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Ask Amy: Shopping addict builds mountain of merchandise

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • April 12, 2014 - 2:00 PM

Dear Amy: My wife is a shopaholic. She is constantly buying clothes and things we don’t need.

Our house is starting to get full, and I worry about our future.

I have tried to help by selling the things that we don’t need, but she just buys more. She has a job that pays really well, but she has not saved anything.

I try to confront her, but it is tough since I don’t make as much as she does.

Her family and friends treat her shopping addiction like a joke, and they encourage her by going on shopping trips together and take advantage by purchasing stuff from her for almost nothing.

What can I do?

Amy says: Shopping addiction is a real and serious affliction, and based on your description, your wife is out of control. Also, like many addicts, she is surrounded by enablers, users and people who benefit from her affliction.

Characteristics of addiction include the inability to change one’s behavior, in spite of the negative impact it has on the addict’s life.

Your wife needs professional help, but first she needs to acknowledge the problem. You should focus on trying to protect yourself from the realities of this. Untangle your finances in case she spends herself into a mountain of debt.

Urge her to recognize this as a problem and seek help. A support group such as Debtors Anonymous might help you (and her) get a handle on this. Check debtorsanonymous.org for information and local meetings.

Hookup to heartache

Dear Amy: My boyfriend and I went out for a year and a half, and then he broke up with me four months ago. We continue to see each other and hook up. When he says he wants to hook up with other girls I’m OK with that, but when I mention other guys he always finds something wrong with them.

We don’t want to be in a relationship with each other, but when we’re together, he treats me as if I’m still his girlfriend and I love that feeling.

I’m confused about what to do. If I end what’s going on, then I will be hurt. But if I continue I will probably end up getting hurt in the end.

Amy says: When I ponder your question I get this rushing noise in my ears and all I can think is: “Birth control, STDs, heartache, oh my!”

Essentially, your question boils down to: Shall I have my pain now or later?

I choose now. Because the more you delay this breakup, the more time you will spend in this unhealthy limbo, which does a number on your self-esteem, making it harder to recover.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at ask­amy@tribune.com.

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