I’m writing this and not sure exactly why as my head is so clouded, but I hope that at least one person can relate.
7 yrs ago I discovered my husband had a gambling problem. I found a doctors referral to a gambling counsellor and he downplayed it at the time (I believed him and didn’t know any better).
Long story short... I co-signed mortgage increases, new loans etc understanding it would be investment money because I really had no idea how bad his addiction was. Was I naive? Absolutely. Do I take accountability for not ensuring I understood and controlled the accounts I had signed? Most definitely. We are not wealthy people - he received approval as I had a good income job and worked hard to pay off our mortgage etc. I was born overseas and my parents moved over with their entire belongings in a suitcase. We come from humble beginnings and always appreciated the value of money.
So here we are... 20 years into a relationship, 10+ married and gambling has ruined us. It’s ruined me.
I have given so much to my husband. When he would sit me down and say “babe I Fd up again” I would console him. Tell him it would be ok. I was there for him even though it was killing me inside. My priority was his mental health and being a strong support.
When I have been anxious over the last 7 years worried about our future and our kids, he has never consoled me. I feel this addiction is so so selfish. I am not meaning to be disrespectful, but this is how I see it.
He had two counselling sessions 3 years ago and we agreed I would see the same counsellor, and then perhaps go together. He stopped at 3 as he didn’t like what he was being told and said he could do this himself. The counselling was amazing and he told me my husband would not get better if he didn’t return. That his addiction was very severe and he lacked accountability.
When I realised how bad his addiction was, I asked him to give me complete visibility of the accounts. To sit down every month and look at money in and money out, and I asked.... begged, for him to let me have his cards and pay bills, so he doesn’t have thousands to gamble. It’s been 7 years, over 100 months and not once has he done this. I cry and ask him, but he disregards my requests. I really thought this was reasonable. I said and keep saying that if he wants $200 to go out with his mates and have a big night out - I will give him cash from the account. I felt as did his counsellor that this was needed. Again, the person who had made all the mistakes continued to control the situation.
This is coming to breaking point as he tells me I don’t respect him, that’s his main issue. For 7 years I have watched him destroy our marriage, gamble hundreds of thousands of dollars, wipe out our daughters bank account, the account I transferred money to every month. I have worked so hard for years and deposited money, only for him to take it and gamble.
I am so resentful. I cry almost every night, as I think - what gives any human being the right to make someone else feel like this. I am a shell of my old self. My parents, brothers and sisters have asked me what’s wrong for years, and I haven’t told them as I want to protect him. The people who know about his problem are the people he confided in with an ulterior motive - to borrow money. He is the father of our three children and I want to protect him. I console him when he is disappointed in himself after gambling OUR money. Who consoles me? He has anxiety and I sit next to him and get him to take deep breaths. I have had a panic attack in front of him, hyperventilating and he didn’t so much as come to sit next to me to help me.
He takes accountability and is working very hard to earn money and pay debt, but I honestly feel he has not taken any accountability for what he has done to me. He has destroyed me. If he had gambled hundreds of thousands of dollars, but was apologetic and remorseful, made every attempt to help me deal with this, then I truly believe we could get through this. But for me, he has never done that. I can’t get over that.
I am so so sad at what this will do to our kids - if we separate. But I can’t live like this. I feel like I am living a double life. I have not told a single person in 7 years and this is my first public post, so I am very sorry for the novel.
I guess what I am asking is - when is enough, enough!? Hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt (above house mortgage), married to a man who has not once in 7 years carried out something that I have asked, someone who can’t understand why I have trust issues and resentment, who refuses to go to counselling, who still says - I am trying and I can kick this myself, who still lies and takes money to gamble when we aren’t making mortgage repayments... the list goes on.
My husband is a good man, I truly believe that. Gambling is his internal demon and that has caused so much nastiness and lack of concern for the impact this has had on me.
I am just lost and sad, and while I wouldn’t wish this on ANYONE I hope I am not alone.
I am so sorry that you are going through such a tough time. You are not alone and lots of people on here, myself included, will he able to relate to your situation.
This horrible addiction is so hard on loved ones. My husband is a compulsive gambler and like you I had no idea. I was devastated when I found out and the amount of money we had lost made me feel sick. Like you I work hard and have a reasonably well paid job and couldn't believe that a large chunk of my wages had been going to betting sites each week without me knowing. I hated myself for being so naive! At the end of the day though we were trusting our husbands. Why wouldn't we?
It's important that you protect yourself and your finances as best you can and take care of your own mental health. The advisors on here are available to talk to online or on the phone and there are also friends and family chatroom which you might find helpful.
Your husband has to want to stop and be fully committed to recovery for it to be fully successful. It's important that you protect your and your children's finances.
I wish you all the very best.
I am so sorry for you having to experience such a difficult and frustrating situation. You clearly deserve better as do your children.
I am addicted to gambling, which means that I cannot gamble. Simple. When I gamble life is often out of control and I am the worst version of myself. I cannot put all that on the addiction. Its still me doing something bad. When I don’t gamble life is better and I am immeasurably better. I haven’t gambled for 585 days and prior to that had gone 4 years prior to relapse. I’ll always be addicted to roulette and simply cannot participate in it.
Your husband is definitely not being fair on you or your children. You can’t just blame addiction. We addicts must take responsibility for ourselves and then show our loved ones that we are trying. Really trying with evidence to back this up.
Personally, I think you have been far to kind to him. I’m not judging you. You seem like a lovely person. By now, if I were you I would have told his parents or at least offered him the chance to come clean to them before you did. You’re keeping his secret which allows him to gamble without consequences.
I told my parents about my gambling. It is still the most soul crushing, humiliating thing I’ve ever had to do. I walked out of their house and never gambled for four years. The humiliation was enough for me. Two days after telling them I walked into my first GA meeting.
You have to give him an ultimatum. He opens up and gets help or you leave, or you start telling people, or you separate finances etc. Don’t protect him, don’t feel sorry for him, don’t be overly sympathetic. How would he react if you became a shopaholic and blew all his wages every month?
This post may come across as harsh which isn’t my intention. I was both sad and angry reading your post. You don’t deserve this treatment.
I can sympathise with an addict in recovery who slips up occasionally. Breaking addiction is tough and takes effort. Your partner appears to be making zero effort and getting away with it. That is unacceptable to you as his wife and the mother of his kids who need material things and the full time love and attention of their father.
Accountability - tell his parents
Get help - Make him go to a GA meeting- he needs it.
Protect finances - separate your accounts/money.
If he refuses to do these things then you’ve got a big problem and big decisions to make about your future. This cannot continue long term.
I wish you well.
welcome to the Forum and thank you for sharing your difficult and painful story, I imagine this wasn't easy. Please do take the advice from Jess and RouletteRegret to heart. It is crucial that you focus on the things that you can control - the children, your finances, your well-being, the roof over your and the children's head.
If you are a UK resident please call our Helpline or Netline, we are here 24/7. If not, you can still use the Forum and the Chatrooms, and we have a Family and Friends Chatroom every Monday at 11:30 GMT. Please also look at our page with signposts to support in other countries (please scroll down to 'International Contacts'): https://www.gamcare.org.uk/self-help/links-to-other-support-agencies/
You might also want to get some legal and financial advice on how to protect yourself from further financial harm.
Please also speak to your GP about how you are feeling and about your panic attacks.
Emmi - you matter. Please use all available support to you for the sake of your children and yourself. Ultimately having firm boundaries and protecting yourself is the best help you can give your husband as well at this stage.
Please keep sharing and reaching out.
Wishing you all the very best,
Thank you so much RR for taking the time to reply. I have just balled my eyes out for five minutes after reading your message. This is the first “conversation” I have had with someone who has/had a problem with gambling.
I agree - I’ve been enabling him for years. It’s been so hard as I beg, cry, strongly give him ultimatums and nothing I ask for is done. He went to 2-3 counselling sessions and just refuses to go again. He didn’t like what was being said and unfortunately has a tendency to avoid when things are tough to hear.
I have always thought I am practical, realistic and fair. I really believe in showing kindness and support when people need it most - but I am out. I am drained. I struggle to get through a day without hiding somewhere to cry (a toilet, meeting room at work).
I am so sad for him. That he has made this life for himself and that he has taken me along for the ride - a haunted house version not the Disney land roller coaster type 🙂
I just can’t comprehend how an individual can do so wrong by someone - his wife who he made vowels to and then completely disregard the person. Make them feel so insignificant, by ignoring and dismissing every request.
His parents know because he asked them for money. He told them he had an issue. This was 3 years ago and he hasn’t stopped. In 3 years I have received 2 phone calls from his dad. They live 10 mins around the corner... again no support. I can’t bring myself to tell my parents yet. The thought makes me sick to the stomach. They will feel angry, disappointed and sad - because they will think they should have picked up on what’s happening and been there for me. I don’t think that for one minute - but I know they will. I don’t want them to have this burden.
I think I am going to write him a letter, as trying to have a conversation in person is almost impossible. Deflection, change of focus from him to me gets us nowhere.
My greatest priority is my kids. I will do what’s best for them and in the long run, if it’s separating then I will make that very hard decision.
I know I am so blessed to have my health, beautiful healthy children, a roof over my head - but I also think, how the f did I end up here? What did I do to deserve this life!
Thank you again RR, I greatly appreciate your honesty and sincerity. I hope you continue to do well and are happy 🙂
Hi Again Emmi,
My post to you earlier has bothered me all afternoon. It is most definitely one of my worst replies especially to a new member seeking help. I’m sorry for this.
I don’t know your husband and it was wrong of me to suggest some of the things that I did.
Lots of gamblers and families come through similar scenarios to be better, closer and happier. There is help for your husband and for you. I hope you can work together and overcome this issue and have a happy life together.
Sorry for being so abrupt.
I didn’t take your post as harsh or abrupt at all, but I appreciate your message. In fact, it’s consistent with what I have thought for many years and what the counsellor told me (he also saw the same counsellor a couple of times).
We will keep working through this and come to a resolution - one way or another.
I really did appreciate your message, and thank you for being so considerate. All the best 🙂
That was so bizarre. When I had posted the second time I hadn’t noticed that you had already replied.
I am glad that you were ok with my original post. I thought about it a lot yesterday and I thought I had been too hard and not very supportive. On the other hand, you are living through this awful situation so you know and have experience of the difficulty of living with a gambling addict in action.
This forum is full of gambling addicts who no longer gamble. The help works.
In my case, I was sick of it. I was tired and frustrated and beat up. I wanted to stop.
Most people fear the unknown but your husband has nothing to fear regarding reaching out for help and stopping for good. On the contrary, he is giving nothing up but will only gain good positive things from leaving gambling behind.
I really hope it works out for you and your family. You seem like a kind soul.
Yes this forum was a life saver for me when I first discovered my husband's addiction.
We are doing ok at the moment thank you. I'm fortunate that my husband is committed to recovery but I am always vigilant. I have days when I feel sad about the time and money that have been lost but I try to be positive. This forum helps me when I am struggling.
I wish you all the very best for the future.
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