Did You Win The Husband Lottery?

One of my friends married one of the most popular guys in our high school a couple of years ago.

He was the whole package. He was tall and good-looking.

He even competed for the Mr. title at our high school (a male version of the beauty pageant).

He was smart and got a degree from overseas.

He had an entrepreneurial spirit and started a couple of thriving businesses (or so I heard) when he came back to Vietnam after graduation.

He also came from a wealthy and well-educated family. Everything about him just screamed “Perfect!” to an outsider.

And not surprisingly, a lot of girls went after him. But he chose my friend.

They maintained their long-distance relationship for a couple of years and later got married.

Everything seemed to have worked out perfectly for my friend.

Two years later, I met a mutual friend of ours who told me that they had gotten divorced. My friend was raising a kid all by herself.

I was shocked. How is that possible? She seemed to have it all.

I learned that the reason was his infidelity. He had many girls chasing after him, and he gave in to temptations.

I felt my heart aching for my friend. I have to admit that I was a bit jealous of her when I learned about the boyfriend.

But I was not happy that my friend’s marriage came to an end.

Could they have saved their marriage? Did she suspect infidelity when before they got married? How did that beautiful happy ending come to an end so abruptly? Those questions drove me crazy.

Related: How Frugality Brought Us Together As A Couple

A familiar story

My friend’s story, unfortunately, is not unique. Growing up in a male-dominated society in Vietnam, I was often told that it is common and even normal for men to seek something “extra” outside of their marriage.

Even when a woman finds out that her husband is unfaithful, she should look the other way because it is just human nature for men: they just need some adventure and fun outside of their marriage.

Is it so? I never accepted all those things that people told me. Why should I marry someone and let them fool around behind my back and even in my face? It’s better being single than being married to a husband like that.

When I was single, I met many guys who were just willing to flirt with almost any girls they met. I was ok with them doing their thing, but I didn’t want any of that. They can flirt with whoever they want, but I don’t have time for that BS.

And I certainly didn’t think of them as boyfriend or marriage material. There’s a difference between being outgoing and being desperate/pathetic.

I have also had friends who tried to ask many girls out just to find the one and get married. I had no problem with that and even helped with the matchmaking.

But I also know guys who just go after whoever to get whatever it is that they can get. It’s their life, and I would like to stay out of that as much as I can.

People tend to think of such actions as normal. That’s what guys do. But if a girl does that, people will look at her differently. There’s an endless list of names and words that people will use to refer to her.

In other words, girls are not supposed to do what boys do. This is a widely accepted double-standard in many societies, even in America.

Related: When You Are Ashamed Of Being Poor

The double standards

What are the other double standards that you can think of? If a husband works hard all day, he’s seen as the man in the family. Even if he doesn’t do any housework or take care of the kids, it’s still ok.

His responsibility is to work hard and provide for the family financially. Everything else just needs to be taken care of by his wife.

But if a woman works late nights trying to advance in her career and provide for her family, she’s seen as irresponsible to her family. She’s described as bossy.

And in the worst case, if her husband cheats on her, people would even say that she deserves it. She should have spent more time pleasing her husband and given him the love that he needed.

If a wife cheats on her husband, who works hard all day, she’s portrayed as an ungrateful wife and a bad person. While her husband gets all the sympathy that he needs for being cheated on, she will be condemned.

How do I know all that? It’s because I am the one who has seen and heard so many comments about unfaithful wives and husbands.

If the husband cheats, it’s the wife’s fault for not being able to keep him. If the wife cheats, it’s her fault for betraying her husband.

It doesn’t matter if her husband has cheated on her repeatedly or abused her physically and/or mentally. The moment she fell into the arms of another man, she will be condemned. And her husband? It’s not that bad because men tend to cheat anyway, but women are not allowed to do the same.

Dealing with an unhappy ending

In the story above, my friend was fine financially since she had a great education and a high-paying job. Her parents are also better-off and supported her and her child.

But what if she relied on her husband financially? A separation would mean an emotional and financial world turned upside down for her.

Unfortunately, that happens more often than we think. Many women sacrifice their careers to take care of their family. That sacrifice can strengthen the love and finances of a family. But in many cases, infidelity happens.

The woman then is caught between a rock and a hard place. If she leaves, it will be a blow to her finances and stability. She wants to take care of the kids, but raising the kids alone without a well-paid job would mean hardships for her and her children.

If she stays, she has to accept her husband’s infidelity. The upside of that sacrifice is that everything will go on as usual maybe except for her feelings.

This is definitely not the case for all couples. But I don’t write about things that I don’t know. And trust me when I say that I have seen how this scenario is played out in real life.

Money doesn’t buy everything, but it means power. If you have money, you have the upper hand in making decisions, much more so than those who don’t have as much as you.

In the US, men are legally required to pay child support and even alimony per the family court’s decision.

In Vietnam, when a couple gets divorced, the wife is at the mercy of the husband when it comes to alimony and child support.

The husband can choose not to contribute financially to raising the kids, and no one can do anything about that. The wife is then left scrambling to rebuild her life and raise her children.

What does it mean for me?

In Vietnamese, there’s a folk song that talks about the life of a woman in the feudal society:

My life is like the rain,

Some drops fall into a well, and some fall into a beautiful garden.

My life is like the rain,

Some drops fall onto a castle, and some fall onto a rice field.

The folk song compares the life of a woman to rain drops. Some women are lucky and find a good husband who will take care of them for the rest of their lives.Β But some women are not so lucky and have to deal with a lot of hardships in their marriage.

The mechanism that determines these selections, unfortunately, is totally random. It means that whether a woman can have a happy life is beyond her control.

This folk song was written in the feudal society when women in Vietnam were not allowed to go to school or own property. They didn’t have the opportunity to have an education, pursue a career, and take control of their lives.

Although that is no longer the case, I still think that finding a good husband is sometimes a game of luck. My friend thought that she had found the perfect man in her life, who later turned out to be an unfaithful husband.

HowΒ  many of you have heard stories about men who seem to be caring and loving when they’re dating but turn into a violent, abusive, and selfish husband once they get married?

People change, and in many cases, someone’s actions today cannot perfectly predict what they will do tomorrow.

When Mr. FAF and I got married, I thought about this possibility and was even starting to prepare myself for his change in behavior.

What would I do if he turned into an abusive husband? That question was in my mind before, during, and after our wedding.

We’ve been married for only four years, so it’s still early to tell what will happen in the future. I can’t control his behavior and how he might change in the future. But there’s one thing I can take control of and prepare right at this very moment: my finances.

If there’s one thing I have learned over the past 30 years of my existence, it’s this: the only person I can rely on for the rest of my life is myself and no one else.

Related: How To Find A Frugal Husband

Conclusion

Despite all the challenges I’ve faced, I feel incredibly lucky to have an education and the opportunity to live my life in America.

Women in developing countries face various hardships, biases, and obstacles. They are discriminated against the moment they are born just because of their gender.

Many women in rural areas have to stop going to school to make money so that their brothers can continue their education.

Many women have little to no education and do not own any property. They are at the mercy of their husband and society who are often biased against them.

Physically, women are not as strong as men. That’s why they succumb to domestic violence and abuse. Socially, they are discriminated against in terms of education, job opportunity, and advancement.

As a mom, I have always thought about what I would teach my future daughter. I would tell her that I am proud of her, that there’s no dream she can’t pursue just because she’s a woman, that no one has the right to treat her badly because of her gender, and that she should always stand up for herself when someone does her injustice.

I realized that those are the privileges many girls and women don’t have. But nothing will happen if we don’t do anything about it.

I can’t change what the world thinks about women. But I will tell my daughter that no matter whether she can win the husband lottery or not, she should be able to stand on her own feet and be prepared for whatever comes her way.

Related:

How To Find A Frugal Husband

Interview with Mr. FAF – Husband Of A Personal Finance Blogger

Our Family Reunion & 4 Financial Implications

The Pros & Cons Of Being A Female Breadwinner

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31 thoughts on “Did You Win The Husband Lottery?”

  • This should have been posted on Women’s Day, girl, why didn’t you post this on Women’s Day!! It’s literally the most perfect post with the most perfect message!!!!!! WHAT AM I GOING TO HASH TAG NOW. (Sorry for the caps πŸ˜‚)

    You’re…oh shoot…I forgot how long Jared and I have been married…..I think half the time of yours. So we’re even younger together as a couple.

    My mom always told me to be careful with a guy with too many girls hanging off him. Her advice is probably similar to your tales of caution. My fillipino friend told me fillipino men are pigs”

    • (oops)…are “pigs” and it’s normal for them to cheat. She’s fillipino herself and she said that’s the reputation around South East Asia. Is that true?

      My mom told me not to date white guys because they always cheat especially when they get older. Obviously I didn’t listen and now I’m tied to the cute sleeping white boy next to me. He stays late at Google all the time and comes home at 9. I noted he could easily be seeing another woman and he said…”no I can’t because my mom’s in California.” LOL.

      • Oh my that’s a brilliant idea! I apparently didn’t think far enough to post it on Women’s Day. What was I thinking?!

        I haven’t heard that rumor about Filipino men, but I heard this:
        – My Taiwanese friend said all Taiwanese men cheat, so she wanted to marry a foreigner (aka white guys).
        – My Japanese friend said all Japanese men cheat, so she also wanted to marry a foreigner (aka white guys).
        – People in Vietnam say it’s normal for Vietnamese man to cheat, and that women should just expect it to happen.
        – Female Chinese friends said Chinese men cheat too.
        – People in Vietnam say white/Western guys are not family oriented and cheat easily (not sure where the stats come from, maybe 50% of marriages in the US end up in a divorce?).
        – Men cheating everywhere and anytime they can.

        In other words, if Mr. FAF cheats one day, I will say good-bye to him and take half or more of our assets/savings, etc. I might not need him anymore, but I sure will need my money and kids.

    • As a Filipino guy myself, it’s unfortunate to have that reputation but I wouldn’t doubt it to be true especially over in SouthEast Asia. I’m guessing it’s because of the societal pressure over there albeit by their peers and having the reputation of having women around them sounds so tempting for the men over there.

  • I agree with lily, this would’ve been perfect #womenrockmoney!

    Also, every woman should just save up her own money so that she has something! Financial security is everything.

    Also, I love this font. That is all πŸ˜‚

    • Now I regret not posting this article on Women’s Day. Ahh!

      I’m with you on financial security. Husbands come and go, but money needs to stay in our bank accounts πŸ˜‰

  • I am a Christian and say when dating, look for a man with Christian values. If you are not Christian look for one with strong moral values. You can usually easily tell what their values are even before you date them. People usually have a reputation one way or other. Don’t look for a man with “a cute butt”, look at his morals. He doesn’t have to be perfect looking as long as he is neat and clean. Get real–weed out the ladies’ men, even before you date them.

  • Mrs. Groovy got very lucky. I’m a man of honor. Also, I’m a balding middle-aged man who drives a 2004 Camry. In other words, not many hotties get weak in the knees when they see me and my honor is never tested. Great post, Mrs. FAF. Woman are co-equal partners in life and marriage and should be treated as such. Once I figured this out life got incredibly easier. Cheers.

    • “In other words, not many hotties get weak in the knees when they see me and my honor is never tested.”

      Your comment made me laugh hehe. Sometimes I’d ask Mr. FAF if any girls are interested in him. And he’d be like “Look at me. Do you think anyone would be interested in me?” I just smile, but I know if a girl can look beyond his appearance and understand him like I do, they would definitely take a look at him twice. Like my prof used to say, some people are like a diamond in the rough, and you just need to look past the surface to see their value πŸ˜€

  • I love this topic! I am Trinidadian and apparently Trinidadian men love to cheat. The term in Trinidad and in the Caribbean is to “horn” – so Trinidadian men supposedly love to horn.

    Being said, I’m single but observe a lot of the relationships around me, and I think all my friends won the husband jackpot. If they didn’t, they certainly knew what they were signing up for :p I think some men aren’t raised to share household duties, and women to them are just objects not much more. And vice versa, in that some women see men only as providers and not much else.

    So far, I haven’t had a husband jackpot though!

    • I didn’t know that Trinidadian men have such reputation. However, that reputation seems applicable to men in many countries, including Vietnam.

      I believe everyone will hit some kind of jackpot one day. Patience and continued effort is key! πŸ˜‰

  • You two are doing well with your marriage. Keep working on it and it’ll keep getting better.
    I think you’re right. Guys are more likely to cheat. It’s kind of wired into our DNA. It’s no different here in the US. Look at our president for example. I think it’s easier for regular guys to be faithful in the US, but powerful men still do whatever they want. Guys in Asia are expected to cheat on their wives. That probably give most guys the okay to do so. Society pressure and all that.

    • Thank you, Joe! You’re always so encouraging!

      I think guys have a higher sex drive than women in terms of biology. It’s like when you’re hungry all the time, you’re also likely to eat more often. Many men in Vietnam use it as an excuse to have multiple affairs and ignore their families though, which I don’t think is good.

      I agree with you that powerful men can do whatever they want. They attract more attention from girls, and they know that it’s harder for the wife to give up on the marriage given all the perks she can enjoy. Sad but true.

  • Love the message of this post!

    When I was in Vietnam, I really didn’t like the Vietnamese guide for our group. He was married with a kid. Just had a feeling about him. One day, I walked into our hotel lobby and saw him holding the hand of the receptionist, and I never saw him the same way again. I didn’t care how nice he was. It did make me wonder about the cultural aspect of infidelity, though, and I was curious to know how Vietnamese wives felt about it.

    • When we were visiting Germany the tour bus driver who was married and had a ring, and spoke about his wife, said when we reached a certain city that tonight he would find a fine, young lady and have a good time. I was surprised he was so open about it. I don’t know if that behavior is more acceptable there.

    • Thank you so much, Luxe!

      Yeah I tend to despise guys who act so irresponsibly and unfaithfully. I just feel bad for the wife and kid. I’ve had some so-called successful Vietnamese men told me with pride that they have a “girlfriend,” and that their wives also know about it. Maybe they thought I would be impressed or something. I didn’t say anything, but I was just like “Whatever loser” *rolling my eyes*

  • This is part of the reason I insisted fiance and I have a prenup. And while most of our accounts are going to be joint in marriage, I built into the system for each of us to have separate personal accounts pre-filled with a few thousand dollars plus a monthly personal allowance.

    It’s so common in abusive relationships for the abuser to hold the purse strings and ice out their partner so they literally don’t have the means to even buy a plane ticket if they need to leave a bad situation. And while I can’t imagine fiance ever being abusive to me or vice versa, it is important to me that we have provisions to protect both of our safety.

    • I think getting a prenup is a great idea! When Mr. FAF and I got married, we had almost nothing. We were just two broke students, so there was nothing to divide if we got married. Now that we’re building our careers, everything can be split 50-50 under the law, so I’m not too worried about it. BUT, if something happens though, collecting evidence to prove their wrongdoing is key in court, IMHO.

  • Ah yes, beware of the charming, dashing, handsome man! For he knows he is so and has many temptations. It is hard not to eat a cookie if there are jars full of cookies everywhere.

    Perhaps those good looking wealthy men who choose to not be on instagram, choose not to brag about their status, and who remain Stealth wealth do so bc they know they will face temptation otherwise.

    Sam

    • “Perhaps those good looking wealthy men who choose to not be on instagram, choose not to brag about their status, and who remain Stealth wealth do so bc they know they will face temptation otherwise.”

      Is someone referring to Sam at Financial Samurai? I know he’s really into stealth wealth hehe. :p

      Temptations are everywhere. Wealthy men do have more of those than the regular men. Avoiding temptations (or self-discipline), I think, is key to sticking with our values and standards πŸ˜€

  • Man, that stinks that in Vietnam, women have no protection in terms of ex-husbands paying alimony and child support. I think about this topic a lot. I lucked out on the husband lottery. In some ways, complete luck. Each year I realize what an incredible man I married. But I didn’t realize it when I married him, and I’ve always thought there is a certain amount of luck that goes with it.

    • It’s great that you found the right man. I do agree that luck plays an important role in a happy marriage. We can have all the criteria for the right man, but if our heart says no, it’s hard to stay with them and be happy.

  • I was in Vietnam a few days ago and had a marriage and divorce discussion with my cousins. They were shocked to hear that I would not tolerate cheating in my marriage. They said they would forgive as long as their husbands know to return to them each night. I find that incredibly sad.

    • Thanks for sharing the story, Quynh! I’m not surprised at what your cousins said at all. That’s something my grandma says a lot. And many women think the same way. I think it’s kinda like trying to accept your destiny: if you’re a woman, be prepared to be cheated on and be happy if your husband still comes home at the end of the way. In a way, that’s what society makes those women think as well.

  • I know a couple of guy friends and co-workers who have that charm to attract women and loves being around them. What they all have in common is that they are all divorced and I’m guessing the reason is just that, they love being around other women.
    Yeah your right Ms. FAF, guys are more likely to be unfaithful because they put themselves in that situation of temptation and plus they like to for some reason In my opinion, I believe that they oversee their values and standards of being faithful with their SO and get tempted. You have to put your own values and standard over everything else and forgot all the outside noises of societal and peer pressure. It makes for more rational decisions.

  • Men aren’t more unfaithful. You are perpetuating an old lie about men. For every man that cheats, there is a corresponding woman that cheats with him. In gender terms, the cheating is equal between the two sides.

  • Although I’m sure it wasn’t meant to, this article makes me feel sad. I have seen very closely the relationships that you describe–the woman being unable to leave an unhappy relationship due to lack of financial stability. As a stay at home mother, I relate heavily to this as well. My marriage certainly doesn’t have these issues, but if it did–I wouldn’t be able to support two children on my own. When the decision was made for me to stay at home, I never thought twice about the gap in my career and what that would mean for earning potential if something went wrong. I hope I never have to worry about that.

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