Firstly, I'm glad that your partner has signed up to Gamstop. This is the 'heavyweight' way to stop online gambling, as, when you try to register with a casino, it will cross-reference his name, address and bank details. Gamban is useful, too, but it works in a different way and stops gaming sites loading on any Gamban-loaded devices. Both, however, are fallible to a determined compulsive gambler - I will touch on this later.
The gambling patterns as you described on the bank statements didn't surprise me - this is very common. If your partner is not revealing his complete bank details, then, sadly, there are bound to me more debts caused by gambling you haven't seen. Whilst he may be ashamed and embarrassed, my belief is that he really needs to come clean. I wonder if he has a number of bank accounts or just the one that all loans etc get paid into. Whatever, you need to see the lot. I'm wondering if a visit to a counsellor, with both you and your partner attending, might help bring a 'neutral' atmosphere in case he thinks you might go ballistic if you really knew the extent of it.
Whilst you are helping him financially I implore you NOT to go into your savings. There's actually a reason for this. If a compulsive gambler is bailed out then in their mind they know the extent to which they can gamble next time whether or not there's another bail out down the road. So unconditional bail outs do not work. Please, always ring-fence your finances and assets at all times.
Regarding betting shops. It is possible to ban yourself from betting shops via the MOSES scheme - (0800) 294 2060. Basically, a photo of your partner is shared with every bookies, so that if a member of staff spots them, they are asked to leave. It's something, I suppose, but you can see the flaws. If your partner is not spotted, or gambles 'out of town', then the gambling will continue. There's a similar scheme for arcades, and bingo clubs etc. but you get the picture. So your partner's offer to go into the bookies with you is more for show, even if the intentions seem sincere, I'm sorry to say.
Your partner has, at least, acknowledged there's a problem, which there most certainly is. And, sadly, it will always be a latent problem, in that a recovering compulsive gambler is never cured, but has to continue make sure the blocks are in place to stop a devastating relapse.
The good news is that once he has come clean, passed *effective* financial control to you, then you and your family can prosper can prosper. Some men find passing financial control to the female partner demeaning or emasculating. My answer to that is: "swallow your pride and do what's best".
As regards him telling other about his addiction, well, it's up to him of course and could work in his favour. For example, if he truly has good friends and he tells them that he can't gamble anymore then they should be receptive and not talk about it around him (as you suggest MagH).
My situation isn't quite what you might think, MagH. The truth is, I haven't been 'caught' by my wife. She knows I've gambled, but not the half of it. My savings etc. should be a lot higher than they are, a LOT higher. I've been very crafty and managed ensure she hasn't seen my bank statements etc. So the only difference between your partner and me is that I've not been 'caught' yet.
But I have shared my addiction with my Mum who has known about it for many, many years. (Well, I've got to be honest with someone.)
So ... my wife isn't proud and relieved at all; she simply doesn't know. Would she stick by me if I did? Should I tell her about the sheer amount of money I've gambled when I could let sleeping dogs lie? One for my conscience, I suppose. All I can do is keeping trying not to gamble and sharing my experiences, as honest as I feel I can, here.
Finally, I touched on Gamstop and Gamban earlier - remember, these are NOT infallible. So you will need to continually alert, especially right now as your partner slowly transitions and adjusts into a recovering state.
I hope this helps you MagH; there is light at the end of the tunnel, I'm not trying to paint too bleak a picture; just a real one, from my perspective at least.
Thank you it defiantly gives me very good insight to it all.
yes he says he feels like a child and that’s why he won’t give me full access, we both know the real reasons why he won’t.. the fear or me seeing the true depth of it all. If he’s not willing to give me that then that’s his choice I can’t force him. He knows I won’t be by his side if there is a next time. He has a hell of a lot to lose. He wouldn’t get any part of the house it’s fully paid off and all in my name, he would lose the time with his kids and be a weekend dad, he would lose me who has stuck by him throughout the years, he would literally be walking away with clothes. Now if this doesn’t sink in for him I don’t know what will. He has a very good job now with high wages, he told me it didn’t matter how much was in his bank he wanted more which is why he bet, but then lost every penny.. so he didn’t to good did he!
maybe if you came clean your wife might be as understanding as I’m trying to be with him. It is an illness at the end of the day. You might feel a big weight has been lifted and you might find it’s easier to get through this? Obviously I don’t know your wife and I don’t know what kind of person she is only you know that, and the choice is yours to make but it could help? How long we’re you gambling for and how long has it been since you last gambled? What help have you received? Id love you know exactly how much help is out there and what all his options are in case we have over looked anything.
One other thing to be wary of is the possibility of a secret bank account. These serve the purpose of keeping the 'show' account clean. There's also the possibility of undisclosed loans or credit cards.You need access to his credit report from all three agencies (all available free Credit Karma, Clearscore,Experian through Money Saving Expert) and you will need to check them regularly. Check your own too.
He can self exclude from every bookie within a postcode area by phone. The details are in the Gamcare information at the top of the page. You should be aware however that the shops aren't hot on checking so it's not necessarily particularly effective other than as a psychological barrier.
Firstly, that was some very pertinent advice from Lethe just now. It's so easy to get this credit card, that credit card, especially, as you say, your partner has a well-paid job. The cumulative unsecured credit allowed can really stack up. There could be a considerable number of '0%/low monthly repayment' time-bombs building. All these credit cards will have a day of reckoning when the cumulative repayments kick in.
I maintain that you need to know everything about your partner's finances to have any chance. As Lethe makes clear, you will get a comprehensive view of everything from the three credit agencies (and you'll need all three for full coverage).
I suspect your partner has an executive/management or technical position, and thus commands a certain professional respect at work. He may see you managing his finances - in fact, let's be clear, the *family* finances - demeaning and, as you say, feels like a child. However, the fact his his financial management caused by the compulsive gambling demands a mature response and that has to come from you. I speak as a (recovering) compulsive gambler.
The only way I can prosper, the only way my family can prosper, is if my finances are controlled remotely (my Mum). So that's what I have to do. You could say to your partner that yes, he might feel like a child, but to accept weakness and do something positive about it makes him a *man*.
You could also make clear to him, once he has carried out these actions, that you would be so proud of him. Perhaps, you could add, he could enjoy some relief from the gambling burden.
But I'm jumping the gun a bit here, MegH.
Let's say, for sake of argument, that you decide to 'let him off' here, and give him 'one more chance' as things stand. I can tell you what will happen. Any willpower he have will disappear; it's simply a matter of time. Gambling is compulsive - there's no telling when it will happen and how much will be spent (lost). One day I was in a goodish mood and dived in a bookies with £5, that's all I said I'd spend. Well, I ended up spending £300. In about twenty minutes. Compulsive Gambling is like that. I had no idea it would happen; but I certainly knew after 20 minutes.
My point is you can (rightfully) say that his life with you and the kids will be in serious jeopardy if he carries on, but that will never work. Compulsive gambling overrides *all*.
You've asked about other avenues aside from the aforementioned practical necessary steps.
There is GA, which may help (I've not tried that), and 1-2-1- counselling which Gamcare offers for free, which I have tried. I had 12 sessions and during that time I didn't gamble, not for a month or two after. So it helped. These might help your partner; it does show real intent and, who knows, he might make a breakthrough.
One other thing I've noticed is the Gamcare forums and Chatrooms here. It's all anonymous and your partner might appreciate talking to people who really understand. The chats are real, it's not depressing, more determined and sometimes interlaced with black humour which keeps it real!
You've asked about my personal predicament so here goes. I've brought in a fair bit of income and so my wife isn't too worried, she and my child don't go short. But she has no idea how much I've blown, but there's no point telling her now. I can't see any upside.
I've gambled for 40 years (I'm early 50s now). I was really bad in my 20s, ebbed in my 30s, back with a roar in my 40s. But a little calmer lately. I've used problems at work as an excuse to gamble; but I don't use that as an excuse. I've an illness but one I should and must manage. I cannot spend 1p because I know where that can lead.
If I was 'caught' in the same way as your partner, then I would need to come totally clean to my wife. But I haven't been and hope you don't feel I'm hypercritical; I just can't go down that road. For some (good) reason I have an aversion to debt and so don't have any credit cards. Just a far lower savings cushion than I should have given my income.
You mentioned that your partner said the reason he gambled was that whatever he had in his bank he wanted more. I'll be diplomatic here and say that excuse doesn't cut any ice with me. If he means that then it's not good news - what's money for if not to put it towards something (even savings?)
I really (really) want you all to succeed as a vibrant family unit. He doesn't want to be a weekend Dad. Imagine, you could say, how wonderful it would be if he could take the kids out of the day and buy them a £50 gift .... not to 'buy' affection but to use just a smidgeon of the gambling money on something that would bring true joy. Not withstanding the better, happier quality time all round.
I notice I've gone on a bit! But, once again, hope it's useful.
I’m so glad many others have given you some fantastic advice on this thread.
Your partner may feel like a child, I understand that because I have had periods where I felt that way, but at the end of the day, if that’s what it takes to safeguard your/his family then tough. The reason for not having control of finances and being treat like a child is because he hasn’t acted like a responsibile adult when gambling, no person in their right mind would gamble with their and their wife and children’s life. I have always said and truly believe I am two people in one body, Normal me wouldn’t do anything wrong to anyone let alone those I love, I’d give my life to protect them and sacrifice everything to make them happy, the gambling me blocks out all normality, I have no thought for anyone when gambling and have stolen from my wife, family and our savings to gamble, telling thousands of lies in the process, i can switch between these 2 personalities in a split second, it’s absolutely horrible what gambling can do and I hate it but yet always seem to go back to gambling, I’ve been a month gamble free now and feeling really positive, praying I will never go back to it again.
your probably right about the banking, when he has opened up and been honest, he’s probably not told you something which is why he refuses to let you see the account. Him showing you recent transactions at least proves his recent history, but he has to come clean about everything, one secret is all it takes to drag you back into gambling.
You being on here, shows how much your prepared to fight for your relationship, I hope he can fight too.
good luck x
I’m mind blown with all this information I need to take in.
lethe thank you for that I’ve checked mine and it’s all good I can’t say the same for his though, he works away so it’ll be a few weeks before I can have him sat beside me to go through it all.
you all say about me having access to his accounts but if he’s not willing to share that with me then I don’t know what to do, suppose just keep checking when I ask. Shouting gets no where so I’m not going down that route I’d rather try talk it out.
pablo I see exactly what you mean between the split personalities, he would do anything for us and then the gambler side of him clearly doesn’t care what happens or what repercussions it brings. I am prepared to fight for it, but there is only so much someone can take.. and going by everyone’s comments there will be relapses even with professional help! I just don’t think I can handle all this again. It’s affected me not just at home but while I’m at work too people have seen the difference in me somethings got to give!
can I ask what makes you both want to gamble and how it makes you feel? Sorry if that’s to personal and u don’t want to answer that’s totally understandable, I’m just trying to view things from his point of view too. I don’t want to be that person who says you’re just throwing money away for the sake of it, or don’t you realise what a waste of time and money it is, I want to be able to understand it all.
thank you all again 😊
Just a couple of quick observations
- you've noted that there may well be relapses even with professional help; that is true: there might be. However, professional help, by its very nature, is far better than no help
- that said, the best help is the continued loving support from family and true friends. He certainly gets that from you, although you need to see commitment from him to properly sort out this problem.
- you've said your partner works away. As compulsive gamblers know all too well, free time + money + opportunity to spend it = trouble. (I wonder if anyone has any advice to help manage long-distant compulsive gambling challenges such as this. Lethe, Pablo87, any suggestions...? 🙂 )
- from a non-gambler viewpoint it looks like money is being thrown away. Of course, in the cold light of day, compulsive gamblers see, with horror, the wasted money. At the time though, it seems like monopoly money that can be 'invested' on a 'system' that we 'think/hope' we can beat. Of course, both these things aren't true.
Another fellow compulsive gambler on here wrote this, the first post (it's quite a long one) might give you some extra insights ---> Click here
Hi Magh, I'm not going to add to all the info you've had as I can tell you are overwhelmed. I just wanted to say there is hope and if he fully commits to recovery not everyone relapses a guy at my GA group has not relapsed in the 45years he's been in recovery. I'm nearing 8months now in recovery I never thought I could do it and I will fight tooth and nail to stay that way. Take care of yourself
Don’t feel as if there’s no hope, every person is different, as Charlie says, there’s a hell of a lot of success stories too.
i honestly don’t understand for sure why I gamble, I know deep down that no matter how much I win I will keep going until I have nothing, I think maybe it’s the adrenaline from the short term highs of a win, even though a normal me knows for a fact that i won’t walk away with a win and I’d lose it anyway, when gambling I seem to think a big win will fix all of my problems, it’s delusional.
Im sorry if I have made you think there’s no hope, there’s always hope where there’s love.
i have never worked away from home so couldn’t really comment on that.
He’s in the middle of the sea when he’s working away so no betting shops out there, unless he’s ready to swim 😂 it’s the online thing, but hopefully he can’t get past gamban and gamstop.
yea there is a lot of great success stories out there and that does give me hope! But no matter what I think it always comes back to the whole access to his banking that he won’t give up. There’s going to be plenty of things hidden I know that but if he came clean about it I would keep my calm and talk through it all with him. I think I’ll have to try again with that one when he’s home!
thank you for giving me a little look into your side of things and see how you think, it does make me realise how hard it is to stop and why you do it and I think that’s why I have kept my calm so much throughout all of this because it is an addiction and I know there’s not a big red stop button inside his head to press, this is going to take time and a lot of it. I just hope he realises this too and it won’t be over in a few months or years it’s something he’s going to have to manage the rest of his life if he is genuinely serious about stopping. Only time will tell I guess and right now I think we all have a lot of that with this lockdown
stay strong 😊
As you've noted you've received a good variety of responses and getting a lot of angles. I may have been a bit stark in some elements, but I think it's good for you to be sighted to what might happen if no action is taken. I suppose in a way I'm a 'poster boy' showing the negative long term impacts and mindset if this addiction is allowed to fester. (I'm still trying by the way ... Just a little entrenched over the years!)
There are a LOT of success stories out there and there are some truly inspiring people who are really going for the better life. There is no reason why you, your partner and family can't be a success. At least you have a good idea as to the challenges ahead
We're all good people .. and really shine once this dark 'cloak' of compulsive gambling is kept and bay and, hopefully, kept at bay forever.
Lots of really good advice on here, I find this forum extremely helpful especially when I just found out about my partner's gambling addiction last year. If I can add anything, what I found worked from experience is communicating my feelings to my partner as well. When we were drawing up our 'action plan', like your partner there was some resistance as well and the phrase 'it's like being treated like a child' was also used. However, when I explained to him how much it meant to me - to my mental health - that I can see all his banking transactions he eventually agreed. Have you heard of Monzo? I also learned about it from this forum. My partner agreed to close his account with RBS and he made a full switch to Monzo. I then have the app installed on my 2nd phone and I get all notifications in there whenever he makes any transaction. It also has the gambling block feature which requires 48 hrs cooling off period should he ask them to deactivate it. I will then see if he did because I check it everyday. I am well aware that checking their partner's bank everyday is not for everyone, but personally I don't see this as a task, it's reassuring to me and as I said it is for my mental health.
I wish you well and please keep on writing here. I find it therapeutic just writing my thoughts in here and learning from others' experiences as well.
All the best,
thank you for taking the time to message me. I have plenty of things written down that I think need to come into place and I’m hoping he will talk through it with me and understand my side and view things how I’m viewing them just like I’m trying to view his side of it all. I hope when I talk he listens and he gives me the things I’m asking of him. It’s certainly not an easy situation to be in and I find it quite difficult to approach without sounding like I’m always bringing it up but I also don’t want him to think I’m letting it slide which definitely will not happen. I feel the same as u I need to see just for my mental health otherwise my brain will be constantly thinking is he? And I’ll go insane and I don’t quite think he gets that yet.
there is always hope
I asked my partner to leave two days ago just put a post on here. He said I could do monthly account checks he never actually let me. I could not do it anymore. I found him out obviously this is rock bottom for him but looking at advice and stories on here I am dealing with myself first. He thinks I am going to listen to other people and not allow him back ever. I made my own decision. Ur story sounds very similar it was five years ago just after we had a baby. All of our family and friends have known for some time it made no difference. As was said in a previous post some betting websites slip through the net he uses them. He says he is protecting me by not letting me look at his bank account. I have tried full control part control no control. No money system has worked and I have given him thousands. I was the enabler and I know realise that. That is why it had to stop and my life has been broken down for now but I am hopeful for the future it just depends how bigger a part he will play. I hope you can work it out and move on from now I really do. It is horrible addiction.