The break-up of globally renowned couple Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Tuttle has elicited fears among women that a man will only be good as long as he is broke or financially moderate. The couple quit their jobs and shifted to Seattle, US, where they established their online bookstore; Amazon. heir venture grew beyond leaps and bounds. And 25 years later, in January 2019, Amazon was declared the most valuable publicly traded company in the US, with a market capitalisation of $790 billion.
This came months after Bezos became the richest man in the world. He now holds a net wealth of $135.6 billion. To many people, Bezos and MacKenzie’s love and marriage would be the proverbial fairy tale. But alas! On January 9 this year, Bezos announced that he was divorcing MacKenzie after 25 years of marriage. As the news of the divorce continued to confound the world, it was quickly revealed that Bezos had been having an affair with his friend’s wife.
The affair with TV siren Lauren Sanchez is widely being seen as the last straw that broke the camel’s back. In quick succession, racy text messages and explicit photos that Bezos and Ms Sanchez have been exchanging have come to light. In one of the text messages, Bezos is claimed to have told Ms Sanchez: “You make me better. You’re meant for me. I know it more clearly than I’ve ever known anything …. I love everything about you. I love that your last pic takes me completely out of my head. I am crazy about you.”
Take Patricia Kajuju, a PR practitioner, who has dated both a broke and a well-off man. She says most men are indeed more likely to leave a relationship or marriage once they get rich. “You will technically be supportive of a broke guy especially because women are naturally wired to nurture. But once he makes it, his ego will get so bloated that he will start to feel that he needs another woman whom he can financially control without allegiance,” she says. Having dated on both spectra, Patricia says she would rather date a man who has his act together. “I want a man who has his business or career well set before I even meet him. It will make it easier for both of us and will also determine his outlook in life and level of mental stability,” she says.
Incidentally, one of the quick dating assumptions is that broke guys are generally well mannered while rich guys will tend to be boisterous and overbearing. But this is not always the case. Nonetheless, the big question is: Are broke men bound to leave the women who build them up? For a start, there are men who link up with women because of the depth of their purses rather than love or a willingness to commit to a long-term relationship.
Ken Munyua, a psychologist based in Nairobi, Kenya, says if the man’s stay in the relationship was primarily motivated by money, he will definitely leave once he has his fill.
This resonates with 35-year-old Sylvia Kioko’s sentiments. She says the case of Bezos and Mackenzie might not have been due to his position as the wealthiest man in the globe. “I feel that it was not about leaving after making it, but rather a love season change and what they decided to do about it,” she says. “In any case, if it was the money, then the wife stands to gain as the divorce settlement will make her the richest woman in the world while dethroning Bezos as the richest person in the world.”
Munyua also says that a number of married women will make the mistake of falling into the comfort zone after a few years of being with the same man. This is a catalyst that may drive the man away.
“They settle too comfortably and do not want the thrills that birthed and nurtured their relationship anymore. If a husband tries it, he is met with the question: who taught you that?!” he says.
To support or not to support
Patricia says rather than extend support to a broke man, it will be better for the woman to get her life together. “It is hard taking care of a broke man in Nairobi. The house of cards is real and in the modern and liberated dating sphere, your man may be yours only when you’re with him, regardless of whether you’re taking care of him or not,” she says.
She cites the persistent hierarchy of the rich marrying the rich and the poor marrying the poor as a status quo that is not so far-fetched. Incidentally, there are women who will prefer to start a life together with a broke man.
Rachel Adhiambo, 30, says despite the risk that a man might leave once he gets rich, her most ideal man remains the one she can start from the bottom with. “I would not prefer to date a ready-made man. I would prefer the one I can start life together with. As much as he might leave, he will live to respect me,” she says. Her views are echoed by Maryann Kurgat, a 33-year-old banker based in Nakuru, Kenya, who says that men are not always destined to leave.
“There is a possibility that the man might cheat on you, but leaving the marriage or relationship will not be because of the money or assets he now has,” she says.
Wafula concurs. He says many times, a man will go for ‘slay queens’ simply because he now has the social standing to access a certain type of woman he had always wanted but felt he couldn’t get.
“Unfortunately, this will be some younger woman who will only be interested in what the man can do for her,” he says. “Add money and enhanced confidence on his recipe, and suddenly the man will be gravitating towards college students and university leavers with fake hair and derrière that he considers ‘prettier’ than the lovely wife who has given him three kids and helped him set up a thriving business.”
To avoid disappointment down the years, Constance Aketch, 34, says women should be specific on why they are offering support to men and what they expect in return.
“Get a man you love and who makes you feel special without necessarily having to bend over and offer financial support,” she says.