Tonderai Zvimba, Showbiz Reporter
The ongoing price hikes in Zimbabwe are affecting some relationships.
As a result many male youngsters are fearful that their partners could ditch them for older men who will likely be able to take care of their partners’ daily financial needs.
To keep the fire burning in relationships, couples, from time to time, have to go out on lunch/dinner dates, go to the movies and have pizza afterwards, among other activities. This is the basic requirement of a relationship, if one wants it to flourish.
But with these ongoing price hikes and the unstable currency, young couples are finding the going tough as they are no longer able to do the things they used to do with/for their partners. Simple things like going to the movies where a ticket for one is about RTGS$16 and popcorn $9 and buying data/airtime for one’s partner are now difficult for the youngsters as they are now pricey. As a result, this is taking a toll on their relationships.
Thamsanqa Ncube (24) who started working two years ago said he had hoped to, this year, pay bride price for his girlfriend whom he had been dating since high school, but with the economic challenges, he has shelved those plans.
“This is quite frustrating for us because I’d hoped to marry her this year. From last year, I’d been saving up for lobola but had to use those funds this year just to get by as things are very expensive now (rent, food etc).
“Fortunately, my girlfriend is not a gold digger as she seems to understand that in as much as I want us to get married, there are circumstances beyond my control that are setting me back,” Thamsanqa said.
Twenty-seven-year-old Kholwani Bhebhe who has been dating his girlfriend for a year also said he is finding the going tough.
“I provide my girlfriend with money to do her hair, nails and buy lunch. She’s a student so I also buy her airtime. Back then, I used to spend about $120 on her monthly, but now, that figure has quadrupled and this is quite challenging for me,” Kholwani said.
Ndumiso Ndebele (30) has put dating on hold after his girlfriend of seven years dumped him at the beginning of the year.
“My ex and I were very outgoing people. We liked going out on weekends to nightclubs or places like Matopos just to unwind. Back then, a cider was about three bucks at a club so I could afford to buy her.
“With the change of things, this year, we would go out just to be in a club environment and I could tell she was feeling let down by me as I couldn’t afford to treat her.
“She started telling me that our relationship wasn’t going anywhere and that she wanted out. I tried to fight for her but she didn’t cooperate. I’m still trying to recover from the breakup so I won’t be dating anytime soon,” said a devastated Ndebele who said he wishes the economy would improve soon.
But, why must all the pressure to take care of women, be on men, especially in these difficult times, some have asked. Well, it is because of the stereotype that men are the providers and it will take a lot of time to change this, if ever.
However, it seems that there are some empowered women who do not rely on men to take care of them. It is this type, whose relationships are likely to survive the economic challenges.
Businesswoman, Esther Nyekete, 35, who lives with her unemployed partner said they have had to adjust some of their costly habits in order to keep their relationship afloat.
“I’m the only one who’s working so my partner and I decided to change our lifestyle. We now use one car instead of two when we’re both getting into town to cut down on fuel consumption.
“Also, back then, we used to go to places like Redwood and Hartsfield Tshisanyama almost every Saturday, but nowadays, we prefer to spend more time at home as I cannot afford to go out consistently,” said Esther.
Another lady, Millicent Ndlovu, suggested that financial needs in relationships should not be dependent on one person, but should be a team effort, if people want their relationships to last.
“In all relationships, money is always involved and that’s a fact. But I want to urge some women to stop demanding that men do everything while they just sit and look pretty at home.
“I sell Avon products and with that little money, I take care of some of the financial needs. Even when we go out with my partner, I sometimes pay the bill and this has solidified our relationship as no one feels used by the other as it’s all about teamwork.”
Giving advice to young couples, a 60-year-old who chose to identify himself only as Ncube said this was a good time for couples to learn their partners.
“It’s during these difficult times that people get to learn their partners. If your relationship is rocky now because of the economic situation the country is going through, it shows that the relationship will not last in the long run.
“But if one has a partner who is standing by them at this time and sharing ideas of how they can make money, or make do with the little they have, then that person is definitely one to keep,” he said.