I left my boyfriend because of Twitter standards: He couldn't afford 5 star holidays and fancy dinners

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Illustration. Photographed by 
Luis Alvarez
Illustration. Photographed by Luis Alvarez
Luis Alvarez
  • Thandi* thought Bonga* was the love of her life.
  • They met at the end of their matric year and have shared every milestone together since. From applying at the same university and getting accepted, to starting their first jobs in the same month.
  • They had their lives planned out and knew they we would end up getting married and living the ‘happily ever after’ life.
  • But all that changed when Thandi started making her own money and got promoted to a junior manager role where she earned way more than him.
  • Here is Thandi's* story as told to Wandile Jama.

When I started making more money than my boyfriend I felt like Miss independent who needed a man who was on par with her. I started to view Bonga differently, because he couldn’t afford certain things. When I would go out with my colleagues or friends, we’d get attention at restaurants and clubs and men would just settle our bills. This would make me question my relationship. 

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We are always told that the man is the provider in a relationship and society makes it seem like your man is not worthy if he doesn’t settle the bill or take you on baecations. Unfortunately societal pressures and Twitter pressure got to me.

A day doesn’t pass where ‘amadoda’ are not discussed on Twitter. Sayings like ‘indoda mayibe ne mali’ (a man must have money) and when people say things like ‘what's the point of dating a broke man? Rather love yourself sis, you shouldn’t be paying for that dinner bill" are some of the things that got to me.

These standards, especially those that are prevalent on Twitter, affected my relationship and I started to view my boyfriend differently. 

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I had never voiced my concerns to Bonga because it would be insensitive. He has black tax and I don’t. He earns less than me and there are certain things he can't afford. 

Things took a turn in our relationship when I was yearning for more. I wanted to go on international baecations or even local 5 star baecations and besides Bonga not being able to afford them, he just wasn’t even interested. I wanted to have cute date nights where we would dress up and go to fancy restaurants so I could post them on social media.

I was yearning for cute surprises, for the cost of my tires to be taken care of, for him to take my car to the car wash and bring it back with a full tank of petrol. Bonga did none of these things and I never brought it up.  

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I started meeting men who were always willing to do these things for me, in a heartbeat. At first I wouldn’t entertain them but as time progressed, I discovered how accessible they were. 

I thought it was harmless fun but it made me compare Bonga to them, which was quite unfair. I decided to break up with him because wasn’t offering me what I wanted and I didn’t want to continue comparing him to other men. It was also a way of setting myself free.

When I broke up with him, he was shocked and taken aback. He told me that I was making the biggest mistake of my life. 

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When I was single, I entertained these men for a while but settled down with one. He was nice and we went on beacations together. He would send me money spontaneously and we would go to the fanciest restaurants for dinner.

I was loving the lifestyle but I was still not fulfilled. There was something missing. I missed the companionship Bonga and I had. I missed our friendship and how vulnerable I was with him, and how he loved me for who I am.

This new relationship was all good materially but not emotionally. We just didn’t connect on a level I wanted us to and I started to regret my decision.

Unfortunately, I’m single now and have lost the love of my life because I was sbwling (envying) people on social media. What glitters isn’t always gold.

Do you have a story to share. Tell us about it here.

* Names have been changed.

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