Check out these tell-tale signs to see if your ladylove has unresolved issues

Amanda Ngudle

They are every man's worst nightmare - women with unresolved issues.

They are feared for their evil ways because it is not easy to detect them until all hell has broken loose.

According to psychologist Lulu Sigcau, women with unresolved issues become a menace to society because they need an outlet for their underlying issues.

"Verbal and sexual abuse have similar traits when it comes to relationship sabotage," Sigcau said.

"Often victims of a bad childhood, they go out of their way to make their and their spouse's lives a living hell, always cross-questioning their partner and spitting fire and brimstone at the slightest provocation," she said.

In the early, rosy stage, it might seem that you would need a sangoma to write someone off as a psychotic case, but Sigcau is adamant that we often choose to ignore the signs screaming at us.

"The first sign is often a gut feeling telling you to go in with your eyes open and your intuition only gets stronger when you obey it. When you choose to ignore the first few signs, your gut then lets you be.

So, if your new flame indulges in nonstop monologues of complaint, waitress abuse and conversation riddled with words such as hatred, revenge, betrayal and hurt, you might be in for a very turbulent relationship.

"And the longer you take debating whether to leave or stay can only make matters worse.

"The longer you hold on to an unbalanced person, the harder you make it for her to find her own ground," Sigcau said.

According to Ruth Mthimkhulu, a relationship counsellor, one way to spot a possibly horrible girlfriend is to take note of her vocabulary.

"But women are very good actresses. They can cover up their tracks so well that their real selves will only emerge long after they have said their "I do's"," Mthimkhulu said.

Lindokuhle Ntshangase is a web page designer. His past flame played the game so well that he scooped her up with both sympathetic arms.

"If she had told me that she was a virgin I would have believed her.

"She was so good at first you could have encouraged me to give her the damn ring, and I almost did," he remembers.

Barely four months into the relationship, Ntshangase said that he would catch her watching him sleep.

"That was freaky and I still thought that she had a rare case of insomnia, but my gut told me that the girl was troubled," he said.

"Getting out of that relationship was not a walk in the park.

"Soon she had told some of my friends she was expecting my child, bought herself a ring and told people we had eloped and many other such movie tales," he said.

His story is not as bad as that of Sicelo Nke. He said that the summer of 2005 brought him a cross between Halle Berry and Zamajobe Sithole.

"She was smart and good in bed. I thought I had found the woman of my dreams," Nke said.

But at the end, the radiant beauty had made things so hard for him that he needed an army just to get his car back.

By his own admission, if he had not ignored the flickering orange lights, he would have been saved the trauma.

"In hindsight, the signs were there and I chose to ignore them.

"It was her insecurities; if I spoke to another woman she thought the woman must have been my ex and she still had the nerve to tell me I was the only person who had never let her down. I mean you don't say such things."

Traits to watch out for:

l Rudeness

If your date is rude to restaurant waiters, the chances are that she is generally a rude person.

"People who make an unnecessary scene are often horrible people in relationships. Because waiters are vulnerable, she makes them her punch bag for her issues," Mthimkhulu said.

l Shifting responsibility

People like to put their best foot forward on the first few dates. But if your date recounts story after story about all the awful things other people have done to her and how they are never her fault, watch out.

People who are emotionally abusive often see problems as someone else's fault and are unable to recognise their own role in the drama.

If your new love always blames others, it probably won't be long before the finger of blame is pointed at you.

lCharacter replay

Listen to the stories your lover tells - they'll give you insight into her personality.

"If she talks about the revenge she took on her mother, or how she brought the house down with the dress that outshone the bride's, chances of her being a warm and supportive girlfriend are pretty slim," warns Sigcau.

lA done deal

Be wary of the date who seems enthralled by you immediately and probes relentlessly into your past relationships or sexual practices.

"Feeling chemistry with someone isn't a bad thing, but going completely gaga about sex means that the woman uses sex to gain control over the relationship.

"This is a dangerous sign because many women who pretend to be insatiable can prove to be the opposite in the long run. Sex is used by women who have sexual issues, mostly stemming from sexual abuse," Sigcau said.

lOther signs include

Incessant calling, an obsession with important dates such as birthdays and anniversaries, heavy drinking, crying over the silliest things and showering you with gifts or doting on you by helping you put on your jacket or packing you little lunch boxes you can remember her by.