Elizabeth Edwards: Is money why women stay when husbands stray?

Elizabeth Edwards is on the cover of the latest People Magazine and offers a candid interview inside of the anguish, pain, and decisions that she faced after learning of her husband's affair with a former campaign aide, Rielle Hunter. Recognizing that she has been diagnosed with a terminal illness that could leave her three children without a mother was reportedly a factor in her decision to stay in the marriage.

Children are one of the reasons that women stay in a marriage where a husband has strayed, but it shouldn't be the only reason. Women's income generally drops an average of 16% while a man's increases by 23% according to the NY Times. They often don't have the earning power of their spouses or may have been out of the workforce due to the demands of child raising.

I have seen this happen to a number of women referred to me for counseling. Married 20, 30, or even 40 years, they receive advice from another counselor to get out of the marriage due to a philandering husband. While such advice may be good for the ego, it can be very bad for long term financial security.

I had one woman who divorced in her early sixties after being advised by professionals. Not only was her husband able to finance a high powered lawyer to protect his assets, he had sheltered money for years without her knowledge. He really did not want the divorce and my client would have been much better off just moving out and staying in the marriage.

While straying husbands are a very tragic and difficult circumstance, women should think twice before bailing. Like one woman I know who has outlived three husbands states, "Now I collect social security on all three!"

Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro and the author of Why Did I Marry You Anyway? Overcoming the Myths That Hinder a Happy Marriage. For more relationship tips the expert use, please visit Marriage Tips. For Barb's FREE e-mail newsletter, please visit The People Pro.

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