No matter what your age, your voice matters. That’s the idea of consent—you have the right to call the shots and say what you are and aren’t comfortable with in a relationship, whether you’ve been dating for five minutes or five months.
But, it’s a problem if your partner doesn’t listen. Have you ever said “no” only to hear a reply like, “Oh come on, don’t be like that” or, “You don’t really mean that”? Those kinds of statements challenging your decision mean your partner isn’t respecting your no.
You may have felt embarrassed or uncomfortable when this happened, and that’s normal. Often times, we worry that saying “no” will make the other person like us less. This isn’t true, but even if it were, do you really want to be with someone who doesn’t respect you?
LoveisRespect.org offers several ideas for getting consent from a partner when a relationship starts becoming physical. You can ask …
Are you comfortable?
Is this OK?
Do you want to slow down?
Do you want to go any further?
Assuming consent just because a partner doesn’t speak up isn’t the same as getting consent. It’s always better to ask.
Conversely, you can use these statements to voice that you don’t feel comfortable going any further: “I want to slow down” and “This isn’t OK”.
What does it look like when your partner doesn’t respect your consent? LoveisRespect.org says this may include your partner pressuring you or giving you a guilt trip to go further than you want. A disrespectful partner may also try to convince you that you “owe” them something physical after they did something nice for you, like buying you a gift. They may also seem angry with you for saying no or may completely ignore you when you try to slow down. All of these things are red flags in a relationship and indicate that your partner isn’t being respectful of you.