Debbie, First Girlfriend of First Wives World, has an awesome interview lately with Lili Vasileff. Lili is a Divorce Financial Analyst and had some awesome insights that you should definitely check out.
As I was watching this video, I was comparing what I know now to what I remember happening at the time of 'the great unveiling' to what Lili and Deb were discussing. The truth is that I saw all those signs. I knew all the signs but I didn't recognize them. I just didn't know.
I was never, and am still not, close to my mother. I'm not close to my grandmother. I know a lot of women are really close to their moms and the more 'jewish mom' stereotype not-withstanding leaves a LOT of women better prepared in a marriage than I was. A lot of women know the signs that their man is cheating because they heard about those signs from their mother. Not me.
Similarly, I think it is time women in America start preparing their daughters. I know I certainly will be. That is not to say that I think my daughter will marry a schmo like I did. In fact I'm doing everything in my power to help her think about the type of person SHE needs to be in a relationship as much as the type of person she needs to be WITH. But I also know that my exMIL lied to me. On purpose. To get me to marry her son. Due diligence only gets you so far.
I'll be telling my daughter to watch for the sudden change in spending habits. My ex certainly did. He started doing the lavish gifts, the travel, and the out-of-the-blue interest in how the money was being spent. He started pushing for letting him pay the bills. Which is not to say that I never wanted him to handle money. It was that he had no credit when we married and he had no bill paying experience. In fact, I was the one who got his finances in order and his loaners off his back.
So it was a welcome thing for me when he showed interest. If only I had recognized the signs. I remember him switching the credit cards to his work card. And his work American Express suddenly became none of my business. It was just that he was overseas and 'needed a credit card' to pay for his items. Of course, while that seemed reasonable at the time, it is obvious in hindsight that he was setting up his own financial history without me in the picture.
I had always been the one to handle savings, checking, and the like. But suddenly he was handling everything. He just swooped in and took it all. At the time, I was assuming it was necessary because we were moving to a different state and he needed to do it to set up the new apartment. You can imagine my surprise when the savings disappeared out of my daughter's bank account.
It wasn't much, but it was money I'd worked hard to set aside into an account for her.
These signs are important. These are not things that a couple should surprise each other with. If you've been handling the finances for years and suddenly he gets interested, don't be relieved. Be worried. Very worried.
Like Lili said, "Men never go into a divorce unprepared." Neither should you. And My daughter certainly won't.