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Byline: Joan Burnie

Q I READ about people on your page worrying about what their families will think when they fall in love with their cousin.

Well, my problem is the opposite. My grandparents are originally from Pakistan, but I was born and brought up here. I feel Scottish and I sound Scottish.

I had sex when I was 16 with a girl in my class at school because I love her and she loves me. I want to marry her and she and I have been faithful to each other ever since we met.

I have taken her home and my mum and dad seemed to like her and I get on well will her parents.

But I have just been told that in five years' time, when I am 22, I have to marry my cousin. I can't believe it.

My mum and dad are normal people. I thought they were just joking, but they say it was decided when I was about five and that it was my grandfather's dying wish.

I have never met this cousin. She is still in Pakistan and I do not want to marry someone like that.

I have told my parents how I feel, but they just say it has to be and the whole family will be disgraced if I don't do what they say.

I feel trapped. I would really like to run away, but my girlfriend and I are still at school and we have no money. What do I do?

A FIVE years is a long time, so I could tell you to stop worrying and that it might never happen.

But, unfortunately, I know that in your case, when your parents believe it's a matter of family honour, that they are unlikely to change.

However it's possible you might.

I know you love your girlfriend, but you are still young and as you become older you could become reconciled to an arranged marriage.

Not that I think for one minute you should be forced to go through with it. That would be as disastrous for your cousin as it would for you.

So, in the meantime, the advice is to continue to voice your opposition to your parents and to make it clear that you will marry for love or not at all.

You should also complete your education and get decent qualifications to ensure you become financially independent. Then you will be much better placed to make your own decisions.

It would also help, I think, if you discussed the problem more fully with the Asian Family Counselling service on 0208 571 3933.

I sincerely hope everything works out for you.

Help! I think I might be pregnant

Q I AM a very worried 14-year-old girl and my problem is rather embarrassing to talk about.

I haven't had a `you-know-what' in five weeks. This has happened before, except last time it was nearly two months.

I'm getting very worried, although I've never had physical contact with a boy - well only kissing, but that wouldn't do anything, could it?

Please don't tell me to talk to my mum as I am a very private person.

A THERE'S no need to panic. If you have done no more than kiss a boy on the lips, then there is no way you can become pregnant.

It is also very normal at your age for periods to be irregular. Have a read of one of the many books for teenagers which will give you the information you need. Your library or a bookshop should have a selection.

Q I AM 16 and I am seeing a girl who is younger, but she is mature and looks much older.

She's also a woman, if you get my meaning, although we are not having sex because she says she is worried that, if she does, I will dump her, which I never would.

Her brother is my best mate - or at least he was.

He says that unless I stay away from his sister, he's going to chib me. I am in trouble, but I love her too much to give her up.

A THE brother is wrong to threaten you with violence - but on the other hand, I can well appreciate why he's warning you off. This girl is far too young.

It doesn't matter how old she looks, the reality is that she is a practically a child and you should not be going out with her, far less thinking about having sex with her.

That could get you into serious trouble, not only with her brother, but with the law too.

Stop it.

I never told my dad I loved him

Q MY dad died two months ago, but it appears I am not allowed to be sad.

My mum says it is good riddance to bad rubbish and if he hadn't been cremated she would dance on his grave.

I didn't go to his funeral either which made me feel really bad. But my dad's girlfriend never told us about it until it was over.

I know he wasn't good to my mum, but he was my dad and I miss him. I loved him, but I never told him.

I sometimes think maybe I should join him, but I'm only 13 and I don't want to die.

ANO matter how badly your mum and dad got on, I know neither of them would want you to harm yourself. So don't even think about it.

However, it's a huge shame you weren't invited to your dad's funeral and feel you can't mourn him.

Neither your mum, nor your late dad's partner, have been fair on you. He was, as you rightly say, still your beloved dad.

I think you should try telling your mum how you feel - or maybe you have another relative in whom you could confide. You can also ring CRUSE - the helpline for the bereaved on 0870 167 1677.

Q I AM a freak. I only have one full-sized testicle. The other is very small and sort of stuck inside me. I am so worried.

I can make sperm, but what girl will want to go with someone like me who is only half a man?

I can't talk to anyone about it because it is too embarrassing. My dad and big brother would just make jokes about it and I couldn't bear it.

A YOU don't mention your age, but this is a fairly common problem. If you're not past puberty, there is still time for the smaller testicle to descend.

But I think you should talk to your mum and tell her how worried you are. Get her to make an appointment for you with your GP - not because I think there is anything the slightest bit freakish about you.You think it's embarrassing, but better to face that than to go on worrying yourself sick?
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 25, 2002
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