Q: My boyfriend insists on having sex during my periods. I am not comfortable at all and have told him this as well, but he won’t listen and throws a tantrum. Ultimately, I give in but later I feel violated for letting him have his way. Help, please.
Ans: Let’s address the reasons for you saying yes when you actually want to say no. Is it fear of upsetting him, of losing him or of being selfish? On the long run, you pleasing him and feeling violated will result in becoming drained, dissatisfied and resentful. Are these feelings part of your next 5-year plan? Once you reach the limits of your tolerance, it will be you the one leaving him.
It is better to say a firm and loving no now than labelling him as a bad and selfish person later. Say no to the guilt and the fear that are stopping you from being 100% you. There is no tantrum anyone can throw at you, once you have internalised that the healthiest thing is to set boundaries.
Boundaries are a gift you are offering to the relationship. They will make your relationships become more authentic and last longer. You can empathise with him feeling disappointed and reaffirm your love for him in the process. If his way of dealing with your ‘no’ is still to behave like a child, do you want to play the role of an indulgent mother or treat him like a grown up?
Once you set your boundaries with confidence he will have to seriously relook at his expectations from an adult’s perspective. Maybe you will have to set them several times before he gets it. Afterall, you, and possibly his mother, have trained him into throwing tantrums to get what he wants and now he needs to be re-trained.
(The writer is an Intimacy & Relationship Coach and an Independent People and Culture Specialist focusing on relationships, sexuality, youth and social media in South Asia. Have a query? Send it on firstname.lastname@example.org)