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,

Where to start? I’m a 31 year old in a relationship with a 24 year old. We’ve been together for just over two years now and initially things were vibrant, exciting and fulfilling. BUT, from the start, my boyfriend brought this old man into the relationship with him, supposedly a friend. Things went downhill shortly after and have been tense and unfulfilling since.

I’m convinced that there is more to the “friendship” between my boyfriend and this old man. My boyfriend lies about what he does with the old man, where they go, etc. Even when we went for counselling, he was advised to distance himself from the guy, which he promised to do, but it turns out he lied to both myself and the counsellor.

I sit in a situation whereby I have the opportunity to go overseas for good, but my boyfriend doesn’t want to go, at least not now. My conclusion is that he doesn’t want to lose the old man, as the old man buys him everything he wants, and parades him around like a rent boy to his friends.

The sick thing is that my boyfriend doesn’t see anything wrong with their “friendship”. After numerous attempts to sleep with my boyfriend, the old man has finally resorted to blackmail. He has certain pet names for my boyfriend and they send secret sms’s, emails and have numerous plans for overseas travel or local travel, but never include myself or the old man’s partner.

The old man also has a bad habit of being overzealous in the way he greets my boyfriend and insists on feeling him up and kissing him over-and-over-and-over again, without any regard for how this makes his partner, my boyfriend or myself feel.

My boyfriend swears that there is nothing between him and the old man and that they’re just friends and enjoy similar tastes; something I can accept. But what I don’t accept is how my boyfriend holds on to this lecherous old man for the sake of acquiring money, presents, free vacations and the like, when their very “friendship” is tearing our relationship apart.

Am I being selfish by asking him to leave the old man alone?

At Wit’s End.

Dear At Wit’s End,

To coin your phrase…”…where do I start?”

It looks like your young boyfriend has a habit of forming relationships with older men who can give him material rewards. Also consider the fact that there is a seven year age gap between the two of you. This can be vast in terms of emotional maturity and life experience.

Your boyfriend seems like a calculating little businessman, leeching off all those who have something to offer. Be careful and open your eyes to this side of him.

Your second paragraph is revealing. Your boyfriend is a liar. You repeat this twice. I am sure he will do anything, including sleeping with this much older man, to get what he wants. He is also selfish; always putting his needs and desire ahead of yours. He is against you exploring your own opportunities, including going overseas. He never considers YOUR needs.

You need to realise that you are stuck in a toxic and abusive relationship with a very selfish and conniving human being. The relationship he has with this older man appears to be just one example of this abuse and toxicity.

You are quite entitled to feel hurt and angered by his behaviour. Your only fault is that you have colluded in your own misery and accepted this manipulative behaviour.

You ask whether you are being selfish. I believe you are actually living your life with a very low sense of self esteem. Your life will only start improving when you make the decision to start giving to yourself, and stop accepting abuse from others.

Think about these very serious issues I have raised, and make the decision to take charge of your life and your special destiny. You seem like a wonderful guy. You definitely deserve better than this.

Dear John,

I’m 24 years old; still at university and still as confused about myself as I was the day I came out about seven years ago! I’m a pretty attractive guy, and have no problems getting ‘action’, but therein lies my problem. I can’t sleep with someone without losing interest. I meet guys, get the butterflies, we date and get close but as soon as we’ve had sex I completely lose interest (either during or right after) and turn into a complete d**k and avoid them or disappear. This has happened more than once, so I’m convinced it has to be me!

I’ve had a few relationships in the past where this wasn’t the case, but since the last one ended a year ago (and it ended badly), all I want is another relationship. But at the same time can’t seem to sustain my interest in anyone the moment our pants come off.
I don’t want to be the guy who just sleeps with everyone once and moves on, but I find myself doing that more than I’d like to admit.

I’ve considered just going the ‘celibacy’ route, but that way I don’t meet anyone and would just feel lonely.

Any advice would be appreciated!

Attention Seeker

Hey there Attention Seeker,

Thank you for raising this issue, which I believe affects many gay men. So many guys long for a relationship, but end up with a sexual lifestyle of endless one night stands.

You are still pretty young – 24. Give yourself a break and don’t pressurise yourself too much. You may not even be ready yet to settle down. There is possibly still so much out there to explore and test before you settle down in a long term relationship. The gay lifestyle offers many possibilities for exploring your sexuality, and of course this can be incredible fun.

You may be open to finding a relationship, but perhaps have not yet found a guy you would be really happy to get involved with and commit to. You seem to be playing the field to try and explore what is out there, and when you realise that they are not for you, you move on. There is no problem with that, if you can get your head around it, and you don’t feel cheap and sleazy. The issue is that this lifestyle is making you feel bad and you are judging yourself negatively.

You must remember that we all grow up with social conditioning and programming. Society gives us an unwritten code of conduct which tells us how to live, behave, and conduct our lives. You need to become yourself and write your own rules. Create your own value system that resonates with who you are. Be true to your own nature, but remember to always be kind to others, and do not hurt other peoples’ feelings.

Some people will be threatened by your open-minded outlook and lifestyle, as it may be in direct contrast with their closed, indoctrinated and brainwashed mindsets, but be true to what is important for you.

On the other hand, do also try to understand what drives your actions as there could be deeper issues behind your behaviour. Many gay men are terrified of settling down, and limiting their sex

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