For my entire life, my aunt Shelly* was the rich relative living in the big home. During her lifetime, she had married and divorced a few husbands. After all these relationships, she had amassed quite a savings. She was the one family members went to to “borrow” money or ask for favors. She relished this role. It gave her a sense of power.
She also hosted the annual holiday party. It was almost required attendance for family. She enjoyed going all out once a year- big Christmas tree, catered dinner, and dancing.
But despite her wealth, she was still cheap. A quality I do admire. She would shop sales, clip coupons, and generally live a frugal lifestyle. She seemed to be happy with her life.
But despite attention from family and friends who knew she had deep pockets, she was lonely.
Being in her 60’s, she was quite good with social media. She had tried matchmakers and dating online but it didn’t work out for her. She was always afraid people were after her money. Then she met Brett*, a 59-year-old from Texas. Brett was everything she sought in a man and had his own money (or so he said). He was attractive and charming. Shelly was over the moon happy. She introduced him to all her friends and family only four months into the relationship. Everyone thought she was rushing it but she didn’t care. With her being twice divorced, it wasn’t proper for her to have a big, splashy wedding. So they opted for a quick trip to Vegas.
The first few months were good for Shelly and Brett. He seemed genuine. Then she found out he had been siphoning large amounts of money from their joint savings and taking out credit cards in her name. She was devastated. She asked her nephew to check his search history; he was also cheating on her with a 30-year-old. It was all too devastating for her. She filed for divorce.
Shelly was very embarrassed she had to file for divorce. She became like a punchline in the family “Don’t end up like Aunt Shelly, divorced three times!”. Everyone tried to be understanding but she had a reputation for being bad at relationships anyway. The family tried to be supportive but Shelly, normally very outgoing, started to stay home more. She was…