DEAR TEENAGER… DEAR ADOLESCENT…
How are you today? How are you dealing with all the rapid changes happening around you? I sincerely hope they have not been too overwhelming. If they have, I hope this quote helps provide a level of comfort, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
I am writing to you today to briefly talk about romantic relationships. Sounds exciting right? I know! Lol!
Before I continue, I want you to know that most of what you will read here today is subjective, and you are very free not to treat it as gospel.
I am guessing, by now, that you have experienced (or are currently experiencing) the feeling of being attracted to someone within your vicinity (whether in school, on your street, at your place of worship, etc). Even as you read this, the image of that boy or girl is probably sitting pretty in your head, and causing your heart to race, gbish gbish. I thoroughly understand that feeling. And if you’re yet to have that experience, it is going to come; Get ready.
As a teenager, in senior secondary school, I enjoyed the feeling of having a school crush. I enjoyed the feeling of liking my crush, and I also found the feeling of being admired exhilarating. It was sweet. In those moments, I honestly imagined a future of me and my crush living our best lives together. I would have loved to give you further details of how I used my pocket-money to gift my crush airtime on multiple occasions. I am laughing very hard as I remember. Omo, I honestly thought I was in love.
After secondary school, I had a few other fleeting crushes in the higher institution. Interestingly, of all the crushes I had, I only ever directly asked one to date me (and she kindly told me she was not interested).
Looking back at those experiences, I am grateful that I did not fall into the trap of dating any of my crushes then. Hindsight suggests to me that we (I and my crushes) were incredibly immature and ill-prepared for a quality, sustainable, romantic relationship; it would have ended in peak tears.
There is a lot of responsibility and baggage that comes with being in a serious romantic relationship. Most of the time, the responsibilities are too much for a teenager /adolescent to handle…and if not properly guided, parties involved experience irreparable hurt and damage.
If you’re a Nigerian, like me, I reckon your parents(or guardians) have seriously scolded you against having romantic relationships with any boy or girl. If you’re a girl, your parents probably told you that, “if any boy touches you once, you will get pregnant”. As a teenager, I often saw their scoldings as old school, outdated, and unnecessary paranoia. I guess the same applies to you.
Even though you hate scoldings like the above, I want you to know that they are very valid, and should be taken very seriously. I recognize that parents can be quite abrasive in matters like this, but the primary intention is to protect you from making life-disruptive mistakes.
There’s a tendency to stick with the narrative(often portrayed in movies) of fairytale high school or college relationships that end up happily ever after; There’s also the tendency for you to daydream of how your high school or college love story will be just like the fairytales you see in the movies. However, the poignant truth is that reality is far far different from what you see in the movies. Movies do not tell the full story.
So, if you are already in romance with a fellow teen or adolescent, and maybe thinking he/she will be your one and only true love, I hate to break it to you dear, that won’t happen; you two won’t get married; there are dangerous tears along the way. Look, I am not just saying this because I want to; it is just what it is. There are pieces of evidence to support what I have said.
So, here is a couple of advice for you:
- If you’re either in high school (also secondary school) or you’re just starting out in the University, AND you’re in a romantic relationship, please my dear, end that relationship. End it and focus on your academic, emotional, spiritual, and mental development.
- If you’re already in mid-University, AND you’re in a romantic relationship, please my dear, inform any of the following: your parents, a leader in your religious fellowship, or a senior friend. This is for accountability and guidance. Please, do not assume that because you’re in mid-University, you’re well matured to handle the responsibilities (or baggage) that romance brings.
- If you do not belong to any of the categories above, please my dear, keep it up. You’re probably getting a lot of attention from the opposite sex, and there’s heavy temptation to yield, please, resist the urge. Resist it hard.
Overall, romance is a double-edged sword. When done right, it is very sweet. Otherwise, it can wreak unreal havoc, leaving its victims in its wake — shattered and broken. Please I beg you, for the sake of all that is pure and good, before you delve into any form of romance, seek adequate counsel; do not make the mistakes we(adults) made.
Peradventure, romance has already burnt you and caused you to experience heartbreak, take comfort in this, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
I am ending this letter now. I hope it helps you.
In case you have questions, or you need clarity on some of the things I have said, or you need some form of counsel, you can contact me on Twitter or WhatsApp. — I can try to assist or direct you to better counselors.
Thank you. Stay Safe. Keep hope alive.