No, I’m not vague posting about someone local to me who did heinous stuff. I’m talking about and to you, dear reader.
I know you’ve done it.
We all have.
We’ve pushed through the “No.”
Maybe not sexually. After all, that’s rape or sexual assault. But we have all failed to honor a “No” from another adult in a relationship.
So, why didn’t YOU take “No” for an answer?
- Maybe you thought they were kidding (After all, they’ve sat on your lap a hundred times before).
- Maybe you knew that batting your eyelashes and saying “please” would change their mind (because they can’t resist you when you want playtime).
- Maybe you saw it as a game (when it wasn’t—I’m not talking about consensual breathing here).
- Maybe you really wanted whatever it was (and getting that ring or that collar was REALLY important to you).
- Maybe you were afraid of what “No” might mean to you or to your relationship (if they’re not willing to talk about what’s bothering them, it might mean they don’t love you or want you anymore).
Whatever the reason, you didn’t take “No” for an answer, and you showed your partner that in your mind, your wants are more important to you than theirs.
It’s easy to do.
We think they will change their mind because they probably will—with enough pressure, or the right kind of pressure, or just to keep the peace.
And then when they do, we are reinforced for the future that pushing past the “No” works.
Many are taught that others are fickle and will change their mind. That some people will tease (and say “No”) unless they are convinced to let out their inner slut. That others are afraid of who they are, and will say “No” by default, but really want to be prodded along. That a “No” is not valid without pressure and really TRYING to get a “Yes.”
We have been conditioned, and we use that to harm others—without even realizing it.
I’m asking you to realize it.
I’m not asking you to be perfect. That’s not possible.
I’m simply asking you to think about when you have pushed past (or tried to push past) the “No,” when it was not part of your negotiated dynamic to do so.
And ask yourself why.
And maybe also think of when another adult has done that to you. Maybe casually. Maybe forcefully. Maybe with pressure and vague threats, even fear.
And know what it’s like to feel like something as simple and clear as a “No.” Is not enough.
And try to avoid doing it again.
(I say try because habits built over a lifetime are hard to break, and when we want something, we really want it sometimes—and we will fail, possibly often.)
Here are a few examples:
- “Want to talk about it?” “No.”
- “Will you go with me to the office party?” “No.”
- “Let’s go to that munch together.” “No.”
- “Will you put our relationship on your profile?” “No.”
- “Do you want to get married?” “No.”
- “Hold my hand” “No.”
What are YOUR thoughts?
Why did you push past that “No”? Have you had someone push past your “No,” and felt steamrolled or like your boundaries/consent didn’t matter?
What are some ways you can check yourself in your own relationships and conversations moving forward?
Are there times you feel justified pushing past a “No?”