His behavior confuses me

-- Question for John --

I am 16 and have been going out with this guy for a month. Lately the only time we hang out is when his friends are around and he never pays any attention to me. The only time he ever hugs me or kisses me is if this one friend of his isn’t around. I am confused on if he still likes me or not and how should I confront him about it?

-- Answer from John --

I can understand why you would be confused. He has given you a lot of mixed messages. And there has been no real communication about this. You need to know what is real and what is not. So you need to ask in a clear, nonjudgmental way. It doesn’t have to be about confrontation. It is just asking for some real information.

This is an opportunity for you to learn to do something that will strengthen you in all your future relationships. Doing this kind of thing, and getting the importance of doing it even if you are afraid, will turn you into a person who CAN make a relationship work. (But maybe not with this guy).

The lesson that relationship is asking you to get right now is this: Learn to speak up and ask the other person what is going on. Learn to do it in a high quality way, not as some kind of dramatic confrontation.

It may be that he is too unskilled in communicating, too afraid or whatever to give you a good answer. That is entirely out of your control. But what you can control is that you speak up.

You don’t have to “confront” him. All you have to do is tell the absolute truth… which from your email sounds something like this: “I’m feeling confused. The only time we hang out is with friends around. The only time you hug or kiss me is when — isn’t around. Things seem to have changed, and I understand that can happen in relationships, and that’s okay. So I’d like a moment of honesty, if you are willing to share with me. How do you want our relationship to be in the future?”

This is going to take a lot of courage for you to do. You will feel afraid in doing it. He might in fact tell you something you don’t want to hear. He might not be able to tell you anything at all because he becomes too afraid. But that is not the point. The point is that you are acting with a real quality of courage in saying something like the above, no matter how afraid you are or difficult it is to do. You can be proud that you showed up authentically in the relationship, and spoke your truth and asked for some real information. You need to know where things are at so you can get on with your life, or whatever.