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Do you need to redefine the definition of marital abuse?

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Family Law

Physical abuse – while an important topic of discussion –  is not the only kind of abuse that goes on between married couples.

It’s well-known that victims of domestic violence often struggle to leave their relationships for many reasons, not the least of which is that they often don’t realize just how abusive their partners actually are. This is particularly true when the abuse isn’t physical. 

“It’s not like my partner beats me” isn’t a good reason to stay

When evaluating the dynamics of your marriage, it’s important to understand that abuse can include:

  • Emotional abuse: This can include gaslighting, psychological manipulation, intimidation and other behaviors that damage your self-worth or keep you in a constant state of alert. 
  • Verbal abuse: This can include yelling to intimidate you, name-calling, insults and constant belittling of your looks, behavior or abilities.
  • Sexual abuse: Even when you’re married, you have a right to decline intimate relations with your spouse. Unwanted touching, sexual harassment or marital rape is abuse.
  • Financial abuse: This involves situations where your spouse controls you by controlling all of the household money. It could involve monitoring all your credit cards, denying you the right to make purchases without approval or purposely sabotaging your career so that you cannot achieve financial independence.
  • Digital abuse: This is something that is being seen more often, thanks to the way that technology is now interwoven into everyday life. This can involve monitoring your online activities, tracking your movements at all times or otherwise using technology for control.

There’s no reason to stay in an unfulfilling marriage, with or without abuse. When a marriage is abusive, however, you need to take steps to preserve your own peace and future – and that means exploring your legal options.