What are your expectations in your relationship?

Last year, I wrote about a young woman who had been murdered by her husband – while looking at abusive relationships, I shared my experience of the society I grew up in. Where I grew up, most girls are trained to become wives and the boys hardly get any training on becoming  husbands but boys are mostly taught to pay for a woman’s love and this has caused several issues over the years. This week, whiles I was doing my usual browsing on social media, I came by a post by someone I followed – this lady’s messages are always pro female however, on this occasion she was speaking to men and her message was simple. Men should discard the idea of what society has tagged as a ‘wife material’ and choose a significant other – a woman that brings something to the table apart from herself. I was intrigued by her post because for weeks I had been musing about women depending on men they are dating or married to fulfil all their financial needs in exchange for their presence in their lives. For weeks, I had been thinking about how I would feel if a woman treated by brother or nephew like a bank and did not bring any financial contribution to their relationship – I did not like how I felt!

For some time now, I have had male readers reach out to me about the expectation of the women in their lives to provide for them financially. I wanted to understand where this expectation had come from and why after women had fought so hard for equality, some would choose to be kept in this way! The men that had gotten in touch felt burdened by these expectations and wanted to set the record straight – especially after I wrote about societies expectations on women. I could see where they were coming from, even though I also felt some had missed where I was coming from when I wrote about society’s expectation on women. One question that weighted on my mind was why men had been paying all this while? From my observation, it all boiled down to how we are raised and how these gender roles had been ingrained in us for so long – as the world changes, I find that women have gone through the most changes when it came to gender roles, however, I cannot say the same for men (this is my observation, correct me if I am wrong).

I have been away on holiday these past couple of weeks – I went back home to Ghana and I have had the most amazing time, however, this time was also a time to look at the place I grew up in and compare how things had changed since I was last there. One observation was the little change when it came to gender roles for men – women were now working and still expected to fulfil their ‘roles’ in relationships. To even out the scale, these women expected men to pay – and somehow, I understood slightly why these women felt men had to pay for them. For the women who did not want to work, a lot of time was spent on their appearances to attract and keep men who were willing to pay for them – this was a heartbreaking observation because this lifestyle came with a lot of complications. I am exploring this and will write about it in the near future. While looking at these issues, I remembered the post I had seen on social media where this person I followed was advising men to look at choosing a life partner instead of sticking to a certain criteria that determined if a woman was worthy of being a wife. In this criteria of finding a wife was the reason why men were expected to pay – talking to most women I had a chance to interact with whiles in Ghana, most were waiting to be picked. And if like me, you were not exhibiting these characteristics set out by society, then you were seen as not being a wife material!

I had started writing about this issue before I went on holidays – so I had this on my mind while I was in Ghana. Talking to a family member who worked in the wedding industry, she shared stories with me of women who had called off weddings because the grooms were not able to provide the weddings they wanted due to financial constraints. One particular story that stood out was of a young man who had taken out a loan to give his now wife the wedding she wanted only to face challenges in his job due to covid. As he did not have the financial capacity to make the repayments, he shared with his wife if she will help pay – she point blank refused saying it was his debt and he needed to pay. What struck me most about these stories were, how these men were willing to be used as cash cows by these women without seeing the red flags in their relationships.  I could understand what these male readers were writing to me about – however, I also did not understand why financial dependency was not a deal breaker but a woman not being a good cook was!

From where I am sitting, there needs to be balance in relationships – if we are both working, then we should both be financially responsible for our lives. Having said that, we both should share chores and keep the home without thinking that one gender should be taking on a certain role in a relationship. When raising children, parents should teach both boys and girls how to keep a home – I am tired of mothers asking their sons to marry so someone can take care of their domestic needs or girls thinking they need a man to afford the things they need and want. I think relationships should be based on love, support, trust and respect – if people go into relationships expecting the other person to perform certain acts to earn their place in their lives, then I feel there is a problem. A relationship is a partnership – if one decides to stay home to keep the home and raise children, make sure that decision is made factoring in the implications this decision would have on the relationship financially. There have been many instances where these decisions had been made and the person that sacrificed their career to stay home had been abused financially. On the flip side, the person staying at home had treated the working party like the bank with no thought of how the spending habit affects their relationship.

There is no blueprint to having the perfect relationship – people should simply do what works for them. However, if you are in a relationship for what you will get, then please do the honourable thing and stop using other people for your wants. For the men that got in touch, when choosing a life partner, think of how advanced our world is now – women are not merely sitting at home waiting to be wifed. Most of us now have a job – it is not our duties to return from work and keep the home while you watch TV and wait for your dinner to be cooked. And ladies, a man is not your cash cow – don’t push someone into debt just because they love you. Bring something to the table besides yourself – there is so much dignity in being able to contribute to your relationship besides what society has carved out for you. 

Thank you for keeping in touch and especially to those who reached out to find out if I was ok – I am well and was simply taking a break. Let me know what your thoughts are on today’s topic – all feedback is welcome. Please continue to share your experiences so we can effect the change we need.

6 thoughts on “What are your expectations in your relationship?

  1. Welcome back! Another great read Mave!

    Super relatable as I navigate online dating! I think I default to the typical ‘woman’ ideologies whilst making sure I pay my way and don’t take financial advantage. What I’m finding is that guys allow me to do it… you’re absolutely right, woman’s rights and roles in society have changed, but men’s not so much. I feel partly to blame for this because I continue to let this happen…. And for what?! I’m still bloody single – hahaaa!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh May, so you want us to abandon the baby girl lifestyle for 50/50 okay lol.
    I think only when a woman is truly financially independent is she really independent in a relationship, I think society is gradually changing its way of thinking concerning gender roles and expectations slowly but I’m hopeful we will get there.
    Thanks for sharing and welcome back !

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Unceasing blessings my dear. Well said and its time to set the record straight, share our experiences and be truthful. Whenever the children are studying, doing chores or any extra curriculum activities – they’ll say “mum, we hope the ones God has prepare for us are not gallivanting but using their brains to work smart, doing house chores so they’ll also bring something to the table. I’m so glad you’re back and I believe if every parent will teach their children teamwork and not gender roles will have a beautiful relationship, community and world

    My expectations in relationship – if both genders are being raised to be responsible for their actions and omissions we will have a better community

    Great grace and wisdom be multiplied unto you my dear as you minister to the world 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾

    Liked by 1 person

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