This is my first post on Gamcare.
I have recently (two week ago) found out that my boyfriend of two years has a gambling addiction and has had this problem for more than 10 years. He is 30, and started gambling around the age of 14 as an escapism from both the heavy bullying he experienced at school and his parents divorce.
He only told me and his family in the last couple of weeks because he came to a point where he had to due to another event. We have a very complicated situation at the moment. Around three months ago I found out that he has a compulsive relationship with P**n, and has been messaging online P*********s for the rush of it throughout our relationship, never meeting one when he was with me, but simply for the fun of it. The same applies to his gambling. He has a highly addictive personality and also used to be addicted to gaming when he was younger. It is a compulsive behaviour which he takes up when he is stressed or down. He came clean to me because we wanted to start a fresh and to be honest with each other if we are to try and make things work. I forgave him for the messages he had sent to these P*********s and said let’s be honest going forward. We had also talked about getting married next year and for him to move to London next year. Everything is on pause now. We are in a long distance relationship (he lives in Norway and I live in London) which makes things even harder.
I have spoken to a few people about my situation, and almost everyone is telling me I am better walking alway because gambling is a dangerous addiction and there is no guarantee that now that he has come clean, he will be able to obtain from it. What if this happens when I have kids and a mortgage with him? He has been trying to stop for the last two years but has had a few relapses. He is currently in a $65,000 debt with terrible interest rates. His family is going to try and take over the loan so he can pay them back with a lower interest.
Please tell me your thoughts and experiences as both a former / current gambling addict and as a partner of someone who has a highly addictive personality… can he really stop and go clean? Is this addiction always going to be with him? what should I do!? How can I help him?
I love him more than everything in this world and I know he loves me the same way and none of this is his fault. I have told him I am going to try to give this relationship ago until the end of this year and see how we both move forward. I want to make sure he has all the right support if we don’t make it. He is also speaking to a foundation called Blue Cross in Norway.
I have to add that my father (who I am now rarely in contact with) developed in to an addict due to illnesses when i was around 15 and I have already had a life where I suffered a great deal by having to take care of him and my family (eldest child in a foreign country) and seeing him go through hell throughout his life. This entire experience is very tough for me.
Sorry for such a long post and I hope I receive some useful comments.
Welcome to the Forum and thank you for taking the time to share your story. I'm sure your story will resonate with so many others and hope you get some helpful advice on this.
Sorry to hear how much you have had to take on in the last couple weeks. I can imagine this must be overwhelming and stressful.
Problem gambling or any addiction can can have many impacts for an individual, their family
and their friends. We understand it is never nice to hear that a loved one is struggling with an addiction, but pleased to hear your boyfriend has opened up to you about what is going on .It is also important for you to know and gives you that choice to make the decision about your future moving forward. It sounds like he has been dealing with a lot deep routed issues and I hope he gets all the support he needs.
It sounds like you have had to deal with your own trauma of growing up around addiction. I can completely understand your fears of not wanting to go through this again. It is important you take care of yourself and do what best for you. If you decide to support your partner, get as much support for yourself.
Please feel free to contact the GamCare Helpline on 0808 8020 133 or Netline to explore the additional support available to you, we can even get you referred for some 1:1 support. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week if you would like to talk to one of the GamCare HelpLine advisers.
The main thing your partner needs is support. His parents need to take control of his finances. He has to be ready to let go of his finances and let them control them for him.
he needs to be able to open up with someone.
for you reassurance, I am a compulsive gambler. I was in 20k debt and cleared it over 2 years, a month later I’m back in 6-7k debt because I took over my finances. My mother is now in control and will br after I’m debt free.
I just have cash on me for spending money. He can download software on his phone which bans him from all gambling sites.
Hello Polkadots and Welcome.
You are in the right place for information and advice.
My best advice is to protect yourself financially and give yourself enough time to process this information.
You have only found out very recently which tells its own story and you have to consider everything. Love is a strong emotion and it can often be a blind love.
Knowledge and learning is strength. You can not be a shrinking violet about this and you will need to learn about gambling as a drug addiction of escape.
It seems he may be very lost and turning to addictive things. I dont know your relationship. Caring about him can be one thing but jumping full on into a debt and addiction situation is dangerous for you
He needs help and there is no shame in that. He needs to reach out for help. He needs financial advice and Im afraid to tell you that you must not lend him one penny of your money. Anyone considering helping with his debts needs to know he is in a full recovery and his money is being controlled. Even then it can be risky so he needs financial advice and his debts may have to be rescheduled. The lenders will have to do the worrying but I dont know what assets he has at risk. Bankruptcy may be an option and there is life after bankruptcy.
There comes a stage where its pointless making himself and you more ill about debts...mental health is more important than debts if the debt is too high to easily reapay
Ideally someone should be controlling all of his money because its no good to him.
Dont get me wrong. I admire your caring feelings for him but I have been in relationships where the problems are just too much for a stable or secure life. You need to consider everything
Recovery is a lifelong process but he can heal with the right support. We are not relationship counsellors but can tell you that a gambling addiction is one of the most dangerous for relationships.
Protect yourself first and you can talk to him from a position of knowledge and strength. In my view its way too early to be thinking about marriage or living together
He will understand this if he is truly ready to stop and get help
Best wishes from everyone on the forum
So many red flags here but none of us can tell you what to do or how things will turn out.
Addicts can and do turn their lives round but the reality is it's a small percentage and it involves grindingly hard work from everyone concerned.
You say this isn't his fault but he's chosen to gamble himself into huge debt while ignoring the support and advice on stopping that's out there. He's failed to come clean willingly.
You can't fix or save him until he wants it. Do you want to wait for a moment that may never happen? And even if it does do you want the permanent 'what if's' not to mention the permanent responsibilty for handling the household finances and keeping a beady eye on what he's up to with regular checks on the credit reports?
Think hard about the future you want,need and deserve.
I have been strong affected by gambling all my life. I have gambled every last penny over and over again. It’s sickening really to think of it. It’s always his fault as was mine. It’s one of life’s choices I made and your partner made. Nobody forced him into gambling it was his choice. I have gambled and chased big loses knowing it’s so wrong in ever way. Borrowing money to chase loses knowing if I get found out I am done and I continued to still do it. I have relapses a couple of times and the loses gets worse. Gambling has affected my mental health with stress and worry. I will always have to live with having a gambling problem. Every day we have to deal with not having to gamble which is hard as life is so advertised with gambling. I think if I was someone who was with someone who had done and lied the way I have through life I am not sure I could be with someone. I only get pocket money for what I need. Even at that before I was taking loans out I knew I couldn’t afford. I am back on day 9 GF and know for sure I cannot go back in anyway. If it’s to work he needs to obe your rules and if he breaks them in anyway through gambling my advise would be to get out. The past 20 years I ruined my life with gambling for what I have left in this world I am certainly not ruining my wife’s.
Hi I would say to you research as much about addiction as possible. This isn’t just gambling and debt. This is destructive unhealthy behaviour.
from my own experience helping someone with debt and expecting them to repay is foolish. My husband just started over again. Promising to be truthful etc.
the turning point for me was when I stopped helping. Started looking at why I was in this marriage? What was I doing? Why was I willing to put up with this way of life?
I severed myself financially, went to Gamanon meetings and refused to help anymore.
i’m married with children and had a huge financial connection. I would not recommend this to anyone. Living with an addict is awful. You spend your life questioning yourself, never believing a word anyone says.
an addict who is not getting help or acknowledging their behaviour will just go from one addiction to another.
Getting help and support for addiction is not going to come from you or his parents. He needs professional help.
There is a lot of support online. Meetings run via zoom.
I wouldn’t trust his word, you need to see commitment to meetings or therapy. A willingness to change, to stop all destructive behaviour. Access to money and online limited.
Look at yourself and ask some questions about why you want to continue? Look at some literature about addiction, ‘women who love too much’ is a good book.
as said before don’t lend any money, don’t take on his debt, don’t invest with him without protecting yourself.
I am a recovering gambling addict (one year free).
The turning point for me, was telling my girlfriend and family. They was angry at first and then eventually forgave me. However I did everything in my power to make sure I didn’t gamble again, Gamcare and blocks from all sites, opened up about my finances and limited my time on my phone. For me nearly losing everything was enough to help me stop. So I would advise you this, give him a chance, if he does truly want to stop and is committed, then he will fight that battle for as long as he needs to. However if he does not, then you’re opening yourself up to a potentially very depressing life. There is no beating around the bush, it is an illness and it is grim. But it can be controlled.
I think if he does not already have therapy this would be great for him, not just for the gambling but the other issues. As he is most definitely trying to block out some past pain.
Do not feel bad by choosing to walk away, however if you choose to stay then give him a 100% chance.
All the best to you both
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