Dear Thelma: I like it when my ex flirts with me

PHOTO: The Star/ANN

Dear Thelma,

I am a 16-year-old girl who is living her dream in a new school. I got transferred to the school this year, and I love it here. Then my ex-boyfriend from my previous school started texting me every day after he got my number.

When he confessed that he loved me and wanted to get back together, I turned him down because I wanted to concentrate on my studies.

I met him in primary school and we have always liked each other. We were together from 2011 to the end of 2012. We had many break-ups during that year, and I finally gave up on him. So when he said he wanted to get back again, I was not willing to accept him back because I knew he would break my heart.

The thing is, he is very flirty with me and I like that. He knows how to win my heart. I don't know how it happened, but eventually we got together and I was very happy. He texted me every day and I met up with him on Tuesdays and Fridays when I attended tuition classes.

I blushed and got all excited whenever I saw him. I've been doing very well in the subjects where we attend the same tuition centre. The problem started when his ex-girlfriend broke up with her boyfriend, and she came running to him for a shoulder to cry on. My guy tried to comfort her. He didn't text me that day and I was cheesed off but I did not show it.

That very day, my boyfriend broke up with me without a reason. I thought I could handle it but instead, I cried for four days in a row. Then I decided to text him. He told me that he broke up with me because he wanted to concentrate on his SPM. My boyfriend is a straight A student. I don't want to distract him from his studies. He told me he wanted us to get back together after SPM. We haven't officially broken up though. He asked me to make the decision and I don't really know what to do. On his birthday recently, he was very sweet and loving to me.

I'm a confused girl right now. I know it's not the right age to fall in love but who knows, he could be my Prince Charming. What should I do? - Teen in love

Dear Teen in love,

It is not that 16 is not the right age to fall in love. It has more to do with maturity in dealing with the challenges that relationships pose. And, as you have come to experience yourself, the challenges are many.

It seems like you have been in an on-again, off-again relationship with this boy since you were 12. That is fairly young, and people may gawk at this.

At the young age of 12, what you experienced was probably infatuation, not love. You enjoyed his company and the attention you got. Yes, it is great to know that you mean something special to someone. Just like in romantic movies, you connect with the lyrics and heartfelt emotions in your favourite songs.

Relationships are challenging. You speak of exams and an ex-girlfriend coming into the picture. These are just small parts of the many challenges that relationships have to endure.

You can't keep breaking up every time a challenge comes along. This is your ex-boyfriend's SPM year. He says he wants to get back with you as soon as the exams are over. Then it will be your turn to take the exams next year. Will you break up again? Or are your exams not as important as his?

Your instincts told you that getting back with him would end in another break-up. And you were right. It was nice while it lasted - you obviously liked him very much. The hurt when it ended cannot be denied. This is heartbreak and you will just have to endure it. It will pass. You will feel better one of these days.

You have to see things for what they are. Both of you share a special relationship. Obviously, you still have affection for each other. This affection is a positive emotion. It does not necessarily mean a romantic kind of love.

It could be another kind of love - that of deep friendship. That friendship is just as special and meaningful as a relationship.

You can still show each other that you care deeply. You can still be extra nice to him on his birthday and vice versa. But there will be a boundary in your relationship. This boundary must be respected by both of you.

You do not have to cut all ties with him. Be his friend. Things will be different now, but that is all right.

You can still want the best for each other. You obviously want him to do well in his exams. I assume he wants the same for you.

Both of you are still young and there are many experiences out there waiting for you. You will change as you grow older - change is inevitable. What you think is attractive now, may not be so in a few years.

Be open to new experiences. Experience as much as you can. Venture out and try new things.

Remain friends. And if the two of you still find each other attractive after all that, what can stop you from reconnecting and starting a relationship? Both of you will only be richer, wiser and more mature from all your experiences. Your relationship will be more resilient and you will be able to withstand any challenges that come your way.

As much as these are matters of the heart, you must remember that you have to make decisions with your head. Emotions can be overwhelming. It may feel like your whole world is caving in, but it won't.

You are a smart, young woman; you just have to learn to delay gratification. It is a lesson that will be valuable for the rest of your life. The future has plenty in store for you. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. - Thelma

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