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Read part one here

Let’s forget about sex for a while, and assume that you somehow manage to keep it out of your relationship. What about the time you need to invest in the relationship? Relationships, especially good ones, need you to invest your time. You have to spend quality time with this person, otherwise, what’s the point? Depending on the circumstances, you may see this person every day. This is especially so for those who are in the same school or who live not far from each other. Even among “adults” who are supposed to be more focused and in control, work has been known to suffer when the love bug bites. Even your friends complain they don’t see you anymore.

The not so pretty part is that when you add up the time you spend with this person, and the time you spend thinking about them when you’re apart, it amounts to a whole lot of time indeed. What teens are not told often enough is that LOVE IS NOT WHAT SHOULD CONSUME YOUR TIME IN YOUR TEENS.  As a teenager I was a hopeless romantic, so those who know me may find this strange, even hypocritical, but it needs to be said, God knows I didn’t hear it enough. Your teens are for laying down foundations for future success. If you look closely at the lives of the most of the world’s successful leaders, businessmen, inventors and CEOs, you will find that they were not overnight successes. They didn’t just “happen”. They laid foundations in their teens.

Michelle Obama’s resume has been called “impressive” by so many. Apart from her current office as The First Lady of the United States of America, she is a former associate dean at the University of Chicago; a member of six boards of directors including the prestigious Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and Tree House Foods; and Vice President, Community and External Affairs at the University of Chicago.

What a lot of people fail to notice, however, is that Michelle Obama (nee Robinson) was on the honor roll for 4 years at Whitney Young High School and at the age of 17 graduated as a salutatorian (an academic title given to the 2nd highest graduate of the entire graduating class of an educational institution).

I’m willing to bet my hard earned cash that she didn’t achieve this pining over boys or reading and re-reading love letters. She is where she is today because she was where she was supposed to be as a teenager. And what a husband she found herself! Did you know that she met him while she was an associate at a law firm where Mr Obama was an intern she had been asked to mentor?

Nelson Mandela, a man considered the most significant black leader in South Africa, and who is also an excellent lawyer, was a teenager so committed to his studies at Clarkebury Boarding Institute that he completed his Junior Certificate in 2 years instead of the usual 3 years. How much studying do you imagine you need to do to finish a three-year course in two years? How much time do you figure that leaves you for dating? Is it any wonder that even after getting his B.A degree from the University of South Africa, he went on to complete a Law course in prison through the University of London External Programme and was subsequently nominated for the position of Chancellor of the University of London in the 1981 elections, though he lost to Princess Anne? Yes, grandma was right; you can tell the tree that will do well even from its tender days.

In a letter to her younger self, American Actress Phylicia Rashad wrote, “Romantic involvement distracts you and can blind you to what’s really in front of you. And what is really in front of you? You are. You don’t even know yourself yet. You think you know, and you want to assert that you do, now that you’re a certain age, but you don’t. What’s in front of you is a whole world of experience beyond your imagination. Put yourself, and your growth and development, first.”

Forget about past mistakes and decide today to do things in the right order. When the right time to date comes, you’ll not only be ready, you’ll have what it takes to be the person the man or woman of your dreams wants by their side. Till then, put yourself first!

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This article was first published on 22nd July 2016


Joy Ehonwa is an editor and a writer who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a proofreading, editing, transcription and ghostwriting service. Email: pinpointcreatives [at]

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