The Mistake That Made Me Extremely Financially Vulnerable In My Unhappy Marriage

Once my husband had control of this, I was a goner.

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My husband and I experienced more than a little marital trouble. I expressed just how unhappy and lonely I felt being married to him.

He coerced me into handing over the bills for our home, our business, and our investment properties.

He said we were spending too much money.

I knew he was lying because I was the one paying the bills and handling our investments. There was plenty of money and we no longer used credit cards.


We were in excellent financial shape. But he made me feel crazy with his complaining. 

He wore me down which is a method he perfected over the years.

I met my sister for lunch and she handed me an envelope.

"What is this?" I asked. "Why are you giving me this much money?"

"It’s ridiculous," my sister said. "You can’t even get your hair cut and when you finally do you have to leave the salon with wet hair because he’s not giving you enough to cover it."

My sister was correct.

Once my husband had control of our money, he began to withhold it. 

His tactics were fluid and changing.

At first, he began complaining about things like my hair appointment. Then he started leaving only a certain amount of cash in an envelope that I could use. That was particularly demeaning.


And then he denied me money for things like birthdays and Christmas. 

I had made myself financially vulnerable as a stay-at-home mother.

But I didn't think I had because I had built a business and investment properties with him.

I didn't realize my husband would develop financial amnesia at the thought of a divorce.

He claimed it was his money and his house. The financial abuse that started during our marital problems heightened in severity during a terribly abusive divorce. I hadn’t even realized I was experiencing financial abuse while we were married.

I thought my controlling husband who was obsessed with money was being difficult.

He had talked about retiring since we were in our twenties.


I thought it was his obsession with money that drove him to diminish and demean me with it.

During our divorce, it became apparent just how desperate a financial situation my husband had put me in as punishment for leaving him.

He ruined my credit, took out debt in my name, reduced our business income, hid our assets, and more.

"What were you thinking?" said my sister. "The worst thing you ever did was hand him over all of your finances."

"I know," I said. "I didn’t realize he wanted the bills because he had an agenda. I thought he was being difficult and complaining about money. I had no idea what he was truly up to and capable of."

When I told my husband I was unhappily married he gained control over all of our finances. 


Don’t let this happen to you.

I didn’t realize I married a man who was capable of this. I didn’t know people spent years hiding money while one partner was struggling to save a marriage.

I didn’t realize that a spouse who is controlling and obsessed with money will stop at nothing to make sure you are left with nothing.


Don’t relinquish control of your financial life … ever.

No matter what state your marriage is in.

If you are happily married you need control over your own financial life. If you are experiencing marital problems you need control over your financial life. If you are a stay-at-home mother you need control over your financial life.

And if you are getting a divorce, you need control over your financial life.

Colleen Sheehy Orme is a national relationship columnist, journalist, and former business columnist. She writes about love, life, relationships, family, parenting, divorce, and narcissism.