"My boyfriend paid for my tuition now he is demanding marriage or a refund"

A woman's ready to start a new job after finishing her studies
A woman's ready to start a new job after finishing her studies

According to CNBC, money is the leading cause of stress in relationships, and is normally said to be the cause of many divorces as well.

It becomes even more difficult when one partner splurges money on the other with certain expectations that are later unmet.

Sharon* relays her related story:

"My boyfriend and I met in my first year at varsity when I was pursuing my law degree. He had already graduated and had a good paying job. I was a full time student and a part time waitress. We had an instant spark, so we started dating almost immediately. 

READ MORE: "My ex fiancé wants his lobola back, but my family no longer has the money"

Within a couple of months, tragedy struck in my family and my father who was the sole bread winner died. My mother was left deep in debt and struggled to pay for my university fees. Now with huge debt hanging over my head as well, I was not going to be allowed to register for second year.

I had a talk with my boyfriend who empathised with my situation because he too had struggled with paying university fees at some point. He asked if I was serious about our relationship and I said yes, so he offered to take over the responsibility of paying for my fees. We then decided to move in together. We talked about having children and getting married one day.

READ MORE: Living with your partner in a vat en sit arrangement may now grant you this same right as married couples

I didn’t know “one day” would be the day of my graduation. He proposed to me at my graduation party, and that is when things went downhill. I wanted to have a steady and good paying job before getting married so I turned him down. I told him I was not ready to tie the knot. 

He changed almost instantly, and became impossible to live with - he was always angry and moody. He did not take me out on dates anymore and stopped being affectionate. I pleaded with him on many occasions but he would not listen. He thought I was seeing someone, but I was not, nor was I interested in anyone else.

READ MORE: A woman celebrates her boyfriend finally getting a divorce

After eight months I stopped pleading for him to change his attitude towards me. I was emotionally exhausted. I packed my bags and never looked back. Now he is harassing me and my family. He wants me to accept his marriage proposal or pay him back all the money he spent on me."

Sharon was not ready for marriage, and certainly not one that came with an ultimatum and demands.

In the book The Case for Marriage, the authors Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher conclude that couples feel more independent when they are cohabiting than when they are married, but warn that, "The price of this freedom can be high. For by consciously withholding permanent commitment, cohabitors do not reap the advantage of a deeper partnership"

READ MORE: Wedding guests left outraged by bride's crazy dress code based on age and weight

However, divorce lawyer Michelle Afont who spoke to Elite Daily said, “doubt really should not come into the equation of marriage. There should be no doubt in your mind that this is the person you want to spend your life with” 

According to a study on pre-marital uncertainty, women who have doubts about getting married before the wedding are more likely to be unhappy with their marriage several years later.

What would you do?

*Names have been changed

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Do you think it's important to get married in this day and age?
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Yes, it's important in order to create a family unit and for companionship
22% - 661 votes
Not at all. Being single is far more liberating
9% - 274 votes
There is no general answer to this, it's each to their own
50% - 1508 votes
Yes, society still frowns on unmarried people, especially women
1% - 40 votes
It depends on whether you are able to find a compatible partner
18% - 545 votes