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How young is too young to be in a romantic relationship?

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Dear Aunty Julie,

I am 16 years old and have finished my secondary education. I am what a psychologist would call an early developer because I look like a full-grown lady and men make passes at me. Nobody believes me when I tell them my age. I am tired of telling people that I am still what my mum calls a minor.

Recently, a guy who has long graduated from the University approached me in the church and proposed to be my friend and have a relationship with me. I am a Christian and my family is born-again. My parents would practically skin me alive if I look at a guy let alone talk to one.

As I’m talking to you, I can hear my mother’s voice warning me to focus on my education and forget relationships for now. She is always threatening hell-fire and damnation whenever issues of realtionship crops up in our discussion. I am a 21stcentury teenager. I cannot approach my mother with discussions like this. That’s why I am asking you. Please help me. How young is too young to be in a romantic relationship?

Ufoma, Warri

 

Dear Ufoma,

Your mother is right in trying to protect you because she doesn’t want you to make any mistake that would scuttle your future. Often, the younger we are, the less mature we are due to a lack of life experience. When we are just beginning to figure out who we are, we may not be firmly grounded enough to form solid romantic attachments and may be more prone to making unwise decisions that can leave us with emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual damage.

Being in a relationship puts one in almost constant temptation, especially as emotions begin to develop and the attraction to the other person deepens. Young teens, even older teens are besieged by hormonal and societal pressures that seem at times almost unbearable. Each day brings new feelings, doubts, fears, and confusion coupled with joys and exhilaration which can be very confusing. Young people spend much of their time just figuring out who they are and how they relate to the world and the people around them. To add the pressure of a relationship at this stage seems almost too much to ask. Such early relationships make it more difficult to avoid damage to the delicate and still-forming self-image, not to mention the problem of resisting temptation. If being marriage-minded is still far off, it is probably too early to begin dating or courtship. Safer for girls like you are group activities where young people can develop social skills and friendships without the pressure and inherent difficulties of romantic attachments.

No matter when a person decides to begin a romantic relationship, this should be a time of building on the foundation that he or she has been taught, of growing and figuring out what God wants him or her to do.

 

I cannot hang to myself

Dear Julie,

I don’t know how to keep certain things to myself. One thing that’s difficult for me in relationships is “hanging on to myself.” It seems that once I get close to someone , I give in and accommodate so much that there’s nothing left of me. And before I knew it, they would be taking me for granted. Is it ‘see finish’ or what?

Kennedy, Lagos

Dear Kennedy ,

It’s hard to experience fulfillment in a relationship which is not equal and reciprocal. The best way to avoid “giving yourself up” in a relationship is to develop some assertiveness skills. Be firm. Learn how to express your feelings, beliefs, opinions, and needs openly and honestly. You have a right to have feelings and to make requests. State them directly and firmly and without apology. Acknowledge the other person’s point of view, but repeat your request as many times as necessary. Learn to say “no” to unreasonable requests. Offer a reason, not an excuse , if you choose, but your feelings are reason enough. Trust them.\

 

We’re from different worlds

Aunty Julie,

My bae and I are from different backgrounds.My parents were educated while hers were not. My father is a professor and my mother holds a Phd in Social Sciences. I grew up in a University environment and my lifestyle is basically urbane.

My bae is educated but her parents who were business people struggled to put her through school. Her orientation in life is basically different but we love each other. However, the differences in our backgrounds always spring up when least expected and it can be  pretty frustrating.

What can we do about it?

Elo, Port-Harcourt

Dear Elo,

It’s normal for relationship partners to have different needs in at least few areas. Coming from different worlds or having differing needs don’t mean your relationship is coming apart, but it is important to communicate about them to avoid misunderstandings. Tell your partner directly what you want or need, rather than expecting them to know already . Set aside time to discuss unresolved issues. Pouting, sulking, and the “silent treatment” don’t make matters any better. Inevitably, you and your partner will have conflicts but they needn’t be nasty. Stay in the present, don’t dwell on past grievances. Listen actively , express back to your partner what you understand his/her thoughts and feelings to be. There should be no saving up hurts and hostilities and dumping them on your partner all at once and if you are wrong, admit it!

 

How do I go about meeting the right people?

 Aunty Julie,

I am a young lady of 23 and still an undergraduate. I will say I’m mature for relationships and have had a failed relationship in the past. Ever since, I have not connected with another lover. I don’t think I have a poor self-concept. I feel pretty good about myself. But in my university, it is easy to get lost in the crowd. How do I go about meeting the right people? I worry aboutbefriending people who will influence my life negatively.

Jane, Benin City.

 

Dear Jane,

It appears you see meeting people as something which requires effort, and you’re right! No matter how stunningly attractive you may be, passively waiting for others to throw themselves your way not only doesn’t work very reliably, it doesn’t allow you to be very choosy. One of the best ways to meet people is to put yourself in places where there are likely to be other people who share your interests and values. And as a student, there are many organizations you can join. There are students union meetings, departmental meetings and other social groups. Check for information on groups based on religion, athletics, academics, political/special interests, ethnicity/culture, and service or charity. You cannot get lost in a crowd if you identify yourself with the right groups. And when you’re with people, initiate a conversation by asking a question, commenting on the situation, asking for or offering an opinion, expressing some interest, showing some concern, or offering or requesting help. When you’ve engaged someone in conversation, let him know you’re listening and interested. Make eye contact, adopt an open posture, reflect the feelings you hear, paraphrase what he is saying, and ask for clarification if you don’t understand. Always remember that no risks, no gains. Don’t be discouraged if you and the other person don‘t “click” first and every time. Goodluck.

 

COCK-TALES

Lunch hour

“My Darling,” said a husband to his wife, “I invited a friend for  lunch.”

“What? Are you crazy?” The wife replied. The house is a mess, I  haven’t been shopping, and I am not going to prepare any meal.”

“I know  that” husband replied.

So why did you invite him then”? She  asked.

Because the poor fool is thinking about getting married.”

Bruising

A woman came to a doctor, with bumps and bruising all over her body. The woman complained that it was her husband, who beat her. The doctor was surprised.

I thought your husband was out of town.”

  So did I..”

Compliment

A woman standing in front of the mirror complained to her husband:

“I look ugly. At least you tell me any compliment!”

“Your vision is perfect!”

Lovers

Two friends, a florist and a plumber were talking:

“I think my wife has a lover,” said the florist.

“ How do you know?” asked the plumber

“When I returned home after work, I found freshly gathered roses on the bed.”

“Well, and I think my wife has a lover too ,” said the plumber.

“How do you know?”

“When I returned home after work, I found a plumber, lying on the bed.”

 

 

 

 

 

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