Dear Bunmi,

For years I was involved with a man who verbally and physically abused me. I finally had the courage to leave him but, because of his nastiness, I seem to resent men in a big way and they tend to hurt and use me.

I am now in my late 20s and recently met a man who is my cousin’s friend. We’ve become lovers, but he doesn’t look the serious type to me, and my cousin confirmed he still goes out with the girl he had before me. I’m scared of catching some diseases because he refuses to use condoms with me. Please help.

Modesta, by e-mail.

Dear Modesta,

It’s a pity that your last relationship has left you emotionally battered and very low on self-esteem, so it’s no wonder you now feel the way you do. And because you’ve been treated so badly, that’s what you come to expect from all men. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Men will only use you as long as you let them.

So, it is time to get tough and break that cycle. Stop sleeping with your cousin’s friend and tell him where to get off! And in future, don’t go near a man who refuses to wear a condom. (Not only do you risk catching sexually transmitted diseases, there is also the risk of unwanted pregnancy).

Tell yourself you deserve best treatment and refuse to settle for second best. In the meantime, get to know potential partners as friends first before hoping into the sack.

A man who genuinely cares about you won’t mind waiting.

Share your problems and release your burden. Write now to Dear Bunmi, Vanguard Newspapers, P.M.B 1007, Apapa, Lagos, or [email protected]

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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.