What does a break up have to do with holiday shopping? A number of years ago, I received a beautiful leather coat from my (now ex) partner for Christmas. It was a stunning black coat made by a higher-end manufacturer, and to be frank, it was well out of my partner’s budget.
In the new year, I was quite shocked and surprised to learn the actual price of this coat was even more than I had anticipated, and that I had purchased this lovely coat for myself.
My other half bought the coat using my money. We had a joint credit card account and she felt that I deserved it. The card was primarily in my name and she never made a payment towards it throughout the remainder of our relationship, but it served as a great reminder that sometimes we overlook things like credit cards, and we really have no control over how those supplementary cards are used.
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Even though it was not a responsible purchase, my ex could have done a lot more damage. I tell this story from time to time as I caution people about sharing their credit information, bank accounts, or assets with their romantic partner. We never want to think the worst of someone we care deeply for, but sometimes, be it intentionally or unintentionally, a partner will put their significant other in a compromising financial situation. And yes, there are cases where exes who have been given access to their partner’s credit card or checking account will spend out of spite, and that can be very painful.
So how do you protect yourself in the event of a break up? The best option is to remove the source of credit. For many reasons, many people may not want to request the card back from their ex. They may feel like they are unable to speak with the ex because they are hurt and emotional. If this is the case, my suggestion is for you to contact your credit provider(s) (yes, all of them) and advise that you wish to deactivate the supplementary card(s). Or better yet – ask them to change your card number. In this case, they will deactivate your existing cards and issue you a replacement card with a completely different account number.
You should also be going to your bank(s), and any money lenders or payday loan places, to update your information, and to remove the other party. You may be surprised to learn that some of those places will not allow you to close your account without the other person present, and if that is the case, then you should focus on getting your name off of those accounts and transferring any money that is legally yours to a new, or preexisting personal account that the other party does not have access to.
Finally, go through your apps, online subscriptions and phone-related accounts like Apple Pay or Google Pay. At the very least, you should be changing your passwords for every account you’re linked to, but as a best practice, you should remove all third-party access and/or remove access to all devices, and then reauthorize the apps or systems one-at-a-time.
It may seem like a Grinch thing to do, especially over the holiday season, but if you’ve recently gone through a break up, being proactive and taking some of these steps can help ensure that you avoid a blue Christmas.