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Women, here’s why building your man from nothing will cost you

I know what you’re thinking. ‘Nobody knows him like I do’, ‘He’s different’, ‘He wouldn’t leave me after all I’ve done for him’. All these things have been said one too many times by women who were once blindly faithful to their once ‘charming’ lovers.

Many men have a tendency to lure women into supporting their business ventures and projects with promises of a prosperous life and future rewards. As a woman of faith, you invest in the belief that you will eventually reap the benefits of your contributions to your partner’s success. But to your dismay, when his fortunes improve, he leaves you without a second thought, leaving nothing but regret.

Suddenly the love that once gave you comfort and strength in difficult times seems inadequate. Suddenly, you no longer meet his needs. Faced with newfound options, he questions the wisdom of binding his present self to the promises of a naive, penniless youth. It’s a foolish idea, isn’t it?

So Mr Newly Successful decides to leave you for someone more suited to his current status – a younger, fresher companion. But what happens to his original partner, often pejoratively referred to as the “bottom bitch”?

The term “bottom bitch” has evolved to describe either the most valued or exploited individual in a situation. First wives are sometimes labelled as such, having given far more than they received, only to be abandoned.

The world is full of stories of ex-wives who can attest that their husbands began to stray as soon as wealth began to pour in. This begs the question: does it always follow that once a man becomes wealthy, he will abandon his faithful “starter wife”?

Consider the case of Jeff Bezos and his ex-wife. Jeff Bezos is the founder of Amazon, one of the largest and most influential companies in the world. He and his ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, were married for 25 years before divorcing in 2019.

Reason for their divorce?

Well, apparently, the exact reasons for Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott’s divorce have never been revealed in detail to the public. When they announced their divorce in January 2019, they released a joint statement on Twitter saying that they had decided to end their marriage after a period of trial separation and exploring a new relationship. Beyond that statement, they have kept the details of their divorce private. What are the chances that their marriage didn’t work out because Bezos allegedly found someone younger to share his wealth with and Scott just couldn’t stand being disrespected? We will never know.

However, their divorce settlement was one of the largest in history, with MacKenzie receiving a significant portion of Bezos’ Amazon shares. Despite their divorce, both Bezos and Scott have remained active in various philanthropic endeavours. Scott, in particular, has attracted attention for her substantial charitable contributions and commitment to giving away much of her wealth.

Another example is that of Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his ex-wife Melinda Gates. Bill Gates and Melinda Gates announced their decision to end their marriage in May 2021 after 27 years. The couple said they would continue their work together at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the world’s largest private philanthropic organisations. But what really happened between them? Many online spectators claimed that Bill Gates cheated on his now ex-wife with a younger woman who worked under him. Nothing surprising, really.

If we look at the cases above, these two women stayed with their husbands while they built themselves up. They supported them, encouraged them, and endured the times when they had no money until they were loaded, at which point they announced their divorces. A coincidence? I think not.

Bottom line

Like men, women should be flexible, dynamic, and ready to move on when something better comes along, not stagnant, static, and deluded by fantasy stories.

The ubiquity of these incidents of men leaving the women they have struggled with when they finally become successful is proof that there is a problem.

But is the solution to make women more like men? Consider the high-powered female boss phenomenon that has swept the world, encouraging women to lean in and be a #GirlBoss. For some reason, in the eyes of the excluded, marginalised, and oppressed, freedom always looks like the oppressor. This was Paulo Freire’s contribution in his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

We have to reject these narratives that have a critique of people’s behaviour but not of the capitalist system that in many ways animates and sustains it. So I get married. It makes sense in this world we have created. But to leave the woman who fought with you in her prime and in her most productive years to suffer alone in a society that sees her as past her sell-by date is reprehensible. It’s unconscionable and there is no justification for it on the face of the earth. We must reject these false choices that cause women to behave in the despicable ways that men continue to behave. Men’s past and present behaviour is not an ethical or moral benchmark.

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