Home Articles Should You Divorce a Shopaholic Spouse? Depends

Should You Divorce a Shopaholic Spouse? Depends


Disagreements over money are often cited as the main reason couples divorce. There are so many issues that money issues can create, and when couples cannot agree, they often part ways.

Values about spending versus saving, concerns over the future, power imbalances, and resentment over financial inequality can be toxic to a relationship. If your spouse is a shopaholic who doesn’t share your values about money management, should you divorce them? Not the easiest question to consider.

Money Issues Cause Stress

If you are a meticulous money manager who budgets every dollar down to the penny and your spouse just frivolously spends the family’s hard-earned cash, it can cause you a great deal of stress. While most couples have similar value systems when it comes to money management, differing viewpoints can cause frequent disputes and eat away at the fabric of marriage.

The spendaholic spouse might feel that the saver is too controlling and nagging, while the saver feels the spender is reckless and irresponsible. Unfortunately, there is usually no real compromise, and the couple decides whether it is worth the fight or simply walk away from the marriage.

Differing Financial Goals Cause Division

One of the problems with being married to a spendaholic is that they may not share your long-term financial goals. You may be planning to buy a home, start a business, help the kids through college or take a once-in-a-lifetime, round-the-world vacation while they are thinking about the instant gratification they can get from mindless spending.

Unless you are on the same page about long-term goals, it will be hard to find harmony with your partner. If you have a lifelong dream of seeing the world, it can be hard to see your spouse coming home with shopping bags full of new gizmos and baubles every day.

Divorcing a Shopaholic Spouse

If you do decide to part ways with your shopaholic spouse, you may have one significant advantage. You will have solid evidence of your claims that your spouse’s lack of restraint has caused your family’s financial problems. You can show that your partner ran up large amounts of credit card debt or that they failed to take care of household obligations.

One person on a popular personal finance blog described how their spouse racked up more than $100,000 in credit card debt, and the non-spending spouse worked multiple jobs to pay it off. The spender then immediately went out and racked up more debt. Eventually, the couple divorced.

In many cases, the shopaholic spouse is using shopping to fill an unmet psychological need. In other cases, they have poor impulse control and are not used to delaying gratification. When you are married to a shopaholic, it can jeopardize the entire family’s financial future.

There are many spending habits linked to divorce, like significant gaps between the spouses’ credit scores or a lavish wedding, but the number one reason people married to shopaholics decide to separate is that the reckless spenders spend their money with little to no regard for their efforts to put food on the table.

If you have talked with your partner, tried to resolve the issue, gotten counseling and nothing has changed, divorce is likely inevitable. Because divorce can be a costly process, it pays to consider the financial implications of splitting from your spouse. Some people will find out the hard way that, while divorce is expensive, in the long run, living with a financially irresponsible spouse is even more costly.



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