I dated a man for 6 months who was going through financial difficulty. When I asked why we didn’t see each other more than once every 10 days or so, he said he didn’t want to see me without being able to take me out. I explained that I was more interested in getting to know him than on his ability to entertain me. He said, “Romance takes finance.”
His comment has come back to me, especially during this time of financial uncertainty. Some men who began flirting with me have put off plans to meet after getting laid off or had personal economic downturns. Others shared that their financial struggles have affected their confidence in their abilities to woo a woman.
While I’m clear I don’t want to be with a man who’s got a lot of financial baggage, if a man interests me I’m willing to make allowances for short-term economic woes. Typically, I let a man suggest activities that are comfortable for him, since most midlife men have wanted to treat for entertainment, especially during the wooing stage. I am fine if he suggests getting together for coffee, a walk, video, etc. I will also suggest no- or low-cost activities, like hikes, bike riding, museum visits, movie rental, cooking a meal together, picnics, and playing a game at home. Some have offer their own frugal activities, or I’ve offered to treat for some.
Women need to be sensitive to a man’s economic status without probing so it makes him uncomfortable. But if he says, “What would you like to do this weekend?” and you suggest the hottest play in town, with an expensive dinner beforehand, he may not feel comfortable telling you he can’t afford it. You can suggest you pay for one activity, but some won’t be comfortable with that either.
So if a man I’m starting to see asks what I want to do, I’ll say, “Give me some options you think would be fun” to let him suggest activities he can afford. If he says, “I’d like to do what you think would be fun,” I’ll offer a range activities: “We could go for a hike, try the new Chinese restaurant, see the hot new movie, attend that new play, or rent a DVD and cook dinner together.” Then I let him choose the one that feels right to him.
The point is to be sensitive to a man’s pocketbook. He doesn’t want to tell you he’s having financial problems, so don’t make him share that until he is comfortable doing so. Don’t assume he’ll wine and dine you at the best places unless he offers to do so. Offer to cook or take him out once in a while.
I’m looking for your questions about how to date several men at the same time. What has you flummoxed about this? Please email them to me.