All Woman

THREE GUYS, three problems

DEAR COUNSELLOR

With Wayne Powell MA Counselling Psychology Relationship Counsellor

Monday, June 09, 2014    

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Dear Counsellor

I am a 20-year-old university student. My childhood boyfriend and I became sexually active in 2010 and everything was good until I left for Kingston. He was very self-centred, and talked about nothing but his car and music. He spent all his money on those things and whenever I asked him to support me, he just talked about what his car needed. When he forgot my birthday for the third time, I told him it was over.

I met another guy earlier this year and we started talking. He made me feel very happy and loved. He told me that he has a girlfriend but she is abroad and she has not been to Jamaica in five years. He told me that he had two girls that he had used to fulfil his sexual needs, but when he met me, all this changed. He made me feel special.

I went home last August for a month's break. I didn't hear from him at all. I came back to school the first week of September, with the intention of seeing him as soon as possible but didn't hear from him for a whole weekend. He refused to answer his phone.

When he resurfaced he said he had been visiting his mom, and didn't have any credit. But I found out he hadn't gone to his mom's house.

I confronted him and he behaved badly and said I have trust issues. I forgave him, but when I asked that he use condoms from then on, he accused me of being unfaithful. I had unprotected sex with him and the following weekend he was unreachable. I have not seen him since that night.

I met this other guy three weeks ago at a party at school. We went out twice and he claims he loves me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me. He even changed his Facebook status for me. But I have no feelings for him because I still love guy number two, and my childhood boyfriend is driving me crazy. How do I move on from these guys?

Let's briefly recount your romance journey and see what is the one common denominator that is consistent throughout. You started with your childhood boyfriend who was self-centred and showed more love for his car and music and gave you little attention. The second guy was unavailable and he too was not able to offer you love and attention in a sustained way. The third guy in the initial stage of the relationship was willing to offer commitment but you were not in love with him.

Your desperate search for someone to love and care for you is the motivating factor that is driving you into these relationships. It is a fact that most human beings require emotional security and well-being for survival; sometimes, however, when there is a deficit in this regard, particularly in our childhood and pre-adulthood years, we desperately pursue happiness in the wrong places and with the wrong people. We even engage in risky behaviours like having unprotected sex just to gain the love and affection of the other person.

The sooner you recognise and appreciate that you don't necessarily need someone external to validate your worth and value as a human being, the better you would be able to deal with this seemingly perplexing situation. Self-validation and positive self-esteem are essential to emotional growth and development.

Affairs of the heart can be quite heart-rending experiences that, if not handled well, can drive some people into a state of depression.

Make an appointment with your school counsellor as soon as possible and share your issues with her/him. The counsellor will teach you some self-esteem building exercises that will help you to place more emphasis on accentuating and validating the best of yourself.

You may want to put the intimate relationships on hold for now and focus on school.

I am sure you know the dangers of engaging in unprotected sex, so as they say, if you can't be good, be careful.

At the age of 20 you have a bright future ahead of you. Don't destroy this golden opportunity that many others would want.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to crisscounselloronline@gmail.com.

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