Financial abuse is underrated compared to physical and emotional abuse but can be just as damaging to a relationship. A husband who uses you financially is as cruel as the one who beats his wife. Financial abuse in marriage mostly results when one spouse uses finance to seek control over the relationship. Something as harmless as opening an account in your name or convincing you to hand over the financial accounting are tell-tale signs of financial abuse. In a domestic scenario, financial abuse is almost always present with other kinds of domestic abuse.
A drunk husband beats his wife every night after drowning himself in alcohol and then swiping his wife’s cards to get more substance to abuse might look like physical abuse with underlying tones of financial strain. Gaslighting you to prove you are not stable enough to handle monetary issues is emotional and mental torment. As much as we would like to believe that with love in a relationship, it doesn’t matter if you do not know where your savings keep getting lost, it rarely is the case.
Whether it’s the case of a partner not contributing financially to the household or a financially irresponsible spouse who squanders away their money and then looks to you to support their needs as well as keep the household running, it is a form of abuse and can take a toll on your emotional well-being as well as a sense of security in the long run. If you’re at your wit’s end trying to make sense of the financial inequality in your marriage, we’re here to offer you some clarity with signs he is taking advantage of you financially and how to cope with the situation.
Financial Abuse In Marriage
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After marriage, it is considered normal to spend your spouse’s money. I mean…in sickness and in health, in poverty and in wealth and all that, right? Now, it’s all good when you both can account for the money the other is spending. But if you find your account balance depleting at a lightning pace month after month, especially when you do not know where the money is going, it is a glaring red flag.
If your husband is in charge of accounting and financial management of the household and he dodges the topic of paying the bills late or having to borrow money from his parents or your parents without you knowing about it, it indicates something is going on with finances that he doesn’t want you to know about. And one of the first indicators that your spouse is bad with money.
Spending money on another woman might be the first thought that pops up in your head but financial abuse can also stem from unhealthy habits such as online gambling, excessive spending on oneself, or worst of all, financial infidelity. When your husband doesn’t provide for the family or constantly leeches on you, it’s important to deal with his unhealthy relationship with money as early on as possible.
If you look the other way and ignore the early signs of financial irresponsibility, it can blow up into a perennial cause of conflict in your marriage and may even threaten its stability. Statistics suggest that money issues and conflict account for 22% of all divorces in the US. Another study indicates that since nearly two-thirds of marriages today start with a debt, money can become a leading cause of arguments and conflict, primarily because this can be a touchy topic and most couples lack the communication skill to handle this topic sensitively.
Besides, financial conflict reflects poorly on the health of a relationship and financial abuse is often accompanied by emotional and/or physical abuse. It’s not hard to see why. After all, you cannot foster values of trust, respect, and honesty in a relationship when a part of you constantly thinking, “All my husband cares about is money.” Besides, whatever faith you have in him and your marriage may be lost if your husband starts abusing you emotionally and physically to extort money out of you.
However, not all financial abuse is done consciously. Splurging on customizable bikes or vintage cars when you have to save up enough to get a new fridge is a sign of financial abuse. This just shows your spouse cares about his wants more than your joint needs. There’s also the possibility that you have a narcissistic and manipulative husband who uses finance as a way to steer the relationship the way he wants to. Without enough financial independence, it’s harder for you to move out or leave him.
11 Signs Your Husband Uses You Financially
Our objective is not to put unnecessary negativity in your marriage, but we are exposing the worst-case scenarios so that you can recognize the red flags for what they’re. It is not such a bad idea to put your relationship under the scanner once in a while and go over it with a fine-tooth comb. If the different scenarios of financial abuse we brought out so far hit too close to home for you or you have a gut feeling that the disappearing money is more his fault than yours, then you need to be aware of the signs he is taking advantage of you financially.
That’s exactly what we’re here to help you with. We have compiled a list of signs that can serve as a yardstick to help you assess your financial situation. These signs will help you understand how to regain some semblance of control if your partner is not contributing financially. This is especially crucial if you are the primary breadwinner of the house.
Even if you are in a happy marriage, being aware of the signs of financial irresponsibility can help you stay on track and plan better. It is always better to know if the financial equilibrium in your marriage has gone out of whack because trust us when we tell you, that money issues can ruin your relationship. Let’s take a close look at the signs he is taking advantage of you financially:
1. Joint accounts but not really
Joint accounts are opened by married couples both for household payments and to save up for long-term investments like buying a car, a house, etc. But if your husband uses it mostly to meet his expenses and rarely for joint purposes, it’s one of the signs of financial irresponsibility. It may begin to seem like this joint account is like a bottomless pit where you keep putting in money only never to see it again.
If you are putting in more money than him and yet the financial plan is not being followed, something is amiss. It could be an indication that your spouse is bad with money and you need to take action right now. You can start with some simple questions about the numbers not adding up. If he hesitates or diverts the conversation, your husband is likely using you financially.
Related Reading: How We Divided Our Financial Responsibilities After Marriage
2. No access to your finances
It is a huge blinding red flag in marriage if you do not have access to your accounts. Your ATM, your account, and your UPI pin are all handled by your husband while you do not have access to his. When you don’t know how and where your money is going, you’re not wrong in thinking, “All my husband cares about is money.” These actions are signs of a control freak and point to financial abuse in the marriage.
In such a case, the relationship becomes a power game. The person who controls the money has the power. If you are the one who brings in the ingredients, you should be the one controlling the cooking. At best you can share the control and create a harmonious team. Generally, if he’s been in control for a while, he won’t give it up easily. You need to be firm. You cannot let anyone else control your finances or your life.
3. A lot of over-priced stuff in the house
Did you think you could afford the double-door smart fridge that is currently sitting in your kitchen? Do you think the vintage bike stays in pristine condition because your husband cleans it every day? The Apple watch he ordered the other day costs a pretty penny. But you do not have that kind of money? If not, where did the money for any of it come from?
Look closely, and all that the expensive stuff at your place will scream that you have a financially irresponsible spouse who has been living beyond his means. This is especially true if these purchases were not joint decisions or you have no idea how they’re being paid for since your husband doesn’t want you to “worry about it”. Don’t downplay the severity of it all by believing that these are just anxious thoughts or the makings of your overthinking mind – although he’d like you to – because these purchases may add up to serious financial debt.
Related Reading: How To Be Financially Independent As A Married Woman
4. Anger because you spent money
Does your husband show visible anger if you spend money to buy a new dress or a new pair of sneakers? You know it cannot be money trouble because you earn enough to run a household. So, while you cannot judge where the anger is coming from, especially when he splurges on things he can live without, it is time to find some answers.
One simple explanation is that your spending money means lesser money left for him to spend. Maybe he is a selfish man who doesn’t know better than to put his needs first always. Or this anger could stem from his need for control in the relationship. Your partner not contributing financially could be a sign of toxic power dynamics in your relationship, where he is always trying to tip the scales in his favor. Also, digital monitoring of your expenditure and anger resulting are also clear signs of gaining financial control over your life. Big, big, big red flag.
5. You feel guilty and possibly a little scared
Even minimal spending makes you feel guilty and possibly a little scared because you know your husband will find out and it will lead to bickering, arguments, or a full-blown fight. These are signs that you are a victim of manipulation in a relationship. You should be mindful of your expenses but you should have a free hand or at least the option to discuss it with your husband from an equal position of control.
Emotional manipulation in matters of finance is one of the very subtle signs he is taking advantage of you financially that can go unnoticed if not watched out for. To be able to see his problematic patterns clearly, find the time to go through your respective expenditures, assess their utility, and compare what was necessary and what was an impulsive waste.
6. Doesn’t want to talk about finances with you
Apart from taking over the financing of the household, your husband does not entertain any open discussions about money. If you have noticed a significant drop in the account balance and ask him about it, the answers are unreliable and flimsy. Not only does he not give you any clear answers but makes it a point that you don’t have easy access to bank and credit card statements.
If he intentionally dodges your general queries about finances, it means he is not only callous with money but also not thoughtful enough to inform his wife about how and where he is spending the money. If this sounds familiar, you need to have a conversation with your spouse. His actions reek of the signs of financial irresponsibility, and there is a good chance he gets so jittery about a conversation about money because he has something to hide.
Related Reading: 8 Signs Your Boyfriend Is In The Relationship Only For The Money
7. Revenge splurging
You got a new phone because your old phone was decades old with a broken screen? All right then, I will get the Dell Alienware just because. This kind of revenge splurging is not hard to miss and if this kind of behavior is a pattern in your marriage, it’s time to get some help. Financial toxicity can not come in a clearer form than this.
Major financial decisions should be taken as a team and when it comes to family finances, there is no room for unnecessary selfish spending. It is better to detoxify this toxicity as soon as possible to contain any further damage to your future. They say love conquers all, but sometimes money conquers love.
8. You cannot go over the given spending quota
Therapists talk about how many a time a partner is given an “allowance” for weekly spending by the other. If your husband sets a weekly limit for you for spending, get out. And get out fast. Allowance is to be given by a parent to a child. A marital relationship where both partners do not have the same right on the money is a sign of trouble.
If on top of your spending being contained by a weekly limit, you also have a problem with your collective expenditure exceeding your earnings, then you seriously need to take the matter into your hands. Talk to a couples’ counselor if your husband is not willing to listen to you. A partner not contributing financially and still exercising control over monetary matters is a clear sign of a toxic relationship.
9. You discover hidden debts
So you managed to get your hands on your husband’s expenses and it turns out his loans are bigger than the iceberg that sank the Titanic. He might also have borrowed money from friends and hasn’t been able to pay them back. The debts are piling up and as his wife, you are too, financially burdened now. What’s worse is that he never mentioned this crushing debt in his name.
Feel cheated enough yet? It must feel like you do not even know who this man you married is. Credit card companies thrive on debts and impulsive behavior. Debt is like termites. It doesn’t seem to be much in the beginning but then the power of compounding kicks in and before you know it, the termites have eaten away a huge chunk of your finances. Call for pest control before it is too late.
Related Reading: The 9 Things A Woman Must Keep In Mind For A Prenup
10. Inability to stick to a budget
You might be the kind of person who still collects her pocket full of change in a piggy bank. You have great money management skills and sticking to a budget is second nature to you. But your husband either refuses to or doesn’t want to stick to a budget. He has no money management idea and no knowledge of sustainable spending. If that is not a sign that a spouse is bad with money, we don’t know what will be.
His inability to stick to a budget always makes you compromise on your spending. This is like being punished for being good at something. Even if the sum is small that you compromise on every month, when you look at the larger picture say five years into the future, you’ll realize how deep this issue is. It’s time to set clear and strict financial boundaries in your relationship.
11. Doesn’t of approve you working
If your husband does not approve of you earning your own money, the feminist in you has to see the problem. You need to ask yourself, what is more important, your relationship or your identity? Often financial abusers tend to be in power by being the sole earner and possibly the sole spender in the relationship. This toxic trait is nefarious and if you love your husband try getting professional help before it turns too sour.
Related Reading: 18 Top Unhappy Marriage Signs You Need To Know
What To Do If Tired Of Financially Supporting Your Husband
Now that you see the signs he is taking advantage of you financially, it’s time to think about what next. Are you going to take this financial abuse lying down or take proactive measures to safeguard your future and if possible also save your marriage from crumbling under conflict over money. There is no denying that putting up with a financially irresponsible spouse can get exhausting pretty quickly.
“All my husband cares about is money” is surely not a happy realization. After all, you entered into this relationship expecting a partnership of equals instead you got handed the short end of the stick with a partner who leeches off you, tries to control you financially, or jeopardizes your future with his reckless spending habits. However, just because he has gotten away with this behavior so far doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to put up with it. If you’re tired of supporting your husband financially, here are a few ways to tackle the situation:
- Have a conversation: Good communication is the key to resolving most relationship issues and financial conflict is no exception. When your husband doesn’t provide for the household or depends on you for his financial needs, have a conversation with him. Share your concerns with him and assertively tell him that things need to change for your marriage to survive
- Take over the finances: To make sure that your debts don’t keep rising and your husband can no longer keep you in the dark about your financial situation, take over financial planning and management in your marriage. From paying the bill to allocating money for saving, assume charge of all financial matters, no matter how big or small
- Protect your finances: If you can’t shake off the “all my husband cares about is money” feeling or are dealing with a financially irresponsible spouse, it’s crucial to protect yourself financially. The simplest way of doing that is to separate your finances from his. Close your joint accounts, and pull back from joint investments. Make sure only you have access to and control over your money. If needed, you can work with a financial advisor to make sure you’ve got all your bases covered
- Seek counseling: Financial control can often be a sign of a far deeper relationship issue. Besides, constant fights and bickering over money can cause significant damage to your relationship. In both these scenarios, seeking help from a mental health professional can go a long way in helping you work through your differences and not let money break up your marriage. If you’re considering getting help, skilled and licensed counselors on Bonobology’s panel are here for you
- Financial conflict is a leading cause of divorce
- If your husband limits your access to money, controls how you spend it but doesn’t play by the same rules himself, these are signs he is taking advantage of you financially
- Do not turn a blind eye to financial abuse in your marriage
- With proactive measures, you can regain control and at the very least protect your future
Financial abuse is very common and real. Seek professional help for your husband if you intend to fix the situation. If not, it’s better to find a way out for yourself. Get help from a friend if you ever intend to walk out on your abuser. Stay positive and stay strong.