The title of this post is apt. I really don't know where to start. Seems like I created this profile back in 2015 but never actually posted anything. I've been living in this hell for the last 6 years, when I was only 21 years old.
So much has happened over the years that this post could be huge. The main jist is that my partner of 10 years is a gambling addict. Online poker. I have been with him since I was 17 years old. He is my best friend but I'm still sitting here wondering if he will ever change.
We have two children, ages 4 and 2, we have a house (deposit gifted by my parents - don't worry I have it protected) and we both have careers. He is an estate agent and I'm a conveyancer.
He isn't a frequent gambler. It tends to happen in bursts over a couple of months, where he loses a large amount and then I found out. The cycle is the same every time. First anger that hes been caught, says viscous things to me, then he feels very sorry for himself, then the grovelling comes and then things just slip back to normal and we carry on with life as though nothing has happened. I've suggested to him to get help many times but it never happens. He just doesn't have the drive to do that, or anything really
I'm sitting here thinking I'm now 27 years old. Yes I have two children, but I have my whole life ahead of me. Can I cope with this c**P?! We are always skint. He hasn't proposed to me after all this time. Never arranges date nights. Never tries to keep this relationship together.
On the other hand he is an amazing dad to our children and I can't imagine life without him. I also don't like the look of the life I might have without him (single parent, giving up my career etc).
I just don't know if I can get over this and the lies that come with it that haunt me every day...
Hi Louise, Gamblers Anonymous have a sister organisation called Gam-Anon, its purely for partners and family of gambling addicts, well worth checking out.
Additionally please do hit the chat button in the bottom right hand corner of this page, if you have not already, GamCare are fantastic and organise free counselling.
They have been a huge help in me starting my recovery.
Additionally be sure to check out GamStop and GamBan to block your husbands online better BUT DO ASK him first of couse If I can offer any more advice I will be pleased to help.
Hi Louse1992 and welcome.
You are in the right place to start building a support network and knowledge
Gambling is a drug addiction He gets a high from it and it takes over the mind and body until its a craving like substance addiction. Driven by dopamine and adrenaline he dismisses the reality thats its a high risk and harmful activity to himself and everyone close along for the ride
Now binge gambling is not a plus point as the inbetween times are no sign of control.
Im afraid he needs the reality check that gambling is not acceptable to you. He needs to face up to and explain his losses and the fact you always seem skint. Clever it is not and its no game about a silly flutter. It destroys people and it shreds relationships for breakfast.
Im telling you that he wont be able to explain a gambling session without feeling silly...it will sound lika story about aliens and fairies to you because he addicted head is full of cravings and lucky clover. Thats when he will get upset because the truth will hurt his addicted dream world. Thats the problem you will have unless he is ready for the born again moment of serenity to surrender to and accept help
I dont know your relationship but I do know the devastating power of a gambling addiction. If he thinks he can have his addiction and with you sitting at home he will carry on.
Im not saying he in inherently bad but I do know he needs help. Ive been a problem gambler and I wouldnt live with one.
We are not trying to split you up but you need to protect yourself and gain the strength support and knowledge to make decisions.
He has gambled for a long time so his addicted mind thinks you will just put up with it. he needs to be ready for help or you cant help him and thats the blunt truth about this.
However you clearly deserve better and I remind you to treat this as a drug addiction. Im sorry to say that its no time to be a shrinking violet. If you are safe to do so it will need to be confronted because he has an addiction and needs to see the light that he will lose everything thats important to him...not just you...he will lose everything.... he may then realise you were the most important factor in his life.
You pick the moment though when you have everything well prepared
Nothing changes if nothing changes. Its complex addiction and if you have any more questions or need more advice we can help
Best wishes from everyone on the forum
How would you say is the best way to confront it? He tells me that when I bring it up it brings back his "shame" which makes things worse. I just don't know how to deal with it.
All I want to do is go back to normal life because I'm just as scared of this thing as he is. Day to day he is an amazing person. His kids love him to pieces and he does so much for them. I can't take him away from them.
I have control of all the finances and have done for years. I also check his credit report periodically to make sure he hasn't taken out new credit cards etc. I don't want to have to do this but I see no choice. He managed to get around it the most recent time by billing the gambling to his phone bill and then cancelling the direct debit. Absurd!!
Pattern seems to be once, maybe twice, a year. Couple of thousand each time (which is not a small amount of money to us). Although most recently it was £500. Seems to be linked to stress / financial worries. Which is so counter productive!!
Problem is that because I deal with the money it feels like he doesn't feel the affects of having to pay these debts off, transferred to them 0% interest cards etc. I look after things so that we maintain a good credit rating. It's so hard because I know that its possibly enabling him but him being in financial difficulty affects me too. All our money is in one pot and we need that money for our kids etc so I can't waste precious money on ridiculous amount of interest and charges et .
I just don't know where to start with it all...
He needs help. He could not beat this addiction on his own. He needs to be aware of the problem and seek support. If you keep up with all these, it's highly likely he will just carry on. It is difficult. But you need to put your foot down this time. Compulsive gamblers who are in denial could be very dangerous. They lie, they're deceitful and can put you and your family at risk if not now, then at some point in the future. My partner is a compulsive gambler but the difference is he has acknowledged it and is actively seeking support. He said the GA community is helping him immensely. Our relationship has become stronger than ever since he came clean to me.
I wish you all the best.
This is for XM. I take issue with your comment about if he was an amazing dad then he would be doing more to help himself, and therefore because he isn't that implies he isn't a good dad.
I take it personally because I would lay my life down for my children without hesitation, but when I was in the midst of gambling the illness was too much and as much as it hurt, I couldn't stop. I still loved my children and wife but I was ill. That's not on me anymore than it's on Louise's husband.
Until he wants help you can't make him. What you can do though is have a conversation. He might say that it brings up the shame but that's quite an easy way to stop a conversation. As a couple you have a partnership, not a one way relationship that only fits to his agenda so insist on the conversation, without judgement. You might not like things you hear and there's no way of knowing how it'll turn out. You could print out the orange book from the ga website under literature and leave it for him to read. On the first two pages are twenty questions. Just ask him to read those. It might be that he comes to his own conclusions.
I wish you well.
Hi Again Louise1992.
Well You make sure that all money is in an account with your name only and that he has no access to cash levels which would damage you. He gets a sandwich allowance only with receipts
Then you must confront him as he needs reality checks. There is no shame in admitting to an addiction and realising he has issues in his soul.
You have to tell him that he has a problem and his behaviour is not acceptable to you...well is it? No it isnt acceptable to any partner as money is important whether we like that fact or not
Im sure he has some good qualities. You keep raising the point and I completely understand. However my partner was an alcoholic. She could be funny lovable kind and sweet. However she was the devil with drink and that was more than enough to ruin things completely. I tried to build her up with love and support but she wasnt ready to stop and she wasnt ready for help as the lure of the drink was too strong
You see what you have done is take some worries away from an active gambler. He thinks you are handling everything and a soft touch so he will satisfy his drug craving for a cheeky flutter.
You now need to tell him that you dont want gambling in your household. The inference has to be that even a sniff of gambling and it will end the relationship. Im sorry but an addicted mind needs clear boundaries and ultimatums to see some reality
Obviously you have a decision for your quality of life. You ask him to get help to heal his mind or you live with the ruinous effects of gambling because you love him
You cant let love be blind..You have to bring up the truth...the truth is that he is ill with it and you are living with an addict. Show him the bank statements, mention the losses and ask him if its possible to eat fresh air?
How you do it is up to you. Keep it calm and keep yourself financially protected. You can only help him from a position of strength and knowledge.
You can never be complacent again...do you understand? However that is a positive statement to build your strength and esteem
Best wishes from everyone on the forum