Is it realistic to date when I have very little money and am not ambitious?

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Is it realistic to date when I have very little money and am not ambitious?

Post by littlebluedove on Sun Apr 10, 2016 3:50 pm

I'd like to find a partner. About my situation: I'm currently on a disability cash assistance program. I get $38 a month because I live in a group home and most of my needs are met here. About $7.50 of that goes to my internet bill (I'm on low income internet, which I split with my mom, who lives here with me) so that leaves just over $30 a month to spend on other things. I'm more than willing to spend some money on dates, but I couldn't do something like pay for dinner and a movie. It would typically have to be something cheap, like getting a slice of pizza at the mall and going window-shopping. I'm good at scouting out free and cheap events events, like poetry slams, comedy shows, and events at the park. A bit later into the relationship, I'd probably have them over a lot to do things like watch a movie or play cards.

I'd like to transition off the program and get a part time job. I don't think I could handle working full time, because I tried that for a few weeks - I was always having breakdowns, and was so exhausted all the time it was hard to even move. I'm not ambitious career wise. I'd be happy just to be able to hold down a job. I could be content with being, say, a busser or host at a restaurant, or working at a doggie daycare. I think I do have some things going for me, though. I like to learn new things, I do arts and crafts, I'm working on a few writing projects, and I do occasional volunteer work.

My questions:
- Would somebody be willing to put up with a lot of free/cheap dates, or would it be better to wait to start dating until after I get a job and can chip in more?
- Would somebody be willing to overlook my lack of career ambition and only working part-time, or should I try to push myself to be more ambitious so I can find a partner?
- Would living with my mom turn people away? We tried living with other roommates at first, but we've both had issues with roommates doing things like stealing from us and not locking the door, so we're happier living together.
- Would living in a group home turn people away? My mom and I have been applying for low income apartments through a supportive living program, but it might take months or even years to find a place. I don't think I'd be up for living on my own. I admit I'm not very independent - I'd get really anxious and lonely if I lived by myself, and I don't think I could deal with the stress of running a household on my own. Ideally, I'd like to live with my mom until I can move in with a partner.


Last edited by littlebluedove on Sun Apr 10, 2016 3:51 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : to add more information)

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Re: Is it realistic to date when I have very little money and am not ambitious?

Post by Werel on Sun Apr 10, 2016 5:04 pm

Hi littlebluedove. My first reaction is: of course you can be a good romantic partner if you don't make money and don't have lofty career ambitions. Definitely! Not everyone is looking for someone to be a breadwinner or high-achieving professional type, and lots of folks would appreciate free or cheap dates (especially students, if that's roughly your age range). And almost a third of Americans under 34 live with their parents these days, so that's nothing unusual.

But I think there's another question here too, about whether you're in a good place to date. One thing that stood out to me is this:
littlebluedove wrote:I'd get really anxious and lonely if I lived by myself, and I don't think I could deal with the stress of running a household on my own. Ideally, I'd like to live with my mom until I can move in with a partner.
While low ambition/little money doesn't necessarily mean anything about how you'd be as a romantic partner, your ability to be self-sufficient does. Not having the experiential/mental ability to manage your own basic needs can be a much bigger impediment to dating than just being broke. There's nothing wrong with preferring to live with roommates, or being somebody who needs a lot of human company, but the way you've phrased it here hints at the possibility that you might, in some ways, see a romantic partner as a replacement mom/caretaker. Needing somebody else to handle the day-to-day business of living can be a big load to place on a partner, especially early on in a relationship-- and it might also lead to you putting a lot of pressure on potential partners to cohabit, if cohabitation is your One True Ultimate Goal of a relationship.

So I guess some questions to ask yourself include: how's the division of labor with your mom, currently? Does she handle most of the business of running the household (grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, paying bills, repairs, etc.)? Do you rely on her to do a lot of emotional labor for you, and if so, how reciprocated is it? The way you interact with your mom, if she's the primary relationship in your life, is going to form the template for how you interact with everybody else; if you're not currently a good, equitable living-partner to your mom, that's a good place to start improving yourself as a dating prospect/potential partner.
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Re: Is it realistic to date when I have very little money and am not ambitious?

Post by littlebluedove on Sun Apr 10, 2016 5:28 pm

My mom and I shop and cook together, and we each keep our side of the room clean and do our own laundry. The snag I hit with running a household is difficulty keeping track of when bills are due and remembering the procedures to pay them. My mom helps me with that (but we split any bills evenly). I do work on her back almost every night, so I hope that evens out the extra work she does helping me with bills.

Actually, I want to be the one to mainly take care of my partner. I'd want to do all the cooking, cleaning, laundry and things like that. As part of a BDSM thing where I'm a sub doing things for a Dom. I kind of hope that they'd be willing to deal with the mechanics of paying the bills, though (of course, I'd still chip in financially). Living outside of the group home, there'd be even more bills to manage and that would probably mean even more procedures to have to try to learn, which really stresses me out thinking about it. I'm very slow at learning things (for example, it took me years to learn how to tell time on a regular clock, and I was in my teens before I could tie my shoes or tie my hair up in a ponytail). I've never had to repair anything. I don't know how to repair things, but I'd be willing to try. My mom and I both talk to each other a lot about our feelings and how things are going in our lives, but I think I rely on her too much when I'm anxious, frustrated about something or depressed. I'll talk to her to find out how often she's comfortable with talking to me about things like that and outside of that go to something else, like the First Call for Help Line, when I'm feeling badly. That's a good point that my relationship with my mom will be the template for a relationship with my partner. The main reason I want to live with someone else is for the companionship.

Oh, I just realized that another possible complication for a relationship is that I don't drive. I don't think I'd be a safe driver because I have difficulty quickly mentally processing things. I don't rely on my mom to drive - we both take the bus.


Last edited by littlebluedove on Sun Apr 10, 2016 5:33 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : to add more information)

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Re: Is it realistic to date when I have very little money and am not ambitious?

Post by reboot on Sun Apr 10, 2016 5:36 pm

Just to tag onto what Werel said, not having much cash is a fact of life for many young people as is living with parents or in kind of haphazard living situations. Lack of ambition is not a problem for many. Some have so much ambition that having a partner who can be a supporting player is ideal, others do not value career and financial success highly, still others probably have no ambition either and would be happy to be with someone who will not pressure them to have ambition.

Please note: for all of the above, I said "many" and "some", not "all". There will be people who will judge you for your circumstances, some quite harshly. Just dump those people in the " incompatible" and "incompatible jerk" piles and move on.
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Re: Is it realistic to date when I have very little money and am not ambitious?

Post by littlebluedove on Sun Apr 10, 2016 7:02 pm

That makes me sad, but I'll try not to think about it and just put them in the "incompatible" pile like you said.

Werel, I didn't catch the part earlier where you said I could put pressure on potential partners to move in together. I'd never do that. I have more respect for people than that.

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Re: Is it realistic to date when I have very little money and am not ambitious?

Post by BiSian on Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:15 pm

To answer your question: yes, your situation will turn off some/many people. And frankly, it's one of those things that looks bad "on paper," as it were. That means, you may run into lower rates of rejection if you try asking people out through warmer approaches rather than online dating (or places where they don't know anything about you and have zero reason to give you a chance).

I do have a question: how are you doing with friends and other emotional support? Do you have any trouble making/keeping friends or is it just romantic relationships that cause you trouble? I'm asking because your posts have showed a lot of interest in having A Partner.
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Re: Is it realistic to date when I have very little money and am not ambitious?

Post by eselle28 on Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:29 pm

I'm inclined to say yes, it's realistic to date in your situation, but would add a caveat. I think it sounds like you're in pretty good shape emotionally for casual dating. It sounds like the most important reliationship in your life is a healthy one, that you've found a variety of ways to meet practical and emotional needs, and that you have a realistic and fair picture of what a dating relationship might look like on your budget.

If you go looking for partners, I think you'll find that some people are put off by various factors you list, other people are a-okay with them or can empathize, and that some other people may have some concerns but be interested in getting to know you better so they can see if those concerns are founded or not. And, here's the part leading to my caveat: I think you'll also find that there are some people who would line up for a partner who's submissive, not very independent, who doesn't have a great deal of money, and who isn't able to take care of bill paying responsibilities in any future shared living situation. Those people are not good partners for anyone, and you may have to be a little more on watch for predatory sorts than other people in the dating pool.

I think you'd probably do best to try dating with the attitude of wanting to meet new people and learn about relationships rather than seeking a life partner right away, or if you do happen to end up in one relationship, to intentionally take things pretty slowly. It gives you the time to learn any skills that are specific to romantic relationships, it gives people you date the chance to get to know you well and think things over before the two of you agree on any next step, and I'm thinking it will also allow you to meet a variety of people and get a sense for who the creeps are and how to avoid them or dismiss them quickly.
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Re: Is it realistic to date when I have very little money and am not ambitious?

Post by littlebluedove on Mon Apr 11, 2016 1:12 am

It's difficult to hear that my situation would put many people off, but that's good to know. I've been mainly using Craigslist and OkCupid so far, but switching to in person sounds like a good idea. There's a BDSM group that meets for a weekly kinky coffee. I'll try that out and see how it goes.

I don't have any friends. I also have trouble making and keeping friends. I try to contact people and make plans with them, but they don't reciprocate interest. I don't think it's because I'm too needy. I keep conversation to light topics, like TV shows, and I don't contact people multiple times if they don't respond. Neediness is one of the main things I've read about avoiding when I read things about making friends. I don't know what I could be doing wrong. I have had a few friends, but I had to leave the friendships due to various red flags. For instance, one woman I was friends with told me that she would beat up her boyfriend when she got mad, so I stopped associating with her. I'm not only on the lookout for a partner. I'm looking for friends, too. I'm shy, socially awkward, quiet and kind of anxious around people, which are all things that make it difficult to connect with people. I started going to a women's support group with my mom to practice my social skills.

I'm not interested in casual dating, but I do think it's a good idea to take things slowly. Yes, I'll watch out for predators. My therapist told me that one sign of a predator is when someone gives a lot of compliments early on in the getting-to-know-you process. That's something I'm watching out for.


Last edited by littlebluedove on Mon Apr 11, 2016 1:23 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : to add more information)

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Re: Is it realistic to date when I have very little money and am not ambitious?

Post by BiSian on Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:20 am

From what you've said, I'd say that figuring out how to Make Friends is a good place to start. The skills you use in friendships are the same ones you use in a healthy romantic relationship.
And yeah, a women's group and a kinky coffee meet up are both great places to start meeting people.
Going slowly is another great way to screen for predators, BTW. They tend to push for commitment quickly, express "love" or strong intimacy quickly, and
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Re: Is it realistic to date when I have very little money and am not ambitious?

Post by littlebluedove on Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:44 am

That's true.

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Re: Is it realistic to date when I have very little money and am not ambitious?

Post by jcorozza on Tue Apr 12, 2016 9:52 pm

So I actually work in residential mental health care, where we have group homes - though our folks keep more than $38 a month (I'm assuming food and other personal care items are taken care of?) - and while this might not be generalizable to other types of group homes (yours sounds different in that you can live there with your mom) there are definitely people in them who date (both casually and not-so-casually). They do, however, tend to date people who are also in group homes (not theirs) or other similar arrangements, or, since our clients all have mental illnesses and often go to partial care programs, they meet and date people they meet in those settings. I'm not sure what type of disability assistance program you're in, but it might be easiest to meet people who have similar experiences - they are more likely to be understanding, and you'll have some things in common. At least right now, OKC might not be your best bet.

Also, a doggie day care sounds like an endearing place to work - and would definitely attract those who are looking for a caring type.

As for the driving - this depends a lot on where you live. Near a city? Not really a problem usually. In the suburbs, it depends how willing you are to get to places. I've known people who took the bus, but as soon as they had a partner, expected the partner to pick them up and drive them around all the time, which wasn't really fair, often without any sign of appreciation, or even the occasional offer of gas money.
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Re: Is it realistic to date when I have very little money and am not ambitious?

Post by littlebluedove on Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:34 am

Food is taken care of. Personal items, like shampoo, are not. My disability assistance program just gives me cash. It doesn't provide a space to meet other people with disabilities. I've tried posting personal ads on Craigslist, and I met someone there who has a different disability who I thought might accept me, but he really turned me off. He used the r word, and he said my belly was cute when I stretched, and that he wanted me to sit on his lap. I didn't go on a second date with him. I met another guy who's staying at a homeless shelter, but he asked me what medications I'm taking and what my bra size is. My ex from before I came to the group home wrote in, and I thought since we already have a history he might accept me. But on the date he kept asking me over and over again what I'm looking for in a relationship. No answer seemed to satisfy him. I don't know what he wanted me to say.

All of my dates have been just pissing me off. I'm getting fewer and fewer replies to my Craigslist ads. And the replies are almost always crap. Also, my ads keep getting flagged and deleted, which is irritating as hell. I'm out of remotely compatible matches on OkCupid and have been for a long time. It's very painfully slow to get new members. Everyone on Plenty of Fish has a very sparse profile and the few messages I get there have no meat to them at all. I'm getting very worried about my ability to ever find someone. It seems like every place I could go online has dried up. There's still the kinky coffee, but I'm not confident that I have good enough social skills to find a partner in person. The main thing I'm worried about is being able to maintain a conversation. I have a hard time thinking of things to say. People have told me that I'm too quiet several times before. I'm scared to try it, but I have run out of options, so I guess I'll try and put my feet to the fire.

On the bright side, I met a woman through the platonic ad section of Craigslist who seems nice. She shares my interests in anime and Japanese culture. I might make a new friend.

Like I said, I take the bus. My city has a good transit system. I don't expect my future partner to drive me around or anything.


Last edited by littlebluedove on Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:49 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : to add more information)

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Re: Is it realistic to date when I have very little money and am not ambitious?

Post by reboot on Tue Apr 19, 2016 3:13 am

To meet new people in general, have you tried any interest based MeetUps? It sounds like you would benefit from a bigger social network and that is a good way to meet more people. You may not find best friends or relationships that way (although it is possible), but you could at least get to meet more folks
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Re: Is it realistic to date when I have very little money and am not ambitious?

Post by littlebluedove on Sat Apr 30, 2016 2:31 am

I appreciate the suggestion. I tried a sci-fi/fantasy Meetup, and it didn't go very well. The leader of the group made a joke about mail order brides and used the word rape inappropriately (as in, "The movie was so bad, the people who made it raped it!" I decided not to go back there. Also, pretty much every group out there involves buying a coffee or something and conflicts with meal times at the group home, so on top of paying for the meeting I have to pay for something to eat or go hungry. It might be better for me to put building a social life on hold until I have more money and am out of the group home so my schedule isn't limited by meals, or start new groups of my own that don't involve spending money and work with my schedule. I have some ideas for groups: a literary group that involves discussing books we've read, doing writing workshops, and occasionally going to literary events, such as poetry slams, a social justice/feminist/environmental group to try to make a positive impact in the world, a mental healh/adulting support group, and a munch for kinky people. My mom and I have been trying to start the literary group. The first meeting is going to be at May 14th at the library, and I've been advertising on Craigslist and one other site for the last week, but nobody has RSVP'd. This has taken a very different turn from my original question, so I'll start a new thread.

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