I’m Developing Feelings for Him. Should We Define What We Have Together?

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Written by: Dr. Wendy Walsh

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Known as America's Relationship Expert, Dr. Wendy Walsh is an award-winning television journalist, radio host & podcaster, and the author of three books on relationships and thousands of print and digital articles. More than 1.5 million people follow her sage advice on social media. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and teaches in the Psychology Department at California State University Channel Islands and has been the host of "The Dr. Wendy Walsh Show" on iHeart Radio's KFI AM 640 since 2015. Walsh is also a former Emmy-nominated co-host of "The Doctors," as well as former host of the nationally syndicated show "EXTRA." She was named a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2017 after speaking out about harassment at a major news network.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Reader Question:

I am an 18-year-old female. A little over a month ago, a 24-year-old acquaintance friended me on Facebook.

One evening he kissed me on the cheek and another he kissed me on the lips. Eventually I started to kiss him back.

I am developing more feelings for him as I’m getting to know him, but I am unsure how he feels about the situation.

Is it OK for us to continue our physical relationship? Sex won’t be an issue. He says that isn’t what he wants from me, and I don’t plan on doing the deed until I am walked down the aisle.

Should I have a talk with him about clearly defining what we have together?

-Jen (U.S.)

Dr. Wendy Walsh’s Answer:

Dear Jen,

I love your personal boundaries, but having rules and enforcing them are two different things.

As sexual hormones heat up, it can create worries that he’ll leave if you don’t comply with advances that tend to increase.

It’s that slippery slope that creates the modern-day hypocrite known as “the technical virgin,” people who participate in every form of sexual activity except vaginal intercourse.

For that reason, I suggest limiting your sexual touch to hand holding and cheek kissing.

Because you are young and new to the game of saying no, I have included a short excerpt from my book “The 30-Day Love Detox,” where I explain why a token “no” is not enough:

“In an effort not to appear ‘sexually easy,’ women will often say ‘no’ to sex while retaining warm energy and physical closeness. Their ‘no’ is murmured while they are kissing him and in his arms.

This is very confusing for guys. Her mouth says one thing but her body another. This is a mixed message for sure. And more than a few date rape cases have been tried based on that big giant misunderstanding.

Sandra Metts, whose work at Illinois State University focuses on sexual communication, says the ‘token no’ can be a dangerous strategy.

‘My advice to young women who want to be polite to a potential partner is to say no very directly and then to move away from the intimate context. Literally stand up, move across the room, or ask to be taken home. It is a misconception that a man’s feelings will be hurt or that he will feel discounted if his date refuses to have sex. No explanation is necessary.'”

As for whether you two should explore an emotional connection. Of course! In fact, the distance may help you keep your promise to yourself to remain a virgin.

Stay within your boundaries and don’t be shy about asking him about his feelings along the way.

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