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Incompatible physical touch needs or irrationality at play?

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  • #1110972 Reply

    Sorry if this is all over the place and way too long. Tl;Dr is my boyfriend is very hands on and I’m to the point of discomfort, but I’m not sure if my discomfort is unreasonable and he’s just being a normal boyfriend. People in my immediate life who I’ve asked have said I’m the unreasonable one.

    He’s handsy. Hand up the shirt, hand over the stomach (even though I’ve said repeatedly I dislike that, but he forgets), hand on the upper thighs, smacking my butt. If his hand goes to my knee, I’ve started putting my hand over his to stop him, something he’s noticed and commented on. He’ll usually say “what can I say, you got nice tits/legs/ass” while his hand is on my body part to justify it, as if that makes it okay he just touches without checking it’s okay.

    The conversations always turns sexual, no matter how it started. I try to avoid innuendos or comments that could be construed as sexual but he’ll manage regardless to shift track, even if it takes a while. He sends constant pictures and sexual jokes, with the occasional funny picture thrown in, and keeps encouraging me to ask for another sexy picture or to return the favor.

    He constantly jokes that I’m denying him the chance to watch me change or shower (not wrong, because I know he’d get handsy and if not handsy then he gawks and talks about my body like it’s just there for viewing pleasure, if that makes sense.)

    Trying to bring up my discomfort turned into how he was just complimenting me and that of course he wants every opportunity to be with me and show how attracted he is to me, that he just finds me too sexy to resist.

    I can count on one hand the amount of times we cuddled without him sticking his hand under my shirt, and we’ve been together a year. Recently we went on our first trip together and slept in the same room and bed for over a week- I started getting into bed and staying on the edge just so he wouldn’t grope me immediately.

    When we kiss, it’s only ever a make out session. There’s no “simple” kiss and I find myself dreading it because it opens the door for a 5-10 minute session, often with wandering hands. He’s made it clear he wants me to initiate things more often but I hesitate to because I know even if I want just a quick kiss, it will keep going. There’s been times I’ve tried to push away from him and he was too intoxicated to realize it, or just that I keep trying to back away only for him to deepen the kiss.

    If we hold hands and we’re not in direct eyesight of anyone, he’ll bring my hand to his pants to feel his erection. Sometimes he’ll even wait until someone’s back is turned before he reaches for my breasts, or he’ll joke around and put his hand on my thigh until he’s just centimeters away from my crotch.

    It’s that I know if I give an inch, then he’ll go for a mile, like getting together means a constant green flag.

    During the trip my anxiety kept getting worse because I was always with him and always felt I had to be on guard, but attempts to tell him to stop or tone it down never worked. I tried being subtle, joking, or even outright saying I was feeling uncomfortable, but nothing seemed to sink in or get him to tone it down.

    When I got back home, I tried asking my parents but my mom just said that his love language is touch and “you just do for your loved ones” aka to put up with it because he puts up with a lot from me. She also pointed out how holding back was why he was so insatiable, that I was making him feel unwanted and that if I gave him more affection this wouldn’t be a problem because then he’d have what he needs and wouldn’t feel neglected. Dad asked what was wrong with my boyfriend giving me compliments and showing his appreciation for my body.

    Maybe they’re right and I am blowing it out of proportion. I’ve never felt comfortable in any previous relationships, but I’m relatively young (25) and only had a couple, so it might be inexperience on my part.

    #1110975 Reply

    1. It doesn’t matter what’s normal. If a certain level of touch is too much for you, you need to find someone who is okay with that level.

    2. What your boyfriend is doing is not okay or normal. Not every physical contact needs to be a grope or make-out. Especially after you’ve made it clear that you aren’t comfortable with it.

    When you ask someone to stop doing something, and their response is an excuse why they will keep doing it, that’s a huge red problem.

    If you dread kissing someone, and position yourself in bed so they can’t touch you easily, you shouldn’t be in a relationship with them.

    #1110978 Reply


    #1110980 Reply
    Avatar photoCopa

    …your MOM told you to deal with unwanted and nonconsensual touching? And your DAD told you this behavior is complimentary? What!? (I’m sorry but this particular paragraph made me wonder if this letter is fake.) Your boyfriend doesn’t forget your boundaries; he doesn’t care about them. You two are not compatible. You need to find someone who is on the same page or if for you it feels more natural to not date anyone at all, that’s a-okay, too.

    #1110986 Reply

    PassingBy: It does somewhat matter what is normal, as otherwise I’m holding the world to an unreasonable, overly accommodating standard. So, fair point on maybe I shouldn’t be with him.

    Copa: I didn’t exactly get the chance to explain to them in full what was going on, except that he was overly physically affectionate and kept commenting on my body. My mom has a little bit of a hair trigger about refusing shows of affection, because for a lot of years I was the rude kid that never wanted to hug anyone, not even relatives. I’ve gotten better about being physically affectionate but she might have thought I was slipping back into that antisocial behavior. Dad basically said that’s what boyfriends do, compliment their girls, and that there would be a problem if my boyfriend didn’t show that he was attracted to me.

    I just didn’t know if the incompatibility in levels and boundaries was due to me not having reasonable expectations, and your comment about not dating kind of strikes a chord, because even platonic connections are fortified with physical intimacy and if I can’t handle this, then is it really okay to be alone, or am I just avoiding even the smallest amount of discomfort to live in a bubble? I’m scratching the surface on other conversations my parents and I had before now and it’s making me think a lot.

    #1110987 Reply

    Platonic connections do not need to be fortified with physical intimacy.

    #1110988 Reply

    If you want to be celibate. That is okay. Relationships aren’t for everyone. If it helps, I am considering a similar life choice myself at present. You are not alone. Physical intimacy is difficult for a lot of people.

    #1110989 Reply
    Avatar photoCopa

    I don’t have kids, so maybe my opinion isn’t valid, but it is NOT rude when a kid doesn’t want someone to hug them. I think that’s a generational thing, tbh. And if I did have kids, I’d be teaching them that nobody gets to touch them if they don’t want to be touched. I’m really sad that your mom thinks it’s your duty or something to be physically intimate with your boyfriend in ways that make you uncomfortable.

    Platonic friendships are not fortified with physical intimacy. I do tend to hug friends hello and goodbye, however, I do have a few that aren’t hug-y people, so don’t do that with them. You don’t have to live your life in a completely solitary state just because you don’t like physical touch. I did initially wonder when I read your letter at first if you were maybe still figuring out your sexuality, but this seems different from that since it seems you don’t like any physical touch… but I am not an expert.

    I say this NOT to imply that you’re being unreasonable or because I think how you feel and move through the world is wrong, but because I think it can be a valuable way to better understand yourself: Have you considered speaking with a therapist about all of this?

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by Avatar photoCopa.
    #1110998 Reply

    Please get into therapy. Noone and I mean Noone has a right to touch you without consent. This includes family, friends, and I mean everyone. Your mom is wrong. Your dad is wrong. Your boyfriend is wrong. I would lose my mind with this constant man handling. I would have bitch slapped him a long time ago. Now, please listen carefully my husband is very cuddly and affectionate. You could say that’s his love language so I absolutely make time to cuddle him and allow him to cuddle me. He asks for cuddle time and I have the right to decline and he respects my boundaries. He respects my need for space. I know that sounds like he asks permission and I answer but So much of the time we just read each other’s body language. Also, there is always the peck and hug hello and goodbye or a pat of love.

    #1112632 Reply

    Have you researched A sexuality? Also called ACE? Your story sounds very similar to someone I know as they were researching this also.it might be worth looking into.

    For me, your boyfriends level of touch would be welcome. My boyfriend does a lot of the same small touches and it works for us. But it doesn’t work for you and your boundaries are not being respected.


    That is full stop. You do not need to endure any touch you don’t want to and you should not stay in a relationship that you aren’t respected in and no one should tell you differently.

    In the glorious words of Dan Savage DTMFA (dump the mother fucker already)

    #1112647 Reply

    I don’t know why we have to jump to OP being asexual or desiring celibacy just because she’s sick of being treated like a blow up doll.

    #1112649 Reply

    Yeah. The boyfriend’s behavior is wildly boundary crossing. I don’t really know anyone who acts like this or would tolerate it.

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