So not too sure where to start with this but I’ll give it a go.
Me and my partner have been together for over 3 years (he’s 26 and I’m 24). Our relationship has been built on lies (his part) all based around his gambling addiction. Everytime he has come clean to me about his gambling I have forgiven him as I never really realized till recently he was an “addict”. My mum is an alcoholic and I don’t know why but I just didn’t see it the same way.
Anyway, before we got in a relationship he racked up about 18,000 worth of debt mostly from gambling and buying stupid things like jet skis and cars. He got into an IVA and has done really well to make the payments and is due to pay it off in March of next year.
Throughout our relationship he has always been able to pay his bills and we have been able to go on holidays and do nice things. I guess this is another reason why I never saw it as that bad of a problem. More recently (January this year) it got so bad he gambled away his half of our rent and bill money and we had no way to pay this. We ended up taking a break where he moved home to his mums and I stayed in our home. His mum ended up giving him the money to pay the bills and he decided that he wanted to stop gambling once and for all and get some help. In the 8 weeks he was away he was commited to changing. He used the app called mindset and spoke to someone on the phone from a GA group a couple of times through the 8 weeks. He made so much progress (so I and his family thought) and after a while we decided he was ready to move back into our home.
Our relationship was the best it had ever been as he was so honest to me and we were so happy. I thought all the lies had stopped and didn’t feel like I was walking on egg shells around him or worried he wasn’t being truthful to me. We had spare money and were able to do things around the house and treat ourselves. Fast forward to the 2nd of May (our 3rd anniversary) and he proposed to me! I was so incredibly happy that things were better. I thought the gambling was in the past.
A couple of weeks ago he started acting really strange and I just knew we had started gambling again. I asked him about it and he just denied it and had silly excuses why he couldn’t send his half of the bill money (his bank account was blocked due to fraudulent activity and he was just being lazy). It ended up coming out on the day the rent was due that he had been gambling again... I’m devastated as I have tried to be there for him. I ask him atleast once a week how he is feeling about his addiction and if he needs any support and he says no and that he feels great. What can I do? I can’t keep on like this. We are supposed to be engaged but this isn’t the life I want for myself. We both have good jobs and I’m worried he is going to throw it all away. I want to be able to afford to have a family of our own one day and not worry about if we can pay the bills or not. We still haven’t paid the rent (due the 8th) as we just don’t have the money. I have had to ask my dad for a loan as his family won’t help us anymore (they have bailed him out too many times).
We have said that the best thing to do is for me to take over his finances completely and that we need to start paying of his debts together. Is this silly of me? Should he be sorting his debts out on his own? I just don’t know what to do for the best. I love him. I don’t want to give up on him. I know he doesn’t want to do this and doesn’t do it to intentionally hurt me but it’s killing me. I’m so angry and hurt. I grew up with an alcoholic and I just don’t want this life for myself...
Is there any hope that he can get past this? Or am I best to walk away before I get more hurt?
TIA for any advice I’m just at a loss. Xx
Thank you for reaching out on our Forum, I am sure you will get plenty of advice and support from our members here.
It sounds like you have been through a roller coaster of emotions recently and that you have a lot of questions about the future.
You don't mention if you have spoken to our advisers but you may want to consider giving them a call on the HelpLine on 0808 8020 133 or by using our Livechat option. They can talk you through what has been going on for you and can also refer you for one to one treatment if you feel like it would be useful. That might help you work through everything that has happened to make a decision on how you would like to move forward.
You might also want to look at GamAnon who support people like yourself that have been effected by someone else's problem gambling.
I you feel able to, you could encourage your Fiance to give us a call. We would be able to help him look at ways to block his access to gambling and could offer him one to one treatment as well.
For now, take care and keep posting.
Good morning and welcome to the forum.
Please take control of ALL finances ASAP thus restricting any access he may have to funds. Debit / credit cards, cash, paypal - basically anything that can be used to facilitate gambling. My access to funds was stopped for 9 months plus - basically it kept me out of the bookies and away from the slots. Do not give an inch on this or he will take a mile. Like us all on here he is a gambler and has an addiction.
You mention about alcohol addiction and IMO an alcoholic is one drink away. A gambler is one bet away from disaster.
In respect of debt i would pick up the phone to Stepchange Debt Charity and explore what options are available to him and to you both.
Should you stay or go is only a question you can answer. As a recovering gambler my wife trusts me but not 100% due to my previous gambling history.
It may be that some tough love in needed to overcome and deal with this.
I wish you well.
As I'm sat here reading this the thing that comes from the page is just complete sadness. It reminded me of when I hadn't long been going out with my girlfriend and needed to get some money to replace some that I'd "borrowed " from work for gambling. We went to see her old nan and she said at the time that if her granddaughter wanted help she would give it to her but "if he did it once he'll do it again". Even now those words stick in my memory because she was right. As much as I promised I wouldn't and this would be the last time, when left unchecked my addiction came back and I would do anything to gamble, despite the promises and despite the love for my girlfriend. I was never given a choice like a lot of people have to make, gambling or a loved one, but if I was then gambling won every time. It saddens me but it has taken everything in my life.
If I was giving my girlfriend advice from 18 years ago it would this. There is a lot of help available. Gamblers anonymous works, Gamcare works, blocks work and there has never been a better time for help and tools available, but everything only works if the gambler wants help and puts the effort in. Oh and by the way, it's a lifetime of work. Slip ups often lead to complete disaster. But if the gambling is kept at bay you can have the most wonderful life.
My story continued with the wonderful life until it didn't, and after 10 years, of which 3 years towards the end were perfect and 7 were up and down because of the gambling, she had enough and that was that. She had to think of herself, the children, feeding them and keeping a roof over her head, and those were more important than me. And now she's happy and remarried. Could she have been happy with someone else 18 years earlier, of course, there's a lot of people out there who will make you happy without the stresses of addiction.
So that would be my question, is he prepared to work hard at stopping gambling as you are at making the relationship work? If not then don't waste your life. You only get one and it's too short.
So this is pretty much the same except I didn’t know till after we were married. I can’t recommend step change enough to help sort your self out financially. One of the things I was told in the first few days was that the debt didn’t happen over night so getting loans and quick fixes is not the right way to go about it and you don’t want to get your self in debt as well. I think sometimes if people bail them out then it almost feels like a safety net for them to carry on. Step change helped my husband see how he could pay his debts back but made sure all his bills were covered and even a little aside for savings, socialising etc. I don’t think anyone can tell you if you should leave or not, that’s completely down to you unfortunately. I will echo my husbands own words though “give and inch we’ll take a grand” I've taken control of all the finances and see everything, blocks on his phone stop him going on any gambling sites also. We are looking into counselling now also. I know how you feel, it’s horrible and upsetting and I still wondered if he’s really okay which worries more than any money lost.
Hope your okay x
Hey guys. Bless you Chris you seem to still carry the sadness around have you managed to move on? @kategal Chris has spoken from his heart and paid bare what's happened in his life. I'm only 13 days gamble free still fragile but finding some grit and determination . I have put everything in place including no access to our finances it's giving me the space I need to make good choices. Is my marriage going to survive ? I don't know......... I wish you all the best for the future
well to be honest it sounds like he is already throwing it all away
under no circumstances should you be shouldering his debt, this is quite possibly the worst thing you can do for a gambling addict
personally i would be saying look you either sort yourself out or i am off living life with a gambling addict is no fairytale
people like to perceive gambling as this incurable mental illness ,
it isn't and when you boil it all down the main trigger points are selfishness and greed he will need to work on these issues he has or you will keep going around in circles
be firm give him no room to talk his way out of it , tell him you want to see results and thats the end of it
Thing is he does want to do it and it's been an intentional choice not to reach out for help to stop.
Stopping is up to him. There's nothing you can do or say to influence that. He has to want it and then keep on wanting it more than he wants the next bet for the rest of his life.
Life with an active gambler who won't give up is hell as you've already found. He might stop. He might not.
You don't have to make a decision about the future immediately. Protect your own finances and interests, don't take on his debts and take some time to see how serious he is about putting in his blocks and living with the necessary permanent financial restrictions. Think very hard about what you want and how you want to live.
The sadness I meant was for the original poster to have to go through such a decision because of someone else's issues. I accept my past and wish only the best for my now ex in her life. She has our children so I'm always going to have a connection to her.
I'm just reminded of those nights when she would be crying because of my actions, and despite all the bad that I caused in her life, it wasn't enough for me to stop for her.
I had to stop for myself and then everyone around me could feel the benefit but gambling gave me nothing but misery and that's the sad part. Problem gamblers mostly always need to go through the pain before they can see the light and unfortunately that normally means others get dragged through the pain with us.
Such a hard decision for anyone to make based on what ifs and maybes.
Good I'm glad you've moved on chris. I'm a bit of a softy me I don't like people being in pain both physical or mental. When I nursed it really was one of my goals every shift. Sad thing was by the end of my career it was so manic that sitting and talking to patients helping them to get through fears and anxieties was almost frowned upon
I can really relate to a lot of what you are feeling having just found out a week ago that my partner is also a gambler and had lied about this from the start of our relationship... we also have a baby due in 10 weeks time.
I've unfortunately been with a gambler before and walked away from it because like you, I didn't want that life for myself. Now that me and my current partner have the baby coming I feel more of a reason to stay and give him a chance, not just for the baby but also because he is showing a lot of willing to change.
You have to make your own decision about what your prepared to put up with and what feels right to you but what helped me was to come to an agreement about things he would need to stick to in order for you to honour that chance. In my case that was him agreeing to access support, hand over his financial control to me, setting up his own repayments for his debts, working on our relationship and showing commitment to various things he had been neglecting due to his gambling. Try to write down what you would need from him in order to give him that chance (if that is what you want) and see if he is ready to put his money where his mouth is. If he can't agree to what your asking and isn't ready to change for himself then you don't have to be the one to decide because he has basically made that decision for you. If you are going to be with him you need to protect yourself against the damage his addiction can cause the best you can, so don't be afraid to ask for what you would need in order to stay rather than just putting faittth in him to do the right thing without something to hold him accountable to.
My partner has been making changes but progress is slow because it all takes time. Its frustrating and upsetting for me because I didn't want to ever be in a relationship that was affected by addiction again but I feel like for me there was something worth trying to save. I'm aware though that my feelings on that could well change depending on him following through keeping it in check long term.
In the short term, the things that helped me last week when I was reeling from the shock and pain of it all were:
-Having time and space away from him to think properly
- Speaking to trusted friends and family to get support for myself and not letting him make me feel guilty for sharing this, as hiding their secret helps no one.
-Trying to not let it consume me fully, remember you still have a life to lead. Bake something, do colouring, watch some good telly just anything that can distract you for a short period of time as overthinking will drive you insane.
-Try and accesss counselling or support for yourself through gamcare or gamanon and remember that its not all about him, you are just as important.
-As hard as it is try and do the basics well - eating and sleeping etc as I found out that lying in bed and crying just made me feel worse.
Anyway I'm no expert at all and I'm still very much on my own turbulent journey with all of this but I'm a week ahead of you things do look different. Nothing ever stays the same for long. Sending lots of strength to you xx
@mairread wow you have come so far in a week I'm sure that you are having bad days still when you want to run away. But all in all your posts show strength and determination. I hope that things work out for you and you find the happiness that you will crave when you have your little bundle of joy. But do you know what ? If it doesn't work you will be strong enough to go it alone. Best wishes
I feel for you and your partner as gambling is no easy addiction to crack , I know from my own side that I've went years without gambling in my life then out of no where I'm back at that dark place again, I went just over a year without gambling then on the 24th of April I got an email from an online gambling company I thought £10 can't do no harm my partner won't even know, well that's a gambling addicts worse mistake I won't go into it as it's about you. But 1hr later I was nearly £8000 in debt and the worst thing was it was done through my partner's PayPal and she never even had this so it basically drained every penny out her bank, arranged overdraft and unarranged overdraft aswell as her savings. This was not my first time but it's been the only time I've not been able to pull myself out the whole, and last week things were that bad I had 2 food parcels from a church, how ashamed and embarrassed I feel. But I won't blame anyone apart from myself. Things are really hard with me and my partner at the moment as you would expect I don't know if we're going to get through this as I've messed up so bad but I did it I knew I was doing it and I'm drained with everything, I can't and won't tell you what to do as I feel like a hypocrite. I don't know if I'll be moving out we will see but I did turn to every organization for help, I banned myself from gambling for 5yrs but wish it was life, I use gamecare, I've also got the mental health team helping me again as I suffer from post traumatic stress disorder please don't think I'm using this as an excuse as I only blame myself its just another service that could help me, I've also got a councillor I'm having zoom sessions with once a week at the moment as it's got to be done online, I'm also having help from other agencies so I really need everything in place and keep it there as the damage I've done is unreversable at the moment. I love my family but by my actions you wouldn't think so. I don't know what to say to you but he's got to reach out for help and only you will know what to do and it's a good start you've engaged with gamecare is your partner? I wish you all the best and remember not everyone is the same
@charlieboy thank you thats so nice of you to say. I am feeling stronger, but you are right there are still days when I feel like its all too much. In fact I still feel like that at some point at least once a day. Especially trying to sort out our finances which tbh is just a massive headache. I'm just trying to take each day as it comes. I feel comfortable in my decision to give him a chance all the while he is showing that he wants to change but I know that if that stops then really it will be his choices that lead me to leave and I won't have to live with the guilt of having to say to our baby that I didn't try or wondering 'what if he he had got better' as I have given him a chance, its just his choice now what he does with that. Even though this is not at all how I pictured things I'm trying to stay positive and excited for the baby. I don't want to look back on this time and only remember this horrible news coming out.