I was in my first year of university, young, naïve and passionate, when I had my first “real” boyfriend. Boy is the operative part of that word, boyfriend, because that is what he truly was, just a boy.

Image from http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/mar/23/drugsandalcohol.health1

We met in a crowded nightclub, influenced by the intoxications of the cheap drinks we were consuming, and had our first kisses on the many drunken nights in the same place. After a short negotiation we became boyfriend and girlfriend and began our lustful rocky relationship. Between the sheets of his single residence bed, as we listened to the slow and steady beats of the Bryan Adams CD over and over, we explored each others bodies. He told me he loved me and I returned his feelings in words, as far as I could understand about love at the time. He romanced me and made my face glow with delight, so much so that others often commented on the change. I remember thinking that if everyone else thought we were in love then I must be.

Over the holidays I travelled the long bus trip to spend a week at his house. His parents must have trusted him because they allowed us to stay in his double bed together. I was a little shocked and slightly anxious to discover this on my first arrival. During these heated summer nights we became increasingly experimental in the bedroom. We had never spoken about sex and so he frustratingly fought against invisible boundaries that I had set up inside my head but never voiced.

I was a virgin and unsure how far I was comfortable or willing to go. He was sexually confident and eager but never knew, or thought to ask, how I felt about sex and my virginity. What I did know at the time was that I was not going to be able to give myself completely to him, and I had no idea how I was meant to break this news to him.

On my final night at his house, exhausted from late night after late night of the same pattern of refusal, I fell asleep in the middle of one of our “make-out sessions”. I was unaware of the impact of this on the male ego and was stunned by his response. He stormed out of the room, leaving me in shock and confused, only to return later with a storm on his face to tell me that we had become like an old married couple. He then climbed back into bed, turned away from me and went to sleep. We travelled on the bus together the next day, and the trip will always stick in my mind as one of the worst days of my life. You see he ignored me the whole 8 hour trip home only bothering to reply when a question was asked. Every now and then I remember looking at him closely and asking if he was ok or reaching out to touch him. When we finally reached our destination we said our goodbyes, and it was only after two days of telephonic silence that he phoned to break-up with me. I remember sobbing uselessly on the phone in my confusion, the reasons he gave me didn’t make sense to me, as I tried to understand what he was saying. I was completely heartbroken.

It was only years later that I came to understand why exactly he broke up with me, and I know it is because I wouldn’t sleep with him. Looking back, however, I don’t regret dating this first “boy” and I am glad that I kept myself for someone who was willing to wait. What I learnt from this first relationship, which is invaluable as I move forward into any new relationships, is the incredible importance of communication, especially with regard to your sexual boundaries and your personal values and standards.

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