Boyfriend Walking Mess of Red Flags but She’s So Worn Down She Can’t See it

While in the throes of an abusive relationship, we often can’t see the red flags for what they are. The abuser gets us turned around, unable to tell whether we’re up or down. 

Sometimes, it takes strangers to show us the truth of a situation. One woman came to Reddit wondering if she was wrong for withholding her son’s SSI money from her boyfriend, who claimed he needed it to pay the bills. 

The sad story is a textbook case of financial abuse, and many Redditors pointed it out to the Original Poster (OP). We can only hope she sees it. 

Son Receives SSI Money Due to Disability

The OP came to Reddit to explain the situation. 

“I (30F) live with my boyfriend (30M), together we have 2 young children, and I have an oldest son (8) from a previous relationship,” she began. “My oldest son has a medical condition that has him on daily life support, and as a result, he receives $900/mo on SSI.”

She said she doesn’t work but homeschools her son, takes care of all his medical needs, cooks, cleans, and raises the two younger kids. 

Boyfriend Wants “Traditional” Relationship

OP then described her boyfriend’s traditional values. “He told me he wants a ‘traditional household,’ solely dependent on his income,” she explained. 

Most observers will already sense the red flags. Actively preventing a partner from working is a crucial sign of financial abuse

However, it’s not always the case. If the working partner shares the financial resources with the stay-at-home parent and they manage the household budget together, there’s no cause for alarm. 

Unfortunately for the OP, that doesn’t seem to be the case. 

Boyfriend is Horrible with Money

He can’t manage the budget and blows all his money on junk like old cars. 

“I’ve tried to get him to budget for YEARS, but he refuses,” she said. “He has 4 trucks&an older BMW, all of them need work- he spends a lot of $ fixing them or simply buys new trucks.”

He then turns to her for help filling the gaps, and the only money she has is her son’s SSI. 

“It started with borrowing sometimes, but now it’s every month. He takes $3-700 from the only money I receive to pay bills,” she lamented. 

And He Steals from Her

It gets worse. Finally, she put her foot down and said he couldn’t have the money. He didn’t bat an eye. 

“I told him I won’t do it & he said “good luck, I already have your card.” He took & hid my card from me,” she explained, adding that she tried to shut the card down, but he got $300 out of the ATM before she was able to. 

OP Wonders if She’s Wrong

The worst part of this story is that OP isn’t sure if she’s in the right. She’s so used to being abused that she can’t clearly see what’s happening. 

She came to Reddit asking seeking opinions but focused on his standard of being the “sole provider” rather than whether he’s abusive. 

“I want to know if I’m supposed to hand over the SSI every month or not, given the arrangement of ‘us’ & his financial illiteracy that hurts us in the first place,” she said. 

Redditors Highlight the Abuse

It may not have been what she wanted to hear, but Redditors pointed out the obvious. OP’s boyfriend is abusive. 

“Your boyfriend is financially abusive, exceptionally stupid, and a thief. Leave him now,” stated one user. 

“OP, what you are describing is textbook financial abuse and isolation. He not only controls his money and your ability to seek employment, but now he is also taking any other cash you have, including the money meant to provide for your son, who relies on intensive medical support to remain alive.” stated another. 

Financial Abuse is Real

People often don’t consider financial or emotional abuse as real abuse. They think, “Well, at least he’s not hitting me.”

But it is abuse, and no one deserves to be treated that way. 

As one Redditor said, “Yes, you’re not reporting physical abuse, but you are undergoing financial abuse, and your SO has taken almost all your power in your relationship away from you. This is not sustainable for you or your kids.”

We All Hope OP Leaves

OP doesn’t have a lot of resources to leave, likely by the design of her controlling boyfriend. We hope she gets the help she needs to escape. 

If you or someone you know is in a similar situation, call the hotline (1.800.799.SAFE (7233) to get help. Financial abuse is real, but you don’t have to live with it.

Source: Reddit thread