I never thought I’d be writing into any forum, let alone a gambling one, but here we are.
I ‘met’ my partner only 5 months ago, during lockdown. It sounds like a Take a Break article, but we developed an amazing connection over hours on the telephone, which quickly grew into a physical serious and loving relationship. We both feel deeply in love, and for the first time in my life, I felt like I’d found the person I could spend the rest of my life with.
Now for the gambling bit...he told me he’s had a serious addiction when he was younger, and that after lots of support and hard work, he hasn’t gambled for 7 years. Its come out now that was a lie, he has has had relapses over the years, and has been gambling again for pretty much the entirely of our relationship. He’s borrowed money from family and friends and racked up new debts (and revealed debts he lied about from the past). He’s come clean because he’s run out of money and time on his lies. And I’m in complete shock.
He wants to quit, is promosing all the right things, a lifetime of dedicating himself to ga, counselling, financial transparency etc. he’s immediately taken the right steps - self exclusion, ga, owning up to family and friends etc. he’s completely broken, remorseful, and fearful that he’ll loose me.
I don’t know what to do. Is it worth the chance, and accept a life of hardship and worry? Or should I leave now, before we are too entangled with finances, possibly children, and a house? Can I continue a relationship with someone which hasn’t even got off the ground before it’s lost all it’s trust?
I believe he wants to change, and that he can change. I just don’t know if I can accept the lies and deceit so early on in our relationship. I don’t know if without that trust at the start, it’s reparable to get it now.
I know no one can answer this accept me, but all advice is welcome. Thanks.
Hiya new girlfriend
What a horrible situation your partner has got himself therefore you into. My names kev I'm a problem gambler, but please understand that doesn't mean I'm out gambling everyday it just means that I went over a year gamble free got email from one off those don't even know what to call them but I'm sure they know when I'm in a vunrable position well I thought £10 won't hurt no one will know well one hour later nearly £8000 in debt I never even had that money I'd used my partner PayPal account therefore stealing the money. I wouldn't think off myself as a thief but what else can you call it. I've never stole a penny sweetie in my life but I do this to someone I'm ment to love, it's evil just see how things go and take control off finances. You can even get bank cards now that don't although you to gamble, I wouldn't say leave him but make him aware your willing to walk and he's got to work his b**t off to stop the damage or you will walk good luck strong girlfriend
Hi new girlfriend. That’s an awful lot to take in , this is a new, fresh relationship. I feel for you, I always said ‘if I’d known I would have protected myself.’ But would I, would I have known what to do?
We all should have boundaries. Cheating? Lying? Divorced? Kids? Debts? Bankruptcy? Manipulating? The list is endless.
what do you want? What are you willing to put up with? When will you know he means what he says?
initially we’re all caught up with the lies, the debt, the secrecy, the betrayal. Then we become the fixer. We make it better, we sort out the money, find a meeting.
what we don’t realise, is that we cannot control another. We cannot fix them. We cannot get better for them.
we have our own issues that we need to look at. For example ‘why are we willing to accept this behaviour?’ ‘Why did we choose someone who is emotionally absent?’
The money and amounts are irrelevant, it’s the behaviour and escapism that is the issue. Not only do they hide the gambling and debts, but they hide from themselves and their feelings. As we do.
A gambler will only stop when the money runs out. A gambler cannot gamble without an enabler. These are all theories that in each case are true.
Things I wish I’d known. How to protect myself emotionally and financially. To stop making life normal. To stop making excuses for bad behaviour. To legally separate myself. To ask for receipts if I was managing money. To stop thinking the problem had gone away. To stop taking away his responsibility. How to stop being an enabler.
Love won’t help you, it blinds you. We only see what someone is willing to show us.
Unfortunately promises mean nothing. This may get worse before it gets better.
This is about you, put yourself first. Think about what you really want. Learn about addiction. Don’t take this lightly. Addiction is for life and comes in many different guises.
As you say no-one can tell you what the right answer is but you don't have to make a decision right now. You have time to see if he means what he says and acts on it without being entangled financially or with children. Read all you can on what life with an active or ex gambler is like and think very hard about whether you want to take it on. It means not taking anything he says about money on trust, having to accept you have no influence over whether or not he gambles again (if he's determined to he will find a way) and being permanently on top of everything financial. Even if he stops and stays stopped these things will and should be at the back of your mind all the time.
Think about what you want and how you want to live.
Hi newgirlfriend wow what a story it's harsh reading as I was the one doing the lying/cheating/manipulating/ and everything else that goes with addiction. As you quite rightly say only you can choose what to do. Few things I'd like to say just to give you more perspective. I started gambling after being with my now husband about 2 years into our relationship when I started having miscarriages he knew that I was going to bingo and at that time things were fairly controlled it was much later that the destruction occurred. Your relationship started with lies " I used to be an addicted gambler " he didn't want to tell you he was an active gambler in case you said sorry I'm not interested in you. Yes I'm guilty of doing all the horrible things that come with addiction and obviously my husband has had difficulty accepting this but he does know that for the vast majority of our relationship I've been honest. The other thing is I'm sure that you are aware that had he not run out of money or people to borrow off he would still be gambling maybe until you caught him in the act. He may be all the things he says he is , I've done all the blocking, financial control to my husband etc and I know that I'm truly sorry for hurting him, equally so your boyfriend could be just as sorry as I am only he knows this. I too am attending GA meetings as well as logging on here several times a day reading/ posting/ learning. I have accepted that this addiction is for life, and am aware that relapses are very common but I will do everything I can to make my chances of lifetime abstinence the very best. Going forward if you decide to stay with him it's probably going to be you keeping tabs on him and confronting him if your suspicious. Is that a future you can tolerate ? I know 110% I won't get another chance in my marriage if I mess this up and I can say truthfully life is too short to be miserable and unhappy because of what your partner is doing. If you proceed be cautious and protect yourself and your finances so if he messes up again you will be ok. I wish you all the best whatever you decide ...You only have one life make it happy
Well done on coming here and asking questions, it shows you care about this person even if its a new relationship. As you can see from the other replies this is not something you take lightly, compulsive gamblers are also compulsive liars. Its all well and good going to 10 GA meetings a week but if your not been honest at those meetings and not working the 12 steps recovery program then you won't change your behaviour which is what needs addressing.
If your staying with him then you need to sit down and have a proper chat about all this, no more lies, not more b******t. He gambles again then you are finished with him, you now no longer trust him and if your staying that needs to remain the case. He should have no problem giving you full access to everything, emails, credit history, bank accounts the lot. Be there when he registers with Gamstop, this will self exclude him from all sites.
In my relationship we have our own accounts and a joint account. My partner can see everything on the phone app, All my money goes into the joint account and I only use my debit card, never cash. This way she can see everything, if I go to the shop I have to get a receipt to avoid me asking for cash back. This way she can track every penny I spend. She has full access to my emails on her phone also, and has access to my Credit score account (this shows any debt or credit cards in my name).
I know this may seem a lot but its the reality of living with a compulsive gambler, she can also see that I am changing from a behaviour point a view no I regularly attend GA meetings and am a more open and honest person.
Whatever happens, I wish you well.
Hi New Girlfriend,
I really can’t even believe how similar situation I am in to you. I’ve just read your whole post and it’s exactly what I wanted to say and ask.
I am really struggling on getting my head around the full situation as like you I never thought I would be in this predicament. He is everything I ever wanted and more and I always said too good to be true then this whole other part of his life came to light over last month or so and I just feel broken. I don’t know whether to stay and support him or leave before I am in too deep and get even more hurt.
Again as you said a home, children, marriage has all been thought about and I’m worried that if I let this go on and he hurts me I am ruining my chances of finding happiness with someone else as I’m getting to that age in my life.
My partner has done all the right steps since coming clean. He’s attending GA meetings, getting counselling, paying his wage into my bank account, rang gam stop but I just have this really awful worry feeling in my stomach that I can’t seem to shake off.
I don’t know whether there’s any way we could chat privately and try help each other through this with our situations being very much identical x
Hi amber jade you should start a new topic and others will offer their advice to your particular situation.
when we first learn about our partners addiction we have no idea what to do. More often our help and support leads to more gambling and secrets.
People with experience and a life unaffected by others gambling is who you need help from. Call gamcare and talk to someone.
Hi New girlfriend
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