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Help needed: where to start with the practicalities of having a husband that gambles?

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#1 Posted on:
Mon, 05/03/2018 - 20:56

Starmix

Joined:
2018-03-05

My husband has had an ongoing problem with spreadbetting since I met him 10 years ago. 

He managed to cover it up before we were married, but since then it’s been an ongoing nightmare of him ploughing  money into spread betting and stupid shares that never amount to anything.

Up until now, I’ve stood by him, supported him in every way I could. He’s even been to GA for the last six months and I genuinely thought that things were better. But A few weeks ago I gave birth and tonight he’s just dropped the bombshell that he’s been at it again. In my pregnant state, I missed all the signs. I can’t believe he’s gone back to his old ways. But now there’s more than just myself to think about, so I’m looking for some advice on how to protect myself financially and emotionally at this tricky time.

I’m finding it difficult to cope with a newborn and a gambler at the same time and I honestly don’t know what to do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on:
Tue, 06/03/2018 - 01:43

ODAAT

Joined:
2014-11-10

Hi Starmix, welcome to the forum.

Firstly, let me congratulate you on your new arrival :-) & secondly, wow, you must be exhausted :-(

I’m not sure I have any useful advice & the helpline are probably your best bet @ the minute.  The standard advice is for you to take over the finances & to get yourself some real life support from loved ones, counselling (GamCare can provide this free) & GamAnon meetings but having a newborn on your hands will make time extremely precious so again, probably the helpline in the 1st instance.

For me, hearing that he has come clean is a glimmer of hope, but whether this was because his house of cards was about to come crashing down or because he has finally accepted that he needs help will make a difference.  Becoming a new parent is incredibly stressful for most people, as an addict, whether he realises it or not, it’s very likely he gambled harder to try & outrun his fear.  If he’s come clean & is willing to hand over his finances (bank accounts & credit reports) plus do anything you need him to do (counselling, meetings) for your own sanity then that’s a great sign, if he’s resistant then the only thing you can do is decide how much you are willing to put up with because only he can change he.

However you forge forwards, I’m wishing you every strength & hope you find some time to look after you - ODAAT 

Posted on:
Tue, 06/03/2018 - 03:58

Starmix

Joined:
2018-03-05

Thanks for answering! I’m up doing the 3am feed, which probably doesn’t help matters, as I have too much thinking time at the moment.

I think you’re probably right; the stress of being a parent probably hasn’t helped him at all. 

I think this time he realises that his relapse has been serious- especially now that he can’t rely on me to help him. First thing tomorrow, we’re off to the bank so that I can change the joint bill account to an individual account in my name. He’s been secretly dipping into this while I’ve been busy with little one for the last few weeks. He’s also going to have his wages directly paid into this account. I’m just worried that he’ll still keep making arrangements with the banks to extend the debt! I’m tired enough looking after a newborn, and I just wanted my mat leave to be a happy time. Now it looks like I might have to return to work sooner than I hoped, and I think I’m beginning to resent my OH for not looking after me for a change. I know that I need to look out for the two of us now, as I still can’t trust my husband.

Posted on:
Tue, 06/03/2018 - 09:28

Merry go round

Joined:
2017-06-08

Hi star mix congratulations! You sound so like me. I remember sitting in the building society remortgaging when my baby was 6 weeks old. She's 15 now! I did all those things, salary to me, I paid all the bills, no joint accounts. The one thing I didn't do was credit reports. He kept his accounts open and gambled loans. He could get credit because he had a job regardless that the money didn't go into his account. You can get notifications from the credit report companies (Experian, noddle etc) so you can see if loans and credit cards are applied for. He's confessed so that's great, time to secure finances while he's willing. If you take over finance it will help, no loopholes. He should continue with GA. This is a stressful time for you both but your focus has to be securing finances and enjoying your baby. We work on cash and receipts, change to the penny. Keep an eye on the post too. His gambling debts have to be last in the list, he can negotiate to repay on his own. He should also download software blocks to stop access to gambling sites. If he's ready to give up for good he should do anything to stop, total transparency. Ask questions here and call gamcare. 

Posted on:
Tue, 06/03/2018 - 12:32

Starmix

Joined:
2018-03-05

 

I hadn’t thought to look through his credit so thanks for the tip-off. My biggest problem is that I don’t fully understand the world of spread betting and risky shares, and I think my OH takes advantage of this. I’m hoping that I can cut off anything that puts myself and LO in a predicament. 

Posted on:
Tue, 06/03/2018 - 18:14

Merry go round

Joined:
2017-06-08

Me neither, I remember my cg talking about position on the ftse! I understand trading but not spread betting! To be honest I don't think they do otherwise they'd  be rich! In the end my husband bet a £1 on anything in the bookies! Some also memorise their card details before handing them over. There are many tricks. Safeguard yourself.

Posted on:
Tue, 06/03/2018 - 18:45

Lethe

Joined:
2016-12-10

Hi

Sorry to see this.

Practicalities are that you have to be 100% on top of everything financial 100% of the time. Don't trust a word he says without seeing independent proof for yourself. Everything Mr L spends goes through the joint account. I see receipts. His salary goes to a basic bank account (no OD) which I have the card to and operate. He doesn't carry cash. Every asset is in my sole name. Every major purchase is made in my sole name.

I open his post if I want to and I keep an eye on the credit reports from all three agencies (all available free. Noddle, Clearscore and Experian from MSE's credit club). I have paid for an alert service which emails me if anything changes in between the monthly updates. He has notices of correction on every report saying he's not to be offered or extended credit.

I'm not sure blockers will work on spread betting sites but you can password protect every device he has access to and he can ditch his phone for a non internet enabled brick.

Don't be too understanding. It leaves you open to manipulation. He can get the advice and support he needs from counselling and regular (lifetime) attendance at GA. Your priority is protecting you and the baby. Insist he complies with everything you want and need to feel safe. If he doesn't do it willingly be wary. 

Posted on:
Tue, 06/03/2018 - 18:49

Cynical wife

Joined:
2015-06-23

The point about spread betting is that you can lose more than you deposit. In regular betting, the maximum loss is the sum(s) deposited, some gamblers consider losses to include sums “won” and promptly lost again but that’s just a symptom of their compulsion, the actual losses are the deposits.  Spread betting  separates gamblers (and their families) from family money far more efficiently than other forms of betting, it’s absolutely lethal because it has this veneer of respectability when compared to regular betting, this false idea that somehow there is a skill involved in making a market and if the betting is on commodities or financial products, somehow that’s better than sport. Contracts for difference (CFDs) are also spread betting and are offered under the guise of “trading”.

As ever, don’t get bogged down in what he is or isn’t doing, protect yourself and focus on you and what you need to do to help yourself cope with your situation. 

CW

Posted on:
Tue, 06/03/2018 - 19:19

Starmix

Joined:
2018-03-05

Thanks for that easy explanation- I think that’s why I find it difficult. Appointment has been made for the morning, so already feel happier. He’s also agreed to let me open his post, so I can see exactly what is going on. Access to The weird investments and spread betting companies though seem a tougher prospect. He doesn’t seem to keen for me to know about this, which still rings alarm bells!

Posted on:
Tue, 06/03/2018 - 20:30

Lethe

Joined:
2016-12-10

He doesn't want to give you access because it will reveal the extent of what he's been doing but in any case CG's are adept at keeping the door ajar just a little and hiding it. It's not a good sign that he's reluctant to give you access but you couldn't really be sure he's revealed all his accounts to you anyway. I have just tested with K9 and it's letting spread betting sites through which suggests it may not be possible to block them effectively so I would suggest prioritising setting your own passwords to devices he can access..

Posted on:
Tue, 06/03/2018 - 21:05

Merry go round

Joined:
2017-06-08

He may still have a position. Therefore liable for a margin call. Has he stopped/closed all trades? If he's stopped he probably doesn't want you to see how many transactions there are. My husband had pages of back to back money in and out to brokers. The mind boggles!

Posted on:
Tue, 06/03/2018 - 22:57

Cynical wife

Joined:
2015-06-23

I found the evidence in his bank statements...long lists of transactions to the betting site. The odd incoming credit, but 80% outgoing debits. 

My husband didn’t have many accounts and the main beneficiary of our family money was a site that offered all and every type of betting. Exclusion and software worked to eliminate that particular site.

Protect yourself but once that’s done, focus on how you want to live your life.

CW

Posted on:
Wed, 07/03/2018 - 15:41

Starmix

Joined:
2018-03-05

Update: I’ve had a really busy day today. I’ve been to see the bank and I’ve closed the joint bill account and have arranged for OH salary to be paid directly into an a basic account to which I alone have access to.

On the downside, he’s revealed that there’s more than just the overdrafts. He hasn’t taken out any credit cards (thank goodness!) but he somehow managed to get a dodgy payday loan, which is yet another silly debt.

OH is beginning to cooperate, so I’m taking it a day at a time. There are no active spread bets (so this is progress). Instead, he’s ploughed his cash into crappy shares in a company that I’ve never heard of! At least this time, he hasn’t lost more than he’s ploughed in- which is probably why he didn’t see it as a ‘gamble’. Blimey, this stuff is deliberately shady!

Thanks for all the support so far. It means a great deal!

Posted on:
Wed, 07/03/2018 - 18:22

Lethe

Joined:
2016-12-10

Have you seen the credit reports from every agency? You can't rely on his word alone and as I said upthread CG's are adept at leaving themselves a little wriggle room which translates as hidden bank accounts, loans and credit cards. Credit reports may not give you the entire picture (loans from family or friends for instance or lenders which may not report to that particular agency) but they are more reliable than a gambler's account.

Posted on:
Thu, 08/03/2018 - 07:14

Starmix

Joined:
2018-03-05

I’m going to do completely uncover the credit situation today. It’s tricky with a newborn to tackle any more than one task per day, as I’m on a whirlwind of feeding, changing and burping (oh, the glamour!)

I feel confident about the credit cards. His post never includes credit card accounts and being at home on Mat leave now means that I get to the post before he had chance to hide it. Not sure what I’ll do about this once I’m back at work, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. I’ve been given his password book, so today’s job is to start changing passwords so that he cannot access the crappy shares. I’m definitely going for passwords in my head, as I don’t trust him to go looking for them! It is just like having another child at the moment!

Posted on:
Thu, 08/03/2018 - 08:57

Merry go round

Joined:
2017-06-08

Hi starmix don't mean to alarm you but my cg had all credit card, bank statements sent to work. Is he going back to meetings? 

Posted on:
Thu, 08/03/2018 - 10:43

Cynical wife

Joined:
2015-06-23

Hi, Starmix,

I’d warn you against trying to control whether or not he gambles. It’s futile. If he needs to use (gamble), he will find a way. As AlAnon say, I didn’t Cause it, I can’t Control it and I can’t Cure it.

The aim is to protect yourself, not to join in a game of wits (silly beggars) with him. Move the focus away from what he or isn’t doing and over to you. It’s dysfunctional to race to open the mail to find what he’s trying to hide. It’s not a normal way to live. 

Look at yourself, why do you want to behave in a maternal or nannying way towards your partner? Maybe it is a result of his actions but it becomes circular, you carry his load and he lets you? Why is it down to you to hold it all together? What do you want and need from a life partner, why and are you getting it?

It might seem easier to try to stop him gambling but it’s just a distraction from thinking about yourself. Change you, your responses, then the dynamics of the relationship changes and the life lessons that are taught to the children also change.

Look after you.

CW

Posted on:
Thu, 08/03/2018 - 19:00

Starmix

Joined:
2018-03-05

Good news is that so far I haven’t uncovered anything new on the credit front.

I’m trying very hard not mother him, but I have realised that I’m just trying to stop him from doing any further damage to the finances. Up until this point, I’ve allowed him to go on his merry way. I think what’s changed is that that he has finally admitted to himself how bad things have got, and that for the moment, he shouldn’t have access to his finances. He’s back to GA, and I believe that he does have a genuine desire to change.

He’s alsoadmitted that he found not being the centre of attention difficult. I know that addicts use other excuses to mask/make excuses for their problem, but I think he’s got more to unpick than just the gambling TBH, so I have suggested that he gets individual help, as he needs to talk it through all of it with someone in more depth. I’m certainly not that interested in excuses! He needs to work through that bit for himself.

Once he’s feeling a bit more in control, he can begin to take control of his own finances once more, especially as I have managed to separate it completely. The next few weeks will show if his desire to stop is going to transfer into action- I remain somewhat sceptical!

Posted on:
Thu, 08/03/2018 - 19:14

Cynical wife

Joined:
2015-06-23

That’s him, what about you?

Posted on:
Thu, 08/03/2018 - 21:18

Starmix

Joined:
2018-03-05

I’m feeling much better thanks. The Sun’s been out today, so took LO out for a long walk. It’s been nice to get out, without having an appointment or task to do! Hopefully, I can start focusing on enjoying my maternity leave, especially now LO is beginning to wait more than an hour and a half between feeds. I’m still quite hormonal though- I seem to be getting emotional over silly things- but apparently that’s pretty normal, and weirdly, all of my tears have been over things entirely unrelated to my OH’s gambling!

 

Posted on:
Fri, 16/03/2018 - 14:36

Starmix

Joined:
2018-03-05

having

A quick update: I’m getting some help for the way that I’m feeling at the moment, so I’m feeling much better placed to deal with OH. I didn’t realise how tired I was with having a newborn- I think it has frazzled my brains. I feel much more in control. I’m still having to check up on OH, but he’s been to another meeting this week, and there’s been an openness to talk through stuff, which he hasn’t before. I’m well aware that it’s early days, and I’m sure he’ll relapse or have difficult periods. I just need to keep focusing on myself and LO.