I've just tonight found out that my husband is a gambling addict. I had questioned where money had been disappearing to in the past but he always came up with an excuse. He lost his mum and his best friend in the space of a year and it seems to have spiraled out of control after that. I want to work through it, but I really struggle with trusting someone after they've betrayed me. Will things every get better?
Hi Addison initially we attempt to fix everything, we think of the future, the betrayal, how will we cope, etc.
The only way to cope is to get through a day at a time. Get support, talk to people who have lived through the nightmare. Gamcare offer counselling, phone lines. There are Gamanon meetings online every evening at 7-9, all anonymous. Go to the website to log on. These are all f&f of gamblers. This is for you.
your partner needs to seek his own help. He can call gamcare, log in to GA meetings. He can download blocking software, join gamstop. He can hand over finances.
Try to look after yourself. Encourage him to seek help, to talk. Only believe what you see, not what he says. Credit checks.
addiction is very powerful and is not easy to overcome if the addict isn't willing. Think about protecting yourself and your finances. Forcing someone to seek help or do it your way often leads to more deceit. Focus on yourself and getting support for you.
He has betrayed you, no doubt about it and your right to be angry and questioning things but he may also have an addiction and needs help. You have done the right thing in seeking help and advice as you also need support through this if you continue with the relationship.
My advice would be to research all you can about this addiction, get support for yourself from here and any Gam-Anon meeting you can find (Gam Anon is a support group for families of Gambling addicts, you can google their site). Then you can sit down with your husband and have an honest discussion.
Im a compulsive gambler so I know this will not be easy for your husband and he may resist it but if you want to save the marriage you will have to give him some conditions that are non negotiable.
First and foremost is you want the truth, no matter how bad the damage he has done (and it can be bad as compulsive gamblers commonly rack up lots of hidden debt) you want full disclosure so he will have to sit down with you and go through all his accounts and credit card payments etc so you can see the true extent of his gambling history. Be prepared as this can be a difficult process for both of you but a necessary one.
If you get through this it should be clear to him that his gambling is out of control and he needs to get help to address it, whether the marriage survives or not. He is not alone and he will realise this if he goes and starts attending his local GA meetings, there he will get support from other Compulsive gamblers who are at various stages of recovery. He will need to but some blockers in place to help fight the addiction, for example register with GamStop (they will self exclude you from all online sites so you cannot sign up or gamble with them for a set period of time), self exclude from the local bookies, hand over financial control etc.
If you decide you want to fight to save the marriage and he is willing to seek help the next step is to give you the reigns. This can vary in degrees but basically it means you will have access to everything so he cant hide funds or credit. In this day and age there is no need for him to have cash, so he can use a debit card and you can see every transaction he does. There should never be a need for him to withdraw cash for example. He should transfer any wages over to you on pay day as he cannot be trusted with money for the foreseeable future. You should have access to his emails also and his credit history so you can see if he takes any loans or credit cards out.
None of this is easy but these, but they are necessary.
I wish you well.
He hasn't betrayed you, he has an illness that is stronger than you know. If you suddenly discovered he had cancer would you say he had betrayed you? No, you'd ask why he kept it from you and try to get him help. Same with this. Now I don't know anything about your husband's gambling other than he has lost some money, but it's so much more than that. It takes over your life, makes you lie, makes you do things that you wouldn't do normally including hiding from our loved ones. It makes you insane.
I understand that it hurts now but it's now that he needs your love and help.
What you can do is suggest he get help but he has to want it. That normally comes from reaching a place where he needs help, but sometimes the fact that he's been discovered might be enough.
How you choose to live your life and marriage though is up to you, but from my experience, when my secret came out to my wife she supported me completely. I went to GA and she got help from Gam-anon and our lives became even better than it had ever been.
I'm not saying that it is an excuse for everything, and unfortunately my relapsing time and time again got too much for my wife and decided her life didn't need the misery that gambling brought, but I had so many chances and couldn't take the help at the time that I fully understood why we finished.
If you can have a conversation with him and try to get him talking then you can give yourself a chance of understanding what's been in his mind. He might have wanted to tell you but didn't know how but now it's out he can move forward? Only the two of you can work that out.
Try and remember that he didn't do this on purpose to hurt you.
@ addison - I know it feels like he's betrayed you but he is going to feel like this is his lowest moment right now - so he needs the reassurance that there is light at the end of the tunnel
Dont make him feel like a criminal because it's an illness & borderline effects his mental well being
If he knows your there for him - no matter what, then this will help his 1st step to recovery
He can only get through this will this support of loved ones around him