As if relationships are not hard enough at all times, smitten lovers soon learn the true meaning of the saying that three is a crowd.
People close to them increasingly become involved, most of them for the wrong reasons. And since the challenge here is often that the relationship is new, ways of dealing with this problem seem hopeless, but the truth is, we do need a sense of humour to fight off saboteurs.
lIf it's a friend - Dealing with an unaccommodating friend is tricky, especially if the friendship has financial, transport or accommodation spin-offs.
Here is the person who used to be your lover's confidante and they might have been on a similar journey of looking for someone like you - and your lover just happened to score first.
The friend might have more than one issue to deal with. He might be left looking, without a friend to keep him company and a shrunken self-esteem.
"Women often try to snatch such men away from their old circles for fear of losing their lovers to the old crowds with old habits, but what that often does is create a longing," says relationships counsellor Anna McDowel.
Coming between him and his old way of life is not the way to go. McDowel advises to rather stick to your own old friends, live your own life and never give in to his insecurities because his issues remain between him and the friend.
l If it's the child - These little creatures might seem like small fry, but in need they may seem like the hand that rocks the cradle.
Because he has blood ties with the child, he is always going to take the child's side.
I have heard umpteen stories of little terrors knowing exactly when to pounce and apparently it was often at the time of consummation and any attempt to do a follow-up on that.
"One guy had a 10-year-old daughter who insisted on sleeping with us, though she had her own bedroom.
"It used to annoy me so much because my own little girl would be peacefully asleep in her own bedroom when Jacob was around. I tried making a fuss, but in the eyes of that man, that little witch was an angel of the highest pedigree," says Nonkululeko Sithebe.
In the end, Sithebe blamed the 10-year-old's behaviour on her mother's influence, even made accusations that maybe the man wore the dress in his previous relationship, but all that fighting and screaming ultimately led to their separation.
The solution is perhaps to invite him to your place more often. "It was the only time we didn't have problems with the brat," confirms Sithebe.
"If you see the affair going beyond Christmas time, you could bring this issue to his attention because men can be very blind to this kind of blackmail," she says.
lIf it's his maid - This lot often think they can be mother dearest to your man while spitting venom at the new lover.
They deliberately bring bad vibes to the affair because of job insecurity.
"I had heard of hens until I met a maid with the longest apron strings," remembers Xoli Shuping. "She hated me and made no apologies about her behaviour.
"She made sure to sanitise everything I had used at my man's place, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. After six months of cohabiting with him, she was still drawing up the shopping lists, fixing his tie and doing everything to make my presence seem unnecessary," Shuping says.
The solution here is to talk to her woman-to-woman because men will never agree to be dragged into such issues.
But do remember to treat her like a professional because, after all, she is employed by your man and it is in your best interest to be in keep with a woman who can write the book on his lifestyle.
lIf it's his colleague - Don't even worry, they have no contract to agree on anything and what are the chances that you are ever going to need the colleague's vote of confidence?
lIf it's his mom - Now here is the real hand that rocks the world. This is the thinnest ice you are ever going to have to skate on.
Your man's mom might very well be the altar you worship on because one mistake could mean break-up in a whiff.
This woman is the god and though you want to be in her good books, you do not want to condescend her because she has seen the likes of you come and go.
Be nice, be wise and behave well, but don't try to replace her and give them space until you get married. Because moms generally don't know boundaries, you will then need to tighten the strings gently and gradually.