I’ve realized recently that a lot of financially abusive men are good looking, charming, and have money. WTF? I know that’s not true of all abusive men. It’s just a pattern I’ve noticed that I think has a connection.
If I were to guess, the connection would be narcissism.
I’ve also met good looking, charming men without money who are financially abusive (my ex).
I would hedge to speculate that the difference is in the way financial abuse is perpetrated.
My ex couldn’t keep a job, still can’t. But he liked to spend, gamble on the stock market, and generally run up debt he could never pay back. He also likes to pick women who will support him, though he outwardly doesn’t say that or make it obvious up front. Although when we were married, he was the primary breadwinner. The problem became that I never knew when he’d quit a job or find a way to go out on leave. Making me feel forever fearful that we wouldn’t have any income. And there were times when we didn’t.
He was also very creative and passionate about doing things that sounded good up front but turned out not to be. I’ve met some others like this, too. I call them “mavericks.” They seem like they can conquer the world but all they’re really doing is playing a shell game that makes it look to the outside world that they’re one deal away from their big break.
Maybe your experience is with the good-looking, charming ones with money. They present differently. It’s very much an ego driven “look at me and all I have” kind of approach. Again, narcissistic.
They will woo you with their charm, and who can resist good looks and money? They show you their shiny sports cars, whisk you off on your dream date or that romantic weekend escape you’ve fantasized about for years. It seems too good to be true. It just might be.
Narcissists don’t like to be questioned, they don’t like to accommodate anyone else’s needs (even their own kids’ sometimes) and when they are unhappy, they will let you know. Often being emotionally or verbally abusive. Possibly even physically or sexually abusive.
After they woo you and sweep you off your feet with their magnetism, they begin to show their true colors and start to get controlling about money.
It’s all theirs, after all…even if you’ve been in a long term committed relationship where the agreement was that you would stay home and raise your children. Not yours alone, of course, I mean yours as in belonging to both of you.
However, once those kids get to be a bother (in his mind) or they grow up and move away, you have no more value. You might even have put on weight or lost a sense of yourself, including most of your self-esteem due to years of trying to figure out how to please him. Whether it’s been trying to keep things running despite his unwillingness to allow you to spend money when needed, overspending himself and leaving you worried all the time, or just generally getting mad if you spend money even though there is plenty.
The stress of living with abuse takes a toll on women physically and emotionally.
This makes you unattractive to him over time. So, he’ll trade you in for a younger, prettier, less “naggy” model.
Where the caution comes in is if you are the younger model. Perhaps you find yourself finally free from the awful relationship you endured. Once that happens, you’ll likely start to lose weight, find yourself esteem, and become attractive again. Just be cautious and vet any new man carefully.
The charming, good-looking men, especially if they have money and you’ve been financially abused, will be super attractive to you.
Again, I’m not saying they’re all abusive, I’m just saying be sure to look deeper than the surface. Remember there are two sides to every story and if all they do is bitch about how their ex put on weight and stopped having sex with them, dig a little deeper. There may be more to the story than meets the eye.
Part of recovering from financial abuse is learning how to support yourself and stand strong on your own two feet. Get there before you start dating again.
Remember, men like to rescue damsels in distress. It’s in their DNA. But if they are abusive, then they can lord it over you and keep you doing their bidding. If a man is threatened by your success, he’ll likely start to tear you down. Or if he’s looking for a sugar mama, he’ll start to take advantage of you.
Once you are strong, independent, and financially secure, stay that way.
You can be in a loving relationship with an honorable man and be a strong woman.
Fully recovering from financial abuse means not ending up in another financially abusive relationship. Becoming aware of what to look for when you move into a new relationship will help you avoid having it happen again. Look carefully at any man before committing to him. Financially abusive men come in all stripes and colors; even charming, good-looking, wealthy ones can be dangerous.
Sherry Lutz Herrington is the owner of Sherrington Financial Fitness, a business consulting and accounting firm specializing in strategic business planning and solid financial accounting for businesses. She is also the author of Strong Women Thriving (https://strongwomenthriving.com/), a blog which focuses on empowering women to be financially savvy, particularly after experiencing financial abuse. Sherry is currently writing a new book that both shares her personal story and addresses financial abuse. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Join our FB group https://www.facebook.com/groups/womensurivingfinancialabuse