TALK TO ME : ‘No family is perfect’

Virtual love

I am a 20-year-old woman from Kathmandu. I used to chat with a boy from Biratnagar online. Subsequently, he expressed his love for me and, flattered, I encouraged him. I also thought at that point of time that I loved him. Later, however, we had a tiff and after promising to meet me over the matter, he never turned up. Now he has virtually disappeared from my life. Please advise me how to proceed.

— Sarina

Dear Sarina,

Virtual flirtations in cyberspace are very different from the dynamics of a real relationship. There is always a surreal aspect to this type of relationship as there are many elements which are hidden from you ...the real identity of the boy, his age, his gender and even his intentions. I would be careful about these sort of verbal dalliances over the Internet. Learn to protect yourself and be careful about what you reveal, so that it is not used against you. Though there have been incidences in which couples have met over the internet and later developed meaningful relationships, the percentage is small. Sometimes real life meetings between couples who meet on the internet, just fall through when one person or both the parties, realise that their expectations don’t match the projected expectations of cyberspace exchanges.

Didn’t you read the news some years ago where a couple, Jim and Thelma, was engaged to be married after an Internet relationship? They organised the wedding gala at a church in the USA. When they arrived, it was found that Jim was a 69-year-old woman and Thelma a 14-year-old teenager. The names Jim and Thelma had been only their ids and fictitious ones at that. The wedding was then quickly changed into an adoption ceremony but one must remember that it truly today is a small world. Most Nepali girls lead very sheltered lives, where the opportunities of meeting members of the opposite sex or maintaining friendships with the opposite sex are limited. This is why so many young computersavvy Nepali use the internet to make cyber friends. You are typical of this new phenomena... so many people are in love with the idea of being in love. That this boy did not meet you after promising to do so could be narrowed down to a number of insecurities. Just remember one thing, as you encouraged him all along, he played along, he was never really there. There is no point mourning his departure. I suggest you move on and be selective about whom you chat with on the Internet.

Ditched

I’m 20 years old and in love with an Indian guy whom I haven’t seen yet (he has viewed my snap). This is chat love. Recently he proposed marriage and I accepted. My parents did, too. Then he went home and when he returned, he called off the relationship saying his parents did not agree to it. He has not written since. I feel restless, ashamed and totally humiliated. Help!

— Barsha

Dear Barsha

You will get over this Indian guy sooner than you think... you haven’t even seen his photograph, you don’t even know what what he lookes like - this is unacceptable and I think you have had a lucky escape! How could you even consider marrying this “phantom”. What if he looked like a Rakshas, would you still have married him? I am amazed by your parents, too, for agreeing to allow you marry a faceless stranger. Your chat love sounds hollow and facetious. Leave your computer alone for some time, keep your eyes wide open and meet some real guys.

Worm in the Apple

I am a young man of 20 years. People find me really interesting and cheery but, fact is, I am deeply disturbed. I have this shameful family affair. For a reason that I shall not mention, my father is away from us. I don’t know what people think about my family but I find it really boring and, the other day, I broke up with the most wonderful girl I ever met because I could not face up to the situation. My depression, if you may term it so, is growing day by day.

— Anonymous

Dear …

No family is perfect. Each familiy comes with its complex set of problems. You are an adult now so you should learn to come to terms with all the feelings of hurt, anger and disillusionment that you are burdened with. You are suffering from a lack of self esteem. You are not responsible for your parents’ actions. Be free with this knowledge. People and society will always be judgmental about your “shameful family affair”. Remember that only your real friends will stand by you. I am relieved to point out to you that you do recognise the fact that people find you interesting and cheery. In fact this why you probably had this “wonderful” girfriend because she appreciated these qualities, too. Don’t hide the truth about your family to your girlfriend, make up with her, share your problems with her. Put your family’s problems

behind you. Meet the challenges that life puts in your way with honesty and dedication. Create

your own destiny and build your own reputation. You are responsible for the respect you get. If you still feel depressed, seek professional counselling.

My dilemma

I am a 19-year-old from a remote village in a remote district in this country. I have just completed my 10+2 degree with nearly 75 per cent marks and enrolled in BSc Environmental Science at reputed college in the capital. I want to become an environmentalist and work for my country. But my family is poor and needs financial support and they are asking me to join British Army. However, I am not particularly interested in going abroad and even less interested (and that is a major understatement) in warfare and Iraq. But I’m a Magar’s son and a Magar must do what he must do and not have “fancy ideas”, as my father keeps telling me. The BA selections and my first year exams will be held in Bhadra -Asoj simultaneously. I don’t want to write the former. I don’t even want to study for it because that will affect my first year results. I want to do well in college. But if I don’t wit for BA I am told to feel like the family renegade. What must a Magar do?

— Tortured

Dear Tortured

Why are you so fatalistic? A magar’s son must do what he must do... and join the army! You are an educated nineteen year old. Some nineteen year olds do not have an inkling about what they want to do. I am impressed by the clarity of your vision and disappointed that you can’t seem to break free the shackles of stereotypes and from straitjacket of ethnicity. How will you change Nepal like this?

The important question here is how will you support your family and still pursue your education. It’s about economics and finances and not about what a Magar must do. Share your disinterest in the art of warfare with your parents. As they are financing your studies, you need to convince them that the sincerity of your intention to pursue an environmental science degree in Kathmandu is no “fancy idea”. Find a solution with them as Kathmandu is an expensive city to live and learn. You will most probably need to find a part-time job in Kathamndu. If the finances prove to be too cumbersome for your family , Plan B would be to join the British Army, which will provide you the opportunity to travel, earn money and learn skills which you will definitely be able to employ, even when you are no longer in the Army. Be happy with whatever you finally decide on.

Suspicious & speechless

I generally get angry when my feelings are hurt or I suspect people being disrespectful towards me. But if I allow my anger to grow without expressing it, I often begin to feel guilty over the anger. I don’t understand what is happening to me.

— Pravin Banskota, Phidim

Dear Pravin,

It is normal to get angry when your feelings are hurt. The mind automatically switches into a defensive drive causing you to react with this emotion. Anger has many psychological dimensions. It is destructive and rarely positive. Why do you suspect people are being disrespectful to you? What is your definition of disrespect? Is this the root cause of your anger? Do you think you suffer from delusions of grandeur where everyone should sit up and respect you? Or are you simply bothered that people are taking you for granted? What is most interesting is that you have come up with a personalised anger management solution for yourself. Refrain from doing the porcupine, which is unleashing verbal quills of anger. There is no point feeling guilty afterwards about what you have said or done. Analyse your anger, breathe deeply and concentrate on NOT reacting. Why not walk away instead of reacting explosively. When you are in a calmer mode and understand your feelings better, broach the subject with whoever has disturbed you and don’t allow your anger to be your weakness and get the better of you. God gave us the gift of language so we can talk and overcome our obstacles. And, self pity is anti-grace.

Dear Ms Thapa

Can a girl actually say no to a guy while having regard for him? Won’t that be “just like a girl”, dishonest and undaring, if I may use such a word? But then I don’t want to jump into a situation just because it’s nice to have a boyfriend. I’m afraid that mush as I like this guy, I don’t like him enough and I don’t think I’m up for a fling at this point of time. Please advise.

— Rupmati

Dear Rupmati

Trust your own instinct. There is no point dangling this boy on your arm, like a fashion accessory, just because its “nice” to have a boyfriend. You are being dishonest to yourself and unfair to him.

Please address your mail to talk2me@thehimalayantimes.com.