Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this; I will try to make this as brief as possible!
I'm basically in need of some advice as to how to best approach and help my current partner, of a few years, about his potential compulsive gambling habits. I do not live with him nor have any shared finances etc, but, in the time we have been together (which has been a bit on and off in the past year), I am scarily starting to notice similar, erratic patterns in his spending which echo that of my ex-husband, who was definitely a compulsive gambler (lots of proof there, inc. various debt letters; large unexplained cash withdrawals; direct transactions to Bookmakers; and previously putting our home at risk). I have never had access to my partner's bank info etc, but he does appear to have spells where he has no issues with buying items, paying back for things etc and also much longer spells of 'deterioration' where he makes excuses about not having his bank cards on him/money to hand; does not seem to eat properly; lets both my children and I down last minute with plans; does not get his hair cut etc. Unlike my ex husband who used to take his losses out on me physically, my partner just seems to get really embarrassed about the above situations and sometimes seems to make an argument out of it, so that he can seemingly have the excuse to hide away in his rented place for a few days because he is not talking to me!
In addition, when times have been really good, he is relaxed and happy and money appears to be no real object for him, there have also been occasions where he has clearly fantasised and lied about various, but pointless things to me. E.g. there was a once a time that, for few weeks, he kept on going about a new car that he had viewed, test driven and ordered. Then as the deadline to receive the car came and went, he started to make up excuses about things going wrong with the service he was getting and eventually 'cancelled' the order of the car!! About a month ago, he finally admitted that he doesn't even have a driving licence, so this story was clearly a lie! There have been a few other, less extreme but either obvious or proven lies like this too, and he has since admitted to being a 'compulsive liar' ONLY. He says that he doesn't know why he does it and it's often in response to pressure, but I find that hard to believe with certain things and believe that they are more contrived of his own doing e.g. the car, whom no-one had pressured him about!
When I recently described my partner's actions to another help group for family/friends of gamblers, a few thought that he sounded more like he has Bi-Polar or some type of Personality Disorder as opposed to actually being a gambler. I guess what I would like your opinion on (particularly those of you who are gamblers) is whether or not anyone in this forum can identify with the obvious fantasies that my partner has and/or compulsive lying about things that may be indirectly about money. If I was to compare my ex husband to my partner, they are still two different people of which my ex husband was always (and still is) money-obsessed. Where as, although my partner sounds crazy (and me too for staying with him!), he is able to have conversations or partake in some activities (even in times of odd behaviour with his money) where he acts 'normal', and is thoughtful and kind e.g. doing some DIY jobs for me, or helping out with the kids (who are not his).
I should also add that I have confronted my partner before about the possibility of being a compulsive gambler (particularly after his brother told me that my partner has borrowed lots of money off him before for debts and not always paid them back) but he just dismisses the fact and has even implied that I have issues because of my past history with my ex-husband! Although he acknowledges that I am right to have trust issues with him because of the proven lies about other things. Part of me thinks that I should kick him to the kerb, but a big part of me also desires to help him because I have grown to love him for his other ways. However, I know that there can be no proper, long-lasting relationship between us if there is no trust and I am therefore itching for him to come clean about his reckless spending habits/potential gambling, in order to hopefully seek help and move on past this hurdle!
Any advice or comments would be greatly appreciated; no matter how brutal with the reality check! Thank you.
You cant help him. He is the only one who can. If he is not ready to quit, he will continue until he reaches rock bottom. Its the hard truth. First you need him to confess he has a gambling problem, then discuss with him to clearly see that he wants to stop. If he becomes evasive or doesnt admit having a problem that is the sign that he wishes not to do anything about it yet. Unfortunately he like every other gambler will come to a time when he sees that gambling only brings despair and ruination.
ask him if gambling is more important than you are. Make him choose. Yes an ultimatum is acceptable here because gambling brings severe, grave dangers to you as his partner as well. This is a serious sickness which will bring you crashing down with him. Im not trying to scare you. I wish only to inform what a horrible affliction this is!
Hi Worried partner
I am a CG in recovery and from everything you have said it very much sounds like your suspicions are right about a gambling problem. I know from my own experiences that when I have had wins I have been spending money lots and then when gambling and losing it, not having any money and trying to avoid everyone. The in between times I was able to act ‘normal’ doing things like diy, doing nice things for others and pretending everything is okay. A huge part was down to the guilt I felt and the other part was because I didn’t want to be found out.
The part about the car is very strange as it is such a weird thing to lie about and I can’t see why someone would make something so strange up. If I had to come up with a theory then I would guess that there is a possibility that he may of had a big win, that the car story maybe even true but in the time he test drove and agreed to the contract that possibly he gambled it away again. I know someone who did exactly the above so it’s not so far fetched.
Until you get to the truth your life will be every bit of a rollercoaster as his life and although you love him, is that the life you want? You have obviously been through so much already with your ex-husband and I’d hate for you to go through all of the turmoil again. Remember, you deserve respect, love and honesty and you have to decide how much you are prepared to put up with but you recognise the signs so listen to your instinct. Gambling addicts are compulsive liars when in action and will try and manipulate any situation if they can.
Likes Lows has said in the post above, if he is gambling and won’t admit it then he isn’t ready to stop and probably doesn’t want to. CGs only stop when they’ve decided enough is enough but in the meantime you could get dragged to hell and back. Knowing what I know now if I was in your shoes I would talk to him and be honest that after all of the lies he has told, which he has admitted to that you are struggling to trust him and that if he isn’t gambling and has nothing to hide, he would be transparent about his spending and even be willing to show you his bank statement to put your mind at ease. He will probably refuse to, especially if you are right about the gambling but if that is the case, how can you ever build a future together or trust anything he says. It’s not going to be an easy road but if you know what you are facing then you can make informed decisions about your future. I really hope things improve for you.
Thank you for your honest responses.
I have been struggling to sleep all night, due to thinking things over and over in my mind. 😔 You are both right...the red flags are there and things are not going to get better unless he chooses to take control. As I've already hinted at him that I suspect him of gambling, and he appears intent in trying to cover things up and continue to lie to me, I have decided that I can no longer go on like this and need to be kind to myself and my children; particularly with what we have been through in the past. If he doesn't show me the proof of what I have asked, I have no choice but to end the relationship.
Im sorry to hear that the relationship may be over... I am of course also a recovering gambling addict. I choose my girlfriend over anything else in this world. Especially I choose MYSELF over gambling. Why would I want to do this to myself anymore? Its nonsense. I really hope your other recognizes soon what horrible evil gambling is and that he chooses what really gives him pleasure and hapiness in life... Wish you the best.
I’m really sorry you had a sleepless night and am pleased you are going to look after yourself and your kids first. This is just the first of many sleepless nights on a rocky road if you don’t get the truth and continue down that path and that isn’t the life you or your kids deserve.
I really hope you get the answers you are looking for so you can make the right decision for you.