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Opinions from gamblers needed please!!  

 
gettingnervous
(@gettingnervous)

I need advice from someone who's at least been gamble-free for a number of  years. sorry it's long, but you need a bit of background to understand the situation.

 
My ex gambler ( I hope so!)  partner of 6 years, with whom I share two daughters, has decided to leave me, and I can't make sense of it!
 
We met on a night out and hit it off straight away. He behaved like a real gent and from dating we moved in together, then I unexpectedly fell pregnant. I knew he had a few credit cards to pay off, but it seemed normal for a bloke in his late 20s.
When our first girl was 5 months old, he confessed to being a gambling addict. At first I didn't know what to think, I knew it couldn't be a good thing, but I wasn't aware of the complexity of the issue. After some research I got my head round the problem, and all of the sudden all the mood swings, the extended periods of time away from home, his manipulative behaviour, his anger, it all made sense!
Obviously he wanted to quit and he promised many times he would try on his own. There were several relapses and in July 2016 (after 18 months of me finding out) our daughter was messing about in his drawers and she found a letter from the bank saying he had missed a repayment on his loan.
I couldn't take it anymore and told him I couldn't do anything more to help him and that he should leave straight away.
He was heartbroken and he started a real journey into his recovery, this time with me by his side. As we all know it's not been easy, as he needed to rebuild himself from scratch.
During this time it crossed my mind that he could be doing dry gambling: he wasn't physically placing bets, but equally I don't think he really worked on himself to understand what he was getting from it, what his triggers were, etc.
Anyway, everyone's journey into recovery is a personal one, and he had became a much more present partner and father, he was spending time with us and he was generally a pleasant person to be around.
As his debts were becoming a burden on our family (we never had money for anything) during his recovery I have helped him with finances so that he could paid them off quicker. I got an interest free credit card under my name so he could do a balance transfer, I paid off his loan so he could pay me back interest free, etc. He's given me back every penny I have lent him. His last payment to me has been December 2018.
In May 2018 our second daughter was born (first one was an accident, this one was planned and wanted by both of us).  He's from England and I'm from Italy, we had been living in the UK all this time and had always talked about moving to Italy at some point. We don't get much support from his family in England, I'm very close to my family and many things, from the weather to family life would have been better for everybody in Italy.
A few times he got impatient and was asking why we weren't moving sooner etc.
So once we had two kids and I was on maternity, we started planning our move. Our eldest would have started school this September, and I really didn't want to go back to my well-paid but very stressful job. He wasn’t too fond of his council job either, so the time seemed right for everybody.
In Jan 2019 I secured a job I could do remotely, and myself and the girls moved to Italy in March. He stayed behind to wrap up the house and he joined us in April. 
When he got off the plane, I instantly felt that something was off. He looked distant, as if he had put a wall between us, he was difficult to get to (as if he was always distracted) and generally seemed totally uninterested in our new life. 
When I brought this up with him, he said it's because he's in a new country, he doesn't understand the language, he's having a bit of a cultural shock, etc. 
Fast forward two months, and in the meantime he's told me that he doesn't want to be with me anymore. He will stay in Italy for the sake of the girls, but he wants to rent a flat on his own.
When I tried to find out more about his reasons, the only thing he could say is that he's always found me "controlling" and he feels that it's either my way or nothing, and that he feels his opinion doesn't count.
I had chills going down my spine, as this is what he used to tell me when he was gambling. The fact that he's accusing me of being controlling scared me. I consider myself to be quite chilled, and his opinion is always taken into account for major life decisions. I might disagree on the small everyday stuff, and being Italian I might be more open to tell what I think. But despite the usual trust issues that come after being with a gambler, I've always tried to do my best to give him his space. Also, I've been there for him in his darkest moments, without ever judging him, and he's been my rock while I was in England and I was missing my family. Plus we've raised our daughter practically on our own, while he was recovering.
So our relationship was quite solid, or at least I thought so.
He's always showed commitment to me and to our family. His own family is a bit broken and it felt like he had found a sort of balance with me.
We’ve drifted apart a bit in the last year, with having a newborn and a toddler, no time for anything, plus planning a move. I’ve apologised if our relationship has lost its priority, and I was willing to start afresh in Italy, with new surroundings and a new life... but he didn’t even want to try!! 
So I’m really just hoping that he’s simply fallen out of love with me, although it’s happened all of a sudden. 
 
however, some of his behaviours remind me of them dark times when he was gambling:
 
He's totally living in the moment, without considering consequences. He maintains he'll move to a flat on his own and that he will make it work in Italy. So far, he hasn't made any effort to learn the language or to make any friends. So surely he will only become more homesick?
 
He plays the victim: I've told him that I'm hurting because of his decision, that I valued our relationship and I still had feelings for him. His reply was that I'm a spoiled brat because I've got my family and friends here, what do I have to complain about. He's in a foreign country and doesn't have anybody, what should he do then?
So he dumps me and breaks our family apart, but he's the victim of all this?
 
He changes his mind all the time: at first he said that he wanted an unfurnished flat because he wants his own furniture. I pointed out that furnishing a flat can be expensive, he said he could do it all for 500quid (very unrealistic). He also said he would get a motorbike to go around as he can't afford a car. Now he's only looking for furnished flats and the motorbike is not his priority anymore
 
He is emotionally detached. Since breaking up with me, he's not showed any remorse. He's carrying on as normal. Plus he's totally self centred and has an arrogant attitude. And he's been blaming me for his unhappiness- he said he was becoming a sad person being with me. He’s looking for external
reasons for being unhappy, running away from reality 
 
He's constantly unsatisfied: we moved to Italy just before summer, we live a short drive from the beach, we found a lovely flat in town which is cheap enough, thanks to people I knew he had secured a job at the local swimming pool within 2 weeks of arriving here, despite not speaking a word of Italian... yet his attitude has been quite cocky, and very negative. I’ve been finding myself trying to do things to make him feel better (maybe if I buy him a new top he will cheer up). Plus his negative attitude had started to bring me down. All of this just brings back memories of his gambling days 
 
When I try and talk to him, I feel like he’s trying to manipulate me: turning conversations around, and making me feel bad or guilty. It’s basically all about him. My needs and feelings don’t count 
 
He has anger outbursts: the other day he was getting a top out of a drawer. The drawer got stuck and he started slamming it so hard the whole wardrobe was shacking and he was swearing in the process
 
All the above might as well be because he doesn't want to me with me anymore, and surely he would prefer to be in England if it wasn't for the girls.
He still looks and behaves like a decent person, so maybe it’s all in my head. 
 
My questions for you gamblers
 
1) did you find that after your recovery you had become a different person, and this made you reconsider all your life choices (including the person you were with)?  It's almost like he's a new person post gambling, and he doesn't want me to be part of it.
 
2) after being gamble free, did you find some of the old behaviours creeping back? Because simply they were part of who you were? He can be quite arrogant and he lacks humility- could it just be that he’s showing me his real self, even if he’s not gambling?
 
3) if you had a relapse, how long did it take for things to turn for the worst? His detached behaviour has started roughly 6 months ago (funnily enough, after he finished paying me back), but I don’t think he’s***t rock bottom yet. 
 
I’d like to have some opinions- more than anything reassurance that I’m taking things a step too far and that the above might not necessarily be indication that he’s had a relapse....
Thoughts? 
Quote
Posted : 8th August 2019 10:38 pm
Joydivider
(@joydivider)

Hi

Welcome to the forum.

A gambling addiction is one of the most dangerous things you could face as a partner so I would need more information from you on that side.

Do you know he has definately stopped gambling? Unless you were controlling all the finances and monitoring his credit reports yo will not know for sure.

I cant advise or help with relationship issues. People grow apart. I dont know your relationship or how loving it was/is.

If he has relapsed he probably wont tell you. This addiction is so strong that it cares nor for partners homes and children. A worst case scenario is the addiction wants rid of you so he can continue to gamble.

However dont run yourself down. Knowledge is strength with this addiction. You dont need him running you down and one thing you certainly dont need is a partner that gambles or cant face recovery properly.

A key point is that gamblers are not inherently bad people. Its a mental illness and addiction. Im a nice person. Being gamble free didnt bring out bad behaviour. Im a better person for it with a healthy mind.

A gambling problem is a complex addiction triggered by many factors. Its linked to troubles in the soul. Im afraid he should be soul searching and you need to be going deeper like was he stressed bringing up a family and was he really happy at any stage of his life.

Your health is just as important. If it isnt working it isnt working. Im just worried that he may be gambling but you havent given enough information about that. Everything seems a bit manipulative and my best advice is that you may need some space as you build strength and security...dont lend him any more money!.

Ive been a gambler and I wouldnt live with one if I wasnt 100% sure the control of money was with me. and the gambler was relieved to be in a true recovery You need to learn much more about what you are facing.

Best wishes from everyone on the forum 

This post was modified 2 months ago 2 times by Joydivider
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Posted : 9th August 2019 10:15 am
gettingnervous
(@gettingnervous)

Thank you for taking the time to read and reply- a gambler’s perspective is always handy to have. 

Im pretty certain he’s been gamble free for the last 2.5/3 years. He’s paid off his debts and had spare money to do other things. I’ve been checking his bank statements quarterly. Probably in the last year I’ve stopped doing it though.

I’ve noticed a few suspect behaviours. The last repayment he made to me, he gave me £2000 in one go. It was a lot of money, but surely if he had won that money he wouldn’t have used it to pay me back!

During his recovery he also regularly did auctions on eBay- i thought this was a bit dodgy, but he seemed fine with it.

Last Christmas he wanted to take part in a charity raffle/auction at his works’ do, and I begged him to please don’t do it!!

in the last few months, he’s been very difficult to talk to. So I’ve not brought anything up with him. Also because I don’t think I will be able to help him again in case he’s relapsed.

like you say, he probably got a bit too much stressed raising a family, and recently relocating to a new country, and he’s not happy with his life anymore.

regardless of this, he’s become quite selfish and self centered, so probably this is just part of who he is.

time will tell, I just hope this is just a mid life crisis and not a relapse!!

ReplyQuote
Posted : 9th August 2019 11:39 am
holycrosser
(@holycrosser)

If he has access to money you have no way of knowing in truth , my guess is he is but that’s through words on a screen.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 9th August 2019 2:09 pm
gettingnervous
(@gettingnervous)

Thank you for giving me some perspective. 

us partners always try to give the benefit of the doubt, but maybe I’m being naive 

time will tell 

 

ReplyQuote
Posted : 9th August 2019 2:36 pm
Joydivider
(@joydivider)

Yes all I am saying is that its very difficult to tell you what you may want to hear.

You need to protect yourself firstly and foremostly. If he has space and access to cash you wont really know if he is gambling. Its an addiction which creeps back if the mind hasn't healed...it can come again out of the blue because its powerful and all consuming.

What we are trying to say to you is this is no time for uncertainty or for you to be a shrinking violet. If his gambling cant financially affect you then you may be able to help.

Just tell him that gambling is not and will never be acceptable to you. You cant tell him what to do if he is reluctant to change.

I feel for you but it sounds as though he is making decisions to go it alone. You cant do much about that other than be strong, dont be manipulated and make sure your finances cover your security. You also make it clear that you are not a lending bank or a financial shoulder to cry on.

You are the mother of his children but it doesnt mean you should be manipulated or be unhappy with it all

You may need some counselling and you need to plan finely what affects you if he relapses or not. He is an adult...he stands by his own decisions as long as it doesnt affect you and the kids. (which gambling unfortunately will in some way)

I know its difficult because if he is gambling, it will drag him down ands its effectively with money he could support the kids with.

Its your call...I dont know enough about what he may or may not be doing.

we advise partners to protect themselves and seek all the help and advice you need.

Best wishes from everyone on the forum

This post was modified 2 months ago 2 times by Joydivider
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Posted : 10th August 2019 9:59 am
GreenEyes20
(@greeneyes20)

Hi,

Gambling controls your life and ruins relationships. I have been addicted to slots online for several years, chasing the big jackpot wins. I self banned from a site telling my husband no more, in March this year I used another site. He opened a joint bank account with me to monitor the money,it was only me paying money in. It was so that he could watch what I was doing. Yes you guessed I failed, he said he wants me to leave our home. I want this to stop for good and I want to stay in my home. It is a nitemare, which is all my fault he has been a good husband to me and I have failed. I am hoping he will let me stay and this can work out as we have a son at home. Today I have made a positive decision I am finally ending this slot addiction and spending time doing something else, because it makes you worse and not a good person.

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Posted : 11th August 2019 8:24 am
kodokterbang
(@kodokterbang)

Hello, I advise you to read the following post. I leave you an extract of some of them:

 

Pathological gambling is considered to be one of the impulse control disorders according to the DSM psychological reference manual. Here are 9 possible behaviors that may be occurring in someone you know, or even yourself. If these behaviors occur, or at least 5 of them, we can talk about a problem with gambling.

1) If thoughts revolve around the idea of playing, recurring and frequent desires to play.
2) More and more time is needed to satisfy the pleasure in the game. Before with less time the person was happy, now needs to increase that time.
3) The person who has problems with the game, may have repeated attempts to want to leave the game, but does not succeed.
4) Gambling is used as a way to avoid problems and decrease symptoms of anxiety and sadness.
5) When he tries to stop playing or is not playing, he has feelings of irritability and persistent desire to play and restlessness.
6) He often loses money and tries to keep playing to see if he gets it back.
7) Usually lies to those around him.
8) Illegal acts (theft, fraud, etc.) may occur in order to get the lost money.
9) You can lose loved ones, whether they are a couple, friends, etc.

 

Finally, the pathological player is the one who has all or most of the areas of his life affected.
The pathological player can go through a series of phases:

1) Pre-contemplation phase: the player does not think that he is 'involved' in a problem, enjoys playing and does not listen to the advice of others.
2) Contemplation phase: the person already has a few problems and begins to think and consider possible ways to seek help.
3) Action preparation phase: the person already has a lot of problems and has even become lonely, has tried to stop playing, cannot and is looking for professional help to get out.
4) Final phase (recovery or relapses).

Remember that psychological and medical assessments can only be performed by professionals. Do not self-diagnose. If you meet the diagnostic criteria or are in one of the phases, remember that with professional help problems can be overcome. In many cases combining psychological therapy with medicine. In the case of psychology, problem-solving techniques, relapse prevention, cognitive therapy, relaxation and exposure techniques are used.

Sources:

https://  lamenteesmaravillosa.com/los-problemas-con-el-juego-o-ludopatia/

https:// www.  psychologytoday.com/intl/conditions/gambling-disorder-compulsive-gambling-pathological-gambling

 

This post was modified 2 months ago 3 times by kodokterbang
This post was modified 2 months ago by Forum admin
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Posted : 11th August 2019 12:42 pm
gettingnervous
(@gettingnervous)

Edit (if anybody reads this): after 3 weeks of me first posting, surely enough he’s admitted to having had the biggest relapse. 

So you guys were right!!! 

I love this forum. 

Now he’s in England and I’m in Italy and he doesn’t even have the money to come and see his kids. I’ve known him for 7 years, but it still baffles me how many life opportunities  CGs can throw away for the sake of one last bet!!

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Posted : 29th August 2019 11:04 pm
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