We hear a lot about physical abuse and emotional abuse, but economic abuse is much less talked about. Economic abuse is not uncommon, but people are not as educated about it as they should be. If you are in an unhealthy relationship, money can play a significant part in power and control.
Here are seven signs that you are in an economically abusive marriage:
1. Your partner keeps you from getting a job
If your partner is keeping you from getting a job, this is economic abuse. It is up to you whether or not you work. No one else has the right to tell you that you can't. The reason someone attempts to stop someone else from working is so that they can have complete financial control. The goal of someone who actively tries to keep you from working is to have that power in the relationship.
2. Your spouse controls household spending
A partner who is economically abusive will control how much you spend and where you spend it. This kind of person will want to see receipts from your shopping trips to make sure you're not spending money elsewhere. Your partner will scrutinize credit card bills and bank statements and may even keep you from having a credit card opting to give you a cash allowance to stay in control.
3. Your partner sabotages your job
If you do have a job and your spouse attempts to undermine your employment there by calling you constantly, showing up often and unexpected, or sending emails to everyone you work with, this is economic abuse.
This kind of person will do anything in their power to make sure you lose your job because this will make you dependent on them.
4. Your spouse spends money intended for you or your children
If you receive any kind of money (from a settlement or alimony for example) or your children receive child support and your partner spends this money without regard for its intended use, this is also a type of economical abuse.
The money is not to support your partner who decides not to work or wants a shopping spree.
5. Your partner says you're indebted because you pay for less
Whether your spouse has stopped you from working or you agreed as a couple that you do not have to work so that you can stay home and take care of the children, you should never be told that you are indebted because you do not make money. A healthy relationship does not consist of one person "owing" another. A healthy relationship is two people working together to keep the household running smoothly. You do not owe your spouse servitude or sex because you do not pay the bills.
6. Your spouse unilaterally decides if your bank accounts will be joint or separate
If your partner pushes for a joint bank account, this could be to see what you bring in and take out. If you have your own bank account that your partner does not have access to, this will drive an economically abusive person crazy. Your partner will not be happy until you have a joint account, which allows access to your money. On the contrary, not allowing your name on a joint bank account is to keep you in the dark about finances. How the accounts are set up should be a decision made between the two of you with you both feeling comfortable with the choice.
7. Your spouse gives you an "allowance."
Not allowing you access to accounts, credit cards or other means of making day to day financial decisions is extremely controlling. You are not a child needing an "allowance" unless you have a history of financial irresponsibility or debt. Even then, using an allowance system should be a joint decision.
If you are a person with your own money, you are a person with options. Some people do not like that and will do what they can to make you financially reliant on them to help them gain the power in the relationship. Or, the person enjoys the fact that you are financially dependent on them so he or she always has the upper hand. If you are in this situation and find you are unable to resolve this problem on your own, then couples counseling is definitely in order.