and/or you don’t want them to be touching you, it’s not okay. I know it’s terrifying to think about being alone. But you deserve the best in a relationship. You don’t deserve to be questioning, to be unsure. If someone isn’t respectful of you, they don’t deserve you. We are here for support you. Also, I can’t remember, are you seeing a counselor right now? That might be helpful to talk through some of this, too-I know that it’s been helpful for me. Keep coming back to share when you need.

    Erin