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Ladies, don’t marry down

Friday June 10 2016

Any woman looking for a long-term commitment must, as a matter of urgency, consider her man’s socio-economic status. If she is looking for a happy marriage, or any semblance of it, then she must marry upwards. PHOTO | NATION

Any woman looking for a long-term commitment must, as a matter of urgency, consider her man’s socio-economic status. If she is looking for a happy marriage, or any semblance of it, then she must marry upwards. PHOTO | NATION 

JOAN THATIAH
By JOAN THATIAH
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Popular belief is that only a particular kind of woman pays attention to a man’s socio-economic status. She even has a derogatory name: Gold digger. The rest of us ‘sensible’, hardworking women are not that shallow, we think to ourselves self-righteously. We marry for values and figure that if he’s broke, we’ll make money together.

We think that compatibility is enough – that as long as a man stimulates you physically, mentally and emotionally, as long as he ignites small fires in your belly and likes to go to church with you on Sunday morning, then you will be happily married to him.

I disagree. Say what we may about it, but money is an important part of a romantic relationship. We can’t afford to sweep money under the rug and marry exclusively for love. Any woman looking for a long-term commitment must, as a matter of urgency, consider her man’s socio-economic status. If she is looking for a happy marriage, or any semblance of it, then she must marry upwards.

There are the smaller reasons, like the fact than marrying a poor man may mean giving up the lifestyle that you have.  It will also take the joy out of gift-giving as he may not be able to afford you all of those life’s little pleasures.

POWER DYNAMICS

These though, are just small inconveniencies. There are bigger things to consider. Like the fact that a man pegs his manhood on the size of his wallet. All those bra-burning movements may have moved women forward in regard to their fight for equal rights and opportunities, but there are some things that just are not changing. Like traditional gender roles. Today’s little boys, like those born two generations ago, are being socialised to be providers of security. If you take this role from a man, he will grow to despise you for it.

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 “If I was uncomfortable about being with a woman with more money then I wouldn’t have gone after you in the first place,” he may argue when put on the spot.

While this may have been true when he got into the relationship, it is an emasculating experience for him in the long run to see his woman soaring and leaving him behind. The only man in your life who can honestly tell you that he has no problem at all if your success is much greater than his is your father.

I am not saying that a relationship with a man from a lower socio-economic class than yours can’t work. It can but with a lot of effort – from you. If you earn more than him, then you will have to make up for it. You will have to make him ‘feel like a man’, you will be told. Never mind that it is also up to you to ensure that you feel like a woman.

You must make sure that he feels respected and looked up to. When circumstances call for it, it may mean playing small. I mean, isn’t life is hard enough for a woman without having to constantly soothe a man’s ego?

Money represents power in a relationship. This is the raw truth. While a man may initially be drawn to a woman’s power, intelligence and ambition, when it comes to life companionship, he wants someone to balance his power. This can be interpreted to mean that he needs a woman to support him, not one who shares his power.

If you marry a poor man, things you say or do will be misinterpreted as pride or subconscious attempts to emasculate him. All your arguments will come back to money. Just marry one who has more than you do.

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