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Playing the 'widow card'

Is it right or wrong for a widow or widower to 'play the widow card', meaning, should they use their satiation (or disclose it strategically) to gain some sort of an advantage in certain.

This is an interesting question, both morally and practically. As a disclaimer, I would like to say that this is my own opinion so if you do it a different way or have different opinion, that's all right, and please comment below, I love to learn different perspectives.

At the beginning, I was firmly against doing so, because I felt that it would mean that me being a widow is somehow beneficial for me and really, it's not. One day, a lovely cashier at a DIY store gave me seniors discount after she learned that no, my husband will not do the paintjob because he is deceased (and with being compassionate she risked getting in trouble at work). At that time, I actually felt terrible for gaining something from my situation, despite the discount being only a few percent off. Then, it came the time to renew my contract with my electricity and gas provider. The quotes were horrible, even higher than I was paying at the time. So I did play the widow card, solo mother, the full scale pity party. I did get reasonable discount on my rates as a result because surprise, surprise, they do have options for existing customers.

Slowly, I realised that taking advantage of my (otherwise awful) situation is a legit option that I deserve to use. Similarly with government assistance (like widow's pension or social security payments), it's a small silver lining.

Obviously, there should be some sort of moderation and self-consciousness so we don't abuse it and blame everything on being a widow or become too entitled and expect the world to cater for us on a whim because we are widows and life is sad. But I think when it's used to gain a little more compassion and understanding is perfectly fine. I, for example, am very open about it on job interviews. Now, as a HR professional myself, I absolutely hate when candidates disclose personal details that can be ground for claiming discrimination, like family status. At the same time, my story is why I have the gap in my resume, this is why I was taking or leaving certain positions and the reason for looking for specific benefits like flexibility with the hours or hybrid work. So playing the widow card helped me to find positions that suited my life. At the same time, I would never expect to be treated differently and be given advantages that others cannot have. That would be entitled and that would be abusing the card in my opinion and wouldn't sit well with my consciousness.

At the end of the day, this is down to individual decision. You maybe use it regularly, because you have to. Others might won't use at all because they are not comfortable disclosing that they are widowed. I think one must be content with the fact that this is their life now to play the widow card strategically, that won't only result in pity but will have a real benefit.

I'm all in for using it with insurance companies, utility providers, government officials, nosy or judgmental people. On the other hand, I wouldn't use it to get a promotion (I prefer to achieve that with my skills), but I would definitely would when house-hunting. It's a fine line.

Of course, there is a downside of the card as well. Sadly, not everyone is nice or even a decent human being out there. Widows can be vulnerable, and people will very likely try to take advantage of them. Widowers are in a little safer position because they are, well, men. That's the harsh reality. Try to go to a garage as a woman or talk to a tradesman. A large percentage of them will treat women as idiots (respect to those who don't). Imagine how much would these, well, "gentlemen", overcharge if they would learn that there is no husband or partner at home who can come back and complain?

I still think it's a useful thing, despite some saying using the card is morally questionable. I wouldn't judge anyone for usingtheir widow card or how they chooseto do so. I don't have to agree, but I'm not the one walking in their shoes.


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