Monday, September 1, 2014

Dating & Relationships

One of my readers asked for relationship advices at this age. Just a disclaimer, I'm not saying I'm "very experienced" in relationships, but I think I've got the gist of it, enough to share it with you guys. Dating before the age of 20 is really tricky, like, are you ready for it and how do you cope with the ups and downs in the relationship along with school's workload?

The stages 


This is the acquaintance towards friends stage, where you guys just hang out, perhaps as a group or just the two of you. You feel that there is chemistry and get along well, you see potential in this.


This is the period where you really get to know the person whom you're interested in or the person who is interested in you. This is what I call the "probation period". You ask the other person out, have a meal, catch a movie, take a walk and just chat to get to know. You start to discover about his family, his past, his values and personality. 

During this period, you also observe the little habits they possess, whether it annoys you or pleases you. Do beware that during this period, they would more likely show the habits that please you more, since they want to make a good impression. What's a good duration? I would say a little more than six months would be the average time a person takes to open up to you and reveal all their good and bad habits. This is to ensure a strong foundation to this potential relationship.

After finding out all their habits, both good and bad, ask yourself whether you can accept these and if this is really what you want. Are you happy with him? Can you visualise a future together? Would you love him for who he is? 

If the answer is no for most of these questions, you should not move on to the next stage. Be honest to yourself and to that person, respect him enough to tell him the truth, that you cannot continue. But if your answer is yes for all, don't rush things just yet, give yourself some more time to rethink rationally. At this stage, it's easy for your emotions to overwhelm you, what we call "blinded by love". Come back in a few days, do you still feel the same? If yes, you're good to move on. 


One of you confessed, now you're finally together after wrecking your brains and fighting with your heart. "In a Relationship", it's official. The best relationships, in my opinion, start from mutual thoughts and feelings about each other. 

At this stage, you will continue to know this person even more, some parts of them that you just knew, some may make you fall for them even more while some may appal you. This is where the strong foundation comes into play and why the six months is so fundamental. You know that person well enough and love that person enough to accept and embrace these flaws.

Yes, there may be little tiffs and arguments, but trust me that's part of every relationship. Eventually, the bond grows and you will find that you love more deeply and passionately. You build trusts. At this rate, you guys would be unbreakable. 


This is really tricky to gauge, whether you're ready to commit (or not). There is really no definite age to start dating, as it takes some trial-and-errors to know what exactly you're looking for. This would depend on your maturity level and your mindset on dating and relationships. Are you thinking of a long-term relationship? If you are, then I would say age 18 onwards. 

There are more than 7 billion people in the world for you to get to know, there's really no need to rush things. 18 years old is a good gauge of age for one to have found his/her own identity and settle on it. You never want to date a person who is still finding himself/herself as you may not like the changes you will be experiencing.

Or, are you thinking of a fling? Make sure that person knows about this "plan" of yours and is okay with it. What I'm trying to get across is to minimise the people you could hurt in this world as much as you can. 

Coping along school

Being in a relationship during school is tricky. One part is the coping with stress from school together with the arguments that may affect you even more and stress you out. The other part is the inevitable question of whether it would last. 


At the age below 18, again the magic number, it is easy to slip into psychological issues if you have not derived the mechanisms to handle these different stresses, especially when it comes to relationships.

However, in the case that you both have a mutual understanding of each other, meaning to give appropriate space to each other, both emotionally and physically (e.g. not clingy), this might actually work out in the long run. Of course, this is IF you've passed the "stages" as mentioned before. 

Whether it lasts

The relationship could've been going very well during school, but in the matter of each of you going different paths like different schools or even overseas. You get into this status of a "long distance relationship". If your foundation was strong enough that you built enough trust, this would be easy breezy, but if it wasn't strong, it will not work out, sadly. 

So, all in all, how ready you are really depends on your maturity level and readiness for commitment.

The Good

However, there's always a good to everything. Being in a relationship during school makes you feel less lonely, and knowing that somebody out there loves you is quite an amazing feeling. If it's a healthy relationship, it could even help you in your studies, perhaps you could tutor each other and share notes or simply study together.

There's also the adrenaline to get to school knowing that the person you love or who loves you is waiting in school to see you. It helps de-stress you from school work as well; being in little paradises during break when you meet each other. 

I hope this post has helped some or even just one of you. Again, I'm not saying I'm an expert in relationships, just sharing what I've learnt. 

Keep musing,

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