I have been with my Wife for over 15 years. And she has gambled on and off throughout our marriage. When I have had control of all the money the gambling didn't happen but then as soon as a bank card was given back it started it peaked last year when she lost over £5k. Online slots were her weakness. At this point for the first time we sought help through here and both undertook 121 counselling and my wife got CBT. We sorted our debts out as we were financially broke and not able to put food on the table.
I recently had a feeling she was gambling again and when I asked her she was clear that she hadn't and she was cured. I found out from snooping that she had gambled again and after several times asking was met with the same reply of no. It all came to a head and with the support of a councillor I asked her to leave. I wanted her to admit to herself that she had gambled so the lies would stop. The admission never came and she moved out 2 weeks ago.
Still no admission so I confronted with the proof and the admission came. She was initially cross that I'd been snooping and hadn't bought it to the table sooner to sort so she didn't need to move out but as i said she needed to admit it for herself and she couldn't because she was deep in the claws of her addiction.
She is now very low and I have said i very much want to remain together but live apart whilst she sorts it out once and for all and that maybe the low place she is at will enable her to do it for herself.
I am struggling with the split as i love her dearly she is an amazing loving person but gambling and compulsive lies are the one thing that has a negative impact on our family. I am having to lie to people to say that the reason for the split is because we have grown apart rather than the real reason but that hurts as its not true as our relationship was great other than the gambling.
I am trying to be strong for both our sakes but the pain is just too much and I just want her back but she says there are conditions to that which include her having her own money and not having to prove anything to me even after years of lies or even just to have an occasional dabble which of course she doesn't think she will but I know through the councillor its all or nothing. She knows and understands why I would need proof and will give it one minute and then in the next breath changes her mind as her word should be good enough but it's not anymore due to the horrendous lies previously told
I'm just so incredibly sad and want my wife back but feel my desperation will allow more manipulation and lies but i feel I would take that just to have her back with me. We also have 3 children who are involved in this story. Sorry if this is a bit random in parts its very difficult to put it in to words and i haven't even covered half of it.
I have scoured the web for success stories of people who have managed to stay together but finding more negative than positive stories out there sadly.
I know the lies are not out of malice and it's the addiction that causes it but as the counsellor said she needs to hit rock bottom before she can sort her self out and you have been supportive and enabling by not allowing her to hit rock bottom. But watching someone you love hit rock bottom is most definitely the hardest thing I have had to do to help them.
I would welcome any support from people on here who have been through similar.
Many thanks for taking the time to read his post.
Hi, Just to let you know I can relate to where you are coming from, I've been with my husband for 14 years and he has pretty much gambled on and off all that time. We've split up previously because of it for 6 months but I took him back as I was desperate to be with the man I love. Back then I didn't know the hold addiction has over someone and thought he would just stop, it wasn't to be, he continued manipulating me and taking advantage of the love I have for him I guess. That was about 4 years ago and he's continued it with his mood being low and turning him into not a nice person, I didn't realise it has been the gambling problem, just put it down to life, we have had a lot of family things to deal with, times when he should be supporting me and I him but he obviously turned to gambling. I finally confronted him about the gambling in March after some snooping again even though we nearly split up in Dec and Jan and he still didn't admit it was the gambling that was the problem until I found out in March and he couldn't back out of it as I had proof. Of course he put the reasons down to it being because I had spoke of divorce.
Fast forward to now, we are both having individual counselling through here once a week and I'm in control of the finances even though he wants to know everything I spend and wants a say in all decisions, maybe because he works and I don't or just to feel involved. His counselling helps him at the time and for a few days but he's still down and still doesn't seem connected to me as much as I would like. The trust has gone although I try my hardest to see the good in him, he's not exactly reassuring just says how well he has done, doesn't seem to realise how it's affected me, I'm trying to get on with it but it's so hard staying together. Just this morning a gambling site advert popped up on his emails and he got defensive over it saying I was confrontational when I know I wasn't, I was just puzzled and upset and needed reassurance that he hadn't resumed gambling but instead I was met with the same nasty tone of how dare I think it could be him gambling, its too early in the morning for this. Its so horrible having these feelings of being confused and not believing, he's meant to have Gamstop which I believe he has so why the advert allowed him to go through to the site alarmed me. It's always a worry with what will happen next and having to take his word for it.
We have children too so I know how you feel with how they get mixed up with it and family and friends summise things. Is there anyone you can confide in? In your case it sounds like you are doing all the right things and maybe I should have been strong enough to do the same and feel more in control as I'm always second-guessing life together now. I don't know what to think, are we working through it or not, time will tell. Its definitely not easy. Keep being true to yourself and don't keep going round in a circle, that's what I'm trying to do. Good luck and sorry you are going through this.
Hi RubyRed12 and Welcome to the forum
You are in the right place and you will learn a great deal to build your knowledge and strength about this addiction.
Firstly you cant feel guilty...she need reality checks and one of them is that you wont tolerate gambling. She has to learn that the real cost of gambling is more than the money...its everything important in her life like relationships.
You can only help if she is ready for help and you can only help from a position of strength. The distancing isnt a bad thing at the moment as you have time to think
You need to protect yourself so that all accounts are in individual names and that your name is not on joint loans or anything like that.
Now Im not saying she is inherently bad...she has a drug addiction which is what a gambling addiction actually is.
She needs a born again moment and that means openness honesty and letting you control ALL money. If she is sullen or thinks that is treating her like a baby she is not ready.
Im afraid you can never be complacent again and this means tough love. I know its not your fault and if you love her you will feel she deserves some help.
Forget the focus on trust..this is about saving her life and she should begin to realise that...the trust is nothing really and all money has to come through you
yes you are right...the lies are not out of malice as she is ill with an addiction. Its a form of split mind control and you have to be ready for words like mental illness and drug addiction.
She can heal her mind with a proper recovery. At same time you have to be vigilant and far from naive about this.
The addiction thrives on stress and issues within her soul. Its an escape drug people become hooked on.
She needs constant reality checks and tough love..soft soaping and blind love are no good. You are also going to have to get proactive inspecting her credit report, bank statements and overseeing exclusions. She will need a financial pocketbook and providing receipts. All your valuables and life savings to be in lockdown and Im serious about that
I cant cover everything right now...Ring gamcare and take a few deep breaths. You can get your wife back with a healthy mind and it will take her full recovery with your love and moral support
Best wishes from everyone on the forum
I myself am a gambling addict, I can relate to everything you have said about what she is demanding and expecting and it is all a mechanism of defence against the truth of the addiction.
my wife is in the same position as yourself and I have done exactly the same with previous gambling which amounted to heavy debt which we came out of for me to put us back there again.
what she is demanding will not work, we decided on my having a ‘budget’ each month to gamble with, within a month I had spent 4K and thrown all our hard work away so that will not work. I then told my wife I had stopped after that and I hadn’t, today is my first day gambling free and ironically my wife asked to see my account so I had to admit to the continued gambling which is why I am on here.
Joy is spot on that you need to see EVERY account and payment that goes in and comes out. You need to be the accountant as such and she needs to accept that. She is throwing all these things at you to hide the truth and deny the help but if she doesn’t care about getting the help you can’t force it. It is the caring about what she is doing and wanting to stop to have a better life that Needs to happen.
You need to move forward doing what’s best for you and those close to you. She needs to prove to herself, on her own, that she wants to do this and if she doesn’t then she isn’t ready and you have to think seriously about your next move because letting this slide or thinking it will be different this time won’t be the case. You need to see her get the help and continue to get it.
I have just been referred by the live chat team for 1 to 1 support sessions which She needs to do in the current situation as face to face isn’t available. But SHE needs to organise it not you. Of course you can let her know of this information but she needs to go through it from start to finish in her own terms. Then if you see that from her, pay interest in how the sessions go and when her next 1 is etc, she will then get used to speaking to you about it and not hiding anything.
Apologies if it is a bit of a rant, it is very close to home and if she can see the realisation and start to care, it changes everything which is where I am at right now.
If you need someone to ask questions to and get real answers then let me know, calling her out on her lies is what you should be doing and thinking about your needs, be selfish.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and for the responses it helps to know that i am not the only one dealing with these issues. @Longy199 i really appreciated your honesty and it gave valuable insight into what she is battling.
Every thing you have all said echos that of the counsellors that i have been talking through from here. I think I will arrange another appointment with my councillor as it always helps.
In some breaths she seems to understand why i snooped but she doesn't understand that i asked her to leave so that she can face her demons not because i don't want to be with her. It's also difficult to believe some of the things she says as i don't know whether what is being said is actually the truth.
At this point she says she hasn't gambled which would be around 6 weeks which is amazing and i have told her that. I am hoping that having to pay her own bills will also aid in her recovery. Each time i have had full control of the money in the past there has been no risk of gambling and this has resulted in long periods of abstinence but for one reason or another the cash card was returned and then it happens again. The most she has managed with a cash card is usually 3 months.
I asked her to leave for her to sort this out once and for all i just hope i don't lose her forever to this awful addiction.
I hope your abstinence continues Longy199 and @suewoo the counselling through this service has been invaluable to me it has given me so much knowledge about the condition that i knew nothing about before. I am keeping everything crossed for the Eureka moment and will be there for her to support her through this recovery process if she will have me.
There can be success stories with this but it has to start from the gambler wanting and being willing to stop. No half way arrangement, no not checking and your own money, no allowance for gambling. It's just her preying on your weaknesses about wanting her back and not admitting her problem.
I always try to be reasonable in my advice and use my experience as my guide. As the gambler, I often relapsed and occasionally my wife would have enough. I'd get kicked out but I'd worm my way back with promises I meant at the time but soon forgot about. We even tried the gambling allowance because she didn't really know how much I was gambling with secret loans and cards. It didn't work.
I had always gone to Gamblers Anonymous and whenever I went I didn't gamble. It was only when I stopped going that the gambling came back. After a particularly bad episode and getting back with my wife I wanted to try. I had a new job and went to GA every week. My wages went to her, we sat down together on payday and together moved the money to where it needed to go. I had my allowance but actually that wasn't a problem. My whole mindset changed. She started a Gam-anon group for family and friends of the gamblers that ran alongside my meeting but once monthly, not weekly like mine.
I had three years clean off a bet and together we had the best life, better than it had ever been.
Then something went wrong in my life, lost the job, relapsed and ruined everything. We struggled on but just over a year later after another relapse she moved on.
Those three years were great but in hindsight all I did was stop gambling. I didn't change certain aspects of my character which when I was unable to cope, went straight to my default position which was to escape into gambling and all the traits that go along with that. To be fair I didn't realise I needed to be aware of myself, I was just happy to be clean for three years.
Now I am working a steps program alongside GA and giving help back to others and I know if I was in that same position back then that I wouldn't need to gamble and destroy everything. I've faced some far bigger challenges without picking up and it's because of the twelve step program.
The point of this story is really two fold. Firstly there is hope. She can stop but she needs to put the work in. That might be GA, it might be counselling, it might be a million blocks in place, but she has to want it, not you.
The second point is do you take a few good months or years knowing that it's really rare that someone just stops and stays stopped without doing some kind of program, or do you get on with your life from now? This illness never leaves or goes away but it can be arrested one day at a time. Just be careful that it could come back unless the work needed is put in every single week.
When I relapsed time and time again it wasn't that I stopped loving my wife, the addiction was too strong.
She's remarried now, happily I hope, so there is a sort of success story there anyway!
I hope that gives a little insight for you.