(Read part 3 here)
Another issue to settle is that of relationship. When I say relationship I mean issues such as dating – having a boyfriend or girlfriend or none, bla-bla-bla. Believe me, it’s a good thing to be in a relationship. It is even better, if it is the right kind of relationship. I have heard painful and hurtful stories and I have experienced such too. We all have our pasts, yes, we do.
However, it is good to consider this issue as regards the following: What kind of relationship do you want to build? When do you want to start one? Why do you want a boyfriend or girlfriend? How intimate do you want to be with each other?
While on camp during my NYSC programme, I went for a course that had to do with reproductive health and HIV/AIDS. There, I met a young man who seemed to have this air of hurt and bitterness around him. An issue was raised on dating which finally led him to open up to me. He sounded so hurt and pissed during that session that he had to leave the classroom. When I later joined him outside, he told me of his experience.
He met a lady while on campus. Later on, he got to know that this lady was in another relationship with a guy who happened to be outside the country at that time. Somehow and to my amazement, he began dating this lady with full knowledge that she had some other guy outside the country (extreme case of folly).
Sex was introduced into the relationship and it became something they did regularly. Some years had passed when this other guy returned home. The lady then immediately ended their relationship and continued with her friend from abroad. In his disappointment and anger, mixed with frustration and feeling of betrayal, the young man who had never taken hemp in his life, started taking such. He took it in a bid to relieve himself of the pain and hurt. Then, he started having mental problems. I am sure it took a measure of mercy from God to still keep him sane. I remember, he said to me, “I cannot give my heart to any girl again”. But that wasn’t the solution. He simply needed to address his folly.
The truth is, issues like this spring up from time to time, from person to person and from place to place. Waiting to get into the higher institution before settling this issue is like postponing the evil day. For most of us, if we could turn back the hands of time, we would have approached relationships in a different way. Therefore, I am happy and glad you are reading this.
As I said earlier, being in a relationship can be one of the best things to happen to you; if you are careful not to follow the wrong path. I asked some questions earlier to which I will suggest some guidelines:
What kind of relationship do you want to build? Short bliss or long-lasting, blissful relationship? The truth is, why pursue any relationship at all if it’s not going to be a meaningful one that would last long enough to be blissful any time, any day, anywhere?
When do you want to start one? The question may depend on various factors such as the mental and emotional maturity of the person or persons involved, parental consent, spiritual consent, etc.
When to start a relationship is not solely a matter of what level one is at in the university. I know men and women in 200 level whose ages sound twenty-eight, etc. They probably have jobs or something as a means of earning a living and financing the relationship. But frankly, I agree with those in the school of maturity. Not age, not level but mental maturity, financial maturity, spiritual maturity, etc.
Why do you want to keep a relationship? Most certainly, humans are basically relational beings. From time to time, we meet people, we make friends, and we have our family who we relate with. However, we were created with ability to have feelings and fall in love. We cannot question the way we are designed instead we should appreciate it and celebrate it rightly. One such way of expressing that is when we choose to date a person. Remember I said celebrate it rightly. Most people have made the mistake that falling in love with someone justifies having sex. No, it doesn’t. You don’t need to fall a victim of the consequences before you believe it.
How far do you want to go intimate with each other? I have shared a pathetic story on ‘how far’ with you already. Basically, I do not for any reason concur with sex before marriage. The chances of break-ups once sex is introduced are high likewise the degree of hurt attached to it. Are there no genuine ways of expressing your love to each other rather than having sex? These are issues; issues that need to be settled before you fly into higher institution!
However, if you find yourself in a relationship and it is one you would really like to keep, be very careful not to allow your academics suffer. Learn how to be balanced. Always make up extra studying hours for every time you spend with that person so nothing loses out.
I cannot overemphasise the importance of understanding the area of relationships as one climbs up into the higher institution. I will not deny the fact that this area of life has the potential to make or mar one’s academic pursuit.
By Folaranmi ‘Kunle Omoyeni