Should You Have a Plan B When Married?
To Plan B or Not to Plan B? That is the Question!
My question to you...
This is one of those hubs that helps me as much as it could possibly help you. The audience, my readers, my followers, the curious who stop by, are all in the hot seat. With your advice, knowledge, and/or opinion within your comments here, I may owe you the going rate for therapy- $50 for the 5 minutes it takes you to read this hub and an additional $10 for the 10 seconds it takes you to leave your valuable comment. Will you take a check?
My real question, because I have been wondering this for as long as I've been married, is 'Should you have a Plan B when married'? Let me explain. In my life, as many of us were taught, having a plan B was crucial to survival; career, school, place to live, things to do. You get the point. There was a lot of value to these backup plans and I had to use many of them repeatedly. In other words, they've saved my ass a time or two and always made me feel a little more at ease if I had one.
At the earliest age I can remember, another option, another plan, was usually the better route. From the time I was a kid and fighting over a toy with another kid, mom says, 'Why don't you find a different toy to play with or something else to do' (plan B). If I didn't get one certain boy to go to the school dance with me, then I would have a backup boy in line...just in case. If I didn't get into the college I wanted to, I had 2nd pick and 3rd or 4th pick too. If I couldn't make my rent money, I always had another plan to get money. Even though I had a career, I had plan B job skills to fall back on.
At one time in my life, I had no plan B and I am still recovering from it almost 4 years later. After I had my baby daughter, there was one plan and only one plan- to go back to work. Well, she was sick a lot...and I was sick a lot...and I wasn't adjusting to 2 hours of sleep very well. You know how they say, you'll be so tired that you'll fall asleep remarkably easy anywhere. Not true for me. The less sleep I got, the harder it was for me to go to sleep at all. I had nobody to fall back on because my husband was out of town for work most of the time.
Eventually out of this disaster, I was laid off anyway at the beginning of the recession from my job in Human Resources. The timing was impeccable (sarcasm). Oh and then one year into unemployment I got diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Whoops no plan B for that either! Fast forward several years and I am doing good- I am resourceful- I stay home with my daughter but make money with my writing (my passion). In this scenario, not having a plan B still worked out OK because life can throw you some curve balls. However, my chances for these circumstances were slim so I couldn't prepare as needed.
In marriage, divorce is a very real possibility and chances are not slim, so do you prepare your plan B? I bring this question you to find out whether plan B's have been important for you and especially whether one should have a plan B when married. This Plan B could consist of a separate bank account unknown to your partner, and a plan of action in case it doesn't work out. Is it taboo or could it jeopardize a relationship if you have an escape route? Should you even think that way at all if you're in love?
My natural response to anything major in my life is to calculate my plan B. So when I got married, I began to do the same thing. What if... On the one hand it made me feel content to know I had these backup plans, but on the other hand it made me feel as if I was leading a secret life, periodically readjusting these plans throughout my marriage unbeknownst to my love.
It can certainly kill the whole romantic idea of getting married in the first place- I mean, didn't I just promise something like 'Til death do us part? If that is the case, then why would I feel the need for a plan B? Perhaps knowing how well they've served as my cushion and my support in the past has made me gravitate toward always having one. Although shouldn't my husband be that cushion and support now that I'm married?
During the beginning of the recession, I watched and learned about many financial plans and what was mentioned often, was to have a separate bank account that the spouse doesn't know about. I had been thinking this one through already and here was the confirmation. But it seemed so secretive, didn't it? Could I, should I? Aren't we supposed to tell our spouse everything? One thing I have to give credit to my relationship with my husband is that we have a strong trust between each other.
Being a product of divorce, I had a chance to see my mom blindsided by my dad's sudden choice to leave her. She had no job, no schooling, no skills (other than stay-at-home mom), no place to stay, no self-identity (she was her marriage), and $40 in her personal bank account. I went on that roller coaster ride with her during that time and I promised myself I'd never get married. OK, well, I'm married now, but my other promise was to never be caught like a deer in headlights should my marriage suddenly fall apart.
So many of us don't see the subtle signs of our marriage deteriorating. We live in a routine bubble of status quot. No storms in sight, but as unpredictable as mother nature is, so is the rocky nature of marriage. We don't know when the storm is coming, but we build a shelter, a storm cellar, stronger buildings, etc. We make a plan B.
If you make a plan B when married, does it lower your chances or desire to fix the problems and weather the bad times in your marriage? It could make a person less likely to go through rough times if they have a backup plan in line, especially if the backup plan seems more enticing. When things aren't going well, plan B's tend to resemble greener grass on the other side of the fence.
Heart or mind?
If you are logical and live in your head, plan B's make sense. A prenuptial agreement is somewhat like a plan B- if this doesn't work out... But for many, agreements are the logical thing to do to protect assets, earnings, and a business. As I stated before, financiers will warn against not having a separate bank account from your spouse. This is business and protection because disasters can strike and the unknown usually attacks your finances first.
A logical person may even have a time limit- if these issues don't work out by a certain time, then you fall back on plan B, which may be leaving the relationship. Some of these folks are businessmen and women by nature and marriage is seen as a partnership, but a partner in business just the same. In business, plan B's are necessary or you fail. In a day and age when people spend more time planning their wedding than their marriage, it seems naive not to make a plan B as well.
If you live in your heart and make decisions and view the world from there, a plan B doesn't usually cross your mind because you are in love. The romantic version of marriage and it's purpose do not allow someone in their heart to see beyond life without their partner. They see no need for plan B because love conquers all.
If the nostalgic and romantic view of marriage rules, one must know for sure that they would tolerate anything in their marriage or from their spouse; cheating, sex change, abuse, illness, spouse deciding they're gay, etc. What if your partner just up and leaves you? These things occur and often without warning. Without a plan B, you are saying you are willing to be caught blindsided and be OK with that. But also they may have a point if you must have a plan B, then are you with the right person, should you be married?
Are you a logical mind or a romantic heart? Is one better than the other?
If it can, it will
As I was discussing above, about heart and mind people, I fit into another category, 'if it can, it will'. I've been caught by many unforeseen circumstances and now I operate on a mentality that if it can happen, it really might actually happen. Nothing is too shocking anymore.
I am a romantic and I'd love to think everything will work out. Yes, it's too bad we have to prepare for that other stuff, another life beyond our spouse. In this world today, we are in the business of looking out for ourselves. The world around us changes fast, our relationships change, and our spouse changes and ourselves change just as fast. so anything can happen- do you prepare or not? Is marriage a sure thing or not?
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