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I am a 25year-old woman. I have a sister who is 21 and a brother who is 17. The problem is regarding my brother. Being the vigilant older sibling that I am, I tend to keep tabs on the activities of my younger siblings. Recently I have discovered that my brother is downloading and watching a lot of pornography from the internet. Maybe he even buys what is available in shops, I don't know. He spends a lot of time by himself in his room and sometimes has friends over too. I try to tell myself that boys will be boys, but I worry that these things might have a negative impact on his values and attitudes and maybe even actions. Because he's my brother, a boy and a bit younger than me, but then again not exactly a child, I don't know how to broach the subject with him, or even if I should. Please give me some advice.
My Brother's Keeper
Dear Brother's Keeper,
As an older sister who wants the best for her brother, you have all the right to keep an eye on what he is doing and prevent him from activities that might be potentially harmful and even dangerous. You are right, these things will have a negative impact on his values and actions. On the other hand, there is a normal curiosity that comes with this age and we should be sensitive to it. The important thing is to keep this kind of activity in check and within certain boundaries. First, he should not be allowed to spend too much time by himself as this is not a healthy situation. Involve him in family activities that he enjoys. Give him tasks that will increase his sense of responsibility towards the family. Most importantly, make him feel loved and wanted. You might also want to have a talk with him regarding values, respect, relationships with girls, etc.
I am 28 years old and in a relationship with a guy four years older than me. We love each other very much but we are very different as people. We don't completely understand or accept certain things that the other does. There are some basic differences in our nature and while I'm more flexible and also tolerant, he isn't, and in many ways, he expects me to be the way he is or the way he would like me to be. Some things I can change about myself, but some things I'd rather not. Some things I wouldn't mind changing about him, but they're not very huge issues which I'd pick fights over. I don't like imposing things on people and I don't like being imposed upon. It's not that he orders me to do certain things or be a certain way. It's just that I know he would be happier if I were different, or more like him, in some ways and while I would like to make him happy, I don't want to have to change myself for someone else either. Will this relationship work, do you think? Should I try and make it?
Du'jonar Du'ti Path
People don't have to be exactly alike to be a happy couple. The more important thing is to have differences yet have respect and understanding of each other's ideas and beliefs. Having said that, some differences are insurmountable. These are differences in core values and beliefs. Other than that, a modern couple should be able to adjust to other things. Problems arise when one person is willing to be flexible and the other insists that he or she is right. You should talk this over now as this has potential of causing further conflicts in future. In our male-dominated patriarchal society, men believe they are right most of the time and women should agree with them or change themselves accordingly. This system has gone on for a long time. Now women are not willing to make all the compromises, which is giving rise to tension and friction among couples. If you are planning to get married to him in future then you should have a serious talk with him on this now.
I'm a 24-year-old man studying at a private university. From when I was around 18, I used to like this girl who lives two houses down from me. She's two years older than me and though she started out being sort of older-sisterly with me, we ended up as quite good friends. I've been in love with her since I don't know when, but I've never told her about my feelings. She's getting married in December to a man her family has chosen but whom she has also come to like. But I can't stop thinking about her. I love her and it would break my heart if she married someone else. But the fact that she's getting married so soon, plus she's a bit older than me and, most importantly, I don't know if she feels the same -- all these things make me hesitate to tell her about my feelings now. Should I or should I not?
Neighbour in Love
Since you have not expressed your feelings in so many years, I really think it is too late to do that now at this late stage when she is about to get married in two months. I know it will break your heart but over time you will get over it. Moreover, by your admission she likes the person she is getting married to. In that case, I think it will not be wise to disturb her as she is happy with this arrangement. You are only 24 and have a life of great potential in front of you. I am sure you will find the right person soon enough who will bring happiness to your life.
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