Thursday, May 27, 2010

Widow Envy - Think Again

It’s not all fun and games being a widow, you know. Doing what I want when I want has drawbacks that I’ll bet you married people with ‘widow envy’ have never considered.

No partner means no compromise and, granted, on the surface this is a plus. Compromise is a dirty word in all households. I know this from the old days before I was ‘Poor Widow Me.’ I would argue my case, go to bed angry and rant (and sometimes rave) that it was my turn to pick the movie. Often my husband and I would clash about trivial things, too.

When my daughter Jackie married in 2000 I revealed the C Trick (C stands for compromise) to her. I began by explaining that she came from a long line of devoted, yet sneaky wives.

“The key to compromise is to give in to something we don’t care about like, ‘Hey, I really wanted a white car.’”

“After you milk it ridiculously dry, honey, it’s time to choose another thing to compromise on that you don’t care about” I’d tell her. “Remember to continually rack up points for giving in.”

My motherly advice and wifely wisdom didn’t stop there. “Jackie, when the battle of ‘Do we go to Paris?’ versus “What’s wrong with New Jersey? pops up and it will, that’s the time to pull out the “I always give in card. When have I ever insisted on anything? ” Jackie used the C Trick often in her marriage right up to her divorce.

Married means making executive decisions together with one person getting the deciding vote. The stronger personality (translation: bigger paycheck) is usually the one who owns that final tipping ballot. It wasn’t me.

Now it is and it’s stranger than sleeping alone. While it’s peaceful to not have to resort to stamping feet and pouting “I live here, too, you know” it’s a performance that has no audience. Withholding sex, my strongest cheap trick, is pointless these days, as well.

To never again being able to taunt “I told you so” to my man is an unnatural way to live. I am solely responsible for the fallout from a wrong turn, a dumb purchase or neglected phone call, e-mail or invitation to friends and family. My favorite phrase, “He made me do it” has expired along with “He told me he would take care of it.”

I alone, will be blamed for being a stuck-up cheapskate if I refuse to lend out money. I can no longer look like the good guy hiding behind the bad guy. "Poor Widow Me" is the bad guy.

See? I told you. This grown-up taking responsibility road is full of pot holes.