Destiny Magazine Mentorship Programme

For the month of August I was invited to participate in Destiny Magazine’s Online Mentorship Programme on Love and Relationships. See:

Part of my involvement was a live chat on Commitment Phobia, members also had the opportunity to fire away questions about love, romance and commitment. I have picked a few questions that were sent in throughout the month:

Q1:- Should I contact a holiday Romance?

I had a weekend romance and he has gone back to his country but he will be back for work purposes. Was he just passing or should I contact him as he has only told me he arrived safely home and it has been a week now. Will I be too pushy and how do I know he wants more?

Dear Holiday Romance

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but from what you have said – this weekend romance is a weekend romance. If this gent were keen to pursue it any further and want more from you he would be texting or emailing or calling. No effort = he’s just not that into you. Enjoy it for what it was and move on. If he is back in town and you are willing and available to have another weekend of romance, then answer his calls. If you are not interested in being his weekend fling, you can respectfully let him know how much fun you had but that you are not looking to date recreationally and do not want to get involved in going nowhere relationships.

Q2: My ex dumped me and our child but now wants us to get back together. Is he playing games?

My ex broke off our relationship when my son was 5 months old. He said he didn’t love me anymore and he only told me then because he wanted the baby to be safely delivered first. I was devastated and angry with him, but got to a point where I could stomach seeing him (even imagining him) with other women without pain; we also got to a level where we could talk and joke about the child and his growth. He has now recently started calling and telling me he misses ‘us’, and when he visits, he doesn’t just bring a toy for the child but also a box of chocolates or some spare part to fix my car. He now sends me sexual emails & messages like he used to before the baby came. Although I was getting over him, I still feel that I love him but need to ensure that its sustainable for the child as well. Is he just playing games? or is he genuine?

Dear Dumped

The first question that comes to mind for me is- what has changed? What is so different between who you were then (when he broke up with you originally) and who you are now? How has he made the transition from not loving you to loving you? And who is to say he will not transition again into not loving you …for the second time? The problem with his indecision and ambivalence is that it will always leave you feeling insecure and doubtful about his commitment to you as a partner. What strikes me about your email is that you are overly concerned about how he feels about you. How do you feel about him? Do you want someone in your life that can toss you aside from one moment to the next? He says he misses you both- I’m sure he does. And when/if someone else enters into his life then he might not miss you so much. What then? You need to consider yourself here. He has let you down previously and both of you need to understand why he left and why he wants to stay and if he plans on making this work long-term. Based on the information I have it seems like his thoughtless behaviour has been swept under the carpet. He thinks he can waltz in and out when it suits him. When someone shows you who they are – believe them. He has shown you that he can drop you and your baby like a hot potato and now he needs to prove that he is deeply sorry AND that he will never do that again. If he cant do that- its not worth the risk. Another option is to co-parent with him. You do not need to be in a romantic relationship with the father of your child. One way he can show his commitment is honourable is by sharing the responsibility of parenting with you. Perhaps when he has shown his intentions are pure and that he wants to be a father and partner who is in it for the long haul (and not just to fill a loneliness hole), then he can have the honour of your affections again.

Q3: Is my long distance relationship going to make it?

I am currently in a long distance relationship with a guy I have only seen once. We are both students he lives in Durban while I am in Johannesburg and we love each other so much it hurts, like literally. We met at a friend’s party and we hit it off at first glance. We exchanged numbers and have kept contact ever since. Needless to say it has been a bumpy 3 years of my life, with the distance and all but through it all we have been strong. He has offered to come visit me but wants to spend the weekend with me. That is something that is impossible as I live with my mother and have never stayed out for the night unless with family. I never used to doubt his love for me but sometimes I call him and he doesn’t pick up the phone or even respond to my messages. When I ask him about it he’ll say he was studying or in a lecture and that I am reading too much into things. How can I not when he is miles away, and to make things worse he is out of reach. I love him so much and wish there could be some way to keep us closer but at times if feels like I am wasting my time. Do you think our relationship stands a chance of making it?

Dear Miss Loyal

I can hear you are incredibly devoted to this man whom you have met once. He is privileged to have your loyal affection given that you could be living a double life and he would be none the wiser. My concern is that from my point of view, based on your description,  you are more like pen pals with a  strong connection that has potential to develop into a wonderful relationship when and if you get the opportunity to spend some real time together. One of the things that define a relationship is the physical interaction and intimacy. It may be less frequent in the case of long distance relationships but no less important, with quality not quantity being critical. Your man is young and might be hopeful that one day your connection will be explored (I am not negating his feelings for you) but I believe it is unrealistic expectation to assume that he is equally loyal and devoted. At his stage of life (and yours) the emphasis is on being social, creating friendships and partnerships and experimenting with ones sexuality. It is normal and appropriate. The problem is not his behaviour but your expectations from him.  And yourself. You have not wasted time if it has been invested in loving someone. Do I think it will last? The friendship might be timeless but until you spend real quality time together it is only a virtual/electronic relationship. Both of you deserve more than that.