RELATIONSHIPS

Improving your relationship

Choosing to wait to have sex is the best decision for your health and future. Even if you’ve had sex before you can still say no to future sexual relationships. Here are some tips for keeping your decision …and your relationship.

  • Be honest. Think positively and be clear about your decision to wait until marriage for sex with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Know why you want to wait ; there are good reasons not to have sex right now talking to your boyfriend or girlfriend about them will help them understand your position. Discuss how even “safe sex” isn’t always and the consequences of having sex. Explain that you really care, that you can be in love without having sex. Choosing to wait is one of the best ways to show that you care about each other and your futures.
  • Practice. Write down what you want to say about your decision to wait to have sex. Practice in front of the mirror or with a friend you trust. Use a firm voice, look the person in the eye, look serious and like you mean what you are saying.
  • Don’t wait until you’ve gone too far. Once you are hot and heavy it�s tough to stop. Decide before you start kissing how far you are willing to go. Talk about it as a couple at a time and place that feels safe and private. Discuss what situations could lead to trouble (like being in the backseat of the car or alone together at home) talk about ways to avoid these situations.
  • Don’t give mixed messages. If you say no mean it. Be firm, use body language such as standing or sitting up straight and avoiding body contact. Clearly state your limits and stick to them. Even if you’ve said yes before you can still say no now. If you need to get up and walk away from the situation before it gets out of control.
  • Offer alternatives. Many teens have sex because they have nothing else to do or are bored. Plan your dates and keep them full of activities that are shared with other friends or are in public places. Have a plan for how you will get home if the situation gets out of control and you need to leave.
  • Stand up for yourself. Choosing to have sex is your decision, no one has a right to pressure you or force you. Remind your partner that if they truly love and respect you they won’t pressure you to have sex. You have a right to have someone who cares more about you than about sex. Let them know your decision is about your values and future – doing what is best for you. Say no clearly, directly and firmly and say it often. If the person still won’t accept your decision then leave the situation.
  • Don’t use drugs and alcohol. Using drugs and alcohol can cause you to do things you don’t want to do and make it harder to say no.

How to be a better lover

  • Respect yourself. If you don’t respect yourself, no one else will. You don’t have to have sex just to please someone else. Sex isn’t the only thing that makes you worth loving.
  • Be confident, have a mind of your own. No one likes a wimp. People like people who aren’t afraid to stand up for what they believe in. So don’t have sex just because you think everyone else is.
  • Don’t get trapped. Relationships can get very heavy very fast once sex is involved. If commitment and responsibility hit a relationship too early, it brings out the worst in everyone.
  • Care about the other person. Pressure isn’t sexy. If the person you’re with isn’t ready for sex, don’t push. Show that you know your relationship is a tow-way street.
  • Know about the other person. People love to be with someone who understands them. Taking time to find out what the other person really wants will make your relationship better.
  • Kiss the fears goodbye. Fears about pregnancy, AIDS, and other disease can make you worried, confused, mad, anxious – and not very attractive to be around.
  • Keep something you can both look forward to. If it’s the right person, your feelings will grow and last without sex. Just knowing that you’re saving sex for marriage can make your relationship even more special.
  • Be totally free. No getting pushed around by what other people say. No pressure to make commitments to someone until you want to. No fears about disease or pregnancy. No risking your whole future for a few minutes of fun now. This is the freedom you have when you decide to save sex for later. And that’s the kind of attitude it’s very easy to fall in love with.

Do you find that you and your boyfriend bicker over stupid things? Do you have difficulty keeping boyfriends or find that he starts to pull away without explanation? Well I spoke to a few guys who shed some light on things that they get frustrated with in their relationships. Now that you have the inside scoop on understanding what guys want or in some cases, don’t want, you can be on your way to a healthier and happier relationship.

  • The Telephone. Guys don’t really enjoy talking on the phone. It has nothing to do with you personally but guys don’t generally like yapping for hours every night. So instead of bugging them by forcing them to sit there holding the phone… keep the calls to a minimum and find other ways to get them to talk to you. Do something with them in the afternoon where you spend time together and then at night, just call to say goodnight and tell them that you’ll see them tomorrow. They will appreciate not having the phone attached to their ear for hours on end.
  • Gossip. Gossip is an ugly thing and should be avoided. All it ever does is hurt people and spread lies or grossly exaggerated versions of the truth. If you notice, guys don’t tend to be the ones passing the juicy dirt along and don’t really care who got dumped or who is going to the prom with whom. Badmouthing people at your school and circulating lies is not an attractive quality and if you participate in it, you may want to avoid sharing what you heard with your boyfriend. He is not interested and you will be painting yourself in a bad light for being involved. Use this as an opportunity to reflect on whether you should partake in gossiping anyway. Chances are you will realize how hurtful it is, especially if one day you find they are gossiping about you.
  • Telling Your Friends Everything. Guys don’t share every intimate detail about their relationships with their friends, especially the mushy stuff. You may be inclined to dissect every single conversation or date the two of you have with your best buds but there is a point at which you should keep things to yourself. He doesn’t want to walk around the hallway at school wondering if your friends know everything that you talked about or did last night. It’s embarrassing for him and will make him uncomfortable and angry. Wouldn’t you be upset if you found out that he was relaying your deepest darkest secrets to the football team? He is dating you and not your three best friends and doesn’t want things he has told you to become public information. Try to respect this and before you speak, put yourself in his shoes. Remember that you wouldn’t want other people knowing what you shared with him.
  • Maintaining Friendships. When they are hanging with their friends, they want to be with their friends. It doesn’t mean they don’t care about you or want to spend time with you but they must maintain their relationships with their friends. This is imperative in order for them to lead healthy lives and the same goes for you. It can’t just be the two of you hanging out 24/7; you both need time away from each other. Many couples fall in the rut of spending all of their time together and alienating their friends. Then if the two of you don�t work out, you both find yourselves wondering why no one wants to hang out with you. Try to split your time between your relationship and your friends and don’t put so much pressure on him to pick you over his friends. They were around long before you came along and chances are they will be around long after you are gone. By finding a nice balance and not demanding every waking moment of each other’s time, you will achieve a very healthy relationship. Besides, it allows you to miss each other and look forward to the time you do spend together.
  • Social Planning. Guys don’t like having to plan ahead. They want to keep their options open so when Saturday night rolls around they can decide what will be fun to do that evening instead of having every weekend for the next 2 months booked solid. This is where it is important for you to realize that your social life does not revolve solely around your boyfriend. If there is something going on this weekend that you really want to do and your boyfriend puts up a fuss, go with your girlfriends! You are entitled to a life of your own and to do things that you find enjoyable, with or without him. If you pass up NSYNC tickets because he doesn’t want to go, you’ll regret missing out on Justin for a very long time. Be your own person and refuse to lose your identity and individuality. Find things that you both can do together and things that may be more fun with friends. Don’t book his calendar from now until Labor Day so that he misses out on camping with his friends because you just had to see that new Julia Roberts movie. You’ll both be happier in the long run!
  • Flirting. Be yourself. Guys don’t like girls who flirt excessively and then when they ask them out, say no. Be honest and up front with people, they are not mind readers. No one likes to be rejected so don’t give out messages that you don’t intend upon following through with. If you are in a relationship, you should not be flirting with other guys. You are doing it for the attention that you receive because it makes you feel good about yourself. But what about the way it makes the innocent guy feel who had no idea that you already had a boyfriend? And what about your boyfriend who finds out you were flirting with some guy right in front of his friends? If you are in a relationship, be committed to it. Don’t always be looking for what else is out there.
  • Borrowing Clothes. If something belongs to your guy and you borrow it, give it back within a reasonable time frame. If he insists that you keep it then it is okay to hold onto it but in most cases he wants it back. If you are wearing his football jacket or favorite hat remember that he owns them for a reason and probably would like to wear them sometime. He may not feel comfortable asking for them back so do him a favor and save him the trouble. Also, do not douse his lucky shirt in your perfume. If it happens to smell a little like you when you give it back that’s okay but when he has to wash it three times before he can wear it again, that’s not cool.
  • Changing him. You started dating him for the guy he was when you met so don’t try to change him into your “ideal” boyfriend. He has parents to nag him about his grades, what he is wearing and what colleges he is applying to and he doesn’t need to hear it from you too. If you are supportive and make occasional suggestions that don’t insult him he’ll be much more receptive to trying something “your way”. Try to appreciate and love him for who he is and not try to make him what you want him to be. Allow him to express his individuality and do things “his way” and remember that if we were all the same, life would be ever so boring.
  • Eat. It frustrates guys to date girls who are so obsessed with their weight and body that they don’t eat when you go out on dates. If they are paying for you to have the filet mignon, eat it. Don’t pick at it and waste their money and time. You went out to dinner to share a meal, not count calories. Besides, it is fun to share a hot fudge sundae every once in a while or gaze into each other’s eyes over a large pepperoni pizza. Why not cook a meal together? Food is such a great way to bring people together that it shouldn’t be a source of stress for guys. We are not recommending that you constantly pig out when they are around but feel free to eat when you are hungry and stop worrying about how it will affect your thighs. Also, avoid asking them on a daily basis if you look fat. All that does is make them uncomfortable and be forced to reassure you that you are fine. If they are dating you then they must be okay with the way you look so you should be too.
  • Self-confidence. There is not enough I can say about this topic. Be confident in yourself! Don’t constantly compare yourself to other girls or get jealous if he smiles or says hello to another female. Jealousy and insecurity are not very attractive qualities. They’d rather date someone who isn’t always questioning how they feel about you or who doesn’t storm off because they are talking to another girl about homework. He is dating you because he likes and cares about you. It doesn’t mean that you are the only female he is ever allowed to talk to for the rest of his life. You don’t own him. If he thinks that you are secure in yourself and your relationship with him he will be ten times happier that he is dating you. Don’t ask him if you are prettier than every other girl he talks to because that will be annoying and drive him away. Be happy that you are the one he chose to be with. You are a great person and he is lucky to be with you. You have so much to offer other people that you shouldn’t focus your time on the negatives and instead, feel good about yourself.

Dating another person is not easy and relationships take work. Just remember that you had a life before this person came into it and if things don’t work out, you will continue to have that life. Don’t ignore your friends because you’d rather spend time with your boyfriend and stick to being yourself. Be confident and secure in yourself and you will find your relationship to be much happier and healthier as a result!

By Alanna M. DuBiago

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