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Does it ever get better? Can he ever be better?

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#1 Posted on:
Mon, 06/11/2017 - 20:52




I'm sorry if I am repeating something many others have asked. I am just unsure where to turn to. 

I am 24 and my partner of 11 years has a serious issue with gambling. I have known about it I would say the last 5 years and my own finances and credit score have been badly damaged in the past due to these issues my partner has.

To his credit, he has stopped involving me in the sense that he hasn't taken money from me, used my bank cards or my name for a couple of years however he still has a very poor handle on his own money and his ability to keep away from gambling.

I truly believe he is ready to stop but he claims he doesn't think he can ever get better and that nothing will work. We are at a point in out lives where we are saving up to be able to buy a home (because of our credit scores this is going to mean a lot of hard work and saving) and because of the fact it will involve a lot of money I am now doubting we will ever get there.

He saves and then makes up some urgent reason he needs it back, I bail him out/send him his money back and we get back to square one. He tells me to leave him because it won't get better but there is no chance I could leave him.

My question to you is either as a partner of a problem gambler or as someone with these issues - can it ever get better? Can I take the risk on a future with someone who won't get any support on the hope that he can change?

Posted on:
Mon, 06/11/2017 - 21:27



Hi Bee, I'm an ex gambler, I gambled for 20 years, I was 30 when my girlfriend left me through the lies and money problems.. I've been clean for 2 years and I hope I might be of some help? May I ask if any other steps have been taken other than just trying to stop? Also, who knows? Does his family know? 


Posted on:
Tue, 07/11/2017 - 07:46

Merry go round


Hi bee I'm sorry to hear that you are involved in his addiction and debt. You both need to stop what you're doing. You can seek help call gamcare and get advice and counselling. Then find your nearest gamanon meeting. You need to learn about addiction and how it progressively gets worse. Yes it can get better but you are the one who needs to do this. Stop making excuses for him, safeguard your money, no bailouts, nothing joint, no access to your cards. If he knows numbers and passwords cancel them. He has to want to stop. If you keep giving him money or bailing him out he has no reason to. If you don't change neither will he. He can go to GA if he really wants to stop. There are many ways to help him, but he has to be the one to initiate it. In my experience my cg would confess, say never again, until the next massive loan. Even after a year at GA he went back to it. At 47 he's there again. Unfortunately you can't just think it's him, you are embroiled in this too now. Your behaviour lets him get away with it. So if you want to get saving and get a house, you do it, you can't rely on him until he actively seeks help. Even then you will need to take over his finance. That doesn't mean help him, that means his salary goes to you, you pay the bills. His debt payments come after all bills are paid, don't let him say 'I'm paying my debt, there's no more.' He has to pay his share too. I know it's hard but you have to be strong. You are the only person who can change you. I have all finance, he works on cash and receipts, change to the penny. No access to accounts, I open all post, GA and gamanon once a week. This is forever. Call gamcare today, find a meeting, good luck!

Posted on:
Tue, 07/11/2017 - 12:39

Cynical wife


Hi, Bee,

Welcome to the forum and you’ve come to the right place for cyber help. But it’s not a substitute for real life help. I’d urge you to try GamAnon meetings and also CoDA (or Al-Anon if alcohol is an issue for anyone close to you).

I’d also advise you to look at the reality of your situation. You say that you truly believe that he’s ready to stop but there’s no evidence of that. There are a lot of things that he could do if he did wish to look at his own issues, specialist counselling, regular attendance at GA meetings, blocking software, parental internet controls, self exclusion. But is he doing any of them? He’s not even saying that he’s ready to stop. You’re ready for him to stop so that you can be happy together  but that’s your fantasy, not his or your reality.

The reality is that to stop using is the first step of a lifetime journey. Addiction itself doesn’t cause problems, it simply highlights problems that are already there. Him stopping isn’t the end of the road, it’s the beginning.

You say that he’s taken money from you, used your cards and your name. That’s theft. Refraining from theft is a duty, not a virtue. Put another way, a caring partner wouldn’t be doing you a favour by not stealing from you. It would go without saying that in a caring relationship, theft doesn’t happen.

Did I understand your post to mean that you’ve been the gf since you were 13? That’s a long time from a young age with one person who also happens to be an addict. You’ve learnt to accept very low standards of behaviour towards you and the hard question for you to look at is why and how that came about. Why is this man, who steals from you, who isn’t there for you because he’s using, who you haven’t been able to fix, why is this relationship better for you than no relationship.  Why does the thought of having no one to fix cause panic?

Move the focus over to you. You want to become a home owner? It’s achievable but not whilst you’re bailing out an addict. Make your own acquaintance, learn about you. He’s an adult, he can  fix him.

Wish you well,


Posted on:
Tue, 07/11/2017 - 13:55



He doesn't think he can ever get better because he doesn't want to. There is a lot of advice help and support out there if he did and yes, if he 100% commits to it he can arrest the addiction. Claiming that none of it will work is a cop out.

If you can't leave him, you will have to be prepared to be on top of everything financial permanently. He will have to accept that you will need access to even the most private aspects of his finances. No hiding place. Problem with that is if he's not ready to stop you're in the firing line for all the frustration and anger that will bring. You may also find somewhere down the line he's getting his hands on 'off book' funds from some very unexpected sometimes illegal sources. Don't underestimate what a desperate addict will stoop to.

Read up on the addiction and where it can and does lead unaddressed. Not stealing from you isn't to his credit, it's basic manners that you should be able to take for granted. Think hard about what you want need and deserve from a life partner. All the time he's gambling he's won't be measuring up.