‘It’s not death a man should fear, he should fear never beginning to live’ – ROMAN EMPEROR MARCUS AURELIUS
I’m 28 and was with my partner for eight years. We got engaged when I was 24 and started the process of lobola the same year. It was meant to have finished last year but he had a car accident and I found out he was cheating on me. I said nothing and supported him in his recovery.
Then my partner started arguing with me, saying I don’t like his family. I’d previously told him I was frustrated when they didn’t even come to see him after his accident and I thought his brother was just milking him for money. In the end we had a big fight and separated.
I started seeing a guy from church and after three months I slept with him. It was amazing but I discovered he was using me to get back at his girlfriend and I left him too. Now I have two guys apologising and trying to fix things with me – and they both say they want to marry me.
This whole drama has really hurt me as I always wanted to get married young and experience everything in life with my husband. Eight years later I’m still not married, I’ve slept with another man and broken another relationship. What should I do? FM, EMAIL Beating yourself up for what you’ve been through won’t change what’s happened. Treat those experiences as lessons for the future – they’ll determine the kind of person you become. What you need to do now is ask yourself which of the two men is worth your while – which one do you really love and why? Think about this rationally, not emotionally, so you don’t end up making the wrong choice.
You may even discover that you don’t really want either of them, in which case try being single for a while. Can you see yourself spending the rest of your life with one of them? Once you have an answer to this question you’ll be able to decide what’s best for you. Good luck.
ANGRY AT DEATH
I’ve been married for nearly 20 years and although we’ve had some hard times we’ve had a good relationship. We recently found out my husband has cancer and probably won’t live more than a few months. He seems to be dealing with this but I’m completely depressed. I can’t imagine life without him. I want the rest of our time together to be good and to support him in every way I can but I don’t seem to be able to do that. I’m sad and angry at the same time and I think I’m just making things worse for us both. What can I do? DEVASTATED, EMAIL What you’re going through is understandable because so much of your life has been shaped with your life partner at your side. It’s never easy to just accept that the person you’ve spent so much time with is going to pass on and leave you.
Take strength from the fact that he’s dealing with his emotions and feelings appropriately. Hard as it might be, you need to do the same.
You also need to be there for him as a source of strength and support. He needs to know he can rely on you when his body starts to fail him. The only way you can do that is if you start to accept the inevitable. Being in denial will only make things more difficult than they already are.
Concentrate on making good memories with your husband while he’s still around. These are moments you’ll hold on to when he’s no longer there. Work on making his last days with you the loving, comforting and as enjoyable as possible.
LONELY WITHOUT LOVE
I’m a 24-year-old woman and am desperately in need of a loving man. I’ve not had a stable boyfriend in my life.
I’ve lived through a series of rejections – one after the other – and now I’m feeling sad and alone. I envy other people in relationships and I’m starting to hate being alive. What can I do? KC, EMAIL Love starts from within. You need to start loving yourself, understanding who you are, what your strengths are and what you want. You need to set your own goals and expectations, and not rely on the man you’re with to define you or be the source of your self-worth.
Tell yourself that those who rejected you weren’t worthy to be in your life, accept that they’ve moved on and do so yourself.
You must make sure you give yourself enough time to heal after a break-up. Time out will ensure that you concentrate on yourself and that you don’t take baggage from the last relationship into the next.
I suggest you talk to someone about how you feel in order to get support, coping skills and guidance. Keep telling yourself that true fulfilment in life and love starts from within.