"But that just isn't the life I want anymore, how do I get my new young boyfriend to get that".

Meet 27-year-old Refilwe*. She is what she calls herself a "retired blessee". After years of living lavishly on the expense of bigger pocketed older men, Refilwe wanted out of the "glitz and glam".

So she traded her 40-inch Brazilian wig for a short and cute natural fro, her LV heels for flats and the passenger seat of a Bentley for a seat on the bus. She's also traded her grey-bearded bae for a "broke prince charming" as she calls him.

While she is happy with her now much more humble life, her man, who has only known a little of her previous lifestyle, has recently found out that she used to date older and often married men in return for trips to Dubai and rent fully taken care of in an upmarket apartment.

"I come from a very small village in Kwa Zulu Natal. When I first moved to Johannesburg, I had big plans to further my education and make it big as a city girl. Things weren't that easy.

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Once I got here I found that it was no easier getting a part time job here than it was back home - it was especially difficult to get a tertiary education. Lucky for me, I had some friends this side so a place to crash wasn't that big of a problem.

The friend I was staying with had a job as a club "hostess" at a popular night club in Sandton where she worked most evenings and made really good money. Soon I was a club hostess too. 

It was a world like no other.

Here men spent hundreds and thousands of rands on champagne bottles, hookah pipes and girls. Women looked like runway models and every one seemed so wild and free. I loved it.

Before long I had met my first "blesser". At first I had no idea how to go about it and a few times found myself sleeping with older men for champagne and a couple of hundreds. Soon thereafter though, I became smarter and started bargaining for more.

LV bags, Gucci shoes, trips overseas and enough money to cover my rent became my asking price and I'd settle for nothing less.

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After a while however, I learned that having your rent paid by someone else meant being their property, and waking up in the morning next to a man old enough to be your father was becoming too much for me, especially when I though of my real father who was so proud of me for doing so well.

If only he knew.

The breaking point for me came after one of my blessers slapped me for going out with my friends. I decided to sell every designer thing I owned and used the money to fund my weave-selling business, which is currently booming.

Shortly after I stopped seeing "blessers", I met Thami*, who is 28 years old.

He heard tons of stories about me and my lifestyle. Being an open book, I confirmed a lot of what he heard expecting him to accept that it was all in my past. But I was wrong. He seems to be distancing himself from me and I'm not sure what to do.

He says he needs space, but I fear that hearing that I slept with married men in the past has pushed him away. What should I do? I don't want to lose him."

Dr David Wilson shares the following advice for Refilwe and her partner Thami.

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1. "Give your partner some time and space to work through his feelings about the thing's he's just learned about your past.

2. Once he has had enough time to work through those feelings, I suggest the two of you sit down for a talk about which step you will take going forward, breaking up or moving on.

3. Should your partner choose to stay, explain to him why you did what you did so that he understands your rationale, thereafter, explain to him that it is now a thing of the past, something you would like to forget about and move on from.

4. Allow your partner to explain to you why the past upsets him so much while you offer him a sincere and understanding ear. Thereafter the two of you can consider counselling together.

5. Should your partner choose to leave as a result of his inability to accept your past, allow him to leave. Forcing yourself on him will only result in him moving further away. Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do but accept his decision."

We hope this information proved to be useful for Refilwe's situation.

*Not their real names.

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