Friday evening found me sitting with two very close female friends, and the male business partner of one of the ladies. We were drinking wine and talking about men, women and dating. The guy lamented that dating in Nairobi is a highly commercial enterprise, and I joked that I should learn how to ask a man for money so that I can start doing it with my boyfriend. He gave me a weird sideways look and when I asked what the look was about he said, "You can ask for money but that will change the relationship and how he sees you."
I thought that was pretty obvious, and I said so but he went on to explain that when a man and woman have been dating for a few months, and they are simply enjoying each other’s company and no money has changed hands they are at par. The guy relaxes and he can actually fall in love. However, when money for things like hair, electric bills and fuel starts changing hands, the guy immediately reassesses his emotional involvement.
On an intellectual level, I completely get this but many women are taught that men need to feel needed, and that asking them for things gives them an opportunity to shine and feel needed. He agreed that yes, that does matter, but if the ‘shining’ involves money, then the guy is clear that anyone with money can ‘shine’ as he does in your life. Men also apparently start thinking that because these hair and fuel costs are regular occurrences – you must have another person filling in the gaps in case the current ‘boyfriend’ doesn’t come through with the cash. He went on to explain that once the money starts changing hands then a man who might have been serious stops thinking of you that way.
It makes sense that if a guy decides that he is expendable to you because what you really need is an ATM, then you will become expendable to him. So what is a girl to do if you have been getting money from a boyfriend that you want to keep and perhaps even marry? Stop asking for money.
Of course it is easier said than done, but what you really want to do here is re-establish parity so that your man knows that you are with him because you like him not because he facilitates your lifestyle. Stop asking for and taking money. If he asks why you don’t need the money anymore, tell him you read something online about the management of personal finances and you are practising. The dynamics of your relationship should change, but I think you should be realistic about the fact that you might have to let this one go and start afresh.