I'm 16 years old and have decided to stay a virgin until I get married. I recently met a great new guy that I care about a lot. He doesn't go to my school, and doesn't know my feelings and my commitments. I'm so afraid to tell him because I might lose him over this. I know if he really loves me, he'll respect me, but that's easier said than done. How can I ask him to have a sexless relationship, when so many girls will be more than happy to oblige?
DearSexless (your word, not mine),
Where have you been hiding? Don’t you know that virginity is in? Everyone from Britney Spears to Jessica Simpson to Brendan Fehr ("Roswell") is speaking out about, or is pledging to maintain, their virginity until marriage. It is totally cool and OK to not have sex if that is what you are comfortable with.
It sounds like you are comfortable with it and that makes the boyfriend question easy. No person is worth compromising your own integrity for. Without being self-righteous (nobody likes that!), set your personal moral standard and make sure your friends and boyfriends live up to it--or find new ones who will.
As far as breaking it to the boyfriend, think of all the great things you are going to offer him in the relationship: your friendship, your beautiful presence, someone on his side, your love, your affection--all of these things he gains by staying with you.
If your boyfriend is just after sex then he is going to take off and wasn’t the right guy for you. Fear not and be patient--there are plenty of guys who are looking for exactly who you are.
Dear Pastor Paul,
I was raised in a typical Presbyterian household, but now my mom has really gotten into New Age stuff. She wanders around the house hugging crystals and acting like Shirley MacLaine. I love my mom, but my friends are starting to make fun of me. I try to laugh along with them, but it hurts. Any words of wisdom?
-- Embarrassed in EdmontonDear Embarrassed,
I feel your pain. During those hyper peer-conscious years, anything out of the ordinary in your household (like a 'kooky' mom) can be painful.
However, I can't help but wonder how you would feel if the shoe were on the other foot--or the crystal was in the other hand. If you decided that you wanted to go on a spiritual/musical/fashion road trip, wouldn't you want your mother's support? Of course you would. Your mom is a real live person who has spiritual needs and her pursuit of those needs is legitimate and honorable.
Talk to your Mom. Ask her about her newfound spirituality and what she's learning. Mention to her what your friends are saying and how it makes you feel. Hopefully, she will understand and will tone down the chanting while your friends are around. If she doesn't, don't invite your friends home and she will have to deal with the fact that her new-found spirituality is losing her time with her daughter.
I'm dating a Jewish guy, but I'm not Jewish. My boyfriend's parents are constantly telling him that he should only be dating Jewish girls, because he has to marry one. Maybe I'm taking this personally, but we're just fourteen, not even close to thinking about marriage! What do you think? Should I break up with him instead of constantly hearing about him finding some "nice Jewish girl?"
-- Confused in Kansas
If someone has not already told you, I will: All relationships require sensitivity and commitment. Interfaith relationships require extra sensitivity and commitment. You, my Kansas friend, are in an interfaith relationship.
The question is: At your stage of life (14 years old) is this relationship worth the extra work? If the answer is no, then cool off, hang out, and just be friends.
If the answer is yes, then start by asking him about his religious beliefs, and share your own with him. Explore what you really feel about interfaith relationship and ask him what he feels. Perhaps he's telling you about his parent’s comments because he is still trying to figure out how he feels about this very question. Don't let this relationship be a form of rebellion for either of you. AND HAVE FUN! That is what dating is supposed to be about at your age. When it's no longer fun--call it quits.