Sex, relationships and commitment phobes
Whether you're seeing someone or not, understanding relationships can be a head wrecker.
Love, dating and romance can bring their own difficulties to your life regardless if you are single, dating or in a long term committed relationship.
Being a couple
When a relationship is going well it can be the best feeling in the world. When it's not going so good there are feelings of hurt, sadness, anger, rejection and isolation. Your confidence is low and it can be hard to think clearly. Just remember that if your partner puts you down then they're not worth it so move on! If you are feeling pressured to do something you don't want to do or don't feel comfortable with: SAY NO! Respect your own choices and make sure to respect your partner and that they respect you. If you are gettting involved sexually then it makes sense to know about the risks and do something about them. Remember the age of consent is 17. Find out about contraception and how to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections.
Not everyone has to be half a couple. Being single can be more fun as you are free to do your own thing, be with your friends whenever you like, have your own interests and you don't have to deal with the rows. It's much more important to develop friendships with both sexes than to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Focus on having fun and love WILL follow on in time.
Some people know from a very young age that they are LGBTI+. Others might be confused about their sexuality right into adulthood. Working out whether you are gay, lesbian, bi or straight can be very confusing. You don't have to tell your friends anything about your sexuality or who you fancy unless you want to, but remember it does help to talk. Telling family or friends can be hard to do but if you choose someone you trust, chances are they will be more supportive than you think. Remember sexuality is only one part of your life so stay calm and don't panic. If you do want to talk to someone confidentially, outside of family and friends, help is available.
All relationships are unique and move forward at their own time and pace. Sometimes though, one partner wants to move faster than the other. You may be happy and content with where you are, but your partner wants more commitment from you.
Or, maybe you always have issues with commitment and find this unnerving.
Why you may have issues with commitment
- It may be too soon! There is a big difference between someone wanting to move in with you after two years of a committed relationship and them wanting to 'shack up' after two months!
- You may fear losing your space. If you are a person who likes your alone time, the thought of a big commitment to another person may freak you out.
- You may have been badly hurt before (either in another relationship or as a child) so are not keen to get heavily involved with someone else, since you associate commitment with pain.
- There might be too much pressure. Maybe you would be willing to commit, but your partner is making you inadvertently rethink, because he/she is asking for so much commitment all at once and is not giving you enough time and space.
- Religion/beliefs could be tripping you up. Some people’s Faith requires that they not live together before marriage. It may also prevent them from making other commitments outside the context of marriage.
- You’re perfectly normal! If you were able to jump into a big commitment without any thought it might mean you actually don’t care that much. Worrying at least shows that you care and take the idea of commitment seriously.
How to handle it
- Talk it out. Instead of constantly going back and forth and arguing about your inability to commit, sit down and have a proper talk where you each get the chance to speak without being interrupted. Often times, a quiet but public place is the best area to chat about things. You could go for a long walk or sit in a quiet pub and hash it all out.
- Think of a compromise. Maybe you don’t want to see your partner every day or live together, but maybe you could see each other three times a week rather than twice.
- Bring in the professionals. If you are not sure what you want, seek out some counselling. You could also attend couple’s counselling – together is best, but it is possible to attend couples counselling on an individual basis.
- Listen to your heart. It truly knows what you want and need and has the ability to get beyond what your mind is trying to frighten you with.
Remember: The age of sexual consent in Ireland is 17. If you're over 16, you can consent to medical treatment including any treatment or tests needed.