Could he turn out to be a financial bully?

posted 2 years ago in Relationships
Post # 16
395 posts
Helper bee

I always think the best policy is to talk about what’s bothering you rather than guessing his motives. 

So I’d ask him “Hey, I’ve noticed recently that you were worried about my expenses, like the haircut, any reason you think I might not be able to afford something?” 

Have an actual conversation about money and fears. He’s your boyfriend, you should feel comfortable discussing everything with him. 

Post # 18
1147 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

mindzoo :  I think just leave it for the time being. If it started escalating then maybe it would be concerning. At the 6 month stage I think you’re well within your rights to say “You needn’t worry about my finances, I can take care of myself.” Unless you’ve been together for a significant amount of time, have joint assets/finances it’s not really any of his business. It’s not like you’re using his money. 

Post # 19
1305 posts
Bumble bee

mindzoo :  It does sound like you took the comment way too personally.  Just like you said you aren’t like your boyfriend’s ex, he is not your dad.  For what it’s worth, my husband shutters at how much I spend on my hair.  When I get a cut and color, with tip it can easily be over $100.  My husband goes to Great Clips with a coupon and he’s out the door having only spent like $15.  He’s never criticized me for it, but when I pointed out that I go every 3-4 months while he goes every month, it’s really not that much to spend.  It just sounds like a lot at once and that may be what you’re boyfriend is reacting too.

At 6 months in, we knew each other’s financial habits, but we were also friends for 6 years before we started dating, so we both knew that we weren’t frivolous with our spending.  While technically this early in the relationship it can be seen as none of his business, I would want to know, so I don’t think he’s wrong.

I would not say with this one comment your boyfriend is a financial bully or has the making of one.  If he starts commenting on everything though, that’s a different situation and time to have a talk.

Post # 21
2258 posts
Buzzing bee

mindzoo :  Are you going to ask him about this? I mean actually talk to him about money, his comments, and how they make you feel? You should do it sooner rather than later, so you know what he really thinks and so you can tell him what you think and want.

This issue isn’t going to get better unless you talk to him about the whole issue and not just the individual comments as he makes them.

Post # 23
5951 posts
Bee Keeper

mindzoo :  


Nothing you’ve posted is flatout waving a red dealbreaker flag, but there are several troubling signs to keep an eye on. I may be way off base here, but I’m not saying ‘omg- leave him!’, I’m only saying ‘keep an eye on this’. Some things that are worrying and sound worthy of watching and considering: 

1. Using The Ex As A Cautionary Tale   now it’s reasonable that you’d know the basics of his relationship history and lets’ face it, exes have gone through a break-up etc….so it’s not unusual IMO that you’d know some of the fallout of their relaitonship. BUT going on about how bad his ex was with money and then in another instance bringing up how he couldn’t be with someone who was irresponsible with money…..this pings my radar as someone using his ex as a cautionary tale to try and ‘condition’ or ‘groom’ the current partner by holding up the ex as the unfavourable yard stick against which to be measured.

2. ‘Grooming’ The Current Partner:  So the current partner goes out of her way to prove she’s nothing like the ex (if not the realistic ex, then at least the way the ex is portrayed- sometimes falsely- in the cautionary tale). The operant conditioning is so insidious that the person doesn’t even realize her partner is influencing her behaviour, but thinks her ideas are her own. But here we have a checks and balances system of reward (praise for being nothing like the ex) and punishment (gee I don’t know if I could be with someone who reminds me of the ex). 

3, Increasing Frequency of Critical Remarks:  Passed off somewhat passively-aggressively as casual remark with an undertone of disapproval Oh, so you’re going to go ahead with that? He’s not going so far as to ‘forbid’ it, something OP would likely feel on surer ground to object to. But he’s letting his displeasure be known under the false guise of allowing OP to make the judgment call (I’m saying ‘false guise’ because he’s following this up with subtle threats that if she makes the ‘wrong’ decision- aka the one that displeases him- he’ll have to ponder if he can be with her).  The increased frequency, IMO, coupled with the not-so-subtle threats about the relationship, seem to be forming an unsettling pattern of manipulation. 

4. Inconsistency:   So here’s this guy looking at the price of a potential hair salon appointment  OP doesn’t expect or want him to pay for (side note: does this strike anyone else as odd? seems a tad micromanaging IMO) yet while he’s questioning what she spends and making not-so-subtle noises that he can’t be with someone financially irresponsible, OP also says he likes to spoil her. This sounds patriarchal and hypocritical. HE can spend as he pleases, and indulge the little woman when HE sees fit- but if she ‘indulges’ herself with her own money, he’s all tsk-tsking about it. 

Now this guy isn’t necessarily an ogre- which is why I’m saying ‘keep an eye on things’ rather than ‘dealbreaker!’. Maybe he has had a legit bad experience in the past, maybe the two of you simply have different financial styles, maybe he’s cautious even anxious about having savings etc. A person does have the right to expect a reasonable amount of  financial responsibilty/ honesty from their partner. Can the two of you sit down and have a serious talk about this? 6 months in seems rather early in the relationship to be sorting out finances when you’re not even blending them at the moment, but given all that’s going on, better to address this sooner than later. And keep your eyes open because to answer your question, he may simply be practical and anxious with money in general or he may indeed be a financial bully and if you’re seeing this already at only 6 months in, it’s bound to get worse if not addressed and dealt with. 

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