This is a long post so please bear with me.
In May 2016, my husband came home from work and said he had to tell me something. He looked very sheepish and I actually thought he’d been cheating. As it turns out, he was a gambling addict and it had got so bad he had stolen over 20k from his place of work and had been found out. My house was raided by the police the following day which was the most awful experience of my life. Anyway, it came to light that his dad bailed him out a few years previously and was sworn to secrecy and not to tell me. As you can imagine finding out he was a gambling addict was horrendous enough but then finding out his parents gave him a substantial amount of money to bail him out was a kick in the teeth. What else had he been lying about, keeping from me?
Late 2016 he went to court and got a suspended sentence and community service order after his parents bailed him out yet again and helped him pay back the stolen money from his workplace. Not having a criminal record obviously helped him to not go to jail as did returning the stolen money.
Over the following years everything seemed fine. I had got rid of all the betting apps on his phone and changed all the passwords. I installed the non-gambling software onto the internet so he couldn’t get to any online gambling and I also had access to all his bank accounts and credit card accounts and kept a close eye on them. As the months passed, I stopped looking at them as much as I thought all was fine and dandy.
A couple of years ago I had set up an Experian account in his name and I recently received an email about activity on the account. Not thinking anything of it I logged in to have a look and noticed his credit score was extremely poor but couldn’t work out why. I then logged onto his banking app but I couldn’t get in as he had changed the password without me knowing. I did manage to get into his credit card account and my god did I get a shock.
Basically since October 2019 he has been seriously gambling online again. He has bypassed the internet by using 4G on his phone. The amount of money he has spent is unbelievable, especially in such a short period of time. I phoned him at work and asked him if he had been gambling again and I knew he was going to deny it so I said that he should think very carefully about his answer as I have his credit card statement in front of me. He has also taken out another loan to pay off some off the debt which hasn’t really touched it and I also didn’t know about the loan until yesterday.
When I asked him why, he just shrugged and said he didn’t know and couldn’t help it. I was so bloody angry and disappointed and upset all at the same time. He slept in the spare room last night and will be for the foreseeable future. He keeps saying he’s sorry but it’s just a word, it doesn’t mean anything as he obviously couldn’t give a toss. He thinks everything is ok as he hasn’t stolen any money this time which makes it much better!!
Luckily I have always had my own money and my own accounts so none of that is at risk.
I’ve stood by him through all the court case and everything that happened last time and now I just feel like a complete mug and he’s laughing at me.
What do I do now? Do I kick him out? He wont get any help as I’ve already suggested it and he thinks he can sort things out himself. He had counselling previously but won’t entertain the idea now. I can’t bear to even look at him to be honest and I constantly feel sick. I also don’t want him thinking this house is a hotel and he can just come and go as he pleases not caring about me or my son.
Any advice would be appreciated at this rubbish time. Thanks for reading.
Well. First of all sorry to hear your story. You deserve much better than that but that is not how gamblers work I am afraid. If he has gone through all of this mess before and still not shaken out of his way I would say that he's not ready to hang up the boots yet so you need to think about your options. What do you want to do now? You cant force the man to want to stop He has to want to stop. And if he does not stop, can you live with him as a gambling addict? If you can find a strategy that protects yourself and your assets through this then go for it if your heart says so. If not that will be perfectly understandable too. So to sum up. It is about you now. He will search for help when he has hit rock bottom not before.
Hi sandy I'm the wife of a compulsive gambler. This is about you, what do you want to do? Do you want help? Initially all we do is concentrate on them, what are they doing, checking accounts etc.
In this situation you can only rely on you, you can only control you and you can only change you.
if he's not willing to stop, not accepting the problem or thinks it's bad enough there is nothing you can do about him. You can do something about you.
As a wife we want everything to appear normal. We don't want anyone to know, we think we can change them. We forget that this is about us. This is about boundaries. We have to realise that this is addiction, it doesn't go away. But it also doesn't change if we are the one sorting out their mess.
Bailouts are common, 1st,2nd,3rd time. So the gambler feels no consequence, they don't run out of money whilst others are willing to pay the bill.
In your husband's case he didn't learn from his stealing. He was desperate and went above and beyond our moral compass. So what happened to him, what consequences did he feel? None.
I've experienced all the family bailouts, the lying to me not just of the gambler but the family too. You end up having nowhere to turn. You/me had to learn a new way to live.
Unfortunately no one can decide for us. No one can help us. There is no magic wand to fix it. We need help too.
in my experience I went to Gamanon meetings, to learn how to cope. I didn't get it. I had the finances and he was still gambling?
There are meetings online every night except Saturday, 7-9. These are people who've lived your life, who have concentrated on themselves which brings the change. Also gamcare offer counselling. Stepchange help with debt.
I did think that you couldn't gamble with a credit card anymore (someone can correct me if I'm wrong).
There are blocks that can be put in place, software to block gambling sites, both of you can join gamstop especially if he may be gambling in your name. Bank accounts that block gambling transactions. You want his credit score to be bad so he can't get more credit. If he steals again there will be consequences this time. A gambler can't gamble without access to money.
Your inlaws hopefully won't offer more money, I would be trying to help them realise enabling is just as bad as addiction.
my best advice is for you to get online and find some support.
Thank you for sharing on the forum. It sounds like you have had a very tough time and i am glad to see other forum users offering valuable advice and support.
I am sorry to hear that you feel like he is laughing at you after everything that you have supported him through. It looks like you have many questions around how to move forward. We can help support you through this.
Feel free to keep using the forum for support, but also please contact us on the HelpLine on 0808 8020 133 or on the Livechat. We are here 24/7 and can offer you a great deal of advice and support for you.