Being too desperate to make your new love match succeed, can end your relationship before it even begins.
Everybody loves the ‘honeymoon’ phase of a relationship. You’ve just met someone interesting, sparks are flying and the future looks exciting. While this period should be about getting to know each other and having fun, missteps often occur. These include having only sex as the foundation or ignoring warning signs about the person’s life.
Three women get candid with us about the cringeworthy mistakes they committed in the early stages of their relationships.
Too fast, too soon
Mothei Moloi* says that she had always dreamt of being happily married, but when she reached her early thirties with no Mr Right in sight, the idea started to consume her. At 38, Mothei met a man who seemed like her perfect match and, in an instant, it looked like her luck in love was going to change for the better.
“I met Peter* at a kiddies birthday party and we were immediately drawn to each other. I was happy to learn that he wasn’t married and had no kids, something that had become rare in my circle. It really was the stuff of fairytales because we just clicked,” she says.
Six months into the relationship, a friend joked that Mothei would likely be married by 40.
“Until that conversation, I had not thought about marriage much, except in passing, but all of a sudden I became obsessed with the idea of getting married before my 40th birthday, which was just over a year way,” she adds.
Mothei says she stopped enjoying her relationship for what it was. Everything was tainted by the fact that she wanted to be a Mrs.
“I became very pushy, wanting to meet his family and needing that almost instant validation that I was worthy to be his wife. In his defence, he’d done nothing to make me feel unworthy,” Mothei admits.
The incessant pressure and Mothei’s growing unhappiness put a strain on their interactions.
“Peter made it clear that he wasn’t going to be pressured into marriage. He started seeing me as desperate, which changed how he felt about me. Gone was the self-sufficient and secure woman he’d fallen in love with. We broke up and I spent my 40th alone, knowing that I’d unnecessarily ruined what might’ve been because of a fantasy I had created in my head,” she says.
Mothei and Peter later got back together and she says that time around, she wanted to let things unfold naturally.
“My biggest lesson was that relationships are built on reality, not fantasies and one-sided expectations,” Mothei said.
In the driver’s seat
Zinhle Nhlapo* says that her biggest mistake was being a control freak, so much that she ended up driving a relationship with a disinterested passenger.
“Thulani* and I met through friends. I knew that I wanted to see him again, so I initiated staying in touch. That was my first mistake,” Zinhle shares.
Zinhle feels that she always made the first move thereafter, but it took her a while to realise the impact.
“I was the one who made the first call, initiated dates and who declared when we were officially dating. It didn’t seem odd because Thulani is shy, but I now see how I was the one writing the story and he was just going along with the script,” she says.
Six months later, Zinhle started feeling like she wanted to be shown more affection, and to be acknowledged more on Facebook posts from time to time.
“When I asked, he started pulling back. His response was that I didn’t care about who he really was because I was intent on running the relationship according to my rules. He said I didn’t want him, I just wanted a man. I was shocked,” Zinhle says.
Needless to say, that spelled the end of their love match. Zinhle has since changed her dating strategy.
“I now let guys speak so I can get a real sense of what’s happening. Sometimes being headstrong makes you drive situations you shouldn’t be in in the first place,” she says.
Being an ATM
Tshenolo Kepadisa* used to be generous with her money, and quick in wanting to bail out boyfriends who faced dire financial situations.
“I just assumed that helping each other financially was a pivotal part of any relationship. In retrospect, there’s a high chance that I thought it would buy me the loyalty of my boyfriends and earn me their undying love,” she shares.
Little did she know that being an open purse was actually doing more harm than good with Mahole*, a proud traditionalist. Things started falling apart when she found out that her man had been cheating with a varsity student.
During the confrontation, she blurted out the words, “Is this the thanks I get for always helping you?” Mahole retorted, “At least she doesn’t make me feel small by constantly paying for things. Can you spell ‘emasculation’?”
Lesson learnt, Tshenolo says, “I only open my purse on my new man’s birthday. I don’t even help out when he asks for coins to pay for the parking ticket!”
*Not their real names
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