I am fascinated by relationships, by our very human need for love and companionship, and everything in between. I am also a hopeless romantic, so everything about relationships to me, is beautiful. But we all know that this is not the reality and lately, the more I speak to people, the more it seems to me that the basis, the foundation, the crux, the soul, if you wish, of most relationships, is finance. It makes or breaks relationships, partnerships, marriages. If you are looking to find a husband or a wife, you better be ready to discuss finances I think.
So without further ado, my big question really is; is the man responsible for taking care of the woman financially, whether they be boyfriend/girlfriend, partners, husband/wife? Should a man pay all the bills in the home should they be married and have children? Is the man responsible for paying the bills, whatever they may be? I spoke to men and women alike and what an interesting mix of responses.
Almost all the women I spoke to told me that they wanted to be with a man whom they were sure could take care of them. Women told me that the man had better be ready to pay for a trip to the salon, a vacation abroad, meals when they were out, gadgets including mobile phone credits, and shopping sprees. One person asked me of what use the man was if he could not provide for her?
“I equate love to gifts, if a man gives me stuff, then he clearly cares about me.” Another woman told me.
It depends on the relationship, if a man is wealthy, then it would not be a problem to provide for his woman. However, if he were struggling and earning a certain income like the woman, it may seem unreasonable to expect him to cater to everything. Someone said to me that men are providers, and feel much more happy and in control when they are able to provide for the people in their lives without having to ask the woman to contribute. But doesn’t it also depend on the relationship being shared by both parties? If both people are in a partnership built on a solid foundation of friendship and equality, then naturally most responsibilities will be shared fairly depending on income bracket. In this part of the world though, that seems far fetched, as most relationships are still very traditional, with the woman expected to be submissive to the man, the man is in control and is not necessarily accountable to her for his actions.
In order to maintain this position, a man is required to pay all the bills and occassionally give a monthly allowance to his woman. her responsibility is to take care of him and the home front, prepare the meals, raise the children, respect and honour him, and defer to him, even though she has a job. To women, when a man takes care of the finances, it makes it easier for them to submit and revere him as tradition/society requires. A friend once told me that she often found resentment in her heart, because her husband did not play any active role in the house, except grudgingly bankroll stuff. She had a job as a teacher which did not pay much, however, she was on her feet all day, and was exhausted by the time she got home. He insisted on freshly cooked meals, and would never get up when the baby cried at night.
I spoke to some men who told me that they could never be with a woman who makes more money than they did. This to them would be too dicey. Women can be quite mouthy and unable to control their emotions. More money would give a woman a big head, and she would very quickly slag off her husband and be disrespectful.
“She can keep her money, I will provide for my house. I am the head of the family.” Someone told me.
Again it depends on the situation, if a woman kept all her money and spent all the man’s income (if he’s not rich), will there be resentment at the end of the day on the man’s part? Will he wonder what she did with the stash she earns? A former colleague once told me that he was married to the most selfish “nuisance” (yes he called his wife that) on the face of the earth. Apparently, she refused to tell him how much she earned, but she knew his’. He could tell that she made quite a bit of money, about 10% less than he did, he knew because he determined the average salary of people on her grade level. Not only did he not know how much she earned, he paid for everything in the house including her personal items and “grooming” including brazillian hair which cost him as much as $1000, and which she proceeded to weave unto her scalp. He was nagged for months until he saved and paid for the fake hair. She would go off with her girlfriends and buy really stunning jewelry and beautiful shoes, and then ask him for money for food for the house and toiletries too.
It made him resentful because he could not treat himself much, as he was down to zero at the end of the month. On the other hand, some men require that their wives hand over their salary at the end of the month/on pay day. He then gives her what she needs from it. That shows that a woman is respectful of her husband and is submissive as stated in the good book. There are also scenarios where the woman pays for stuff and would do it through her husband so that he does not feel like less of a man. For example, there are casual workers who have come to fix the plumbing or the fence, she then gives him money to pay them. The dynamics of relationships are always very interesting.
I spoke to a few men and women who are quite progressive and told me that both parties must share all responsibilities; whether they be financial and/or domestic, if both parties have jobs. That way, everybody feels like they are part of the relationship and nobody feels used, or feels like a freeloader. These progressives believe that the two parties should split the bills if they are living under one roof. Two salaries/income streams are certainly good and can provide a better lifestyle for the couple and their family. With two incomes, it may be easier to live in a nice house, or perhaps take a vacation or buy a home. One person should only have to pay for stuff all the time should the other party be laid off from work.
Are women really golddiggers? This is the vibe I got from speaking to people. Men here say women are consistently nagging them for stuff. You take a woman out today, you are not even sure you want to see her again, and the next day, she’s calling you and trying to get you to buy her brazillian hair, or a new iPhone. Women on the other hand, say men are selfish and are consistently playing with multiple girls on the side, and that although they do not admit it, men like the power of wielding their wallets and get very intimidated once a woman wants to pick up the bill. If she does, she is arrogant, will never make a good partner in a relationship and is “showing herself”. I personally, will attempt to contribute on a date, and will look out for body language. If a man says no, I will never ask again, but will do other things like buy tickets so both of us can see something, or get dessert. It’s a path to be threaded carefully.
What do you think about finances in a relationship? Should a man pay all the bills? Have the times changed at all? A part 2 has now been written for this post. Read it here