You are Feeling Ashamed
July 23, 2003 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
I've been with my boyfriend for 8 months now and we've been having sex for about four months. I'm on the shot so I'm not worried, that's not the problem.
The problem is that afterward I feel kind of bad or ashamed of what I just did. I don't know where it's coming from. When I told my mom she was pretty upset because I thought I might be pregnant too, so she was totally upset, but I wasn't. My best friend was also pretty angry and disappointed.
I don't know, I always think about how I should have waited, how much my mom wanted me to wait and I feel ashamed. It's like their voices come in my head and ask me to stop.
I really love my boyfriend and I don't want to feel this way because I know how much he loves me and he tells me that we won't have sex if I don't want to. I mean it's not that I don't enjoy it.
I try to make it more positive by telling myself that it is only natural and that I'm lucky enough to have a boyfriend that loves and respects me, but I can't seem to take the guilt off of me.
I want to be able to enjoy it emotionally, I hate this feeling, can you please help me?
You said that your mother thinks you should have waited to have sex. You are feeling guilty and ashamed, because you have absorbed her values. She doesn't approve, so you don't approve of your actions.
Growing up involves separating from your parents on many levels. Separation needs to happen on many levels. In your case, you need to see that your values don't match your mom's. Clearly you don't agree with your mom's sexual attitudes and you don't have to.
Part of growing up is deciding what is right for you. If having sex before marriage is right then that is your decision. If you are old enough to have sex then you have already separated from your mom.
Now you need to allow yourself to differ from her and stop attacking yourself. You might also explain to your mother that you want her to accept your choices in life even if they don't always line up with her expectations.
She needs to help you to separate and be your own person. If you can't navigate the discussion with her, go to a good family therapist. Your mom is a vital part of this process.
Separating is hard enough. She needs to help you to do this. When your mom gets with the program and endorses you, you will find it easier to endorse yourself.
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