“My gran and pop keep saying I ‘need to fit in’ and that I’m being ‘girly’. It really hurts my feelings because I don’t see an issue with how I look. I have long hair and like to paint my nails neutral or black. I have a bit of an emo look so I don’t think it’s girly or anything. I recently started wrestling school and they keep telling me I need to cut my hair and ‘man up’ so I can fit in and be taken seriously. As much as what they say really sucks, I guess I’m wondering if they’re right. Should I try and tone down my look to fit in more? Thanks.”
It sounds like your grandparents are worried that the way you look will negatively affect your social interactions. They might be thinking that you might not be making friends, or that people of authority such as teachers, employers, or police officers won’t consider you or listen to you. How do you feel about this? Do you have issues with any of these things? Odds are that if you do, it isn’t based on your appearance but rather is situational. It is of course dependent on where you live, but as a whole, since your grandparents were growing up, society has progressed in a way where the way you dress typically doesn’t affect your opportunities.
However, it is possible. Maybe it is hard to make friends, but consider that you just need an environment where there are more open-minded or similar peers (such as online or clubs). Maybe it is hard to find a job, but consider that you just need to find jobs with more laidback dress codes and creative thinking.
You shouldn’t have to change your self expression to receive respect.
If you want, you could sit down and have an adult conversation with your grandparents, letting them know whether the way you dress does or doesn’t affect your opportunities. And if they do, explain to them that you have different options. You can express to them that you appreciate their concern, but not their remarks. You could even explain to them why you dress the way that you do, and compare it to some of the things they wear or do that make them happy. Hopefully after this, they will see that you are considerate of your future and that you’re not hurting yourself by dressing in a way that makes you happy.
You can do this, friend!
“My girlfriend recently broke up with me and is now ignoring me. We have the same circle of friends and she keeps telling them all that I’m the one ignoring her and they keep telling me off and it’s really upsetting me. Is there a way to resolve this without causing a huge drama?”
I am so sorry about your breakup and that your friends are telling you off for something you didn’t do. That isn’t fair to you. Unfortunately, there’s possibly no way to resolve this situation without at least some drama. However, I feel like the short period of drama will be worth it so that you all can gain some clarity and closure.
Communication is crucial in any relationship, friendships included. I’m not sure if you have tried to tell your friends yet that what your ex is saying is not true, but you don’t have to give up and lose your friends if they don’t believe you. My advice would be to try to get your ex and your friends together in the same place, whether it’s in person or in a group chat. You can let them all know that your intention isn’t to create more drama, but to actually defend yourself and create more peace in your friend circle. Try to focus on talking about your own actions versus other people’s. You can also speak with “I feel” statements.
Let them know (with proof if you have it) that you have not been ignoring your ex. Your ex will have to explain how you are supposedly ignoring her if you have proof. You can also express how you feel about your friends telling you off. If you feel this way, maybe let them know that you appreciate that they are the type of friends to stand up for each other, but that you also need their support and understanding as well.
Unfortunately, if after this they are still siding with your ex, they may not be very good friends. In which case, it is technically a loss, but more like a baby tooth loss. Yeah sure you lost some teeth, but better, stronger ones will grow back in.
Hope this helps! You can do this, friend.
“I’m wanting to get into some light bondage but I’m unsure how to approach my partner about it. They’re very insecure and I don’t want them to think I’m unsatisfied with our sex life. Do you have any advice on how to handle this situation? They can be very quick to jump to conclusions and once they didn’t speak to me for over a week over a similar misunderstanding.”
I want you to know that you are a very considerate partner, and that you deserve that same consideration in return. I’m so glad that you are trying to figure out how to take this step towards bringing more fun into your sexual health!
I’m sure you know this, but I’d advise you to try not to accidentally pressure your partner into trying sexual acts with you that they may feel uncomfortable performing. It can be easy (I’m guilty of this) to accidentally use language that pressures people when you really want something. Just the other day I did this with my partner, trying to get them to try the food I had made. I used language like overusing please or “begging”, I also said “aw, come on” and “how do you know if you’ve never tried it?” and even “I would do the same for you”. I didn’t realize how uncomfortable I had made them, and we had a great discussion about it afterward.
At the risk of upsetting you by seemingly criticizing your partner whom I have never met, I must mention something about their behavior based only on what I have read, and I really hope that you’ll take a moment to listen with an open heart. I promise that I speak from experience and compassion from both a counselor and a survivor standpoint.
You mentioned that your partner is very insecure and tends to jump to conclusions. Those insecure feelings are normal! We all feel insecure about some things in our relationships. Feelings are never bad and it is great to express those feelings through healthy communication. However, the way that they act on those feelings is important because it can hurt their partner. Purposely ignoring your romantic partner for any period of time is not normal and is not healthy. It is a form of punishment and a way to make the other person feel as bad or worse than they made them feel.
I hope you’ll notice that having a kind and considerate conversation about sexual health and not speaking to someone for a week do not equate at all. That means that more than likely your partner is experiencing extreme emotions and possibly even creating disastrous scenarios in their mind that have not happened yet. This is really sad to me that your partner is feeling so horrible that they feel they need to lash out in order to get relief. It sounds like they could benefit from working on their emotions as well as coping skills with a mental health professional.
But the most important takeaway from this is that you are not to blame for your partner’s extreme emotions. You are doing the right thing by having open communication, and you shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells or be worried for your partner in this way.
I realize that this is not the advice you asked for, and that your original question was asking how to talk to your partner about bondage without making them think that you are unsatisfied with your guys’ sex life. And the answer to that is that all you can do is tell them straightforward that you are not dissatisfied with your sex life and that you think it would be fun to try bondage if they are comfortable with it. After communicating openly and kindly, if their reaction is negative, that is not your fault. You cannot control your partner’s reactions or emotions in any way, even through silence. Their response is due to their existing insecurities and nothing that you do or don’t do can solve them. If you are uncomfortable or unhappy in any way and you’d like their behavior to change (or just want them to be happier and more secure), the only way it will change is by your partner listening to you and communicating as well, or seeking out professional help.
If you want to offer counseling as an idea to your partner, you absolutely can, but they may not take it. And at that point I highly advise you to ask yourself if you feel comfortable and safe talking with your partner about anything, and if you are happy. Please always put your wellbeing and mental health first. You are deserving of anything and everything that you would do for your partner.
I sincerely apologize for upsetting you if I have, and I wish you the best of luck in your relationship as well as your sexual wellness and overall happiness. You can do this, friend.