How Your Relationships Impoverish You
THE other day, I sent N40, 000 to my brother in the village”, boasted a woman who sells second-hand children’s clothes. Chimed in her companion with a mournful look: “My sister is married, but she keeps asking me for money and I cannot refuse to give her.
I gave her N150, 000 in December, before then, she complained about hardship so I gave her N200, 000 “Suffice it to say that when our mother passed on she and her husband did not come home.”
As she said this, she whipped out her phone and showed a text message the said sister has purportedly sent, again asking for money running into hundreds again, claiming that her rent was overdue. “I do not have it”, she declared.
But I saw that that sisterly love would prevail and make her find that money and send it to that sister. And with even a more pathetic appearance, she explained that the said sister is married outside their tribe and the whole family had objected to that union in the beginning.
But there are just the two of them and although she has not seen her sister, she will continue to take care of her, she said. My concern however is that the women dishing out these monies are there in all manner of weather, struggling to make ends meet; they take care of their immediate families as well as the extended ones with their so-called loved ones milking them dry in the name of love.
But of concern was the sister who did not come for her mother’s funeral and who maintains contact by text messages. So her friend asked her if it is not the husband making all those demands; “Are you sure are your sister is alright?” she asked quietly.
It was a good question, I thought too as I wondered what she did with all that money. The amount she calculated to have sent her in 2013 amounted to N600, 000 within a few months.
Her sister’s well being, I noticed has been something she had refused to address although it had occurred to her, because fear crept into her face as her friend raised the issue.
But she explained that since the husband did not work, that the family did not want their own to suffer. But could they have been eating all that money without thinking of investing? I wanted to ask her.
But it is wrong to expect that we should live off people or to think that that we should spend needlessly because we want to maintain a relationship.
These women are not the only ones guilty of this; many of us do it at one time or the other-we try to maintain a relationship even if it takes spending more than you can afford to do so.
We spend more than we can truly afford to maintain friendships because we see having people around us as very important. We buy that big car because we want particular people to continue to count us among their friends.
We make promises too and endeavor to keep them when we cannot afford the money. The issue though is that spending too much for a relationship appears to be a woman’s behavior.
A man knows how much he can afford to spend in a relationship and he is not going to go beyond that; he knows how much he can afford or wants to give his family as gifts and that is it.
He is not going to do more. But the woman may think that money is part of relationships and that how much she spends shows how much she cares.
So if she has an income, she takes responsibility for the children’s need. She is duly contributing her share to the family’s income as well as buying those foodstuffs because her husbands’ friends and family as well as her own relatives must eat well.
She may also think that as she is seen as being on this high level in the society, that if her husband refuses to provide for the right wardrobe for the children and herself she must provide it; sandals for a rapidly growing child which your partner appears not to notice.
There are the perennial dishwashing liquids or detergents to buy too; they are always bought on the woman’s money and they are perishable.
But as she spends on these household needs, she leaves the details of financial management to her spouse because she thinks that a man would do that well.
Retirement plans and bigger investments are still what many women would rather leave to their men to handle. You leave it all to him because you are playing your role as a wife, mother and trustworthy friend.
Sadly though it does not always work out the way we expect. You may spend because you love and never expect anything in return. But the truth though is that is that money spent on friends or families are hardly ever recovered, not when there is a clear agreement that it is a lone. As people who have that experience would say, quarrels always follow the move to make them pay back.
Some women have complained about money spent to make their in-laws to accept them without success; you cannot imagine resources more wasted than this.
Think of the future; make sure you will be financially stable in your old age; cut down on what you agree to do at home by not taking responsibility for others. Think of where you would be if your spouse is absent. If there is a divorce, you will not be able to take back what you have spent on that relationship.
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