Money problems are one of the most significant factors that can lead to divorce. Differences in money management styles between two partners can ruin a marriage or relationship. Thapelo Oreeditse, a 29-year-old cab driver says problems between him and his girlfriend arise from money issues. “I paid for my girlfriend’s driving lessons, her rent and helped her with transport money for her to commute to work. She seems ungrateful because she keeps asking me for cash. If I don’t give in she gives me the silent treatment,” he says.
Oreeditse said after dating for two years, the two called it quits after she found a new boyfriend. “The guy bought her a car and moved her into an apartment. All of a sudden she told me I was nothing ÔÇô a loser. It hurt me. I had invested in her because I loved her and wanted her to be seen as a real person with accomplishments in society. At some point I thought of beating her up but my friends and colleagues counseled me and urged me to move on. It’s painful but life goes on,” he adds. Mando Masalila has concluded that women of nowadays are gold diggers but he just gives them money. “It’s an incentive. I give them what they want and I get what I want, which is sex,” he says frankly.
But Kgothatso Moilwa disagrees. “Relationships premised on money are a recipe for disaster. I was raised to be independent, and that’s the kind of man I want. I think money only becomes the target in a relationship. The kind of relationship one has with money says a lot about them. I have always depended on my parents and then my own income. I however know that some girls don’t sponge off men by intention: some things are situational,” she explains.
According to online relationship portal, Psychcentral contributor, Dr.Marie Hartwell-Walker, talking about one’s financial situation early in a relationship is as important as talking about safe sex. “It’s something that needs to be shared just as early and just as deeply. When deciding whether to pursue a relationship, both people deserve to know what they are getting into. They can then see if it’s possible to handle what may be uncomfortably different financial status, differing values about money, or different assumptions about what is and what isn’t each other’s business. As challenging as the ‘money talk’ may be, it is a crucial step in developing a relationship,” they write. She adds that avoiding these conversations results in stress for the individuals and uncertainty in the couple’s relationships. The issue won’t go away.
In relationships, although offering money is often considered a gift, it could sometimes be confused with gold digging. A gold digger is a male or female who cultivates a personal relationship in order to attain money. Their heart, mind and soul is not in developing a solid relationship but gaining, with the same tactic some men have used to bed women ÔÇô fake love.
In the hit song, Golddigger, featuring Jamie Fox, Kanye West shows his intelligence as a social commentary rapper by exploring the world of gold digging and the dysfunctional relationships. The song ÔÇô I ain’t saying she a gold digger, but she ain’t messing with no broke niggers. It was a big song. Guys loved it because they felt it ridiculed gold diggers, while some felt it empowered women. Interestingly, the song was originally written for Shawnna, and performed from a female’s perspective, would go, ‘I ain’t saying I’m a gold digger, but I’m not messing with no broke n*** (dudes).
Society has developed conflicting views. On one hand, traditional men want to be providers for the women they love, while on the other hand ladies are singing, ‘Independent woman’. So, in the era of gold diggers and confusion over roles in relationships, how does it go about? Tshenolo Olebile says 50-50 is the best approach.
“My partner and I contribute for anything we want to do, unless the other offers to foot the bill. If we can’t afford it, we forget about it. In our relationship, there are no money gifts unless the other one has an emergency. A relationship based on money will always have problems because what happens when there is no money? I think people should introspect.”