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KimberlyF, Longtime Relationship Expert
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 750
Experience:  Relationship expert for almost three years with
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My wife wont stop spending money we dont have. She has admitte

Customer Question

My wife won't stop spending money we don't have. She has admitted in the past that she has a problem, but she won't get help and continues to lie to herself and the family. I don't want to break up the family. I love her and her kids need me, (I have no legal rights to them), but I don't know what to do. There is no more credit available to us and we are getting close to facing bankruptcy soon, but I know that will not stop her from spending. We both work and need both incomes to pay all the bills. We could easily make ends meet and have a little extra left over, if she didn't buy stuff we don't need or use. No matter how much money I bring in, it has never been enough. We refinanced the house twice in 10 years to pay off debt. Now we are upside down in it and stuck. I don't know what to do. What can I do?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  KimberlyF replied 8 years ago.


Your wife has a shopping and spending addiction and like all addiction she is going to have to get professional help to get passed this and not spend anymore money. If you do not give her an ultimatum you will be bankrupt and divorced. You are going to have to tell her either she gets help or you will be gone and that you will no longer stand by and watch her do this to herself and your family and your marriage. She has to realize what is at stake if she continues to spend in that manner. Maybe if you take over the family finances and only give her a certain amount of money and possibly get rid of the credit cards that can be a huge part of the debt. There are many factors that encourage excessive spending for instant gratification. The more materialistic a person the greater the possibility of stress and depression after the money is gone and there is no more spending ability. Credit cards increase the pleasure of buying. Studies show that people spend 20-30% more than if they were paying by cash.


Out-of-control spending can wreck relationships and cause stress among family members when spending habits cause excessive debt or inability to meet basic living expenses. While it's obvious that your wife is a shopaholic, it creates financial stress for themselves, many shopaholics don't realize just how much stress their overspending causes for their loved ones, there is a limit on what you can do to help, because your wife must be willing to change her own habits to get to a permanent solution. It may take a financial crisis like bankruptcy, or support from a credit counselor or an organization like Debtors Anonymous, to help her get out of debt and establish healthy spending habits. Some compulsive spenders have no desire to change their habits, and their loved ones have the stress of witnessing the shopaholic digging themselves and the family deeper into debt. Overspending can lead to family and marital problems such as marital arguments about spending habits and difficulty paying bills. The shopaholic's habits include secrecy about their money and how much they're spending.


Your wife will have to either get professional counseling or talk to a debt solution company and may also need to try a financial consultant to control her money and help your family get back on the plus side. If she hears it from someone else that is on the outside looking in then she will realize what she is doing to her family and her marriage, if you tell her it only makes her more upset about what she is doing and then she has to shop to make herself feel better because the compulsive spenders often feels guilt associated with their excessive spending. She may unconsciously attempting to alleviate the guilt by expensive spending. The result is that she feels bad about hurting her family so she goes out and spend some more to feel better. You cannot afford to wait any longer you are going to have to take the steps to get your family out of debt especially with the economy so unstable.


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
My wife won't get help. We can't make the car payment, let alone counseling she won't go to. She had filed bankruptcy just before we started dating, so that didn't work to stop her spending. I've tried the ultimatum before. I've tried taking over the finances before. I won't divorce her because I will lose her kids. I can't get rid of the credit cards, because they are maxed out and can't be closed. Sorry you didn't offer any help that hasn't already not worked.
Expert:  KimberlyF replied 8 years ago.


Would you like another experts advice? I will be glad to send you to someone else. Please let me know what you want me to do.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
No Thanks
Expert:  KimberlyF replied 8 years ago.


If she is not willing to get the help and you have tried everything that I suggested there isn't much else you can do. Like you said you aren't even able to make ends meet to the point that you can't make your car payment and pay the bills because she spends too much. She may have to hit rock bottom before getting help with this issues but you have to make sure that you will still have a roof over your head and her spending doesn't land you on the streets. If she allowed you to take over the finances you can control how much money she gets and pay the bills at least until your debt gets paid down to where you can stay above water. If you suspect your wife suffers from "shopaholism", there are ways to confirm and cure the addiction, there are several ways to stop overspending and cure other addictions, from group therapy to hypnosis. But one of the essential conditions to cure any psychological problem is to have the desire to receive help. That is where a loving family will contribute enormously to convince the affected person that a treatment is necessary. Make no mistake, shopping addictions are very serious problems, just like gambling and drug use and I'm sorry I wasn't able to help you but that is the only way your wife can control her spending addiction is through help. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.

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