Ever wanted to rant about that someone you just can’t stand? Overwhelmed with too many feelings? Check out Raffles Press’ new column, Ask Aunt Agony and Uncle Upset, and our resident Aunties and Uncles will be glad to help you with your Rafflesian troubles! Submit your confessions to tinyurl.com/rafflesadvicecolumn and we’ll give them our best shot.
Note: This article’s content should be viewed as suggestions and not a substitute for emotional counselling. If you require further advice, please approach the school counsellors at the Underground, who will be more than willing to offer a listening ear.
Dear Aunt Agony/Uncle Upset, I have been with my girlfriend for six months and we have had our moments, good or bad. The thing is that I am comfortable with her and she is comfortable with me, emotionally speaking. But as of recently she tried to make me more ‘physically comfortable’ with her, too comfortable to my liking. Even though it is quite ironic that I’m not making the first move, I actually feel uncomfortable taking the next step in intimacy. I am not ready to lose my virginity. But at the same time, I don’t want to lose her. What should I do as a man?
– Confused Romantic
Dear Confused Romantic,
I empathize with your current situation of being stuck between a rock and a hard place. It is unfortunate that society often wants the man in the relationship to take initiative, while oftentimes the poor fellow could be as lost as any other person facing the same problem.
Firstly, try to let go of preconceived notions of “being a man”. What matters most is that you, as an individual, are uncomfortable with taking the next step in physical intimacy – and that’s perfectly understandable at our age (and at any age and in any relationship, actually). Seeing that you’ve been with your girlfriend for six months already, I would assume that you two have developed a healthy and clear way of communicating to each other. In this case, do sit her down in an environment you both feel comfortable with and tell her about the mixed feelings you’ve been having so far. It may be so that she thought you were okay with it, as it might be her way of wanting to deepen the relationship further.
Love is multi-faceted. There are many films and/or stories that think otherwise, showing you how physical intimacy is paramount to maintaining a healthy relationship. That is not the case. If you think about your relationship in the long run, looks fade and people will age – but your mind will not, so it is better to continue building a stable relationship based on mutual understanding and affection, thus establishing a mental connection, instead of building on just an intense physical attachment. Physical acts aren’t the only paragons of love as popular culture makes them out to be.
Secondly, don’t be afraid of losing her. Love and intimacy should be something beyond just holding hands, or studying together, and sex is not like dealing a final card. If she truly loves you, she would understand your hesitance to further the physical side of the relationship and accept your decision. You’re right in that virginity, for both males and females, is something that can only be lost once. While six months is a significant amount of time, you still have many years stretching ahead in front of you. Ultimately, stay true to your values and beliefs, and don’t be indirectly pressurized into making a decision you’ll regret!
Good luck, and I hope you and your girlfriend will work it out.
I’m quite close to a girl, but I don’t know whether she likes me or not. I do like her but I have not told her my true feelings yet as I’m afraid that it would harm our friendship. What am I supposed to do?
Do not despair, for this situation happens to almost every teenager at some point in time, including your Aunts and Uncles here at the column. However, despite this being a common situation, every girl is different and the way she perceives friendship and crushes will differ. Thus, I will attempt to eschew typical magazine articles like “How To Tell If She Likes You!” in this answer, and I advise you to do the same.
The first thing that would help you would be to calm down and take it slow. People nowadays are often hypersensitive to any slight change in their friends’ countenance. See a guy talking to a girl? They should be together! If a girl posts an Instagram picture of a guy friend and her, gossip rages about whether or not it’s an “acknowledgement” of their relationship. All these lenses and speculation can inadvertently increase the pressure on you, and do more harm than good when it comes to figuring out the next step in this friendship.
Since you mention being “quite close” to her, thus I would infer that she at least has an interest in maintaining this degree of friendship with you in the near future. If you really want to find out if she likes you, you can discreetly ask any mutual friends or classmates for their opinion. Perhaps she has shown signs of liking you back that you missed? Maybe she often talks about you in an offhanded way (“Oh, [you] said this the other day …”) that shows she pays attention and remembers your conversations, or maybe her close friends often tease her good-naturedly and she has shown some positive reaction to that?
Meanwhile, you can also continue spending them with her in and out of school. Get to know her better and, if you two grow increasingly close, you can even pluck up the courage one day to ask her directly if she has ever had romantic feelings for you. If she says yes, then it would be a good time to confess your own feelings. If she says no, then try to accept her decision and treasure her friendship regardless of her response. Remember there was a reason you wanted to be her friend at first, and those reasons likely won’t change just because she doesn’t like you that way. Besides, there may still be a ray of hope waiting down the lane!
Ultimately, remember that she still remains her own person whether or not you two end up in a relationship, and you can still gain a lot from being her friend. All relationships are organic and need time to evolve, so be patient, and be brave. All the best!
I think I’m in love but I do not want to be! Studying is something really important right now with CTs around the corner. Can you give tips on how I can focus better and stop my loving heart?
– Ms Heartpain
Dear Ms. Heartpain,
Your efforts in trying to deny your feelings are commendable, but sadly I have to inform you that hearts are incorrigible and feelings cannot be stopped! Unless you want to turn into Lord Voldemort, or something.
Jokes aside, I understand your current dilemma. Since you do seem to be determined to “focus better” on studies, I will give you some tips before offering my own opinion later:
- If you want to be less distracted, first cut down the amount of time you spend seeing the object of your love. This is a classic example of the “out of sight, out of mind” theory.
- Take a moment to reflect, and decide on a course of action. Do you want to continue mulling over this (still unrequited?) love, or do you feel yourself capable of compartmentalising it, at least until CTs are over?
- Lastly, take the time to assess your situation. Is this unexpected development really that detrimental to you? Are your grades good enough for you to afford more time for this? Or are you thinking about him/her all the time and it is starting to become an unhealthy rumination?
However, I think the problem may lie not with your “loving heart”, but with the environment that we both share: RJC. Here, it’s very easy to feel pressurized by the high academic achievements of people around you, and thus inadvertently treat non-academic matters as distractions. While studying is important (and I think your educators will be proud of you for acknowledging that), take care not to shut out your emotions or compartmentalise them for too long. The first step to working them out is to acknowledge them – otherwise, you might end up consumed by a backlog of repressed feelings! Or you may look back and realise that you missed a relationship that had great potential, and the “what if?” might affect you more than you’d like to admit.
Love should be something that buoys you up instead of dragging you down. The fear that it would be a burden or distraction is only because of the underlying assumption that your significant other would want constant attention. This should not happen in reality, because if your significant other truly wanted the best for you, they should understand that you will inevitably need to take time out (on your own) to deal with your commitments and studies.
Good luck for that, and good luck for CTs as well!
Aunt Agony and Uncle Upset
If you have any queries or concerns related to the Aunt Agony/Uncle Upset column or its confessions, please direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the title ‘Questions about Aunt Agony’.