“Tightwad Wonder Women” (Post #30) Lessons Learned by a Dating Widower
Early in our married life, ‘Ruby’ and I struggled to ‘make ends meet’, especially when we started raising our family. Hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, Ramen noodles or shepherd’s pie were common entrees for dinner. In fact, because our income was so low by our government’s standards, our children qualified for the subsidized school lunch program. Let me put it this way, none of us were overweight. And neither was our budget.
‘Ruby’ was the master budget keeper. I’d bring home a meager pay check and she’d lose sleep wondering how we would pay all the bills. But pay them she did. She could make a nickel take a 10-cent walk. We were blessed. Love was our ‘poor man’s food’, and we were blessed with beautiful loving children. Life was good.
Oh, sorry. Almost got sidetracked. Need to get to a lesson learned by a dating widower.
Once my budget keeper died, I inherited the job. No longer did I have to consult with my ‘Ruby’ to determine if “we” could afford a major purchase. That was a problem! All of a sudden, words like ‘frugal’, ‘tight’, ‘thrifty’, and ‘stewardship’ were absent in my vocabulary.
LESSON LEARNED: With my wife no longer in my life, I was more prone to impulsive spending. Not healthy! Not a wise steward of our my finances! I learned that when I didn’t have my spouse to help make sound financial decisions, it could take a mere 30 days to spend a ‘nest egg’ which took 30 years to save.
Of course, it didn’t help that I was dating a woman that I was trying to impress.
LESSON LEARNED: There are two kinds of women that you can choose to date; those who you feel compelled to spend money to have a good time, and those who you have a GREAT time without spending a cent. Guess which kind my ‘Ruby’ was when we were dating back in 1970. We had a FANTASTIC time just playing shuffleboard, Scrabble, or going on a walk. For ‘Ruby’, no money spent meant closeness, communication, bonding, and mushrooming love.
Fast forward to my widowed life. Again, these two types of women are still ‘out there’. And, again, I’ve dated both types as a 62 year old widower. I’m embarrassed to admit that I ended up being infatuated with a woman who I tried to impress with my ‘peasant-pocketbook’. What a mistake. To her credit, she respected my limitations, and didn’t take FULL advantage of me by draining my checkbook. But she could have. And I would have been BLIND to my error.
LESSON LEARNED: If you have to spend money to impress a woman you’re dating, it’s the wrong kind of woman.
I’m not saying that you should NEVER spend money while dating. But think about those dates. Dates that cost me ‘big bucks’ USUALLY don’t produce lots of opportunities for my date and I to grow our relationship. We have little time for talking, sharing our hearts, or getting to know each other. They’re spent on an ‘experience’; on entertainment that is a distraction from reality.
Dates that cost little or no money, however, USUALLY provide tons of time where you get to know each other, checking ‘under the hood’ of each other, which ultimately grows your relationship. OK, OK! I admit, if you’re of the male gender like me, those kinds of dates ARE threatening. They’re downright scary! But if you want to really know if the lady you’re with is right for you, don’t plan an evening of entertainment. You won’t know anything more about your lady by the end of the evening, and she won’t know anything more about you.
Yeah. Ya gotta be creative. Put a puzzle together. Play a game of tennis. Go fishing or play a round of golf together. Or just go for a walk. Read Our Daily Bread together. Have a ‘What-if’ evening, where you take turns asking each other questions that start with ‘What-if’. Here’s a radical idea . . . go window shopping together! (Allow me to go on the record, unless it’s a ‘man-toy store’, I LOATHE shopping. But you’ll learn more about each other than most other dates.) Bottom line . . . DO something together. (And that doesn’t taking a trip inside each other’s pants!)
Save your ‘big-money’ for after you say “I do.” If she’s the right woman for you, she’ll help ‘protect’ your money, not spend it.