Is it right for me to have a relationship at 16?


With Auntie Agatha,

Dear Agatha,


Since I was introduced to your column by our youth pastor, I have never failed to read your column. I also have adopted you as my second mother and would have loved to meet you in person.

I clocked 16 on February 1. I am currently in my final year in secondary school. I have until this moment resisted all advances from men, but seeing that I am the only one among my friends who doesn’t have a boyfriend, coupled with the fun my friends have at my expense over this issue, I want to know if it is alright for me to accept the advances of one of the boys who has been chasing me for over a year.

I figured that since I was in SS3, I won’t be doing anything wrong if I have a boyfriend at this stage of my life, besides I envy my friends for their boldness as well as the fun of being with their boyfriends,

I have come to you because my mother is that kind of woman who is very strict. Being her only daughter she doesn’t give me any breathing space; always monitoring my movement as well as the kinds of friends I keep. She keeps telling me that boys should not be my priority for now but there are things happening in my body pushing in the opposite direction of my mother’s wishes.

My mother is too strict and unfriendly for me to discuss these things with. My friends say the signs my body is giving show I’m ready to have a relationship with a boy. I’m scared as I don’t want to get pregnant.

One of my friends showed me a birth control pill she uses. She claims her elder sister gave them to her.

I’m very confused as I cannot concentrate on my studies because of everything going through my body and mind.

According to my mother, I would be ready for a relationship only after I graduate from the university. My friends are saying and doing the opposite. I don’t know what to think anymore, which is why I want to know what the right time is for a girl to go into a relationship.



Dear Peju,

Thanks for the honour of adopting me as your second mother. You have my numbers and emails. I’m only a phone call away. Don’t hesitate to call me when you want to talk to someone. Also, inform me of when and where you want us to meet. I will make myself available.

Please don’t listen to your friends at all. The path they have chosen for themselves has the power to ruin their future. They may think they are having fun now, but most times, the implications of such choices wait for the woman in the future; that period of her life when she wants to get married or have children. That is when the reality and implications of the kind of lifestyles they have lived becomes evident, but at that time, most often, it could be too late.

Trust me, there is nothing happening in your body now that has not happened to women before you. Every woman who is an adult went through it at your age. Your experiences are as old as time. These signs show that you are growing normally and your body preparing for its future assignment.

This is why your mother is anxious and apprehensive you do not make a mistake. It is also for the same reasons I am appealing to you not to listen to your friends. As mothers, we have been in this business long before you and know every fact and trick in the book. We know about all your excitements, desires and expectations. We also know the things you don’t know; the pains, shame, disappointments and failures associated with this process and things going wrong.

The life of a woman is very delicate and unpredictable. While one woman may get away with living dangerously, another woman would not. Trust me, the grace one person enjoys may not be available to you. Good men are difficult to come by at your age and those coming your way now are on a hunting expedition, not the ones who want to cultivate a land and leave it fallow until they are ready for planting.

You are like that rare flower in bloom to these male hunters looking for that young, fresh and innocent female to devour. Like butterflies, they will come in their tens to try and suck your precious juice because they also know you are at that vulnerable point when you are governed by hormones. They know you have not developed the steel required to put them in their places.

Do not get me wrong, your mother and I are not saying it is wrong for you to have a boyfriend but our concern is your safety and honour as a woman. You will simply get lost in the myriad of the many emotions you are currently going through.

For this reason, do not rush into any relationship. Allow the rampaging hormones to settle down to their various offices before thinking of the next level. By the time you are 20, the effects of the hormones would have decreased sufficiently to allow you make a better choice of thinking with your head and not your emotions.

By that time, at least you would know what you want from life and the man who will help you accomplish them. By that time too, you would be seeing firsthand, the damage unplanned relationship can get a woman into from the stories your friends would be telling you from their experiences.

The way a woman’s body is built we are the risk bearers. A man can get several women pregnant at the same time without waiting around to face the consequences of these actions; whereas, the woman is designed to face the penalty of such carelessness.

She has no hiding place. Her body will betray to the world what she did behind closed doors. Once that happens, she stops going to school and her entire life becomes derailed as a result of her choice, hence your mother’s constant monitoring and seeming over protective nature. The boy on the other hand goes ahead with his education and gets married to another woman sensible enough to define what she wanted from life from her early age.

The choice before you now is: Do you want to be like the foolish girl who on account of the cravings of her emotions throws away her entire life for two minutes of fun or the wise one who has her eyes fixed on the success of tomorrow, by refusing to allow her body dictate her options?

Honestly, at this point, all we can offer you is advice based on all that we have seen in life. First is this: Birth control pills have been known to fail, just like condoms. Secondly, pregnancy is not the only consequence you should be afraid of. There are many sexually transmitted diseases that can damage the womb of a woman if not treated with the right drugs. Unfortunately, some of them do not manifest until in their tertiary stages by which time it is too late for even the best medical mind to do anything for the woman.

Thirdly, abortion may clear the mess temporarily but its long time implications are the toll it takes on the uterus of the woman. Every abortion a woman goes through depreciates her womb. This is the reason many women remain childless for life. Besides, not every pregnancy can be aborted easily. Some fetuses are dangerous positioned that any attempt to vacate them prematurely would claim the life of the mother. So such pregnancies are allowed to stay till full term.

Fourthly and perhaps the most important is the peace of mind and happiness of your future home, you would be giving up now. When a woman cannot give her husband a child, no matter how deep the love is between them, peace and happiness will take flight from such home.

The questions I will ask you are these and whether you would want any of these to happen to you. How would you feel seeing your mates doing great in their fields of endeavour and you are left behind to care prematurely for an unplanned baby? Do you want to truncate your education for that thing you will have enough of in the future and even get tired of at a point in your life? What is most important to you now: passing your exams and getting admission into the university of your choice to do that course you love so much, or dating men and getting yourself knocked up?

Our job as mothers; is to protect you from failures in life but you have to help us by staying away from your kind of friends who are hell bent on sucking you into their agenda. Always remember not everyone who comes to school has a vision and mission to succeed in life. Some are just drifters; they lack any plan beyond the immediate.

Help us to assist you to succeed in life, through all the experiences we have gathered in life.

Good luck


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