They say if you go looking for something, you will find it. They say the spouse is always the last to know. They say adultery begins in the head, before it begins in the bed.
The heart may be a lonely hunter but it’s certainly not alone in its suspicions. The Daily Mail reported that 44% of people search their spouse’s phone or computer for incriminating messages. The study, led by the Internet Research Institute at Oxford University, also revealed a 65% chance that ”if a husband’s messages are being read by his wife, he is also reading hers.”
Suspicions aren’t always wrong, either. The New York Times cites national surveys indicating that “Fifteen percent of married women and 25% of married men have had extramarital affairs. The incidence is about 20% higher when emotional and sexual relationships without intercourse are included.”
What research studies and the ubiquitous “they” can never tell you, is what to do when your partner steps out. Confront them? Maybe. Get emotional support? Sure. Seek marriage counselling? Probably. Adultery does not have to mean the end of the marriage - unless it does, for you.
Here’s what we think is a smart next step. You know the airplane safety rule, about putting your own oxygen mask on before helping others? It’s like that, but with money.
According to a UBS study, “Fifty-six percent of married women still leave investment decisions to their husbands. Surprisingly, 61% of Millennial women do so, more than any other generation.” Whether you are the wife or the husband, financial management within marriage is often remarkably one-sided.
This is your signal to get a handle on your personal financial situation. Being financially stronger and knowing your options will give you greater confidence to make wiser, self-caring decisions. However things work out, sorting yourself out now will position you for better financial health over the long term.
First, take stock. Literally. It’s ten o’clock, do you know where your investments are? If you do not already have a list of your family’s bank, investment and insurance accounts, now is the time to get itemizing. Know which institutions have your money, the account numbers, the passwords.
A safety deposit box of her own? It’s a good idea to have a secure place outside your home for keeping lists such as the above, and anything of great value that you don’t use often and could not replace.
Sign up for a credit monitoring service. If your personal score is weak, there are several tactics you can do to improve it, though it does take time, so it’s best to start soon.
Find your tribe. There is an entire industry of experienced professionals who can help you get through this. Find a marriage counsellor or a family therapist. Find a financial planner, maybe an accountant. Find a lawyer. You don’t need to engage them yet, at this point, it’s just… conversations. It’s just texting, right?