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Financial control. What is normal?

(990 Posts)
AngryMo Sun 03-Jan-16 00:20:38

I've lost count how many times I've tried to start this thread, and don't know how to articulate it as I don't really know what I want. It ranges from I need to leave ASAP to I might as well just stay.

The many questions that I keep switching between are:

Is DH emotionally/financially abusive? I don't know if I'm imagining it or if it is real.

How do couples manage their finances if one stays at home? I want to know what other people do to see if the way he manages it is normal or not.

Why does he on the one hand, show off to his friends about the money he's spent doing up our house recently and the flashy things he's bought, but on the other, makes me feel like I'm almost stealing his money when I need cash for housekeeping or other essential things for the children (we agreed I would stay home until kids are in school)? Why does he make me account for every single penny like we don't have any money when I know he has plenty? Why did he buy me an expensive gift for Christmas and splash out on expensive wines and things for our guests but then have a go at me for spending £7.50 on a gift for a friend's daughter, which he then checked the price of online to check I wasn't lying?

I'm exhausted living with him and he makes me miserable which can't be much fun for him either. I don't see how he can enjoy being in this relationship either. In the past he's humiliated me in front of friends, reducing me to tears in front of them, he's stormed off leaving me in a restaurant on my own with a full plate after I wanted to discuss what was wrong with us and how we could fix it. I've also had two panic attacks because of how he treats me. He never apologises in person but has by email but even the never spontaneously, always as a result of me telling him he needs to apologise.

Also, he doesn't really react when I tell him we should probably just split up and then pretends everything is fine after an argument's died down. Why does he do that?

I never get any real emotion from him and I don't remember the last time I thought what a lovely person you are. I used to, but that was years ago. I get so jealous when I see happy couples bantering away together, being affectionate with one another.

But then again, maybe I am a complete idiot, what was I thinking giving up my job to look after my children? Why did I hand over my financial independence? Is he right to control my spending so tightly? Should I have to ask every time I need to buy a new bra or want to take the kids out or need to buy a present for a friend? Maybe this is normal, I don't know. Maybe it is all his money and I don't deserve to be spending it. I rarely ask for money for anything frivolous. Maybe because he earns the money, if he wants to spend £2000 on an appliance I have no right to say it's too expensive. I'm so scared to tell him I overspent the other day by accident. He's never been physically abusive but I'm scared of his reaction. Often if I tell him something - anything, not necessarily money related, I wonder why I bothered because it's not worth the grief, so I keep many things to myself and it makes me secretive which I dislike. I am a very open person generally and it's not in my nature to behave that way but I feel forced to.

Thing is though because I am now financially dependent, he knows it's not that easy for me to leave. I don't know what to do. I love my children deeply and they are only small and need us to be together.

Anyone who can relate to me or has any experience, has words of advice, or even to tell me I'm being pathetic, whatever it is, I would like to know.

Mrskeats Sun 03-Jan-16 00:26:24

Firstly you are not pathetic. You made a joint decision to stay at home and therefore you play just as important a role and should have as much a say as your husband re financial matters.
He sounds very abusive and I know all too well that walking on eggshell feeling.
Can you resume your career? How old are your children?
This is no way to live and I would be thinking very carefully about the future.

CalleighDoodle Sun 03-Jan-16 00:26:51

Yes he is financially controlling. And then some. Can you go back to work and then think about the practicalities of leaving?

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Sun 03-Jan-16 00:35:56

Well sorry to be blunt but you are married to a bully and a cunt. If you no longer wish to live like this you need to speak to a solicitor. Any household money is joint money. He has you and the children dependent on him, of course it's not his money. I'm riled for you. If my husband treated me with such utter disrespect he'd be holding his balls in one hand while he phoned the solicitor with the other.

AngryMo Sun 03-Jan-16 00:38:47

I gave up my job following mat leave which coincided with a big uplift for him. I was tired of the job anyway and didn't plan on returning to the same industry so I haven't been working towards that. I want a complete change which would involve time to get going if I am to start earning again. I do want to, but I'm torn, because I love being at home with my kids so much. I worked FT with the first two and it seemed to work out perfectly that with the third I'd be able to stay at home. Except it's like a punishment : you can have your time with your children but I'm not going to make it too cosy for you. I know he desperately wants me to go back to work. But it's not because we desperately need the money. I don't really understand it. He just doesn't like me spending his money.

Do others know exactly what is in the other's bank account? Am I a fool for not knowing?

Toughasoldboots Sun 03-Jan-16 00:40:27

You are not pathetic, the situation is wrong. I am not earning and can spend whatever I want without getting checked up on. If the money is there, you should have equal rights.
What do you want to do long term?

Mrskeats Sun 03-Jan-16 00:40:37

It's not his money though it's family money
I really can't stand men who think like this

Toughasoldboots Sun 03-Jan-16 00:42:13

I know what's in all the accounts, including the business one. I don't know, it might be better in your situation to work so that you can build up some savings of your own?

AngryMo Sun 03-Jan-16 00:43:10

I agree, Mrskeats and I have told him many times when I've been angry with him, that we are a family and he can clearly see I'm not going round wasting his money, certainly not on me, that's obvious.

AngryMo Sun 03-Jan-16 00:45:02

He insists it's his money though. We need to get a bigger car, which would mean replacing my old car, that I bought myself, but he still says it would still be "his" car anyway, even if I'm the one driving it.

Mrskeats Sun 03-Jan-16 00:46:44

Imagine what it would cost to pay for all the jobs, childcare etc etc that you do? It makes me angry when this is so devalued. Just because he brings home the money doesn't mean that he gets to dictate.
A relationship is meant to be a partnership not a dictatorship

AngryMo Sun 03-Jan-16 00:47:05

Yes, Tough, I know I need to have some of my own savings. I literally have nothing, except my assets (joint house). I was even thinking about working secretly without him knowing.

trackrBird Sun 03-Jan-16 00:48:05

No, it's not even slightly normal. That behaviour is abuse, and financial abuse.

He likes to take out his aggression on you, after which he feels much better: this is why he acts like everything's fine afterwards. For him, it is fine.

He buys expensive gifts, and shows things off to his friends, because that supports his public face. A wealthy, generous man, or whatever he's trying to project. But you know his private face: he's a miserly skinflint who begrudges every penny to you, the woman he is supposed to love. sad

Please have a look at the links at the top of this thread. It may help clarify things a little.

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/relationships/2360895-Support-for-those-in-emotionally-abusive-relationships-thread-31

Mrskeats Sun 03-Jan-16 00:48:41

Well I would be getting a bit of money together so I could leave
Can you see this improving? What do other people in your life think?

AngryMo Sun 03-Jan-16 00:49:43

How the heck do I get him to see the value in it? He would have an answer for everything, he's that sort. He'd outsource all the childcare to his poor old mother. He has let slip that if he had to spend a weekend on his own with the kids he couldn't handle it (when I almost had to go away for a few days).

Mrskeats Sun 03-Jan-16 00:52:19

You probably won't ever get him to see
I was in an ea relationship and they don't change
Life is too short to be unhappy

AngryMo Sun 03-Jan-16 00:52:30

I've only told two close friends. Things died down and were fine for a few months but have reared up again now. One of my friends supported me leaving if I had to, as she experienced similar. But it never came to that. The other was shocked as you're right, his public face is totally different, and she had no idea.

AngryMo Sun 03-Jan-16 00:53:25

I'm so ashamed to be in a relationship with such a bully.

Toughasoldboots Sun 03-Jan-16 00:53:41

If I was in your situation, I think that I would go back to work and not let him take your money. Once you are in a stronger position financially, I would be thinking about whether I wanted this relationship to continue. Planning and getting advice all the way.
That's easy for me to say though and I appreciate that it's not easy.

AngryMo Sun 03-Jan-16 00:56:08

I can imagine, once I am working again, he will be all happy and it will be like he never behaved the way he did. With hindsight now, there are signs he is the way he is even when I was working but I never realised them until I became dependent on him.

Mrskeats Sun 03-Jan-16 00:56:59

I think this type of man likes to be seen as generous and does things for show but actually is very mean spirited. To humiliate you in public is awful behaviour and you should certainly not have to justify spending a few pounds on a present
In most couples big purchases are discussed and both partners opinions valued
Do you want your children growing up thinking this is how women are treated?

AngryMo Sun 03-Jan-16 01:01:26

Yes he is a show off, and talks openly about money a lot (which embarrasses me). He likes to speculate a lot on what others earn and spend, he's a bit obsessed really. I'm wholly embarrassed to be with someone who thinks like that as I openly dislike consumerism and material possessions honestly do not matter to me, in fact I cringe when he talks about buying a bigger tv and the like. He knows we are opposites in that regard, and in a way that's why he likes to control me, because I am too airy fairy about money and spending. But I'm not a child or an idiot.

averylongtimeago Sun 03-Jan-16 01:04:07

At first glance, my life would seem to be like yours.
I gave up work to look after the DC, earned little or no money for years and DH has always been the main breadwinner.
However, we don't have "his" money or "my" money, we just have "the money" - OUR money. If I need something, I go and buy it, I don't need to ask permission. As I do all the accounts I know how much money we have, so budget accordingly, he is the same. We discus how much spare cash there is, everything is in joint names, we have several vehicles, I think my name is on the log book of the camper and the car, his is on the 4x4, but the are all family vehicles...
I think this is normal. I am not saying we never disagree about money, but even in the middle of a "full and Frank exchange of views" it is a discussion between equals.

Quite frankly he sounds horrid, and the money issues are only part of it.

Mrskeats Sun 03-Jan-16 01:05:01

No I'm sure you're not an idiot. Being controlled can happen gradually and you don't always realise imho

AngryMo Sun 03-Jan-16 01:08:32

I wonder if anyone else we know can see this side to him. He never used to be like this. When we met we were students earning spare cash on the side and were equals. His career has taken off and so has his ego apparently. When did he become such a monster sad

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