Dear Steve and Lynelle,
I agree with your last column about women being more assertive and preparing for when the man is gone. I’ve been married 30 years. This is not my first husband. I think there is something you forgot. Every woman needs to have her own bank account. It’s my little security blanket, something to fall back on. Call it my run-away money. If a woman wants to make her husband the beneficiary, fine. But a woman needs her own bank account.
Steve: Nicely put, and I thank you for responding to the column. Last week, Lynelle and I agreed on most of the points about the woman whose boyfriend left after she’d quit her job, taking all the money in their joint account and forcing her on food stamps, but wanting to slink back into her daughter’s life.
Lynelle took issue with my line about expecting all relationships to end. But that’s what the woman above seems to be saying. By keeping her own bank account, she has an out if the time comes. I can understand Lynelle’s point of view. We’d like to think that when we meet the special someone that person will feel the same as we do, and it will last forever. It’s a romantic notion that stays alive generation after generation. Unfortunately, reality is often far different.
If you’re a woman who plans to have her own bank account, you can expect your husband to be disagreeable to the idea. Still I would encourage you to do so. Actually, that goes for men, too. Everyone has read horror stories of men who lost it all in a divorce.
Such preparations as a run-away fund are not romantic. In fact, they sound downright cold. But they are protection when things don’t work out.
Lynelle: OK, I would like to clarify some things from last week. As Steve said, I did agree with women preparing for a man to be gone, but for me that also includes — God forbid — an accident or death. I don’t think it’s a horrible idea to have your own bank account or nest egg, but I do think your husband should know about it. That personal account not only secures you in case of tragedy with a spouse/significant other, but it also allows for privacy in gift-giving, etc.
Again, though, I think that should be a decision between a man and a woman, not just the woman. I don’t think secret money-hoarding is at all romantic, and I think it shows distrust for your spouse. Why I was so offended with the statement was because why would anyone even enter into a relationship if they think it’s going to end? Why even bother in the first place? I believe that’s why there is so much divorce in this country. No one trusts anyone anymore.
Coming from strong Christian values and carrying them over in my life, I don’t look at relationships as flings, especially when it gets to the point of our last writer — moving in and having joint accounts. If you are entering into a commitment, then you are entering into a commitment. Because people have “outs” is why they use them. People seem to just run when it gets tough and throw their marriage vows out the window too easily these days. What happened to a time when spouses worked through tough times? So, to summarize: Yes, I think it’s fine to have a plan and not depend on a spouse — husband or wife — for your own well-being, but there has to be trust in a relationship.
Steve and Lynelle want to give you advice! They are always looking for good questions to answer, so pass on your drama, dating disasters, relationship woes and any problems that come your way. Write to them at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to them at 1133 Jackson St., Anderson, IN 46016. Too frustrated to write? Call (765) 640-4863. Advice columnists Steve Dick and Lynelle Miller bring unique perspectives to your problems each Tuesday.
Dear Steve and Lynelle,