There is a new trend in town, whereby people enter into relationships for the purposes of having shelter and other short-term goals.
Relationship expert Paula Quinsee says this trend is fairly new in South Africa, unlike in the UK and the US, where it is more prevalent.
“Many people are in relationships of convenience for financial or sexual purposes, and, in some cases, for the sake of children. Hobosexual relationships are a fairly new trend in South Africa and not many people are open about being in such relationships,” Quinsee says.
She adds that women are more likely to be in relationships with hobosexuals.
“Women are naturally caretakers and nurturers, and so they are more susceptible to this kind of behaviour because their nurturing instinct kicks in,” she explains.
“They get caught up in the romantic notion of having a man who just wants to be with them 24/7 and who is quite happy to morph into their life. But if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
MY EIGHT MONTHS OF BEING A HOBOSEXUAL WITH TWO WOMEN
Tsietsi Malatji* (25) claims he created a lifestyle out of dating women for shelter.
“In 2018 I was homeless. I was studying for my honours degree, and two women accommodated me,” says Malatji, who is now a master’s student at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and a lecturer.
“I found a lady from Kenya staying in a postgraduate residence at UJ. After we spent a few days together, I moved in. She would cook for me, give me cash and do my washing. If it were not for her, I would have failed my honours degree and I would have struggled. She was a good person, but I did not love her. I think she was vulnerable and clingy, but it benefited me in terms of accommodation and sex. The only down side was her being controlling. She wanted me around all the time.”
HOW I SPOT MY PARTNERS
“Every relationship I had in varsity was centred on monetary exchange, sex and accommodation,” says Malatji.
“When courting these women, you quickly pick up on their empathic qualities, and they enjoy you being vulnerable with them.
“I would always go for the ones who stayed in communes or postgraduate residences. I preferred ladies who were independent and had money, not undergraduates who depended on student aid and lived in undergraduate residences with strict rules.”
A HABIT OR CIRCUMSTANTIAL?
“I would do it again,” says Malatji.
“Dating is not about what you feel; it is what you get out of the process that counts. The lady spent money on me. She sponsored me and some of my comrades with lots of beer and also drank with us.”
He says the relationship ended after she found out he was still with his baby mama.
A YEAR OF BEING A HOBOSEXUAL
Poet and theology student Mawethu Teya* (26) says he moved in with his partner, and she would have to pack his clothes every time her family wanted to visit, even though she was the one who paid the rent.
“I lived in the streets for weeks. When I met this lady, we were both performing poets. Three days later, I moved in. We lived together for a year.
“I didn’t tell her upfront that I was homeless; I only shared bits of the story over time. I had to hide this set-up from my family. One time my mum came to visit me and wanted to see my place. My partner had to pack all her things and store them at the neighbours.”
“My partner soon realised that I couldn’t afford anything,” says Teya. “She got stressed and started to drink. We drifted apart. Leaving the relationship was difficult. I had to finish my studies, so I only moved out when I graduated.”
DATING A HOBOSEXUAL FOR A YEAR
Lecturer Sophie Nzuzo* (25) says it was only after her partner had pawned her laptop that she knew it was time to run away.
“I started noticing that he was wearing the same clothes all the time. He would come and visit my place, and stay for weeks. He had relatives in Johannesburg, but he would stay with friends or sleep at my house.
“I then started asking questions because I was the one buying groceries and taking care of us both. Only then did he explain that he had been kicked out of university residence and could no longer afford shelter.”
Nzuzo alleged that he went missing with her laptop.
“He went missing for a month. After I involved his parents, he returned – only to tell me he had pawned my laptop. I decided to end the relationship. He began to cry, but it was the final straw.”
*Not their real names
How to know you are in a relationship with a hobosexuals
ACCORDING TO RELATIONSHIP EXPERT PAULA QUINSEE:
- THE RELATIONSHIP MOVES AT LIGHTNING SPEED
Anyone who is serious about being with you will not feel the need to rush. They will also take the time to get their life together and heal from their previous relationship, before pursuing one with someone else.
- YOU DRIFT INTO COHABITATION
Moving in together is a big step that requires a serious conversation. If your new partner drifts into your living space or is staying with you because they literally have nowhere else to go, that’s a red flag.
- THEY LIVE IN THE ‘IN-BETWEEN’
In-between jobs. In-between flats. In-between partners. Their employment situation is sketchy, their last known address involved sleeping on a friend’s couch and they have a habit of never being single.
- YOU’VE CHANGED YOUR LIFESTYLE TO ACCOMMODATE THEM
You start to buy more items than you usually do when going grocery shopping. Your partner often pitches in by merely asking you to get them a deodorant or some shower gel. You also can’t go out as often with your friends as said partner needs to be cooked for or given money for food. You also can’t let them stay alone at your place, so sleeping over at a friend is unlikely to happen, never mind clubbing all night.
- YOU JUST HEARD THEM ON THE PHONE CANCELLING THEIR STORAGE LOCKER
They have more bags and items that they keep bringing to your place. They no longer actively look for a place to stay or sleep at their friends.
- YOUR FRIENDS KNOW EXACTLY WHAT’S GOING ON
Our friends and family are often able to see what we cannot. When you’re dealing with a hobosexual, “free-spirited nomad” is code for “homeless”. If your friends tell you they think something is off about your relationship, it might do you good to listen.