He Said/She Said: Does having ‘the conversation’ kill a relationship?

He Said/She Said: Does having ‘the conversation’ kill a relationship?

Pictures: Michel Bega.

When it comes to having the dreaded relationship ‘conversation’ men and women have widely different views on the matter.


We’re a society obsessed with instant gratification – shops must be open 24/7 and information should be available at the click of a button. We want what we want when we want it.

Facebook, Whatsapp and the like have made a whole host of previously unreachable people available to us. We can easily and cheaply chat to people all over the world. Place someone behind a computer or put a smartphone in their hand and they literally have access to a world of possibilities.

This is why it’s even more important to have “the conversation”. When this topic came up in my old office, opinions were divided. Some people, mostly the guys, felt that being in a relationship is something that’s implied. One day you just wake up and realise that things are serious. The girls, however, wanted “the conversation”; a clarification of the state of play.

Let’s face it: people don’t take relationships as seriously as they did when Ouma and Oupa were “courting”. When you have celebrities like Britney Spears and Kim Kardashian dissolving their marriages as quickly and casually as teenagers changing their minds about a crush, it’s no surprise that this is the case.

To my mind, when you make any form of commitment to someone, an implied set of rules comes with it. Both parties know there are boundaries. So when someone oversteps them they can’t say “but we weren’t serious.”

This goes for men and women – the number of girls happily stringing a few guys along is probably equal if not higher than that of men who cheat.

Maybe my point of view will be seen as old-fashioned. I guess I’ll never be able to date a Kardashian. Luckily there’s only one son so my chances aren’t good anyway.

Thandeka Nxumalo is not interested in Tsakane Mkhize’s  advances in Auckland Park. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Thandeka Nxumalo is not interested in Tsakane Mkhize’s advances in Auckland Park. Picture: Nigel Sibanda


Freedom. Freedom of expression, freedom of movement, freedom of religion, freedom of sexual orientation – all rights enshrined
in our constitution.

Liberty is an essential part of South African life – and it is also an integral part of a man-about-town’s frame of reference. So why purposefully curtail your own freedom with small inanities such as “the conversation”; a customary relationship rite of passage designed by women to ruin what is essentially a good thing?

Relationships among the sexes have many and varied beginnings. Some start out like a house on fire: meet at a club and engage in relations that then move beyond the realm of the one night stand. Others are more conservative, reserving the first kiss for the third date and then waiting longer for what the Yanks refer to as “getting to first base”.

Or is it the third base? Whatever.

The point is that relationships take on many shapes and forms and insisting on “the talk” can upset the natural order. There is even a talk show called The Talk on America’s CBS network that features an all female cast who host the show and – for the most part – an all female audience too. “The talk” is by no means designed to benefit the hunter gatherer/conqueror nature of the caveman. Sometimes perspective is not what is needed when in relations with a member of the opposite sex.

There is no pressure when a couple are hanging out, because they are truly themselves and are not concerned with being on their best behaviour. But once somebody says, with a serious face, that “we should conversation,” doom surely lies on the horizon.

Once the discussion ensues and you agree that you are officially boyfriend and girlfriend, roles change, and certain expectations are bestowed upon the two parties. What was once a thrilling and steamy affair is reduced to a series of lunch dates and dinner parties as you are paraded around to her girlfriends like some prized horse. So instead of putting all your chips on the table, rather let them fall where they may and enjoy the ride.

And more importantly, let freedom reign!




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