‘My partner has paid lobola and we just had a baby but I’ve never met his family or close friends’

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Ilustration. Photo by Getty Images
Ilustration. Photo by Getty Images
  • Angel Ledogi* is with a man who has paid lobola for her and they just had a baby, but she has not met his family.
  • The man is not from South Africa, so his family was not around when he paid lobola.
  • Angel is starting to feel uneasy about this and believes she might be pocketed. 

It is unsettling to be in a relationship where you don't quite know your place, almost like you aren't secure.

It can be more daunting when the relationship gets more serious. Naturally, when this happens, it means you practically know anything about each other. 

But that is not the case for Angel Legodi*, who is starting to think that her partner of three years is pocketing (hiding) her. 

"My partner has never introduced me to his family and close friends. He is even hiding me from his ex, and he says he is protecting himself and me because his ex is crazy! I feel like I am a detour," a stressed-out Angel says.

READ MORE | Pocketing: Is your partner hiding you in plain sight?

The two met in 2019, and the relationship has been going well. Her partner has even paid lobola, so they are husband and wife customarily.

They recently had a baby, but Angel still doesn't know his family. When lobola was paid, there were no family members from his side present. The reason for this, he says, is that his family doesn't live in this country.

"He says he's had a bad history with women and wants to keep his family out of his marriage. But lately, I've been feeling very uneasy about the whole thing. I feel like he's just going to pack and leave without a trace when he wants to, and I won't find him since I have never met his people," she says. 

The only people she has met are some of his colleagues and friends from South Africa, but she has not met the most important ones in his life.

To top it all off, Angel says he posted a picture of another woman on his Instagram, and when she asked who it was, he said he was trying to distract his ex, who asks too many questions, and he doesn't want her to know anything about his life.

READ MORE |Petty dating dealbreakers? For these women, they are a non-negotiable goodbye

Life coach, Thembi Hama, says Angel has every right to worry and demand concrete answers because she has a child and is customarily married.

"This makes it necessary to know his immediate and extended family as well as his roots and culture. There is a sense of loss of direction and belonging when one is not well acquainted with their partner's family. The lobola payment does not seem to be enough. This is not for her and the child's benefit only but for him as well. In the event of life's unfortunate eventualities, she would want to do right by him, particularly in his homeland," Thembi explains. Although Angel's instinct tells her something is wrong, she can't point out what exactly would make the man her dreams bar her from meeting his family.

READ MORE | 'He cheated on me, should I end our marriage?' - experts answer questions about infidelity

 "A partner who ignores or dismisses your concerns even if they sound ridiculous does not have your best interests wholly at heart," Thembi adds.

Angel's situation has so many red flags. From not knowing someone's immediate family, having a partner not from the same country as you, a partner who completely disregards her feelings and concerns, to starting a whole family without his own family and close friends present.

READ MORE | There could be a serious reason your partner is ‘hiding’ you from their friends and family

"I would advise her to work out things from her perspective because that is where her values and truth lie. Suppose her value system is honesty, transparency, family, and truth. For example, she feels that these are not being honoured," Thembi says.

If that is the case, Angel should begin to question everything and have a conversation with him that reviews and reevaluates their position as a couple.

"She must work out what she is willing to let slide, what she is willing to compromise on and what she is unwilling to negotiate. If the foundation of the relationship is shaky from the beginning, it rarely stabilises in the long run," Thembi adds.

READ MORE | Can you love someone too much?

He might be hiding something, hiding someone or hiding her. He might be running away from something, ranging from a dysfunctional family to a criminal past etc. He might be living two separate lives. Whatever it is, there is an element of dishonesty or withholding of crucial information, particularly where one has just started a family.

"It is anyone's guess, and the reason why this situation is not ideal is that assumptions may be wrong, and they destroy relationships. The truth of what is happening or not happening lies in an honest conversation between themselves, where her concerns are addressed, and she is given adequate information and chooses a way forward from a transparent and informed standpoint," Thembi advises.

What do you think Angel should do? Let us know here.

Not her real name*

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