Episode 145: "What if my partner insists on holding onto my money?"Support the show
On today’s episode, we’re answering a question from local teens about when a partner tries to control your money.
My name is Jessica Skultety. I’m an Outreach and Prevention Manager at Safe+Sound Somerset. We are Somerset County, New Jersey's lead domestic and sexual violence response organization, providing services at no charge to survivors for over 40 years.
Today's question from local teens is: “Dear Ava, What if my partner insists on holding onto my money?”
So, we know that money is an important topic in any relationship, for teens and adults. All of us depend on money to live, and it’s usually a constant conversation in relationships.
If your partner is insisting or forcing you to let them manage your money, that’s a red flag. Other common situations might be: one partner gives the other an allowance, or tells the other how to spend their money, or pressures them to spend money they didn’t want to. Usually if someone asks a question like this teen did, they are questioning the behavior or feeling unsafe or threatened.
You have every right to say no to this request, for any reason. And you should feel safe to say no. You also have a right to manage your own money, and you can say this to your partner. You can even tell them that it’s not that you don’t trust them, but it’s about you keeping your boundaries and maintaining independence in a relationship.
You are entitled to privacy and the relationship is only just one part of your life. If they are guilt tripping you, then, or making you feel unsafe, this is a sign that they don't respect your boundaries.
Maybe it IS that you don’t trust your partner, or you’re feeling unsafe around them already. It could be that your partner is demanding this because they want to gain power and control over you, which could mean abuse. This is one way they can control your involvement in activities, going out with your friends, transportation, and going to a job.
Usually abuse gets worse over time. So if your partner is trying to control your money, it might be just one action in their quest to gain power and control over you in different ways.
Sometimes a partner might give excuses, like: “If you love me enough,” or “If we trusted each other enough,” or "If you were serious enough about our relationship, you'd give me access to your money.” The excuses are not okay. Serious, trusting, and loving relationships are ones where both partners actually respect each other's boundaries, including financial boundaries.
If you don’t trust them or feel safe, you have options. We recommend always keeping your passwords private, especially those to banking accounts and credit or debit cards. If your partner is pressuring you to share them, know that you have a right to keep these things private if you want to.
If they don’t understand and keep trying making you feel guilty, this is a sign that they don’t respect your boundaries. Try to find a trusted adult to talk to about the situation with. It could be a parent, family member, coach, or teacher. You can also call or text the Safe+Sound Somerset helpline at 866-685-1122 to talk with an advocate, or someone who is trained in talking about abuse and your options.
Remember, if you end up wanting to leave a relationship, you have every right to do so. You don’t have to leave, but that option is always there. If you’re feeling unsafe, we recommend reaching out to the helpline first to safety plan, or look at our website, as leaving is the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship.
You are not alone, you deserve privacy, and there is help available.
To speak with an expert about relationship or sexual violence, call or text the Safe+Sound Somerset 24/7 confidential helpline at 866-685-1122 for supportive listening, information, and safety planning.
Want to “Ask Ava” a question? Visit our website at www.safe-sound.org/ask-ava. Thank you for listening today. Join us next time here on Ask Ava.