"Dear Carol, how do I move on from a traumatizing kiss?"
I met my first boyfriend when I was 12. He was older, and I didn’t want him to see me as a little kid. So when he kept pressuring me to do stuff, I reluctantly agreed. Until one day, I changed my mind. I didn’t want to do anything anymore, but he held me down and did it anyway. Since then, I’ve been terrified of expectations. I’ll like a guy and we’ll go on a date. I’ll want to hold his hand and have him kiss me. As soon as he does though, I freak out. And then I stop liking him. It’s been four years, and it isn’t changing. People keep telling me there will be a perfect guy one day. But I don’t think it’s the guys. I think it’s me.
-Terrified After the Kiss
Dear Terrified After the Kiss,
I’m so sorry to hear that when you were just a kid, someone older took advantage of you. And I’m not surprised that this nightmare is still haunting you. You didn’t call it rape or date rape, but it might help you heal to recognize that this is what occurred. Can you talk to a counselor or parent or trusted adult about this? Going forward, you deserve to enjoy a relationship built on love and trust, not fear and pressure. You went through a trauma, and it takes time to recover and to trust again. Frankly, that guy needs therapy, too, so he can learn about boundaries and self-control and understand that being aggressive with a girl is absolutely unacceptable.
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