Having and being in control of my own money. I grew up with a mother who relied financially upon a man who beat her. No matter how bad it got, we could never escape him, because we had no money and no place to go. Eventually he lost his job due to his drug and alcohol addiction, and so by the time I was 15-years-old I was the only one in the house with a job. I wasn’t old enough for a bank account, so I stashed cash where I could, but more often than not it was taken from me. By force when necessary.
When I was married to my ex, he was unemployed more often than not, and had a serious shopping addiction. He spent all my money as quickly as I could make it. I spent most of the time in that 15 year relationship living paycheck to paycheck, stressed that the bottom would fall out at any moment. When I left him, I made a promise to myself: NEVER AGAIN.
My husband and I are quite comfortable financially, and we do have a joint account, out of which we pay household expenses. However, we both maintain other separate accounts where we keep most of our money. We also maintain separate credit accounts. I love my husband more than words, and he has helped me financially on more than one occassion. I know he would never screw me over. That said, I learned a long time ago that money is power, and you cannot give up your power just because you’re in love *right now.* It’s dark, but it’s truth.