Got any pointers

Hi all , I am new to this so excuse me if I seem a little clumsy.I am writing to find help in dealing with my wife who has a unrestrained love affair with credit cards.She knows she has a problem but is unable to stop.She also seems unwilling to seek counsling.She is trying to fill some hole in her life that my love and best efforts cant fill.Some say she has to hit rock bottom before she will seek help.Does that mean I have to go down fianacially with her?She has secret accounts and cards. I put out one fire by finding and cutting up her cards but she always has another somewhere.If it wasnt for our 13 year old son I might just walk-away but that would be devastating for all.Anyone have a similar story that I can draw help from?

yes. This is an addiction not unlike the others that so many have. PLEASE Make sure you don't go down with her financially. Take her to support group meetings and therapy-sounds like you will have to "force" her to go at first. Chances are, the last thing she wants to do is hurt you and your son, but understand it is out of her control. She can't consciously say things to herself like-oh I don't need this, I won't buy doesn't work that way for the drug or alcohol addict and it doesn't work for the spendaholic either. Make sure you engage with her as much as possible-or have good friends help you out with this. She needs avenues in which to re-discover all life has to offer, outside of the mall!! Make her see how nice it would be to have a big bank account - nicer than all the silly stuff she is likely accumulating! best of luck!!!

Thanks Superman!I will try to get her to some form of counseling.I am beginning to see that as the key.On some level she knows she has a problem but she wont see or acknowledge the damage she is doing and now this is turning into a power struggle.Its almost as if she just doesnt care.She dos most of her damage online.Do I just chuck the computer?I need to find a way to get her on the same page.She will just find ways around any roadblocks I put up until I can change her thoughts on money.Also depression is a factor in all this,spending gives her a temporary jolt but doesnt last.

Terry-Sadly, it is kind of comforting to see I am not alone. I just surrendered my "dope"-aka credit cards, to my husband. I will be attending my first DA meeting this weekend and feel so good now that I am coming clean. I think now that my purchasing really has actually waned quite a bit over the years, for the past 6 years or so, I think it has been more the denial as possibly the addiction. You know if you chuck the computer, she can just shop online on another computer...or call in orders on the phone. there is always a way to get that "high". I believe that since she is so clearly in denial you need to tell her you can't live a co-dependent life. You need to be in reality-and so does she if the relationship is to continue. IN order to ensure you have the funds you need to live-ie mortgage, food, utilities, savings, you can tell her she is getting an allowance for her shopping and divide the checking account in two-her allowance fund and your "home-reality" fund. If the access to funds is cut off in this way, she cannot take away funds for living expenses, which is a dangerous thing. the other very important thing is to start helping her to fill her life with other, richer and more fulfilling activities. You have to take an active role in this-you and your son-you can't be passive about it and just nag her about the shopping-

First cut off the source of funds, try to cut off the credit cards if possible. tell her to look her debts straight in the eye and see how much is owed. develop a pay-down plan, and start re-creating a fulfilling life together.easier said than done, I know. I am doing it all now too. maybe we can keep in touch with our respective progress reports! Have a great day!

Best, S

Hey S ,thanks for your reply and kind words.So you are like my wife? Its great hearing from you for now I can get a perspective from the other side.Ive taken the cards I can find but
I beleive she has more hidden somewhere.Have looked into DA but where we live in Montana there is no local chapter.Would love to keep in touch with you as we work on this.Will write again when I have more time. Thanks!

Hi All!

I work for a TV host who is trying to help people with shopping addictions. If you want to share your stories, and seek help for yourself or those you love with shopping addictions, please email me at [email protected]. We want to help, and try to expose this issue so that people like you, who are going through this, realize they are not alone.

Dear Terry, I do think that your wife needs to be at the point where she acknowledges the problem and wants to stop in order for there to be any progress. I am in DA now and they say that there is help online. Go to and the # is 1-800-421-2383. They undoubtedly have assistance for those on the other side of this problem, such as yourself. You are very wise to have sought out help for you and your wife. When talking with her about it, though, I would advise a very gentle and loving approach-it is a very real disease and luckily it can be cured. I wish you all the best!!!-S

Hey superman,or is that superwomen? I agree that my wife has to admit a problem,but how do they get to that point?What brought you to admit to your problem? Would you tell me about your issues that caused you to spend and why? Im seeking insight into what makes her tick,her motivation to keep on keeping things from me. I mean she will grudgingly agree with me about the need to stop running up credit but she continues to do so behind my back. I find and destroy one card and she just gets another!I mean $115 4inch spike heeled sandels and she never wears stuff like that! She is somewhere between 25 and 30k now with no end in sight.I have been treating her with kid gloves about this of late because our marriage about broke up last spring due to a internet romance she was having.We have moved past that and our marriage is getting stronger every week.I was focusing on that issue first but feel secure enough now to tackle the money thing.If I only knew how. Thanks Super , T

Terry, Insist that she go to marriage counselling with you and that she attend DA meetings. She sounds like she is bored, what with the internet affair and the credit card affair. She is obviously looking for adventure/danger/something new and different to fill a the counselling is critical. it reminds me of that movie with schwartsenegger and jamie lee curtis and that sleasy used car salesman.

She has shown that she values your marriage so take her to the next step.

Also show her what it would look like if she piled up all the $115.00 's she spent after a year-how much money that would add up to - it WILL inspire her. Make it a team effort where the two of you save up for a great trip or something for the house-as a joint effort..charting your progress etc.

With me, the spending is very much under control, but the interest on the cards was killing me to the point where anything additional, albeit benign, only added to the skyrocketing interest levels, making the total balance(s) go up even more. It's like living on credit as a bad habit. It is a form of laziness & boredom, combined with denial. You can have that fabulous new pair of shoes, and worry about paying for it later, the only problem is that over time the shoes cost $1000's. Then you need a new card or line of credit for new stuff. thus the cycle's in all the financial books, Terry. Take the next step and get a good counseller. she wants to stop the spending, and she is fortunate to have you to help her.

Just keep control of the checkbook yourself.

Best - s

Hey S, Im not sure about the marriage counseling.Things were bad in March but have steadedly improved since.The love is back and Im feeling good about where we are in that arena.We /she do need some sort of counseling tho.I will do what I can to fill whatever voids in her life that I can,But allot of her issues go back to childhood.Im waiting for her to slip up again,not to pounce on her,but as an opening to bring up professional help again.We are getting along so well right now that Im afraid to break the mood by suggesting counseling because that is so upsetting to her.Yet I know it must be done.She is very intune to the moment,an instant gratification kind of person.She has little interest in the future benefits of fiscal restraint.How do you change that kind of thinking? Thanks S! Terry

Terry, that is awesome that you are so positive about your marriage. Its the most important thing, and she sure is a fortunate woman to have you caring for her. I will let you know when I find out the answer (if I ever do) to your last question. I think that we people of the instant gratification set need someone like you in our lives to "train" us in fiscal restraint. Stay good!! -S

HI All
Everyone keeps talking about ways to fill the void that shopping fills- has anyone actually found some ways to fill the void?