My Fiancé Controls All of My Money and I Feel Trapped

married couple problems


My fiance and I have been together for three years. About 2 years ago, I quit my job to work with my fiance and his business. Things were decent, but I didn’t make even close to the kind of money I was making before. Later on down the road, he decided he wanted to start a new business with me, and I agreed at the time, thinking that the business was going to take off and we would be more financially set. Fast forward about 6 months, and we are barely making enough to make ends meet. He gives me money periodically for my own bills, but I want the financial freedom of my own.

We aren’t making any money and when we do make money, he has all the financial control.

I told him I was considering taking a day job to make more money, so I’m able to go out and do more things as well as help take the financial burden off of our shoulders. He didn’t even consider the idea and flat out told me that If I took a day job, I would be choosing between him or the job. If I chose the job, I would have to move out and that would be the end of our relationship. My question is, what do I do? We aren’t making any money and when we do make money, he has all the financial control. I can’t keep living wondering when I’m going to get paid again. Please help.


I don’t know enough about you or your fiancé to address his charms or the merits of your relationship. But your story provided more than enough information to render a judgment.

Get out.

One of the interesting things about relationships (including friendships) is that you don’t really know what they’re made of until they’re tested.

You can be friends with someone for years — go out for drinks, take vacations, share war stories — but until there’s something at stake, you have no idea if people are selfish or selfless.

Your fiancé is selfish, which is not that unusual, since we are all, to some degree, selfish. What takes his behavior to a more dangerous level, especially considering you’re planning to hitch your train to his for the rest of your life, is that he’s lording power over you.

Which is to say that it’s normal for him to not want to lose his trusted (and inexpensive) business partner and employee. But for him to threaten to dump you if you want to have more autonomy of your finances? That’s just fucked up.

He’s your fiancé, not your pimp.

He’s your fiancé, not your pimp.

Although it’ll be a double dose of pain to lose your job and your boyfriend in one fell swoop, just think about what it will feel like to get your life back — to be valued for your labor, to have control of your own purse strings, and to be free to find a man who would never think of denying you the right to do what makes YOU happy.

Find another job first to cover your bases, then drop this loser pronto.

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  1. 1

    I’m sorry this has been your experience, OP :(.

    In this particular case, it seems difficult to say anything but “RUN”!! However, I’m trying to look at it from his side (if he’s even got a side) because conversations sometimes get unwittingly misrepresented. When you say “he controls the money”, are you saying that he refuses to let you look at finances? Or is it just the division of duties, i.e. he takes care of business finances and you do other things? What would happen if you asked to take a more active role in the arbitration of finances? The way you make it sound, “he gives me money periodically for my own bills…”, it’s as if it’s his business and you are just a casual employee. Is that true of your entire relationship?

    What I can’t figure out is whether you said you’d take another job in the middle of a fight and in his anger, he only saw disloyalty, prompting him to tell you that if you are not 100% in, you are out or whether this is status quo for him: treating business partners as employees, being scarily controlling and conflating business with personal stuff.

  2. 2

    Oooooh, he whipped out that red flag and put it down like he was on Iwo Jima. Run girl, this is classic abusive behavior.

  3. 3

    PRAISE EVEAN..once again! Our voice of reason!  

  4. 4

    Agree with Evan that Alice needs to get out now.

    A larger question I have, is why would Alice quit a job to work in her fiance’s business.   And then why would she start a second with him?   They are not married so why was Alice acting like a spouse already, and to great detriment to herself?   Same goes for purchasing a home with a fiance (where there isn’t an imminent wedding date set) or a boyfriend/girlfriend.   How about making sure you are compatable and that there is total buy in of both people with marriage before becoming so totally enmeshed.

    1. 4.1


      Those were my first questions on reading Alice’s letter as well. For the record, I think her fiance sounds very controlling and possessive.

      However, she needs to take some responsibility here. She willingly gave up her power by quitting her job. Look, she may not have known what she was getting herself into, but it is not something I would have done, for any man. When you have money, you have choices and freedoms, as Alice is now finding out.

      She is bewailing her fate, but she put herself in that position by giving up a high paying job and sticking around in a business that was tanking. All this is just for Alice to realise that these were not great choices, and hopefully, she will avoid making them in future.

      As far as her fiance’s behaviour is concerned, he reminds me of my ex who wanted everything in our relationship to be joined and enmeshed as a sign of my love for him. He would continually test me with ridiculous tests of love such as “if you go on that girls’ night, it’s over.” Much like Alice’s fiance’s “If you get a job, it’s over.”

      This kind of thing is very draining, and yes, it is definitely nudging abuse. If Alice doesn’t put a stop to it, it will get worse. She does need to leave.

  5. 5
    Mrs Happy

    Dear Alice,

    god I hope you don’t already have children with this man because if so he is involved in your life for years ahead even if/when you leave.

    The way he is controlling you is classic, step 6 in the 20-step how-to-isolate-and-abuse-your-partner handbook.

    Financial control is a form of domestic abuse which is often overlooked.   “He gives me money periodically” infers you don’t have a personal bank account with income deposits going in regularly.   This is a very dangerous situation and you should take steps to change it.   Without access to money you are very vulnerable and more likely to stay in an abusive relationship far longer than you should.

    His “rules” and “ultimatums” are going to escalate over the years if you stay.   He will become more threatening, emotionally manipulate you to do more and more things which suit only him, and you will find yourself in a position of extremely little power and autonomy after years or decades of being controlled.   (You’ve already left a higher paying job to get stuck in unsuccessful businesses – he convinced you to do that.) Your self-esteem and confidence will tank.   If you have kids, the daughters will grow up thinking women in relationships should put up with being restricted, and when they grow will drift towards similar partners; the boys will abuse women, as that’s the model their dad (and mum) showed them was normal.

    Find a friend or family member you trust, brainstorm a plan with them, harness all the supports you can, get some money somehow, and leave ASAP.   And of course you have to get a job far away from his business interests.   That’s not even in question.

    Just be careful because in the worst case scenarios these men turn violent.   He will almost certainly try to steal your share of the business in his anger.   Make sure he has as little power as possible (naked pictures, your bank account details, social media access, important belongings etc) to hurt you on other ways; when you leave he will be furious.   He may say he will change to try to entice you back – don’t believe him. He will not change.

    The bigger task after leaving (I know at present leaving seems the biggest task) is to work out the steps you allowed, which occurred, which saw you end up in such a position, including the types of qualities in him you were attracted to.   Left to your own devices you will have to be very careful not to pair up with other controlling men – this may be a type you drift towards.

    Good luck Alice.   Godspeed.

  6. 6

    Get out.   Easy to say, hard to do.   He may backtrack when threatened with the idea of losing you, or sweeten up and apologize. Financial control is an early form of abuse, and it often escalates over time to more intense physical or emotional abuse.

  7. 7
    S. (with a period)

    You can be friends with someone for years — go out for drinks, take vacations, share war stories — but until there’s something at stake, you have no idea if people are selfish or selfless.

    This is pure truth.   And sad, really.   Because what do all those years and camaraderie mean when they fall apart when tested?   I do not know if they really mean anything.   I just do not know. I do know that a lot of things simply aren’t tested.   And I have an instinct for things that might go kaput.

    Trust your instincts, Alice. You wrote to Evan for a reason. You had a good job and autonomy once and can again.   Get. Out.


  8. 8

    I love the part that you don’t know a relationship until it’s tested! WOW! Thank you Evan for that one. I was with a man for 18 years who gave me the sun, moon and the stars or so I thought. An athletic injury that required surgery and me being off my feet for two months made him pull the “friend card.” He offered minimal support during my recovery   but sadly, it highlighted the limits of his commitment.   I still consider it the shock of my life and although it happened over a year ago I am still sad about it. I got out even though he wanted to continue as a friends with benefits which was worthless to me. Reading the OP was very validating.

  9. 9
    Yet Another Guy

    How do educated women end up in these kinds of situations?   Alarm bells should be going off in her head.   This guy is not a keeper.   He is a bottom-dweller.

  10. 10

    Forgive me for my coarse language but I would not put up with this even if the man had a golden dick that guaranteed me constant orgasms.OP, what is the upside to being with this man?  

    1. 10.1
      Mrs Happy

      Stacy, I agree.   It takes my vibrator about 60 seconds to bring me to orgasm.   Every time.   Sexual prowess is not worth control.   Instead just charge up the toys.

      But the upside to being with this man is, he provides some good things, things which are important to the OP.   Hence she was initially attracted, and stayed with him.   But to quote Andrea Bocelli, time to say goodbye.

  11. 11

    I agree, get out. Having been there myself I know how hard it is to do. You love them, but you are not getting the same love and care in return. He’s using emotional and financial manipulation already. Telling you the relationship is over if you leave the business? He is not respecting or valuing you and your needs, only his. Once you step back from the relationship you will probably see that all was not rosey. Yes, all relationships have their challenges, ups and downs…this is actually more than that. It is control and manipulation and a power imbalance that is not easy to change. Read up on narcissism and see how many boxes that ticks for you. Read about domestic abuse, you may see similar patterns emerging. Educate yourself, and then decide. Then leave when you are sure.

    You will be stronger for it, I promise.

  12. 12
    Suzanne L Hendricks-Poole

    This so reminds me of an ex fiance. I did help him build a business when I wasn’t working.   But nailed a job with benefits and he went into a mode of how we needed joint checking and why I couldn’t possibly be responsibly be in charge of that much money.   Even though I had made twice as much, raised a family ,etc.

    Hello, No!

    Moved out the next weekend.

    And even though we tried to get together repeatedly,   he just wanted the checks and benefits .

    I really didn’t know there were men that looked at women that way.


  13. 13

    He’s given you a very clear choice – him or the job. You know which one you really ought to take… the option which means you no longer feel trapped, controlled or financially abused.

    This isn’t even about the money, or he’d welcome the regular income which could help smooth out the more financially difficult periods.

    Sadly, this is about control and manipulation on his part. Get out, now, while you still have enough self esteem to get yourself out there and back into the workforce again.


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