Don't demand a relationship refund

Purchases in hand, you wonder which will take longer: paying off your credit card debt, or rebuilding your relationship.

Congratulations. You’ve fallen victim to one of the dating world’s scariest demons.

The shopping date.

Many couples will ponder the excursion this weekend, when enticing sales encourage us to snag some Christmas purchases.

The often arduous task becomes more palatable — even enjoyable — if you bring the love of your life, right?

After all, malls and relationships seem inextricably linked. Most of us formed our earliest understanding of flirting during the days of dubiously “hanging out” in the neighborhood’s biggest shopping center.

So it’s no wonder adult couples will eventually have this conversation:

“You have to buy some stuff? I have to buy some stuff! Let’s go together!”

Don’t do it.

Without proper precautions, you’ll embark on the trip and quickly learn you’re dealing with two opposing mentalities. One of you thinks shopping is merely an item on a to-do list, the other thinks it’s a way of life.

Shopping personalities vary, but women generally fall into the latter camp.

The patient boyfriend will offer an encouraging “take as long as you want” as he stakes out a spot in his girlfriend’s favorite boutique.

He says he’s not bored, but his actions — building a fully functional jet plane out of abandoned plastic hangers — suggest otherwise.

In addition to being mistaken for a thief and predator, the patient male shopping partner will be forced to decode the cryptic female language of retail speak.

For example, “this is cute” means “this would be a good Christmas present for me.”

And “I just want to try on a few things” means “I’m going to bring five dresses into the fitting room so I can dance around to re-create a power montage previously reserved for chick flicks.”

What’s more, shopping together leads to all sorts of unexpected value judgments.

It can be harsh to watch your partner not think twice about spending $20 on an empty plastic beer boot — or $20 on a single pair of underwear.

Interactions with fellow shoppers cheapen the experience, too.

There’s nothing like learning your seemingly perfect boyfriend falls into one of the worst shopper categories imaginable: the line-jumper.

Unfortunately, your highly anticipated shopping date often culminates in a cold, overpriced food-court burger.

Did you get some purchases out of the way? Sure.

But romance gets a bit lost when you’re pulling somebody’s hair to get the last pair of skinny jeans, or prefacing every shared purchase with a reminder that the financial sacrifice means you’re eating off the McDonald’s $1 menu for a week.

See, shopping is best performed alone. That way, you can go home still believing that the best things in life are free — instead of demanding a relationship refund.

Contact Sonya Sorich at ssorich@ledger-enquirer.com or 706-571-8516.