ARE YOU SPENDING TOO MUCH ON YOUR RELATIONSHIP?


Image Courtesy Forbes.com

Image Courtesy Forbes.com

A friend of mine, Okaka (not his real name), approached me for advice on his relationship the other day. When it comes to love, Okaka and Njeri are your quintessential Alehandro and Camilla straight from a Mexican soap opera. I was a bit surprised to hear that the two doyens of love were amorously challenged, because theirs seemed like a modern day fairytale.

Okaka told me that of late, Njeri has become distant despite him providing her with all he could. He lamented that he was spending so much money on buying gifts and taking out Njeri for expensive dates, yet Njeri somehow did not reciprocate it by her actions. Okaka was convinced that he was swimming across oceans for Njeri, but somehow the latter could barely hop over a pond in return. Sex too had been a bone of contention in this deceptively varnished relationship. Doesn’t Njeri love him enough?

As I thought about my friend’s predicament, I realised that Okaka’s problem is not unique. Most people nowadays practice what I would like to call “transactional relationships.”  They conflate a relationship with business, and expect something in return for every little thing they do for their partners. What Okaka didn’t understand is that if you’re giving to get something in return, then it almost always backfires.

Again, it is nice to surprise your love with a gift or a treat occasionally. But they never lied when they said too much of something is poisonous. Take a potted tree for instance. Biology taught us that for it to grow, it needs to be watered. However, when you excessively water the plant, its roots end up chocking and at the end, the tree dies. Converse to what you anticipated at first.

A huge problem with over-giving in a relationship is that most of the time they stop loving you for the reason that made them fall for you, and instead fall in love with the material things you’re used to providing them. Many a times your significant other starts taking you for granted, and you become a provider rather than a lover.

Over-giving develops an expectation, whereby your beau is always waiting for the next expensive date or that new pair of shoes. What if one time you cease to have the ability to provide money or material stuff to them? Won’t they feel disappointed and even severe the relationship?

Other partners may think that you’re bribing them for their love, and they may pull away as in the case of Okaka and Njeri above. Your money may cause you to come across as a needy loser who can only get some love by buying it, and this will make them disrespect you.

Another demerit of over-giving is that often-times you won’t get enough back. As such, you will end up like Okaka, feeling cheated and in the receiving end of a raw-deal. Frustration will build up within you and you may even question whether your partner really loves you as they claim.

I understand that a relationship requires sacrifice, we all could engage in some compromise over a thing or two. However, this sacrifice should ultimately add value to both parties, and not enrich one while impoverishing the other. It is discombobulating that a person can invest so much work and time into making their object of affection happy that they end up ignoring their own lives. I understand that you should invest in his/her happiness, but isn’t it vanity to forego your own needs so as to take care of your lover’s luxuries? Does it make sense to skip lunch everyday so you can afford to take her out for pizza over the weekend?

Relationships should be based on love, money should be secondary. If they stick to you just because you keep spending money on them, then that’s not love.

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jowaljones

Jowal Jones is a columnist and correspondent with Kenya's leading newspaper, Daily Nation. He also dabbles in fiction works at times, hoping to be the next Stephen King. Sometimes he takes time out from writing to perfect his deer-dancing and goat-screaming skills.