Are You In A Financially Toxic Relationship?

Is your partner making you feel guilty about spending? Red flag over there.
PHOTO: Matthew Rodgers

People are becoming more open to talking about religion, politics, and sex, but for some reason, money is still considered taboo. According to financial expert Daniel Crosby, "it is such a loaded question and there is so much subtext and hidden meaning wrapped up in money." And he’s right. Money can be extremely powerful, especially in relationships. Tension may rise when couples disagree on how to handle money. In a relationship where one person earns significantly more than the other, financial decisions can sometimes become abusive. Because we’re so hesitant to talk about money, financial abuse may go unnoticed. To find out if you or someone you know is in a financially toxic relationship, here are some examples:

1. If your partner makes you feel guilty about spending

We acknowledge that it’s healthy for couples to keep each other in check when it comes to spending money, but only if you two do it to each other, as a team. That said, if your partner constantly tries to control what you buy or makes you feel like you have to ask permission, that’s an abuse of power.

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2. If your partner wants to control how much you work

Does this sound familiar? "'Di na ako nagtratrabaho kasi sabi ng asawa ko sa bahay na lang daw ako." There is a difference between wanting to take care of the home and being forced to drop your career just to fit someone’s preference. It should always be your choice. Someone who wants to control how much you work or sabotage you professionally and shames you into quitting is taking away your financial freedom.

3. If your partner won’t let you access important documents, like your bills

Yes, there are times when it just makes more sense for these documents to be under one name (even if it isn’t yours). This can be toxic though, if you aren’t made fully aware of your financial situation as a team. For big life decisions like buying a house, your name should ALWAYS be in the paperwork. Avoid situations where your partner can literally take everything away from you overnight.

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4. If your partner is being secretive about your financial status as a couple

Lack of transparency, especially in terms of serious financial decisions, is unacceptable. Even if you aren’t making as much money, you have the right to know everything that’s going on. Decisions shouldn’t be made without you.

5. If your partner tries to regulate your behavior

Abusive partners tend to do things like cut off credit or debit cards or refuse to pay for things to get what they want or to keep you in check. If you’ve ever been in line at the grocery and your card suddenly didn’t go through because your partner didn’t tell you that he had it cut—that’s a red flag. Another example of this is if your partner agrees to pay for something, only to take it back when things don't go his way. 

6. If your partner asks you to prove your love with money

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This one's sort of the other way around—when you're the one who's earning more in the relationship and your partner tries to manipulate you to spend. For example, when you refuse to pay for something, and he responds with, "Akala ko ba mahal mo 'ko?Keep an eye out for this type of behavior!

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