Is Your Partner A Tightwad?
In fact, unfairly controlling money is classed as a form of domestic abuse according to website, Hiddenhurt. In their definition, financial abuse can include:
denying you sufficient housekeeping
having to account for every penny spent
denying access to the cheque book/bank account/finances
putting all the bills in your name
not permitting you to spend available funds on yourself or children
So how do you deal with it?
Identify the problem
Firstly you need to find out the cause of his or her miserliness. Serious tightwads often won’t spend money on themselves or other people because underneath they’re frightened of losing what they have. It’s a characteristic that is common in people who have lived through an economic depression or grown up in extreme poverty. Or it could be that their parents were frightened of money and they instilled this fear into their now grown-up children.
You need to talk to your partner about his attitude to money – have they always felt like this? How did his parents treat money? If talking’s not an option it may be time for you to have couples counselling as people’s behaviour with money is fundamental to the health of a relationship. It could be that he is consciously using money as a way to control you, in which case the situation is serious and it may be a sign that you need to get out for good.
On the other hand, he might be mean without realising it. Perhaps he has had problems with money in the past and this has made him fearful and mean without realising it. In these cases sometimes gentle teasing followed by quiet, but persistent, reasoning will open his eyes to his behaviour and help him change his behaviour.
Stop the behaviour spiralling
If your partner is open to talking about the situation then you have something to work with, but be warned, it could take time to change ingrained thoughts and habits.
Firstly, talk calmly about the specific effect the behaviour has on you and your family. For example, ‘when you reduced my budget for groceries, I wasn’t able to buy fresh fruit and vegetables for the children’, or ‘Your decision to control all the money decisions makes me feel vulnerable. I want to learn more about managing money.’
Talk together and explain what you want to change. Would you like to share responsibility for the bank accounts? Could you ask for a higher monthly ‘salary’ from your partner to be spent on yourself, the family and on each other?
At the same time, you should protect your interests and those of your children if you have them. Keep your own money in a private bank account that your partner has no access to. Then set up a ‘family’ or personal bank account to share responsibility for managing the money and making decisions.
Set goals together. Start small – saving for an annual weekend away or regular day out – and work towards bigger targets, such as redecorating or moving into a bigger house.
Shared decisions go a long way to making you both feel important in the relationship and can prevent money issues from causing anger and resentment. Treat money like any other problem – don’t bottle it up, get a conversation going and find a solution that suits you both.
And take heed of Joan Rivers’ advice: ‘Trust your husband, adore your husband, and get as much as you can in your own name.’