I have been dating my boyfriend for over a year now. He was working for almost five years before we met. One of the things we talked about before we started dating was accommodation.
He lives in a two-bedroom apartment with his family. There are a total number of six adults and four children in that house. I’m concerned because our relationship is meant to lead to marriage. I can’t imagine myself living with him there after marriage. He assured me, “Don’t worry, I’m saving money to move out by the end of the year.”
The year ended but he never moved.
The following year I asked him, “Last year you couldn’t move out as planned. What are your plans this year? Are you going to move?” He still made mention of the money he was saving. “It’s not up to the amount I will need to move. I need some more time.” I didn’t want to appear as being too controlling so I let it go. After all, I live in another region. I have my own place. My concern is about where we would live after we get married. After marriage, I will visit my husband often. I don’t want to visit and share a room with him and his many family members. Anytime we talked about a place to live after marriage, he assured me that my fears wouldn’t materialize so I should stay calm.
He went to see my family and my dad gave him the marriage list. We agreed that he would give me GH₵500 every month to buy the things in bits and pieces until we are done. He paid the amount for two months. We were making progress but I felt the progress should reflect in other areas of our relationship too so I asked him about the accommodation again. “Are you still saving toward it?” He answered, “I haven’t been able to save because of the money I’ve been giving to you for the marriage items.”
I didn’t want anything to interfere with the accommodation arrangements. I told him, “Dear, please stop giving me the money and save it toward getting the accommodation. That one is very important to me. How can we think about marriage when we don’t know where we would sleep after marriage?”
He agreed with me. We drew our budget for the marriage ceremony and agreed to split the cost. I didn’t want him to bear all the costs alone, a little I can do as a helping partner.
I got a part-time contract from our office which earned me extra money. It was a good deal so I tried and got him the same contract. It was a one-week contract. He took a leave from his regular job to come and work on the contract. He couldn’t complete the job but he earned almost GH₵5,000 from what he did. I suggested, “Add this to what you’ve already saved and rent a place for yourself.”
He agreed to do it. I told him, “If you put everything together and it’s still not enough to rent a place, tell me and I’ll add the rest to it.” I was ready to do everything within my power to get him a place of his own. Days later, he came to tell me he didn’t have any saved money to add to what he earned from the contract. He said, “I lied when I said I was saving. I was only trying to save face. I didn’t want to see you disappointed all over again.”
Obviously, he needed more help than I could afford to give so I took him to a counselor friend of ours to speak to him. Nothing changed in his life after the first counseling session so we booked another session. After the second session, he promised the counselor that he was going to do better. I stopped pushing him to see how far he could go without being told what to do. He gave up on searching for a place. I had to call agents and other people to help him even though I wasn’t in Accra.
Finally, after putting so much pressure on him, he got a place. He made part payment to the landlord and said he would pay the rest at a later date. Two months later and he hadn’t paid the rest of the rent. He cashed out the returns on his treasury bill but he used the money for something else. I spoke to him on several occasions, admonishing him to settle the landlord before things turn ugly but he didn’t mind me. It seemed he was comfortable with his living condition and I was the one stressing myself over it.
I have been thinking about everything, where we started from and where we are currently. If this is his attitude toward rent then how would he behave toward other things when we get married? What would he do if we start having kids and have to raise money for their needs? I am worried he might leave all the responsibilities to me. I cannot have that. I am a woman; my role is to support my husband in the home and that’s all I am willing to do. I will split bills with him but I will not do anything beyond that. My mother was the breadwinner of my family and it affected her health. I have learned from her mistakes so I will not repeat them.
I have started withdrawing from him after I have seen the kind of future that possibly awaits me if I marry him.
A few days ago, he told me that he has secured a place and he has made all the necessary payments. It was meant to make me happy but I am not happy. I know he loves me but love alone is not enough to build a peaceful marriage. When I think of our future together, it doesn’t bring me peace. I want to walk away from the relationship but he is asking me to give him time to change.
I know he will not change. What I’ve experienced so far tells me so.
The way he spends his money will not allow him to change. He would rather spend his money on his family and friends at the expense of his own needs. His intentions are good but are they healthy? From what I gathered, the majority of his family depends on his income. This includes his older siblings who have kids and have jobs they are doing. He tells me things won’t be like that forever but I don’t trust him. How do I get a 32-year-old man to put his needs first?