A Description of Financially dominated Relationships

Financially dominated relationships are characterized by one partner exercising undue control and dominance over the other through financial means. In these dynamics, one partner may control all financial resources, making the other dependent on them for basic necessities, personal expenses, or even access to their own earnings. The dominating partner may use money as a tool to manipulate, control decisions, or keep the other partner in a subservient or dependent position.

The reasons for this dynamic can vary; it might stem from traditional beliefs about gender roles, power imbalances, or a desire to exert control in the relationship. The partner on the receiving end of this domination may feel trapped, lacking the financial means or knowledge to break free. This lack of financial autonomy can lead to reduced self-esteem, feelings of helplessness, and an inability to make independent life choices.

Over time, the controlled partner may lose confidence in their ability to manage finances or fear the consequences of standing up to the controlling partner. It’s essential for individuals in such relationships to seek guidance, education on financial matters, and support to regain their financial independence and restore balance in the relationship.

(This article is part of the series: Unhealthy Relationship Patterns: Categorizing the 21 types)

The Perspective of Partners

Financially Dominating Partner:

  • Perception: Views themselves as the primary or sole financial decision-maker in the relationship. They might believe they’re better equipped to handle money or that it’s their responsibility to oversee all financial matters.
  • Emotions: May feel a sense of power, control, or even security by holding the financial reins. There might also be underlying fears of losing control or a belief that money equates to power in the relationship.
  • Behaviors: Controls all or most financial resources, making decisions about expenditures, savings, and investments. They might restrict the other partner’s access to funds, monitor their spending, or withhold money as a form of punishment or control.
  • Rationalizations: They might believe that their control over finances is for the “greater good” of the relationship or family. They may also think that their partner is financially irresponsible or that they’re “protecting” the relationship from poor financial decisions.

Financially Controlled Partner:

  • Perception: Feels dependent on the dominating partner for financial resources and decisions. They might believe they’re incapable of managing money or that they don’t have a right to access shared financial resources.
  • Emotions: Predominantly experiences feelings of helplessness, frustration, and reduced self-worth. Over time, they may also feel resentment, trapped, or anxious about their financial future.
  • Behaviors: Often defers to the dominating partner for financial decisions, may hide personal expenditures, or avoid discussing money altogether. They might also seek external financial advice or support in secret.
  • Rationalizations: They might convince themselves that the dominating partner is only looking out for their best interests or that they themselves are financially inept. They may also believe that challenging the financial dynamics could jeopardize the relationship or their own well-being.