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August 13, 2017


Dear Khala,
I am a 22-year-old guy in a relationship with a girl. She has expressed her willingness to marry me, but I am being cautious about this owing to some personal issues. I have to admit that even I myself am not sure about her. I do not want to break her heart because she really loves me and she is also a good girl. The problem is that my relationship with her is disturbing my studies. I have tried to make her realise that she distracts me, but she does not understand this and begins to complain that I am ignoring her and that I do not love her. She thinks that I should gossip with her all the time. Sometimes I get fed-up of all this and begin to think about parting ways with her. I cannot let anyone distract me when I am studying. Please show me the right path. Distracted

Dear Set-Boundaries,
You are on the right path. You cannot walk on eggshells around your partner’s feelings all the time if you are considering being in this relationship in the long-term. You have to set boundaries and your girlfriend needs to accept this. There should be parts of your life where you decide what to do and there should be parts of her life where she takes her own decisions. If this hurts her feelings, she just needs to grow up and accept it. She may be the right person for you and may be a caring and loving girlfriend, but she needs to understand that she cannot distract you from the goals that you have set for yourself, that you will not stop pursuing your goals just because she wants to chat and giggle, or because she wants her boyfriend constantly by her side assuaging her insecurities. Giving up your goals and pandering to a partner’s needs is an unhealthy pattern in any relationship.

Be gentle with her and tell her that while she is important to you, you have to pursue your goals. And that you cannot give that up just because she wants attention. Tell her that you want a partner who supports you and that in turn you also want to support your spouse-to-be to reach her potential. Explain to her that you like her a lot, but you just can’t obsess over her and give up your dreams because of her. 

“My girlfriend wants me to gossip with her 24/7”

Hello Auntie,
I am very depressed because my family treats me as if I am their obligation. They do love me (I think), but they criticise me a lot and make me feel like a loser. This is affecting my grades and my parents blame me for this. What bothers me the most is that they treat my siblings like they are their prized possession. I even tried to talk to them but without any effect. I am very confused because though I love my family, I am not sure if I like them.

Dear Child,
Families are complicated and sometimes our parents don’t realise how they are impacting their children. Sometimes parents consider a certain child as more independent or more responsible and thus requiring less care or handholding than others. Your parents probably don’t have an idea about how you are feeling.

You have to talk to your parents about your feelings, that you feel that they are favouring your siblings. You may be surprised to discover that the first time your parents hear what you have to say maybe the first time it occurs to them.

Instead of accusing your parents of favouritism, tell them how you feel. Use statements like “I feel that you criticise me a lot.” After this you cannot control how your parents will respond. They might become defensive or dismissive, but at least you would have expressed yourself and your parents might become more conscious of their behaviour.

Auntie will not reply privately to any query.Please send concise queries to:

Published in Dawn, EOS, August 13th, 2017

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