Widowers, Women, and Dating on a Budget

Stanley Kissel, Ph.D., a retired clinical psychologist, was an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychology at Monroe County Community College, Nazareth College and the University of Rochester. Dr. Kissel has authored five psychology books and conducted workshops throughout the United States. He is on the board of the National Widowers’ Organization.

Couple, dating, relationship

The other day I was having lunch with a friend and overheard a conversation between two gentlemen, one of whom was obviously a recent widower. He was lamenting the fact that since his wife died his income was cut almost in half.  He also confided to his friend that he was lonely and would like to start going out, but was concerned that he could not afford to date.  Indeed, he expressed concerns about even being able to carry the mortgage on his house.

I could empathize with him, as there was a time that I felt the same concerns about my own financial condition.  When my wife died, her pension, social security benefits and our health insurance stopped.  While I didn’t feel destitute, I knew I had to face the ins and outs of my finances in a way I never had to do previously.

Discussing the gentleman’s plight with my friend, the impact finances can have on the process of dating and forming new relationships with women came up.  When it was time for both of us to leave the restaurant, I continued  to think about the  issues widowers can face regarding how their financial situation may impede their getting involved in dating, especially those brought up in a generation when a gentleman was expected to pay for the entire date.

Initially, be sure that it really is the money and not other concerns that interfere with dating or getting involved in new relationships.  Often people choose non-related issues to hide their real concerns. It is important to be ready to engage in the process of going out again to find companionship or more, and not to react defensively to suggestions to start dating by well-meaning but pushy friends.

Today going out to a movie and dinner at a moderate restaurant can cost $75; theater tickets and a little finer restaurant well over $100, and forget about going to a professional sporting event.

Of course it doesn’t have to be like this!  There are many inexpensive/ free ways to go out on dates. If getting back into the dating scene is what interests you, your financial means do not have to be an impediment.  An old song said, “The best things in life are free.”  Well, maybe not best nor free, but within your means.

Find programs provided by groups in your community that cater to widows and widowers.  Most newspapers provide a weekly guide to events such as dances, fairs,  lectures, mixers, card games and the like. And don’t forget the Internet. Just Google “events, your city, and the date you have in mind.”

Art galleries and museums often have free admission one day a week or ask for a what-ever-you-can-afford donation.  For example, in Sarasota, Florida where I spend most of the year, the Ringling Art Museum is open to the public every Monday without an admission charge.

Take your date to an event which is timed to end well before dinner or scheduled to start after dinner, and then you might suggest going out for dessert and coffee.   If you have some minimal capabilities in the kitchen, consider inviting “your new friend” over for dinner,  or a take-out kitchen table picnic if cooking is not your calling.

I suspect you get the picture.  If your budget for dating is on the thin side, be honest with your date.  Don’t let pride or mistaken chivalry get in the way by giving the impression that you are miserly.    Women can be much more tolerant of a man who is financially strapped than one who they feel is  tight with the dollar.

With some effort at finding inexpensive resources in your community and a “Little bit of Luck,” you’ll be all right.