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want to leave controlling partner but scared

(30 Posts)
donewiththis Thu 28-Apr-16 14:17:59

I have been married for just under 5 years to a man who is not a bad person but can be quite controlling. When I first moved in with him 8 years ago he told me to cancel my credit cards and go on his one. I did this and as soon as I started to spend like I normally did he analysed everything I bought every month. (I'm not a big spender at all) he would say ooo spent a lot on chocolate this month or don't forget you bought clothes last month so you shouldn't need any new ones this month. Anyway fast forward a few years and he's changed all my passwords to my email accounts without telling me and then we marry and have a joint account that he set up but I have no access to. I kept my own current account and kept my salary going into that. I was too scared to spend my salary and every month he would ask me the balance to check I hadn't spent anything because I was expected to only use his credit card if I bought anything (again I have no access to information on what is spent on this only he has access to the account). So anyway... Eventually we had a child and when I was on maternity leave he picked on me for every penny I spent including telling me off for spending £4 on a jacket potato (I live in an expensive area so this was cheap and in a church cafe!) I tried to stop going out eventually and then after 8 months maternity leave I went back to work full time so he couldn't tell me off anymore. After 2 years trying to juggle a stressful long hours job and a toddler and never spending a penny of my salary, I had a breakdown and quit my job. I am now completely dependent on him. I asked him for an allowance as it is never clear if I am allowed to spend anything. He has stopped analysing what I spend as much but I think that's because I'm too scared to spend anything. I asked for £100 a month and he said he will not give me an allowance but if I need to spend money then I should but I should be careful not to waste it.
Anyway he earns good money (£5k pm minimum with £1.2k mortgage and no other outgoings other than usual bills) and we never spend all of it. My entire salary for years is in a savings account and I earned good money too. I feel now that I've had enough. He controls me in things like we need a new car but I'm not allowed to choose what we get only he can. I have to go bed when he tells me or he constantly pesters me about when I'm going to bed. He even puts my toothpaste on my toothbrush so I brush my teeth at the same time! I feel like I'm ready to leave. I just want to escape from this. The only problem is I have no friends or family to help me and I did go to see a solicitor and we worked out I would get about £120k of we split everything 50:50 before solicitor fees but in my area average 2bed flat is £300k and renting would deplete any funds for a chance to buy again as rent is very high especially as id have to get a job as well. I don't know if I'm being ridiculous and I can sort things out at home. If it wasn't for money I would leave tomorrow. I am so unhappy but too scared to do anything but being paralysed with fear is just making things worse and I think he knows I am in a weak position to do anything. Every day this eats me up, will I make my daughter suffer. Should I suffer through this for my daughters sake. I just want to get out especially now he's now asking me to put all my money in the joint account giving me no access to money he can't see what I'm spending it on (so he can analyse everything I spend again). Feel so alone. Has anyone managed to divorce and come out ok despite having not much support elsewhere?

Zaurak Thu 28-Apr-16 14:26:01

Financial abuse is now a crime.
But first get all your ducks in a row. If it's a joint account you have access to it. But, so does he. if you go to the bank in person with id you can access those accounts.

Personally I'd get everything set up so I could leave while he suspects nothing. Then I'd go to the bank and take EVERYTHING that was mine and put it in a bank account he had no access to. Then I'd leave.
You cannot live like this. It's horrific.
Call women's aid. Check your phone and tablet/laptop for tracking and spy doftware.

Zaurak Thu 28-Apr-16 14:27:54

Also with 120k and a job you'd be laughing - that's a huge deposit.
Please go back to your solicitor- they can advise you. Post here for support but be careful to delete your browser history and check for tracking software

FetchezLaVache Thu 28-Apr-16 14:34:22

"Should I suffer through this for my daughters sake?"

For your daughter's sake, you should get out. You're modelling a really unhealthy relationship to her. Just think how you'd feel if she were one day married to a man who treats her the way her father treats you! flowers

Get those ducks in a row- can you bear the thought of going back to work?

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 28-Apr-16 14:42:21

You are not being ridiculous in the least, you are a prisoner and in a cage of his own paranoid making. All financial abuse is rooted in power and control and this man has wanted absolute over you for the past several years. Such behaviour is a crime.

You need to leave and as soon as possible. Your DD cannot and must not grow up within this household, she must not learn that this is "normal" behaviour from her dad because it is not. You (and in turn she for that matter) are being financially abused and he is likely to be abusing you in other ways too. Do not suffer this any more for your DDs sake; she will learn from you as well that this is how men treat women. He regards you as a possession.

Womens Aid also can help you leave on 0808 2000 247. Please call them today.

You can and should divorce this individual. Men like this do not let go of their victim easily and he will likely make all aspects of you separating from him as difficult as possible. He will seek "punishment" for you leaving him. He will also likely try and further control you by using his DD post separation. I would also keep your child well away from him, any contact for instance will have to be at a contact centre at the very least. Do not ever do mediation with him.

Men like you describe as well can take a long time, years even, to recover from. I would suggest you also enrol on Womens Aid Freedom Programme when you can as this could help you move forward as well.

Summerlovinf Thu 28-Apr-16 14:44:57

Yes, you will find people are much more supportive and friendly to you once you're away from this awful relationship. You will survive and you can manage financially and emotionally and your daughter will be far better off and respect you much more if you get the hell out of this.

donewiththis Thu 28-Apr-16 14:47:05

Thanks all. I really want a job but am about to sit my final exam to qualify as an accountant so am holding out until I've done that. The problem is it's not going to look very good on my cv as I started a new job last September and it was mega long hours and I ended up just telling my boss I couldn't take the hours anymore when my probationary was up and my boss said that I was being ridiculous but he liked me and wanted me to stay. I ended up staying until they found a replacement in January and after they found my replacement they turned on me and asked me to just go that day. So now I'm scared of applying for jobs in case this job gives me a bad reference plus I now have a random gap on my cv from not having the strength to go back to work immediately. I am so scared as my husband earns enough to get really good solicitors and is very intelligent. I know the deposit is ok I suppose I just need to get a job but my solicitor said I'm better off being unemployed to get my daughter. Feel so trapped.

PestilentialCat Thu 28-Apr-16 14:49:07

This is horrendous. Do not give him control over any more of your money, for goodness sake. You need to get out, really.

PestilentialCat Thu 28-Apr-16 14:52:05

Regardless as to who can afford the best solicitor, there are rules that govern how money is split on divorce. Even if you earned nothing, you would be entitled to a fair share - more than half as you would be the main carer for your daughter.

Your local Women's Aid may be able to recommend a solicitor who is used to dealing with abusive men.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 28-Apr-16 14:57:10

Your H is not as powerful as he or you thinks he is. No man is above the law here.

A small gap in your CV will not count against you going forward; some firms simply now state on references that x started on such a date and finished on x date.

Do not hold out till you've done your final exams; for all you know he may now try and sabotage your attempts to at all do your exams.

You need to leave with your DD asap; Womens Aid can and will help you get out but you need to be brave and take the first steps out. You can do this and your child will thank you for doing so as well.

donewiththis Thu 28-Apr-16 14:58:26

Thanks I am going to call women said now.

Summerlovinf Thu 28-Apr-16 15:00:48

Contact someone who you got on well with at your former employer and ask if they are willing to give you a reference. Even the boss who liked you will probably give you a reference now some water is under the bridge. Presumably he was disappointed to see a good employee leave. A gap on your CV shouldn't matter too much, particularly if you're just gaining further qualification. Solicitor usually gets paid at the end of the process, so you could pay for a solicitor too. Get a recommendation and take your solicitor's advice - s/he will help you to get what you're entitled to, even if your husband is manipulative and intelligent.

CommonBurdock Thu 28-Apr-16 15:35:58

In answer to your question OP yes I too had the credit card ultra-controlling financial abuse behaviour, that was just the tip of the iceberg. He wanted to control every aspect of everything since then, even tried to tell the lawyer how to do his job.

It's no way to live.

Divorce is horrendous but you do come out the other side a much stronger and better person. You can then be a better model for your daughter.

hellsbellsmelons Thu 28-Apr-16 15:46:02

I hope WA are helpful.
As a PP said, get to the bank and ask for a statement for as far back as you can get.
You will find there is probably a lot of money in that joint account.
You need the printed statement as proof because once he gets wind of you taking a stand he will start to hide the money.
So get to the bank this afternoon or tomorrow and get that statement.
WA will hopefully give you details of local solicitors who specialise in dealing with abusive assholes like your 'D'H so don't worry too much about that.

I'm so glad the scales are falling from your eyes.
But be careful with your next moves.
Don't give anything away to him yet.

donewiththis Thu 28-Apr-16 15:51:32

Thank you I am dreading this and just trying to get the courage to finally get out. Hopefully will get help from womensaid too. My parents are not very helpful and despite me earning enough money previously to afford a mortgage childcare is very expensive and another thing I am worried I won't be able to afford. The only thing is I am hoping to get child maintenance once divorced from my husband that will cover this but my days are normally 12 hours including travel to work in London to be able to afford to live. Everyone in my area works in the city and commutes as local wages are rubbish so I will have to find childcare, my daughter does start preschool in September but it doesn't cover all the hours so I will have to work out a way of getting her to and from it. I will though I suppose.

springydaffs Thu 28-Apr-16 16:20:13

Try your local women's aid if you are having problems getting through on the helpline (0808 2000 247 - it is better to call the helpline at night (7am-7pm) as lines are busy during the day. But you may not be able to do that, hence try local).

Do have a look at the Womens Aid website - lots of useful information. Eg covering your digital tracks, as mentioned by a pp.

the law is the law, regardless who has what lawyers. Marital assets are divided re guidelines. Is he self-employed?

You may need a lawyer who is experienced in domestic abuse - Womens Aid will have a list of appropriate lawyers in your area - because I'm not sure the advice to stay at home to ensure you get custody is sound advice (especially for your career!). You have been the primary carer so far which should ensure you get custody. Women's Aid can guide you on this.

At some point (soon!) do the Freedom Programme - essential for those experiencing domestic abuse. It is a wonderful course, I can't recommend it highly enough. Find a course near you

You can do this. Plenty of us have - including me (when I never thought I could. He also had a team (ffs!) of hotshot central London lawyers: made no difference).

Women's Aid will help you 'get your ducks in a row' (financially, practically, emotionally) before you leave safely.


Good luck. One step at a time flowers

springydaffs Thu 28-Apr-16 16:21:45

He is clearly abusing and controlling you financially - which is against the law (new 'coercive control' law). You have plenty of evidence of his controlling abuse and should therefore get free legal representation.

Hissy Thu 28-Apr-16 16:46:46

I know all of this looks insurmountable and terrifying, but just take each day as it comes, work out what you need to do and break it all down.

Woman Aid will help you organise the things you need to do and will offer help and advice

You will also be entitled to some benefits as well love, so it's not all down to you. We're all here for you.

You can do this. You must do this. ❤️

Hissy Thu 28-Apr-16 16:48:29


Get as much money in a safe place as possible.

If you go to the bank as a joint account holder, you can get balances/statements too and may be withdraw your half

ShebaShimmyShake Thu 28-Apr-16 18:41:30

Glad to hear you're getting out, OP. Don't ever think you can't. You can be free from this controlling, abusive shitbag and you will be.

donewiththis Tue 17-May-16 07:57:57

Hi all I know it's been a while but I thought I'd leave an update... First of all thanks for all your replies as they have really helped push me in the right direction. I am now in therapy and my therapist is really helping me. She believes I am not emotionally stable enough to go through with a divorce immediately and is working with me to get myself in a position ready to get a new job and then divorce. My therapist has said that I was in such a bad way emotionally that I probably would have ended up in hospital if I hadn't sought help. I didn't realise the extent of what was happening to me and even though some people think it's ridiculous women get themselves stuck in this kind of relationship I am an intelligent person who couldn't even see what was happening until I finally spoke about it to people and they pointed out this situation is not normal. Sounds daft but either way I can see the light now.
Once I feel confident enough I am going to get a job and leave. My therapist said that if I had a support network I could leave now but because I don't have family and have very few good friends it is better I build myself up to be at least a little bit stronger so I can leave and not get myself into a worse position.
I am doing my cv up and working on my self esteem now to make sure that I can hold down the job successfully whilst all this is going on. smile

hellsbellsmelons Tue 17-May-16 08:42:35

Sounds like a good plan.
It's often said on here to 'get your ducks in a row'
Your ducks will just take a bit longer due to lack of outside support.

Do try to get on to the Freedom Programme. It will give you tools to help you deal with this while you need to remain in the house with him.
It will also help your self-esteem.

Good luck OP.
Get out there and get that job and find yourself again.
It's very liberating!

frieda909 Tue 17-May-16 09:48:03

If it wasn't for money I would leave tomorrow

This tells you everything you need to know. Yes, there are details to work out and yes, it will be hard, but all of that is just temporary. Don't talk yourself into staying by obsessing over every detail of what might happen. Those things can and will be solved.

A few years ago I was very, very unhappy for both job and relationship reasons, but doing pretty well financially. I'm now out of that relationship and have retrained in what has always been my dream job. It's been a long journey and I now earn peanuts and live in a tiny room in a shared flat, but I can honestly say I've never been happier. Money isn't everything, but it sounds like you will be better off on that front anyway when you can buy all the baked potatoes you want!

Good luck and do keep posting here for support.

frieda909 Tue 17-May-16 09:56:59

So sorry, I should have read your latest update before posting. I just over-identified and jumped in without RTFT. My bad!

Very glad to hear you sounding more positive now, and that you have sought help. It sounds like you are taking the right steps and improving your self esteem. I know exactly what you mean, sometimes you don't see how bad it is until you see other people's reactions.

All the best.

donewiththis Wed 18-May-16 16:34:22

Thanks frieda, I know I will have less materially and unfortunately I live in my dream home now but have told to expect to have to sell it however, put into perspective, I know I will be better off without the stress I'm under now trying to keep things together. It is so positive to hear other people say they've done it and come out on top.

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