Kama and I had known each other for years. We had many mutual friends. I had even met some of his family members but as a friend. Then life happened, and we stopped spending as much time together. Occasionally, we’d bump into each other in town or text to chat.
We were friends, so naturally, we updated each other on what we were doing with our lives. At some point, one of us was furthering our education while the other was looking for a job at a better-paying company. We even sent each other links to opportunities and that kind of stuff.
As you grow older and people start coupling up, you begin looking among your friends for a potential partner. Meeting new people can be exhausting, so why not look at the pool of the ones you already know? It sounds like a reasonable line of thought, but we often need to remember we experience people differently depending on the dynamics of the relationship. A sister and a person’s wife experience a different man; the same applies to friends and a girlfriend.
Kama had always had an interest in business since he was young. Despite coming from a comfortable family, he always looked for extra ways to make money. I had always liked that about him. I enjoyed marketing things and the sales part of it, not the business side of it. As friends, we would discuss such things and give each other insight like equals. Often, he would say, “I don’t understand why you’re not off the market yet. You are the kind of wife men are looking for.” I always had a reason why I hadn’t met my match.
Then, one day, it stopped being a joke. He asked me out for an actual date. The first few minutes were awkward, and it felt like I was about to dine with a stranger. However, we had plenty to say when the food came, and it eased up the tension.
We spent the next six months getting to know each other intimately. We had known each other for a while; we had many talking points, knew many mutual people, and had memories from past events. It felt like it worked. By this time, Kama had branched out full-time into business. I had gotten a job, but I had a side hustle. On paper, we looked like a power couple. We’d pick each other’s brains on various aspects of our respective businesses.
My job allowed me to network with people from different industries. I got valuable insights that I passed on to Kama, which were sometimes helpful to him. He never complained, and our dynamic worked. Having a job also meant I had a steady paycheck, so when his payments took a while or business was down, I loaned him money to get him going until his end worked out. I thought it was a good partnership.
A friend of mine who worked for a company in the oil industry had a proposal for a bunch of his friends. Having worked for the company, he had seen different ways small players without crazy amounts of money could make a few coins. He had been in such deals with strangers and wanted to bring his friends into the fold. So, he told us what we needed to look for.
Typically, when you hear of an opportunity, you want to share it with your significant other, so I told Kama about it. I didn’t anticipate his reaction.
“Whoa! My girlfriend wants to venture into the oil industry. Even I haven’t thought that big,” he said.
“I think it would be a good starting point, and who knows maybe it could become a big deal once we’re one foot in,” I told him. I also asked him if he knew someone in the industry so that we could get more information from various sources and not rely only on what my friend had told us.
“You know what the problem is with you women? You don’t go to the ground to get accurate information,” said Kama and ranted about how a man would have already gotten that information.
I looked at him, confused because I didn’t understand why he scolded me. I also didn’t comprehend how it had become a gender war. Things went downhill from there; our system didn’t work anymore. We even stopped going on dates because he claimed he didn’t have money, and when I offered to pay for it, he said I was trying to shove it in his face and that I was doing better financially. When I offered to bail him out with his business, like before, he would be rude.
When he had the money, he’d do grand things that I didn’t need, then claim that I was unappreciative. It felt like he was showing me that he had money, too. He shot down any ideas I got from my networks, so I eventually stopped sharing things with him. The relationship became untenable because I was walking on eggshells. Anything could become a source of illogical competition. I ended things, and our friendship died, too.
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