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Parallax - Advice

November 03, 2003

Holding out

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!I've been dating this guy for four months and we haven't had sex yet. He's twenty-seven, I'm a year older, and the reason for not having sex is that I didn't feel comfortable. Now I think I'm ready. He has been very patient but I could tell he was getting pretty angry about it. However, now that I've said okay, he no longer thinks he wants to have sex with me. He says he's not sure how he feels about us and, now that I've made such a big deal out of it, he feels if he has sex with me he'll be committing when he's not sure that's what he wants. What can I do? I don't want to lose him because of this sex thing. Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Ready,

You need to let him know that your first encounter does not signal an engagement. You've equated sex with colossal commitment and now he's concerned that if he sleeps with you, he'll have to marry you. Explain your reasons for the stall; maybe they aren't all to do with him or your relationship. You should do some thinking on that and fully share your logic with him.

He is also being a bit passive-aggressive. You've made him wait so long that he is angry and is reversing control by taking on the role of the new sex gatekeeper. Now that you are willing and all, he has the new found power. Find a way to make him feel that he, too, is in control of this relationship, and that your wait was not manipulative or controlling.

Also let him know this sex thing is not the pinnacle of your relationship. It has turned into way too big a deal for both of you. It should just be a normal, fun segue.

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His view:

Dear Ready,

You've lost him already. The worse thing you can do now is to insist or beg. It is demeaning to you, and it places him in an even more awkward position. To his credit, he is being forthright and not taking advantage of your offer. Don't test his resolve unnecessarily.

Asking someone to wait for four months before having sex is not unreasonable, although it is uncommon. His external patience was to some extent dishonest if he was getting angry inside. Perhaps he should have been more explicit about his true feelings.

In any case, I don't believe that he is holding back because he is not convinced you are ready. Whether because of the lack of sex, or for other unrelated reasons, he no longer cares for you.

This doesn't mean you were wrong to ask him to wait. It just means he wasn't the right person to ask.

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