Defining Dating Abuse: Financial Abuse

August 23, 2022

Understanding common types of abuse will better prepare you to identify them when you see them, whether it be in a relationship that you are in or one that you are observing.  Here are some of the common types of abuse that can take place in a dating relationship: physical abuse, emotional and verbal abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, digital abuse, and stalking.  This is the fourth week of our series: Defining Dating Abuse, which will cover each type of abuse that is listed above.  In the first week, we covered the topic of physical abuse, in the second week we covered the topic of verbal and emotional abuse, and in the third week, we covered the topic of sexual abuse.  Today, we will cover the topic of financial abuse.

Financial abuse often happens in more subtle ways than other forms of abuse, but it can be just as harmful to those who experience it.  Due to economic inequality throughout our society, oftentimes our financial security is directly tied to our health and wellbeing. No one has the right to use money, or how you choose to spend it, to control your actions or decisions, and no one should control your ability to work.

Examples of financial abuse include:

  • Giving you an allowance or monitoring what you buy.
  • Depositing your paycheck into an account you can’t access.
  • Preventing you from seeing shared bank accounts or records.
  • Forbidding you from working or limiting the hours you do.
  • Preventing you from going to work by taking your car, keys, or another mode of transportation.
  • Getting you fired by harassing you, your employer, or your co-workers.
  • Hiding or stealing your student financial aid check or other financial support.
  • Using your social security number to obtain loans without your permission.
  • Using your child’s social security number to claim an income tax refund without your permission.
  • Maxing out your credit cards without permission.
  • Refusing to provide you with money, food, rent, medicine, or clothing.
  • Using funds from your children’s tuition or a joint savings account without your knowledge.
  • Spending money on themselves while preventing you from doing the same.
  • Giving you presents or paying for things with the expectation of something in return.
  • Using financial circumstances to control you.


If you’re not in control of your finances or if your partner has taken money from your bank account, it can be especially scary to leave an abusive relationship.  If you are experiencing financial abuse, it is important to identify resources to help you regain control over your finances.  You can also consider talking to a trusted friend, family member, or legal professional about getting a protection order.  No matter what you decide to do, it may be wise to consider setting aside funds in a separate, private location.

Financial abuse is usually coupled with emotional or physical abuse, so if you find yourself in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, there is help out there for you.  Please reach out to STAND! or call their crisis line at (888) 215-5555. If you need help defining your relationship, please reach out to by calling their National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline at (866)331-9474 or text “LOVEIS” to 22522.

Options Health is a safe place where you can confidentially come and discuss sexual health, pregnancy, and relationship issues with one of our patient advocates.  Feel free to contact us today to take advantage of our free services, including pregnancy testing, ultrasound, pregnancy options consultation, STD testing, and abortion aftercareCall us or text us to schedule an appointment. We are here for you and ready to listen!