Love hurts, but more so when one party in the relationship sacrifices valuable time, energy and money only for the object of their fantasies to casually walk off into the arms of another lover.
Everybody sacrifices something to get into a relationship, it’s the level of personal investment that differs between partners. The investment of personal resources leads to questions about whether relationships should generate a return on investment.
On the other hand, the question arises on the obligations of a romantic partner who benefited from the material resources of the other. Does the beneficiary owe a debt to their romantic benefactor? If yes, is it a lifetime debt?
The popular song, ‘Stella Wangu,’ is a story typical of someone who made emotional and material investments in a lover but got disappointed when promises were broken.
Coast musician Freshley Mwamburi sings of his heartbreak when Stella, his fiancée in whom he invested so much, has a baby with another man.
In the classic, now enjoying a comeback after a remix, Mwamburi describes selling his valuable property to raise money for Stella’s studies in Japan. He croons melodically about his love for Stella and the expectation she would be his wife after coming back to Kenya.
On the day of her return, which Mwamburi vividly remembers as May 17, the prospective groom was at the airport, ready to receive his lover, whom he had missed so much.
The overjoyed Mwamburi went with all his friends and relatives. He had prepared them into a reception delegation for his future bride.
Imagine the shock when Stella stepped out of the aircraft carrying a foreign-looking baby. A Japanese man tagged along behind mother and child. The bombshell unfolding in front of his eyes was so much for Mwamburi that he could not utter a word, until he finally wailed in his Taita mother tongue, “What should I do?”
Freshley Mwamburi said in the past that the story in the song really did happen to him. To his credit, he got over the crushing disappointment and courted another woman, who is now his wife.
Freshley is not the first person to go through such an experience. Pastor Aaron Odipo of the Deliverance Church in Voi, Taita Taveta county, has come across many such cases during his years in Christian ministry.
The aggrieved individuals were so crushed by the experience, they vowed never to fall in love again. “We encourage them not to lose faith and that they must accept to move on with their lives,” Odipo says.
Adding, “Such arrangements, where somebody helps out a lover with the hopes of marrying that person, are not advisable. It’s like turning a relationship into a contract, or trying to buy love.”
There are neither expressed nor implied guarantees the recipient of all those favours will live up to their side of the bargain, he says.
Mwaura* (not his real name), now a farmer in Central Kenya, is one of many such ‘victims’ of romantic deals gone sour. While working in Nairobi several years ago, Mwaura and his lover had high hopes of immigrating to the United States and starting a new life with a Green Card. The much-sought document gives holders certain rights to live and work in that country.
As discussed in their plans, Mwaura sold his property in Kenya to raise money for their dream life. He resigned from employment and got a hefty financial package thanks to his years of service.
Mwaura’s lover was the first to travel to the US. She was to get a house there as Mwaura winded up matters in Kenya. To cut the painful story short, Mwaura’s lover took the money and broke up the relationship. Mwaura was stuck in Nairobi, a homeless, jobless and penniless man. It took a long time with lots of help from family to get back on his feet.