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Affluence creates barriers for leaving an abusive marriage

As a young woman, you married a man you adored. His good looks, sense of humor or athleticism might’ve won you over. And despite questions and concerns from well-meaning friends and family members, you made your vows.

However, as is too often the case in marriage, your fairytale faded with time. You might remember the moment you realized your husband was no longer the dream you believed he was. Perhaps you wonder whether he ever truly loved you. Regardless, your financial status and the standard of living you have enjoyed may be a deterrent to getting help dealing with a abusive or violent spouse.

Does abuse vary depending on social status?

Many people mistakenly believe that domestic violence is not a problem among well-educated, financially stable couples.

Women from affluent marriages face domestic violence too, and often face unique challenges when they try to escape. Abused women who are well-off may struggle in ways which include:

  • Lack of support. In some cases, wealthy families and communities don’t want to acknowledge that abuse occurs in their income bracket and social circles. And when you feel like those around you are living the dream, you might have an internal debate about whether you should identify as a victim.

  • Unfamiliarity with resources. If you’ve never been in a situation where you had to ask someone for food, money or a safe place to stay, you might not know who to turn to in your time of need. You may be wealthy on paper, but in reality you may not control your own finances. And if you and your husband have a good reputation among influential people in your community, you might question what kind of privacy and protection you would receive.

  • Odd abusive activity. Your husband might expect you to maintain a certain look in public, so he may not harm you physically, or may get physical without leaving visible bruises. Does he give you a luxury vehicle to drive, but not allow you any access to money or marital accounts? Does he monitor your phone or insist you stay in constant contact? Does he verbally assault you or "gaslight" you when you stand up for yourself?

If you are unhappy and wonder whether your husband’s actions would be considered abusive or need someone to talk to without putting yourself at an increased risk of maltreatment, there are confidential places you can receive assistance. If you end up filing for divorce, a court can issue a protective order and order your spouse to provide temporary spousal support and attorney fees.

No matter how you decide to move forward, know that you deserve to have a healthy, happy future. Wealth should give you freedom, not keep you trapped.

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