Ever heard about financial abuse in marriage? Unfortunately, there are different kinds of abuse in relationships. The saddest part is that we sometimes don’t recognize them, so we don’t react accordingly.
Whether it’s mental or physical abuse, it should be reported for the sake of your safety. These two are mostly easy to spot, the latter being the easiest since it leaves visible traces on your body. However, there are some lesser-known violations of our rights that also count as abuse.
One of those that don’t necessarily look like maltreatment is in fact financial abuse. If you’ve never heard of financial abuse before, in this article you’ll discover the most important things about it.
What is financial abuse?
The term financial abuse is connected to any kind of control over the money in the household. Your partner may be limiting your access to family income, he may stop you from getting that job you want badly. He’s basically restraining your possibilities to be financially independent.
Your husband may control the budget and give you no insight or input into it, or he could even take your money and allocate it however he pleases. Financial abuse varies from couple to couple, but the ultimate goal of it is to attain and keep control of the marriage.
Even though this form of abuse is not so easy to spot, it’s actually one of the most common ways to keep one’s partner in a toxic relationship. Here are the biggest signs to help you identify it a bit easier.
5 signs of financial abuse in marriage
Now that you know what financial abuse entails, let’s go through the most evident signs. Some of them are often considered “normal behavior” in households where the father is the breadwinner and head of the house. But that doesn’t make them acceptable.
So, how can you know you’re being financially abused? Time to find out.
1. He’s “taking care” of the finances
Is he the one taking care of the family finances because “you don’t know how to manage money”? He’s not giving you the freedom to plan a monthly budget for the household. After a while, you don’t have access to the financials whatsoever.
So basically, you’re earning money and contributing to the financial needs of your family, yet you don’t have an overview of the current status. Whenever you ask about it, you’re dismissed with excuses, and to be honest, they’re getting pretty lame.
2. He doesn’t support you in reaching your career goals
Before you tied the knot, your now-husband was your biggest support and loudest cheerleader. He pushed you to reach your goals and advance in your career. But things have changed now, haven’t they? He changed his story and now he thinks that you should be a housewife.
You shouldn’t pursue your career, rather stay at home and raise the kids. Don’t get me wrong, some women enjoy being full-time moms and that’s absolutely beautiful, but if you’re not one of them, your husband is financially abusing you by refusing to let you work.
He may stop you from going to job interviews, demand that you quit your current job, or even harass you at work so you get fired.
3. He limits your access to the money
Those days when you had to ask your parents for pocket money are long gone now, or are they? Do you feel like a kid again now that you’re married? If your husband is limiting your access to money, you’re being financially abused.
He may ask you to deposit money into a joint bank account so you could both have access to it, yet he’s the only one that actually does. So, every time you need to buy something for yourself, your kids, or the household, you have to ask him.
This means you probably encounter a lot of questions about why you need to buy those expensive shoes right now, or why Michael needs another shirt since you bought him one on sale two weeks ago. Set up some boundaries and try to get the control back.
4. He exploits your financial resources
He may require from you that you share your income with him, but he’s not willing to do the same. Your husband may force you to take out a bank loan, or request another credit card that you’ll never lay your eyes on.
Gambling and spending your money is no problem for him, and he may even sell some of your belongings to cover his debt. Basically, he’s going to exploit your financial resources until you’re left entirely depleted.
This may be tricky to discover, especially if you trust your partner unconditionally. However, if you notice other signs that your partner may be financially abusing you, check with your bank if everything is in order.
5. He dictates how family funds can be spent
He criticizes every decision you make and dictates how family funds may be spent. Perhaps you didn’t pay attention to this at the start, but now it’s starting to really get on your nerves.
He doesn’t know the household as well as you do, yet he’s the one who insists on buying groceries.
You can’t buy essentials for your personal hygiene, for example, because he says you already have shampoo at home. The fact that you have it for one more wash is not relevant at all. Of course, there’s no reason to buy a lot of sweets for kids, one chocolate bar is enough.
He alone monitors where the money is spent and he kicks up a big fuss if you don’t do finances his way – perhaps even resorting to other forms of abuse, be it physical, emotional, and/or verbal abuse.
If you notice any of these signs, please react quickly and remove yourself from the abuse. Create a healthier environment for yourself and your kids, if you have any. Your expectations of marriage are not irrational and your husband should treat you with respect!