So my girlfriend decided to "model"an alternate date idea, which was picking up a frozen pizza and a movie rental. But then she also discussed with me, her real disappointment over this entire situation. As she put it, her strong desire for going out to eat weekly comes from her need to be served. To have someone wait on her, provide some doting, be the recipient of attention.
I understand this all too well. Living alone, being alone, raising children alone - there isn't a whole lot of "being served" in that equation. As single or only parents, there is the necessity of looking out for others and over time, that becomes draining. Especially because we don't live in an environment that provides for an equal balance of nurturing and being nurtured.
There is something wonderful and restoring about being pampered and looked after. Even just for a dinner. To have the opportunity to let go of the reins and hand them off to someone else who assures you that you are in their able and competent hands - so you can breathe a sigh of relief and relax a little.
Buying little treats for oneself is nice, but it doesn't take the place of having someone look out for you and your interests.
I think my girlfriend needs to have a heart-to-heart with her guyfriend about how she feels in regard to wanting to be served. And instead of "modeling," she can make verbal suggestions for date ideas in lieu of eating out so much. But I do understand where she is coming from. Many years ago I knew of a church that sponsored weekly dinners for single moms and their children. These dinners were free and involved china, cloth napkins and most importantly of all, the opportunity for the women to be waited on and served. Before the dinners, the moms would meet for an hour-long group meeting to vent and share parenting ideas while the kids met for their own session, which also included games and socializing with other kids from single families.
I don't know if this group still meets and I wish I had had a chance to attend some of those dinners. It is a wonderful idea and one that I won't forget. I hope that if I am ever in a capacity to work or volunteer with single/only parents, that I can suggest and perhaps implement this concept. In the meantime I'll talk with my girlfriend more about this. And I'll remember that being served doesn't just mean being waited on when going out to dine. It can mean anything from having someone remember you unexpectedly or having someone assist you when you're in a jam. My girlfriend's guy is very much a handyman and has been fixing a lot of my friend's broken household fixtures. Surely his repairing her doorbell and clothes dryer warrants a glass of wine over a pizza popped into the oven. I know in my book it would.