Sometimes my boyfriend respects my wishes but sometimes he pressures me to do stuff that makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want to lose him, so what should I do? I made some big mistakes in past relationships.

I understand your fear of confronting your boyfriend, but the bottom line is that you must risk losing him. Every human being was created to be loved and never to be used. But if you are even slightly afraid that he will lose interest in you when you end physical intimacies, ask yourself: Is he interested in you or in pleasure? Deep in your heart I think you are afraid that he may be in this for the physical relationship. You have been used before, and your greatest fear is that you have been used again.

There are two options open to you. One is to give in to whatever he wants (which is no guarantee that he will stay). The other is to follow your intuition. Look into your heart to discover why you do not feel comfortable doing these things with him. It’s probably because the acts degrade you. You deserve better.

But suppose that you were willing to give your boyfriend whatever he wanted, out of fear of losing him. Would his respect for you go up or down? Down. If you stand firm and show that you will not compromise your values, then he will respect you more—even if he leaves you because he is in search of a girl who does not know what she is worth. You must take this risk if you want love.

Sometimes, women abandon their morals because they like the fact that a boy desires them so much. Such a girl may be starving for love and willing to settle for lust. But what usually happens is that the guy loses respect for the girl, becomes bored, and leaves.

Other times he sticks around as long as she is willing to satisfy his desires. I have heard of many young women who say they did certain things with their boyfriends because they thought that the guys would like them more. One girl wrote, “He had convinced me that what we were doing was OK, and so that is what we did. The whole time I felt I was doing something wrong, but I silenced myself for the good of him. Little did I know the effect this would have on me. It was as though someone had slowly scooped away at my soul and let it deteriorate.”

You know in your heart that this kind of relationship is not what you are looking for.

Another young woman shared: “I had been told all my life that sex before marriage was wrong, but no one ever told me why. In the twelfth grade I found myself dating one boy for a long period of time. We spent a lot of time alone, and as a result our relationship became more physical. I felt guilty, bitter, frustrated, and dirty. Because of those feelings I would say to him, ‘We need to stop having sex, or at least slow down.’ Well, we tried to slow down, but that didn’t work. Instead of getting closer, we grew farther apart. After two years of dating, I finally said, ‘No more sex,’ and he said, ‘Good-bye.’ Since then, whenever I dated another person for a length of time, sex became a part of the relationship. Tears always came because I knew I had blown it again.”[1]

If your boyfriend loves you, he will not pressure you to do things that make you uncomfortable. Suppose you say, “I don’t feel comfortable doing that with you.” If he responds, “Why not? You used to do it,” or “What’s your problem? Come on, I love you, this will make us so much closer,” then he is not respecting you. Often a guy will insinuate that he really loves you but he may need to leave if his desires go unsatisfied. This is definitely not love. “Love waits to give, but lust can’t wait to get.”[2]

Ask yourself this question: When it comes to my body, will my boyfriend take everything I’m willing to give him? If this is the case, then he is not concerned about your soul. His goal is pleasure. While it may temporarily feel like love, you know in your heart it is not. For example, consider what a guy named Jordan said in an article in Complete Woman magazine: “Sex is extremely important to me. In fact, once I felt compelled to break up with a woman I really loved because we didn’t have enough sex. . . . The lack of sex nearly killed me.”[3] (Apparently he was rushed to the hospital for lack of sex.) If this is how Jordan treats the ladies he “really loves,” it is hard to imagine how he treats other women.

Pray for courage and wisdom, and let your boyfriend know that you want to be pure from now on. Good relationships require good communication. You need to be open with your boyfriend about what is in your heart. You deserve a guy who will not only allow you to become pure, but will take the initiative to keep the relationship pure.

Sometimes a guy will reply to his girlfriend’s request to be pure by saying, “No more sexual stuff? That’s OK—I just love being with you.” The girl melts, but his behavior gradually returns to the way it was before. In these cases a girl needs to persevere in purity and see what happens. If he sticks with you as you grow in holiness, and he brings you closer to God by his actions, then the sacrifices you have made together will be good training for marriage.

As for now, the best thing you can do for your boyfriend is to grow in holiness yourself. It will inspire him to become worthy of you. When women are pure, they become “possessors of a deep and wondrous secret that is revealed only to the one who proves himself deserving of her.”[4] This sense of independence in a girl appeals to guys. If women easily give themselves away, they should not be surprised to find themselves in a culture of men who feel no need to commit to them.

But is this guy the one for you? To be honest, I do not think so. I think you may know that and be afraid of starting over. Or perhaps you want to make this work out, so that you do not have to address the hurt. But it will be much better in the long run if you take a hard look at your situation now. One reason I doubt the strength of this relationship is because you said that “sometimes he will respect my wishes.” This is a big warning sign, suggesting that the rest of the time he is placing his hormones on a more important level than you as a person. That says a great deal about his character. Any guy can say yes to sex. But how many can say no? If he cannot say no to temptations now, how will he say no when temptations come in marriage?

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[1]. Josh McDowell, Why Wait? (Nashville, Tenn.: Nelson Book Publishers, 1987), 17–18.
[2]. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, Boundaries in Dating (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2000), 251.
[3]. Laura Morgan, Marie Claire, 2000. As re-published in “How Strong is Your Sex Drive?” Complete Woman, February–March 2001, 17.
[4]. Wendy Shalit, A Return to Modesty (New York: Touchstone, 1999), 97.

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