Financial abuse is underrated compared to physical and emotional abuse but plays an equal part in bringing out the truth about your almost perfect man. 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 over 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 paisa haath ka maelhotahain and 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.
Financial Abuse In Marriage
After marriage, it is 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.
If you find your account balance dropping too fast, too soon every month, especially when you do not know where the money is going, you are in for a financial treat. And not the kind that’s sweet.
If your husband is charged with accounting and financial part 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 doesn’t mean you are spending too much.
It means there’s something going on with finances that he doesn’t want you to know about.
Spending money on another woman might be the first thought that pops up in your head, but financial abuse can also come from online gambling, excessive spending on oneself or worst of all, financial infidelity.
Financial abuse is often accompanied by emotional and physical abuse. Financial conflict is an everyday thing in the marriage. The trust built will be lost because not only is your husband abusing you emotionally and physically but is also spending your hard – earned money. But 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 can also be a chance that your narcissistic and controlling husband 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.
Related reading: She had a better job, surely she had financial independence?
11 Signs Your Husband Uses You Financially
If everything feels a little too close to real life for you, if you have a gut feeling that the disappearing money is more his fault than yours, here are clear signs to clear your doubt.
1. Joint accounts but not really
Joint accounts are opened by married couples as a savings account from both to be used for household payments or for long-term investments – like buying a car, buying a house etc. But most of the expenditure is by your husband and rarely for joint purposes. You seem to be losing more money from the account than you earn.
2. No access to your finances
Probably a huge blinding red flag in marriage if you do not have access to your own accounts. Your ATM, your account, 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 then this is something you seriously need to address. And this is what we understand by absolute financial abuse.
3. A lot of over-pricey stuff in the house
Did you think you could really afford the double door smart fridge that is currently sitting in your kitchen? Do you think the vintage bike stays in the pristine condition because your husband cleans it every day? The Apple watch he ordered the other day seems something a lot of money can buy. But you do not have that kind of money…so where did that come from?
Looking at all the expensive stuff in your place all at the same time, especially when you have no access to your account, your husband doesn’t want to “burden” or want you to “worry about it” makes you wonder about the kind of work your husband does. Put all these anxious thoughts in your head and put one and one together and you might have a financial debt to pay off later in life.
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 saree 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.
The anger is due to the fact that he cannot control your spending. You spending money means lesser money left for him to spend. Also, digital monitoring of your expenditure and anger resulting from it means he has clear signs of gaining financial control over your life. Big, big, big red flag.
5. You feel guilty and possibly a little scared
Minimal spending makes you feel guilty about it. And possibly a little scared because you know your husband will find out about it.
6. Doesn’t want to talk about finances with you
Apart from taking over the financing of the household, your hubby does not entertain any open discussions about money. If you have noticed a significant drop in account balance and ask him about it, the answers are unreliable and flimsy.
No clear answer is given, no passbook is produced and worst of all, you were not notified. If he intentionally dodges your general query about finances, it means he is not only callous with money but is not caring enough, or thoughtful enough in informing his wife about his spending.
Related reading: How money issues can ruin your relationship
7. Revenge splurging
You got a new phone because your old phone was decades old with a broken screen? Alright then! I will get the Dell Alienware because …just. This kind of revenge splurging is not hard to miss and if this kind of behavior follows a pattern, better get help.
8. You cannot go over the given spending quota
Therapists talk about how many a time one of the partners is given an “allowance” for weekly spending. 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 earners do not have the same right on the money is a troubling marriage.
Now, if you have a spending problem and exceeding credit limits, then you seriously need to take the matter in your hands. Talk to a couples’ counsellor if your husband is not willing to listen to you. Do it quick before he brings down your allowance for the week.
9. You discover hidden debts
So you managed to get your hands on your husbands’ expenses and turns out his loans are bigger than the iceberg that sank Titanic. He might also have borrowed money from friends and haven’t been able to pay them back yet. 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 is this man you married.
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 more of a responsibility than a want. 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.
His inability to stick to a budget always makes you compromise on your spending.
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. 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.
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.