What to do when your partner is broke but loves you?

Question: I am in love with a wonderful man and we have been together for over a year. We started living together a few months ago and my six year old son also lives with us. It wasn’t until we started living together that I found out just how bad his financial situation was. On payday he has nothing left because he has to execute debit orders. This means I have to pay for everything, including food, her cosmetics, rent, and electricity.

The worst part is that I even have to send money for the maintenance of his little mother to avoid the tragedies. I love this man, but he is just terrible with the money. It doesn’t help that he isn’t educated, so he probably won’t be able to find a better job anytime soon. Is love enough to live with a broke man? I know he’ll never give himself a lobola for me, let alone a wedding. – WORRIED PARTNER

A: No woman wants to go out or marry a broke man. It’s unfortunate when you think about how women always say, “There aren’t enough good men out there.” The truth is, there are. But not all of them come to earn a lot of money. Some are blue collar workers, others have bad credit records. But the flip side is that some of these men are supportive of their wives, creative and ambitious. With the right woman, who knows where such a man will be in the future.


But before you fire or follow your broke boyfriend, maybe you should try to analyze the situation first, as this could save you regrets a few years down the road.

Being broke is not a crime

This is especially true now that job creation and the economic situation of our country are so slow. Staying broke, however, is problematic. Simply put, despite slow economic growth, no one should embrace being broke as a way of life. There are many creative options for maximizing the personal income that people, even those who have never been to school, have there.

The problem is not whether your man is broke and uneducated, but whether or not he plans to stay broke. A broke man is one who is both powerless and refuses to get help in order to improve his earning capacity. Being broke is not about having a negative bank balance.

It’s when you have even minimal income but have no intelligence to responsibly maximize its use that takes care of tomorrow. Pretty much any woman we know can put up with a man who earns much less than her, but who is open and responsible about how he spends his income.

Can you devote your life to a broke man?

The other important question is, are you as a woman ready to put up with the situation, and for how long? Living with and caring for a man who is traditionally supposed to provide for you but isn’t, means you have to suffer emotionally and financially. Paying for everything while you have a man who is unable to prioritize his income is pretty exhausting.

You will end up losing all the respect you have for him, not because he is broke per se, but because he is irresponsible with what little he has. Serving your debts with all of your income is not being responsible, but misguided and insensitive to all of your other responsibilities.

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It will affect your willingness to be intimate with him. Plus, how long will you want to avoid the baby mom drama by holding her child? And by taking on such responsibility, what do you teach her about being responsible for her own child?

How much respect do you think his child will have for him when he one day grows up and finds out that you are paying for the upkeep, not him?

Can you handle the extra cost in your finances?

No matter how much love you have for him, you have to do something about the reality that you know about him – that he is such a handicap that won’t even afford to pay lobola for you. How sustainable do you think your arrangement is? The point is, no matter how much you are “in love” with him, you are not married to him.

Yet you live the way you are. You are a single mother. How much do you think the monthly amount you bond with by holding it down could accomplish if you redirected it towards your own dreams and goals?

Are you sure you want to be part of his instability?

The question is, how long are you going to hold a strong front before you collapse in the face of this financial chaos? Does he want help prioritizing his income? Is he open about his finances and his projects? Is he stuck in this financial rut or does he have practical plans to improve his situation? Do you see a future between you guys? Does he treat you well? It is only after you answer these questions that you can find a way forward.

About Andrew Miller

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