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Bad Economy, Great Love Life?

Jul 25, 2008
Does love need money to flourish, or is a tighter and deeper connection made when a relationship must make do with fewer economic resources?

Ask a roomful of people and you'll hear passionate arguments on both sides. Must we all agree? Maybe not. But what about the two partners in a relationship?

The following are true stories that may illuminate some possibilities (used with permission; names changed).

Jody misses the days when her boyfriend was able to wine and dine her several times a week at events he was expected to attend for work. She is an enthusiastic socializer and jumped at the chance to enjoy the elegant galas.

Peter, naturally shy, was glad to have her at his side. She greased the wheels of conversation with her naturally-ebullient personality, and presented him with easy schmoozing opportunities that were virtually risk-free.

It was a match made in Heaven.

Then Peter switched industries to do what he loved. He was thrilled with the intimate alone time to hang out, cook together and simply talk, meandering from one subject to another.

Unfortunately, Jody's perspective was that their dating life had become mundane. She missed the busy-ness, socializing with new people, dress- ups and the fantasy. For the first time, she realized that Peter was a quiet man who most enjoyed his inner world, and often didn't speak for hours when deep in thought or buried in a book.

The relationship ended just three months after Peter declared he finally had his dream life.

Todd and Gary had the opposite situation. A downturn in both their financial situations forced them to cut back on travel, fine dining, and expensive hobbies. They were not at all pleased.

But they found that their new, lower-paying jobs gave them more time together. The change in budget encouraged simpler evenings and closer ties with old friends, and intimacy deepened.

Relationships often flourish during a financial downturn, as long as the new situation doesn't involve great struggle to maintain even basic necessities: a decent place to live, adequate food and medical care, some leisure activities, time with friends.

In fact, it may take effort to keep the newfound connectedness intact once financial reserves grow again, but isn't that effort worth the reward?

And learnings acquired in these circumstances can keep a relationship close, fresh, and thriving for the rest of the time the couple is together.


Several reasons may account for it:

- More cooperation is required:

Simple lifestyles that satisfy do require thought and planning, and the requisite cooperation breeds intimacy and trust.

- More creativity is demanded:

Less money requires more creativity to thrive on a daily basis. And that creativity flourishes with cooperation. Partners depend on each other when there are fewer financial resources to smooth the road. If you can't hire it out, you have to do it yourself, often together.

Monetary constraints may also demand that you reuse, replace, enhance, repair, borrow, and make do with what you have. All of these can lead to innovative thinking and great personal satisfaction when you discover what you can achieve by exercising your mind.

- Deeply-considered action evolves into thoughtfulness throughout life:

Vacations and fine restaurants where all is taken care of for you require little cooperation and negotiation. With unlimited budgets, you can throw it out and start over again. That perspective may begin with material things and migrate to people.

But limitations encourage ingenuity and well-considered actions. Every decision really does count. This leads to more talk time, think time, and aligning of priorities.

Cooperation and interdependence can grow into deeper friendship and love.

- Effort promotes appreciation:

Good old-fashioned teamwork means you work together on shared goals, share insights and resources, and reap rewards jointly. Ever see a team at work that just got through a tough project well? Camaraderie and loyalty deepens.
It's the same for a love relationship. Talk out the challenges, pool your talents, support each other's efforts, and enjoy the rewards together. Trust and love will grow by leaps and bounds.

- Romance and friendship are free:

In abundant times, people entertain themselves by using physical and monetary resources. In leaner times, they must amuse themselves with inborn talents, skills, and humor. Cooperation is needed for everyone's wellbeing.

Friends, acquaintances and even neighbors chip in money, advice, homegrown entertainment to amuse each other and keep body and spirit alive.

They need each other, so they share. (Ask parents or grandparents about the Depression. You may be surprised at how joyful memories mingled with difficult circumstances.)

The good news is that you don't need to be poor for life. Many wealthy people experienced periods when luxuries were nonexistent. Some bring that consciousness to their affluent lives later. Appreciation, gratitude, deep understanding of others, and generosity often result.

In lean times, learn to have a good life with less. In fat times, recall those lessons, adding the luxuries that you truly love and continue to appreciate what is modest, simple, and human. 2008 by Wendy Lapidus-Saltz. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Wendy Lapidus-Saltz is "The Optimizer." She helps people optimize use their minds, hearts and actions to get what they desire--and avoid the struggle and pain of what's not working. Reach her at ILAPSAL@aol.com or 312-640-1584. Visit http://www.hypno-attraction.com and http://www.nonsmoker4life.com
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