Trials and tribulations of young love.jpg

Trials and tribulations of young love

By DR MICHAEL LOWRY [email protected]

Dr Michael Lowry is an experienced parent and educator, who regularly visits his Algarve home in Tavira. His work over many years in universities has led to increasing interest in, and understanding of teenagers, their problems and feelings. He has published widely in professional journals, and has delivered presentations at international conferences.

Q: I am a sixteen year old girl with one older brother. We live with our parents and generally get on quite well.

My problem is that I have been seeing a boy who is a year younger than me (yes I know that seems odd at my age) but I am constantly thinking of him and just want to be with him all the time. He is a very popular guy and has a lot of friends. He tends to talk to me a lot less when we are out in a group, though when I ask him why, he says it’s just his way, and that he loves me.

I have not had many other boyfriends, but this one is definitely the only one for me from now on. We have started to become intimate, which I find scary, but he just laughs. I have also heard that he tells others what we have been doing together. I don’t feel I have anyone to talk to about this.

A: Thanks for your contribution, which I am sure has taken a great deal of courage. I have not included some of the other matters that you raised, as these need to be dealt with by a social worker or by your GP.

You say that you consider it strange to have a younger boyfriend. Yes, it is commonly believed that many girls of your age range would seek an older boyfriend, but a year is not necessarily such a big deal and need not be a barrier. What is important is both the way you feel for this boy, and the way in which he treats you. It almost seems that he has you as a trophy, while being quick to earn the interest from his mates by telling them what you and he have been doing together privately. That is totally unacceptable, and sounds alarm bells.

You need to ask yourself what you are getting out of this relationship, and also consider raising the issues with friends who you can trust. Although you say that you do not have anyone to turn to, you may find that other girls of a similar age will be able to share some understanding, and hopefully support you in your moves to look for a boy who values you more as a friend, than a trophy to be ridiculed among his friends. This will not be easy for you, however I am totally confident that the lessons learned will pay you back many times in the years to come. Take care of yourself and that means really take time out to look after yourself.

‘Teenagers: their care and maintenance in captivity’ is available direct from: or from major online retailers.

Dr Michael Lowry can be contacted by emailing [email protected]