A Note to Readers From Alia: This new VOX advice column is for those of you who don’t know who to turn to when you are curious or confused. Here’s why you can trust me. Growing up the youngest of four girls and two boys, I was the quiet one. But through those years of being silent, I got to observe. I got to notice the mistakes that my siblings made, and keep note of what not to do. My life motto is: “Why follow the path if I know that it leads to destruction?” Now, this is not me calling myself perfect, but I can help you do what others forget to do: Learn from your mistakes. I want to answer your questions so that you too, can follow the right path.
Q: How do I stop having a crush on my first love?
Alia: Trust me, it is not a crush. If he or she is your first love, then you had some strong feelings for him or her. Strong feelings are hard to get rid of, but if you don’t want to be attracted to this person anymore, tell yourself to move on and distract yourself. That’s easy to say, I know, but here is what you can do: You could find another relationship. If you are not down for another relationship, then find a distraction, such as sports. If you follow that person on any social media platform, unfollow them. However, if the relationship did not end on a bad note, and there isn’t exactly a reason to lose feelings, then maybe that is a sign that you two have something real going on. My advice is to look into your feelings more. Revisit all of the memories you two have together, and determine what you feel toward that person. I had an ex I thought I was so in love with. The relationship was unhealthy, I realized that, and I eventually kept that in mind every time he might have slipped into my mind. Meditate on it.
Q: How would you deal with a situation where your parents don’t trust you enough to do things or go places with your significant other? Sexual activity with this person is the farthest from my to-do list, but they can’t seem to grasp that. It makes me feel like they don’t trust me.
Alia: The best way to deal with this situation is to start off really small. Ask to invite your partner to events or dinner. Ask for them to come over while family or other people are there (you don’t have to be alone to spend time with your partner, remember that). That way, they see that you don’t intend on doing anything sexual. If that doesn’t work, just give your parents time. They are not perfect, and they are doing what they feel is best for you. Try talking to them. If you have already, do it again. Tell them that you would like to hang out with your partner, and that you don’t plan on doing anything that they would not approve of. You could even tell them that they can check in and call you certain times while you are out to make sure that you aren’t doing anything. Just compromise. If the feelings in your relationship are strong, your relationship will persevere. Keep the communication and the love strong, and everything will work itself out.
Q: How do you prove that you love someone when you’re not really used to doing it, and you’re shy or nervous about doing it?
Alia: Communication is key! Tell that person the truth. Tell them that you are not used to expressing feelings, but you are willing to learn. Make sure that you are actually willing to learn. Ask them for their patience, and if they truly care for you, they will understand. As for your part, getting into a relationship is getting out of your comfort zone. You are forced to share yourself and things with this person and you may not always want to. Part of giving yourself to that person is being willing to work at anything to make your partner happy and for that relationship work. Tell them the truth, and don’t be afraid to open up. Sharing your feelings will come naturally. You got this!
Q: My boyfriend is in jail, and I love him, but I don’t know if I can put my life on hold for him. What should I do?
Alia: Having a significant other in jail is hard, indeed. If you truly love him, and you don’t see yourself with anyone else in the future, then holding out for him won’t be impossible. I know that, some nights, you are going to miss the physical contact and the communication. You can cope by going to visit him when you can, writing him, or calling him. Never stop communicating because you don’t want to lose the chemistry, and give up on your relationship. If you do see yourself moving on, or you do not wish to wait for your boyfriend, then he should understand that you should not have to put your life on hold for his mistakes. It just isn’t fair to you, and if he loves you, he will understand. At the end of the day, it all depends on what you wish to accomplish in the future.
Editor’s Note: While Alia’s advice is intended to help other teens, she is not a trained professional and the advice dispensed in Ask Alia is not meant to replace professional help. VOX has a resource guide for many of the challenges teens face. You can find a link to help here.