"I’ve stayed in an abusive relationship for 5 years – how do I tell my parents?"

Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images
Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images

He beats me


I’ve been in a relationship for five years. At first it was good then my boyfriend started to hit me and now I’m too scared to tell my family. My dad has never even shouted at my mother in all their years of their marriage, so I feel they won’t understand what I’m going through.

I feel like I would be a big disappointment to them if I told them I’m living with a man who beats me. What can I do?

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You certainly aren’t the one to blame for what your partner is doing to you – he is the disappointment here. He promised to love and treat you well but instead he’s using you as his punching bag. Five years is a long time for you to have endured this kind of abuse from him.

Just because your parents have never been through this kind of experience doesn’t mean they won’t understand. And it’s unlikely they would want you to keep quiet and put up with this abuse. This is not the kind of relationship you envisaged for yourself or one that you deserve.

You need to do something about it before it’s too late. I suggest you speak to a counsellor at LifeLine on 0861-322-322 or Powa on 011-591-6803 as soon as possible. In the meantime, don’t wait for him to beat you up again – go to your nearest magistrate’s court and apply for a protection order.

You do need to talk to your family about this. They are your source of support and believe me, it will devastate them if something bad happened to you and they had known nothing about the danger you were in. You only have one chance at life – take it with both hands and make sure it’s a fulfilling one.

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She might earn more than me


I’m 42 and I have a good job, a house and some savings. I was recently offered a promotion but I’m already working long hours and this would mean more time in the office away from my family. I went for an interview and was offered another job in a different company that would give me a better balance of work and home life but the salary isn’t as good.

My wife also has a good job and when we talked about this I discovered she would be earning more than me if I took the new job. So now I’m worried that maybe I’m being selfish. I don’t mind that she earns more than me but I’m worried what it might do to our relationship.

Will she think I lack ambition and don’t contribute enough? She says she’s fine with it, but I’m not sure. Do you think it will have a negative impact on our relationship?

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One can never be too careful when it comes to matters of the heart. It’s good you’re being proactive about this and not waiting until there are challenges that could’ve been avoided. Your wife has indicated to you that she doesn’t have a problem with you taking the new job, even if it pays less.

The one thing I feel you should be worried about, and make sure you discuss it fully with your wife before making the decision, is how this will affect your current lifestyle. A pay cut can be a challenge if you don’t think it through properly and make any necessary changes. Good luck.

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Did she just use me?


I’m feeling really bad because my ex has used me. When we first started dating she asked me to introduce her to my friends. She was particularly interested in the rich ones. And now she’s dating a rich guy I was working with. I remember taking her to a party at his house and she was so impressed by everything – and that was when our relationship started to deteriorate.

She went after him when we were still dating, and now she doesn’t even speak to me. I think I’m better off without someone like that but it’s hard not to think that maybe something is wrong with me.

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Oh, no! There’s nothing wrong with you. Don’t ever beat yourself up or doubt yourself because of some else’s behaviour. She is to blame here. You’re a decent guy who seems to see only the good in people. You were just unlucky to be in a relationship with someone who turned out to be a selfish, conniving, user. Give yourself time to heal from this then go out and find someone worth your devotion.

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