Tag Archives: divorce

Should Men Pay All The Bills? (Part II)

This is a tough one that goes way back. I wrote about it over a year ago here. The traditional perception of family and relationships are evolving and changing. There are more divorces in the world now that there were 50 years ago, and these numbers apply everywhere; in North America, Europe and Africa. Look at Nigeria for example, the nuclear family unit or the “mono-polygamous” families as we knew them are fast disappearing. That is evolution though, things are changing and will continue to change. Only progressive people who embrace change, understand it, open up to its good sides, face it headlong, and emerge stronger for it.

Couple getting married. source:annechia.com
Couple getting married. source:annechia.com

There is divorce, single parenthood, civil partnerships and so forth. The world is changing. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing, it all depends on how you approach it. Are we better off for the changes or not? I say we are; look at the miracle of technology and the internet, social media, family so far yet so close, transactions made easy, and so forth. Look at the 2015 elections and how effective the media updates and live streaming were. Look at the strides made in medicine for example. There are treatments for cancer, vaccines against polio, advancements raising the numbers of safe childbirths, people are also living longer. Some people may argue that all these advancements have come with a cost. But one must weigh the pros and cons, do a cost comparative analysis and see how much time you save by conducting your business online. Does anyone remember those dreadful NITEL days? The dynamics of relationships have changed forever, thanks to these advancements.

Photo source: www.clipartof.com
Photo source: http://www.clipartof.com

When our grandparents were in their 20s and 30s, the population was lower, the pace of life slower, women were essentially marginalised with lower pay and fewer opportunities, and men were seen as superior. Thus the women kept the home, raised the children while the men were the breadwinners who paid all the bills.  The mid-19th century arrived with its major advancements and economic boom, the landscape of human rights began to change. The world required an increase in the number of skilled workers. This came with a clear evidence that men and women had the same intellectual capacity. The days of hunting and protecting the hearth, of superiority based on physical strength, were gone. Thus boys and girls became educated for the same opportunities and vied for the same jobs. There is still a lot of growth required in the area of equal opportunities and equal pay, but that is a post for another day.

Source: http://www.legrc.org
Source: http://www.legrc.org

Enter, a different kind of dynamics in the world with my focus being Nigeria. Women began to undergo the exact same pressures as men, working the same long hours and in some cases, earning the same pay. But their roles had not evolved and men refused to change. Women still cooked and cleaned and looked after the children, and when the men helped to change the baby’s diaper, the woman would say “thank you” as though he was doing her a favour. Men in turn carried on watching their football, coming home late and playing “tennis” on Saturdays.

It remains a society which has stubbornly refused to evolve despite a clear evolution happening with the world. Whether you are on social media or not, whether you are anti-equality or not, we all need to wake up and smell the coffee, the world has changed. Only people who study this change, can adapt and survive. Closing oneself off to the change and Facebook, will not save your marriage. In some way, it is this denial, this refusal to change, that is wreaking havoc on family institutions and ruining relationships.

You see, there is a certain entitlement that comes with being a breadwinner, a certain power if you will, which acts as an enabler and makes that breadwinner feel that as though he/she is not accountable to their partner/spouse. Just as long as the bills are paid. It is a human thing particularly in an unbalanced society like ours. When someone doles out money for every expense in a society that is patriarchal, he will feel a certain entitlement to do as he pleases. Men do this. The same actually applies to women, it is a human thing. If she solely pays the bills, she will act as she pleases. I must issue a caveat; this does not apply to everyone. Theories do have exceptions after all.

Most women with whom I have discussed this have said that they preferred men who were responsible and ready to step up and provide for them. Some said they were happy to be a good partner, helping out with the finances. But they argued that men were cunning and the minute you gave an inch, he would shirk his responsibility. Others have said that they were happy to support, as long as he pulled his weight. A minority said they were happy to lay the cards on the table and divide up bills based on the income, but expected the man to treat them as an equal, that means ringing to say where he was going, coming home early just as the woman would, and doing his fair share of the housework.

What did the men say? A mix of different things. Most said they thought the woman should keep her money,if you allowed them to contribute, they start wearing the pants in the relationship. Others were resentful and complained about the women in their lives never contributing, yet they had jobs. What did they do with their money, one asked me? Some said they would not never be involved in “domestic anything” around the house.

Tailor Zaki Baushe Source: cartercentre.org
Tailor Zaki Baushe
Source: cartercentre.org

It seems like relationships in the 21st century are a badly coordinated dance. Women are resentful because they work as hard as the men, yet when they go home, they work twice as hard, and the men are nowhere to be found, after all Chelsea and Utd are playing. So what do they do? They keep their money and make the man pay for everything. Have you seen those types who punish their men for coming home at 3am by making demands for more material things? Men in turn are either resentful or taking the mickey; I pay the bills, this is my house, I can come and go as I please. And then in moments of anger, they ask her “by the way, what do you do with all the money you earn?”

All these pressures and falsehood lead to divorces and break-up. My solution? Change with the times. Adapt or find a like minded person. If a woman and a man work just as hard, why not put all the cards on the table and upgrade your lives with your double income? Why does one party have to carry on bearing the costs and another the labour of keeping house? It just breeds resentment and inequality. Look at your income (s) and whoever earns more can pay more.

Photo ©: niakc10 - Fotolia.com
Photo ©: niakc10 – Fotolia.com

The biggest destroyers of relationships are a) a lack of understanding and agreement of roles, b)unmet expectations c) finance problems. If you are traditional and believe in the “man pays bills, woman keeps home” arrangement, find someone like you. If you have evolved and are in a partnership of dual careers, find someone who thinks alike.  It is really a business partnership founded on love, approach it as such and survive.

NB: If you would like to write a response to this, please send me an email at iamannechia@gmail.com

Should Men Pay All The Bills?

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.

Photo source: www.clipartof.com
Photo source: http://www.clipartof.com

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.

source:annechia.com
source:annechia.com

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.

Source:sodahead.com
Source:sodahead.com

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.

source:elitevirginhair.com
source:elitevirginhair.com

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