Why do men 'invest’ in girlfriends' education?

Saturday February 15 2020

I would rather clean a denim jacket, milk an elephant, and vote for Waititu before paying someone’s daughter’s school fees. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

“If you want to loan someone money and lose it, give it to a friend. If you want to loan out money and never even hear about it again, give it to a girlfriend.” – Socrates

The most interesting of stories came through my internet feed this week. A young man was suing his ex-fiancée for over Sh1 million in school fees he had paid, which he claimed was also part of the bride price.

The first thing that came to mind was that I’m doing this whole relationship thing wrong, although I am currently not in one.

I got an admission to do my master's at NYU last year, but I’m still stuck trying to look for grants, scholarships and wealthy aunts yet people can afford to pay school fees for their partners!

Where do I sign up? I’m ready and willing to be a subservient house boyfriend if that’s what it takes.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. He paid her school fees and she dumped him after she graduated. Why does this script sound familiar? Probably because it is.



I’ve heard this story many times that I wanted to read up a bit more on it and a quick Google search gave me pages and pages on Kenyan men going down the same well and wondering why they drowned.

Men commit suicide, kill their partners, strip naked on the street and literally go mad after “investing in fees” and being dumped afterwards.

The one thing I kept thinking about was why anyone would do that. It took me back to when I was 16, and had my first love.

We were planning for our future marriage and three children, for whom we had even got names. We were just waiting to be done with high school and then our love would flourish.

That story ended somewhere in the middle of her first year at university as I was waiting to join her.

I was left stranded when I went to see her in Nakuru, only to find out that she had switched off her phone.

I later learnt that she had found a suave, fourth-year student on campus but didn’t know how to tell me, so standing me up was the only option.


Did I mention that it rained the whole day as I waited for her at a chip shop just near Gilani’s Supermarket from morning till evening.

I understand that naivety over a decade ago for a teenager, but I don’t understand why grown up men do that.

Perhaps it’s my not being in a relationship for nearly two years that makes me think like that, but let’s go down that road for a bit.

You meet a girl, fall in love — madly stupidly, Jubilee-voter kind of naive love and things are going well.

Then, in the middle of the suspend-all-logic-type love, she tells you that she wants to go back to school. And instead of giving her ideas on the businesses she could start and loans she could take, you decide to pay for it yourself?

There’s a man who literally got his whole village together to raise funds for the girl he considered his future wife.

But she went to the US, got a boyfriend there and ghosted the guy, who had even started preparing for her graduation party when she landed. He was saved midway through hanging himself.

The tricky part about giving anything, especially when it comes to large sums of money, is that it comes with expectations.


Men take it as an investment in her and as an investment in their future and that it’s a long-term game.

The worst thing about this logic is that no one owes you love, no matter how much money you spend on them.

In many of these cases, the women joined university and felt that their boyfriends were no longer good enough for them.

Suddenly, they felt they deserved better men than those funding their education and slowly moved on with their colleagues at the university, or with men who were financially endowed.

Suddenly, she realises that you don’t know enough about the world and starts noticing how unrefined you are. Suddenly, she deserves better, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

I would rather clean a denim jacket, milk an elephant, and vote for Waititu before paying someone’s daughter’s fees.

I’m not saying don’t do it; I’m just saying that, if you do, treat it like a church offering; let no one know how much you gave.

Remember, you give it willingly and knowing you should expect no returns.