This is a really long one so thank you if you manage to make it to the end.
Me and my boyfriend have been together for about 5 years. I’d always known he gambled and had a bit of a problem, and this came to a head about a year ago when he “came out” to me and I learnt the extent of his problem.
We put a plan in place, and although he refused to go cold turkey, we agreed he could bet £10 a week through a betting account set up in my name, so that I could see exactly what he was depositing every week. He signed up to Gamstop and self excluded from every other site.
This has been going on for about a year, and apart from the odd relapse here and there (usually tied to a large sporting event or similar), I thought he’d been successful.
Fast forward to this weekend. He never has any spare money and I knew he was borrowing money from his mum every month. I know he’s in a lot of debt and I thought this was from the debts he’d racked up when he was gambling more.
He told me he’d been looking at loans in his Dads name and he was going to speak to his mum and dad about it because the APR is so low and it will basically sort out his financial problems.
His parents agreed and took out the loan for him. He started telling me about Gamcare and potentially going to GA as he wanted to stop gambling for good now as he knew he couldn’t let his Dad down and let the debts rack up again.
That’s when I asked the question, “have you really only been betting the £10 or so a week?”. The answer, of course, was “no”.
Im heartbroken. It turns out, for the full time that I thought our agreement was working, he had been creating accounts in his mums name, even using fake email addresses he’d created and betting just as much as he was before.
I can separate the lying from the addiction, I understand why he’s hid this from me. But what I can’t get my head around is how could I not notice. Looking back it’s obvious, but I truly believed he was heading in the right direction.
I do believe his mindset has now changed, he’s using these forums himself and I am going to take him to GA, he’s also spoken to his friends about it and they’ve agreed never to talk about gambling around him. Actions speak louder than words I know, but everything he’s telling me he’s said before.
I am now going to control his finances (something that he’s asked me to do) and we sat down on the weekend and used the loan from his parents to clear his debts. But I can’t shake the feeling of... if he wants to act on these urges again, he will find a way. And if I didn’t notice before, will I notice this time?
If anyone’s got any experience of a similar situation, I’d be really grateful to hear any bits of advice. Thank you
Am new to this site but reading your story I can completely relate to it. I am in a similar situation to you and the thing I am finding the hardest is building up the trust again. What my partner does and what he says are 2 different things. Trouble is he is always so convincing. I use to think I knew when he was lying but like you we've been through a long period of time when he said he wasn't betting and I have just found out that all this time he was still doing it behind my back. Thinking of you and you're not alone. If anyone does have any advice I would also be keen to hear it. Thank you 🙂
Hi anxious and worried, it's always such a shame to hear f&f blaming themselves. You didn't know because he didn't want you to. They are masters of deception. Then we run around sorting the money and debts, forgiving them. Forgetting to look after ourselves.
You didn't notice because you trusted him. Unfortunately you cannot trust what a compulsive gambler says. A compulsive gambler cannot gamble small amounts because they cannot stop.
Paying a gambler's debt sets them free. He's now got more capacity to borrow. Their debts are for them to sort out, a constant reminder. It's about taking responsibility for their actions.
This is about you now, protecting your finances. Credit checks for both you and his parents. He should do his and show you. There are Experian, clearscore, karma, look at them all.
He can sign up to gamstop, restricts some online gambling, I would say you and his parents should also sign up.
Find a gamanon meeting for support and help from others who have experienced what you are going through. Talk to gamcare.
Stepchange are a debt charity which is where he should go for help, not his family.
GA is something he should look into, realistically if he's not ready to stop he won't.
Now you need to change how you react to him. You can't be complacent, you need to learn about compulsive gambling. It's not about controlling another, it's about change.
I'm sorry your going through this. My boyfriend has been amazing. I can totally relate to your post. He will only quit if he wants to quit. I'm in 20k of debt, I don't have parents to help me out. He's lucky in that respect. I use to lie and make false promises to my boyfriend. It's going to be a long road to recovery but one day he will realise that you and his family are more important than some stupid bet. Money is nothing unless you have someone special to share it with.
Good luck and hang In there xo
You didn't notice because he didn't want you to notice. An active gambler is a master of deceit. Worrying about whether he will do it again is natural but a slow road to insanity. It's his responsibility to take the steps to make sure he doesn't. Leave the worry where it belongs - with him. Your responsibility is to yourself.
Read up on what you're up against and make sure you're protected financially. There's a lot of support avaialable to him if he chooses to use it. Put yourself first.
As an aside clearing the debt isn't a good idea. It leaves them with a clean slate to do it all over again as many of us have found to our substantial cost. If he should relapse, figuring out what to do about his debt is far better left as his headache.
I've been where you are, and made the same mistakes. You didn't notice because you wanted to believe him, he wanted to hide it, and you took him at face value (because that is what you would expect people to do to you). Addiction means you simply can't do that.
My husband made all the right noises at first, and I believed him. He gave me access to his account but because I believed him, I didn't check it often enough. I didn't notice he changed his password and blocked me out until my suspicions were screaming at me that I couldn't trust him, and I had no way to confirm it. By the time I caught up with the truth he had gambled thousands despite promising me he had stopped.
I now don't take anything at face value, I need proof behind his words. And I have got access to his account again but this time I have blocked him out and taken sole control. I have told him another penny gambled is the end of us as a family, and he knows I mean it so the rest is up to him. He has excluded himself, put blocks in place, and attends GA and counselling. I check on him regularly, more for my own sanity than a fear that he's gambling again.
None of this is your fault so please don't blame yourself. Learn the lessons from your experience and protect yourself for the future. You can get through this but he has to do the heavy lifting.
Take care x
You now need to learn more about the sheer power of the most dangerous addiction I know. Its not your fault but Im going to do some tough talking about some of the things you have stated
"I’d always known he gambled and had a bit of a problem"
This is immediately very dangerous so in a way you have been unaware that a gambling addiction is a drug addiction and is highly dangerous at any stage. I dont know much else that can take thousands in an instant when the gambler is in a deluded trance trying to make things right again
"We put a plan in place, and although he refused to go cold turkey, we agreed he could bet £10 a week through a betting account set up in my name"
He essentially didnt want to stop here, the £10 a week is delusional for the both of you and hes involved your name in gambling activity....all of it shows here that both of you didnt understand what a gambling addiction is
"This has been going on for about a year, and apart from the odd relapse here and there (usually tied to a large sporting event or similar), I thought he’d been successful"
along with other comments you have made it shows that you didnt realise that he would have needed full monitoring and control of ALL his money. You may now be doing this but he has previously been having his cake and eating it.
Loans in his dads name, fake email addresses are not signs of an ordered life and just spells a life in complete chaos which a gambling addiction will create fast. He has the potential to drag everyones name down if he defaults and that is very dangerous unless he is in full recovery
Now dont get me wrong here. Im talking tough but Im not really blaming you as the non gambler. Im just saying that you were probably aware for a long time that things arent ok but didnt really know how to tackle it without being manipulated to some degree.
You also need a born again moment when you tell him that gambling is not acceptable to you and you are learning about the addiction fast. If he is not ready to surrender himself to everything that needs to be done without grumbling he is not ready. You control all his finances and credit reports...you monitor all self exclusions and go in with him if necessary( or without him just to see the records)
The trust is NOTHING compared with saving his life and your quality of life. He may never be fully trusted again....do you understand that? He will gain the serenity to realise thats the way it is for a peaceful and comfortable life
You will notice this time because you are going to toughen up. You need to protect yourself which is most important and he needs to know that the relationship is on the line if its not sorted. He NEEDS reality checks like you will be off if you even sniff gambling activity.
Again Im not heaping it all on you but this is no silly addiction about money. Its essentially as powerful as any class A addiction and more dangerous in many ways including the money that can be thrown away.
Youve been along on a hellride and you will need more advice support and possibly counselling. Its your decison now. Ive been a gambler and I wouldnt live with one so he needs to be aware of those words.
If you have no security you have no relationship...its cold out there on the streets and that is just one of the many things that gambling threatens everyday.
Food for thought and I know you will be able to deal with this as you see fit
Best wishes from everyone on the forum
I have just spent the best part of 5 years trying to support a man who gambles and is bad with money. I didn't know this at first and it has taken years of being lied to and letting things slide because I loved him to find out.
This past year I thought we were getting somewhere he was showing me bank statements and gave me access to his credit report, blocked himself off gambling sites and was attending GA meetings. He'd still got a loan but had paid off his credit card and overdraft and worked hard to improve his credit score. He gave me his cc to stop him using it and trust was starting to build up again. Then a letter arrived from his cc company asking if he's settled into his new house and confirming redirection of his mail!! We are back to square one!