Category Archives: Teen Dating

Relationship 201: The Power of The Tongue and What I Wish I Learned Sooner

I have learned a few things in 12 years of marriage, and although I consider myself humble in all that I still have to master, I think it so valuable what I have paid for in pain. If my platform allows me to help other young women avoid mistakes and gain knowledge prematurely, then my work is complete. Looking back, the power of my words was something I thought too little on and never gave enough weight to, until I suffered the consequences. And where else are we more likely to be wounded the deepest, then in our love lives and personal relationships? I bring it up because, as I discussed a little more in Missing The Father of My Child As A Teen Mom, I felt incomplete as a young, single parent. I knew I had a family, but I was missing the man. Now we all hear how you should be confident and single, and I totally agree it is a place to work towards, but this “hole” in my life consumed a lot of my thoughts. It became a need and I became focused on meeting that need in my life. The problem therein was that a man became my solution, and in that, I was totally deceived.

I like to make sport of love at times because I have come to the belief that it is a matter totally out of our control, who we fall madly in love with. I believe in destiny. I believe we are slaves to that biological demand and we will only mate with those humans who are completely compatible for reproduction. Primitive? Maybe, but the kind of love I feel, it’s for one man alone. It’s powerful. It defies reason and no force can stop it. I can’t explain it, but I can tell you that you, too, may find yourself in the same predicament. My goal here is to point out the maintenance of such love, to make you think about the power of your words towards those whom you say you need.

Love is amazing and having a family is amazing….. sometimes. Other times it is really boring or hard or self-sacrificing. Like any good thing, the harder you work at it the better the outcome. I was convinced that getting married would solve many of my problems. Life has been more enriched sharing my journey with my spouse, but my weaknesses, my character flaws – they didn’t magically disappear because I got married.

I needed to understand that hard work on my own integrity was the necessary key to my happiness.

Because the primitive need is always there, but how do we respectfully and intelligently nurture our love? Ladies, please hear me, the power is in your tongue. To keep quite in the storms, when stronger voices rage. To speak words of healing and power over the one you chose to spend your life with. I promise you, if you place a high standard on the words you allow to come out in your relationships, you will live to see the fruit of your labors! If only I had learned this sooner.

#PleasingAbba

The Teen Sex Life

It almost sounds unreal. Far from unreal, is it a topic that is untouchable? I wonder as I try to reach out to young people. I ask myself what I needed to hear as a teen that would have helped me make right choices and encouraged me to reach beyond the norm. Because that was the reality that I faced as a teen. Most of my peers were in sexual relationships. For me it was a lot of pressure. Sexual relationships for myself and my peers filled a place in our lives to bond with other people and share love and affection. Love and affection are normal parts of human character, so we can say that teens rightfully need to explore relationships. I can speak to this topic as an adult who has lived through it.

Use caution with intimacy

Intimacy binds us together with another person and causes us to become attached to them. When you attach yourself so closely and deeply with another person you stand the risk of being hurt.  I was usually looking for a deeper connection while MOST of the guys that where approaching me to date me or hang out with me only wanted to use me for sex. I’m still blindsided by this sometimes as a woman. Its like my mind isn’t attached to the same body. I forget how men think because I am not one.

There is this intense sexual hunt going on in the world. It’s called nature and reproduction and our youth can feel the impact. We can offer them caution and discipline, because discipline in sexuality will never be unneeded. We can help our teens to work through temptation, but we have to open the conversation. And to open up ourselves to talking about what their sex lives really look like, we will have to acknowledge they exist. #pleasingabba

 

Relationships 101

I had the fairy tale dream. I admit it. I grew up believing in a fairy tale existence as the destination status for my future relationship. I believed in the soul mate, the one true love, and I was looking for that person to show up in my life and complete me. Of course, now that I’ve been married for 11 years, I see so many things differently than I did as a teen mom. I want to share with you something I have become conscious of and I hope you can examine your own ideas and beliefs about relationships. I won’t pretend to be a know-it-all or a perfect example, but I will be real. I believe you can learn from what I’ve been through.

Relationships have always been something of a roller-coaster ride for me, rapidly launching through a range of deep emotion. I am happy to say my love life has slowly become more of a peaceful and steady journey – but it is mostly a battle. A battle to win and a work that requires my strongest resolve. I have to be wiling to give up selfishness. I have to put my relationship before my own desires, and sometimes this is really hard. Sometimes it makes me angry. I have to deal with that anger or let it come out in an explosion of hate heaped upon the people I am supposed to love the most. It is toiling. It is frustrating at times. Of course there is the bliss. The oh so consuming fire of passion and true love. Believing that your relationship is meant to be and this person was created just for you, and you for them. Those times are awesome and real. They are what keeps people staying together long after the storms of life happen. But the euphoria is always mixed with the struggle, it only comes after the work. As a teen I understood so little of the work it takes to keep a family/marriage together. I wanted to be loved so bad. I wanted to have an intimate relationship and experience. It was this out of control hunger.

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I know for me this was elevated because of my broken family and lack of close relationships at home. My parents were so busy with their careers and I felt ready to move out as soon as I turned eightteen. It was a lot. I was going to college and I was focused on graduating before marriage. I was just doing the best I could, but I was always looking over my shoulder or around the room. I was waiting for that one guy to show up and whisk me away. That one man who would love me and my son. I had a deep and desperate need in my life. I wasn’t just looking for myself, I had a child to consider.

Relationships consumed my late teens and early twenties. Dating was almost like a career. Relationships dominated gossip among my circles. Who’s with who?! Who’s going? Who’s that? It really can be a great time in life if you keep things in perspective. The feelings of wanting to find a partner and co-parent are normal. Every young person goes through this time. Yet as a teen mom it is different. You are vulnerable if you have a deep need to be loved. You are vulnerable because you have your heart wrapped up in your child. You are not alone in these things, you are very much the same as all mothers. You only lack the experience. You only lack the time and hard work and self-denial required to maintain a healthy, long-term relationship. Just remember that when you admire a marriage or partnership from afar, you’re not seeing the whole picture. Real love requires a real obligation. Real love hurts because it makes us grow out of our own ideas and comfort zones. You will not always agree with your mate. You will disagree and get offended and you will have anger. You will then have to work it all out within your relationship and at times this will be the most challenging part of your waking life. You will have to juggle all these emotions with parenting and money management and your personal work or career, because we all have a purpose and destiny. (Did I mention you will be the main cheerleader for your partner’s life work, too?) It is a role of a lifetime – wife. It will bless you and bring much joy, but it will be more work than fun.

I’m not afraid to tell you the truth. I wish many of the older women in my life could have been a little more real with me instead of putting up a front. I do the same so I get it. We all want to look good in front of others, we want to feel like we have it all together. Each person is a one of a kind original and each marriage/family is the same – no two are alike. Your life may be so different from mine, but remember what I have said about the hard work. Expect relationships to be harder than you anticipated and invest wisely. Know that you will have to juggle many roles and who you chose to love is a big deal. It may be the most controversial decision of your life!

You may ask, do I still believe in fairy tale romance and storybook endings? Yes, I do. I actually have a castle picked out in France and I regularly daydream about living there with my husband. I am a bold dreamer, I know. I haven’t given up on happily ever after. I think the romance and the dreaming are the greatest payoff for the endurance and pain we go through. Relationships! What else can I say? #PleasingAbba #TeenMom

My fairy tale? To be continued…….

Date Rape & The Top 5 Ways To Avoid It

Victim unaware of plan, predator has a plan

    I was so unaware I was being set up. I was so ignorant to the gossip of the young men at my high school. I had no idea how entering high school would expose me to more people than I had ever managed before in my social life. I was unaware that the popular crowd of guys actually planned and boasted about which girls they wanted to have sex with; that they had a bet going on who could get to me first. I was a virgin. I was 14 years old. I had no way of understanding or competing with the mindset of my male counterparts. I was innocent to all this. I was an adolescent, still a child when in came to sexuality and what that even meant. This is normal. The real issue is that I was being exposed to sex and I had no real understanding of it.  Middle school was my first introduction. It was a limited word I had heard from my peers, but it was still happening around me. Entering into High School in a new town only increased my level of contact with peers who were sexually active.

I was alone, without the company of a trusted guide to help me navigate something I did not understand but I was facing daily. My parents had abandoned the time they would’ve spent with me, preparing me to face this world of peer pressure. I, in turn, abandoned them and the so-called respect & honor I was supposed to give their rules. I threw myself into school and my social life. I enjoyed most of what school had to offer apart from sitting at a desk for long periods of time. It had been made pretty clear to me that school and good grades were very important. Building my college resume was pretty much the pinnacle of my existence for high school. No one told me I was one of a kind, created for good works. No one explained to me I was more than a body with a soul, but that I was a Spirit destined for eternity. The repeated lecture that I was simply to remain a virgin until marriage, just because it was wrong not to, wasn’t enough information for me to stand my ground against multiple predators. And once they realized I was an open target, lacking a protective hedge of a watchful guardian, it was over for me. My fate had been sealed, their game had begun.

sad

Date Rape is real and I am going to say it happens a lot more than we know. I experienced date rape when I was only 14, the summer before my freshman year. I never talked about it. I never told anyone. For over a decade I believed it was my fault. That simply because I said yes to a date with a graduating senior, that somehow what had happened was my doing. So I sank into silence. I hid what happened down deep in a dark place in my heart. I was ashamed. It made me feel awful. I had simply been used and victimized by a guy from my high school. I saw myself as unworthy of respect from young men, simply because of the way this one person treated me. I needed counsel and help, yet I really didn’t feel I had any adult I could confide in. My mother had tried to shame me into not having sex. I love my mom and I get why she did it. I believe she really did want me to remain pure and abstinent, but the shame theory proved more lethal in this regard then at all helpful.

When I really need unconditional love and open arms, I felt sure I would receive anger and shame

Even from my own parents who were responsible to teach and train me. To be fair, there really wasnt this type of adult at my high school or church setting either. I needed to be told I could be a target. I needed to be told that some guys would ask me out just to try to have sex with me and that was the only reason they were asking me out. This fact was alone not enough, I then needed a plan on how to respond. I needed an adult helping me to decide which dates I should say yes to and which ones I should say no to. It’s too much for a new teen to manage. I needed counsel.

The really sad part of date rape for young ladies like myself, is that if somehow I could have told a responsible adult, the outcome of the next decade of my life could have been much better. If a caring person could have heard what happened to me that night, they would have helped me understand it was in no way my fault and in no way OK. I accepted being raped and it in turn affected how I allowed men to treat me for years afterwards. I do not want this to happen to anyone else.  Always know that no matter what has happened to you, bringing it into the light will cause healing. In telling your story you are yourself saying what happened is unacceptable and wrong. This is the first step. This is why I am telling my story and choosing to combat date rape.

 Top Five Tips for preventing Date Rape:

1. Stay in a group

 If this person is a total stranger or you are new to knowing someone, only agree to go out with a group of people – the more the merrier! Even if this is the most well-known individual in your high school and you have known each other for years, I still recommend Group Dating until you are of legal age. We all act differently in public and staying accountable should be a top priority if you want to achieve success.

2. Stay in populated areas

Busy restaurants, venues, movie theatres; think crowds. If date rape is the intention, your date will be trying to get you alone and seclude you from others.

3. Avoid alcohol and using recreational drugs

You are going out to meet another person and get to know them. This is definitely worthy of you keeping a sober mind. According to the University of Sciences: “74% of the perpetrators and 55% of the victims of rape within a nationally representative sample of college students had been drinking alcohol (Koss 1988)” Keep this in mind when you’re dating.

4. Always tell a trusted friend who you are going out with and where you are going.

Even in a world of GPS and technology, nothing compares to having a reliable friend or family member hear from you what your plans are and when you will be back. This person can be a safety friend that you can call in case of an emergency during the date, one that is willing to come and pick you up. So many times if I had only take this step, I would have had an immediate out for bad situations. Always tell someone where you are going and who you are going with.

5. Have a trusted mentor you can confide in about dating and turn to incase of rape.

I hate to say expect the worst and that is not what I am promoting, only that you have someone you can talk to. Never keep silent if you are the victim of rape. If your believe that you are mature enough to date you need to be mature enough to be accountable to the people who value and love you. Parents, teachers, mentors: They are doing what they do because they care. Find someone you can trust and open up to – this may not be your parents because you feel too intimated.

 

Facts about date rape:

From National Studies Of College Women

* 84% of women who were raped knew their assailants.

* 57% of rapes occurred on a date.

* 25% of men surveyed believed that rape was acceptable if: the women

asks the man out; if the man pays for the date, or the woman goes back

to the man’s room after the date.

* 33% of males surveyed said they would commit rape if they definitely could

escape detection.

* 84% of male students who had committed acts that clearly met the legal definition

of rape said what they had done was definitely not rape.

* 75% of male and 55% of female students in an occurrence of date rape

had been drinking or using drugs.

* Only a quarter to a third of women whose sexual assaults met the legal

definition of rape considered themselves rape victims.

* Many women do not report or characterize their victimization as a crime for reasons

such as embarrassment, because they do not want to define someone who assaulted

them as a rapist, or because they do not know the legal definition of rape.

Many women blame themselves.

* Nearly 5% of college women are victimized in any given year, meaning over 4 years

one-fifth to one-quarter of a cohort of women may be assaulted. Similar numbers

experienced attempted rape.

* The majority of rapes occur in living quarters–60% in victim’s residence, 10 %

in a fraternity, 31 % in other living quarters. Off campus victimizations also took

place in bars, dance clubs and work settings.

* 50% of high school boys and 42% of girls said there were times it was

acceptable for a male to hold a female down and physically force her to

engage in intercourse.

September 2005

References

http://www.usciences.edu/shac/counseling/daterape.shtml

http://www.k-state.edu/media/webzine/Didyouhearyes/daterapefacts.html

Dating, Sexting & Teen Culture

When does it begin for most young people? It can be a subject impossible to avoid in social settings. Age can vary from person to person but according to education.com, “As they reach the mid-teen years (age 14-15 years), they start having relationships with peers of the opposite sex”

So how does a fourteen year old “date” a peer? A relationship status change and chatting on Facebook? Texting? (I got notes. Do teens still do that?) Phone conversations? Possibly even hanging out? I remember one of my dates at 14 included meeting up at Subway in a group. As time went on, just like anything else, the stakes were raised. Homecoming, prom, spring break vacations – all things we did with a boyfriend or date. As a teen in the mid 90″s I was into cars and music. I wore a pager constantly in my front hip pocket and used a payphone to keep in touch. Many things were similar to what is still happening today, but two things that have changed dramatically are technology and social media. A simple Google search on sexting quickly reveals the high-profile court cases. Teens to adults are being prosecuted for capturing and sharing inappropriate images.

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I honestly cannot imagine what it is like to be a young girl today facing peer pressure to sext. On one hand everyone knows it’s a risk, on the other hand pressure makes us all do stupid things. In my middle school and high school years, I was caught off guard too many times to count. Boys/male peers would seem to be nice, but then make audacious requests that were always followed with relentless pressure. In some situations I simply ran away or got out of there as fast as I could. Other times I felt trapped and unable to say no. Maybe I had no desire to give in, but a nagging sense to fit in pushed me to do things I knew were wrong. Peer pressure is real. Bullying is real. If you’re a young girl wanting to date, be ready to fight off unwanted requests. Sexting has many consequences I fear young people are unable to consider under heavy pressure. Predators, haters and scorned X’s have the ability to share and pass images around the world in minutes.

Young people, think before you share any image of yourself. Think about your dream job. Would you want this image on your resume? Parents, if you are going to pay for your teens phone or PC then consider viewing their images on a regular basis. No unknown passwords or locked accounts. Teens, be smart and accountable. An adult looking over your shoulder IS NOT the worst thing, even though it may make you cringe. Teen dating means something different in this culture. It means you must be prepared, you must be responsible with technology and you must be mature. Crush on, teens. Dream big dreams for yourselves young people. Just be careful who you let influence you. Make a rule to keep selfies, and all images of yourself, for profile use and applications only.