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All you need to know about Vat 'n Sit

By Faeza
24 April 2017

Anonymous from Durban writes:

My boyfriend is 36 and I am 30. We are young professionals doing fairly well in our careers. However, we are constantly fighting about our living arrangements. How much should people in a vat en sit (living together without being married) relationship be sharing with one another? I understand that we are sharing financial responsibilities, but should we be sharing more than that? Does he need to know how much I earn and what I do with my salary? Does he need to know my bank card pin code? Does he need to know how much investments I have? I really don’t think that is any of his business. He says this is practice for when we are married. I say, what happens if we end up not getting married at all? Imagine me doing all this to every guy I get involved with. What’s your take on this?

Linda Yende responds: 

THERE really are two different approaches to this. On one hand, if you see what the two of

you have as a gateway towards marriage, then certainly as a couple you will start practicing

things the way they should be once you are married. On the other hand, if you feel that this is as far as your relationship may go, then you may be reluctant to share certain things, with the concern that it may all turn out to have been in vain, should things not work out.


So ask yourself; is the problem that you are perhaps feeling uncertain about your future as a couple? Do you think that the relationship is actually not going to progress to where you want it to? One of my favourite phrases is, "Begin with the end in mind". What this means is that even in the early days, always kind of keep in mind exactly where you are planning to go with this. Even as you interview a potential salesperson, always ask yourself if he has CEO potential. I am not suggesting that every man that you meet, you should consider a project that you can build and mold into what you want. Rather, what you should ask yourself is whether or not this person shows any inclination towards one day being a CEO. Does he see himself one day being CEO, even if not necessarily with your organisation?


So, for clarity I am simply saying that even in the early days of your relationship, you should already be trying to understand why he is in the dating game. Is he in it because it is a fun thing and he enjoys it? Or is he digging through the riff raff, trying to find his queen? Now, I bring all of this up because I am convinced that a big part of your problem is rather the fear that perhaps your relationship is either not ready to progress to a higher

level than where you are or (worse still) not destined to go further. Needless to say, if all you will ever be is just housemates, then the way things are being done right now really doesn’t have to change. But the moment you are trying to build something together, then some transparency is absolutely crucial.


Having said all of this, I have based all my examples above on typical situations that I have both experienced or encountered. I do know that there are married couples who do this differently. They simply decide on who pays what on household expenses and that is that.

Whatever is left over is yours to do with as you please. Personally, I would find that worrying, because it then means that you are pulling in different directions. You are not

pulling towards a common goal. But it works for some couples, which means it can work or you too. I gather, that the two of you are not entirely in agreement on this issue. It sounds like he is keen to play open cards, but you are not.


Please try and explore why this is so. Is it as a result of the level of the relationship? Is it a matter of principle? Or is it what you possibly grew up with and were always exposed to? Ask yourself this; What exactly are you fearing? In conclusion; as with any and every

relationship, it helps to discuss your concerns openly. Communicate and give him your

reasons, discuss them frankly, then hopefully he will give you compelling arguments that may help to dispel your fears.