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REVENGE SPENDING: THE PRICE OF EMOTIONAL RETAIL THERAPY

Navigating the Pitfalls of "Revenge Spending": Strategies for Financial and Emotional Recovery

29.05.2024
BY WILHEMINA BOWEN
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In the aftermath of a breakup, the urge to splurge often hits hard. From luxury bath sets to impulsive solo trips, individuals find themselves reaching for their wallets in an attempt to fill the void left by a fractured relationship. But as the dust settles and the credit card bills loom, the true cost of "revenge spending" becomes painfully clear.

Maya Chandran, a homemaker in Dubai, recounts her post-breakup shopping spree, admitting to purchasing a lavish bath item set that has since gathered dust on her bathroom shelf. Similarly, Catherine Mullian, an expat financial advisor in Abu Dhabi, found herself living frugally for a month after dropping over 1000 Dhs on a clothes app in the throes of emotional turmoil.

But why do we resort to retail therapy in the wake of heartbreak? According to Saleha Menon, a clinical psychologist based in Dubai, the act of "revenge spending" is often driven by a desire to prove something to ourselves and our former partners. It's a temporary salve for the wounds of a breakup, providing a fleeting sense of control and satisfaction.

Vedrana Mladina, a clinical psychologist at New York University Abu Dhabi, likens this behavior to a quick fix—a momentary escape from the pain of loss. The rush of dopamine that accompanies a purchase may temporarily alleviate the ache of heartbreak, but it's ultimately a Band-Aid solution to a deeper emotional wound.

However, as Firdous Mohamed, a psychologist at the Nafsology Psychology Center in Dubai, cautions, this cycle of spending is not sustainable. Rather than seeking solace in material possessions, she advocates for a more mindful approach to healing. By pausing to process emotions and reevaluating spending habits, individuals can regain a sense of control over their finances and their well-being.

So, how can one navigate the treacherous waters of post-breakup spending? Menon suggests starting with a simple budget and setting aside a "fun fund" for discretionary purchases. By tracking expenses and identifying emotional triggers, individuals can redirect their focus towards long-term financial goals and self-care.

In the end, the true path to empowerment lies not in revenge spending, but in reclaiming control over one's life and finances. As the wounds of a breakup heal, so too can the scars of impulsive spending, paving the way for a brighter, more financially secure future.

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