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Advice/reassurance/we’re probably all in the same boat

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#1 Posted on:
Fri, 10/11/2017 - 13:30



Hi everyone - not 100% sure what I want out of this post, probably just the realisation that I’m not alone and it can get better(?)


My boyfriend has had a problem with gambling for years (before we got together 3 1/2 years ago) we’ve had a lot of conversations/arguments about it (and to clarify he has no access to my money, we have no joint account and the mortgage that we’ve just moved into is in my name only) he told me last night he’s lost about £1000 yday, he went to counselling earlier this year about it which seemed to help but then said last night he’s gambled twice before this since going to counselling, winning one time but losing about £2000 the next and only told me about the other 2 times because of what happened yday. He tried counselling before but went to one session and said it didn’t help, I had to basically threaten the relationship for him to give it another try and he finished all sessions this time but I know that wasn’t the right way to go about it. He only told me about the most recent time because he said he dropped his laptop yday (I don’t believe him) and then smashed it up to stop himself going on the site (also to add I in no way feel at risk from him, and have no concerns in that area of him being violent towards me). 


We’ve spoken about locking himself from certain sites but as he said there’s thousands and he can just access the next one. I’m a support worker in my job and whenever he tells me he’s gambled again I try to support him, but I had to tell him yday that it isn’t just him it affects and I’m allowed to be upset and angry over this and he didn’t really say anything to that. I’ve said I don’t see how we can make any financial decisions going forward (we were talking about buying a dog soon, and have said we want to start trying for kids in 6 months/a year) originally he was saving to pay my mum back for the part of the deposit she leant us for the house and to then be signed onto the mortgage in 2 years but I’ve said there’s no way that’s happening when this is still an issue. Whenever I’ve said that I have an issue with him lying to me he tries to cover it saying “you didn’t ask me, so I haven’t lied” and blaming it on the gambling saying lying is part of it, which I understand but I still feel like a doormat. I don’t know how many times I can go over this conversation with him or what we/he can do to move forward, he has said he will go to gamblers anonymous because it’s the only thing he hasn’t tried, but I asked what happens if he tries that and relapses again, will he just throw in the towel and that’s that? I try so hard to help out and be supportive in anyway possible but I feel like I’m being taken for granted and don’t know how many more times we can go over this, or being lied to (even though he doesn’t see it as lying, though I think this was just a knee jerk reaction to what I said rather than not understanding I saw it as a lie). Any advice would be great

Posted on:
Fri, 10/11/2017 - 18:39



Hi Worries

Sorry you're in this situation.

To answer your question you can make a decision about how many times you choose to go through this whenever you want to.

He has to help himself and until he admits he has a gambling addiction, seeks help and is in active recovery nothing is going to change. Plus if he's going to go to GA it needs to be because he wants to and not because it's what he knows you want to hear and it'll keep you happy and off his back.

The deceit and lying is the norm unfortunately. You can't stop him for choosing to be untruthful.

It seems like you've got your home and finances safe which is good. Keep that mortgage in your name.

Look after yourself. Put your needs first. You cannot support him through this until he wants to change. Only you can make the decision you feel is right.

I personally wouldn't (and in my case didn't) put up with it. We do tend to gloss over things, think things will improve or change and we get used to the lies etc. After a while living in a situation like this will start to take its toll on you, if it's not done already.

Get some help for yourself if you feel that you need it - counselling etc.

Make sure you look after yourself first as you matter x

Posted on:
Fri, 10/11/2017 - 19:07



Hi Worries, welcome to the site!

My advice is to trust your instincts!  What is he, 5?  Only children could reasonably argue that an omission is not a lie & even then only to a degree!  He’s not telling you because he doesn’t want to, pure & simple...He’s gambling and as a gambler myself I would be extremely surprised if it genuinely was only a couple of times!  Lying is indeed interlinked with gambling but it’s his choice to lie, just as it’s his choice to gamble, as it is his choice whether to get help!  Sounds to me like he’s got it pretty good...You clearly have your finances in order & up until recently it would appear have just provided support when he’s been forced to admit to his behaviour, there have been no consequences.  It’s not big of him that he completed the course of counselling in the end, it sounds more like it was the bare minimum to keep you sweet?  I get your concerns about GA & to be fair, until he’s ready, he may attend meetings but he won’t work the program but he’s still accountable to people in the room so if you want it for peace of mind, get it.  It’s no good keep giving us 2nd chances, our boundaries (personal, enforced, legal) get blurred & tested...Decide what you want from him & don’t give an ultimatum you won’t follow through.  There’s no half measures, excluding from certain sites wouldn’t be enough for me if I were in your shoes...Blocking software, credit files & GA, then anything else I needed as time went on.  He’s always going to be an addict, whether he gets help to get his addiction under control is down to him but if you are feeling put on, it’s because you are!

Echo the advice from Nomore, look after you & your needs - ODAAT 

Posted on:
Sat, 11/11/2017 - 08:30

Merry go round


Hi worries, sorry you're here, no you're not alone, we've all been where you are. Advice? This is my gut reaction, probably not what you want to hear but here it is. You? This is about you. What do you want? You cannot do this for him, you have to do it for you. Yes you've looked after your money and the house, but you've ignored what he's doing. No you can't stop him, but you can stop what you're doing. Threatening the relationship if he doesn't go to counselling? So what's the consequence if he gambles? You can't stop him gambling but you can stop ignoring it. you have to admit that gambling is affecting you, making your life unmanageable. You have to change, change the reaction, stop arguing start following through. If you really want to support him take over his finances. Go to gamanon. You have to do something different because what you're doing now isn't stopping or helping. Paying for the house that he's living in isn't making him responsible it's letting him have his money to gamble. Owing money to your mother? Maybe that's what's holding you in this situation. That should be his and your priority, if the house is in your name why did he borrow for the deposit? It's time to look at yourself and your behaviour. We learn by our mistakes and trust me I've made them all. Stop expecting him to change unless you do. Call gamcare, get to a meeting, for you. Good luck!

Posted on:
Sat, 11/11/2017 - 09:59



Thanks everyone for your replies. He says he wants to try GA this time as he hasn't done this before and has been reluctant to access this in case he sees someone he knows, and maybe the continuous support would help rather than having counselling which he knew could only last so many sessions. He has agreed to go to GA himself, rather than me forcing it and I do believe it (more fool me, right?)


We spoke about it last night and I tried to make it clear that the more times we have the conversation the more it chips away and I lose my faith that it will ever change. I told him that what has worried me the most was my first reaction this time wasn't shock or even anger, it was “here we go again” and I jumped into “what can I do to support you?” mode.


He's said (more than once) that he gambles because there is no consequences for him, when he was living at home he could gamble all of his money away and would always have a roof over his head and food on the table and unfortunately at the time his parents would also then give him money knowing full well where it would go. I thought us living together where he's half responsible for paying his rent/food/bills would make a difference but it didn't, and I explained to him yesterday that at some point if we keep having these conversations I will come to the end of the line and tell him to leave, so he is risking me and his current living situation. I don't want him to promise this will never happen again because that isn't realistic and such a huge pressure, but it's the lying about it that drives me mad and me only finding out months later and feeling like a mug for not realising when we've gone out and he's spent more money than usual (ie we went for a meal a few weeks ago and he ordered a bottle of champagne, I'm more of a “happy with the house wine” girl so was really surprised) that he's done it because he's gambled and won. I've recently changed jobs so having kids has been pushed back anyway until I get through probation, but I said if I hadn't that we would have to stop trying anyway because we cannot go into any situation that ties us together whilst this is still an issue. With the house we were advised not to try for a joint mortgage anyway as my financial situation was better than his and I had a deposit and he didn't, the plan originally was he would pay my mum back in 2 years with the money she lent us(me) for the deposit which was equal to what I paid into the deposit at the start, then we have paid equal amounts into the house and then he would be put onto the mortgage so it was in both our names, which as I've said is 100% not happening now whilst this is still going on.


My whole working/personal life tends to be based around helping and supporting other people, I'm not great at putting myself first and unfortunately in doing that my needs come second. I only attended counselling myself because I had time off work sick with stress because it all came to a head and I was forced to address it (however it wasn't related to his gambling, so this wasn't mentioned when I went) .

Posted on:
Sat, 11/11/2017 - 11:14



He's spot on when he says there are no consequences for him. Unfortunately for us on the other end of this bailing out, rushing round looking into debt solutions and counselling for them, generally taking on responsibility that should be theirs is our instinctive reaction until we recognise they can't be helped until they want to be helped. The excuses about GA are a cop out. Even if there is someone there he knows they are all there for the same reason.

You are doing the right thing in keeping the finances separate and refusing further commitments with him. Talking about ending things if he doesn't change is fine but make sure you mean what you say. He'll run rings round you if you don't stick to your lines in the sand. 

If he means what he says about stopping you need to see positive, concrete action action in that drection from him. He can stop if he wants to. There is a wealth of advice and support available to help him do just that. If he doesn't do any of it be wary. Think about what you want need and deserve from a partner. All the time he's gambling he won't measure up anywhere near.