There is a breed of men who end relationships by asking their ex girlfriends to return the gifts they gave them while dating. Some women give back the gifts as a sign of putting the relationship behind them, others regard it as sheer immaturity on the part of such men, Norah Chandiru writes
H e gives you money when he is courting
you; if it does not work out, he asks for his money back; would you oblige? Is he justified to ask for a refund
? After all, he gave you the money voluntarily.
While I was still at university, there was this drop-dead gorgeous girl whom everyone regarded the hottest belle on campus. We all envied her, particularly because of her expensive lifestyle. Natasha had a Mercedes Benz
which she drove to campus for lectures. Her room at the university hall was filled with expensive and sophisticated items. She seemed to have it all.
Then one fateful day Martin, a working class guy who was rumoured to be her boyfriend, parked a van outside the hall gate and started whisking all the luxurious things out of her room onto the van. He brought with him a driver to drive the Benz away too. He told Natasha she could go and start her life afresh with her new ‘boyfriend.’ This was the end of their three-year relationship.
Is it right to refund?
One wonders how justified Martin was in taking back all the gifts he had given Natasha as he terminated their relationship. Musician and entertainment entrepreneur Mariam Ndagire says it is the cheapest and meanest thing a man could ever do and it is not gentlemanly.
“I cannot support it because I did not ask him to give the gifts and money to me. Besides he would not be able to compensate my love. I say, both parties would have wasted each other’s time, so it is best to move on.” Ndagire says.
Stand-up comedian Ann Kansiime notes that much as material things can be given back, there are things that cannot be refunded.
“I disagree with refunding the money and gifts because there are a million other things, like time and emotions, that this same man cannot give back. So it should not be a question of returning stuff. Rather if we are done we are done.”
In our society women particularly think it is not cool to ask for a refund of any money or favours that a man extends to her at courtship. They believe if a woman feels the need to return any money or something like that to the man in order to keep her dignity then that would be her sole decision, but insist that she does not have any obligations to return any gifts, favours or money.
However, musician Cinderella Sanyu says it is only right to refund what a man asks for if there was a mutual agreement binding their relationship. “Refunding
would be okay if they both had an agreement that she would refund everything if she did not remain with him until death, although it is just weird and not right to make a woman return things she was willingly given. She deserved those things because of her commitment to the man at the time they were dating”.
Peter Ndaula, a radio presenter also known as Omulangira Ndausi, says life goes on no matter what happens.“A man does not have to ask a woman to return the things he gave her; whatever you give in good faith you can still get back somehow as long as you still have life. You have to let go.”
Hip Hop artist
Geoffrey Kintu, aka Lyrical G, says it is out of immaturity that a man would ask a woman to refund any gifts. “I would rather we went our separate ways after things go wrong because, truth be told, it is childish and uncivilised to ask for refunds from a person with whom you experienced hardship and happiness just because things between you two never worked out.”
Kintu adds: This kind of behaviour was common in secondary school, where when things became bad between lovers, they usually marked it by publicly asking for their gifts and photographs back.
In fact, some made a great show of returning these items as a spiteful signal of a dramatic end to the relationship. But to carry this behaviour into adult relationships is odd.
Susan Nalwoga, a counsellor and lecturer at Nkumba University
, says that the behaviour of a man asking for a refund of all the things he gave to a woman during their courtship shows the lowest level of maturity.
She says love is an exercise of give and take, so while the man was giving the woman all those material things she was in turn sacrificing a lot just to be with him and make him happy.
“She tries to be faithful to him, tries to follow his rules and stops doing the things she used to do before she met him. She practically starts living his life, and honours him, hoping he would marry her. Therefore asking for the so-called refund is honestly a selfish thing to do,” Nalwoga says.
Nalwoga adds that a woman’s gifts may be unseen, but they are the most important. She advises that it is better for both parties to keep the memories of the gifts they gave to each other and pay up for what they lost, since there are those things like each other’s time which they can never get back.
Joseph Musaalo, a counsellor at Uganda Christian University
, says courtship is a serious kind of commitment and in case they decide to end their relationship, they need to exercise a good level of maturity.
“Whenever someone ends a relationship they should be mindful of the way they behave because it may have future consequences.” Musaalo adds that in a situation where both parties had made an investment together, for example if they had bought land together, it would be wise to sell off the land and share the money amicably before parting ways.
Ephraim Jurua, a counsellor at Positive Men’s Union, says it is wrong for a man to give those gifts or money to his woman then ask for them back. He says it simply means that he was doing that just to woo her, but it was not sincere love. A sincere man would forget about the money or gifts and move on.”
However, Dr. Ruth Senyonyi, a counselling psychologist at Bank of Uganda
has a different view all together. She says although it is not gentlemanly for a man to ask his partner to refund the money he spent on or gave her, it is good for a woman to return physical gifts because it would be a sign of burrying the relationship with the man.
“Giving back his money, and especially tangible things, helps a woman to start her life afresh with nothing to carry over that will remind her of her former partner,” Senyonyi says moving on is easier when you do not have any reminders from the past.