How to Leave a Financially Dependent Relationship
Deciding to leave a relationship is never easy. From love to marriage to the proverbial (in my case, very real) baby in a baby carriage, there are numerous things to consider when you end a relationship, particularly one with kids: custody, health care, splitting belongings and assets, securing new but separate living spaces, and more. But if you have no income, or live on a limited income—whether due to disability, being a stay-at-home parent, or another reason—you may feel trapped, due to being financially dependent on your partner. How do you leave when you have no financial stability, or support?
Staying in a relationship for money, not love, can have detrimental effects on your physical and emotional health. In fact, it can quite literally make you sick—something George Guillelmina, a certified financial planner, emphasizes.
"Financially dependent relationships are relationships where one partner has an unstable or low income and insufficient savings," Guillelmina explains. "This puts him or her in a fragile position, i.e., they are heavily dependent on the partner's financial support. And this doesn't only impact the person's self-esteem; it can also lead to financial instability in cases of divorce, problems with health, or the death of [a] partner."
Financially dependent relationships are detrimental, through and through. The good news? You don't have to stay in one. There are ways to gain financial independence and find your footing on your own.
It's important to note, however, that some financially dependent relationships are abusive. In fact, financial control and abuse often go hand-in-hand. If you are in a financially and/or physically abusive relationship, you should seek additional support: Reach out to family members and friends and let them know what's going on, and work with a therapist or trusted mental health professional to create a safe exit plan. Plan your way, slowly or swiftly, out of the relationship—and connect with organizations like The Allstate Foundation, which aims to end domestic violence through financial independence.