I've just come across this site as I have been looking for help for my now ex partner. I really need to just share my experience, as I haven't encountered anything like this before and as much as I love my family and friends for trying to support me and reassure me I didn't do anything wrong, I think talking to others who have directly been effected by a loved ones gambling will help.
We met online last august and he was quite upfront about the fact he liked to play poker. I had absolutely no issue with this, as I was told it was something he really enjoyed, it was a hobby and that he liked learning about it. I was happy for him to tell me more about it, for me to learn more about the overall process. He was lovely... throughout the whole relationship he always bought me flowers for no reason (maybe through guilt looking back.)
A couple of weeks go by and we get onto a conversation about the importance of open communication and trust in a relationship and how important these two things were to me in particular. He broke down in tears and told me he had a lot of debt from previous gambling and credit card spending. I held him and told him its ok. I thanked him for being honest and told him not to worry. I asked him if he was repaying the debt and he had set up some sort of monthly repayment. I asked if he had any savings and he said no... I asked if he would like me to help him get started with a savings accounts (hes 31 and still lived at home) and he agreed. We sat and looked up the best options and I asked him if he thought he still had an issue with gambling. He reassured me he "wasn't being silly" anymore and played for fun. I believed him and left him for the night.
from this time to December, I had noticed he would play poker on his phone at odd times. He would play it on the way back from nipping to the shops and say "sorry I thought I would of been finished by the time I got back" and even when he was sat with my family and myself, he would play on his phone. He told me he didn't see it as rude or a problem when I addressed it and I asked him not to play if we were in company again as I thought it was rude. He would play if I got up to make us breakfast and hide the phone under the covers when I got back. He would say he was just "killing time" whilst I was busy. I feel stupid looking back at these things and letting them slide... I wish I had pushed the issue more, but hindsight its a wonderful thing.
We moved in together late January thanks to his mum and dad offering us a cheap flat they owned, all bills included (we were openly discussing our savings and wanting to move somewhere better) and this is when things really went down hill. I noticed he was moody and irritable... I couldn't say anything to him without taking it way too personally and storming off. I didn't know what was happening... but I had my suspicions it was because he wasn't able to play poker at his computer or on his phone nearly as much as he used to. He always used to tell me when he was playing a tournament here and there and I had no problem with it. I wanted to support him. During this time, he did tell me he had won a significant amount of money (a couple of grand) just before Christmas... I asked him why he didn't tell me and he said "well I just put it straight into my savings and forgot about it"
I don't know what caused me to ask, but one day we sat down as I had a gut feeling he wasn't being honest with me. After digging and digging, begging for him to just be honest... he told me that he had lied about putting the money he had won last month into the savings account... not only that but he had terminated the savings account shortly after making it as he wasn't putting anything into it... basically it was all going on poker. I was devastated... but again I thanked him for being honest and asked him if he thought he had an issue. He said he didn't and that he was on top of it after that incident. I let it go but made it clear I personally felt he was spending too much.
February comes around and he lets slip that he had to borrow money from his mum and dad... I knew he had only be paid a week ago and asked him why he had to do this. He was honest and said he had been silly with his gambling and he was spending way too much. AGAIN, I thanked him for being honest and brave and that it would be ok... it was the first step to setting things right again. I asked him what I could do for him and he said he didn't know. I suggested suspending his accounts and he agreed. We sat and he brought up account after account and I watched him suspend them.
March - the arguments are weekly and we just cannot get along. Like I mentioned before everything I said became and attack on him and nothing I could do was enough. I was shopping, cleaning, washing and cooking for us, trying to support him through this and I was becoming frustrated and not feeling good enough. I spent a night at my parents and the day I came home I asked to use his computer. I didn't go snooping but on the dropdown menu I saw "party poker". My heart sank. This caused me to look at his history and I saw that he had deleted it. He was at work at the time so I waited till he got home to confront him. He text me saying "I dont know if I want to come home" I was taken aback.... what was that even meant to mean? In my gut I knew it was because he knew I had probably seen his history. Once he got home I asked him calmly why party poker was on his recently searched drop down and why the history had been erased. He instantly got defensive and aggressive with me he told me "you've just been making me feel on edge and I panicked about nothing, I didn't want you to start a fight about anything so I just deleted it all". I wasn't buying it. I told him that if he had nothing to hide, if there was nothing here for me to "start a fight over" then he wouldn't have to delete history. He shut down and wouldn't talk to me and left the flat. I was left feeling like I had done something wrong and I felt bad. I decided to bury my head in the sand and believe him.... He does suffer with anxiety and depression.
the arguments continued and it all got too much. We couldn't live with each other and whilst we were both at work he text me saying he wanted me to leave as he wasn't happy anymore. He needed to "work on making himself a better person" and couldn't be in a relationship whilst doing it. It broke me completely. I explained all I had tried to do was help him and thats what a relationship should be... two people supporting each other. he wasn't having any of it. I left work early and went to get my things and left before he got home.
Its been a week and a bit since the breakup and I have been trying to calm my thoughts, but I've struggled. I cannot stop blaming myself. He told me I had become controlling and it was all too intense. He said he felt like he couldn't be himself and that he gave up a lot of things that made him happy. (he used to smoke weed everyday and had a P**n and masturbation addiction too, the weed he had stopped smoking but it turned out he was still watching P**n everyday and masturbating for the first 5 moths of our relationship despite it having a major impact on our s*x life.) I feel like I tried to change a person and made them miserable when all I wanted to do was help them.
I found out today that he has been spending hundreds of pounds a day playing poker since breaking up with me (from day one) on a new account and it kills me to discover this... after he ended the relationship to work on himself and get better, it feels like a kick in the teeth. I feel worthless... like being in a relationship with me was less important than playing poker, that I was just in the way and now I'm gone he can do whatever he wants. I've never felt so disposable. I gave so much of myself into helping him and it hurts to much to be tossed to the side.
I don't know if I'm looking for answers or responses... or if I'm just venting.... but I think it would be nice to hear other peoples views.
If you got this far... thank you for reading x
This is his problem not yours. It’s probably not the done thing to say this but I really think you’ll be looking back at this and feel glad of the fact your relationship is over.
I know how it feels to be constantly supportive and to give your all to help a partner and to then feel so insignificant that they choose gambling over you and your future. I’m married with two children and a house I can’t afford to pay for on my own, this has gone on for 8 years for me. I wish I’d have known about his problem before, the only good thing really has been my two wonderful children but I worry about how it’s impacted them and will impact them.
Would you wish that upon yourself? Is that the future you want? I imagine it’s not.
Could he he get help and change, possibly but he would need to want it really badly and he doesn’t seem to want it at all.
Without meaning to seem insensitive his treatment of you is all about him and his addictions and nothing to do with you as a partner or a person.
I hope you get what you need from this forum. I’m still reeling from finding out so I’m sure some people with a bit more balance/perspective will come along and help.
Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m so sorry to hear about your situation, I honestly cannot imagine how hard that must be... Without meaning to sound insensitive, it does help put my situation into perspective and that in itself is helpful... so I thank to for sharing your experience.
I have always said to him and myself... if you wanted to you would. If someone wants something bad enough, they’ll change. I guess the realisation of that hurts... our relationship wasn’t enough to kick start him to change. Hence the feeling insignificant and disposable.
Im a firm believer that talking heals... or at least aids healing. Vent If you have to, it’s better out than in and you have every right to still be upset. We can all help support each other x
take care of yourself
Time really does heal all wounds Grant and I hope you stop gambling but only you will find your way out. Like you and many others here, I came to these forums when I was feeling down... I played roulette everyday since June last year. If it was school, I’d get top marks for no absences! I was present at the table everyday- with only one goal to win. I was really skilled or so I thought I was, I practiced every single strategy out there, observed tables, patterns, you name it and had a spreadsheet of wins. On average of 30 days I was winning 28 out of 30, walking off the table every month with a £2k profit. My goals were small at first but greed got to me, they got bigger and so did my addiction. I don’t know what happened, a stressful day triggered me to ignore my senses, I thought I had control - I’ve been doing this and profiting after all! But I soon realised all those strategies, none of them work in the long term. I didn’t even think I had an addiction at first but boy was I was wrong... something took over and compelled me to lose £10k in 2 days. This was my rock bottom and realised that I’ve made a mistake that no matter how in control or skilled I thought I was, the addiction and compulsion took over. For a month I was deep into depression, I could feel the sadness and frown in my face every minute of the day. I had suicidal thoughts, I was crying most days, did not want to see or speak to anyone....stopped doing things I liked. The pain I felt inside lasted a month, then I started to focus on myself again... I started reading blogs like how to cope with losses, how to forgive yourself, how to bounce back after a big financial loss. The thing is financial loss is part of life. We all experience it at some point. Let this be the one experience that teaches you to really be careful with money again. For me, my gambling was a way to make money, so I think of it as an investment that didn’t work out for me and the only way to financial freedom is to start working hard and saving again and treat money with more respect. I got out just in time before I lost everything - like myself and my sanity... Give it time, one thing I can tell everyone here that’s really in a very dark place, it will pass. So no matter how bad you are feeling, maybe you’ll feel that way again tomorrow, so be it but I can 100% assure you the day will come when you wake up, and it’s all distant memory.. and like Uncle Bob Marley says.... Don’t worry about a thing, coz every little thing is gonna be alright! I never thought I would get out of my depression, I thought it was gonna go on forever.. but here I am a £16k loser, yet I can live with that everyday now... but it’s a £16k very expensive lesson and well played.... After all I paid for it- I really need to take this lesson in and learn from it and I hope you do too.
From what you've written.
Your partner just didn't want to/wasn't ready to change for himself or anyone.
whatever you could of said or done...
and hasn't maybe been through the mill enough to see properly/want to wake-up/adjust interests for something positive (with all those hrs of his life).
- Poker (playing against other players.. rather than a casino) most common is Texas Holdem
this a very very very different beast than most gambling games and skill/education in the game
comes at a cost/ and can keep you playing thinking with more skill/education you can get better
which is very true/ this game does not purely depend on luck there is a lot of skill involved more skill than luck.
which definitely brings confusion regarding not playing anymore....
he could be doing it for many more years until he realises he wont make the grade/ he's been wasting his time and money/wake-up.
- after agreement as a couple You shouldn't have to can't continually nag mother someone
its degrading for you and very sad for both parties ultimately.
Summing up: opening lines of communication/discussing how to attack problem
way forward as a couple and being supportive as you went along i believe was enough.
As they say you cant educate pork...... (however smart they think they are)
hope this helps
Thank you @natural1 for taking the time to reply to my thread, it really does mean a lot.
He said he used to play in person and never had a problem with gambling then, like you said, once he started online and playing Texas Holdem he got hooked. He would spend hours trying to improve and I just saw it as a hobby... a skill! I think that’s why it took me so long to realise that it was an issue because he told me there was skill involved and he was getting better.
It hurts to watch someone fall back down a hole that you were helping them out from... it hurts to take that step back and leave him in there, but like you said, he needs to wake up and realise what he’s doing of his own accord.
Thank you again,
take care of yourself x
I am so sorry to hear about what you have gone through.
It is easy for people to say about being better off without them, but the heart is hard to switch off. Especially when you have invested so much in that person.
I am currently sitting here after my partner has left for what feels like the 100th time.
This time is the last time. I want to say it is because I have been strong and said leave, but it wasn’t my decision. It never has been my decision. And I have always let them back. Because I stupidly believed they loved me. (Talk about lack of self worth!)
I ask myself ‘why’ a lot. I know answers won’t help. And even if I get answers, will they be the truth. The amount of lies, deceit, stories. And I, the same as you, thanked him for his honesty and bravery. Then worked out how to support him. But he can’t help himself as believes he is on top of things.
Unfortunately, it has taken me a long time to come to realise that they have to want to help themselves. We can support. Be their biggest cheerleader. But they have to want to want the help. And until they do, we are used as metaphorical punch bags. Because like you said, they can’t be themselves. Even though they may not like the person they are.
I have a hundred questions. Which I know I will never have the answers to.
It is utterly heartbreaking and crushing. However, and this is easier said than believed, but we will be stronger. It will take time.
I am currently in a house that we rented for our patchwork family. And now, just me and my children when they aren’t with their dad. I have been so blindsided to believe that this was a blip and won’t happen again. When the reality is they owe me thousands, their family has said no more and I was still adamant that things will change. The future is scary. The financial impact of this is huge for many. The emotional toll is something we have to live with for the rest of our lives.
Please know you aren’t on your own.
Yes it hurts but he was far away from wanting help or working at a proper relationship.
Its no life living with somebody like that and you would have had no financial security. You deserve better than the upset and uncertainty.
Please do not make yourself ill trying to help him if he is just going to throw it back in your face. It reads like he has many addictions which dont work in any healthy relationship. Tell him to seek help and enjoy living away in your own space.
Relationships end all the time...they are not meant to be so dont be hard on yourself. If there is no love, friendship and mutual trust...there is no relationship
If he wasnt ready to realise how important you are then the relationship was on shaky ground to start with. A gambling addiction is very powerful and none of that was your fault. A gambler will manipulate you and pass the blame.
If you can talk to family and friends it will be a great help.
Be strong! Be proud of yourself and what you expect from others. The sun comes up tomorrow and time is a great healer.
To be honest it sounds as though he doesn't deserve you .Take your time to build your confidence again and calmly move on with your life
Best wishes from everyone on the forum
Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your story with me. Parts of your story resonate with me a lot and it hurt to read, because I know how you are feeling as a result. He left me several times too and I always let him back, because he said he loved me and appreciated me and I believed it and I think my mind or heart is still holding on to that and doesn't want to admit that it was a lie. It does destroy your self worth and the amount of times I sat and cried because I was ashamed of what I was putting up with is ridiculous, but I guess we can look at the positive that we BOTH know deep down our worth is more than manipulation and lies, no matter how much we loved and cared for the other person.
I guess I feel the same as you on a lot of levels. I have so many questions but the amount of lies I have been told and the way he reacts to questions makes it impossible for me to get those answers and it is driving me a little crazy. Its the not knowing if anything he has ever said to me was true or not.
Im so sorry to hear about your financial and living situation, I cannot imagine the extra emotional toll that puts on you. I honestly cannot imagine how much that must hurt, if this is what I'm feeling without too much of a financial loss, my heart goes out too you.
It does help to know I am not on my own and I am finding this wonderful forum very comforting in a strange way.
Wishing you all the best. Take care. x
Thank you for reaching out to me. I am so grateful for everyone's kind words.
What you have said makes me feel a lot better, it does help me organise my jumbled thoughts of not feeling worthy or good enough and see that what happened could not have been resolved without him wanting to change. It hurts to admit that he wasn't able to look at me and have a eureka moment that kick started him into wanting to change for the sake of us after all I was trying to do for him and all the loved and patience I gave him when I was getting very little back.
I have been trying to be more kind to myself and my confidence definitely has taken a nock... I'm not rushing anything in my life right now and going with a day by day approach. I know I'll get back to the old, happy and confident me even if it takes a while.
Again, thank you so much for your kind words.
Take care x
Thank you for sharing your story.
I’m gonna keep this short and to the point and a bit blunt:
1. You’re better off without him and deserve better. 2. It’s not your fault and you are not worthless. 3. He clearly has a massive problem. 4. Him walking out etc is because he couldn’t deal with someone telling him what to do when you’re only there to support him! 5. He sounds immature and needs to take some ownership. 6. Let him blow his money, get into debt and run to his parents to bail him out. 7. He isn’t your problem now he’s your ex. 8. Get on with life, enjoy it and find someone else 🙂
thanks for your input! I think I know all of that deep down and honestly each day i’m beginning to realise more and more that I wasn’t the problem. I understand he’s my ex and he’s not my problem anymore but it’s still sad for me to see him doing this to himself and I guess I wouldn’t wish bad on anyone, ex or not. But I know he has to do it himself and I need to let that happen, which hurts but I’m sure with time it’ll get easier to let go.
Thanks again x
I can only agree with everyone else here in that you OH was a problem gambler, was not even admitting it. The problem gambler can not gamble socially ever again. Poker is given a let by some as not really gambling because it's a sport and you have celebrity professionals etc but where there is money involved, it's gambling period. This man will probably never change. He sounds very immature still sponging off mum and dad. He will never have anything or achieve anything unless he makes a decision to change his life - installs blocking software- attends GA meetings. There is nothing you can do about that. At least you got out before you were in too deep. Good luck!
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