How Women Financially Abuse Men

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How Women Financially Abuse Men

“Every night, I’d walk in and be so tired and she wouldn’t say hi. She’d smile and say, ‘Checks, please.’”

-- Man who was financially abused by his wife

 

When people focus on financial ways men abuse women, they often talk about men who exert control by limiting their partner’s ability to work or access to family money. While those same abuses may occur when the genders are flipped, there also are financial abuses that are available for women to use against men that take advantage of traditional gender roles.

A woman might be in a position to control finances because she has a much larger income than her partner. Another woman may take advantage of a man’s role as “provider” by demanding he provide an unreasonable amount or in unreasonable ways. If he doesn’t live up to her demands, there is a price to pay. The same woman, or other women, may capitalize on female gender roles to help her avoid financial responsibility.

Financially abused men may feel overly taxed by their partners' unreasonable demands or "requests" but struggle to see the situation for what it is since they are conditioned to carry the financial responsibilities for the partnership and family. 

 

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Signs of Financial Abuse

The female-on-male financial abuse ways and means of manipulative or abusive women are diverse:
  • getting him to buy her things
  • controlling the finances
  • restricting access to financial information
  • demanding he make more money
  • misuse of funds
  • stealing from him or the family
  • ruining his credit
  • keeping the family financially burdened
  • refusing to contribute financially to the family
  • limiting his ability to work
  • destroying his property

    Financial control abuse in marriage, financial abuse in marriage by wife, what is financial abuse in marriage

     

    Example of Financial Abuse by a Girlfriend: Getting Him to Buy Her Things

    Male gender-role training that says men need to prove they can provide financially for their partner and potential, or actual, family sets men up to be vulnerable to women who wish to take advantage of them financially.

    Though women have made great strides in equal rights with men, such as vastly increased occupation choices, many still have hung on, with a death grip, to unequal rights that favor women. Men paying for everything—from dinner, to diamonds, to literally everything—is a vestige of the old days that some women love to capitalize on.

    Many men are conditioned to not question their role as gift-giver, and can’t quite put their finger on what feels so awful if they are taken advantage of in this way. If they do consciously think it’s unfair, they may be ashamed to admit it, or find little support for their view.

    A man’s girlfriend often traveled internationally for her jewelry business. She talked him into giving her money to purchase her engagement ring on one of her trips by convincing him that she could get a great deal through her contacts. She came back from the trip with a diamond ring and all seemed good with the world.

    Imagine his shock, then, when her husband showed up at his door one day. This fiancée to him, wife of another man, didn’t travel for business. That was her cover story for not being available all the time. How much of his money she pocketed and how much she spent on her “engagement” ring is unknown, but certainly neither was returned to him.

     

    A quick look at Spousal Abuse book: A Concise Overview of Domestic Violence, Emotional Abuse, and the 5 Other Forms of Partner Abuse in Straight and LGBTQ Relationships

    Example of Financial Abuse in Marriage by a Wife: Controlling and Restricting

    Some women may control their families’ finances because they are the major earners of their families, but even if a woman is not bringing in the bulk of the family income, or any of the family income, she may still control the family “purse strings”.

    A man may be convinced that his partner has more time or ability to manage the budget and then find that he has less and less access to funds or ability to make reasonable purchases; or a woman may take control more directly.

    In situations where a couple recognizes that the woman genuinely has a better history with handling money and they have agreed that it is in everyone’s financial best interests that he have limited access because he has a spending problem, then her control of the funds may be healthy and warranted. In abusive situations, a woman may gradually or quickly take control of the finances, limit her partner’s input into how money will be spent, and restrict his access to financial information. She may use any combination of coercion, control, manipulation, or humiliation to secure her hold on the money.

    One man found out after separation that he and his estranged wife had several years of unpaid taxes. He had given her the money to pay the taxes each year. He thought she had paid the taxes each year. But she had not.

    He had trusted her to handle the family finances and the book-keeping for his business. He was run ragged with the physical demands of the business and she appeared to be taking care of the bills. Occasionally, he had attempted to get more information about how things were going financially, but she would either divert his attention or accuse him of creating too much work for her.

    His wife spent lavishly on herself while she always talked him out of buying weather-appropriate gear he needed for his work or anything else he wanted. His requests for some of the income from his business were met with an emotionally laden litany of excuses why they couldn’t afford the purchase.

    She always managed to convince him there wasn’t enough money to go around, so he had to sacrifice for the family. He described the feeling he had, after years of the same money-for-her/none-for-him scenarios repeating over and over, as “frugal fatigue.”

    During his divorce, it took forensic accounting to weed through the tangled mess his wife had made of the business and personal financial records. The digging uncovered that over a year prior to any talk of separation, she had funneled money from his business into an undisclosed account.

    To add insult to injury—or more accurately, injury to injury—after the divorce settlement left them each responsible for half of the back taxes, the ex-wife filed for Innocent Spouse with the IRS. Despite the very strong documentation the man submitted to the IRS to refute her claim, the IRS awarded her Innocent Spouse status, making him responsible to pay all the tax debt the couple had incurred while together.

      For further explanation of each of the ways abusive women financially abuse their male partners and the personal stories of abused men check out my book:

       

      Abuse of Men by Women book, Abusive wife and girlfriend, What is financial abuse

      Or for a quick reference:  

       

      A quick look at Abuse OF Men BY Women book: A Concise Overview of Domestic Violence, Emotional Abuse, and the 5 Other Forms of Female on Male Spousal Abuse

       

       

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      • Ann Silvers
      Comments 10
      • Ann Silvers
        Ann Silvers

        Sam: So glad to hear that you are free of her. I agree that the best that can happen sometimes is for a manipulative person to decide to move on to a new target.

      • Sam
        Sam

        Hi,

        I was with a woman who, at the beginning of our relationship, was very manipulative in order to get me pay for all her desires/needs/projects.

        Making promisses she wouldn’t hold, emotional blackmailing, play with guilt, shame, belittling me, etc.. in order to get what she wanted.. at my expense..

        She was a harsh feminist… when it was good for her… Double standards was her norm.

        Furthermore, she was always dumping all the dirty work on my shoulders.
        I had to do both the “traditional” woman chores and those traditionally atributed to man. When I was confronting her about it, she would play the victim, making me the bad guy.

        She finally went away with a family friend, she said that I took her for granted…

        Now I realise that it was the best gift she gave me…

      • Ann Silvers
        Ann Silvers

        Summer, Thanks for taking the time to write about your first hand experience witnessing how women can financially abuse their ex’s. It is so important that women speak out. Unfortunately, malicious women often have a second objective while they are financially abusing their ex: destroy their ex financially to interfere with their ability to be happy in another relationship. (A version of — “If I can’t have you, nobody can.”) A third objective often is to destroy them psychologically/emotionally through all the havoc they create.

      • Summer
        Summer

        As a partner to a male who still after 4 year post divorce is being abused by his ex, this is a hard pill to take, when the police don’t do anything either. $1,000’s of judgement bailouts for her! evictions! After getting $4k a month for him being active Army for 6 month, he came home to ZERO! and being evicted. opened CC is his name, car repo’ed. The final straw was last year she saved all her child support checks and cashed them twice for over $1,500 first through the banking app then took them to the bank. BC his bank wont work with her anymore she started talking him back to court for child support, he has been in front of judge 5x in a year, 2 child support adjustments and now a custody case that she started. He of course hired a att. at $3,500 down! It never ends with this women. She has 3 judgments against her and a tax warrant from when she lied of their joint tax year while he was overseas.
        He was awarded relief for the FED GOV for the tax amount but not State.
        She made her BFF watch the kids all Summer at $300.00 a week, which she paid NOTHING FOR! The court forced him to pay %55 OF THAT AND NOT EVEN ASK FOR HER PROOF OF PAYMENT!
        Everyday he checks his bank account! Not to mention to belittling while he was in college, now a nurse! and she’s pissed she’s missing out on all HIS money!!!

      • Ann Silvers
        Ann Silvers

        Well said BD.

        I don’t understand why the archaic traditions of men paying for everything haven’t given way as women have become economic equals and partners. (Even if there is an argument for women being only near-equals financially, then why aren’t we expected to be near-equals in carrying the costs in relationships.) I don’t think that men should still be expected to foot the bill for dinner, engagement rings . . .

        And I agree that noting abuses against men does not discount that abuses against women exist. It’s not “either-or”. It’s “and”. Both can be addressed.

      • BD
        BD

        Economic abuse of men is absolutely the norm in American society, it’s getting worse and rarely talked about. I’m a liberal, feminist male Ivy league educated supporter of the #metoo movement. As the father of a young girl, I find gender discrimination deplorable and sexual violence abhorrent. But at some point there has to be a reckoning of the facts on this subject.

        Consider that in a ‘traditional’ marriage, people got married in their early 20’s or earlier, then had a large number of children. The women worked hard to care for the kids and keep the home going, while the man worked outside the home to provide economically. Both sides worked at their part for a lifetime. However, starting roughly after WWII, in the average American household, the number of children dropped to ~2, kids almost universally went to school at age 5 and started leaving home for college or to work around 18.

        So, women had a HARD job caring for babies and pre-schoolers for about 7 years. And a tough, but increasingly easier job for another 13 years…for a total of 20ish years. Add in modern conveniences, e.g. washing machines and microwaves, and the labor for a domestic housewife showed continuous improvement. Families come in many shapes/sizes and personal circumstances vary widely, but millions of women did effectively retire in their mid-forties. Men continued to work until 65 and die younger than women from stress related illnesses. This reality is not part of the popular culture or talked about.

        Now we move into the 19060/70’s and the Women’s Movement starts in earnest. It’s no longer OK to assume that women do all the housework and child rearing in Liberal circles, and those circles widen over time. And, women entered the workforce in greater numbers. The narrative becomes “women are both making money and doing all the housework.” Again true for many, but moving to today I see a LOT of couples where men share substantially in housework/childcare, still do the “manly” things of mowing the lawn/maintaining the car…and produce the majority/all of the income.

        Increasingly, in my social and work circles, I see economically powerful women (lawyers/tech execs) choosing to stop working to be stay at home parents, often against the wishes of their male partners. Sometimes this creates economic hardship for these families. And the men are still expected to pitch in meaningfully on housework, etc.

        It’s gotten economically worse and worse for men in these very common scenarios. However, the popular narrative remains: women have it bad, men have it good. Consider the gender pay gap number VERY often cited at 78 cents to women for every dollar to men. That is NOT for the same work, as is often misstated, it’s for all women vs. all men. When you compare men:women in same job/experience/education, the gap mostly shrinks to a few cents…which is still wrong, as are the reasons girls are still conditioned to pursue lower paying careers. However, again popular narratives both exaggerate the economic differences and ignore what’s really going on in a huge segment of families where men are being taken advantage of.

        So, thanks for this article, just as #metoo is shining a light on what’s been happening to women for, well forever, hopefully the economic abuse of men will also become more visible and start to get addressed.

      • Ched
        Ched

        Me to

      • B
        B

        My ex-wife (yep, EX-wife) financially abused me and our children for well over a decade. She controlled all the finances, barely worked and when she did she’d barely contribute to the household, ran up credit card debt to over $10K year after year after year and I could never figure out what it was she’s was spending it all on. One year, she had accumulated over $25K in cc debt and it took me working OT 50 – 60 hours per week for 3 years to maintain the monthly expenses and get us out of that debt. The following year, $10K more in cc debt, again. The nail in the coffin is when she snuck out of the house early one Saturday morning when I was sleeping, went to a car dealership, traded in her leased vehicle that still had 2 years left on it and bought a new $40K car without consulting me.

        That’s when I knew the cycle of financial abuse was never going to stop. It was never going to end.

        The divorce decree was signed 4 months ago. In that short period of time I’ve been able to save $10K so I can get my finances (and life) back on track. You know that expression “It’s cheaper to keep her”…? Not always

        Good luck, brothers.

      • Ann Silvers
        Ann Silvers

        Hi Chris. Unfortunately, the shortage of people talking about this topic doesn’t correlate with the number of men financial abuse is happening to. I think it’s very common and the culture is blinded to it — as it is blind to the many ways men get abused and taken advantage of in relationships with women. (I’m NOT saying that all women abuse and/or take advantage of men. I’m saying that it is happening far too often.)

      • Chris
        Chris

        Don’t see alot about this on a Google search. I must be one of the few men that gets abused in this way

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