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My dear Jack, you’re going to lose this woman if you’re not careful, and you’re well on the way. You’re stoking her primal fears with your casual attitude towards money and your philosophy of relationship finance. She comes from a family in which the father behaved just as you’re doing now and she doesn’t want to experience what her mum went through. Her mum had to step in several times for her dad; she ended up bearing the total burden for the children’s education. It all began the way you’re behaving now – not taking total responsibility for your finance, somehow hoping she’ll always be there to step into the lacunae. Her father was not financially responsible and the family would have suffered immensely had the mum not stepped up to the plate. They suffered nonetheless.

When you take her out and you can’t pay for taxi fare to go back home and she has to step in, you’re reminding her of things she’d rather forget about her upbringing. Her dad had same attitude. And you do it casually banking on the fact she’ll always have money on her. What you don’t realise is that you’re telling her you cannot be trusted with finance. How do you take a lady out and claim to have splurged all you have on the food and she must pay for taxi fare for both of you? What kind of message are you sending? Once was an accident, twice was a warning, thrice is character. She’s already characterised you as unserious when it comes to finance. You’re making room for a serious young man with an acute sense of responsibility to sweep her off her feet and take her from you. And it will be to your regret. You have a wonderful bargain in her. I do not understand why you have to take her to restaurants you obviously can’t afford. Now, when she goes out for dinner with you she does so with trepidation. She may have to wash plates in the kitchen to offset the bill. You’re clearly reaching beyond yourself. You’re doing things you can’t afford. And don’t tell me it’s because you want to please her. No, you’re doing it for your ego, to show her you’re the man! It’s obvious you can’t afford your ideas on dating. Why don’t you do what you can afford. If you can’t afford set menu restaurants in upscale neighbourhoods, why don’t you go to a fast food joint? It’s equally a date. And there are many eateries around.

Yes, all those dinners are desirable but what she wants, what she really wants is your company. She knows you’re a young man who is just starting out in life. She knows she’s not dating Aliko Dangote. When you do all this big man stuff, trying to show her you have means you don’t have, you set yourself up. You’re going to get into trouble. Essentially you’re borrowing to finance consumption. That’s a no-no in fiduciary responsibility. You’ll ultimately destroy trust. It’s unsustainable. And how does it make sense?

You have to learn the concept of authenticity. Let me try and illustrate it from an architectural perspective. When architects design, say a building in a rocky desert they want a building that’s relatable to the environment. There’s the philosophy of design that such buildings shouldn’t stand out like ill-transposed sore thumbs. To make the building relate with the environment they use authentic materials – native building materials. And so they’ll build compacted walls from the sand in the area, there’ll be granite etc. The building is thus a product of the environment. It is authentic. Such a building cannot be pretentious. When you see it, you know it’s a desert native. Rusted iron plates may even be used on the walls, and where glass is used it exposes the environment. Now all that doesn’t take away from the comfort of the building or the quality of the build. It’s just that the building sits in its environment. To appreciate what I’m talking about, go to That is a very expensive building that sits in the desert comfortably. But it gives those who go out into the desert a pleasant conceptual experience despite its comfort. The building is not ashamed of its nativity or identity. It celebrates its authentic. Same attitude you ought to have in your relationship.

Authenticity builds trust and predictability. It is a measure of confidence in oneself, the expression of comfort in one’s skin. It is about being. If you want your girlfriend to trust you and repose faith in you, be authentic. Just be yourself. That’s confidence. But authenticity in a relationship also requires you define yourself along proper values – integrity, character, selflessness… No manipulation. Manipulation requires a selfish focus and use of strategic and inherent deceit. It turns people into mining assets to be exploited, implements to be used. You can’t have an honest relationship doing that. Relationship requires honesty of heart. If you’re authentic she’ll know what you stand for, what you’ll do given a set of circumstances, what you won’t do, how you’ll react in different scenarios and what you can NEVER do!

If for example you believe in the philosophy of contentment (you should) and that’s your authentic you, she’ll know you won’t do what you can’t afford and she’ll appreciate that. Then she won’t be afraid of going out with you. She won’t be afraid you’ll stick her up with bills she didn’t bargain for. Your philosophy of finance seems to be, spend future income. You’ll never be balanced that way. It’s why you spend your salary in advance in anticipation of pay day. Any delay on payday of course means you break your word to your creditors. And then you need a bridge loan. No mature woman is going to be comfortable with that kind of finance philosophy. It means you’ll never have anything – no savings, no investments. You spend right up to your income and beyond. How then can she plan with you? How for example will you be able to put money together for house rent in lieu of marriage? And when you marry she’ll be afraid of your compromised sense of responsibility. She’ll be afraid of the landlord knocking. She won’t have peace of mind in the marriage. She’s not asking you to impress her. You’re the one engaged in big-boyism. It’s pseudo manhood.

You must have an authentic and sincere relationship with your girlfriend. If the relationship is real she’ll appreciate when you’re broke and you telling her you don’t have. This of course assumes you ARE a responsible person. If the relationship is real and authentic, she’ll appreciate you saving towards your marriage and living responsibly. Don’t just cut your coat according to your size, buy the material you can afford!

All that wild spending doesn’t make you a husband material. You are maybe a nightclub material however, and you can’t build an authentic relationship with that mentality. Don’t lose this woman you have. All she’s asking of you is be financially responsible. Then she can step into situations where your capacity is inadequate without a sense of compulsion. It’s important to her she VOLUNTEERS to step in to make up for your finance deficits, not that she’s compelled by your recklessness and adroit presumptuousness.

In life there are ups and downs. There are times we’re flush with money, there are times we’re not. To use an ancient turn of phrase, you must know how to be abased and how to abound. When you don’t have, don’t pretend to your girlfriend that you have. You’ll either get into debt or get crooked or get into trouble. You shouldn’t be spending to your limit or spending beyond your limit. That’s not wise for a young man. You ought to have savings. Your girlfriend must have economic confidence in you. She must believe you’re financially responsible. If you keep putting her in difficult situations when you take her out, or you keep putting her in embarrassing financial positions, you’ll eventually lose her. May be after marriage.

It’s not compulsory you go to upscale restaurants. If you don’t have the money to take her out, go for a stroll and buy Coke. One day you’ll be able to afford those restaurants. You just need to be diligent at what you do. She’ll be more impressed with your authenticity if you have an honest and a true heart than with all those pretentious display of non-existent prosperity. Start correcting the distortions you’ve created. Be real.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

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Tags : Money

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