What is "normal" for a relationship with a Tunisian man?

lovesarrow

Well-Known Member
#1
I'm in Tunisia for 3 weeks - the longest time I have spent over here in one chunk, staying in an apartment with my Tunisian fiance of 3 years. It's a bit rocky as in many ways this is a practice run for life together, and we're even driving around at the weekends looking at where we might like to live in the future. Both our expectations are being tested.

Last night we had a Frank and Open Exchange of Ideas (ie a row/tiff/argument) about money. I feel like a bank at the moment. Every time we settle down for the evening (he's working during the day) and I start to get comfortable, he mentions money. It's either for petrol, or he wants us to go shopping for clothes for "both of us". I'm freelance at the moment and barely scraped together enough money to pay for this trip and he knows this, so I'm finding the constant pestering extremely annoying. (As, to be fair, I would even if I did have money.)

I tried bringing this up with him and his attitude was basically "easy come, easy go". He doesn't "think like that" and if he has money great, and if he doesn't well, c'est la vie. I pointed out 1. that "easy go" doesn't work when there is also no "easy come", and 2. we're talking about MY effing money here!

That was 2 days ago, and I left it there, until last night when just as we were getting comfortable (he has this position when we sit together on the sofa that seems to be his "ask for money" position) he started up again. I told him that I feel like a bank - as we never seem to pass a single day without him asking me for something. He adopted a hurt look and said that he will never ask me for anything again - he "made a decision" and that was that. OK?

We talked a bit more and he said that all relationships involve helping one another, so I pointed out that yes, they do, but OUR relationship involves me helping him and not much coming the other way!

He told me to go on my forum and ask the women here what is "normal" for their relationships, and what I should expect as a UK woman in a relationship with a Tunisian man. Well, personally I believe that each relationship should find its own balance, and I told him so, but I also would like to know what you all think.

Is it normal to be constantly badgered for money, clothes, a "little" gift for an uncle who has lent us his car (that would cost me £40 when currently I earn minimum wage)?

He doesn't buy me anything. He presented me with a rose when I arrived this time, but only because I told him I wanted one. He thinks they are a waste of money. Other people mention little gifts their partner gives them, and although he does pull his weight helping with the cleaning etc, he's as tight as a duck's behind when it comes to spending money on me.

He supposedly paid a portion of the rent for our apartment by taking an advance on his salary, but I only have his word for this. We had originally discussed him putting 250 TD into the kitty for food etc, and I was fine with that since he was contributing what he could, but he now says he spent it (and more) on the extra rent the guy charged us since we moved in mid-week. Again, I only have his word for that and he was very blase about how he would pay back the advance next month, which made me suspicious, since he supposedly needs every penny of his income to keep his family afloat, yet he can suddenly get by on less?
 

Essem

Moderator
Staff member
#2
Run for the hills!
Hi lovesarrow,

When I first saw your name I thought it read 'loves a row' but I see you clearly don't :D

After reading your post I know where I'd aim the lovesarrow :inpain::)

Other words for bank are cash cow :eek: - and you know what happens when the milk runs out..... ;)

You only have his word for anything he does or says - and here that means nothing/nada/zilch. Very few are men of their words. As for all the 'extra' expenses, don't believe a word of it :rolleyes:

Sounds like he's going to bleed you dry, or at least try.

His behaviour is typical of loverat behaviour, taking as much as he can for as long as he can and as long as you let him.

What are you getting our of this relationship? How much has it cost you so far? Xx
 

lovesarrow

Well-Known Member
#3
Ha ha - I love a spirited debate, but no, I'm not keen on rows ;)

He hasn't had all that much out of me so far - I have always given him a hard time whenever he asks for anything and have only ever done the same as I would do for a British boyfriend. He's behaved as badly as this once before, about 2 years ago, when he started demanding a set of expensive headphones to go with his "brother's" iPod. I told him if he wanted stuff he needed to find a woman more gullible than me to get it from. His behaviour improved, but to be honest it is very wearing to have to keep driving the same message home. :bored:

I have to say, when I told him that I only have his word for his having paid the extra for the flat, I was surprised that he didn't react more angrily. If I had been confronted like that and I had been in the right, I would have hit the roof!

I do feel that the onus is on him to prove that he is trustworthy, and at the moment he is not doing that...
 

lynn

Well-Known Member
#4
to be honest my hubby never asked me for much, and on the odd occasion if I said no I don't have it that was it. But he very rare ask me for anything , in fact although he was not working on the occasions I went to Tunisia it was him ended up asking family and friends for money rather than ask me he was one Tune that when you say NO I don't have he took it at that and never kept on. On the other hand my EX also a Tune use to bleed me dry, until one day I did tell him the bank was closed and the cheeky thing said OK I will ask someone in France...haha I did wake up and smell the coffee very fast..
 

lovesarrow

Well-Known Member
#5
Cheeky bugger Lynn!!

I do threaten him with that occasionally and he always says no, he wants to stay with me. If he were to say that he'll find himself someone who will pander to him then I'd definitely vote with my feet and not look back!

He's gone through different phases. At the very beginning he was embarrassed to ask for money, and only ever did it when it was obvious that he needed it - like getting home from the hotel we had stayed in as he had spent the money his uncle had given him on us. He said he hated asking for money from a woman and I believed him. Then there was the episode with the iPod on a later visit where his younger brother had been feeding him crap about what he could expect from a British woman. Apparently his brother had conned someone on Facebook into sending him an iPod. I told my OH in no uncertain terms that he was barking up the wrong tree if he expected the same treatment from me. On my next visit we talked about his behaviour on that trip and I told him I wouldn't marry a man like that. He changed for 2 years, but now I wonder if his brother is feeding him crap again because he's right back to making unreasonable demands.
 

Jane BM

Well-Known Member
#6
Hi Lovesarrow, nice to see you back here...

Where to begin.....lol....

It's a tough one, because I know you've read into Bezness over the last few years, so you're not daft. Whether your guy is good, bad or indifferent, fact is they have no concept of money...of finances, or of managing them. The fact that you can say the same thing over and over and over again bears no resonance to them very often, that's where they can be incredibly selfish.

When I used to do the trek over there every month is crippled me financially, yes I used to bleat on about it to my husband at the time, however he didn't 'get it' till he came and started living and working here. He does get it now though lol...

Before we married, and used to stay in a hotel or apartment I'd pay for my flight, we'd go halves on the rent or hotel and then we'd have to watch every penny when I was there. After we married it was slightly easier because we used to stay with his family so room and board was included lol. He didn't used to ask me for anything, he didn't expect me to either, I'd have struggled with that I'm afraid. I'd get him the odd top or bottle of aftershave purely on a whim and not having been requested. If he'd started requesting non essentials I'd have had to take a good long hard look at the relationship.

One thing I did used to do though, after we decided we wanted to marry and would discuss finances and expectations of each other etc, I'd show him a list of my direct debits each month and my outgoings, purely so that he could see that whilst I may earn a decent salary, there wasn't much spare cash going. This isn't something you'd have to do for a guy who lives down the road, however, they don't have the same mentality as us, they don't think further than the end of their noses, they don't worry about what bills they have next week or the week after!! That's how they live there.

Suffice to say, it's been a steep learning curve for the last couple of years or so now since he came here, and it's taken a while for him to understand financial responsibility...but we've got there finally. He's even going out this week and buying a new lawnmower with his hard earned cash ...lol....now that wouldn't have even entered his head a couple of years ago....

I think in your situation, you're never going to truly know Lovesarrow, what's normal for one person may not be for another, it's a risk again!! But it's something you've got to get your head around as to whether deep down you trust him or want a future with him...ie, what if he doesn't change? Xx
 

lovesarrow

Well-Known Member
#7
Hi Jane :)

I remember when your OH first came over to the UK - hasn't time passed! I'm glad that you two are making it work.

I'm aware that part of the issue is that this isn't just a holiday - this is laying down expectations for any future we might have together, so in some ways the dice is loaded, but at the same time that is true of any relationship. I'm not exactly having fun here - I'm confined to the flat during the day so I can stay near my computer in case work comes in, and can't really go out anywhere anyway since we're in the middle of a very residential area and one road looks very much like another and I would very quickly get lost. We get one day together plus evenings (Sunday) per week and his mum is ill so I don't even get all of Sunday. I'm trying to keep all of that separate from how I feel about him and his attitude...

He has always asked for presents - usually aftershave, or a better phone, or an England shirt - and on the rare occasions that I have conceded it has been either as a birthday gift, or a compromise of some sort (I brought him a handset I got free with my contract to replace his broken phone for example, rather than the shiny new smartphone he wanted). I have also brought him essentials like socks, underpants, shorts to sleep in, since the stuff he had was held together with spit and a prayer ;) That has always been on my initiative though, and to save his blushes, or because I wanted to do something nice for him.

Although it has always irked me, I saw it as a "don't ask, don't get" mentality - the same as I have seen in other parts of Africa. Especially in South Africa, where my SIL's family live and they get asked regularly for everything from a haircut to a bike, to school fees! I thought I had got the message across over these last 3 years, and I thought he understood that I am skint now as a freelancer, but obviously not.

His "easy come, easy go" attitude really pisses me off because it is my money he is talking about. We have never had the "halvsies" arrangement that you and your OH have - the best we have managed is that he bought drinks and paid for taxis when we were in hotels, and now we're in apartments he has been doing an essentials shop before I arrive to supply bottled water, loo roll, soap etc. (Actually, I assumed it was him - maybe it wasn't!)

This time he has supposedly contributed to the rent, but as you say I will never know for sure if that is true.

In the past we have discussed this - at length - and he has always agreed with me that "proportionsies" is the only fair way to go - that he pays what he can and I pay the rest, knowing that since I earn more, I contribute more. At the moment though he doesn't seem to think like that and it is the attitude shift that is upsetting me. He left for work without me giving him petrol money this morning, and he left the car here so I presume he managed to get a taxi, or a lift or whatever. How come he has money for that, but not to contribute to our living costs?

I did show him my spreadsheet with costs - direct debits etc and try to explain to him that even after this trip I will still be paying for this trip - and I think all he saw was the income part. *sigh*
 

Jellycat

Well-Known Member
#8
Don't make the mistake of thinking it will get much easier when they move over. It may in some cases( Jane has obviously done a good job in training her hubby) but I haven't done so well. Hubby is working but takes home a lot less than I do and has a loan to pay off in Tunisia from one of his parents having major surgery. Suffice it to say he doesn't help with regular expenses but promises he will once the loan is paid. There's also a lot of expenses :driving theory and practical tests, English b1 exams and life in the uk. We are coming up for Ilr application soon and he is supposed to be paying a good half and wants to do the premium (1400 pound application)"
- we shall see. Now he says he will be able to get a better paid job with the ilr because some big organisations have been put off that there is under 6 months left on his initial settlement visa. Yes I've had some nice gifts such as 2 gold rings but I'd much rather some regular housekeeping. He's always suggesting we out to eat and then giving me £10 towards a £35 bill when he's said he will pay half . We've been married coming up to. 3 years and have a baby. Guess who is back to work full time now my 6 month fully paid mat leave is finished. In a nutshell I am disappointed in the financial side of the relationship so if you are not married yet think long and hard.
 
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gem15

Well-Known Member
#9
Ive lived in Tunisia over 7 years now and married nearly 4 yrs and my husband has never asked or expected money from me. When i was working here, the money we earned was our money and we both shared the expenses. We both paid for our house to be done up so we are equal. Normally a Tunisian man wont ask his Tunisian wife for money quite like what he is doing with you.

Why do you need new clothes every day or even every week?

Im sure the uncle would be happy with petrol left in his car rather than a small gift.

Everything is 50-50 in a marriage not one sided and I have to agree with Essem.....Run for the hills.
 

lovesarrow

Well-Known Member
#10
Hi Jellycat,

Thank you for being so open about your own situation. I hear a lot of resonance with my own situation. Somehow he has managed to scrape together the money to have driving lessons and do his test over in Tunisia, yet never seems to be able to save up for things for the two of us. (Although if you asked him then he'd say that he did it for "us".)

It's not that I want material things from him either - I would much rather he contribute to our living expenses than anything else. The rose was really to see if he would do it, and to see whether he would get that this is supposed to be a two-way street.

We're not married, and don't have kids, but I am 36 now and haven't got time to f*** about if I do want to have kids (with him or anyone else). My main concern in all of this is what would life be like if we were married. Would I end up supporting him forever while he spends his money on himself? A friend of mine has said that there's no point tolerating behaviour now that I wouldn't tolerate in a marriage and I agree with her.
 

lovesarrow

Well-Known Member
#11
Hi Gem15,

you're right - it does have to be 50-50 in a relationship. This is the main problem - since all of the giving at the moment is on my side, versus some vague promise of him giving at a later date. That's not the deal we had when I flew out here - the deal we had was that he would contribute 250 TD to the housekeeping. He says he has given all of his money in rent - but I only have his word for that and when he's so grasping all the time I tend to question his word.

I think the main shock for him tonight will be that after I have consulted all of you lot as he asked me to - rather than confirm that you all dole out cash to your other halves like walking ATMs with boobs he'll realise that he actually currently has it very easy!

Stupid git :mad:
 

Jellycat

Well-Known Member
#12
Well don't let the urge for a baby force your hand. Unless you are unlucky you should still have some time for kids. The media is always reporting that fertility declines after 35 , but not that much from the evidence I have seen. My sister and sister in law got pregnant at 39/40 no problem and I conceived naturally at 47 and had problem free pregnancy with a healthy child delivered at 48which I admit is fairly rare, but not as rare as you may think.
 

lovesarrow

Well-Known Member
#13
I suppose what I meant by that was that I haven't got time to f*** about waiting for him to change. If he's not willing or not capable of accommodating me then I'll cut the cord.

I've had the "last chance saloon" relationship already and I thank my stars on a daily basis that we never reproduced. I know people can and do fall in love at all ages and I definitely want to be with someone for the right reasons and not just cos I was with him when my biological alarm clock went off :wideyed:. I'm broody but I'm not that broody lol!
 
H

Helennn

Guest
#14
Hey lovesarrow, heres a bit of young knowledge here for you, i may be only 18 but ive been going to tunisia since i was 12 and have lived and worked there, get out if it, im sorry but as soon as they ask for money or if they are part of animation they are 99.99% the same as i am about to describe, these men are good as friends nothing more, they want money, sex and lots of it so will go out of there way for sex, if he doesnt say where he will get the money from maybe another fiance? Ive seen in happen you watch a tunisian man wave off his fiance for a flight home he walks downstairs to arrivals and greets someone else whos arriving. Suprise him one day turn up when he doesnt think your coming and see how he respondes they are very tricky to understand but im pretty sure i got the jist good luck!
 

janette

Well-Known Member
#15
Lovesarrow, sorry, but I see so many warning bells in your post . The major ones are, firstly, it is very shameful for any Tunisian man to ask a woman , even his wife, for money. It simply isn't done in decent families and i can guarantee that he wouldn't ask a Tunisian girlfriend , (She'd certainly tell him where to go if he did!) also I think that you are quite right to query just how much he has paid for the apartment. Essem, is correct, he is treating you just like the proverbial cash cow and that is not a caring attitude -- shame on him! Also regarding him paying for his mum's surgery. I suggest that you tell him that you are now aware that in Tunisia, if a Tunisian is registered with a GP, which the great majority are and if they are not, then they can do it after the op, after ANY medical treatment all they have to do is get a receipt, take it to the C.N.A.M office and he will then get about 75% of the costs refunded. I will point out now, that he will not like you knowing this. They never do. |I rarely mix with ex pats so mix with the locals a lot and his behaviour is totally unacceptable and you can tell him that I said so as well. :)
 

Jellycat

Well-Known Member
#16
Lovesarrow, sorry, but I see so many warning bells in your post . The major ones are, firstly, it is very shameful for any Tunisian man to ask a woman , even his wife, for money. It simply isn't done in decent families and i can guarantee that he wouldn't ask a Tunisian girlfriend , (She'd certainly tell him where to go if he did!) also I think that you are quite right to query just how much he has paid for the apartment. Essem, is correct, he is treating you just like the proverbial cash cow and that is not a caring attitude -- shame on him! Also regarding him paying for his mum's surgery. I suggest that you tell him that you are now aware that in Tunisia, if a Tunisian is registered with a GP, which the great majority are and if they are not, then they can do it after the op, after ANY medical treatment all they have to do is get a receipt, take it to the C.N.A.M office and he will then get about 75% of the costs refunded. I will point out now, that he will not like you knowing this. They never do. |I rarely mix with ex pats so mix with the locals a lot and his behaviour is totally unacceptable and you can tell him that I said so as well. :)
what is the CNAM office?
 

missmetal

Well-Known Member
#17
Hi there lovesarrow

Sorry to hear about your troubles. I did help my hubby financially, it was also low risk for me and minimal....still to the point he would need to borrow a couple dinar here and there for phone credit or internet access. I had worked out a budget for him and he could not stick to it well enough and so that mean he did without or borrowed money. My hubby is from a village was not very experienced at saving money. It really is like living as if each day is the last day.

However, even when the money i gave was his, he would still buy my gifts, which was cute but it would also annoy me coz that money was for his living expenses hahaha!

Now that he's living with me (my story is similar to Janes), he's finally got a better understanding of how it all works. He's earning weekly and therefor has a weekly budget of household expense and savings. I do earn 3x as much and have agreed that he pays half for rent and food and then I pay the rest. The savings goes towards our vacations because I cant afford to fork out that amount of cash for holidays. So the additional costs I pay are for cable and electricity. He can afford to contribute more if we're not saving for big holidays and he does pay more from time to time if he's done over time. He'll also treat me for dinners and mostly pay half of the bill unless he's spent all he has for his weeks budget for going out :).

Its taken some training, but i personally feel its really helped him manage his finances well enough. He does not send money home often, however he has saved enough to send a lump sum to help his dad pay off some debt and his mom get some new teeth. Sadly they were not aware of the CNAM and so she never kept her receipt. But we know for next time now.

I dont think I had any doubts that my hubby was scamming me. I did feel like he depended on me a lot to help him, which i often said, well if i was not here what would you do, and you made this decsion without talking to me first...type of stuff. But again for me personally, it was risk free as i was in a stable job. But my annoyance was that he could not find work. He did some construction jobs but they were terrible pay. And I personally feel knowing what I know now and I was probably right, he had such an attitude problem, that likely his approach to potential employers was off putting.

I dont think its normal for him to be badgering you for money when he is able to get some of his own. It does sound risky to me, but if this was me, and i lived close enough like you girls do in Europe, i'd test him out like suggested earlier, show up unannounced.
 

Scottochott

Well-Known Member
#18
Lovesarrow, as has been said, run for the hills! If you've read up on bezness you should see that he is ticking far too many boxes. I suspect you know this already, hence why you're here. Get out now while you've still got some money and self respect, this relationship will not get any better!
 
#19
Hi lovesarrow I bet you are frothing at the mouth after these replies!! First of all he asked you to ask us what other Brit women give their Tune men so fair play to him he is smart enough for you not to ask how they should treat women full stop!!! As said before they would never ask aTunisian woman for anything!! Second I would question the cost of the apartment, from you describe it isn't on the beach front? For 3 weeks at this time of year it wouldn't be very expensive. Weigh up the pros and cons then sit back and enjoy the sunshine and s** fly home and cut your losses. :)
 

daffodil

Well-Known Member
#20
Hi lovearrow...

I was married to a man similiar to yours ...trust me it is not fun.....

It was like getting blood from a stone to get him to contribute anything to the household.....It is MY house was his stock answer....!!!

A man like this wants to spend money on HIMSELF....they are selfish ...

I know they dont seem to understand financial responsibility in the same way as we do....and some of them do not understand right from wrong...

The lines he is using about what other g/f's give their partners....i heard all of that and more...i can almost guarantee you that this man will not contribute in the way that you want ever....

A very few Tunisian men take care of their wives in the same way as they would if she were Tunisian...but it is very few....

I think when we go to visit them of course we know that there is absolutely no way that they can contribute half of the cost of a hotel or an apartment (if they can we need to question this too)....and so we pay for things...we set ourselves up in this way for what you are experiencing now...

The financial issues you are trying to resolve right now with your partner, bugged me too as i was brought up to pay my way, and to share etc...I just could not put up with a man that wanted to work for his own ends.....Marriage does not improve the situation it makes it worse....then you will hear..'you are my wife', you are supposed to support me.
 
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