I’ve only just discovered this site and I’ve spent a few days reading through a lot of the threads on here and have already learnt so much and seen how lovely and supportive this community is, so thank you and nice to meet you.
I’m going to try and keep this not too long, I’ve been with my boyfriend for around a year and a half, he has been a compulsive gambler since his late teens, and he’s now 29. Started with little bets on the football here and there and now many years later he will gamble away 1000s in one session. He will gamble on whatever he can online. I didn’t know any of this when we met or to be honest, I would have run a mile.
The last 6 months have been really difficult, it felt like the rug has been pulled out from under me finding out firstly about the gambling, and then the debts and then realising all the lies. One reason I really struggle is we are so different, I don’t gamble or have debts and this world is one I really know nothing about, I can’t understand how he can be down hundreds of pounds and keep depositing knowing he’s throwing it all away and knowing it will cause him and me so much hurt. When we got together I would never have guessed he was hiding this demon, he has a good job and would take me for dinner etc so I had no idea anything was wrong money wise.
I have learnt from reading posts on the forums that I have enabled his gambling over the last few months by paying off fines or debts when I think I’ve been helping where I realise now I haven’t. But at the time he’s lied and got me to give him the money. There’s been a lot of anger and upset, both at him and myself for being so foolish, he can be very manipulative and is now in a position where he owes me a lot of money, on top of the debts and to other family too.
He always used to tell me he only gambled when he was drunk so he gave up alcohol in the summer and has only drunk maybe twice or three times since then and only one or two with dinner with me, in a way all these lockdowns have helped as he can’t go to the pub with his mates.
The last couple of times he’s gambled really badly though he has been sober which is scary and the most recent one was just before Christmas and he lost all his wages, literally the day after he was paid and now can’t give me any money for bills or food, let alone pay back any of the money he owes me.
I go between anger at his stupid decisions, to fear about the future if I stay with him and sadness that he’s got this awful illness and it’s caused so much damage. It sounds stupid but he’s not a bad person, I really love him and although this is a big problem, this is the only bad thing in our relationship.
I’ve not told anyone about his problems, his mum and family know but I don’t feel I can be as open with them about the anger I feel. I’m not a violent person but I want to physically shake him and scream wake up what are you doing to yourself and me!
We had a huge row two days ago when I found out he’d lost all his money and he’s moved out for a few days to give me space, since then he has put gamstop on is phone and attended a GA meeting last night which he said was really helpful and he wants to commit to. I truly think he wants to change, I have heard it all before but this is the first time he’s made actual positive steps to change.
Finances wise everything is separate, it’s my house and all bills etc are in my name so I know they will always be paid.
I’m just looking for a bit of support and guidance, I feel very alone and that I’m being fake to my friends and family who love him when I’m hiding this massive secret, but I know if they found out everyone would tell me to leave him. I’m so angry he’s made all these stupid decisions and broken so many promises. I’ve looked up joining one of the gam anon zoom chats for friends and family and hope that might help me understand a bit more about this all and my own feelings.
Sorry for such a long post, it’s the first time I’ve written any of it down and there’s so much more I could say but I’ll stop now, otherwise I’d be here all night!
Hope everyone had a good New Years
It’s really good that you reached out for help on this forum as this is a great source of knowledge as you said for someone who has no idea what gambling is!
I’m talking to you from a gambler perspective as your words trully remind me my partner’s fears,anxiety he had to deal with me for over 11years.....till I had enough to stop.He couldn’t understand how can I be do naive to throw the money away...but when you are in this amok of playing-nothing really matters.I felt remorses in the beginning when I was loosing huge amounts of money and he had to help me out.But later on I was doing it again secretly till 2months ago when I was so disguasted to myself to stop.
My advice would be to check on your partner as I had a complete freedom and my poor half have no idea how much I’ve lost as I never showed my bank account etc.He knew there was no extra money in the house-(how come it could be if I’was loosing consequently and being overdraft each month)but he probably didn’t want to know the whole truth or as you said he would not expect me to be so irrational in spending.
I really feel sorry for you as you might feel your partner choose gambling over you,your well being,your demand to stop etc
So here comes the 2nd truth about addiction-he is the only who can really stop it!No matter how he loves you this addiction is so strong that untill he hit the his rock bottom,nothing will really stop him from playing.You mentioned he has already put some blocks in place,which is really good prognostic-but as I mentioned before it would be helpful to check on his financial activities to make sure this is the case.
I understand that might feel a bit uncomfortable for you to do it and he is grown up enough that you should trust his words...but I was never checked and I was lying for extra 5-6years from my initial promise to change,stop gambling etc.
Please look after yourself,your finances-don’t pay for his debts anymore.If he sees that you have enough and you are strong to say NO-that might hit him that he can loose you for real.
If he only break this vicious cycle of playing,get help,look at things from the perspective he would better understand your position ,your fears and will appreciate the value of money you could spend together on diners,shopping,holiday etc.
I wish you all the best🌹
Hi night88 (R)
these are a few things that spring to mind.
‘if I’d known I’d have run a mile’
’I’ve realised I’ve enabled him’
‘The house is in my name so I know the bills are paid’
‘He only gambles when he’s drunk’
Compulsive gamblers are compulsive liars. As you know they will manipulate you and lie about anything to get the money to gamble more.
Start with small things, no more lending. No more paying his share.
Let him take responsibility for his actions. Gamstop and GA, not once but for a long time. Gamstop should be 5 years, he can show you the email.
only believe what you see.
Don’t keep secrets, addiction feeds on secrets and lies.
Look at gamanon and commit to it yourself, don’t just do one meeting. Learn from others experience. You may hear things you don’t like. Recovery is uncomfortable.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep. This is a gruelling and sometimes nightmarish experience.
Think about what you really want. Love can blind you to what’s really going on.
Thank you so much for your reply and good to hear things from a gamblers perspective too.
We did agree back in the summer when everything came out that his wages would be paid into my account and then I would ‘help’ him manage his money, but what really happened was he would lie to me about what he needed money for, £15 for food here and £10 for coffees there, I thought as it was little amounts it wasn’t an issue and I wasn’t firm enough to get receipts and didn’t check his bank to see where the money was actually being spent. Next thing it was ‘parking fines’ £60 here and there... so he could gamble more. Then suddenly he was getting his wages paid to him again, he said must have been an error at work and then he’s gambled every last penny... I’ve said moving forward while he lives with me it has to be paid to me, he has arrangements set up with the loan companies and I need to make sure these are paid to try and tackle some of his debts, when he gambled all his wages just before Christmas all the payments bounced as he had nothing in his account... I’m scared of people turning up at my house and I’ve given him money to pay bailiffs off before.
I think how you said about choosing gambling over me is what I struggle with most. It’s our relationship and future that he is willing to risk on an online slot machine, although I can see how once he’s started it’s so hard to make himself stop I don’t know how he can take the steps to even start. He once said, I needed to make money quickly! We are wired so differently! I’m careful with money and have savings for my/our future, I can’t believe he can see money coming in each month and not think beyond the days it takes him to lose it all.
I’ve said to him if he commits to changing and I can see proof of all the steps he is taking I will support him through it but if he makes a fool of me again I’m not going to be able to continue.
I hope your recovery is going well, and you and your partner are stronger together. I appreciate it’s a life long commitment not a quick fix and I can see from people’s posts on here it’s a huge battle, I just hope we can get through it together.
thanks for your reply. I’ve asked for the Gamstop email to see that he’s done it. He said he needs to resend the letter with proof of address to them as it’s not clear enough, I don’t get why he’s not done this instantly when he got the email, and I’m worried as on Tuesday the winnings he did manage to get he said will be paid into his bank so I’m nervous he’s delaying it with a plan to try and gamble again on Tuesday. The money he says he’s getting on Tuesday would mean he can pay bills this month and make some of his loan repayments but I know he’s still going to think it’s not enough and he’ll be tempted to try to get more. I’m now also worried that these winnings don’t exist and he’s just saying they are coming to get me off his back and to buy himself time as this is something he does a lot too.
I’ll push for it today though and ask him to send me the email trail.
I’m really going to be strict from now on, I’ve weirdly felt guilty knowings he’s got these debts that really I could pay some off using my savings and then that could help fix things initially but I need to understand that will just teach him that if he gets himself into trouble, I’ll get him out.
It’s a big battle in my mind as I just want it all to go away and I know I could help somewhat but really it’s not helping either of us.
yes I’m going to commit to the gam anon meetings and try to understand a bit more about it all, thanks for your advice.
Hi there again,
It’s nice to hear from you.
Regarding your question.
I have to be completely honest with you I’m going through recovery proccess on my own-first of all because my partner wasn’t aware how deep I was in it and I felt so ashamed to not involve him in my problem.Secondly he could never fully understand why I used gambling as my escape from reality,to fill in the void.For him it was just excuse to play-which became my everyday habit when I was counting hours from one session to another.
You seem to be a wonderful person,who would do a lot to help,but your partner suppose to be the one who reads the forum,ask for advice,call to speak with someone- not you!My point is that only he can change your current situation.
Show him this forum,ask to call the helpline and protect your finances.
But I think you did enough.He is super lucky to have you...but you have to start to look after yourself more.
Any more questions,please ask.
This all sounds horribly familiar to me - my husband is an online gambler and I have started reading these posts to understand it better and how to deal with it myself.
All the advice suggests to use Gamstop which my husband has done but he constantly finds other sites that are not blocked by Gamstop.
does anybody have any suggestions about how else to block gambling sites that are not stopped by Gamstop on phones/iPads etc?
I don’t know how best to deal with this myself but my first question is how to help him block these other sites.
I’m sorry you’re going through this too, I’m finding it very confusing and my emotions are all over the place, one minute angry and hurt, the next determined to help him... hope you’re doing okay and have someone you can talk to?
I’ve seen Lloyds bank have a gambling block you can put on the app to stop gambling transactions if he’s gambling online and if he turns it off it takes 2-3 days to come off I think so not easily, I think Sterling are another one with a block too, my partner is changing from Nationwide as I don’t think they have a block only for their under 18s accounts.
I’ve also seen someone on here mention betblocker too which might help?
Is your husband looking to get help himself? It’s very early days but my bf has now done 2 GA meetings and said he feels like they will really help him, he wants to get to know the members a bit more and then work with one to do the 12 steps.
Thank you for sharing your story.
It is very common that people who gamblers often cheats, make excuses, steal etc whatever to feed the nasty habit of gambling. Gambling is usual a game of chance, and caused people to chase their losses. This is where the major problem lies and you have several options here:
1. Tell him to take the losses on the chin like a man- regardless how much he had lost
2. Be with him during the recovery process till fully recovered
3. Leave-he if doesn't change his ways
I hope you find this helpful.
All the best
Hi Night88 and BlueTone44, reading your posts, as a compulsive gambler in recovery I would suggest you take over their bank accounts, cancel their debit cards and don't allow them access to money. Sounds extreme but that's what my wife did. We have a joint bank account and as soon as she found out she changed all account passwords, cancelled my card as I knew the numbers off by heart, and put a block on gambling transactions on the account. Also do this on your own account just in case. It was hard at first but necessary and now doesn't bother me. I have a credit card for if I need anything and you can't gamble with it. My wife has access to this as the only way I could gamble would be to withdraw cash and go to a bookies. I have never been in a bookies in my life as all gambling was on online casinos and if I did draw cash our marriage would be over.
I registered with Gamstop and installed Betblocker on my phone, got counselling from Gamcare for both of us and I am now 7 months gamble free.
The main driver in all this though is he needs to want to stop. Until then it will be difficult.
I’m sorry to hear about your partner, but well done on taking steps to battle this illness!
I understand there’s no quick fix and it’s a long term commitment. My partner says the same about escaping reality. It makes me sad that even with all the damage it causes he chooses to risk it each time.
Thank you for your kind words. He’s attended 2 GA meetings and has said he will commit to them and complete the 12 steps, he’s also sorting bank accounts which have gambling blocks on and changing it so I’m paid his wages not him, he’s not taken all these steps and stuck to them before so I’m hoping this is a genuine effort to change this time.
My worry is about him relapsing, but it’s out of my control, we spoke last night and said all we can do is go one day at a time and he can just make sure each day is a day he doesn’t gamble or lie.
thank you for your replies, it means a lot
I was very pleased to read about the changes your partner initiated to get his life back and I have an impression you seem more calm as well👍
1day at the time-yes,this is definitely the main step he can make at the moment.Trust me,when he manages to „resist”for a while(in my case it was 50days GF)-he will definitely feel the difference.He will still have the urges,but I believe not as strong.
I still think about playing my favourite slot...but I’m more happy now to have any money left on my account:)
I wish you both a „success story”,which will make your relationship stronger than ever.
Thank you for sharing your story. I’m in a similar position myself and also feel like I can’t talk to anyone about it as none of my partners family or friends know about his gambling. It started in his early 20’s and came to an abrupt end on November 30th when he told me everything. The debt he’s in, why he borrowed money off me, when he told me he stopped gambling he actually hadn’t.. I made the decision to stay with him as I care for him and want to help him through this but I’m really struggling to see past how he could have lied to me for 2 years like that.
We have been arguing loads, me being the main cause and not being able to process the angry side of my emotions. I so want to move forward and not relate every thing he does as an act of war, if he innocently wants to watch football I don’t want to keep nitpicking etc. I’m not entirely sure how to process all this and begin to move forward productively. He has a plan in place for repaying his debt which is great but aside from that I keep wanting him to say sorry to me everyday which is obviously unrealistic..!! Any advice would be hugely appreciated!