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Should You Have a Plan B When Married?

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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 thoughts...

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.

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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?

Suggested Reading

  • The Substitute/Work Spouse
    "Work Spouse"- a co-worker, of the opposite sex, with whom one shares a special relationship, having bonds similar to those of a marriage- intimacy without the sex or commitment. The work spouse is a potentially key relationship when one's actual spo
  • Marriage Contracts, Ultimatums, and Divorce
    Prenuptial contracts are still debatable- for some it's simply "insurance", for others it's an insult. How would you feel about a contract arranged after you were married? It doesn't seem to make as much sense.


L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on September 15, 2014:

I like the medicine analogy. People get wills in case something happens- not like they're going to die tomorrow (we hope not) but it's best to have that plan B.

Thanks for stopping by...God bless to you too!

mothersofnations on September 15, 2014:

Wow, another interesting read.

I do believe in a plan b and I dont think it has anything to do with whether or not you're with the right person or even being sneaky. It's about always making sure you're prepared. While I pray my marriage will last a lifetime (and in Jesus' name it will), I still make decisions with this question in mind: "Will I be able to handle all of this on my own if anything happens?" As well as: "can he?"

When I consider those question, I'm including the reality that sometimes things happen and life can take us into a new direction, so why not be prepared? My mind is always on the positive and part of being positive is knowing that you're prepared.

I guess you can think of it like this: It's like keeping medicine in the cabinet - you just might need it one day although you hope you won't.

God bless...

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on May 12, 2013:

Claudia, yes I do believe women are more vulnerable without a plan B. too bad it's that way.

Claudia Tello from Mexico on May 08, 2013:

This is a very controversial theme we could talk about for hours!!! I could make arguments supporting, as well as discrediting the plan B theory, but one thing is for certain: the way I see it, financial independence is a VERY good thing to have in life, it brings you peace of mind, a general sense of well being and FREEDOM. When you have it, you really don´t need a plan B and separations are much easier and friendlier. Too bad for woman (like myself) that would rather be home builders and stay at home moms, they will always be less free and much more vulnerable in case of separation, sad but true.....:(

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on July 12, 2012:

I used to lift a lot and spent my time around natural body-builders. I was more concerned about strength than looks, but I truly loved it as you sound like you do too. Takes a special kind of dedicated person. best of luck.

Bavajazu on July 10, 2012:

Thanks. Actually I'm only coaching now and for myself I'm just doing some light wieght training as in Weightlifitng it's impossible to train yourself and others as it is highly demanding in terms of coaching due to it's complicated technique among other systems. Every move must be monitored and recorded!!!

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on July 09, 2012:

Bavajazu~ I hope the best for you as you move onto your goals. Do some extra lifting for me- love that sport and admire people who do it. And good luck with the new business. Sounds like some exciting times ahead.

Bavajazu on July 07, 2012:

Thanks and sorry to hear about your arthritis and turbulance. I moved together with my family to another country where we had been cheated in our construction business by our own procurator who had our power of attorney. We finished in court as well and still waiting for our money as the sentence was in our favour. As soon as we settle we move to Ireland where I already have contacts to coach Olympic Weightlifitng there as a club coach. also to open my family business as well.

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on July 07, 2012:

me too...self-employed. Fear drives us in postive ways I believe. I got laid off during recession so I began writing and doing online marketing...and work for myself. I also believe that in marriage- back of my mind there is fear because I saw my mom with no job and my dad divorced her. It causes me to not take my relationship for granted and do things differently...probably because of that fear. Do I always have fear in me? No, but I'm sure it's an underlying motivator.

Olympic weightlifting- how great! I got arthritis a few years ago, but was a physical trainer and very much into weightlifting. Some of the most motivaitonal and disciplined people I know- very admirable.

Bavajazu on July 06, 2012:

i know what you mean izetti, Sure one should have always plan A and B in whatever you do and if possible even plan C. This I always say and believe and do. I have practiced Olympic Weightlifitng all my years which many considers as dangerous sport, and many feared, but I don't know what fear is because the first thing I was taught was (A) safety and (B) how to escape from underneath the barbell in case of failing the lift. BUT what I fear most is not what depends from me, but what depends from others, what they do and decide on which you have no control. I can give you a living proof of this on myself. I have two professions as a career but yet no job, why? because I depend on others' opinion of whether I get the job or not. Two professions can be related to two plans as A and B but........................... Infact I believe only in working as self-employed and that's what I did. Thanks for your reply.

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on July 05, 2012:

Bavajazu~ Are you saying you don't do anything you fear? People jump out of planes to face fears or for adrenaline BUT they wear proper equipment as a precaution. People get on stage and act, even though their nervous, and they prepare and rehearse their lines.

That is strange question- if no fear, i think is plain stupid and naive. Romantice love is hwen you have no fear and jump in with both feet- romantic love is also the most short-lived. Women I believe need a plan as we are most responsible of the children and usually the most dependent on spouse. A plan, everybody fears but smart people plan....and face those fears with a plan.

Bavajazu on July 04, 2012:

If so much fear, why marry?? That way no need for either plan A nor plan B

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on November 21, 2011:

reeltaulk~ yes I think money is the key- either know about your finances with your husband or have your own as well.

reeltaulk on November 16, 2011:

I agree.....Work!!! ***Self preservation is always key***

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on November 15, 2011:

reeltaulk~ I think having a plan b in my case is because I saw my parents divorce after 18 years married. My mom was caught off guard by my dad leaving and she was a stay-at-home mom (so am I). Financially it is logical and financial experts suggest it. Thinking that nothing will ever happen is romantic but not necessarily realistic. And no I agree it cetainly doesn't sound romantic to have a plan b, but it makes my marriage more comfortable because I will never have to stay in a marriage because of money. I think it all depends on our experiences in life.

reeltaulk on November 15, 2011:

lol @ having a plan B.....then how will plan A ever "B" successful if you go into it with intend a back up "plan"! Then again I'm quite sure you know what you'r doing.

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on October 03, 2011:

SusieQ42~ I totally agree with your reasoning here. Having a back up financial plan is always a good idea.

SusieQ42 on September 27, 2011:

It makes sense to me to have a plan B, although I don't have one and never did. For the woman it makes sense, especially if she, like your mom is a stay at home mom with few job skills. For men, heck, if they can take care of a wife and kids, then they don't need one. It's a toss up, but with the high cost of living today, I don't think it's a bad idea.

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on September 03, 2011:

JIM~ oh man, I didn't know what time you were on for your speech and I got up at 9:30 am or so and must have missed you- I saw you in the crowd though. I started watching right before the comedian got on. I didn't konw you'd be on earlier so I should have recorded it and I've been bummed all day...ask my husband. He's had to listen to it all day.

Anyway, yes we need to catch up I sent you an email last week but you didn';t respond so you might have been out of town.

Guardedheart~ yes, actually I think that quote is relevant to this topic. We plan b so many other aspects of our life so to me marriage is another one of those. It's not like I'm talking about a plan be person to be with or another life, but some thoughts about what you would do and some money saved up. Thanks for the comment.

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on September 03, 2011:

Mike~ I know just where you're coming from. What's funny is people here are discussing whether it would be OK to have a secret account, but in reality many women (and men mabye) have been kept in the dark about the actual finances. Just how you pointed out some women thought they were well off and I know women who think the same and the man never told them about how the finances really were.

Thanks for stopping by Prasetio- you'll get married someday! You'll be a great husband!

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on September 03, 2011:

Jeanine~ it's romantic in general to think we have absolutely no secrets in marriage. and way too sensitive to think a plan b would seriously upset the marriage. I agree with you.

Debra~ My husband talked about getting another account so he could have one. I never brought up the matter again and really dont care. I'm a saver and he's not so I think since he's not it also makes me feel better to have backup.

Money is first on the list for why couples argue and even break up. I can eliminate that problem by having my own money. I wonder how many of those people who split over money or have constant financial arguments, have a plan b. We have a plan b for everything else in life- if I don't get this career, I can do this job...etc. Cheating and abuse are my deal breakers in a marriage, not having another account or a plan b- that doesn't bug me if my husband did.

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on September 03, 2011:

Lapse~ I say there is some control for the person that makes the money. I want to add though that this is a lot of generalization here, but I'll go with it. In general...women make less money than men, but if you want to bring up the few exceptions then you will be right about your point. Another general...women take majority custody of the children and bare more responsibility for them- men sometimes opt out completely and something about being a mom, I can tell you I'd make sure my children are taken care of.

With using my savings, my husband tends to overspend on non-necessities during the month and when bill time comes around he needs to extract some from my savings so that's why I say it may have been better off him not knowing. Would it be secretive...well is it the kind of lie you'd leave someone over or really get bent out of shape about...not really in my opinion. If I thought my husband was cheating I'd be up at nights worrying about it, but could he have another account, maybe but I'm not up worrying about it. My parents were married 18 years before splitting and my mom is now married to a man who was married 41 years before getting his divorce so do I think everything is set in stone? No.

guardedheart9 on September 03, 2011:

This is very interesting! I came across a nice little saying that made me think. It went like this 'Keep the keys to your happiness in your own pocket, not in someones elses'. Not completely relevant but yes I think you should have a 'Plan B'. Why? Not because you are planning on opting out. You will most likely have a happier marriage if you value commitment, but because you cannot be absolutely and completely sure what your spouse will do, even if he/she is up to this point trustworthy. Namely she/he could leave or die. You need to have as many life skills as possible so that if he does, you are able to deal with life as well as possible without him/her

TheManWithNoPants from Tucson, Az. on September 02, 2011:

Well I'm late. Speach is tomorow. (gulp)

Laura, this is a classic piece. So much so that we need to talk. Let me say this however. If you were stuck in the house with no car, you'd suffer thinking about all the places you needed to go. With that car in the drive, you don't realy have that many places that you actually NEED to go. It provides comfort because you know you you're not trapped. People who feel backed into a corner don't do anything outside that corner very effectivly kiddo. People need options in the modern world. I don't even think you can FIND a washboard anymore.

Wish me luck and I B missin ya!


prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on September 01, 2011:

Very inspiring hub and useful for me. I have a plan to get married soon. But for the first time, I need a plan A. My friend, thanks for writing and share with us. I learn much from the expert, that's you! Vote up...


Old Poolman on August 31, 2011:

To devise a good Plan B, you really need to share in the financial aspect of the marriage. I have know two women who's husbands passed suddenly, and they both thought they were well off financially. They based this on the fact they lived in nice homes and drove fancy cars. When reality set in, they found there was no life insurance, and they were many thousands in debt.

In a community property state, each partner owns half of the assets and half of the debt. In the event of the death of one of the partners, this rule still applies except they now own all of the assets, and all of the debt.

Be it for possible death of one partner, or the possibility of divorce, you owe it to yourself to know the actual financial picture of the marriage.

Just my thoughts for the day, take 'em or leave 'em.

Debra on August 30, 2011:

My relationships throughout my life have never turned out well...I loved hard and never had a back up plan. I was blind sided because of the choices I made in life period. Poor choices were based on happenings in my childhood, family dynamics, and the need for approval. As you grow and work on your own healing path things change, you may think differently, dream differently, feel's called growth I believe. A man's the same and you never really know when the differences will happen. Be ready, it's only being human and no one is responsible for your happiness, well-being, or financial situation. How come it has to be a secret? I think if your husband loves you and knows about your personal need to have a Plan B, he will not take it personally. How would you feel if he had a secret account? Could you accept that he also has a plan B in place? Be honest and strong about your final decision. You and solely you are responsible for how your future will look with or with out a husband. Tina Turner said it best, "What's Love got to do with it?' Take care of who you are. Best wishes.

Jeanine on August 30, 2011:

Lapse, that's what we are talking about, not having to be secret about plan b... the male ego is way to sensitive for me... just hearing you say... we should think that way... has a little edge on it for me...

Lapse from East Coast Rules on August 30, 2011:

Wait. I think when you guys say women need plan B more, you really mean the spouse with less/no financial control in the relationship. For a long time it has been women in that situation, but things are starting to change. Or did you all really mean women? What if a wife has a job paying double what her husband makes or its a situation with a house husband?

Izettl, you mentioned using money from your savings account one time "because your husband is a bad saver?" Was that money needed badly to make ends meet or was it for a less demanding need? I think if it was for example to pay the electricity bill and your kid would have been in the dark if it hadn't been used then it shouldn't be a problem that it was used. But say it was for something you could have gotten by without (can't think of a great example) then you're right in being resentful.

I don't think you should try to put a percentage on the contribution of effort put into a marriage. If you breakdown the financial, emotional, etc. contributions of my dad and compare them to my mom's whould it be less or more? It doesn't matter, we shouldn't think that way and I'm not suggesting you are. Bottom line is that unless someone is blatantly lazy about doing their part or what not then its all good.

You gotta trust your spouse at LEAST for the most part and if you don't then maybe its not a marriage worth saving (some exceptions I believe). Talking in generalities of course not your specific situation. It comes down to if a spouse found out about a "secret Plan B" would they be offended and lose trust in the other person? For the most part I think yes.

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on August 30, 2011:

@Jeanine~ Great point. I would say as a generalization men are a little more quick to change the game- cheat, leave a marriage, and maybe more spontaneous should we say. I know many more women who have stayed and stayed even when they didn't want to but a man won't usually.

Thinkg about what you say about children involved in a marriage too, made me realize that if you're a woman with children, a plan b or several backup plans are necessary. When I was without a child and fully capable to work anywhere I never thought about plan b's. But now that I've got others depending on me, plan b is essential. Life and the relationship changes when children are involved. I agree to that one!

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on August 30, 2011:

@Husky~ I love what you say about not knowing or caring if she has a plan b- I would hope that would be most people's feelings. Honestly I wouldn't care if my husband had one either. That's true trust. Congrats on the 41 yrs!

@Ghost~ Yes you've had enough experience to comment here- lol. You make a good point about when you make a plan b you end up using it. I think of it as a safety net. Making last minute cash is possible nowadays but not easy for sure. Plus you're a resourceful guy i can tell. Like I was telling someone else, it may be more important for women than men. THanks for sharing your epxerience- a lot to think about.

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on August 30, 2011:

@Lauryallen~ you gave some incredible examples of why plan b is essential and I really think very important for women especially. I also know women stuck in marriages because of no money or life and work of their own. Perhaps a plan b would make a woman feel better at least and more comfortable in a marriage. Nothing wrong with that.

@FIS~ yes, I wouldn't approve of secret credit cards or money if it was being spent or would cause financial trouble for the marriage, but I did tell my husband about my own savings account and now it's turned into OUR savings account because he can't save any money of his own so I sort of regret my decision to tell. I don't think my savings account, untold, would harm our marriage and be too devastating a secret. But I do know women who have several credit cards and use them at their disposal without hubby knowing so no that's not good. THanks for your input.

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on August 30, 2011:

Lapse~ you make a good point about it being SECRET. I'm not sure if that's the best policy, but maybe a don't ask don't tell plan B. I've read from some of the commenters that they're not sure if their spouse has a plan b and don't really care. If you love the person, why worry about whether they have one. Also, I had a separate savings account and told my husband about it, however, since then we've had to use money fomr it from time to time and now I wish I hadn't had told him. I'm not sure if it was plan b or just security to have that account. He is not a good saver- I am better with money (hate to say it but true). But now my account seems to be the backup account for both of us. And now, I think it's best you don't tell. If you tell then your partner may think they have just as much right to that money as well and treat it jointly.

I completely agree with you about communication. that's where my 100% vote comes in wholeheartedly. And thanks for stopping by to join the conversation.

Jeanine on August 30, 2011:

All women should have a plan b and c and d if possible, the male psychic is to delicate to trust for a long period of time, it's not really their fault, it's how they are made. Their egos are wrapped in how confident they are with women... not the case with every man but it's there if you take a closer look... they are truly amazing creatures and if encouraged have the ability to do almost super natural things... so easy to love, yet so hard to understand... because they are compartmentalized in their approach to problem solving, if his wife desire is diminished in any way, he is affected in his own confidence in himself... and can easily become distracted... for new mothers and mother in general, it can be a challenge... he still wants her to be his everything and she has a knew baby doll and this one is alive and reacts to her every touch... word... and action... just as he did, but this is in a small enough package that she now becomes the security that she has learned from him if he has been a good husband... he on the other hand can't understand, if he gave her what she wants in a child, why she would not be more appreciative... he has not opportunity to be so intimately involved with the baby, so he seeks more attention... if she has the stammia to do both, he doesn't even notice that she is tired, this behavior often leads to her first refusal of intimacy with him... he is devastated because he thinks he's something he may have done, where in reality she is just tired... lack of communication at this point in marriage can turn badly, but if both can manage and again it will only happen with her lead, if both can communicate clearly their desires and their fears... then the marriage survives... if not she becomes strapped to his complaint and suddenly both are on a road that neither are truly happy about... my children are grown now and are the most amazing people I have ever met, yet to say they didn't take up a large part of my life would be foolish for me to say... here's the kicker, for men who cannot change, they are destined to roam the earth trying to fulfill that first dream that she laid into his heart, never fully coming to fruition with someone else because the dream is still locked within his first love... for her, the pain is steady and will always be there also... the key for both is to realize that each moment whether lived withing his dream or hers is a miracle in itself... the trigger for true happiness is to try not to hold any of the moments, for if one does, it loves is so powerful that it begins to pool then grows into a lake, then a large reservoir, where one begins to try harness the power that has displayed itself so vividly... the answer is written in every religion in the world but for me the clearest is written in the christian bible... and He said"I am the I am" which is present tense meaning I am the God of present, the God of now, I changed you yesterday and will change you again tomorrow, but if you can pay attention... I will change you right now...even now".. so with this being said I leave you with this thought.... learn to live within the moment... then the moment will live in you... learn to love the moment and the moment will love you... if the couple is able to live within this time together, each will learn, and each with want to have a plan b for each other... it's why life insurance has always been such a big seller... he sees her need for security... she sees his need to be needed... it is a great trade off... prepare...

Ghost32 on August 29, 2011:

Correction: Meant to type, "...for (most) women than for (most) men..." LOL!

Ghost32 on August 29, 2011:

With 6 divorces (the marriages last as long as 8 years or as little as 1 year) and a Till Death Do Us marriage #7 (15 years and counting, to Pam), I guess I should be qualified to comment. On paper, anyway.

Thoughts as they come to what passes for my mind:

1. I don't think much of having a plan B.

2. I never made one (plan B) in any of the six failed marriages UNTIL the warning signs added up enough to force my hand...and I was still always able to come up with something.

That said, if the marriage is showing those warning signs--well, that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish.

One non-marital example of "no plan B" working out:

In the fall of 1962, I owed a buddy of mine $47 to un-dent a fender on his car I'd smacked with my car. (Long story--and yes, that $47 fender repair would today cost at least $470.)

But I had NO dough. College student, yada yada yada.

So I BORROWED $50 from a rancher/cowboy friend to pay for gas and entry fees for a rodeo up north of the Canadian border. Knew that to pay him back, I'd have to earn a minimum of $115 at the rodeo--in a total of 3 events: Bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, and bull riding.

Got beat up in the arena pretty good (gored between the shoulder blades by my bull, and also knocked out on my feet when I bucked off one of my 2 saddle broncs). But I placed second in the bull riding on that same bull, placed on the one saddle bronc I rode successfully, made a bit of money on my bareback bronc--and ended up winning the All-Around Cowboy championship, which paid a bit, too.

My final total: $116.50.

Couldn't have done it if I'd not been totally committed.

So for me: No plan B unless the marriage is doomed. If I make a plan B, sooner or later I USE it.

It's not a toy.

On the other hand, Izetti makes sense. It may be more important for (most) men than for (most) women. Although I can also think of TWO of my 6 divorces where their deeper trust in their "plan B thinking" definitely contributed to my decision to dump 'em in the end.

Danged if you do, danged if you don't?

Or maybe just pick better dudes? LOL!

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on August 29, 2011:

Amy~ you got me thinking...and you always do- lol. Anyway, I think plan B is a bigger asset for women than men. I'm just realizing that. I'm a stay-at-home mom right now and I remember my mom was in that position when she was left. Yes, I have experience and a degree that she didn't have, but still think a plan might be good as well. As you said, even working and being self-sufficient can change in an instant today with everything going on in our country. Plans are starting to look better and better- perhaps we need plan c,d,e, and f too. Of course those don't always work out either- lol. We can look at how many people in foreclosure who had no plan b. It almost seems as if you don't have a plan b then you could be in denial. You're a survivor and I've had to do the same! Thanks for your input.

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on August 29, 2011:

Jeanine~ I love your view on this- so far you seem to be one of the only, other than Old Poolman, that is married for a long time and still is OK and calm and cool about a Plan B. We all know things (or...shit) happens but it doesn't mean we don't love our spouse if we prepare for whatever hits the fan.

Nick~ all opinions are welcome and I thought the same as you before I was married. Love conquers all may work in the movies, but in real life I think I'm in favor of Plan B.

Gus~ I agree it probably sounds silly after being married a while, but boy have I heard some shockers to how women get left or have to leave and many are usually women so maybe its something more valuable to a woman to have that plan b. And no, I have never understood vow renewals!!!

Husky1970 on August 29, 2011:

Wow, izetti, you have certainly generated some great discussion here. I definitely tend to be a Plan B type person, but not in marraige. My wife and I just celebrated our 41st anniversary. I do not know or care to know if she has a Plan B. Hope this doesn't sound sexist, but the idea of a Plan B just may be a little more important for the female than the male in most cases. If my wife does have a Plan B, then I sure hope she is ready to cash it in and have a great time when we hit that 50th anniversary! Terrific and thought provoking hub.

FairDay from Buffalo, New York on August 29, 2011:

Hi Iz

Your plan B was my plan A... or rather my wife's. When we met she was ten years older than me and had been living alone for ten years and she wasn't about to sacrifice the independence of her financial life just because she was in love. So, we have always conducted our finances separately and I have never had a problem with that. We still act as each other's buffer in tough times and it doesn't effect the romance at all.

That said, I should warn you, I have friends (who are now divorced) who discovered that their wives had secret bank accounts or credit cards... and... these discoveries turned into horrible arguments that their marriages never recovered from. To them it was a sign of dishonesty, a sign that they couldn't trust each other. Now, these couples had a lot of problems and the finding of secret bank accounts wasn't what drove them apart, (in one case, I think the guy was completely untrustworthy and was looking for an excuse not to trust his wife too,) but, it helped to make trust, that was already faltering, completely fail.

My advice (and yes I'll take a check... and I'll need a 1099 at the end of the year) would be to discuss this with your husband. Only you can tell if that would do more harm than good, but, his discovery of this secret would be devastating, and would almost certainly come at the wrong time.


Lauryallan on August 29, 2011:

I have to say I agree with you about a Plan B. There is no sure thing in life anymore. Jobs aren't for life, kids grow up and leave their parents, spouses fall in and out of love and random acts just happen. Sometimes these random acts can be good like winning the lottery and at other times they can be bad like you're roof falling in.

I think it's best to have a Plan B in a marriage. I am not married but I saw my mum put up with a lot of rubbish from my dad because she had no B plan. She was stuck and felt she couldn't escape. My mums problem was she had no financial freedom. Just from seeing my parents marriage, I know how important it is to have a Plan B and always have something to fall back on. There's nothing worse than being trapped in a life you feel you can't get out of.

5 years ago my dad got diagnosed with cancer and within 2 months was confined to a wheelchair and needed 24 hour care. If I didn't have funds saved up I have no idea what I would have done. It would have made a terrible situation unbearable.

Lapse from East Coast Rules on August 29, 2011:

Wow an open discussion about a Plan B in the context of a marriage. I admire your apparent honesty here. I am very intrigued by the discussion, and I think these understandable thoughts and actions make it very obvious you are a product of divorce. I myself have still married parents but am divorced myself.

To me Plan Bs are almost ALWAYS a good thing. The REAL question is if its ever okay to have SECRET Plan Bs. To me in the spirit of today's marriage in the vast majority of cases the answer is 100% no. The ideal marriage will have no secrets unless its agreed on that secrets are acceptable.

Since this world is NOT ideal of course secrets will arise, but hopefully nothing that will sink the ship. Its yet another thing that comes back to "good communication." That's the answer to ALMOST every relationship issue isn't it?

This is not to say that people shouldn't have separate finances or anything like that. Bottom line is if it works for "the relationship" then you should do it. Hell, to take it all the way if you agree to have secrets then have secrets! I think the real problem is where partners in a relationship can't agree to compromise on a subject. When that happens (not if that happens) then secrets come into it. This is why compassion and understanding are paramount in a marriage. Not that you didn't know that. :-D

The topic of family security is almost another issue here.

Amy Becherer from St. Louis, MO on August 29, 2011:

Despite the best laid plans, there are no guarantees that things will go as planned. I am a big fan of separate checking accounts from the get-go. I think it creates a healthy competition in who manages best. I believe in combining earnings for shared expenses such as the home and its maintenance, with personal purchases come from the personal account of the purchaser. This never created anonymosity and money was never the factor in my divorces. Plan B, for me, included working. Keeping my foot in the door and my hands on the pulse of constant change inherent in business, kept me vital and employable.

Nevertheless, I finalized my divorce, signed a lease on an apartment, and two weeks later (after another excellent annual review), I was laid off due to the economy. My worst fear had come to fruition, despite my plans.

Interviews later, I remain unemployed. Although the words "age discrimination" are never uttered, this is the new reality. If you are 50 and beyond, forget about it. I, too, am writing online and ready to seriously delve into selling my oil paintings. Since I love gardening, I wish I had started considering these services before now. Its not too late and I will continue to hone my skills and remain independent, as there is no real option otherwise. It could still be worse, as I have a close female friend that is very depressed in a living hell, tied to a cheating, lying husband due to illness that would restrict her ability to work her talents in entertainment, even if the economy were better. They lost their home to foreclosure, now live in another state in a rental property that is too small, and she is taking care of her mother who has dementia.

I wallowed in self-pity a couple of weeks and then got serious about writing. I am ruthlessly frugal, which has sustained me, but like I've learned...the best laid plans don't insure crap. My safety net sprung some holes, but luckily I am a diligent seamstress. Great article, izettl, with much to think about.

Gustave Kilthau from USA on August 29, 2011:

Howdy izettl - Just several days ago there was a big thing here in town during which a number of married couples "renewed their marriage vows." Well, I am not opposed to that sort of thing for those who think it necessary, but my bride and I have now been married for a time (we are in Year-59 right now) and I feel that "Plan B" and "renewals" are superfluous if folks meant what they vowed the first time. People do have accidents and die, but those are different stories.

Gus :-)))

Nick Lucas on August 29, 2011:

izettl of course the opinion is coming from someone, me, who is not married and cant imagine being so I dont know if it holds gravity....haha

jeanine on August 28, 2011:

It's def to have a plan b, and I am with my love for 41 years, if there are places each of you can excel and make head way on each of you, whether that is a career or crafting at home or just working at the same job or working out ways to be together while you work, it is always important to have a place one can retreat to collect ones on thoughts... we have been together 24/7 for these 41 years and we have never considered divorce once.... murder a couple of times but not

those who do not think they need one, some times are more inclined to stress, and that can lead to impass on some points... and if those stresses are not relieved quickly, then one might consider divorce or plan b as you call it...

We never considered what we thought of as a plan b... but instead thought of it more like alternate plans of where we might go if circumstance changed or began to morf into something we didn't expect...

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on August 28, 2011:

Mike~ I would suspect that you and Jim would have the same outlook on this because you are both business men- cover your ass is a good motto to have in any situation. Especially in death, there needs to be a plan that each spouse has. We can't be so naive to think that NOTHING will ever happen or change.

i really like your kill two birds with one stone thought about being prepared for death and it inadvertantly prepares for divorce or anything else as well. THank you for your words Mike. You are a wise YOUNG man!!

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on August 28, 2011:

Nick~ I partly agree with you. I can see how having a backup plan would make it easier to say goodbye.

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on August 28, 2011:

Dardia~ I agree with you partly. Most couples can and should weather typical tough times. But the extaordinary sometimes happens and happened to my mom when my dad said he wanted to be a woman- or my friend whose husband decided he was gay or another friend of mine whose husband spent all their money behind her back. I still say a plan B is essential, but yes it takes the romanticism of an old couple walking hand in hand out of the equation. Thank you for stopping by

L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on August 28, 2011:

Hunbbel~ love the quote and some would prefer leaving it up to fate or faith. So go in all the way or don't go in at all is what you are saying. I can understand this and especially your point about your partner feeling betrayed if you have a backup plan and then you have one and there is a lack of trust. Thank you for your thoughts.

marellen~ For the most part I agree- things do usually work out. Even though I had some rough circumstances, things have worked out. I think in marriage the wisest backup plan is to have some of your own money. Money always helps to get out of tough spots. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you come up with a good backup plan for your situation now. My mom is 65 and has had a few transitions, but she is one of those that never has a plan and always lands on her feet. However, I think she wishes now that there were more permanence to her situation and she needs a plan for that.

Old Poolman on August 28, 2011:

Laura, yes you should have a Plan B in everything you do including marriage. You use Plan B many times without even thinking about it when driving. I mean like what street to take if your first choice turns out to be a parking lot. What to cook when what you planned is missing from the refrigerator, and things like that.

A Plan B for marriage is absolutely essential. Any day could be anyone's spouses last day on this planet. They leave for work in the morning, and suddenly they are gone. Without a Plan B, the surviving spouse is often at a total loss with no knowledge of assets or liabilities involved in the marriage. I am not a fan of hidden bank accounts, but totally in favor of separate investments for husband and wife. Joint checking accounts are the best because you can both sign a check. I believe you live in a Community Property state, and in the case of divorce a hidden bank account can come back to haunt you.

If for now you forget the divorce aspect of your question, and develop your Plan B based on the possible sudden loss of your husband, you would be set for both. It is not easy to do, but it should be done like this in my opinion.

I have been married to the same lady for almost 50 years, and trust me, every marriage goes through many phases over the years. It progresses from the early stages of hot passionate sex at least three times a day, to the later stages where you are just very comfortable with each other. Marriage is a partnership and everything should be shared equally, but keep in mind that like any partnership it could end suddenly, and Plan B needs to be in place and ready to implement. Hope this is sort of what you were looking for.

Nick Lucas on August 28, 2011:

No there should be no plan B for marriage. The reason there should be no plan B is that anyone who is married is going to go through tough times and if they have a plan B they are more likely to take it and not try to work things out and will probably regret it later.

Darlene Yager from Michigan on August 28, 2011:

I don't think having a back up plan is out of the question. It is actually smart in the case of your spouse's death. Planning to prepare for divorce seems like you weren't sure of this life together in the first place. Planning for divorce sounds like you know in your heart you will run. You have seen it and are afraid of it so you are the deer ready to bolt if anyone gets too close.

Yes, you change and your spouse changes but if you believe in your commitment to each other you will work with these changes to continue to love and trust each other. Have you seen an elderly couple walking together, holding hands, looking like young lovers? This is how they can be this in love after all of the years they have spent together.

I'm not saying that having a separate savings account is a bad idea, you never know what might happen. I think it would be best if your informed your husband you have another savings in case anything should happen to him. Who knows he may be the one left alone.

Good luck and may God bless you and your spouse and keep each of you safe. + Darlene

marellen on August 28, 2011:

This is all very interesting. I have been married more than once and I never had a plan B, but somehow things worked out. My feelings are another issue. At least I had a roof over my head and provided for my kids. I think if you had a plan B in your marriage it might make you more relaxed, knowing you at least had a cushion to fall back on. I'm in a tight spot now with caregiving my Mom. I don't get paid for this and have no money.....God forbid when she goes, my only back-up plan is to move in with my girlfriend and her husband. They have a spare room until I can work things out. I'm no spring chicken, I just turned 60. I need and want a Plan B. I think its wise to have a plan because you never know what is around the corner.

Syed Hunbbel Meer from Karachi, Pakistan. on August 28, 2011:

You can go for these sorts of plans, but personally I don't think there should be so much doubts about the relation, you make your destiny to live with.

"If you trust someone, trust them fully, either you'll have a very good relation, or a very good lesson."

Besides that, if my partner does the same, I will feel kinda hurt, and God knows, maybe I start to do something as well, thinking that if my partner is doing something, I should make a back-up for me too. Imagine, how ugly things will become. So, I think so much distrust and doubts should be in a relationship; only love and trust should be allowed to dwell. If something bad happens, in any case, it'll be your life too and you will have a new experience to live albeit a bad one. But until n unless that bad thing happens, which isn't even certain, one should not make his living life a hell.

All the above thoughts are my personal feelings, as you asked. Peace and best of luck :)

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