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Dear Flora: Wedding Uninvitation and Traumatic Boyfriends

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Dear Flora,

I've been friends with "Ben" since we were kids. There's never been anything more than friendship between us, because I am a gay woman. His fiancée "Tina" hates me despite this. I got an invitation to their wedding, but now, only one week away from the date, Ben has told me that I can't come. I know Tina is behind this, and I already got a gift and my outfit for the wedding. I'm hurt, and I tried reaching out to him and our other friends who are still invited, but nobody is answering my calls. It's gotten to the point where I'm not even invited to group hangouts anymore! I don't want to lose Ben as a friend, or any of my other friends, but I can't help but feel angry. What can I do?

-Uninvited

Dear Uninvited,

Wow, that's really rough news, especially coming from a childhood friend! It doesn't really seem like they're just trimming the guest list, given the proximity of the wedding date and inclusion of your other friends. This hurts, and you're right to feel rebuffed and disappointed, even angry. I'm afraid my advice isn't very cheerful this time.

Ben seems to be stuck in a position where he has to decide between you and his future wife, which I don't envy him for. Clearly Tina is either upset my something she perceives that you've done, or is threatened by your very presence. It's not just about sex, either: think about your friend group. Are there many women in the group? If not, she may see herself as the Queen Bee, and you a threat to her dominion. Otherwise, think about your interactions with her, and her interactions with other people. Is she nasty to everyone, or just you? It's possible Ben has a real bridezilla on his hands!

Unfortunately, Ben seems to have made his choice to humor Tina over you. It probably doesn't help that you've tried to get answers from the group, and that's why you're being alienated now. If nobody is standing up for you, I think it's time you let this group go. Friends support one another, and I'm very sorry to say that your support isn't as valuable as it once was. You deserve friends who will include you, and I really hope you find a group that will value your friendship. If you feel comfortable, say your kind goodbyes to the group, and don't look back.

*The following letter contains a content warning: sex, sexual abuse, coercion

Dear Flora,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for about a year. He's always been more sexual than I am, but now that we live together, I feel like he wants constant sex. I don’t really like doing it that often, but if I say no he tells me I don't love him because I don't want to show it physically. I feel like he's always touching me, and I can't even take a shower without him jumping in. Last week, I cried during sex, and he stopped, but I'm afraid he'll be mad if that keeps happening. What do I do?

-Confused

Dear Confused,

My dear, I'm really worried about you. Not because there's anything wrong with you, but because you are being abused by this man. You never, ever have to engage in any sexual behavior you aren't comfortable with, and it sounds to me like your boyfriend isn't allowing you to say no without consequences, even though those consequences aren't physically violent.

You are always allowed to say no, even during the act. Saying you don't love him if you won't have sex is called gaslighting, making you question whether you're really the one at fault. Spoiler alert: you're not! Gaslighting is a common tactic amongst abusers to keep a victim under their control. This is just one way, along with invading your space and not heeding your lack of consent, that he is attempting to control you.

It's time to get away from your boyfriend. Anyone who doesn't let you say no to a sex act is no desirable partner to you. You deserve better than this, and I really recommend finding a therapist to help you work through your trauma further. Remember that flinching and a lack of libido are totally normal responses to sexual trauma, so you are by no means broken. Take care of yourself, ditch him, and good luck! I believe in you.

That's a for this week! Tune in next time, and please submit your questions below!

Submissions: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1O8JaiZUQyfJzTvwhwhxSXAM_FvJ3wNrW3_Mc8gXLHog/edit?ts=5ddbe3de#responses

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