Rich Girl, Poor Guy: Navigating The Course

For the umpteenth time, Tokunbo asked herself how on earth she got into the situation she has found herself in. Looking around the sparsely furnished but decent and compact apartment that had become home for her in the last two years, she could just not imagine how a mere suggestion that two split unit air conditioning units should be included in the family budget could degenerate into the hot exchange she just had with Tunde. Back at her parents’ home, a central cooling system ensures that even the toilets are air conditioned. She could not even begin to imagine how she has coped in the last two years without air conditioning units in the apartment.

With her decision to marry Tunde, she had braced herself for a drop in her standard of living, convinced that the love they both share will more than make up for the luxuries she will be parting ways with. What she did not bargain for was the stupid pride and stubbornness that Tunde wears like a badge of honour…it did not make sense to her that he refuses any attempt by her family or friends to make life a bit more comfortable for them. It looks to her like he has a pact with poverty and mediocrity and enjoys seeing her miserable. She has concluded his sole reason for marrying her was to teach a silver spoon child the lesson of her life and making her have a taste of  the misery and lack that characterised his life.

When a girl from a comfortable and privileged background marries a guy from a very humble background, what ordinarily appears like a perfect romantic movie plot that ends in a triumph of love is usually not so. That scenario has its undercurrents and if care is not taken and wisdom applied, it may be difficult to salvage the marriage or the two partners may end up living far below their potentials by just staying in the marriage but living totally different lives.

The task of this write up is to suggest ways of handling this very delicate scenario.

When there is a sharp difference between social status, exposure and financial capabilities with the lady having an upper hand, then attention should be given in the manner below discussed:

  1. Marriage should not be rushed into, rather, the two parties should carefully examine their motives. Is marriage being considered out of desperation, pity or an easy way out of poverty?
  2. The lady should take pains to consider the guy’s outlook and philosophy to life. Are they in tandem with hers or does she see a meeting point subsequently? Is he visionary enough to aspire or is she ready to lower her standards not temporarily but permanently?
  3. The two parties need to have honest conversations about what concessions will be made and in what areas? They need to decide the areas in which there cannot be negotiations. Examples could be decisions on standard of living, business or career decisions and in law relations. Family finance and model to adopt should also be extensively discussed. A trusted older couple could also be brought in to guide them through the process.
  4. Practical steps may need to be taken to acquire needed skills for the life ahead. The lady may need to understudy people with peculiarities similar to her prospective in-laws so as to be better prepared or to aid her negotiation. The man may also need to be tutored in social graces and acceptable conduct. A finishing school may not be out of place.
  5. Interactions must be had with parents on both sides i.e. the prospective parents-in-law. Each party should give the other a clear understanding of his or her background, the expectations of parents and close family members and a promise to stand by and protect the other where those expectations are concerned. Under no condition should the wedding hold without a sustained interaction over a period of time. The siblings as much as possible should also be interacted with.

Both the lady and the guy should review the outcome of these interactions, discussing freely their observations, asking questions and seeking clarifications on whatever appears shrouded. They should also request and obtain assurances, expressing their fears.

While it is true that love should triumph against all odds, there are peculiar mixes in circumstances that pose as huge stumbling blocks. It is wisdom to be extra careful and very deliberate in navigating your way when your marital pathways are strewn with these blocks. So, the next time you see that silver spoon girl clinging to that below average guy, love struck and hell bent on getting married with or without parental consent and counselling, singing the song that says “all we need is love to make it work”, please find a way to get this article her way. It may just save her a million heart breaks.

Bisi Adebayo

I am Bisi Adebayo, a dynamic woman of many parts. I am a lawyer with over 27 years’ work experience spanning maritime practice, commercial law and general practice. I have had a decade long foray into the Financial Services Industry and at various times oversaw the legal, marketing, credit and treasury (assets trading and intermediation) functions of the organization I worked for, a testament to my versatility.
Bisi Adebayo

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Bisi Adebayo

I am Bisi Adebayo, a dynamic woman of many parts. I am a lawyer with over 27 years’ work experience spanning maritime practice, commercial law and general practice. I have had a decade long foray into the Financial Services Industry and at various times oversaw the legal, marketing, credit and treasury (assets trading and intermediation) functions of the organization I worked for, a testament to my versatility.

8 thoughts on “Rich Girl, Poor Guy: Navigating The Course

  • January 29, 2018 at 2:54 pm
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    Nice one. The rich girl/poor boy combination is actually workable. It has worked for many generations and will continue to work if well combined. What should be avoided is the element of pride and stubbornness on both sides. Poverty and pride and stubbornness is a very “raw” combination. Once this can be controlled, the marriage will work.

    Reply
    • January 29, 2018 at 8:21 pm
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      True. It does work if the two parties have the right mindset.

      In my opinion, because the woman has the ‘submission mandate’ which is often misinterpreted, in situations where the nan is rifid and unyielding or unwilling to give consideration to her background, she suffers a great deal

      Reply
  • January 29, 2018 at 8:13 pm
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    lt is possible there was no openess from the onset and the guy probably has a complex that is hiden under his ego..Nothing wrong with letting the wealthier spouse know you need help but just don’t make it a habit.

    Reply
  • January 30, 2018 at 12:55 pm
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    Very insightful article. The willingness to communicate will sure help in this situation, as with all other situations. Carrying parents and siblings along will also make a whole lot of difference.

    Reply
  • January 30, 2018 at 2:24 pm
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    Thank you for this. But what if they are already married like the example you just gave. How can the differences be resolved.

    Reply
    • February 3, 2018 at 7:36 pm
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      Because the audience here is majorly female, I will be directing my answer to the rich girl.

      Most times when the men in scenarios like this react like in the article above, it is usually because they feel threatened, insecure or have a low self esteem.

      I will therefore suggest that the woman validates him and goes the extra mile in letting him realise his financial status is not what dictates the extent of her love and respect for him.

      Don’t act superior or have your nose up in the air. Realise your circumstances differ and go the extra mile in cultivating a deep friendship with him. This will help him let down his guards and prevent the reading of meanings into words spoken or actions taken.

      Reply
  • January 30, 2018 at 8:07 pm
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    Very insightful. “Review interactions” God bless you ma.

    Reply
  • April 16, 2019 at 12:12 am
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    I learnt a lot from this. thank you ma.

    Reply

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