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True Love - 1 Jan 2017

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So you met someone in December, and you're wondering if it'll DEVELOP into a LONGTERM relationship? Experts and men weigh in to help you SPOT THE SIGNS early. BY PHILA TYEKANA THE NEW GUY: WILL HE STAY? Festive hookups are exciting. The relationship feels like a permanent honeymoon. From the endless flirting to cuddling and romantic rendezvous, it feels like this is the guy you'll hang out with for years to.come. Or is it? Come January, when everyone is getting back into the swing of things, you start to wonder if your chemistry will actually progress into a serious relationship. You want it to be real and eternal, but do you know if he feels the same? Before you initiate that dreaded "what are we?" talk, check for these signs to see if there's potential for growth or if you're just wasting your time. NO DEEP CONVERSATIONS Relationship expert Paula Quinsee says when we feel.comfortable in a relationship, we have no issues sharing our dreams, hopes and fears with our partners. If your man is not engaging in meaningful conversations with you, he doesn't feel.comfortable opening up or he's just not interested in sharing his real feelings with you. Siso, 39, says, "Why would I want to share stuff about myself with someone I see no future with? A man will never open up to someone they don't see as an investment." This is harsh. But Sizwe, 35, also agrees and says: "I'm not going to ask you about your future plans or wellbeing if I'm only interested in just a fling with you." His friend, Thabo, 37, adds: "We'll.compliment your hair or shoes, talk about a TV show but nothing too serious. In fact, we'll avoid talking about the relationship or refer to it as 'us'. There's no us!" Human behaviourist Dr John Demartini says, "If he loves.communicating or conversing with you about future activities you both look forward to doing together, then it's a good sign." Clinical psychologist Liane Lurie agrees: "A potential mate always gives you the significant information; sometimes you have to be brave enough to recognise the red flags." HAVEN'T MET HIS FRIENDS Phindi, 33, says she ignored the warning signs, which were staring her right in the face. "I was in an onoff relationship with my guy for four years. The only time I ever met his family was when I bumped into them while he was in hospital following an accident. He introduced me as his 'friend'. I thought it was cute, but now when I think back, he wasn't serious about us." Sima, 29, also experienced the same thing. "My ex introduced me as his distant cousin to his friends. I dumped him soon after that because I knew he was hiding something." Quinsee says this is a major warning sign because when we really care about someone, we want the whole world to know, especially if it's our new partner. We want to show them off. "We do this for various reasons: we seek the approval of our friends and family, and we want them to know that this is someone special who we plan on having around for a while, perhaps even a very long while. If your new partner is not doing any of these things then he's either got something to hide or he's hiding you. If your relationship has to be a secret you shouldn't be in it." On the other hand, Lurie says there's no need to rush into anything. She says as women, we often make the mistake of wanting to do everything at once, just because we're thinking with our hearts. Meeting someone's family and friends can actually be a serious step. Lurie also suggests you explore the reasons your new guy hasn't introduced you to his close friends and family. He may be an introvert, or to take things slowly. Maybe he's aware that you met in December when most people are in a good mood, and he's waiting to see if you'll stick around as well. in a fling with from the start that what we have is only casual and nothing more. If she decides to stay, she can't be upset with me," he says. "If a guy wants to take your relationship to another level, it won't be just physical. They'll be days where he just wants to hang out, chat and enjoy If you constantly avail yourself for sex, no guy will refuse that. We're simple creatures, if I'm showing you that I'm only about the physical then that's just it. If this makes you uncomfortable, speak up and if we don't want anything serious we'll tell you or leave," agrees Thabo. Demartini says relationships must be about more than just good sex. "A man must also be open to being intimate, tell you that he loves you, and enjoy as well." IT'S JUST ABOUT SEX If the relationship is purely centred around sex, and those interactions leave you feeling empty, then he may not be in it for the same reasons as you, explains Lurie. However, as Quinsee says, it's normal for a relationship to be a lot more physical in the beginning due to the novelty and excitement of it all. Nonetheless, if it's only about the physical aspect, he may just not be interested in getting to know you outside of the bedroom. "Sex is standard for a fling," Sipho, 33, shoots off. "I tell whichever woman I'm UN RELIABLE The atmosphere of the festive season is casual and fun. Although this may be the vibe with your summer fling, the caution, especially if you want more from the relationship, is identifying whether your December bae is there for you outside of just the fun. "Don't call to tell me your mother's in hospital and you want me to.come with you to visit her, or that your child needs money for milk It's scary because you're trying to pull me deeper into something that's just casual. If I want nothing more from you, I'll run, but if I care I'll be there for you," says Siso. Lurie agrees and points this issue as a biggie if it's not resolved. She explains that in a relationship you deserve someone reliable and dependable. Sure, you are an independent, strong, beautiful woman but we all have our damselindistress moments and need to know that he's not just in it for the fun times. The test of his.commitment is whether he shows up for the difficult stuff and is willing to stick around before, during and most importantly after. It's a true test of character. NOT TRUSTWORTHY For any union to work, there must be trust. Lewis agrees it's a fundamental aspect because you should be able to share openly with your partner without fear of judgement. Lurie advises you to first question whether your lack of trust is coloured by your own bad experiences in previous relationships, or does something within your gut unsettle you around him? "Remember that words alone do not earn trust. Behaviour and honest.communication are the building blocks of trust. This past December, did he show up when he said he would? Or did he not keep to his word? Has he ever done anything to betray your confidence? Was it a genuine mistake or otherwise? Trust ultimately forms the foundation of a relationship. Without it, you may be setting yourself up for heartache, conflict and many a sleepless night," says Lurie. UNSURE HOW HE FEELS If you eventually decide to ask him where the new relationship is going, here's how you go about it. In his best seller book, Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man, author and TV personality Steve Harvey advises you ask your bae these five necessary questions: What are your shortterm goals? What are your longterm goals? What are your views on relationships? What do you think about me? The last and most important is: What do you feel about me? Harvey explains that this shouldn't be confused with what do you "think" about me. He says, "If a man cannot tell you how he feels about you after a month of dating, it's because he doesn't feel anything for you he just wants something. Ask a man how he feels about you, and he's going to get confused and nervous: 'I told you before I think you're. . : he begins. You cut him right off and say, 'No, no, I want to know how you feel about me.' You have to get him to answer it." So what is the right answer? Will he stay? "It should be something that will ultimately leave you feeling wonderful like, 'When I don't see you, I miss talking to you, I always wonder what you're doing and whenever you.come around I feel warm and fuzzy'," says Harvey. Lurie clarifies that festive flings might just be that, a fling. There's no way to avoid them, but you must know what you want and walk away when it doesn't feel right. •

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