Dear Harlan: My daughter is 19 and a virgin, and she has been dating someone for a year and a half. He brings up sex all the time. She simply says she’s not ready. I told her that intercourse is an adult act with adult consequences. Your first time happens only once, and it is a gift that should be shared only when you are 100 percent comfortable with all that it entails. Too many kids are too eager to give it all away, and many are left regretting it and feeling empty and alone afterward. All it takes is setting boundaries and sticking to them. — Mom
Dear Mom: It’s very hard to set boundaries when you’re scared of being alone. That’s where so many people struggle in relationships, especially teenagers. If you want to set firm boundaries, you need to be prepared to enforce those boundaries. That means breaking it off if someone can’t accept “no” for an answer. That means living life without a romantic partner at times. It’s a very hard thing to do, especially when you’ve never loved anyone before and don’t know how to love yourself. Again, this is where so many teens struggle. Your daughter knows that she will be OK with or without this guy, and that’s why she’s able to set firm boundaries. The people who are focused more on being liked than focusing on what they like run into trouble. I find that it takes most people until their mid-20s to be better at setting boundaries and demanding respect. Unfortunately, a lot of people are already married when it happens. Your daughter is ahead of the game – of course, that is if she’s telling you the truth.