Paul’s Perambulations

April 26, 2011

MONEY MATTERS for dating, etc. etc.

Filed under: General,Love — admin @ 11:17 am

What happens when the financial resources and financial expectations differ significantly for those dating?  Who pays for what? Can it really work, to have the person with less money contribute their share by doing additional “nice” things? Or is this shades of telling children that it’s not the cost of the gift but the thought behind the gift?  Get real. Things don’t always work that way with adults and relationships. And the person with the money is not prepared to live the life of a pauper.

I’ve had my own experiences with dating some rather wealthy women (at least by comparison to my own finances).  This was interesting to say the least, and always a significant factor in the relationship.  It’s as easy to love a rich (wo)man as a poor one…I’m not so sure now. It’s the balance within the relationship that matters, and an imbalance is likely to reflect an imbalance in values. And what does it mean when a man (or woman) has the money to treat a partner royally – good or bad?  Equality requires equal power. Ultimately, power is the ability to walk away. But practically, money often rules.

One particular experience stands out from a period in my dating when my former marriage was recognized as over but not yet formally dissolved by divorce. When a woman and I were first discussing our backgrounds and the possibility of a future relationship, she said “I am rich and you are poor. You have three children. I will pay for everything.” And she did. Never knew quite what to make of that. Not to mention that she was younger than me and physically both very attractive and very sexual. Still amazes me. Still a friend (platonically of course).



  1. There are many fascinating stories (should I call them “learning experiences”) that might be told, and there is some question about where to draw the line re discretion and the privacy of others. This dear lady was particularly interesting/unusual in certain aspects. But aren’t we all, and that’s how we live and learn. I seem to collect more “interesting and unusual” than others — anyone care to guess why?

    Dear lady mentioned above made sure that an understanding was discussed and settled before any relationship would begin. Dear lady was insistent (over my initial objections) that she would pay for everything. She also insisted that I must not fall in love with her. Again, this enjoined discussion, because you can no more promise NOT to love someone than you can promise to love them. But I acknowledged her concern and thought it highly unlikely (particularly considering how this discussion was affecting me). And finally, she insisted that when the relationship was over, it would be over and that we would never see one another again. I replied that I expected than any relationship of mine would be with a true friend, and that I would not give up or abandon a friend just because the relationship was no longer physical. She acknowledged my point, but repeatedly said “When it’s over, it’s over” as if those words were some sort of magical incantation for her protection. Consider that this was all preamble to the start of a relationship. And guess who said the words “I love you” first? (p.s. Not to put too much weight on that. One also learns that those words can have very different meanings, depending on the circumstances in which they are spoken.)

    Comment by admin — July 1, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

  2. So many unusual stories, out of all conventional expectation. Here’s a memorable sample:

    One night I was at a Dear Lady’s (DL) house (there is much more to this story than can be told here, and remember, she was still married), and it had been a marathon encounter (these encounters received mileage equivalents in my running log – sometimes marathon was recorded, other times just 10k or even 5k). She was in extraordinary physical condition. It was about four a.m., and I admit (now, but never to her) that I was exhausted. We went to the bathroom to clean up, recover, and take a shower. I was done a bit before her, and when I left the bathroom, I thought to get ready to settle down for the night and so I put on some silken pajamas that I had specially brought with me. A moment later she comes roaring out of the bathroom, fully revived, totally naked and dripping wet, and stops in shock at the sight of me standing a few feet from the door. (DL) “You are dressed!” Pause. (P) “I thought it was late.” Long Pause. Then, looking hurt and with downcast eyes (DL) “Don’t you like me?” Pause. (P) “Of course I do. I thought we might talk some. All we do is sex.” (Yes, I really did say these exact words.) Her unhesitating response. “This is an affair. It’s supposed to be about sex.” And that was that. No reason to stand there naked and dripping on the rug much longer. We saw the sun rise, sort of. Or maybe she only saw the ceiling, or whatever she wanted.

    I finally fell asleep for a couple of hours, until I was awakened by the smell of this wonderful huge breakfast she had prepared. P.s. She was the second person I ever slept with (the first being my former wife — see Comment #6). I sometimes think God/Fate must have a wicked sense of humor.

    So many stories, from all over the country and the world. All done on a shoestring budget or less. I don’t have any serious regrets about this past aspect of my life. I certainly learned a lot, had some good times, met some fascinating people, and got enough out of my system that I could recognize what I really wanted in a partner. People are interesting. Fran is interesting and much more – I am blessed with her

    Comment by admin — July 1, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

  3. Another of my special friends told me that she had plotted to kill one of her husbands. This turns out to be not as easy as it might sound. But chance favored her, sort of. She was living in a rural area of northern New England. Late one cold January night (20 below), this husband comes weaving down the driveway in his truck. Drunk as usual. However, soon as he turns the truck off, he passes out in the cab. She watches a bit, and waits. After some time had passed, she thought her prayers had been answered. As she put it, “He’d be stiff as a frozen mackerel in the morning” and she turned out the porch light and went to bed. Next morning she took her time upstairs (after doubtless dreaming of widow’s weeds) and came down at ten to the shock of seeing her husband sleeping away, still passed out, on the sofa.

    His son (by an earlier marriage) had come by about 1:30 a.m. to drop something off at the house, saw the situation, and helped his father into the house and onto the sofa.

    So instead, she waited two more years until her son was sixteen and could drive his own car (she had controlled all the driving before and feared a drunken, divorced father driving her son) and filed the papers when he got his license.

    I’ve put this story in clever words, but the truth of it still shocks me.

    Comment by admin — July 1, 2011 @ 10:37 pm

  4. Yet another dear lady, early in our relationship, but after some discussion about her psychological issues.

    In bed, naked. (DL, hesitatingly) “I think I may be a bit of a masochist. Hit me.” (P, decisively) “I can’t.” DL (for the first time) “I love you.”

    We worked some things out in any case, and quite safely.

    Comment by admin — July 1, 2011 @ 10:50 pm

  5. How does one meet some of the best women in the world, who also happen to be married or have some other impediment to normal dating? Credit The New York Review of Books’ Personals section. At that time (before being cheapened by a best-selling book about them and the introduction of online dating), they were world-famous among the literati. I met some incredible writers (correspondence was by mail in those days – had to have my own post office box). I did my best to maintain the literary reputation of the Review’s personals, but my work couldn’t hold a candle to some of the letters I received. Relationships were developed slowly and carefully by advance letters and/or telephone, so that a great deal was known in advance of an arranged meeting. Only one special friend actually lived in the Philadelphia area. Some crazy travel stories – on a very limited budget.

    Through the New York Review of Books, I once became deeply involved with a woman in remission from cancer. Very complex, understandably. Great writer. Great hiker in the Appalachians. Sometimes these things just happen. Happy/sad.

    The Nation must have some strange readers, judging by the responses I received to Personals I placed there; Philadelphia Magazine (although pleasantly local) generally didn’t fit with my style/approach.

    Comment by admin — July 2, 2011 @ 11:48 am

  6. I’ve copied the following from my post on BigLittleWolf’s blog re Monogamy (search my blog for more of my posts there), that may help put all this into perspective:

    My past experience in this regard. Ahem. I’ve had relatively few partners (total in the single digits), all for more than a year and still my friends. I was married part of that time, but claim to have never “cheated” on anyone — meaning never having lied to anyone on this issue (excepting the desired white lie). Some things partners might desire to be left unsaid (definitely the case), and I’ve certainly respected that. When my former wife declared, at some point after marriage, that married couples didn’t have sex and that I could take it or leave it, and I couldn’t leave my children with her considering that she had serious mental issues – I had to respond to those circumstances. I had expected to be monogamous (not celibate) when I got married (good sex was the the main reason that I had married her – live and learn). I told her in that case some changes would have to be made, and I entered new territory. Getting this across to my children gently but realistically (for their age) was certainly interesting. Mentally ill parents/family can be a challenge to children when they don’t understand what is happening, and families are often unable to deal with it.

    Comment by admin — July 2, 2011 @ 12:55 pm

  7. Once, on a plane to Atlanta for a rendezvous, I had an engine flame out. There was some brief soothing commentary from the pilot about engulfing some birds and returning to the airport. Never knew silence could be so deafening. I looked around, and it seemed as though half the passengers had pulled their Bibles out from somewhere and were intently reading them (do all Southerners carry their Bibles onto the plane when they fly?) while the other half stared out the window at the engine, as if that would start it. I could only think “Call me Jonah” (but they can’t exactly throw the miscreant overboard) and “How will my family ever explain THIS if the plane goes down?” The plane made an emergency landing. Never saw so many fire trucks in my life as those racing alongside us when we landed.
    p.s. I later learned that there was a Southern Baptist conference in Atlanta that weekend. Most of my seatmates turned out to be The Reverend So-and-So.

    Dear Lady relaxing after sex, earnestly: “This is the best sex I’ve ever had!” Reflective pause….. “Of course, you always feel that the sex you’re having now is the best sex you’ve ever had.” (The Lord giveth; the Lord taketh away.)

    Comment by admin — August 2, 2011 @ 10:55 am

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