When the family breadwinner leaves in The Three Weissmanns of Westport, he doesn’t check into the Wooden Waldorf. No. Wealthy Joseph Weissmann doesn’t have the good grace to die. Instead, he abandons Betty, his wife of more than 50 years, for a woman half his age.
Now, while some may be scandalized by this, not me. I say if the old coot (or anyone really) wasn’t happy in his marriage, better to get out than make his wife miserable, too. Better to leave than live a lie. REALLY better to get out than bring his wife home an unwelcome gift. Let’s just call that gift what kids might…cooties.
Nope, if a marriage isn’t working, I say put that puppy to sleep and move on. Everyone will be better off. Better off as long as the breadwinner leaves the stay-at-home partner financially well enough off to live. Not only did Joseph not do this, but he put the financial screws to Betty, eventually forcing her to leave her home and rely on the kindness of relatives.
And this is where I have a problem, not just with Joseph, but with Betty and anyone like her. Actually, Betty may be forgiven. At 75 years old, she comes from a different era. Still, there are countless woman today making the same ill-considered choices Betty did.
Making the choice to stay home and raise their children, with seemingly not a care in the world about their future. They are oh-so sure their marriage is forever. Certain their husband will never leave. Sure they will not want to get the hell out of dodge themselves, but be stuck. Absolutely convinced their love is a many splendored thing that will last a lifetime.
Meanwhile, the divorce rate in the U.S. is almost 50 percent, and the financial losers in a divorce are almost always women and children.
I am not a financial planner, and I do not pretend to know the financial ins and outs of what a stay-at-home spouse should do, but I do know it is more than live in LaLa Land.
In the online article A Man Is Not a Financial Plan, Especially After Divorce, divorce support expert Cathy Meyer gives some excellent advice, such as having one’s own bank account and credit card, staying in touch with former business colleagues, or working part-time when the kids are school age.
No, I am not a financial expert, but I have seen enough in life with my own mother and friends to know that any couple where one is a stay-at-home spouse (male or female) needs to either do some research on their own, or consult a financial expert, and have a plan. And it should be sooner rather than later.
What do you think?