“I am confused and I’m just tired, really. I’m feeling like I am going from one guy to another and I don’t like it. This one is misbehaving and its making me feel bad, I am so tired from dealing with these guys.”
The above is a little from the confession one of my sweethearts (a teenager of course) shared with me about crushes and dating. I know or want to believe a lot of teenagers are going through this, I did myself and I must confess it really is a hard stage or situation to battle with.I decided not to date (or say have a boyfriend) until I was out of Secondary School but that decision didn’t save me from having crushes, wishing and imagining love in my head and mind and of course, being hurt about love 😂, funny right? So if and when I say I know the feelings of dating and relationships as a teenager, believe me.
My discussion with Sim (not her real name) made me want to talk about Dating and Relationships today on our diary, so let’s get to it! In one of our first sessions, we talked about dealing with crushes and I emphasised that it is completely normal as a teenager for you to love someone or have a crush! I keep saying this to every teenager I have the opportunity to talk to, so we can first accept and understand what is normal and abnormal.That being said, what you now decide to do with the crush and feelings you have is what determines if your decision is normal or not. For instance, if you decide to convert your crush into dating and then begin having premarital sex, that is NOT good enough as a teenager!
When those feelings of love and crushing erupt in us as teenagers, we are usually in a dilemma as to should I date him or not? Will my mom/dad not kill me if they hear i have a boyfriend? I am still small but hmm, my friends have boyfriends already and many other two way thoughts. In all of these, what I preach is don’t start dating at your teenage, date and discover yourself instead and build friendship and network!This doesn’t in anyway mean I am belittling your feelings, not at all! But because there is a lot of things that come with your teenage years that is so much more than dating and there are some things attached to each (dating and friendship). Let’s see some of them. 1. Teen age is to discover yourself: as I said in one of our diary sessions,many adults today (including me) didn’t maximise our teenage years and so in our 20s, we are struggling to search deep inside and find out the hidden talents and personalities in us. But you still have the time to do so, forming your ideas in your head and executing without any influence or needing acceptance. If you have a friend or group of friends that you do things together with, then you all begin to search deep and bring out the best in each/one another without one person trying to influence another and each being at the centre. In dating however, your partner who is lost likely older than you are, as common with many female teenagers, takes charge and is the one who controls how things are done to affect the both of you. I know this myself, then many other teenagers confessed to this. This doesn’t mean the person doesn’t want you to progress or is not supporting you but really, there is nothing as good as you knowing what you want and getting to do it for yourself, without the fear of “will my boyfriend/girlfriend like this idea“, you get? Exactly! Your teenage years should be for self discovery and building yourself, and get you a good network of friends who’ve got one another’s back.
2. Though life is a risk, one needs to be prepared!: before you started attending high school, you must have of course passed through basic classes, right? What these classes do for you basically is to prepare you ahead for the greater task. So does friendship! When you have friends, you socialise, mix up and grow together and gradually, your capabilities expand, unlike dating where you are expected to know some certain things and have certain capabilities to handle some situations already. Dating comes with a lot and is hard enough as it is, but it is even harder to deal with when you’re not emotionally and physically ready. So yes, in as much as it is a risk (and we are advised many times to take risks), we need to be prepared for some things. You need to have built your self-esteem, mental capacity and many other things to an extent and your teenage years are the best for such. Adulthood comes with too many things, don’t you imagine how your parents put all the things they do together, and despite that, they still have some lapses? Exactly… you need to first build yourself!
A new research from the University of Georgia as originally written by Rebecca Ayer says and I quote, “Adolescents who were not in romantic relationships during middle and high school had good social skills and low depression, and fared better or equal to peers who dated“. This is sooo true, even the Bible testifies. I do not have knowledge of the Qu’ran, so my dear, permit me to explain the way I know while I paraphrase. One particular passage says, “But the married (the teenager that is dating) is concerned about the affairs of this world (the relationship), how he can please his wife (his/her girlfriend/boyfriend), and his interests are divided. The unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the work of the Lord (the future and personal de), how she can be holy in both body and spirit (how he/she can develop and grow herself).“3. Teenage is just 13-19, there’s still enough time: You won’t be a teenager forever but whatever you do in your teenage years will surely have an effect even if little on your adulthood. If you start developing yourself and putting out your best, it will take you places earlier than just finding yourself at 20. Likewise, the types of friends you make now will make or mar your tomorrow. So why not invest in good friendship at this short but very crucial time of your life and then when you are over it and grounded, you are good to go! I see many teenagers say they are old enough, they can take care of themselves. I usually laugh and tell them to do that at home for one week and see (with the full involvement of their parents) and we see how much they can go. 4. Dating doesn’t complement you and should not be a competition for you: peer pressure is another thing that entices teenagers to date – the fact that my friends have girlfriends/boyfriends and I am the only one that does not have. But guess what, having a boyfriend or girlfriend is not an achievement, just as marriage is not an achievement in life, so what’s the fuss about? If you are confident enough as a teenager and okay with yourself, you really do not need someone to complete you or to make you prove to your friends that you are as good as they are. of course dating will make you feel better, laugh, have fun, it is only temporary. All the love and butterflies in the stomach will not always be there again. Even for adults, the lovey dovey does not stay forever and friendship is then needed for them to stay longer. So you see Again and again, it makes sense that as a teenager to have a strong desire to be in a relationship – we’re relational beings made by God for relationships! But instead of getting exclusive with someone of the opposite sex, open your heart and life to friendships, group activities, and learn to develop your confidence based on who you are and what you have to offer the world around you.
5. Because this time in your life is meant to be enjoyed! On this last point, I will like to quote Debra Fileta, a Professional Counselor and speaker whose words I find just perfect. “I hate to be so blunt about this but this is a time in your life in which you weremeantto be single.I know, I know, that sounds so old-fashioned.But here’s the thing, what’s actually “old-fashioned” is being in a committed relationship while in your teens!My grandmother was engaged to be married at 14, and then married with her first child on the way at 15.It’s “old fashioned” to seek out relationships at this young age because it forces you to believe that your main purpose in life is to find someone to love you, when really, this stage of life should be all about learning to love yourself. Don’t wish this time away, but use it to focus on the things that really matter and maybe even begin to catch a glimpse of the things that God is calling you to.Develop your strengths and know your weaknesses, but most importantly- have a lot of fun.Relationships will always be a part of your life, but friends and family won’t.Use this time to enjoy the people around you – not for what they have to offer you, but for what you have to offer them. Embracing singleness during your teenage years doesn’t mean that you give up the desire to find true love, but that you simply learn to enjoy the ride right here, and right now.” Read and read and read this over and over again! No one is saying dating is not good or will make you unhappy, BUT then as much as many teenagers do not like to hear this, dating is not what your teen age should be centred about!
If you are at this point, try to see this and till we see again on Tuesday, stay safe and good darlings! Remember you can reach me at [email protected] if there any gist you want to give me, or advise you need or any other things we can discuss. Love you, always