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Uru Eke: Let’s Stop Feeling Entitled in Relationships

We go into relationships with expectations and believe we are entitled to time, attention, communication, love, affection, money, holidays, presents, etc. Quite rightly so, but I think we need to manage our expectations and what we believe we actually are entitled to.

Uru Eke

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Naturally the African man is proud, loud, audacious, confident, and brash. Note, the word “man” connotes both genders.

An African expects to be greeted properly. You say hello when you’re supposed to say good afternoon or good morning and you’ll never hear the end of it. Or in certain cultures if you don’t address a titled person the correct way, you better be ready for what’s coming.

I was watching a local TV station the other day and the anchor had two men who were being interviewed via satellite. As he made to address one of them, he started by referring to him as “Mr Adekunle” (for the sake of this article). He was quickly corrected and was told that he was “Elder Adekunle,” and not “Mr Adekunle.” The anchor almost lost his bearing but quickly regained composure. It was uncomfortable to watch.

Have you ever gotten into an argument with someone and they retorted, “Do you know who I am?” Hilarious!

A few articles ago I wrote about transactional relationships. “A transactional relationship is based on an expectation that a favor will be returned in kind” – Hughes Marino

Naturally, relationships come with varying degrees of expectations, expectations we often feel entitled to whether or not something is given back in return. Although these days there is always something expected back, hence the transaction.

A few people who have written to blogs about their relationship issues have rubbed me the wrong way. Some of their stories have left me feeling underwhelmed. There seems to be this belief that when you’re in a relationship and one of you has a financial upper hand, it becomes a matter of duty to look after the partner who doesn’t. What rule book did you all get that from? The common cringe-worthy phrase, “He doesn’t contribute to my upkeep,” “He has never bought anything for me or given me money to do my hair,” “I go to visit him and he never gives me transport money.” There are also guys who have moaned about taking girls on dates and not being rewarded with “lashing” or a kiss. How about the men who complain, “She doesn’t wash my cloths, clean the house or serve me my meals?”

We go into relationships with expectations and believe we are entitled to time, attention, communication, love, affection, money, holidays, presents, etc. Quite rightly so, but I think we need to manage our expectations and what we believe we actually are entitled to.

It is believed the world over that the man is the head of the home, the provider. But as time and culture have evolved, with the ever growing cost of living and women coming into their own, it has become expectant that women step into the shoes of supporting their partners. Nothing states that the man alone must provide for the household. There are, of course, exceptions, where some men do not expect their wives to work. Some prefer they stay at home and look after the children. I feel women are entitled to being looked after by their men, depending on the scenario and within reason.

Feeling entitled can give you a chip on your shoulder, though, or make you a go-getter who aims high and pushes to get it.

People with entitlement issues feel as though asking you (they are actually telling you) to do something for them is no big deal. They never think about inconveniencing you, or how you would have to go out of your way, because they believe they are not asking too much. However, when you ask them anything, no matter how small, they feel as though it is a burden on them.

When someone has entitlement issues they put a high demand on your attention. Have you ever met someone who automatically feels you will be attracted to them because they are good looking? Pretend like you don’t see them and watch how they shrink like a worm sprinkled with salt.

Researchers call this the “ME ME ME generation” and reckon a sense of entitlement is a malignant form of self-love because it often harms the people around us and indirectly harms us in the end.

We could dissect entitlement, but let me hang back before I overwrite. I’ll finish with a quote from ‘The Power Moves’ article: “You will have difficulties in achieving what you want to achieve and will never maximize your true potential until you deal with your entitlement mentality first.”

3 Comments

  1. YLTT

    March 11, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    You have done well with this article albeit in an unclear manner. Firstly we need to define the type of r/ship reference is made to. In a marriage r/ship? the answer to this question here -There seems to be this belief that when you’re in a relationship and one of you has a financial upper hand, it becomes a matter of duty to look after the partner who doesn’t- would be yes, cause ya’ll one now and so ofcourse I would expect that in such a r/ship both partners balance and help each other out & yes the one with less financial upper hand would expect to be catered for, I don’t see anything wrong there.. in law there’s smth called legitimate expectation…just as an example the same way a woman or man or people will expect that the marriage is consummated after the wedding etc, is the same way they both can expect and feel that they can both provide one for each other where one person has an upper hand financially! Now this answer for me will be different if its boyfriend/girlfriend r/ship, cause in that case there’s no duty & legitimate expectation to cater for the other and no body should force you to do so! But then again whether or not this is the case in a non-marriage r/ship will again depend on how both parties relate with each other but yes I do agree that in a non marriage r/ship that sense of duty & entitlement should be kept at bay!

    Well written in any case!

  2. James

    March 11, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    That’s your typical Nigerian relationship. Speaking from the point view of a man, many women in Nigeria have entitlement issues. They walk around feeling like they are the best thing that ever walked the face of the earth. Some demand maintenance money to be in a relationship. Relationships are not meant to be empowerment schemes where the man puts the woman on a salary. If a man who has the means wants to spoil their woman with money and gifts occasionally, that’s fine, but it should not be assumed by the woman that it is a requirement for being in a relationship. If you need a steady income, please go out and get a job. Tufiakwa.

  3. Yo

    March 11, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    This is a very good write up. As a girl, I’ve been criticized for dating/being in relationships without showing anything tangible for it. A married woman once came to borrow funds from me and I told her that I was broke at the time as I just paid my rent. She was surprised that I paid all by MYSELF without the assistance of a boyfriend or sponsor as they would call it. She went ahead to tell me that if she wasn’t married eeh, she would have bought a house in Maitama (I was living in Abuja at the time).
    I find it annoying when people see my level of living (said with humility) and then want to know who the man behind it is; and forgetting that I’ve got a very good well paid job and been working for more than 10yrs.
    I’ve also dated a guy who felt I should take care of him and that attitude didn’t work for me.
    Men and women should stop with the entitlement mentality and WORK towards building and having their own!

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