Shopping Makes me Happier than Dating

Given the choice would you rather have a sexy, attractive man, or a gorgeous new designer handbag?

According to recent scientific research, spotting a must-have pair of wedges sets women’s pulses racing more than experiencing love at first sight – especially if the shoes in question are at a bargain price.

A number of results confounded expectations, such as women preferring£150 off a washing machine to the Hollywood heart throb Ryan Gosling.

And one female participant’s heartbeat reached 187 beats a minute when looking at a deal to save 85p on shower gel – a higher reading than riding a roller coaster.

Stephanie Leese, 22 from Manchester should know this feeling well, she’s one of those girls.

Here she tells us why she gets more of a buzz bagging a bargain than bagging a bloke

Stephanie says:

‘My last relationship ended almost two years ago, but during the years I’ve been single since I haven’t felt as if I’m missing out.

For instead of finding comfort in the arms of my boyfriend at weekends, I now find comfort hanging out on the high street, hunting for bargains.

I was with my partner for two and a half years. And when we broke up in April 2010, when I was age 20, I suddenly found myself spending a lot more money.

Jeans, tops, boots, jewellery, mobile phones…

I work as a fitness instructor in a gym, and while the money is decent, it’s not enough to allow me to splash out every month. I had little left over after paying the rent on the flat I live in with my best friend.

So I opened a credit card with a £500 limit. When I maxed that out, I opened another with a £1000 limit.

Armed with my plastic friend, I’d hit the high-street.

The buzz I felt afterwards was amazing, and much better than anything my ex-boyfriend offered me.

Buying a new dress, then carrying it home in a fancy bag and trying it on in my bedroom mirror made me feel on top of the world.

There was something about spending cash that did to me what no man easily could – made me feel good about myself.

Especially if I found an excellent deal. Then the rush was even better than a lad paying me empty compliments.

Eighteen months ago I became addicted to buying deals online using websites such as Groupon. I’d splash out on offers such as a £10 for£30 worth of food in a restaurant, or sessions of laser liposuction for £80.

My favourite purchase was a half head of hair extensions for £99, with a saving of 50 per cent.

‘This is more fun than dating,’ I’d tell myself, excitedly scouring my latest bargain buys.

Even the supermarket offers aisle gets me going. I keep my eyes peeled for yellow ‘reduced’ stickers when I’m buying groceries.

Often I find loaves of bread for only 19p, and come away from the checkout feeling on top of the world.

On my 21st birthday I didn’t have a hunky man to wake up to in the morning, or to take me out to lunch. But I didn’t care.

That wouldn’t have got my heart beating as fast as handing over the cash for the beautiful gold ruched dress I bought that day instead.

I felt like a million dollars wearing it to my birthday party that evening.

The downside to preferring shopping over men is that while love doesn’t cost a thing, stuff does.

I used to be a sucker for store cards which promise a discount on your first purchase. I convinced myself that I would pay off the balance within the first four weeks but I never did.

A month after my birthday I needed a new laptop so I bought one from a high-end department store using their store card. It cost me £700 when in fact I could have bought it elsewhere for a lot less.

But that didn’t deter me.

Over the past two years I’ve opened seven store cards in total as well as my two credit cards.

When the interest started stacking up, I paid off my store cards using my credit card.

Eventually I stopped being able to meet the minimum payments.

The ‘high’ I feel after a spree has now landed me in a lot of debt – almost £8000 in less than two years.

Three months ago, unafraid to open bills or even check my bank balance, I admitted to myself that my spending was out of control.

I had to borrow some cash from my family, and stop paying with plastic so often.

I’ve realised that my body’s reaction to splurging is the same –or even better – than the heady high I feel when in the first throes of a relationship.

Which is why I’m more in love with shopping than a man right now.

Marisa’s Comments

Stephanie buys herself stuff to get a high, but because the high is so temporary she buys even more stuff and as a consequence she is now in debt.

The pleasure centre in the brain only needs one source of pleasure, so when her relationship ended she switched to shopping and is now stuck in a vicious circle of shopping for pleasure. But not confronting the fact that the debt will cause her pain.

She feels a sense of achievement when she gets a bargain and feels pleased with herself as if she has accomplished something, and she is able to equate this with getting a compliment from a boy.

Stephanie says that when she buys lovely things, brings them home and puts them on she feels good about herself and believes that this feeling is better than anything  a man has to offer, When we are in love and getting lots of compliments we feel that we are enough. When we buy lots of stuff and shop till we drop we also feel that we are enough. Shopping is filling a void.

Stephanie needs to say to herself ‘I am enough I don’t need to buy lots of stuff,’ and then the need to splurge will go away. Stephanie also needs to look at all the jeans, bags and dresses bought in the last 2 years and recognise that, if they really made her feel good, she would not need to keep buying more. They only make her feel good momentarily – and that is not the same.

All our pleasure in life comes from being with others so I advise her to have a car boot sale and raise some money to pay off her debts then get back into dating. When she feels real love and affection she will remember that you can’t find that in clothes they can’t comfort you, keep you warm or give you a cuddle on a bad day and they all get dated and quickly out of fashion. When she knows she is enough she won’t need to shop and will be far more attractive to men.

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