With all of the “pinking” of October, I forgot to give my fullest attention to something that I am most passionate about, the prevention of and advocacy for domestic violence awareness month.
As a Daily Worth Expert, I have the incredible fortune of being able to write for an community of intelligent, ambitious, creative, innovative and amazing women and leaders; as it is the leading financial media company for women. Its goal is that all women see money not as a source of stress and anxiety, but of freedom and empowerment. And yet, I am regularly reminded that there are times that even smart, in fact even brilliant, financially savvy women, can find themselves in situations that they never imagined and for which there are no easy answers.
I am a fierce advocate for women; and I am a divorce and relationship expert, transition strategist and speaker on resilient leadership. But I also know, all too well, that sometimes love and emotions can and will derail even the smartest and most successful women from making decisions that are in their best interest.
While life is not all about money, when it comes to love, it so often is.
My boys are now 18 and 21, and as I talk to other mothers about our young adults, the conversation inevitably comes down to how and when they will become self-sufficient, financially and otherwise.
Being a divorced mother and a fierce advocate for women has allowed me to have unique conversations with my sons about what ambition, self-sufficiency and love mean…and how they play out in the real world.
As they begin to think about creating their own professional success and desire to support a wife and children one day, I am partly proud and partly fearful that they don’t yet fully understand that financial self-sufficiency, especially for women, is at the core of a sustainably healthy relationship…and marriage.
See, here’s the thing you and women of all ages need to know.
It is all about the money.
It’s all about the money when love is involved. When women don’t know how to be financially self-sufficient, they will never be free to live life on their terms.
If a woman can’t support herself in the most basic way, she will always remain dependent on someone; and as an adult and partner, she will most likely depend on the person she loves.
But here’s the other thing…the raw and real truth.
Love often doesn’t last forever.
And if it doesn’t last or if it becomes unhealthy, unsafe or ends when you never saw it coming; being financially self-sufficient will allow you the freedom to protect yourself and make choices from a place of possibility.
As a mother of boys I take the responsibility of teaching them to grow into men that support and empower the women they love to stand firmly on their own two feet as happy, healthy and self-sufficient women seriously. I take it seriously so that they love they create and build will be by choice, not necessity or dependence.
So, I ask you from the deepest part of my being to do the same for yourself and for your sons, and even more importantly, your daughters.
Love will always grow deeper, stronger and more passionately when it comes from a place of choice…when it is not confused by co-dependence or control.
As I watch our young adults, the next generation, navigate the increasingly complex world of love and money, partnership and freedom, I am even more determined than ever to speak powerfully and courageously about the importance of self-sufficient union; not only financially, but emotionally, physically and in all other ways.
We all seek freedom; and money, in the form of financial self-sufficiency, is one way to get there.
And today, because it is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, remember this.
Love should never hurt.
The next time you’re in a room with 6 people, know that:
- 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience violence from their partners in their lifetimes.
- 1 in 3 teens experience sexual or physical abuse or threats from a boyfriend or girlfriend in one year.
- 1 in 5 women are survivors of rape.
- 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lives.
To learn how to help someone in an abusive relationship or to get help for yourself, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit domesticshelters.org, the largest searchable directory of domestic violence service providers in the United States.