My sister’s keeper

Eleven things you need to consider on your dating path sis’. More importantly, on your way from being a beautiful girl to an elegant and sophisticated woman.

The road ahead is blissful and filled with happiness. Again, emotionally challenging. Even a GPS wouldn’t help much in navigating the dating path to ensure you avoid the ‘potholes’. Countless hindrances are imminent, and in the same breath, many positives. You live and learn.

Love yourself first!

In every relationship you get into, always have that strong sense of love for yourself. When a person loves themselves enough, they don’t chase waterfalls or even become another’s doormat.

Love is not in sweet words only, it’s in actions

Get to a point where you don’t merely blush in the face of words to an extent you don’t see if he’s really appreciative of you. Darling, manipulation is real out there! I believe love is a product of actions, and if they aren’t there, encourage and bring them to life. The gentleman must walk the talk of loving you.

Be yourself always

In my and others’ experiences, I’ve gathered that being authentic creates a great and warm atmosphere in a relationship. At any point, never feel tempted to compete with your boyfriend, because the best of love and happiness results from complementing one another. High self-esteem is a prerequisite for this to happen. Being confident about yourself even in the company of others (him) is superior of you young woman.

Radiate confidence, self-love and acceptance

When you have the above-mentioned in your emotional tool bag, the dating scene becomes much more satisfying on your part. Accept and make peace with everything about you, your background, looks, your body, imperfections, et cetera. Self-acceptance clearly shows off your beautiful character. Remember this my sister: you often attract what you radiate.

Learn to move on

As with most things in life, disappointments are a reality. The dating path isn’t always rosy, there will come moments where fights and ferocious arguments creep into paradise. Being mature enough to sit down and talk through the problems that beckon is true strength and an advantage. Throw any item you lay your hands on at him in your moments of anger, too. Shaya inja sisi! *chuckles* I kid … kid. There are times in life where all else fails, and what is left is moving on. Granted, it’s emotionally draining, but it’s better than holding on what’s not bearing any fruit.

Know the difference

It might happen you get caught in a whirlwind of determining whether what you have is real or not. In this case, you need to learn to differentiate and tell if you’re in love or ‘just getting along with him’. It might be convenient for him to have someone in the interim, as many people are afraid of being single.

Oh my gosh! Speaking of which, perhaps he’s just not that into you. In this potentially self-esteem-shattering instance, know that there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s his loss! Here’s what hurts me the most sweetheart: as you read this, there are many women who walk the face of the earth thinking they aren’t worthy. This is because a man might’ve walked out on them, repeatedly told them they aren’t worthy, cheated on them, had their once pure, beautiful and open hearts trampled upon; had their kind and receptive nature taken advantage of, among other cruel things some men inflict on women. Essentially, being passionately in love with him doesn’t mean he gets the licence, as it were, to hurt you and toy with your feelings. Damaging your self-esteem in the process. Don’t allow it! Conversely, neither should you string along and ultimately hurt a man who is head-over-heels in love with you.

Don’t settle for less

It sounds clichéd and quasi motivational, but true. Have high standards, and keep to them, as that will allow you to base your decision/s to be with someone on something you value. With high standards, you unconsciously sift through (allow me to be unjust)… nonsense. Know what you want and be unwavering about it. Uphold high standards my dear. You are worth it!

Unfaithfulness

Here, in no way am I purporting that all guys out there are unfaithful. Looking at the decay in moral fibre in our society, it’s wise to signpost you of what’s possible. It would appear many guys — not all — find it limiting to date one woman. This happens due to various reasons, others are deemed to be ”The Man” when they have multiple partners. Be careful not to be cynical and fault-finding, though. Be vigilant of this type of behaviour from male counterparts. If in doubt of his commitment to you, dare to ask him.

Heart-break

Closely related to dating is the heart-break it comes with it. This isn’t always because of something severe as a breakup, but little things such as setting up an outing for you two and he does not pitch. It will, to abuse the phrase, break your heart. These are things which need you to be mentally and emotionally intelligent and strong sisi.

Always go for character

Dealing with this one is literally walking the tightrope. It’s precarious to a certain extent, as you can’t eat character, educate your children with character, et cetera and so forth (more on this in the next few sentences). As human beings, to some or other extent, we get attracted to what glitters. Which is ok actually, I love beautiful things myself. In the midst of finding out what type of person suits you, don’t only place emphasis on the exterior and material possessions. A decision to be with him should be based on who he is. In the same breath, suss out whether he can take care of you. This is simply because his work ethic will determine what he accumulates in the way of gold and silver. Ultimately, what he’s able to amass does make life a little easier and gives you options. The truth be laid bare: love don’t pay the bills baby! By the way, I’m not going to discount you; you have to work hard to elevate your union as well. Never be complacent; you’ve got to have your own goals and dreams for your life!

Open communication is important

Ja, ja, ja! I’ve heard that numerous times before, Themba! Yes, the saying is ubiquitous and for good reason — it’s true. You need to be able to openly lay your feelings, needs and expectations from the relationship in a candid conversation. Don’t be afraid to start tough and uncomfortable conversations, they often are the hallmark of very strong and close couples. Know that open communication channels are of utmost importance in a relationship. Know one another, delve deep into each other through conversation.

This journey is much like a road trip, with many potholes along the way. At the same time, it has spectacular and breath-taking moments beyond description. Yours is to make sure the crazy and fun times outweigh the sad. And I can’t emphasise this enough, dare to be yourself, throughout! The reason some people say “life begins at 40” (or 30) is because many reveal that at that stage of their lives they stop caring too much about other people’s opinions. Meaning they begin to live their lives their way, not how other people want them. Remember that to a certain degree, life is a game — therefore have fun! Immerse yourself in it. All work and no play made Thandiwe a dull girl.

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THEMBA JAY,

Communicate Your Genius