Hidden In The Closet: Shopping Addiction & The Coupledom

Photo of a woman with lots of shoes, for a post on The Couples Tool Kit about shopping addiction. Credit: Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock.

Frequently, in couples therapy, a spouse will bring up concerns regarding what they view as their spouse’s excessive shopping. And this is not limited to the stereotype of the wife who has 100 pair of shoes lined up on the closet floor. It is also the husband with 100 shirts in duplicate colors, or a garage full of “toys.” What is common to both genders is the knee jerk of denial: “That’s not true; you’re exaggerating. Lots of women have lots of shoes. And anyway, they were on sale.” Or, “What’s wrong with owning a few motorcycles? I work hard for that money.”

Now I am not in their garages or their closets to verify anyone’s accounting of the other’s inventory, but I am fairly confident that there is truth in much of what is presented. When your spouse has a shopping addiction, like other addictions, it will impact negatively on your relationship, trust, honesty, family life and finances.

Compulsive shopping is a secret shame, often unmentioned, often unnamed. My colleague April Benson, Ph.D. is a specialist in over shopping and has written extensively on the subject. I have taken this opportunity to share Dr. Benson’s most recent and very compassionate post which speaks to the dilemma a spouse is faced with when he realizes that his wife is a compulsive shopper.

Please click on the link below:


©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2015

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