We have all heard it countless times – women are materialistic; they only want you for the money; they will only date you if you are established and so on. This, to most people, is a reality they either choose to accept or let go of. Most men will consider it unfair that women make dating choices according to who can provide for them more. But what I have come to realize is that anyone can be used, especially when it comes to money. It is not just the men who are sometimes being seen as ATMs (as most will describe it) but women are also being taken advantage of financially too, only that, it is less likely for them to speak up.
I once had this boyfriend, during my NYSC. I was lucky to be one of those ‘corpers’ who are being paid pretty well so I make a few bucks monthly – which usually go to random stuff since I still lived with my parents. I did not have a lot of expenses, so I mostly just buy a few stuff and save the rest. Well, I met Abiodun around this time. The first couple of months, he did what was to be expected. He wined, dined and offered to pay for a few things for me. I kept insisting I would rather he not spend on me, so he eventually stopped.
Then something changed. Whenever I go visit him, he would reach into my purse and help himself to a few bucks, depending on what he found.
I let this go the first two times he did that, but one day, I told him I feel uncomfortable when he reached into my stuff and take money like that. Then he said something along the line of, “If you love me, then what is yours is mine…” I just replied by saying I would rather he asked first and left the issue at that.
From then on, he asked. Boy, did he ask. He ‘borrowed’ money from me, he asked for money to top up his airtime, I paid for his BB subscription, (and this was when it was N5000), etc. It did not seemed like much here and there, but eventually, it added up and I was literally almost always broke. My savings disappeared and at one point, I had nothing.
I still kept on giving though, because, love. Then one day afternoon, he called and asked me to send money so he can pay DSTV subscription for his parents. What?!
I was too shocked for words so I hung up on him. Eventually, I called back at about 10pm, trying to be a grown-up and use my words to explain how uncomfortable his request made me. I apologized for hanging up, then I asked if he has gotten home from work. He told me he was at Ojota, (he lives in Festac town), so I asked who he was visiting. My ‘darling’ boyfriend went, “well since you decided to stop giving me money, I am here to see a chic who promised me some money.” Suffice it to say, immediately after that call, relationship = over.
Last year, my younger sister who was in her 2nd year in University, came to me that she is tired of her boyfriend demanding stuff. She confessed to me that she splits her allowance in two and gives him half. According to her, he would pout whenever she says she does not have money to give him. I gave it to her straight. Money should never be a way to prove your love. There is no difference between that and a guy telling a woman, “if you love me, you should have sex with me.” One has nothing to do with another.
A couple of months ago, I came across a Twitter post which said, “One minute, you married potential. Like play, Like play, you will begin to pay husband’s brother school fees.” It seemed funny as face value, but there are bums out there who marry/date comfortable, and working women who they end up taking advantage of.
Where am I going with this? Well, anyone can be taken advantage of. Anyone can be used in different ways. It is not a ‘man’ problem or ‘woman’ problem. The only thing to remember here is, no one will take advantage of you without your permission. You have a choice in the matter. If you are dating someone who continues to demand money from you, and you are unhappy with that, you have the choice to leave. You also have the choice to refuse to date anyone you suspect to be this way. But this should never be a man versus woman trouble, because it simply makes no sense. We choose who we date and who we let in our lives, why complain about things we can change?
A person (notice I am gender-specific) who feels like their partner wants them only for financial gain should decide whether or not they are okay with that and make a decision. Believe it or not, there are people out there who need to have that financial power over their partners to make them feel secured and give them perceived control. I know men who feel like ‘the man’ when they can shower their ladies with gifts and all kinds of things and I know women who choose to pay their men’s bills because it gives them the upper-hand in the relationship.
Please, can we let this issue rest? Gold diggers will not dig where there is no gold to find.
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