A Valentine’s Day Special: In Conversation with Dr. Nqobile Maphumulo

Written by on 14 February, 2024

It’s the 14th of February, a day synonymous with love and affection—Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air, and as we immerse ourselves in the romantic ambiance, we can’t help but acknowledge the special significance this day holds. It’s not just about roses and chocolates; it’s a day that brings human connections together. In the spirit of celebrating love, we had the privilege of sitting down with our favourite Doctor, who shared some profound insights and perspectives on matters of the heart.


Image: Nqobile Maphumulo

Nqobile Maphumulo is a young professional who has a calling as a clinical psychologist. She has the pleasure of operating her calling through her private practice.

I find purpose and fulfillment in what I do and I prioritise the need to tailor make mental health interventions into socially acceptable and appropriate approaches.

She specialises in relationships, family therapy, Mood disorders, grief and PTSD. And live by this statement: “The world would be a much better place if mental health REALLY mattered”.

As we delved into the conversation with Dr. Nqobile, it became evident that love is a multifaceted and complex emotion. She emphasized that Valentine’s Day is not just about romantic love but extends to all forms of love—self-love, platonic love, and familial love. According to Dr. Nqobile, recognizing and appreciating the various dimensions of love contributes to a more holistic and fulfilling life.

What are the signs that someone deeply loves you?

If someone loves you, they will make it evident. They will show interest In the things that matter to you. They will pay attention and find joy in spending time with you and getting to know you. They will respect your boundaries and values. A person who loves you will be invested in becoming a better person holistically to be a better partner to you. The aim is not to find someone perfect, but someone who is willing to keep trying and keep doing better.

Compatibility is about two people co-existing in harmony, please expand on this….

Compatibility refers to the ability to work well together. It’s how people who are in a relationship compliment each other and coexist in harmony. People who are compatible bring out the best in each other and work best when they are paired together. They are able to resolve conflict and communicate effectively with each other in a way that respects and protects the other person. Their personalities, characteristics, values and beliefs are usually aligned, and they have a common understanding about life and expectations.

Does compatibility on paper mean compatibility in real life?

Genuine compatibility grows as you get to know your partner. As you spend time getting to know each other, that’s when you can truly see how aligned and interested you both are. Some couples may confuse compatibility with infatuation in the early stages of the relationship due to the passionate attraction that comes with infatuation. Whereas compatibility is fed on closeness and knowledge of the other person.

How do you differentiate connection and chemistry, and what stage are you in?

Connection refers to what brings you to each other which could be a common interest, belief, choices, values, upbringing etc. Connection is what links you to each other. Chemistry is how intense or strong the connection is. Chemistry refers to how strong is the pull towards each other.

Is anything that is not sustainable or not healthy for any relationship?

There are a lot of unhealthy habits that can negatively impact a relationship. The biggest one is unhealthy communication. This includes saying hurtful things to each other, refusing to discuss matters pertaining to the relationship as well as talking to everyone else but your partner about the relationship. This could also include speaking in a rude or harmful manner, manipulating each other and using each other’s weaknesses against the other. Another unhealthy habit is uncommunicated expectations. This opens room for disappointments which can cause conflict.

Can past relationship trauma and childhood trauma affect how you move in your current relationship?

The way in which we are raised becomes the template for all our future relationships. Our parent’s relationships teach us what is normal in partnerships based on their own dynamic. For example, if you’re raised in a home with loving and supportive parents, you are most likely to seek out the same in your own future relationships. Trauma from previous experiences plays the same role. It becomes the lens in which you view future experiences. Trauma yields an expectation for the past to repeat itself which can cause patterns of dysfunctionality to form.

Most relationships that involve true love are typically hard, why is this so?

Relationships are difficult. My grandmother used to say ‘if you fight with your own siblings, what do you expect with someone who comes from a different household. One of the things that make relationships hard is the of self-investment that is required to make a genuine relationship work. Relationships require us to constantly grow and evolve and adapt to a better and healed version of ourselves. When people enter a relationship, they bring their differences, past experiences, different upbringings, and different views about life. The key is to learn how to make those differences work for you and not against you. Relationships need you to be willing to learn and unlearn, willing to listen and compromise.

Advice for people in love, and for those still looking for true love.

The best advice I’d give to people when it comes to relationships is that the best relationship you can ever have which could positively impact your other relationships is the relationship you have with yourself. All the things we usually require from partners in relationships are things we first need to learn to give ourselves before placing that expectation onto someone else. If we enter relationships with our cups full, it eliminates the strain we put on those we are entering relationships with. This helps us enjoy the benefits of a relationship without being dependant on someone else to fill your cup.

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, let’s embrace the diverse forms of love that enrich our lives. Dr. Nqobile insights serve as a gentle reminder that love is a journey, and on this special day, we can cherish and strengthen the connections that make our lives more meaningful. Whether you’re in a romantic relationship or enjoying the company of friends and family, may this Valentine’s Day be a celebration of love in all its beautiful forms.




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