The Dangers of Shopping Addiction to your Marriage
Shopping Addiction Impacts Marriage and Divorce Lawyers in Brick NJ
Educating Clients in financial issues throughout Ocean County towns such as Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey
Few would argue that there are few things more corrosive to a marriage than addiction. Whether it be drugs, alcohol or even gambling addiction tears at the very fabric of a marriage. However, there is one addiction that often goes understated or even ignored completely yet it can be as damaging as any of the other aforementioned and more well-known addictions. This is a shopping addiction which is also known as Compulsive Buying Disorder. For the estimated 5.8% of the U.S. population with Compulsive Buying Disorder, the annual Black Friday shopping kickoff often becomes a trigger for a shopping addiction bender.
Compulsive shopping can be difficult to spot but can do severe damage to your marital finances and results in empty bank accounts, declined credit cards, repossessed cars, or even home foreclosure. According to an article by marriage.com, financial woes rank as a top cause of divorce. It is important to recognize this addiction before your spouse’s shopping addiction threatens to place your marriage in financial jeopardy.
What is Shopping Addiction and how should it be handled?
Compulsive buying disorder should not be confused with someone who just occasionally spends too much money. Compulsive buying disorder is when a person simply cannot stop making purchases even when they are far beyond their financial means. The pleasure of obtaining goods becomes like a narcotic and often people who suffer from this addiction will need to acquire things in order to feel good. Here are some useful tips that can help you, your spouse and your marriage:
- Treat compulsive shopping as an addiction because it is one. Compulsive Buying Disorder is defined as a dysfunctional way of managing difficult feelings, similar to eating disorders or alcoholism and is commonly associated with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and OCD.
Warning signs of a shopping addiction include:
- Chronic spending of more than they can afford
- Constant shopping as a reaction to unpleasant feelings such as anger or depression
- Spending or shopping so much that it harms your relationship
- The loss of control of shopping behavior
- Defensive or aggressive behavior when asked about shopping habits
- Secretive behavior connected to shopping such as lying about going shopping or making online purchases, hiding new items, hiding bills, the use of secret credit cards, hiding packages that come in the mail.
The financial clues of excessive shopping include maxed out credit cards, unusual and excessive activity on bank accounts, tapping into retirement and savings accounts to cover shopping sprees, unpaid bills, collections and bad credit, loan defaults for nonpayment, poor credit, home foreclose and bank repossession.
- Seek professional help. Consultation with an addiction specialist psychiatrist or therapist is typically an important first step for diagnosis and screening for other underlying mental health issues. Intensive individual therapy is often very beneficial for bringing the addiction under control. A therapist can help teach the shopper to be aware of triggers, learn techniques to assist with emotional regulation, as well as help individuals develop coping skills that can be used instead of shopping.
- You should not allow your spouse to face the challenges of this addiction alone. It may be prudent to consider couples therapy. Because shopping addiction is often so secretive, when you do realize the extent of your spouse’s shopping addiction, the betrayal can destroy marital trust every bit as much as romantic infidelity. Marriage counseling is often a safe place to work through your spousal issues and gain clarity into the best next steps for you.
- Working with an attorney to create a structured spending plan is often helpful and effective. Due to the fact that compulsive shopping is an impulse control disorder, the shopper may initially need to have limited access to funds, and no personal access to savings accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts or credit cards. The spouse, or another designated person, can give the shopper a monthly allowance. It is important that the spouse who is suffering from addiction knows that these measures are taken out of love and not out of a desire to limit their freedom.
An attorney can draw up an agreement that the two spouses agree to abide by until the addicted spouse has successfully completed treatment. Working out an agreement takes the burden off the other spouse of being the “bad guy” about money. Furthermore, your attorney may also recommend putting a post-nuptial agreement in place for further asset protection.
Dealing with a Shopping Addicted Spouse? Contact Us At Our Brick Or Sea Girt Office Locations
If you or a loved are suffering from Compulsive Buying Disorder and would like legal advice for setting financial limits on spending, at Peter J. Bronzino, our team of attorneys is experienced in supporting our clients through all types of legal proceedings and agreements in Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey. No matter your situation you don’t have to confront it alone.