NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Arguing about money is common in many relationships. But sometimes, one partner can dominate financial decisions, even becoming a bully who dictates when and where his or her spouse spends.
One woman, who is so embarrassed she did not want her identity revealed, told CBS 2’s Maurice DuBois her husband completely manipulated their bank account.
“I looked one day, and there was like $500 left in the account,” she said.
Maxine Brown said her ex-husband controlled all their finances, too.
“I had no access to money whatsoever,” she said.
“When you get married, you add this person to your accounts. So that’s what I did. And then he said, “I can do the banking for you.’ … When you control all of the money, you really do control the movement of everyone in the household.”
A recent survey said those women are not alone. One in 10 classified their significant other as a “financial bully.”
“I’ve seen several instances where the bully, who is generally a very insecure person, tries to trap their partner in the relationship by taking away all their power around money,” said Rachel Sussman, a relationship therapist.
Sussman said some signs that your partner may be a financial bully is if he or she limits your access to credit cards or refuses to let you go shopping alone.
Certified financial planner Kathleen Sachs said couples need to make sure they each have a complete understanding of their money.
“If I say to you, ‘How is your financial health?’ and you say to me, ‘I have no idea. My spouse is in charge of that,’ you have put yourself at risk,” Sachs said.
Sachs stressed being familiar with your financial basics, including monthly bills, how much debt you have and how to access bank and retirement accounts. Another reason to share responsibility for finances is that if something happens to one of you, it could put the other at a huge financial disadvantage.
Experts warn if you don’t know the answers of feel like you’re being bullied to speak up.
“There’s a lot of power in communication and even saying to your partner, ‘I won’t take this anymore,'” Sussman said. “If that produces good results, great. If it doesn’t, get some counseling, and if that doesn’t work, get out of the relationship.”
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