I am a former White Collar Wife writing about my experience of recovery.

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     I began blogging on the subject of white collar wives after experiencing the devastating consequences of my, (former), husband's financial crime.  My goal was to reach other women who are suffering or have suffered as I did so that they wouldn't have to walk this dark and uncertain path alone. The blog also serves to educate the public regarding the stigma wives and families face as a result of guilt by association.  The truth is that wives and children are the FIRST victims of many white collar crimes as a result of the acute breach of trust and ensuing financial ruin that is brought upon them by a man whose primary obligation is to protect his family.  As a result of the positive response to my blog essays I created a private on-line support group, The Secret Lives of White Collar Wives.  The purpose of the group is to provide a safe and private place of acceptance and empowerment. Our community continues to grow both nationally as well as internationally.  Please contact me at lawlerlisa1@gmail.com for a private screening into the group. (A request made directly to the group page will not be accepted). 

     In addition to my advocacy work on behalf of white collar wives and families I have developed a lecture on ethics in the workplace. I urge all who are serious about compliance and risk to contact me for a compelling hour of "Truth and Consequences: Easy Money Isn't Easy" from a new voice with a new perspective on enforcement. Humans are vulnerable to many temptations and too often fail to consider the dire consequences one bad decision can have on their and their families lives. 

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Monday, March 9, 2015

DIVORCE AND WHITE COLLAR WIVES

 

(This is a repost of a blog piece from last year)

 

Should You Divorce Your White Collar Criminal Husband?

 

     To Divorce or not to divorce? That is the question. Statistics say that most marriages do not survive the heartbreak and fallout of white collar crime. Especially if there is a prison sentence longer than five years. 

 

     When a spouse commits financial fraud it is not only an egregious act against the victim(s) but it is also an epic betrayal of trust, responsibility, caring and protection of a marriage. Without these basic traits in a marriage, (or in a family), there cannot be real love. While it's true that some white collar criminals have mental illnesses of one sort or another which informs their inexplicable behavior,  most criminals do what they do because they have the opportunity, motivation and lack a true moral compass.  As such, one of the most pressing questions I had after learning of my husband's criminal act was this: Did he think of his family and risk our lives anyway? Or, did he simply not consider us at all? I've never been able to get an answer to that question and probably never will, but either way it's been a lose-lose scenario for me and my son. 

 

     I was married to my husband for twenty six years. We had known one another since we were in our teens and although our relationship wasn't perfect  we always thought we'd grow old together. We had been through the usual ups and downs that any marriage might experience but as we grew older and despite having an incredibly blessed and full life my husband decided that having everything he ever dreamed of was not going to be enough for him.  The more he pushed all that was important in his life aside, (in favor of a flashy sports car and one very sorry excuse for a girlfriend who took full advantage of his financial generosity), the more he sealed our fate.  Our marriage vows ask us to promise to "love one another for better or worse, in sickness and in health." But those vows don't ask us to lay down and die a thousand deaths because our spouse chose to toss us off a cliff. I truly believe that white collar crime is a form of domestic abuse/terrorism and that it should be treated as such. I didn't want my marriage to end in divorce however I feel as if I had no other choice.  Not only was my husband an embezzler, he also had a fully secret life outside of his marriage.  When all was revealed to me, reluctantly, I knew that I could never trust my husband again.  I'm not advocating that all women run out and divorce their white collar husbands and I'm not suggesting that all men who commit financial fraud have girlfriends.  I believe most marriages can survive infidelity, however  I do not believe that most marriages can survive betrayal on this kind of an epic scale. 

 

     There are many women who do choose to stand with their incarcerated husband. Out of fear? Duty? Compassion? I hear of women moving themselves and their children across the country to be with their husbands who have been moved from one prison designation to another, time after time. I have very fixed ideas about women who do this.  In their minds they think they are doing what is best for the family and keeping face time going between a child and his/her father and her with her husband is essential.  But the reality is, (especially in long term incarceration), making that kind of sacrifice for someone that has treated their spouse and their own children so carelessly, in my opinion, doesn't deserve that kind of attention.  There is standing by your man and then there's giving up your life for someone who showed total disregard for your life and the lives of your children.  Is that love? Not by any definition that I know of. I believe in compassion and sacrifice but only for those who are truly deserving.  

 

      All I am trying to impart here is that it's time for you to think of yourself and your children and to no longer feel an obligation to someone who felt no obligation to you or his family at the time of his crime. I know it's a very complicated situation but broken down into it's most critical parts, you know the truth. And only you can know what it is you can overcome.  You will have to search your soul and decide for yourself. The road is long and difficult with or without your spouse by your side but you are stronger than you know and you can stand on your own two feet. Look how far you've come now?

 

     In closing I want to tell you that there was a time after my own divorce, (it was and remains a very painful decision on my part), that I didn't believe in happily ever after. But I was raw then and the idea of falling in love again seemed so remote. Seven years later I remain single, (by choice),  and I am okay with that. I know love is all around us and it's there for us if we want to try again. But most importantly, I know now what a truly healthy relationship looks like and I wish that there were more of them. It makes me happy to see a couple in love. It gives me hope. 

 

You are not alone. I'm here. Always.

-Lisa