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Relationship: Shouldn’t be about money, but…

Helen Ovbiagele, Woman Editor
Hello,  you guys and dolls out there!” called out this Radio anchorman cheerfully. “Our question of the evening  is ‘’Should money matter in a relationship?’  Call us and tell us your  mind on this very important matter.  Tell us of your experiences. Tell us, if money has a role to play in a relationship.  Okay?  Ring this number …………….. Yeah! We’re all ears here in the studio”“

As you can imagine,  the calls began to flow in almost immediately.  “”Hello? This is ………..  I’m a guy and I don’t think money should matter at all in a relationship. What should matter is what I feel for my girl and what she feels for me. Love! That’s what a relationship between members of  the opposite sex should be. A girl shouldn’t expect money from her guy and wait for him to pay for things for her. I can take my girl out to a show or a restaurant, and if I have no money, she can pick up the bill and pay. No  problem!”“

HELEN SAYS:  Sorry sir, there’s a problem there! Did you say, “If I  take my girl out to a show or restaurant?’‘  If you have no money, you have no business taking your girl to anywhere that involves paying money. You are doing the taking out. You should pay for the outing, even if its  just taking the bus.

In a relationship, you’re in a partnership with your love interest. But as a  man, you’re the senior partner. That involves some responsibility, and a gentleman should embrace that responsibility. If you don’t have money, you can still take your girl out. Going on a stroll in the park is free. Some beaches are free. Window shopping is free. Yes, in the western world, there’s what they call “going Dutch” when you take a girl out.

This means splitting the cost of the outing or the meal you take with her; with you paying for your meal and she paying for hers. That is yet to be entrenched in our African culture, although I have this feeling that some of our young men are beginning to sell their birthright that way.

However, if you’re comfortable with the sight of your girl bringing out her purse to pay for her meal in public, and she knows beforehand that that would happen, and agrees to comply, well, that’s fine.

There’s no law against that, but in my view, that gesture should take something out of a man’s self-esteem. Worse still is sitting back after having a meal with your date, and pushing the bill towards her when it is presented to you. Even in the western world, waiters automatically assume that the man is paying for the food. What do you think would be going through your girl’s mind as she’s putting the notes on the plate? Love? Respect? Admiration? Gratitude?

In marriage, this is perfectly normal, as some couples set aside together, money for dining out and other social outings. To ensure that the money can be produced at the end of the day, some wives prefer to have it in their custody, and then settle the bills with it when they dine out. That saves the embarrassment of the man bringing out an empty purse and wondering where the money had gone. The wife keeping the money for the family outing, is a gesture which should be encouraged, as it enhances togetherness in a union.

Also okay, is when a girl takes her boyfriend out for a treat to celebrate his birthday, a promotion or any special occasion or a milestone in his life. There, it’s the girl taking the man out, and she should pay.

Any man who takes his girl out and calls on her to settle the bill should be reported to his mum. We mothers should raise our sons to be aware of the responsibility involved as the senior partner  in a relationship. They should know that this is what will fetch them respect, especially when they have homes of their own. The knowledge will make them take life more seriously and responsibly, perform creditably well in their chosen field, and be well regarded in the society.

“”Hello, this is Mary. Let me be frank with you. I think money matters very much in a relationship. That is, money from the guy . I can’t accept a date from a man who has no money o! Why should he want to have a relationship with a girl if he has no money to give her a good time?

My date should be able to take me out to nice places, to dance or to eat. He should be able  to give me very nice presents. What’s the use of having a boyfriend who  tells you how hard life is for him, and then he would expect you to “manage this little present” as that’s all he can afford?”“

“”But my sister”“,  interrupted the anchorman, “”a girl can provide those nice things for herself. Some girls earn very well, and some even earn higher salaries than their boyfriends. What’s wrong in having a boyfriend who has no money and cannot take you to exotic places?”“

“”Plenty o, my brother”“,  said the female caller. “”When a girl accepts a date from a man, she expects nice things. Personally, I can’t accept to go out with a man who has no money to make me happy. Period! There’s enough hardship in life as it is. Why should I go into a relationship and embrace more? Money gives quality to a relationship”“.

HELEN SAYS: I beg to differ, madam. Money doesn’t inject quality into a relationship;  it’s mutual fondness and respect for each other that do. If you look at a relationship through the signs of dollars, euros and pound sterling, then you’re demeaning the relationship because the man is paying for your affection. Money, expensive gifts and a nice time don’t ensure and cannot guarantee you a happy relationship.

In fact, any relationship based on any visible or physical thing cannot stand the test of time, because if those things are no longer there, then the supposed love flies out of the window. If you then discard such a man because he has fallen on hard times, he could turn nasty and violent, as he would feel cheated.

I do agree with you that money matters in a relationship, but it shouldn’t be the focal point or the reason you’re in that relationship. Money matters in that there’s very little that you can do without the use of money, so the man dating you shouldn’t be an irresponsible laid-back person who has no visible means of livelihood.

He may not be able to give you breakfast in Paris and dinner  in Acapulco, but he should have the potentials, via a sound education, to make a decent and honest living. Above all, he should have good character and good manners, and should respect you.  lf these are absent in the man’s treatment of you, the money and the good times he’s giving you would be meaningless”“.

“”My brother,”” said a male caller, “‘why are Naija girls so money-minded? All they want in a  relationship is money, and if you can’t give them enough to drown them, they won’t look at you twice. Is it something Naija girls are born with?”“

The anchorman laughed and said that there are girls out there, to whom the size of a man’s bank account doesn’t matter.

HELEN SAYS: Yes, there are girls who want decent and responsible young men to date them, and not all girls are gold-diggers or after money. But girls expect money and gifts from their boyfriends and complain if they don’t get them, because many men use money and gifts to entice girls into a relationship with them.

It’s our men who taught girls to expect money in a relationship, so, this has become entrenched in the minds of our girls. Some men believe that a girl wouldn’t find them attractive unless they shower her with money and gifts first.

Some may even steal to buy a girl’s affection. It’s a vicious cycle,  and the practice is not likely to die out, unless our men rely on good character, decency and responsible behaviour to make them attractive to girls.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.