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Am I experiencing the foundations of financial abuse?

(43 Posts)
SandyAgo Tue 17-Sep-13 08:46:49

Financial abuse was cited on DP's divorce papers with his ex wife claiming that she never had any access to money and had to ask him for money all the time and he'd only give it if she gave a good enough reason. I thought "dp?? nah no way! that funny, generous, lovely bloke I see? no chance" so I assumed it had been written to improve the divorce 'reason' iyswim?

So we've been living together a few months now and lately a few things have happened that have made me think "mmmm that's a bit off ... " and then looking back in hindsight, he's been a bit weird with money for quite some time but I never picked up on it.

Examples - if ever I left a note like £10 or £20 on the window ledge/table he would take it and put it in his wallet. His reasoning being that money should not be left around as it will get lost and if he sees money lying around, he'll put it in his wallet. ok ... but this made me panic a bit more than I felt I should in my own house about leaving money lying around as I'd 'lose' it to DP.

One time I had £70 on me (think I sold something) and I left it near the microwave as I was busy. I knew exactly what I'd be spending it on and when I went back to pick it up it had gone, DP had taken the lot. I confronted him and he said "yes I have it, you only have to ask" and he gave me SOME of it back - now thinking back - was this my first experience of him making me ask for money like his ex said?

Anyway lots of examples of this so i won't go on.

Another thing though is that lately whenever I go to my purse it is empty. The other day I had £25 in there which I needed for my horse. I got to the stables to realise my purse was empty. I was blaming poor DS in my head (who has in the past stolen money but not for a long time) and when I got home I asked DP who said "yes, I took it." shock I said "why would you do that??" and he replied "sorry, I had no money on me and needed some." so I said "yes but then you left me with no money!" he apologised again and said he was wrong to do it but why would anyone do that anyway?? I can see why you'd take a couple of quid if you were in a rush and had no money but to take everything I had?? this has happened more than once too.

Last night we sold something and got £70. DP asked me what I wanted to do with it so I said "just put some in my purse and some in your wallet." he then half heartedly looked for my purse (I was busy) and said he couldn't find it so would leave me £20 on the side - I thought he didn't like money lying around? no he'll be hoping it's still there when he gets home so he can put it back in his wallet saying I'd left it lying around.

Thing is, I DO have my own bank card and can draw money out whenever I want and he never questions it. so am I being paranoid? or is stricter bank control next on the agenda?

He's suddenly become dead concerned about the bank actually and has made spreadsheets and keeps going on about how skint we are (he never used to) and when I used to bring it up before that we were struggling he'd laugh it off so why the sudden concern?

Another thing is he's become obsessed with child maintanance. We pay ALOT to his two kids and it is a massive chunk of our income. I've never complained though but now he keeps kicking off saying my ex should be paying more and I'm out of order for not taking my ex for everything I can get. I've recently got my ex to up the maintanance which he did with no argument and I can't help feeling that DP is trying to cause a bit of friction. He then said "anyway Ive been thinking I should put my maintanance up and pay more" this put the fear of god into me as we're struggling as it is but then thinking about it - is this just his way of 'enouraging' me to get at my ex for more money?

He knows I'm obssessed with travelling too and am so looking forward to going to Greece next year. He's started using that against me now saying "well that will only happen if we have the money, maybe you should speak to your ex?" and then the latest one "maybe you need to get some work?" - he knows full well I'm already studying full time until next August and have landed myself a part time job to do aside that and he knows how I fret about not paying my way and he always says I'm been silly and DO pay my way ... yet when he's after a dig he kicks me where it hurts and implies I could do more to get money using the holiday as an excuse??

Am I being paranoid or what? he doesn't seem the type but when you sit back and add it all up it paints a bit of a dark picture.

Preciousbane Tue 17-Sep-13 08:55:15

I would not leave money lying about but he knows it is not his and is basically nicking it.

Keeping spreadsheets is fine to track money but sounds like he is obsessed and may have an alternative agenda.

He sounds awful to me and the fact that FA is cited in his divorce is actually very worrying. I bet he went on about his ex being mental or a liar.

CailinDana Tue 17-Sep-13 09:01:49

How does he speak about his ex wife?

What do you get out of this relationship now?.

This is all about power and control, he will likely go onto behave exactly as he did in his previous relationship. Does he call his ex a gold digger?.
Abusers as well can be quite plausible to those in the outside world but their mask does slip because they cannot keep up the pretence.

My guess is that this relationship as well in other areas is really not up to muster either.

What do your DC think of this man?.

Such men do not change, I feel he is testing the waters further now to see what you will tolerate. Financial abuse is insidious in its onset and often not noticed or minimised. You did not notice it in its early stages.

LawofAverages Tue 17-Sep-13 09:02:10

Yes OP, this DOES seem odd. Especially taking your money. If I didn't like seeing money lying around, I'd probably pick it up and then the next time I saw DP say 'DP, I found your £20 lying around earlier and didn't want it to get lost/fall down the back of the sofa so have kept it for safe keeping. Here it is' and hand it back. Not pick it up and keep it for myself!

The digs about you not contributing enough are also not a good sign.

Maybe you need to sit him down and have a thorough conversation about money and your relative positions in terms of bringing in income? If he then says 'no, I have no problem with you studying and not bringing in as much until you can get a full time job next year' then you need to reply 'Ok, well that's great but you absolutely cannot bring it up against me in any arguments then'. If he later does bring it up against you, you can pull him up on it straight away and remind him of the serious conversation you have recently had where you agreed what each of you would be contributing for the year.

I think the best case scenario is that he just gets massively stressed about money (quite a few people do) so overreacts to the possibility of not being able to afford things. In which case you can come up with coping strategies together (spreadsheets, budgets etc). The worse case scenario is indeed that these are the fist signs of financial abuse where he tries to get you into a position where you are totally financially reliant on him.

Hopefully a serious discussion with him about it with him will give you more of a picture of which it is.

The thing with abusive men is that more times than not, it is so subtle that it takes a while for the picture to build. They are relying on their "victim" to ignore the bigger picture, because each seperate incident alone isn't that bad.

He sounds awful.

Lovingfreedom Tue 17-Sep-13 09:11:39

Yes he sounds terrible. At the same time why are you financially dependent on someone you've only been living with for a few months? You're taking a risk if you can't support yourself and your child with your own income plus contribution from child's father.

mummytime Tue 17-Sep-13 09:13:07

Okay - I sometimes take money from DH's wallet - but only ever because for instance I only have a £20 and the DC need £5 (or £1). If I took his last 2 x £10 I would ask even before I replaced it with a £20. Similarly he asks before taking money from me.
Odd pounds do get hoovered up, but notes are usually questioned loudly "Whose is this...".
DH and I freely share cash, as after all the cash machine isn't always convenient.

Your DPs behaviour does sound odd. You haven't lived together that long, he should still be pretty much on best behaviour.

My mother always told me never to marry someone who was "mean with money".

SandyAgo Tue 17-Sep-13 09:16:15

We've had the discussion about my studies lots of times and he agrees that as I'm not qualified to do anything else, it is in both our interests for me to continue my final year after which I'm guaranteed a full time job. On top of this I've gone out of my way to get more work to get us extra money, for which I completed 4 days of intense induction last week during what was supposed to be my holiday from university after stressful exams and I'm trying so hard to get us money where I can. He always agrees with me yet now and again he'll get these moods on where he'll say something implying that I'm not pulling my weight and then refuses to admit he's said it!

Last night's example:

"I'm so looking forward to going to Greece next year"
dp = "yeah well, we'll need money for that won't we? perhaps you should speak to your ex?"
me - "oh please stop it with that now ... "
him - "no I'm just saying, the money has to come from somewhere, maybe you should get some work?"
me - "but you know I'm doing what I can to earn money!!"
him - "yes I know you are"
me - "so what do you mean then?"
him - "what? I never said anything like that, you're twisting my words" !!!! those were his exact words! no twisting needed!

He does say his ex was a bit of a nutter and refused to work (or do much of anything really by the sounds of it)

These are serious red flags, especially considering his history. I agree with Attila - it'll only get worse sad

SandyAgo Tue 17-Sep-13 09:18:28

I'm not really financially dependant on him. I get a generous bursary (which I put into the joint account) and if we split, I'd manage fine on that.

Xales Tue 17-Sep-13 09:20:45

Didn't you ask about this bloke before moving in with him? If so why are you now asking more about him when you just not so blindly carried on moving in despite the warnings? Sorry if I have you mixed up with another.

He is more important than you. If he has no money he will take yours leaving you with none as that is what matters to him.

You sold something. He pocketed the money and gave you back some if your own money when you asked!

You should be able to leave what you want around without it being taken.

You get more for your DC he immediately wants to pass it to his. So your DC gain nothing from the maintenance for them.

What if some of this was food money or for yours kids? They will start to suffer and go without.

It has only been a few months it is clearly not working. Get out of living together asap.

Cross posted

So he's gaslighting you too? Describing his ex as a bit of a nutter is also a major red flag. In every likelihood it's because she challenging him like you do and she 'twisted his words' too...

TanteRose Tue 17-Sep-13 09:21:37

for a start, get rid of the joint account.
It seems that its a case of "what's his is his, and what's yours is his, too"

separate accounts until you can sort this out.

What do you think? Are you happy with the relationship otherwise? Are there any other hints of controlling behaviour?

Does he ever give back the money he steals from you borrows from your purse/picks up around the house?

He does say his ex was a bit of a nutter and refused to work (or do much of anything really by the sounds of it)

Would he say the same about you if you broke up?

He would. He absolutely would.

LumpySpace Tue 17-Sep-13 09:27:27

It definitely isn't right. Especially considering he has form for this kind of thing.

Hegsy Tue 17-Sep-13 09:27:36

TBH I'd get out now. This sounds worrying and like he's gaslighting you.

expatinscotland Tue 17-Sep-13 09:28:17

'One time I had £70 on me (think I sold something) and I left it near the microwave as I was busy. I knew exactly what I'd be spending it on and when I went back to pick it up it had gone, DP had taken the lot. I confronted him and he said "yes I have it, you only have to ask" and he gave me SOME of it back - now thinking back - was this my first experience of him making me ask for money like his ex said?'


This blokes steals money from you and then bitches about how he needs more.

You have only been living with him a few months and he is proving himself a gaslighting, manipulative, thieving twat.

The whole 'my ex was a nutter who refused to work' is classic EA bullshit.

BIN HIM now.

His ex was right, he's an abusive cock.

expatinscotland Tue 17-Sep-13 09:29:21

If you split, Sandy, do not go any further with this piece of work. Get out now. Your poor kids!

stowsettler Tue 17-Sep-13 09:29:41

I've been with DP for 4.5 years and we've only just got a joint account since DD was born 6 months ago. Get rid of that - you don't need it if you don't have kids together IMO.

Actually, I'd just get rid of him if I'm being honest. He doesn't sound like a keeper to me.

JoinYourPlayfellows Tue 17-Sep-13 09:30:13

"He does say his ex was a bit of a nutter and refused to work (or do much of anything really by the sounds of it)"

I wouldn't believe a word he says about his ex.

You know that he was abusive towards her, so why would you take anything he says about her at face value?

And no, nicking your money when you leave it lying around and emptying your purse of £25 is not normal. It's called STEALING.

KatyTheCleaningLady Tue 17-Sep-13 09:33:35

Why didn't you demand all the money back?

As for leaving money around, tell him that you expect him to either leave it alone or to put it in a specific biscuit tin/drawer /wherever. If he fails to do that, pull him up on it. If that doesn't work, then you're not just imagining things.

My husband has to be begged to actually go in my purse. Even if I tell him to get the bank card or whatever from it he will bring my entire purse to me so I can get it. You should tell him that your purse is off limits "to avoid future confusion irt your son" and hold him to it.

Red flags are a flying all over the place here.
You need to get out of this now!
It's only going to get worse.
He is STEALING from you for goodness sake.
What you've written has me shock
It's not right and you know it.
Run for the hills!!!!!!

Viking1 Tue 17-Sep-13 09:35:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LumpySpace Tue 17-Sep-13 09:39:33

My DH does that to, Katy! You'd think my handbag contained a nest of fire ants.

Bakingtins Tue 17-Sep-13 09:43:21

My DH and I have a joint account, 9 yrs of marriage, kids together. I would not dream of taking money out of his wallet without asking. We do often sub each other small amounts of cash, but I would not just take it. I think what your (D)P is doing is theft.
As for grudgingly giving you some of your own money back....

Did he really con you into thinking his ex was lying about him?

mistlethrush Tue 17-Sep-13 09:52:21

I've been married for 15 years - and we have a joint account where all our money goes - but if I'm running short I ask DH - and vice versa.

He should not be pressurising you to ask for more maintenance - particularly if he then speaks of upping his (actually I wouldn't be surprised if that's just an excuse for squirrelling money away somewhere on the side).

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Tue 17-Sep-13 09:54:42

Wait for it, he will surely start to question whether you can afford a horse soon, if he hasn't done so already? (I bet the expense of that winds the crap out of him).
Look this guy is stealing from you as well as emotionally abusing you.
Out of interest, does he live in your house or the other way round, or is it joint?

expatinscotland Tue 17-Sep-13 09:56:43

And why is his maintenance affecting your income that is for you and your kids?

TheSilverySoothsayer Tue 17-Sep-13 09:57:05

Cocklodger - and I haven't read all the thread. Chuck him out.

OurSpoonsCameFromJohnLewis Tue 17-Sep-13 10:00:00

Do you have a polite relationship with the ex? Any chance you could get her side of the story?

expatinscotland Tue 17-Sep-13 10:01:28

'Do you have a polite relationship with the ex? Any chance you could get her side of the story?'

Why? His actions have shown him up as a gaslighting, manipulative, thieving twunt.

nocoolusernameY0 Tue 17-Sep-13 10:12:11

DH spent money out of my purse a couple of times - and took money off the side. It really annoyed me so I said "AY! Don't take money out of my purse without asking!" and "Did you take that money off the side - what's this friggin' Sleeping with the Enemy!" And he stopped.

Before you consider that all of this could be the beginnings of financial abuse (which it could well be), I think you should make it completely clear to him what he can and can't do with you. He might have controlled his ex this way, but it isn't inevitable that your relationship will play out like his last. Tell him "You don't like money lying round, I don't mind it, so if it's yours, put it away; if it's mine: LEAVE IT".

He's not the only one shaping your relationship.

And try not to be hurt about everyone slagging off your DP - you're the only one here who has actually met him smile

OurSpoonsCameFromJohnLewis Tue 17-Sep-13 10:14:49

Good point, expat.

rosieposey Tue 17-Sep-13 10:22:25

Expat is right about the gaslighting ( and the rest) read back what you have written! If that was a friend telling you this you would tell her to get out and scarper before it really turned nasty.

Abuse is insidious - first the financial, then your friends and family ... Please don't waste anymore time with this man - he sounds bloody awful! Not to mention manipulative!

fromparistoberlin Tue 17-Sep-13 10:26:51

Oh dear, what everyone else has said

his ex cited it for a very good reason I am afraid

run for the hills OP

and carry NO CASH, switch card or have a hidden wallet, theiving little fuck

I also agree with whoeever said that you should NOT be financially dependanct on him, get back towork. earn your own money. dont rely on him for money OP

OxfordBags Tue 17-Sep-13 10:46:58

Frankly, your first cue should have been that ABUSE was mentioned in his divorce proceedings. Many abused women who get divorced don't atually have abuse mentioned on the papers, often because the court think there's not enough evidence - or not enough obvious evidence.

Financial abuse is very serious. It is in no way a throwaway term. It would not be cited on divorce papers unless what he had done and how he had treated his ex were very serious matters and very obviously bad. Do not delude yourself that financial abuse is a 'lesser' form of abuse. It means that your partner is an abuser of women. Financial abuse is also abuse of his children; even though he pays maintenance now, I would bet good money (poor choice of words, sorry) that he only does so in order to look like lovely, generous Daddy, and to make their mother look like a liar if the topic of his previous financial abuse is ever mentioned. Also, when he was financially abusing his Ex, his children will have suffered then.

There are more red flags here than at a Communist Party meeting. Taking your money that is lying around, taking it from your purse and not giving you your share of jointly earned money are all theft and all financial abuse. The other stuff you mention is very clear financial abuse too. He is also starting to emotionally abuse you, by gaslighting, and so on. Describing his ex as mental and lazy (not wanting to work) are such clichéd typical abuser statements that they'd be laughable if they weren't so scary.

Please be clear: financial abuse is not something that is the one flaw of a nice, normal man. It is actually the way that that specific abuser manifests his abuse. It does not occur in a vortex, this type of abuser will abuse in other, more subtle ways, which you are already starting to notice.

If you are on speaking terms, ask his Ex how his financial abuse started and how it manifested and developed. I bet the picture she paints will be chillingly familiar, identical even.

Leave this chump, finish your studies, go to Greece or wherever on your own. You love travelling, but staying with this man is a guaranteed one-way trip to abuse, misery, being controlled and you eventually being penniless.

CailinDana Tue 17-Sep-13 10:58:48

I asked how he speaks about his ex as that will tell you if it was abuse or not. The fact he calls her a nutter says all you need to know. With time you will also be told you're mad, you're crazy, you're making things up, seeing things that aren't there etc etc etc. Saying someone is mad is absolutely classic abuser behaviour. All the other stuff could be just bad manners but the "she's nuts" thing tells you it's not.
You can get out now or you can wait until he's hurt and disrespected you a bit more.

TalkativeJim Tue 17-Sep-13 11:06:11

You've only been living together for a few months?

Please please please please please get rid.

Don't discuss it or get into promises to change, etc. Please just tell him it's not working and GET RID.

He's only been there a few months and is already confident in taking control of money which is YOURS - and, really worringly, you AREN'T there going 'oi, that £20 was mine - give it back please'. Think about why that is!! - there's a forbidding, don't argue with me feeling here that he's putting onto you. BAD NEWS.

Already, your financial afairs are his business, and he feels able to quiz and bully you on them. However, his money is his business.

Please, get out before you find that joint account become his, and you end up a nervous, financially dependent wreck.

perfectstorm Tue 17-Sep-13 11:13:57

He steals from you, undermines you, is trying to damage your relationship with your children's father and trying to take sole control of the family finances. You even had a warning in his ex's divorce papers that this is what he is like.

I'm sorry but you already know the answer. And do you really want your kids to witness more of this stuff?

Hookedonclassics Wed 18-Sep-13 03:10:38

What are you going to do about this?

Start wearing a money belt and keep your purse empty? Wait for him to empty the joint account and run up debts that you are liable to pay? Let him keep treating you as the "Bank of Sandy"

Or run for the hills?

Walkacrossthesand Wed 18-Sep-13 08:10:53

This will be difficult for you, OP. At the moment you are hoping this is all fixable so you can continue to build the relationship you hoped for. You can continue to make allowances, turn a blind eye, kid yourself its all ok - or you can construct an exit plan based on your suspicions and the advice you've had here. You could shout at him when he takes your money, you shouldn't have to hide your money in your own home - but i wonder why you havent (yelled at him) previously - are you a bit scared of him?

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