I’m a 25-year-old final-year varsity student. My boyfriend is 26 and we’ve been dating for more than five years. Last year he gave up on his dream of being a DJ but he hasn’t found a job and has become depressed. He does odd jobs but never gets anything permanent. He lives in the back room of his family’s place but gets no support from them.

I’ve helped him apply for jobs, given him money for interviews and bought him toiletries and clothes. I’m starting to feel more like his mother than his girlfriend. I love him very much and I’m sure he loves me, but I’m tired of him being jobless. I buy him presents but I’ve never received a birthday gift from him. We can’t even afford takeaways.

It might sound selfish, but I want to be taken out – I want to know what it’s like to go on a date. I feel like I’m missing out on life. But he went through traumatic experiences growing up, and not being able to find a job is making him suicidal. What can I do?

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You’ve done well by him for the sake of your relationship and shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting the best for yourself. You seem to have been babysitting him to such an extent that you now feel it’s your duty to take care of him. It’s time he also showed some initiative and did something for himself.

I suggest he contacts the National Youth Development Agency on 0860-096-884 to inquire about bursaries or guidelines for a business start-up.

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My husband really wants us to have children but I’m HIV-positive, we don’t use condoms and he refuses to get tested himself. Would it even be possible for us to conceive children who’ll be HIV-free and healthy?

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Yes, of course it’s possible. However, you should consult a doctor on the exact method and treatment required to ensure this happens. It’s also important you speak to your husband about this, as he needs to get tested and know his status.

If he’s positive, he can start treatment and you can both take the necessary precautions. As well as seeing a doctor, I suggest you also talk to a counsellor at your nearest Voluntary HIV Counselling and Testing centre or call loveLife on 011-523-1000.

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I’m 36 and grew up in a village. When I moved to the city I met my girlfriend.

The problem is that whenever we have sex she screams very loudly and everyone can hear. In my culture this isn’t right and I feel shy. How can I keep her quiet?

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It might be her way of showing you she’s really enjoying the intimacy, but if it makes you so uncomfortable then you’ll have to tell her. Talk to her about this when you’re both calm and at ease, in a manner that won’t offend her. You might find it’s just a habit she picked up and she’ll easily be able to drop it.

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I’ve been dating this cute guy for five months. I love him a lot but I’m not sure if he loves me. He says he does but we’re always fighting over rumours about what he’s been doing. But I think everyone is just trying to break us up. What can I do?

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Before assuming that people are trying to break you up, try to find out whether there’s any truth to the rumours. The fact you confronted him about it indicates you also have doubts. If you’re constantly fighting about those rumours, there might be a trust issue in your relationship. Sessions with one of Famsa’s relationship counsellors could benefit you both. Call 011-788-4784.

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My girlfriend and I are both 21 and we’ve been together for three years. I’ve cheated on her before and she’s forgiven me, but now she’s pregnant and tells me I’m not the father. I felt guilty about my past behavior so to save our relationship I’ve told my family the child is mine, but I feel guilty about deceiving them all. Do I keep this from my family or come clean and leave my girlfriend?

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What does lying about the paternity of the child prove? What needs to be determined by both you and your partner is whether you still want to be in a relationship, regardless of whether the child is yours or not. You should be happy that at least your partner has told you the truth. This is your life and your family is there as a support system. The decisions you make will affect you, not them. Think about how you could justify this if one day the truth comes out. Be honest and do what’s right.