As we’ve entered the new year, I think it’s only right that I start on a note that is important to all of us, love and relationships. For this post I’m going to focus particular on love and relationships relating to the opposite sex (or same depending on your inclination), because this is something I’ve been experiencing for the last couple of months.

I can hardly believe that it’s been almost six months since I started seeing Mr Mature, as I don’t have the best track record of choosing men, I’ve had my fair share of cheaters, liars, dogs, bad boys, commitment phobes, you name the problem man, I’ve probably dated him. And I use the term dating, loosely! My longest mutually monogamous relationship probably lasted all of three months. Going in with Mr Mature, I didn’t really know what I wanted, but I knew it was nice to have this attractive, intelligent, successful, kind man want to be with me. However, I was also wary that he was into me purely for my young, seductive appeal – I tend to lean more towards sexy than beautiful in men’s eyes.

Months later, we’re still together and dare I say ‘in love’? But it’s definitely not without its challenges. I think while there is definite positives for dating at an older age, when you know yourself better, have more confidence, higher self-esteem etc, it does mean that you come with your own share of baggage from failed relationships, traumas, pre-conceived ideas of what a relationship should be and even a level of stubborness as you’re used to your own life, your way and nothing else.

Sometimes it’s easier to throw in the towel and keep on stepping until you find the perfect match. But then you ask yourself if such a think exists, without putting any work into it? Think about everything in life, what has come to you without you having to put any effort and work into it?

I am a big believer in communication – Mr Mature isn’t great at communicating, which is scary at times, but I think he hears me. One thing he always says to me is don’t change for me, don’t do stuff just to please me. As women, I think it’s too easy for us to compromise to please our partners, but when you are constantly compromising then you get miserable and unhappy. Relationships are a two way street, both partners have to make an effort, and while I don’t advocate in constantly banging your peeves to your partner, I do think that if something bothers or hurts you, you have to speak up about it. Sometimes your partner doesn’t even know that that’s how you’re feeling.

What I’ve found particularly difficult is divorcing my past (baggage and issues) from this relationship. It’s not that it ever crosses my mind to think that he’s unfaithful – though in Zambia, that would hardly be surprising, and even he thinks that I think he’s up to no good because of his lack of communication at times, but that’s not it at all. I think as women we tend to know our partners are cheating, we just choose to ignore it, so that isn’t the thing I worry about – plus unlike previous relationships, I never went into it thinking he would cheat!

But it’s other things, and I feel that sometimes I let my past experience determine my present. In 2012, I do want to put the baggage behind me and remember that the present is a gift and (just another cliche for effect), life is too short to be miserable. I know I have a good man, and I’m pretty sure he knows he has a good woman, will we last? Who knows, but it’s more important to love for today. You also can’t live your life being scared of another failed relationship – though it does make me laugh that he thinks my ‘independence’ is what has kept me from a deep, meaningful relationship! – I will continue to communicate and if that freaks him out or becomes too much for him, so be it, it just means we weren’t met to be. It will hurt, but it won’t kill or break me.

Love and relationships should be fun, should make you grow as a person, not make you sad, miserable and break you down. If it does, then you need to ask yourself why are you in that relationship? Remember, another person does not define who you are as a person, they might help make you a better person, but only a better person of who you already are. Love you more than you love anyone else, so that you can give healthy love to another.

Love and peace in 2012 – I wish you all the best and happiness – for all of us!