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KITOTO: My girlfriend expects me to cover her expenses. Is this fair?

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By PHILIP KITOTO
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I am six years older than my girlfriend who I have dated for nine months now. Currently, my business is struggling financially with cash flow being on the all-time low. Cheques are not being paid and generally, I am not in a good place, finance-wise. On the other hand, my employed girlfriend is also taking a self-sponsored course at the university, and she is now saying that her expenses are unmanageable. Her expectation is that I help her offset some of her bills like rent, clothing and food. I have told her that currently, I am not in position to assist her, but she is complaining that I am neglecting her. Actually, she is saying that she is better off without me in her life. My explanation about my financial woes have fallen into deaf ears. What should I do and we had planned to get married marry? I am stressed.

From your mail, it is clear that you two are living together. As much as the “come we stay” relationships are attractive for many young people entering marriage, there are many issues that are generally overlooked by those entering such relationships. These unresolved issues end up later causing cracks in the foundation of the marriage.

I have mentioned in this column previously that two can only walk together if they agree on the direction they need to take. Agreement in such areas as finances, expectations in role performance in the home, values to be embraced and practised in the home, and responsibilities to be taken by either spouse. A marriage or any relationship for that matter, is as strong as the foundation on which it is built.

It appears that your relationship is suffering from multiple cracks that may require mending. First, have a common agreement about what draws you together. The bond that holds you together must be strong enough to withstand the rough waves of selfishness. Get to understand the values that both you live by.

Second, your expectations must be driven from an others’ centred standpoint. This may mean that you revisit your expectations on money. If the marriage is about the two of you then money must be about the two of you.

I suggest that you sit and have a civil conversation with her on what brings the two of you together. In addition, be clear on the genesis of her issues.

I am of the opinion that her desire to have you out of the relationship could be the result of a genesis of events that involve finances. She has complained about your lack of financial responsibility. How have you participated in the past in this area?

Since you are not married, it may be helpful to seek out a counsellor that will help you lay the foundation that could lead to a commitment.

Help: I think my wife is having relations outside our marriage

Thanks for addressing marriage issues in a very practical way. We have been married for 10 years with two children who believe we are very happy together. I wrote to you before and I got good advice that has kept us together for a while.

Sadly, we are back to the same issue. My wife travels a lot. Her behaviour around her phone has been strange. Lately, she has been chatting with her boss and “friend” late into the night. A few times I caught her deleting the messages but she vehemently denied.

Recently, her friend who had travelled with them shared with me that she shared a hotel room with her boss/friend. I confronted her but she denied categorically asking for evidence which I couldn’t provide inasmuch as I had it as this would jeopardise her friendship with the person who leaked the information to me.

He even got me screenshots from her boss with extreme sexually explicit chat between my wife and her boss. (By the way she has had similar chats with other men before).

When I confronted her she only said that this man is a very close friend of hers and there is nothing between them and that they share a lot.

Actually, her concern was how I got the information rather than whether it was true and vowed to investigate on who is following her and leaking the information. She was unable to prove that they did not share a room despite promising to.

We talked and even agreed to seek professional counselling but she pulled out of this without a convincing explanation.

I feel very hurt and inasmuch as I try to make the best out of this marriage and hoping that things will improve, I just feel that this won’t last long and will be here with similar complaint soon.

I am spending so much time thinking about this and I fear it is starting to have a toll on my health with many sleepless, sad nights.

I am thinking about moving out to really think over this marriage before I literally run mad. It sounds like my wife has her own path despite her assurances that we work on this.

I feel I will never be able to trust her again. Kindly guide me on the best way to address this issue. Desperate reader

Thank you for your kind compliments. It is always our joy to hear the difference this column is making in relationships.

Having said that, I empathise with you on the sad turn of events in your relationship. Indeed, sometimes people regress into their previous habits if due care was not given to follow confession with responsible behaviour coming from a new value system.

I may not know your wife’s part of the story but, there appears to be a problem that needs to be solved. You seem to be unhappy with her secrecy and behaviour.

The two of you have been together long enough to have developed your communication, conflict management, and value system. Without these you will not have a platform upon which to grow your love life.

I suggest that you revisit the issues that you first encountered as a couple when you wrote to us. Find out which of the current issues you are facing are similar to those in the past conflict. It more likely that these may find their roots in that past and therefore feed from each other.

If there is some promiscuous behaviour in the past that was not resolved, the current behaviour could easily be stemming from there. You may need to sit with a mature couple or counsellor who can draw these issues out.

Insight on teen rebellion

Due to the rapid changes taking place in a young person’s life and environment, their rebellion can be seen as part of their struggle to cope with the many transitions taking place in their lives. The desire for redefinition as the old is cast away is part of this journey.

Some of the famous teenage phrases during this time include: “Mum, Dad you don’t understand.” Another common one is, “I refuse to be defined and treated as a child. I am not a baby.”

The question that remains is seeing how parents respond at such perceived rebellion.

Live freely

Here are some things to thing about: Teenagers see rebellion as an act of defiance against status quo and a seeking for independence that will make them live freely, act and do the opposite to what others do.

Rebellion can cause young people to not only rebel against their parents but also to engage in self-defeating and self-destructive behaviour that ends up harming them physically or their entire future.

Teen rebellion causes them to experiment by taking serious risks and experiments with their lives, making a choice to push boundaries to the limit, and daring authority.

Rebellion can cause teens to follow impulse and not reason by overruling sound judgement. In turn, they injure relationships with close relatives/friends and reject rules that would keep them protected.

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