John French is Mambaonline’s resident “fairy guidebrother”. John is a life and stress counsellor and has earned a reputation as one of South Africa’s leading communications specialists for over a decade. During that time, he has counselled a vast range of people, ranging from premiers to prostitutes…

John is here to address all those lifestyle questions and issues that have been wearing you down. So why not write your own “dear John” letter, and let him offer you some genuine heart-to-heart advice. You can mail John at

Dear John

I am a 23 year old guy. I have been single for a while. I came out to friends and select family about four years ago. Like most guys out there, my parents still do not know, but naturally my mom suspects. As I said, I have been single for some time now. I do meet people online, but never really go out and meet them face to face. This is mainly due to the fact that I am afraid of being hurt, and seeing as there are a fair number of guys out there who are only interested in sex… I am proud to say that I am not – hence my fear of rejection.

Recently, I met the most amazing guy. He is 21 and suits me perfectly and I suit him just as well. We get on so well and went on our first date on Valentine’s… it was magical. Something clicked the other day, and I realised that I want to know him better, settle down with him (I know I am young) but he is just amazing… unlike anything I have felt before. I can’t stop thinking about him, and I want nothing more than to be with him and just lie in his arms and feel safe, secure, and just learn and grow together.

My problem is that I have pushed boundaries to a degree… Being new to the whole butterfly feeling thing, I have a tendency to over-sms, and I kinda over sms’d him
I sent yet again another message telling him I liked him a lot and that I wanted to know him better etc. My phone did not send the message, so I sent it again… he landed up getting it about four times. Not my fault. That kinda ticked him off. I tried to apologise, but the more I apologise for “bugging him” the more I was bugging him. I am afraid of losing a guy like this – people like this are rare.

I know I have said sorry to him, but how can I let him know I am truly sorry for everything and that I still want to be with him? Assuming he is not annoyed at me.

Please help…


Dear Confused

My heart really goes out to you. You seem in need of much comfort, security and love. I can only imagine the pain you are going through, and hope I can help you to detach from the power of the scary emotions you are feeling. In that way you can look at your issues objectively, and begin to resolve and overcome them.

Do not fear…Millions before you have had to deal with similar issues, and many have bravely and boldly overcome them. All you need to do is be brave, resolute and look at your situation logically. It may seem huge to you, but broken up into small digestible chunks, it can be more easily understood and resolved.

I want you to read your letter to me, and take note of the words and phrases I have highlighted. Your language choice reveals your issues and fears. Can you see how often you mention your fear of being single? Can you see you crave security? Did you notice how you also have the negative habit of over compensating and over-doing things, as you do not yet trust yourself, or your ability to handle things correctly?

Your security issues could stem from the relationship you have with your parents. You feel that you cannot trust them with coming out about your sexual orientation, and this has created your fear of rejection. You are craving acceptance and love from your parents, which you fear is not possible. You could therefore be trying to find this primary love and acceptance through others. Trying to find it in a 21 year old is certain to bring you heartache and disappointment.

You need to go to the heart of the matter, and sort out your relationship with your parents once and for all. You practically state that your mother already knows about your sexual orientation, so I am sure it will not come as a shock if you clear the air and introduce them to the real you. Remember, especially if they know about you being gay, it must be very awkward for them too. Raise the topic if you can in a loving and relaxed way when the time is right. It may just become the greatest moment of your life, where you finally stand up and accept who you are, even if no one else does. I feel that this is essential for your emotional well-being and development, and I sincerely hope your folks will give you the love and acceptance and emotional security that you really crave from them.

You are also quite the romantic, and you are looking for ideal happiness and a “perfect relationship”. You may have put this 21 year old so-called “amazing guy” on a pedestal, when he might not deserve it, or you, for that matter. I fear you may actually want a relationship more than you really want this particular boy. You have fallen in love with a fantasy of the potential security that this 21 year old could possibly give you. That is not fair on him, and you are very likely setting yourself up for disappointment. If he is right for you, trust me, he will prove himself to you, and you won’t have to try so hard. Remember that too much one-sided hard work usually equals heartache in relationships.

I hope this all has helped you, and I wish you everything of the best on your brave and exciting journey. Go for it!

Hey John,

I recently joined Meet Market and I saw your advice column. It looks pretty good. I am a religious Jew. I don’t have the eternal damnation problem that Christians have with being gay but I do still have problems with the Old Testament as it says that homosexuality is a sin. If I get a lover I want it to be a relationship where I don’t have to worry all the time if I am living in sin. How do I resolve these two conflicting sides of my life?



Hello Religious Jew

I believe that if you worry about what other people and religious groups will think about you and your choices, you will never begin to trust yourself, and therefore will never be on the road to self-fulfilment and happiness.

Stop wrestling with the “two conflicting sides of your life”.

Figure out what you personally want out of the precious and unique life God gave you, and go about getting it – without hurting others. It is not that complicated. Stop listening to the outside world, and start to listen to your own inner voice and higher guidance. That is where the answers lie; just waiting for you to connect with them.

PS: Enough Jewish guilt!

Dear John

I’m 20 years of age, a C

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