I disclosed before anything happened. Before the first kiss. A guy would show a bit of interest and I would tell him, so that he knows exactly what he’s getting himself into. I dated a couple of guys, but there’s been one particular relationship that really affected me negatively and taught me a lot of positive things at the same time. His name was Tshepo, from Limpopo. He came from one of the villages there; he was from a poor background, from nothing and made something of himself. He had his life planned out – he’ll study, get a job, buy a house, get a wife, have kids and live happily ever after. When I met Tshepo, he had just bought a house, so part of his plan was really coming together. And off course we hit it off, told him about my status and everything was fine. We were really happy. Or so it seemed. Tshepo had bought his house, has a girlfriend that he loves and now on to the next phase of his life, kids. Back then I thought I could never have kids, and that’s when the problems started. One day Tshepo comes home from work and tells me that there’s a woman that he works with that he would like to have a baby by. Okay, I thought to myself … I calmly asked him if he knew this woman’s status. Of which I received an uncertain response, “yes”. I reminded him that there aren’t too many people like me out there who will be honest enough about their statuses and who will protect you like I have. It was the things that Tshepo said to me on a daily basis that really broke me down. I think he wanted to leave me, but didn’t know how. He’d say stupid things like, he’s afraid of getting really close to me, because the people he gets close to die. By getting close to me, was he talking marriage? I wasn’t sure, I just he was talking a load of nonsense. So this baby thing and all the stuff this man was saying to me really got to me and for the first time since I had been diagnosed I fell apart. I fed on negativity. Started thinking of myself as less of a woman. I would look at all the people around wherever I was and I would think I’m the only one whose HIV positive and everyone else is negative. This went on weeks, months until one day I just burst out crying at work and no one understood why. I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t eat. Lost weight. Was contemplating suicide. I was at my worst. And one person that was there for me was Ma‐ Mokoena. She was with me at my weakest. I went for counselling and was told that the problem was I had never really dealt with this HIV thing, I was too busy being strong and taking care of other people, I never allowed people to take care of me. It had to come, eventually. I had to make a decision, it was hard, but for my health and my life, I had to leave Tshepo. He tried to be there for me so we stayed as friends. He moved on with his life and was dating a woman that shared my name, Dimakatso. I was told they were planning a life together and he had even paid lobola for her. I was happy for him, he finally found a woman that could give him everything he wanted. Couple of years later, his brother told me that Tshepo had passed on. I was heartbroken. He had a heart attack. He went to bed and never woke. But here’s the interesting part, Tshepo’s brother told me that the fiancé (Dimakatso) was apparently HIV positive and never told him about her status, and somehow Tshepo found out. As sad as I was to hear this, I wanted to wake him up and ask him, “What did I say to you?” Oh my husband, my husband, God sent. He is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. We, my husband and I truly believe our marriage is an arranged marriage, arranged by God. Arranged marriage because we never really dated, azange sijole, the first time we physically met, we had already been talking marriage. He likes to say, “Modimo o mbetcheditse” He never proposed. He never went down on one knee and asked me to marry him. The moment I saw him, I knew he was the man for me and he knew the same. Just like the story of Isaac, Genesis 24 in the bible. We go the same church, different branches, him in Botswana and I’m in South Africa. And one day, he added me as a friend on facebook. We were commenting on each others’ facebook statuses, then it moved on to facebook messages, then phone calls and SMS’es to happily ever after.