When you're feeling nervous, anxious, or worried, do you head to the nearest store and spend money on things you don't really need? Do you feel a sense of release when you buy something, but soon after feel the need to make another purchase so you can experience that release again? If you answered "yes" to these questions, you may be suffering from shopping addiction. It's a behavior that can not only wreak havoc on your finances but also your marriage. Shopping addiction can quickly ruin the trust you have with your partner and lead to arguments in which you both say things you regret. If you suffer from shopping addiction, it's important to take steps that will not only help you recover but also prevent your marriage from eroding along the way.
Work with an experienced therapist who can accommodate both of you.
Shopping addiction is not an affliction you should try to tackle on your own. For most patients, it is a reaction to some deep-seated feelings of anger, inadequacy, depression, or anxiety. Working with a therapist who is experienced in dealing with patients who suffer from shopping addiction will allow you to get to the bottom of whatever is fueling your addiction -- and only then will you be able to effectively change your behavior.
It's important to find a therapist who is happy to have your spouse attend your sessions along with you. This way, your spouse will gain an understanding of the causes at the root of your problem, too, and they'll be better equipped to offer support throughout your recovery. There are also times when your relationship with your spouse may fuel your shopping addiction. For example, if your spouse responds with anger when you bring up certain topics, you may become nervous -- and then be driven to shop in order to calm your nerves. In situations such as this, it will be essential for a therapist, such as Dr Jed Turnbull, to work with both of you in order to break the cycle that's driving your shopping addiction.
Visit a financial advisor to get your finances in order from the get-go.
Don't plan on solving the emotional side of your shopping addiction and then tackling the finances later. The longer you let those credit card bills pile up and the longer you ignore those collections notices, the bigger the problem becomes. When you finally decide to tackle it, you don't want it to feel so daunting that it triggers a big argument with your spouse. It's best to start tackling the financial side of your shopping addiction from the get-go.
Visit a financial advisor with your spouse, and work with them to develop a game plan to pay off your debts and keep spending in line. This will give the two of you a problem to work on together, which will help you maintain a unified, team-like mentality. Having a financial advisor offer advice will prevent some of the arguing that would likely occur if the two of you were to sit down and try to create a financial plan on your own. Plus, knowing that you're doing something about your financial struggles related to the shopping addiction will help put your mind at ease so you'll feel less on edge and be less likely to snap at or argue with your partner.
Develop an honest financial policy between the two of you.
Some couples have a policy in which they always inform each other of purchases, where others make their own, individual purchasing decisions. Regardless of which camp you and your spouse have fallen into up until this point, now that you're working to heal your shopping addiction, it's important to be honest with each other about financial decisions.
Develop a policy where either one of you must inform the other before making a purchase over a certain value. ($10 works well for many couples.) This will help keep you accountable to your partner, so you're less likely to go out and buy things you don't need. It also helps establish all-around openness and honesty in your marriage, which should serve you well as you continue to work through your shopping addiction as a team.