By Aunty Julie
I am a woman of 28 and have gone through a lot in life to build myself. I am a working student and I train myself. Basically, I don’t have time for any relationship and because of that, I have hurt a lot of people. You have so much information and advice for those who want to start, maintain, or end a relationship; but then there are people like me.
In fact, I have no desire to be in a relationship with anyone. Sometimes I work two jobs, and I like hanging out with my friends and family when I do have spare time. I’m not interested in the feelings, emotions, and time it takes to be in a relationship. I’ll have sex with anyone before I even think about holding their hand. Then afterward, the guy will usually end up getting his feelings hurt because I don’t want to date him. Is there anything strange or unhealthy about this? I know I look good but that is that. I don’t have time for love.
Omoni, Benin City
Some people love to pair off like lovebirds while others like to fly solo. There’s nothing wrong with savouring your independence, as long as you are honest with yourself and your partners about what you want and don’t want out of each connection, sexually and otherwise. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what shape your relationships will take. But you must also understand the place of culture in relationships especially in this part of the world.
People are naturally social beings, and we spend a great deal of our time interacting with others. Sharing life’s ups and downs with friends and family can bring a sense of closeness and fulfillment that can’t be found in your professional or academic life. Likewise, some people enjoy romantic relationships for companionship, commitment, and physical and emotional intimacy. Other people partner up out of fear of being alone or pressure to “settle down.”
As you implied, society often puts a premium on romantic relationships. From age-old love stories to reality dating shows, pairing is portrayed as the romantic ideal. In our culture, marriage is a strong form of “social glue” that binds together individuals, families, and communities. However, there are many other expressions of love and togetherness that don’t require you to tie the knot.
To begin, it may be helpful to sort out your feelings, values, and desires related to sexuality and relationships. For example, are you satisfied with your current social scene, or do you to want make more time for friends or dating? Do you wish you had a “special someone” or are you truly happy on your own? And lastly, what’s your take on sex without commitment? Do you feel comfortable getting it on and then heading out, or would you prefer to get to know each other a bit more, before and/or after? There are no right or wrong answers here, so go with what feels best for you.
The tricky part is that everyone brings their own preferences to the dinner table and the bedroom. As you’ve experienced, it can cause discomfort and hurt feelings when, after a roll in the hay, your sexy someone wants to take you out on a date and you’d rather part ways. Since there’s no way to predict how your partner may feel, perhaps you could try being more upfront about your intentions.
For example, before things really heat up, you could say something like, “I’m not looking for a relationship, but I’d still like to have some fun together.” Put into your own words, that warning gives your partner a fair heads-up about where you’d like the experience to go. All that being said, one-nightstand or even steady commitments is easier said than done. Even a short fling requires some amount of time and effort, and it’s likely that emotions will come into play at one point or another.
He expressed love to another
My boyfriend and I have been going out for more than four years; we decided to break up at when I got into the university and he started a new relationship. He went out with her for a month and broke up with her.
Two months later, we got back together again and everything was great. But then, he told me that they had sex a few times and he told her he loved her. He tells me it was just a rebound relationship and that he was confused and didn’t know what he was doing.
Ever since then, I’ve felt very insecure. I know he has not done anything wrong since we were not going out at the time, but I feel so insecure that I have to know what he is doing every single minute of the day. I get very jealous. I wish I could trust him more. He would never do anything to hurt me. He loves me so much he even wants to marry me. I wish I could put it all behind me. What bothers me most is that they had sex and that he told her he loved her. I don’t know how to forget about it and go on.
It can be devastating to feel betrayed or abandoned by someone you love. Even though you and your boyfriend were broken up at the time he slept with someone else, it might not take the sting out of him having shared physical and emotional intimacy with another person. You have every right to feel jealous and shaken up. At the same time, if you want to move forward in your relationship with him, there are some steps you can consider taking to heal the hurt and the loss of trust you feel.
The power of expressing emotions is great. Whether to a trusted person in your life or on your own, it can be helpful to let your feelings flow. Allow yourself to cry, laugh, curse, get angry, or any/all of the above. Expressing your feelings can also help you clarify what might be at the root of your jealousy and insecurity.
If you’d like to work your feelings out with someone other than your boyfriend first, you could share your feelings with people in your life who you trust and who support you like family and friends.
In order to build up your own self-confidence, it’s important to take really good care of yourself and to provide a sense of safety, acceptance, and care. Try paying extra attention to eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep and exercise, and seeking out activities you enjoy. When you feel more centered and happy within yourself, you may be a more confident and happy partner in your relationship.
It takes time to recover from sadness and a sense of loss. The trick here is not necessarily to “forget about it and move on.” Could you possibly use this experience to make your relationship deeper and stronger? What can you do to build confidence and trust in your current relationship? What can your boyfriend do, say, show you, that will help you to trust and feel comfortable, safe, and able to be vulnerable again? While the future is always uncertain, it is possible to feel confident about and comfortable with the present, and at peace with the past.
She doesn’t like to hear ‘I love you
I love your column and I read it a lot. I was worried when I didn’t see it for sometime but I thank God you are back. I have a girlfriend who I love dearly, but every time I say I love her, she tells me that someday I’ll leave her for another girl just because it happened to her before she met me. How can I prove to her that I’ll never leave her and make everything right again? Your answer may save our relationship.
Mark Anthony, Auchi
Hello Mark Anthony,
None of us really knows what the future holds, and while you can’t promise your girlfriend that you’ll never leave her, there are some ways that you can try to reassure her for the time being. By confiding in you that you’re going to leave every time you say, “I love you” to her, she’s really expressing fear, anxiety, and/or insecurity.
She might have had negative, and likely painful, experiences from a past relationship, apparently powerful enough to cause her to feel awkward or undeserving when you tell her you love her. Getting close to someone emotionally leaves you vulnerable, more prone to the possibility of getting hurt. Our past relationship experiences, positive and negative, can certainly influence our current and/or future ones, possibly long after those relationships have ended.
It may be useful for you and your partner to talk openly about her past relationships, as well as your feelings, to understand the sources of her concerns. Expressing her feelings could give the two of you the chance to discover how your relationship is different. You are not the same person as her ex-loves. Your girlfriend will also be able to see more clearly how much her comments have made you feel.
There is only so much you can do for your girlfriend. Ultimately, it’s up to her to get the help she needs that will allow her to live in the present moment and enjoy her current relationship with you. No matter how sincerely and frequently you reassure her, she still will probably go on feeling insecure unless she deals with the origin of these feelings. It isn’t your job to make everything right for her, and it may reach a point when you cannot be there for her anymore.