Hi. Very new to this site and looking for advice. My partner (21) and I (20) have been together for 2 years. At the start of our relationship he opened up to me about his addiction- he used gambling apps, like slot machines, and in game gambling on his PC. I was very new to understanding a gambling addiction and starting to think I may have been naive to think it would go away. He had maxed out multiple credit cards, took out a loan and at the bottom of his overdraft. We set out a plan and he managed to pay everything back and stopped gambling for almost a year.
However, last night I caught a glimpse of his online banking and saw that he was back in his overdraft and the savings he claimed to have did not exist (we are saving for a house, of course going to take a few years but started early). We argued about the lies he had told and I explained that I wasn't angry over the relapse but wished he had been honest. He admitted to maxing out 2 credit cards as well as using the whole of his overdraft in the past week. I'm lucky to have realised this early on. I have taken his cards away and giving his cash as he needs it. I am not a very controlling person and feel that I'm taking away his freedom but understand this is a good first step.
I am just looking for advice on what more I can do for him. I have plenty of savings and want to pay these back personally so there is no interest and the debt doesn't get worse, as well as cancelling those accounts. However, I feel if I pay off his cards I am putting myself at risk of losing a lot of money if his addiction gets worse. I do believe he can stop as I have seen it before. In the past has used apps that are similar to slots but, obviously, with no real money and blocked all these websites and things from his account.
To summarise, these are my questions....
Should I check his accounts regularly once I believe he has stopped?
Should I pay off the cards with high interest?
What is the best way for him to handle money when he is out at work and needs it?
How do I take control of his money without feeling like I am taking away his independence?
Just in need of advice because I am very new to this and don't want to be naive.
Thank you to anyone who wishes to respond! Apologies if I haven't understood everything or worded things wrong 🙂
It sounds like a difficult situation you are in. I can understand your disappointment but it is good that you are not angry about the relapse and that your boyfriend knows that you are trying to support him.
We would recommend for you not to pay off his debts as this can potentially make the situation worse and as you say yourself, it can potentially put yourself at risk of losing a lot of money.
A way for your boyfriend to handle money when he is at work is for him to have a set amount of cash.
You mentioned that you took his cards away. Was this mutually agreed? Generally for a successful and sustainable recovery, it is best if your boyfriend feels that this is his project and subscribes with these strategies and is on board with you managing his money.
You are very welcome to call our Helpline or Netline. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You might find it helpful talking to one of our advisers https://www.gamcare.org.uk/about-us/contact-us/.
And of course please continue to post.
All the best,
firstly please don’t pay off his debts, this is the worst thing you can do as he will have a free pass
you need to get a copy of his credit file as gamblers generally have more debts than they admit to their partners (I know, as I did)
you also need to take control of his finances. If he is serious about your relationship he will do this. Worst case scenario get him to change accounts to a bank who have the option to ban gambling transactions
if he objects to this it’s because he is hiding / wanting to hide something. It’s not about control, it’s about doing the thing that’s going to protect you.
when I was at my worst handing over finances actually made me feel liberated as I couldn’t gamble. He has to want to stop otherwise it won’t matter what you do, he will find a way to gamble
if you really want him to show willing get him an account that is cash withdraw only, and then deposit cash into it and make him show receipts for his purchases. Again this won’t be an issue to him if he is prepared to stop
as harsh as it sounds ultimately he won’t stop it he doesn’t want to and will argue with you against all the above using excuses such as you are controlling etc. It’s all a smoke screen if he doesn’t because it means you are taking away something he wants to do which is the gambling
you are young and the main thing is that you need to protect yourself and luckily you don’t have a mortgage etc so you need to address this early and make him change. If he won’t then that’s another matter but there is no reason for resistance other than the will to keep on gambling.
keep posting and asking questions and there are many on here who can help from both the gamblers perspective and those in your position
Thank you for the responses! Everything that has happened so far is mutually agreed and it was actually his idea for me to take his cards away, which I'm realising now is a very good sign. I do believe he wants to stop but there are lots of things that are tempting and pop up- particularly when he is gaming. So we have removed all of his details off those games. It is very easy to get a new credit card so very worried that this will be tempting when I am not around, is there anything I could put in place or suggest to avoid this?
I have seen a copy of his credit file- which he did show me willingly- I didn't know if there are things that don't show up on there or way to get around it?
I will definitely look into the bank accounts that are cash withdrawal only. I didn't realise this existed. Thanks a ton 🙂
I also realise he wants to be honest with me, but it is a big step to admit how far it may have gone and I'm not pushing for him to tell me everything. Are there any signs I should look out for in terms of him hiding things? All of his banking is online and nothing is sent to our address so it would be easy for him to hide extra accounts and things.
Thank you again for the responses, it is good to know there are people out there that are experiencing the same thing as him and people in my own position. I love him regardless of course and want to be there to support and won't overstep any boundaries. Taking this into consideration I am worried I may be being to easy on him as he has asked me to be hard on him. This is completely not in my nature so hearing the steps other partners have taken has given me a bit of confidence in what I am doing to help 🙂
Agree with above, gambling in it’s entirety brings so much unwanted anxiety, winning and losing. Having money you know you don’t normally have and losing money you can’t afford to lose. When you want to stop, handing over finances is a god send. A weight lifted off your shoulders as the gambler. You sound very honourable to be supporting your partner through this, considering he’s been there before. It’s a lifetime commitment but as gamblers we need commitment of others too. It doesn’t define us, and can be very hard to understand unless you are in fact a gambler.
I’ve been gamble free for nearly 50 days, and my steps were downloading gamban, signing up to gamstop, restricting transactions with my account, and my provider can make that permanent. I also started the gamcare therapy and a separate therapy which has worked great. Feel free to message for any help.
Thanks again for the responses. As someone that doesn't gamble, I understand I will never understand and this thread has already helped me figure stuff out. Once my partner has stopped (at least to my knowledge), should I continue to check his bank account or have any control over finances? Or should this stop when he stops?
I am just trying to be supportive and I know this will be ongoing once he has stopped. I just don't know where to draw boundaries as I have no intention of controlling him but do not want to be naive. I know he wants to stop and that we're in this for the long haul. It's all very overwhelming but don't want to make this situation about me. However I do need to think about myself too, I want to help him and move on from all of this but if it is going to continue, what is the best way to look after myself? I am very involved in this now and obviously is causing anxiety- which I don't want to project on to my partner as I know he has plenty to think about without blaming himself for me being sad or anxious.
Thanks again, all of this is very helpful!
Here is what you need to know, he is a compulsive gambler. Stopping gambling is actually the smallest part of this whole thing, the main part of recovery is changing our behaviour which takes time and effort. I would recommend your partner look online to find his nearest GA meeting and start attending, regardless of what he does you should look up GamAnon to see is there any meeting you could attend. You are already have a decent understanding in fairness and are been very supportive to your partner.
In terms of monitoring accounts etc, it varies but basically you want to keep a close eye and make him aware you do so. I get that things can be going well for months or even years but left unchecked this addiction can sneak up on us and its very common for relapses to occur. My partner has access to everything and can check my bank accounts, emails, credit score accounts at her leisure on her phone. I never withdraw cash so when she sees the transactions online she knows what they are for.
I know this may seem extreme but it works for us, I am currently coming up to 2 years bet free, but as we say in GA regardless of how long since our last bet we are all the same time away from our next bet. I wish you all the best.
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