If you’re ready to leave a relationship but stay because you have no money, it puts you in a pretty bad situation. Living unhappy or feeling trapped doesn’t do anyone any good and can even make you ill. It’s important to know how to leave a relationship when you have no money, so you don’t feel trapped when it’s time to go.
Money and relationships: What is the effect?
Money and marriages often don’t go together. In fact, money is the second most common reason for getting divorced. But what happens when you’re in a marriage and can’t get out because you can’t afford it? That happens too, and it’s almost worse.
Whether you can’t afford the divorce (the average divorce costs $12,900), or you can’t afford to be on a single income, it can feel like you’re trapped. If you’ve always relied on your spouse’s income or you recently lost your own job and don’t have any prospects, it can feel like you’re trapped.
Money has a way of controlling our lives, even when it’s forcing us to live a way we don’t want to live, but the good news is there are ways out.
Signs you should leave a relationship
Putting money aside, let’s look at the signs you should look for that it’s time to leave a relationship. Don’t let money drive your decisions - there are ways to leave a relationship with no money (more on this below). For now, let’s look at the signs you should leave and worry about money later.
You feel more pain than joy
If you find yourself constantly upset or angry in your relationship, you may be experiencing more pain than joy. You may be guilty of letting the few happy moments cover up ‘the bad’ and forcing you to stay in the relationship.
Instead, be honest with yourself. Look at how you feel overall, not just in the few happy moments that may be few and far between. If you find that you’re in pain more than you’re happy, it’s time to leave.
Your partner wants you to change
Your partner should love you for who you are, whatever that means today. Even if you’ve changed through the years, he/she promised for better or for worse. You didn’t promise to stay exactly the same. If you’ve changed and he/she doesn’t like it, or you haven’t changed, and they want you to - they aren’t in love with you for who you are, and it’s time to leave.
You expect your partner to change
If you’ve given your partner an ultimatum or you spend your time wishing he/she would change, it may be time to leave. Just as you should be loved the way you are, the same is true of your partner. You aren’t in love with someone if you want him/her to change so you can like them. It may be that you are in the relationship for the wrong reasons, and it’s time to change.
You are experiencing physical or emotional hurt
Pay close attention to how your loved one treats you. Physical pain is an obvious ‘no go’ and a reason to leave a relationship right away, but emotional hurt can be harder to detect. Assess how you feel on a regular basis. Are you always justifying yourself or justifying the way your loved one makes you feel? If so, there may be some emotional damage that you shouldn’t have to deal with and may be better off on your own.
You are the only one putting in effort
Relationships work two ways, but it may not be worth it if you are the only one working on the relationship. Communication in a relationship is a big part of it. You can’t pour from an empty cup, which will happen if you keep giving the relationship your all while your partner sits back and takes the easy road. Eventually, you will burn out and won’t be able to carry the relationship or yourself any longer.
You feel held back
We all ebb and flow in life, but often in different stages. If you’ve grown, your beliefs changed, or you’ve otherwise changed your life, but your partner didn’t follow suit or doesn’t have the same beliefs, it may be time to leave, so you can feel free to grow as you want and your partner can do the same.
Considerations for how to leave a relationship with no money
Before you leave a relationship with no money, you have to think about how you’ll survive. It’s different when you leave a relationship and aren't sure where to go - you can usually find somewhere. But you can’t make money appear out of thin air, so before you do, consider these factors.
Where will you go?
If you don’t have money, you can’t buy a place or even rent. You may not even have enough money to put yourself up in a hotel for a few days while you figure things out. Think about where you’ll go before you leave. Do you have family who will take you in or a good friend? Is there a local shelter nearby or rent assistance for women who need to leave fast?
Do you have money to cover your bills?
If you do leave, do you have enough money to cover your basic bills? Think about food, shelter, transportation, clothing, and medical expenses. These are your basics, but you’ll also need money for emergencies and, if you have kids, money to make sure their needs are met. Think not only this month but long-term.
Do you have a stable job?
If you leave your spouse, do you have a job with a stable income that can support you, or are you out of a job? If you’re out of a job, do you have prospects, or have you been unemployed for a while? What if you haven’t worked because you’ve been taking care of the kids and feel out of the ‘loop,’ how hard will it be to find a job again?
Do you have kids to worry about?
If you have kids, who will care for them if you get a job? If you don’t have family who can care for your children while you’re at work, you’ll need to work babysitting into your budget. Think about ways to get around the costs if you don’t have family, like swapping babysitting services with a friend or co-worker.
How to leave a relationship when you have no money (6 ways)
It may feel impossible to leave a relationship when you have no money, but if you get creative, there are ways. Here are six ideas.
1. Start a side hustle
Think about what you’re good at, and chances are you can turn it into a side hustle. Whether you’re crafty, can write, can do voice-overs, or can walk dogs, there are side hustles for people of all skill levels today. You can then save the money you earn to help you exit the relationship.
2. Sell items you don’t need
If you’re going out on your own, you may not need as much ‘stuff.’ Look around the house (at what’s yours) and sell what you no longer need. You’ll likely be downsizing, so only save the items you really want/need and sell the rest for cash on eBay or Facebook Marketplace.
3. Set a budget
Create a budget you can live on. Be realistic with yourself. Budget for the necessities first (shelter, transportation, medical care, and food) and then budget the other items to know exactly how much you have. It may be tight for a while, but the more aware you are, the more frugal you’ll be.
4. Use coupons and shop sales
Don’t go to the grocery store without a plan. First, shop your refrigerator and pantry. See what you already have and what meals you can make out of it—only shop sales for the items you need and use coupons or digital coupons as much as possible.
5. Trade services with friends or family
If you have kids, trade babysitting services. If you are good at cooking and your friend’s husband is great at cutting lawns, swap chores. This way, neither of you have to pay for services, and you help one another out.
6. Ask family for help
If you live near family, ask them for support. While it’s hard to ask for help, it’s not a sign of weakness. Most family members will be willing to help you if you ask. Often they don’t know what you need and are afraid to make you feel bad. Just ask - the worst they can say is ‘no!’
Know how to leave a relationship when you have no money
It’s important to know how to leave a relationship when you have no money. Feeling stuck or dependent on someone you aren’t happy with any longer isn’t good for anyone. It can damage your physical and mental health and cause more problems down the road.
It may take a little creativity and sacrifice, but with the right support, you can learn how to leave a relationship with no money with the right support. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.