Maybe you’re trapped in marriage because of your own work or financial situation, or you feel stuck because your husband is financially dependent on you. Regardless of why you feel trapped in your marriage or why you have money problems, these tips and ideas will help. And if you read the comments section, you will see you are not alone. It’s sad but true: Thousands of women feel trapped in marriage or financially stuck in a relationship. Some are looking for ways to leave their husbands even though they have no money, others are struggling alongside their husbands to pay the bills.
The solution to your problem lies in the source of your financial struggles. You may need personal advice from someone you can explain your situation to. Call a local women’s resource center, counselor, social services network or community resource hub. Talk to someone about how to cope when you feel trapped in your marriage because you have no money to leave. Start reaching out and being honest. It my feel embarrassing and painful to admit you feel financially stuck in a relationship, but that is your first step to freedom.
“I want to leave my husband but I have no money,” says Christine on 9 Ways to Know if Your Husband is Lying About Cheating “I have two kids, I’m pregnant with my third, and I just don’t know where to go. I have no family who can help, they live in a different state. I have nowhere to go. I lost my job, and I am trying to finish school. I don’t have money to leave. I don’t know what to do. I am so hurt, scared, sad, angry and just alone now. I have three beautiful kids with him and I hate to think how much this will hurt them. I can’t believe I was such a fool. I let myself get trapped in marriage because of money. Can you tell me how to leave a relationship when you’re financially stuck and have no money to support yourself?”
These ideas won’t solve all the problems or erase all the challenges of not having enough money to start over. Most of my tips take a long time and effort. But they all point to the same truth: it takes time, effort and energy to find ways to leave your husband when you have no money. It won’t be easy to get out of a marriage when you’re trapped by poverty…but it is possible. And you have to hold on to hope and faith while you keep working towards financial freedom.
When You’re Unhappily Married and Financially Trapped
One of the most important things to be aware of – immediately – is how you feel and what you’re telling yourself. If you keep telling yourself that you’re financially stuck in a relationship or trapped in marriage because you have no money to leave, you will keep spiraling downwards.
Instead, find small – yet powerful – ways to take control of your life that don’t cost money. This is different for every woman. Read through the comments below; you’ll see that some wives have decided to learn how to live with a husband they wish they never married. Others are making long-term plans to leave their marriages even though they feel trapped right now. Some women are in relationship counseling with their husbands, while others are steeling themselves for a divorce.
If you want to leave your husband, you may have to find small ways of earning little bits of money. It will take time and effort, but every penny counts – and it adds up! Find someone to help you take an inventory of your skills and abilities, and find ways to optimize them.
Here’s what one reader told me she’s doing to earn money to leave her marriage:
- Collecting cans and turning them in for cash
- Asking my neighbors if they have any odd paying jobs I can do, such as washing windows, weeding gardens, etc.
- Taking online surveys to make a few extra bucks a day (about $3, not a huge amount but it helps build my stash)
- Every few times I go to the grocery store or Walmart etc, I buy a $5 gift card. Even if can only do $.50 etc do it!
- Selling household items on ebay. May only profit $.75 but again, all small steps leads to bigger rewards. kids your kids outgrown clothes etc. You would be amazed at what sells!
- Using coupons to get free and store the TP, toothpaste etc in a box or at a friends. Again, little things add up. I have a box of Shampoo, toothpaste, soap, TP, etc ready to go. This will help me when I am starting out and not having to buy and spend what little money I have
I know these tips on how to leave your husband when you have no money aren’t big or glamorous, but they will add up over time. More importantly, you’ll start to see yourself differently. You’ll see yourself as a woman who is living in an unhappy marriage right now, but who is working towards freedom. You will stop focusing on being trapped in marriage because of money. You won’t keep telling yourself you’re financially stuck in a relationship. Instead, your energy and time will be spent on working towards a solution…and your life will change.
1. Help is out there – and it takes courage to ask for it
Many women stay trapped in marriage not because of money, but because they’re too proud to ask for help. They say have no family or friends to help, support or guide them. They may feel that way, but it’s not always the truth. I know, because I grew up with a single mom who refused to ask anyone she knew for help. Instead, she relied on social services and churches for food, rent money, and school supplies. I was humiliated, but she didn’t care. She refused to stay financially stuck in relationships that weren’t good for her.
If you have nowhere to go, read What to Expect at a Women’s Shelter or Safe House.
2. Learn how to think strategically, not emotionally
The Optimist’s Guide to Divorce: How to Get Through Your Breakup and Create a New Life You Love has stories and insights, valuable resources and smart strategies, in-the-trenches tips and sanity-saving takeaways for women who are leaving their husbands. You’ll learn how to prepare for each phase of divorce, from having “the talk,” to breaking the news to family and friends, to figuring out where to live, to co-parenting with an ex, to rebounding and rebooting your life.
Don’t buy this book! Borrow it from the library. Stop spending money on anything that isn’t absolutely necessary – including clothes, extra data plans, even stuff for the kids. Talk to someone who can help you create a budget that will help you stop feeling trapped in marriage because of money. It’s time to get the financial help you need, or you’ll be stuck in this relationship forever.
3. Take it one step at a time
Right now you don’t have all the money you need to leave your husband and start over. That’s okay, because you don’t know anything else yet, either. You don’t need to have the whole plan in place right now. You don’t need $5,000 or even $500 saved up yet. Just start where you are, and take it one day at a time.
Call someone – a women’s advocate or counselor – who can help you create a plan to get the financial help you need. That’s one step. Be honest with people you trust about how trapped you feel because of money. That’s another step. Expect to make sacrifices, and that the road will be tough for awhile. That’s another step. Know that you will get through this! You will survive, you will come out the other side, and you will turn around and help another woman who feels trapped in her marriage because she has no money.
If you’re asking people you know for help with money, learn about financial contracts and loans between family members. Talk to your friends and family about a repayment schedule, interest rates, and a contract you want to sign. This will help them see that you’re serious about getting the money you need to leave your husband, and that you are taking responsibility for your future.
4. Learn what types of financial support you’re eligible for
Talk to Social Services about financial resources for single parents. Start by calling the office closest to you. If they can’t offer money or other help, ask them for three other numbers to call. Call your church or a local place of worship. Don’t just ask for financial and spiritual support; ask for practical resources that can help you leave. Ask to be connected with other women who were financially dependent, who rebuilt their lives.
Every three months, canvassers from the Single Parents Food Bank come to our door, asking for donations. My husband gives money every time because he knows single parents need financial help. Kids are expensive – and so is life! But this doesn’t mean money has to keep you trapped in marriage. It just means you have to swallow your pride and accept all the help you can get.
5. Open a savings or checking account
If you’re financially dependent, you may not have a checking or savings account in your own name. Get one today. This is one of those little steps that will help you get on your feet and start over. Go to your nearest bank – or do some online research about financial institutions – and learn what you need to do.
Suze Orman taught me that we have a relationship with our money. Many of these money relationships – especially if we’re financially stuck in a marriage – contribute to feeling trapped and helpless. Learn how to built a healthier relationship with money; read Overcoming Money Anxiety: 4 Ways to Relax Your Grip.
6. Stay focused on your future
It’s easy to get overwhelmed, anxious, scared, and depressed about your future. It’s tempting to feel like you’ll be forever trapped in your marriage because of money or stuck in a relationship because of finances. Don’t let the dark force of fear and negativity suck you into a black hole of darkness. Instead, hold on to whatever hope, faith and love you have. Find ways to increase your resolve and commit to your goals.
This is the perfect time to look up and meet God’s gaze. Sit in silence. Ask for the help, strength and guidance you need. He is such a powerful source of inner freedom, hope and faith – and He will meet you where you are. God really does love you and will walk with you through this. Surrender, receive, and keep leaning on Him. Build – or rebuild – your relationship with Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit drew you here, and He will lead you home.
7. Get strength from women who felt financially trapped, but left their husbands
“I was in that situation for 23 years,” says Sheila in response to How to Know if Divorce is the Best Option. “I finally opened up my own checking account, started saving a bit at a time, and made plans. When I finally made up my mind to leave, it took less than a month to finalize the plans. I gave myself a deadline and stuck to it. When you stay in a marriage like that, you enable every negative behavior your husband possesses. You become the martyr.”
It wasn’t until she made up her mind that her plans started taking shape. She stopped wondering how to leave her husband without money, and started making plans. She decided to stop being trapped in her marriage because of money, and learned how to overcome feeling financially stuck, helpless, and powerless in a relationship.
If she can do it, so can you! So can you.
You’re welcome to share your thoughts – big or little – below. If you’re upset or insulted, write about it! Writing about how you feel and what you think is a great way to offload all the things that are bothering you. This frees you to move forward a little more lightly and freely.