Ben Karambuzi has been dating Jean Kyomugisha for five months now, but he wants to quit the relationship.
Kyomugisha has everything any man would want in a woman: intelligence, beauty and a tenacious spirit. She is also very wealthy. This, Karambuzi says, is the chink in the armour of an otherwise great relationship. Kyomugisha’s wealth, Karambuzi says, makes him feel rather inadequate.
She has always got, and still gets, whatever she needs from her family. Karambuzi was unbothered by this at first, but with time, he felt like nothing he did or bought for her was ever going to be good enough. Sometime back, he decided to take her out on a date. He mobilised the little money he had saved up, and borrowed some more, in order to take her to a nice restaurant.
However, after the date, she went to a nearby boutique and bought a dress worth Shs 250,000. He was so outraged because he had squeezed himself dry to take her out and thereafter she went to buy a dress worth that much money, laments Karambuzi.
“I love Jean very much but I can’t continue dating her. It is so frustrating that anything I could buy for her she already has, or will soon have, courtesy of her parents,” he says.
He adds that some of her friends even think he is with her just for her money. He feels so inadequate as a man and incapable of ever providing for her financially. Like Karambuzi, James Kaganda has found himself in the same predicament. Kaganda, who has been married for seven years now, has had to endure his wife’s endless ranting of his inability to provide for her and their children.
“The truth is I am fairly rich however, the only problem is that she is richer than I am. We have separated on several occasions in the past but always reconcile after a few weeks,” says Kaganda.
He says his wife constantly rubs it in his face that she is wealthier than him, and this hurts him so much. He feels he doesn’t love her anymore yet he is a Christian and doesn’t believe in divorce. He can’t bear the idea of spending the rest of his life with a woman who is going to constantly undermine his worth as a man.
Dr Sheila Ndyanabangi, a marriage counsellor, says men in relationships with wealthier female partners may feel inadequate most of the time.
“Men always want to be the bosses in everything they do and most especially relationships. Dating a wealthier woman erodes their self-esteem and makes them feel incapable of providing for her,” Ndyanabangi says.
A man earning less money or one who is unable to provide for his family is scorned by society because culturally, a man is supposed to take care of the finances of the family, she adds. Where a man fails to live up to these Ugandan cultural expectations, relationships become brittle. In some instances, the strain results in a break-up.
Ugandan marriages or relationships are not the only ones to suffer when a woman has more financial resources than the man. According to research cited by The Atlantic, an American magazine, marriages struggle when women earn more money. The men feel like their egos are being dented.
“For a lot of guys, it affects their ego and they start to feel emasculated,” says Jonathan Alpert, a Manhattan psychotherapist, who traces these feelings all the way back to the 1950s when society dictated gender roles.
According to Sonya Britt, a Kansas State University researcher, arguing about money is the top predictor of divorce. Her research found that couples who argued about money early in their relationships were at greater risk of divorce.
“Arguments about money [are] by far the top predictor of divorce,” she said. “It’s not children, sex, in-laws or anything else. It’s money – for both men and women.”
Britt’s study, titled Examining the Relationship Between Financial Issues and Divorce, was published in 2012 in the Family Relations Journal.
For some it is ok
However, not all men are averse to dating wealthier women. Dating a wealthier woman requires maturity. A man who is mature enough will be able to understand that money is not a reason to walk out of a perfect relationship.
“I really don’t mind dating a wealthier lady. Communication is very important in any relationship and we have to be able to talk about our financial issues on the onset,” says Ivan Rugabwa, a third-year student at Makerere University.
He reasons that if he really loves her and she loves him too, why not date her?
Like Rugabwa, Daniel Isiko doesn’t mind dating a wealthier woman. Isiko has been dating Phiona Namutebi for close to three years now and has a two-year-old daughter with her. He is happy despite the fact that she is wealthier than him.
“I met Phiona when I had just lost my job without a single coin in my pocket. I was honest with her from the very beginning about my financial constraints. She agreed to be with me even though I wasn’t going to provide for her as a man ought to,” Isiko says.
He observes that they mutually respect and love each other and this has kept their relationship intact. He believes that if one truly loves someone, nothing can hold them back, let alone the lady’s wealth.
Communication is key
Ndyanabangi aises couples in such relationships to communicate with each other as much as possible. This would give the man an opportunity to air his views and express his discontent. She further points out that the woman must be wise enough to boost her partner’s esteem and confidence as the man in the relationship rather than complain about his inadequacy.
… And those in the public eye aren’t shy
Traditionally, men shunned marriage to wealthier women. If a woman was seen to be accumulating substantial wealth, she was cautioned: don’t get too rich unless you forever want to remain a spinster. Where a wife was wealthier than her husband, the couple pretended – for public consumption – that the man was wealthier. Stories are told of wives giving their husbands money to pay in public for goods and services.
Husbands just did not flaunt the fact that their wives were wealthier than they were. Then, enter men such as Farouk Ssempala. Ssempala is happy to introduce Zari Hussein, one of Uganda’s more famous socialites, as his partner – or is it lover?
“Nze bba wa Zari,” he proudly tells this reporter, meaning “I am Zari’s partner.”
He is not shy about Zari’s apparent wealth and does not try to pretend that he is wealthier than her. While Zari’s worth is disputed, it is highly likely that it is much higher than Ssempala’s, whose employment status is unknown. Men such as Malik Kaliisa haven’t been shy about being flaunted by their relatively-wealthier partners.
Kaliisa, who was dating Sylvia Owori, Kampala’s well-known fashion designer, was happy to have Owori finance some of his kickboxing matches, not to mention splashing on their often lovey-dovey relationship. Some men have fallen on hard times, resulting in their wives becoming more moneyed than they are. One such man is Samuel Niiwo, Judith Babirye’s ex-husband.
Niiwo has previously admitted to his family living off Babirye’s earnings. When his businesses collapsed, he is reported to have admitted that he comfortably lived off his wife’s income. Others have contracted marriages with wealthier women. Tom Kula is said to be one of these.
He got married to Pastor Imelda Namutebi, the founder and senior pastor of Liberty Worship Centre, amid accusations that her robust finances had lured him from another woman. We don’t know whether Maama Fiina, a renowned medicine woman, was wealthier than Hajji Ismail Ssekidde, her husband, when they met, but those who know them say she is wealthier than he is.
Source : The Observer