my partner of four months has been honest about having previous addictions to drugs and alcohol which he got professional support for and has been clean most of this year. In the past two months he has become addicted to slot games on his phone and has spend several thousands of pounds on this. He has been honest about it after each event. We don’t have joint bank account and this hasn’t financially affected me. when we first met he was going to the gym five days a week, playing football twice a week, seeing friends and has just completed a back to work training to start work on the railways. The job has now started and is zero hour contract which means some weeks he has no work and is bored and lonely. He has moved towns to stay with me (though I insisted he keep his flat) and we went into another lockdown. He says he is lonely and bored when not working and plays to relieve this and to try and be more financially well off. However on Monday he gambled again spending £60 and won £900. He said he would stop as had earned back a loss and could afford Xmas. Yesterday he was with me all day as I had a day off. When I went to cook dinner he spent £120 and lost it all. He says he should probably move out and me alone. I don’t want to lose him and I love him, however I have been married to an alcohol in the past and lived with that addiction and not sure I can risk this again. Last night my partner felt so ashamed and guilty he said he wanted an alcohol drink. He is a recovering alcoholic and it scares me he could return to this. He has also previously attempted suicide and been homeless. I am aware I am taking on a maternal role of trying to fix and rescue him but I don’t know what to do. I haven’t told anyone and feel so isolated and alone with this. I don’t want to end this relationship but don’t want to get hurt either.
Welcome to the Forum and well done for reaching out for support.
It sounds like you are scared what the future might hold with your partner and this is a lot for you to deal with in a relatively new relationship. I am sure you will get some good support here on the Forum.
It is good to see your partner is being honest with you when he is gambling. I wonder if he might want to give our advisers a call to get some support with his gambling. They would be able to offer advice on blocking his access and how to move on positively from this. They could even refer him for some free one to one treatment.
It is important you know that you matter in this too Han. It looks like this is causing you some anxiety and as you say you are taking on the maternal role to fix this for him. While it is fantastic you want to support him, it is his responsibility to take control of his own recovery and you also need to keep yourself safe. You mentioned you have lived with an alcoholic before and you are worried about experiencing this again.
We have a Chat room on Mondays at 11.30am for people affected by other peoples gambling. It might also be good for you to look at GamAnon who are the sister organisation to Gamblers anonymous.
You don't mention if you have yet or not, but our advisers are available to support anyone affected by gambling harm and they can talk you through this. They could also offer you free one to one support to help you deal with this. You can call them anytime on our helpline on 0808 8020 133 or by using our Livechat. They are available 24/7.
You explained how isolating this is for you right now and that is understandable. I wonder if there is a friend or family member you would feel comfortable speaking to about this so that you have some support close to home.
Keep posting on the forum and take care.
Hi. Maybe you could set the boundaries of what is acceptable to you or not. Protect yourself first. Help is out there and on here for your partner should they wish for that recovery. I will just say as a gambling addict in recovery I would be very aware of the emotional blackmail lines...eg
I should leave/I'm no good for you/better off without me ect ect. That's not what they're saying at all. They're actually relying on your love for them to say NO I'll help ect. I'm sure you've heard them all. I wish you well.
Hi, not sure I understand what you mean by emotional blackmail saying he will leave or he isn’t good enough for me. Previously with my ex husband I could tell when he was using emotional blackmail. With my new partner he seems to have really low self esteem and I actually think he is suffering from depression which may be the underlying cause for the addiction. This has never been treated and comes from
childhood trauma and becoming homeless age 17 with no family support. I have met his mum and this is all true and has taken them years to rebuild relationships.
i don’t want to compare this relationship with the past.
my partner has joined gamcare and completed the first module in the course.
Haven’t offence at all. I was just trying to understand what you meant. Thankyou for replying. He is a recovering drug and alcohol addict and is very ashamed of his past me proud of his recovery journey. However now seems to have swapped those addictions for gambling. Not sure if some people are pre disposed to addiction or if it is poor mental health issue that isn’t being treated as he has all the symptoms of depression at the moment. I’m so confused. I don’t know whether to stay and support or get out now while I still can. Just feel hurt and confused and one minute everything seems fine and the next he’s done it again
I can understand how scary this is fo you. It’s worrying when someone you love is clearly unwell, and self harming in the way of addiction.
I think as partners of a problem gamblers we tend to only worry about their well being. We forget that we were affected by their actions, and need healing ourselves.
I’ve been dealing with this for years. I thought I’ve figured him out, and I can help him. All throughout the cycles of deception, money loss, time lost, I have never thought I needed help myself until now.
I know you love your partner, _and you want to support him. I am sure he has some great qualities in him that made you want to be with him in the first place. Just know that being a partner of a problem gambler is not an easy task, I can say from my experience that they’ll be a lot of heartbreak ahead. Until he finally get out of the cycle, which not many do. I do hope your partner find that magic formula to get out of this cycle.
Regarding finances, I know you’re in the early stage of your relationship. But make sure you take control of that. If he wants to be better he will relinquish control to you. Money is their drug, and access to it is lethal to them.
keep coming here. Write down your feelings and worries.
Best wishes to you, and take care of yourself too.
Hi Han and welcome.
If you choose to help him you can only do it from a position of knowledge and strength.
You must protect yourself first and I say that to all partners of gambling addicts. Its good that you are not living together and you must protect your boundaries so he is not wandering in and out bringing chaos to your life.
I understand love but you can not let this be a blind love. If anything he needs a tough brand of love to motivate him in his life and in his recovery. He has to be ready...you cant make him stop if he is not ready to surrender and seek help.
It sounds as though he has an addictive personality to his escape drugs for gambling is one of those. I have to be honest in that it worries me that he has cycled through the main addictions. Make no mistake gambling is a highly dangerous one...possibly the worst one in my book because it empties bank accounts in seconds
Its was never the answer to boredom or zero hour contracts. Those are separate issues he must face...they are not actually excuses to gamble.
I understand they will be depressing him as gambling is strongly linked to mental downs and mental illnesses.
Ive always been an empathatic knight in shining armour trying to change people in relationships. However Ive lived with an alcoholic briefly and it simply didnt work because she was unable to change. I ended up homeless and it was strong lesson to learn
You have to think of your own health and security first. Im not saying he is inherently bad and I dont know your relationship. Obviously you have decisions to make and only you can make those.
I like to think that you will try and help him but we must detach from the emotion and just tell you the facts surrounding this addiction.
So thats no money to him, controlling his finances and making sure he is not using you for food at the weekends so he can gamble again. Thats just a few things to mention...theres plenty of others
Its not easy and will depend if he sees the light and realises he has to stop to save his relationships and any quality of life.
Best wishes from everyone on the forum
Four months is nothing. There are (fortunately for you) no ties here. Switch this around and think about what you want, need and deserve from a partner. An addict who won't stop can't provide it. Even if he does want to stop you will need to be one step ahead on everything financial permanently.
How do you want life to be?
He’s told me tonight he has done it again today. Only has £50 of wages left and has gambled kids Xmas money.
we do live together but he still has a flat which we were looking for him to give notice on but perhaps that’s not a great idea.
its hard to think about turning off emotions as they are so strong. However he asked me to promise never to leave him tonight and I said I couldn’t promise that. I have two teenagers and am worried they will get hurt if they build even more of an emotional bond and then lose him.
he has a little girl I love who visits every weekend. I don’t understand how he can gamble kids Xmas money. That breaks my heart. I’ve never had an addictive personality and don’t understand how it feels. I know his previous addictions cost him his relationships and ultimately being able to live alongside his children.
I don’t get how he is risking it all again. Why isn’t love enough?
is it possible to change?
in three days I’ve posted on here, phoned the helpline and registered for counselling. He registered for the course but won’t ring the number or go on the forums.
he wouldn’t put the Xmas money in my bank to keep it safe and now it’s gone. I wish I understood. I feel so hurt and confused. I never let my guard down and I’ve trusted him and learned to love after someone much previous hurt and abuse from my alcoholic ex husband. Now I feel a fool and should have stayed wary and kept myself and kids protected from yet more pain.
I feel for you I really do. His reluctance to put xmas money in account or to join forum or engage in anything helpful for himself and for you tells you all you need to know. Look in mirror and ask yourself where you would like to be in 6months time..is this how you want to live. I think separate address is certainly an option.
It seems like he is in denial of how bad his addiction is. I am sorry to hear he has lost the kids Christmas money. That sounds horrible.
My advice Han, is if you don’t have yet strong ties with him, I would set him free. Easier said than done I know. In my opinion, you will find that addicts will be forever addicts. You’ll need to be always one step ahead and in charge of finances. He can’t have access to money without you seeing it, otherwise he will gamble. Temptation and excuses will always be there.
Best wishes to you,
Han. Does he try and control you in any way because its you that should be doing the talking about what you want. Get some space for a while and ask him what he is going to do to show you he wants to sort himself out
He needs carefully worded reality and no you cant promise never to leave him...nobody can really.
You dont need to fully understand yet. Take a deep breath and start protecting yourself straight away and that includes the emotional responsibility of buying the kids christmas presents.
You try and ensure the kids have a good christmas or his addiction has the power to continue to badly hurt everyone. Just small things as your children will appreciate stability and love
I understand and feel for you but you are rushing ahead of yourself.
Small steps day by day. You have to tell him that you cant trust him with money and his gambling is ruining everything.
Tell him to get some overtime or a second job build up some pride in being a good man and plonk some money down on the table for flowers or presents for the kids...he needs to build some self respect and learn to love himself and you again
We cant answer all your questions but the truth sets you free. Sometimes relationships cant be saved. Sometimes working at it can save them.
A gambling addiction is a real problem. He can change if he is truly ready and fears what he might lose. He may well lose you if he cant stop. An active gamber will take all your security and stability away
Can you control all his money...will he let you do that.
We cant really give you what you want to hear at the moment. Tell him some home truths and see how it goes.
He sounds like a damaged depressed individual with a trail of addictions and destruction behind him. He will just take you along for the hellride unless you can see something in him that will get help to change.
I admire you for wanting to help but its a big job and you can never be complacent again.
How do you see a life starting with controlling his money and credit reports...giving him a sandwich allowance and gently pushing him through the door of a GA meeting. His wages coming direct to you...generally knowing where he is...making sure he cant borrow off friends or payday loan companies...keeping a flat in your name and ensuring he pays his way or hes out
We cant tell you what to do other than protect yourself and give yourself some time to think. You may enjoy his company if he cant affect your money or kids happiness...If he gets skint its tough luck and off to the soup kitchen because you wont be giving him a penny....see my point...youre not a bank and you wont have your love taken for granted
He may just realise you are the only important thing he has ever had
Best wishes from everyone on the forum