She thought that he was her soulmate, until she discovered him stealing from her.
Brenda* and Michael started dating in college, soon after hitting it off at a mutual friend’s party. She was a junior communications student, he was a senior majoring in political science. They clicked instantly, and soon after their first date, they were inseparable.
Two years later, they moved in together. That’s when the trouble started.
Soon after they started sharing an apartment, Michael’s company downsized and he lost his job. “He had a hard time finding another job after that,” says Brenda. “But after a while, it was like he stopped trying. I’d come home to him sprawled all over the couch, playing video games. He wouldn’t even bother cleaning the house.”
Then, Brenda began losing things. A digital camera. An old designer purse she barely used. Some jewelry. $10 from her wallet. At first, she wrote them off as just being misplaced, thinking that they’d turn up again sooner or later.
Until one day, when Brenda noticed a $500 withdrawal from her bank account. “I instantly got a lump in my throat,” she says. “I had given him my debit card to pay for groceries, but he didn’t say anything about withdrawing money after he gave the card back to me. That was the worst part, really.”
After confronting him about it, he confessed that he had been taking money from her wallet, but intended on paying her back.
“But if that was the case, why didn’t he ask me for money in the first place instead of going behind my back?” she says. “I should’ve ended things right there and then, but I was in shock. It took me another two months before I realised I couldn’t trust him anymore and finally broke up with him.”
Sadly, what happened to Brenda could happen to absolutely anyone. Here are some signs that could tip you off if your partner is stealing from you.
Maybe your partner shared a “fun” little story about how he used to shoplift or steal from his parents—just small things, just for the thrill of it. Though he might have matured as a person since then, past behavior is often a good indicator of present habits.
Ever noticed your partner lying about the smallest of things—even things he had no reason to lie about? If so, this might not necessarily mean that he’s stealing from you, but that behavior’s shady as heck. Run—don’t walk—away.
Maybe your boyfriend has just been unlucky in love, but if he has a long string of ex-girlfriends, that could also be an indication of something fishy going on.
Perfectly honest people have money problems all the time, so this by itself is no reason to start doubting your boyfriend. But if you notice things going missing, and your boyfriend’s the only one with access to your belongings, well… you can fill in the blanks there.
Note that these aren’t foolproof ways to spot a thief. Also, being overly suspicious of your partner is a quick and easy way to poison your relationship, so be careful and sensitive when investigating a missing $50 bill or gadget.
But if you do catch him, there’s no reason for you to stay in that relationship. You deserve someone you can fully trust, someone who won’t take advantage of you and your kindness. Get out of that toxic relationship and move on to better things.
* names have been changed to protect identities