Do you ever feel like you're losing yourself in your relationship with a boyfriend?
Sometimes when teens get into relationships with people they lose themselves. What does that
mean? It means that they get so involved with the other person in the relationship and who that other person is - that they
forget who they are. It seems like all of a sudden ... without any warning.... everything that you like or everything that
you've always been disappears. All that's left is this other person that is really weird or strange. This other person is
just a "shell" of who you really are.
So you end up doing everything the other person in the relationship likes to do.
You forget about what you like and what you want and you just do everything the other person does. You forget about what
makes you the special individual that made the other person want to get to know you and like you.
So the other person sees how fake you seem and then there's a big problem. That person will sometimes think that you're
just "faking" being who you really are. They get annoyed with you. They don't like the shell of a person that you're becoming.
And believe it or not....
You don't like this new person either. You get frustrated and depressed. You don't know what's wrong. You get really
mad because you aren't in control of yourself. When people want to get to know you - you have to stay true to yourself and
be the person that you are. People like you or don't like you based on who you are and not who you suddenly become in a relationship.
Do you understand it?
Let's see if I can find some info on this!
Adolescence: A Time of Growth and Change
Stone December 12, 2006
Adolescence in American
and Western European cultures is a time of enormous emotional as well as physical changes. Although each child is an individual
and grows and develops in his or her own unique way, there are some predictable stages. When parents know what to expect,
they can provide better help and support as their child moves through this often emotionally tumultuous time.
No Longer a Child
Changes in the parent-child
relationship are normal and necessary during the teen years. The child’s “declaration of independence” and
its realization result in a pulling away from parents. This can be accompanied by a rather predictable and usually short-lived
depression as the child experiences sadness from the loss of the old tie to parents and a new separateness becomes established.
As both the child and the
parents struggle with this transition, the teenager often becomes difficult for the parent to control. He or she rejects family
routines and parental authority and often withdraws from the family to incubate a new adolescent identity. It’s not
uncommon for the formerly affectionate child to object to touch, to walk at a distance from parents when at the mall, or to
spend long hours alone in his or her room while the rest of the family enjoys time together.
The Emergence of Peers
The emptiness created by separating
from parents often is masked by an allegiance to peers and to adolescent culture. The walls of the adolescent’s room
are covered with posters of this year’s teen cultural icons.
Toys and games are replaced
with CDs, TVs, telephones, computers, and cell phones. Girls hang out together, and so do the guys - in school, at parties,
at hot spots, on the phone, and now online. An evolving identity is expressed through clothing, slang, gestures, and new cultural
The adolescent peer group
experience is stressful. The ease of childhood relationships is replaced by anxiety about how to “fit in.” There
is constant tension around “being left out” or “not being good enough.”
Predictable and recurring
handling new situations and temptations;
meeting the need for constant communication with peers;
learning how to deal with new feelings in this new set of relationships;
competition around status and possessions;
and the need for money to fund this new
In addition, there is the
continuing pressure of schoolwork, conflicts with family, and the somewhat abstract challenge of preparing for an uncertain
Dating as a Solution
Dating can seem to be a solution
to the loneliness and anxiety at the core of the adolescent experience. Having a steady relationship can be a refuge from
family tensions and prop up the shaky new “teen” identity. It can be a buffer against difficult interactions with
peers and provide an opportunity to explore new feelings and sexual urges.
But this “solution”
of dating has its own set of problems. Relationships are never entirely easy, at any age. Emotional neediness, coupled with
a shaky sense of identity and anxieties about new feelings, can be overwhelming.
Neediness can make the
teen feel dependent and fearful about breaking up with a new dating partner. Dependency and fear can make people demanding. The hidden messages beneath the demands are:
“Protect me from my neediness by never leaving
“Protect me from my self-doubts by always being
“Protect me from my urges by
always satisfying them.”
When demands are frustrated,
then people can become controlling and threatening. The underlying messages become,
“If you don’t meet my needs, I won’t
“Prove that you love me.”
When a person has not
yet developed social skills or good role models for how to deal with these feelings, they can lead to abusive tactics, including:
Another common defense against
feeling dependent and scared is to pretend that it isn’t so and to insist that the other person is the “weak”
one. To prove it, a person can insist on being the “strong one” who takes care of others who are “weak and
Alternatively, he or she can
be emphatically independent, never sticking with a relationship, or never getting involved at all. These ploys usually are
a cover for an inner neediness that is not being acknowledged.
A Shaky Sense of Identity
Most adolescents struggle
with a shaky sense of their new identity. They have not had the time and experience to sort out their own identity from the
teenager stereotype they have been impersonating.
Cultural stereotypes of the
“ideal” male and the “perfect female” can be especially compelling and damaging. This can make for
dating problems, as teens struggle with questions like:
“How can I withstand the pressures of a relationship
if I am unsure about myself?”
“How can I handle the danger of losing myself in the
Teens need to discover who
they really are and to gain confidence in asserting themselves to be able to sustain a relationship with another person.
Some teenagers do lose
themselves. They center entirely on the other person, perhaps relieved
to hand over to the other person the tough task of finding and asserting themselves. They find relief from their own confusion
by taking on themes like:
“I will be what you want”
“I will be all yours.”
Other teenagers defend against losing themselves by
rigid and obnoxious
unbending in their self-assertion
inconsiderate of other persons’ feelings
disrespectful of their rights.
Anxiety about Feelings and Urges
Another problem for teens is how to handle their moods, sexual
urges, and feelings. Strategies of abstinence or indulgence can be problematic. Some adolescents try to cope by using alcohol,
drugs or food to reduce or numb their feelings.
Others happen on equally destructive methods for distraction,
rigid control of eating
retreating into lethargy
More constructive strategies can be an intense involvement
with a sport, overemphasis on school and grades, or a single-minded pursuit of a goal.
Relationships as a Learning Process
Often teenagers go through
an intense and painful relationship phase, ultimately pulling back from such relationships, at least for a while. This is
not simply a negative reaction to being hurt. It can be a chance to recenter and to face their future.
In the aftermath of a breakup,
the teen can regroup and integrate new information about him or herself. Lessons available at that time include:
“I can survive the breakup of a relationship;”
“I can assert myself;”
“I can stand on my own two feet;”
“I don’t have to be afraid of what others say about me.”
“I don’t have to put up with abuse;”
“I can deal with my feelings and urges without getting
Some teens put dating aside
and become more focused on work or preparing for a career. They seek out friendships rather than intense relationships. They
enjoy becoming more comfortable socially and being more assertive in a more effective and less demanding way.
They build confidence in themselves,
especially around making decisions and taking care of themselves. They begin to define their own values. As elements of the
next stage are established, new dating relationships become possible. These relationships have a much better chance of evolving
into longer-term partnerships capable of handling the challenges and opportunities of adulthood.
The Need for Support
As teenagers experience the
problems of neediness, shaky identity, and overwhelming feelings, and stumble through their first attempts at dating and relationships,
it is very helpful to have the understanding and support of parents, other adults, the old peer group, newer friends, and
Parents can play a key role
by continuing to love their children no matter what happens, by being realistic relationship “veterans” who have
learned some things along the way, by:
comforting them when they are hurt
setting limits which may be fought against and yet appreciated
encouraging their children to continue to pursue new experiences
and relationships even though they may be painful
espousing values which will sooner or later become their
not preaching or using their own experience as a “good”
or “bad” example
reminding their child of the bigger picture,
including preparing and supporting them as they attempt to move
to the next stage of life - young adulthood.
Other adults - aunts and uncles,
parents of friends, teachers, coaches, employers - also can be very important supports. These relationships, being less complex
than parent relationships, can:
give examples of other relationship possibilities
contribute to an adolescent’s confidence about being
able to function and be appreciated “out in the world,”
provide a helping hand as the adolescent moves toward young
The old peer group is there
for support when the going gets tough with relationships. Many adolescents and adults reactivate their connection with their
teenage cohort, especially when a relationship is problematic or breaking up. Keeping this option open can be important.
New friends provide support
for moving ahead into the next phase of life - sharing the tensions, burdens, uncertainties and adventure. This can help teens
avoid getting “stuck” in an unsatisfactory relationship rather than continuing to grow.
Within the group of new friends,
there may be someone who can become a relationship partner who is likely to be “in sync” in terms of maturation
and who can share the road ahead, whatever that may be - marriage, parenthood, or new career opportunities.
In Western culture, adolescence
is a time to develop one’s unique identity, to find ways to manage intense feelings and desires, and to begin to discover
the richness of intimate relationships. In a complex society, mastering these life tasks can be challenging and painful as
well as exciting and rewarding. Parents, community, and friends can provide critical support during this difficult time.
Relationships can play a major role in our lives, especially during the teen years. However, not all relationships
are healthy. Sometimes we associate with people that may not have our best interests in mind. It's vital that you learn to recognize a healthy relationship from a harmful one. This section provides information to help you build healthy relationships that benefit all people involved.
You can probably think of at least one conversation in which you felt completely connected to the person you were talking with - and at least one conversation you left feeling dissatisfied because of a lack of understanding between you and the other person. Although you can't guarantee that every conversation will be great, you can learn skills
to make communication a bit easier and more satisfying.
Even if you're already a good communicator, consciously thinking about what you do to communicate well can help you to improve your skills and use them even when you're upset or unsure of what to say. This article
covers some basic communication tips and strategies to practice in order to improve your communication skills, as well as ideas for preparing for particularly difficult communication tasks.
relationship is different, but there are certain qualities that are necessary no matter what. In this article, you'll learn
how to assess your feelings about a relationship, what sorts of trust are necessary in a relationship, what support you should look for in a relationship & how you can support your partner and what sort of healthylimits can actually improve your relationship.
Sometimes your feelings about a relationship aren't completely clear - you might really like your partner when you talk about him or her to your
friends, but feel uncomfortable when you're actually with that person. Breaking down your feelings into different categories can help you sort them out and determine if this relationship is healthy and important to you.
How do you feel when you're
around this person?
Your feelings when you're with the person you're dating are a good clue for whether you're dating the right person
and whether you're ready to date at all.
you might really like your partner but feel uncomfortable with him or her alone. If your discomfort isn't because of the way the other person acts, you might not
be ready for one-on-one dates.
say anything about your individual maturity or how you'll date in the future - it just means that right now you aren't comfortable. You could try going on group dates with your friends to spend time with the person you like while being
in a more comfortable environment.
also help you to get to know someone before spending one-on-one time together, which can make for safer & easier dating.
You might also feel uncomfortable with the person because of the way he or she acts. Try to pinpoint what bothers you about the person.
Do you like the idea of having a partner more than how she or he actually behaves?
How do you act around this person compared to how you act around other people?
Acting differently around the person you're
dating can mean that you aren't showing him or her who you really are. Changingwho you are for someone else will almost always leave you unhappy.
Often the person you're dating liked you in the beginning for you, not the person
you're trying to be. If you’re acting in ways that conflict with your morals or values, you might want to rethink your actions; you might feel guilty now & if the relationship ends, you may be upset about what you've done. A trusted adult or friend might be able to help you sort this out.
Trust is an important component of any healthy relationship. If your relationship lacks trust, it's hard to get close to the other person & to rely on him or her for support.
In a trusting relationship,
you should be able to share information with your partner without worrying that he or she will
share it with others or gossip about it. You also should avoid sharing any confidential information your partner tells you (unless keeping a secret puts him or her
In a healthy relationship, you and your partner should be able to turn to each other for support. Do you feel you can share your feelings
with your partner? Although you may not feel comfortable sharing everything with your partner, it's important that you be
able to talk to your partner to some degree and to share feelings, difficulties, and successes. How do you react when
your partner comes to you with this sort of information?
about what level of support you get and give in your relationship can help you evaluate its quality and create a discussion
for you and your partner. To better support your partner (and your friends!) try to listen in a non-judgmental manner,
avoid providing advice unless asked and keep anything your partner said in confidence.
Often teens in relationships begin to spend all of their time
with one another, foregoing time with friends and skipping regular activities. Although it might feel good at first to spend
all of your time with your new partner, isolating yourself from your friends can actually be unhealthy and bad for your relationship
in the long run.
First, having time separate from your partner gives you something to talk about and share with your
partner the next time you're together. Additionally, it's likely that you and your partner have some interests that the other
does not share; this is normal, and by spending some time apart, you can both pursue the interests that make you unique. Continuing
to spend time with your friends can also help you keep some perspective on your relationship and help your life remain
balanced. Should your relationship end, you will probably value having friends for commiseration and support.
cut out your friends with each new relationship and only talk to them between relationships, you're ignoring their needs and
will probably lose them. Given the short length of many teen relationships and the immense value of friendship, it's much
easier to simply preserve your friendships, even when in a relationship!
Why should you talk to your partner?
Making sure that your partner consents to a sexual encounter
is one of the most important parts of having a mutually satisfying and ethical experience. Check in with yourself and your
partner often to make sure that both of you are comfortable with what is happening, and respect the feelings that each of
you have. Your partner might consent to oral sex but not to sexual intercourse, or you might consent to genital touching on
one night but not another. You always have the right to say no, and anytime either you or your partner says no, the other
person must respect that decision.
If you're concerned about a sexual encounter that happened without your consent,
please look at Rape and Sexual Assault and know that it is not your fault if someone did not respect
your right to say no. Even though talking beforehand does not mean that both people will consent later, it makes it more likely
that you and your partner will understand each other's values and feelings. Finally, if you're unsure what rights you have
in a sexual encounter, such as the right to stop giving consent and end the encounter at any time, read Sexual Rights. Understanding Consent and Consensual Sex
The issue of consensual sex is often only brought up when there
is some sort of doubt about whether both people engaging in sex wanted it to happen. However, consent is a topic that should
be discussed whenever you're thinking about a possible sexual encounter. In fact, consent should be the basis for every sexual
encounter. Engaging in a sexual act without the other person's consent is considered sexual assault or rape.
What is consent?
Consent means that both people in a sexual encounter must agree
to it, and either person may decide at any time that they no longer want to consent and stop the activity. Consenting to one
behavior does not obligate you to consent to any other behaviors and consenting on one occasion does not obligate you to consent
on any other occasion. Consenting means only that at this particular time, you would like to engage in this particular sexual
How do you determine consent?
Determining if someone is giving consent requires determining
two things: does the person want to give consent and is the person capable of giving consent?
The easiest way to determine
if a person wants to give consent is simply to ask. This eliminates the uncertainty of guessing and trying to interpret signals.
Someone putting his or her hand on your hand might be a way of indicating that she or he likes what you're doing - or a way
of indicating that she or he would like you to stop. The way to be sure is to ask.
A person may also give consent
non-verbally by actively engaging in the sexual act. Clearly, this implied consent is more difficult to gauge, and if your
partner seems to become more hesitant or uncomfortable, you should stop, reassure your partner that you don't want to do anything
she or he doesn't also want to do, and ask him or her what's wrong.
What if a person doesn't or can't
Above all, if your partner ever says no during sex or asks you
to stop, you must stop immediately. Saying no should never be treated as a game or as a signal that someone is "playing hard
to get." Simply put, no means no in any sexual encounter.
Certain circumstances make it impossible for a person to
legally give consent. These circumstances usually involve cases in which a person is not mentally or physically capable of
choosing whether to engage in sexual behavior. For instance, if someone is drunk or high on drugs, then that person cannot
give consent. This means that even if someone seems eager to engage in sexual behavior, doing so can legally be considered
sexual assault or rape if she or he is intoxicated.
Age can also determine whether a person can legally consent to
certain sexual behaviors, such as intercourse, oral sex or anal sex. The age at which a person can give consent varies by
country and by state within the United States. Having sex with someone under the age of consent is legally considered a crime
called "statutory rape," even if the person under the age of consent says that she or he wanted the sexual behavior to take
Certain things are so basic that you are entitled to them
simply for being a human being. Some of these things are related to sexuality or sexual acts, and these are known as sexual
rights. If anyone questions your rights to these things, especially a sexual partner, they probably don't have your best interests
in mind. Any sexual partner you have also has these rights, and respecting them is part of having positive sexual experiences.
A Positive Sexual Experience Positive sexual experiences are those that are consensual, respectful, and protected; a sexual experience that violates
someone's sexual rights is disrespectful and often non-consensual, and it may be unprotected. To find out more, visit the
page concerning ethical sex. Some of these rights involve communication, so to use them fully, check out Communication 101 and Understanding Consent and Consensual Sex.
An Explanation of Sexual Rights
The right to make your own decisions about being sexual (or not), regardless of your partner’s wishes.
This means that you can choose not to be sexual, even if your partner would like you to be sexual. This includes deciding
not to be sexual with someone you have been sexual with before.
The right to make your own decisions about birth control and protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), regardless
of your partner’s wishes; the right to make free and responsible reproductive choices.
This means that you can choose whether to use birth control and decide how to protect yourself. Making responsible reproductive
choices also involves deciding if or when you and your partner would like to have a child. This includes the right to tell
a partner that you will not have sex without birth control or without protection from STIs. Pregnancies and sexually transmitted
infections shouldn’t “just happen.”
The right to stop sexual activity at any time, including during or just before intercourse.
This includes the right to make your own decisions about sexual activity, but it’s important to remember that “being
sexual” is not an all-or-nothing deal. There are several levels of sexual activity. You can decide what you are comfortable
with and engage in only those activities you want to participate in.
The right to tell anyone that you are not comfortable being hugged or kissed in certain ways.
Even if someone is related to you, they cannot force you to experience affection the way that they would like. You have
the right to tell your relatives and other acquaintances how you are comfortable expressing affection.
The right to ask a partner if she or he has been examined for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Asking a partner about STIs doesn’t mean you’re accusing them of anything -- it means you’re being a
responsible sexual person.
The right to tell a partner what you would like sexually or to tell a partner that you would like to be hugged, cuddled
or touched without sex.
This means you have the right to talk to your partner about your wants and needs. It includes the right to tell a partner
she or he is being too rough, and the right to be sensual without being sexual.
The right to masturbate.
You have the right to give yourself sexual pleasure; it’s not dirty, wrong or shameful. Your partner does not
have the right to tell you not to masturbate.
The right to sexual autonomy, sexual integrity and safety of your sexual body.
This means you have the right to make decisions about your sexual life according to your own values. You have the right
to be sexual without violence of any sort.
The right to sexual privacy.
This means you have the right to make your own decisions about sex -- as long as they don’t interfere with the sexual
rights of others! This also includes the right to be examined by a doctor for sexual concerns without the doctor sharing that
information with other people, except in extreme circumstances (like abuse).
The right to sexual equity.
This means you have the right not to be discriminated against based on gender, sexual orientation, age, race, social class,
religion or physical and emotional disability. However, the sexual decisions you can make may be limited by these factors
if they influence your capability to consent. For instance, a small child cannot give informed consent to anything sexual
because she or he does not understand what that means. See Understanding Consent and Consensual Sex for more about consent.
The right to sexual pleasure.
Sexual pleasure isn’t shameful – it’s a natural part of being human. You need to make responsible sexual
choices, but these can definitely include having sexual pleasure in your life.
The right to emotional sexual expression.
This means you have the right to express your sexuality in any way you choose, including communication, touch, emotions
and love – not just through sexual acts.
The right to comprehensive sexuality education.
You have the right to be educated about sexuality – that education can help you make safer sexual decisions and
know when to seek help should problems arise.
The right to sexual information based upon scientific inquiry.
This means that ethical studies of sexuality should be conducted, and the information gained from these studies should
The right to sexual health care.
You have the right to be treated for any sexual problems you might have and to get preventive care to keep you healthy.
You shouldn’t be prevented from receiving this care because of sexual orientation, disability status, race, class, age
or other factors. Every state has laws about who can receive confidential reproductive services. Find out what the laws are
in your state.
One thing it is important to remember is that although you have
all of these rights, your parents, siblings, doctor and other trusted adults can still help you make good decisions about
sexuality. They can provide valuable information and perspectives to help you as you begin making sexual decisions. Sometimes
you have to seek out information. This Web site is a good place to start, and the adults in your life or your siblings might
have other suggestions for how to find accurate information.
Teens & Dating
As if puberty isn't sometimes confusing enough, this is also the time most teenagers start dating. School dances & parties are dating opportunities, although
most of these activities don't require a date.
Rather, some girls choose
to go to these events & others like them with another girl or a group of friends. And while some girls are interested
in boys only, some are interested in girls only & some are interested in both.
If you're asked on a date, ask yourself
these questions to help make sure it's something you want to do & that you'll be safe & have fun:
Do you feel pressure from this person in any way at all, to become sexually intimate or to do something you feel is wrong, i.e.?
If this person is someone you'd like to spend time with,
it could be exciting to begin a relationship & a friendship with this person. This person could become someone special in your life, someone you can trust & depend on & you could be the same to him or her. You could teach each other about respect, honesty, communication & loyalty.
If you date one person for a while, you
might feel pressure to become sexually intimate. Friends will question you whether you've "done it," your parents might start talking to you about making the right choices
& your partner might start making advances in that direction.
But just because you've been
dating the same person for a month or a year isn't a reason to have sex.
Besides the physical considerations - such
as getting pregnant or contracting an STD - there are emotional factors connected to sex to consider as well.
afterwards. Most parents, health care professionals & others will advise
you to wait until you're an adult to have sex. You'll be far more able to handle the personal & health responsibilities that go along with having sex.
Consider these issues before you have sex:
If you don't want to get pregnant, are you prepared to use
What if you became pregnant? What would you do?
What if you contracted HIV & developed AIDS? Are you ready
to deal with a heavy-duty sickness & possibly the end of your life?
What if you contracted another STD & got sick or &
passed it on to another person? How would you feel?
What if you had sex with someone before you were really ready
& it turned out to be an unhappy experience?
Can you consider saying "no" to your partner &/or
your friends who ask about your interest in sex & your experiences?
Your parents, a health care professional,
or any adult with whom you can confide can help you to think thru these issues before you find yourself in a situation where you might feel compelled to have sex before you're really
To check the credibility of the sources used within this web site, I welcome
you to visit the pages from which the articles were copied on this page, by clicking the web links below, provided for your
convenience and sense of safety, trust and good faith!