I'm very new here but felt like I had to share my experience with people that I hope will understand how I'm feeling right now and hopefully advise me on what's the best thing to do next.
Today I received an email from my credit card company to say I had reached my maximum limit and would be charged if I continue to exceed the limit. This is a credit card I haven't used since December 2018 and is only used for emergencies.
I rang the credit card company straight away to be told that new transactions had been taking place since mid May right up until July. This included the purchase of a phone that I had already questioned with another company after receiving a statement from them.
I was also advised someone had called the credit card company during June and changed the mobile number. They could only give me the last 3 digits.
I'm sure you can see where this story is going, the last 3 digits matched my partners mobile number.
The company explained that money had been transferred onto another top up type card and Western Union. I hadn't heard of either but I was aware my partner had a top up type card for travelling.
So after a phone call with myself apologising to her initially... "I'm so sorry to ask you this, but you haven't been using my credit card have you?" and a 5 second silence which felt like an hour, the truth is finally out.
She's managed to max out the credit card of 5k and it's all gone on gambling. I was aware she had history with gambling due to her ex being addicted but I wasn't aware of her gambling addiction and the extent of it.
She explained it started during lockdown and spiralled out of control.
I'm literally lost for words. I honestly don't know what to say or do.
We've both been in tears all evening. She's clearly stated several times that I'm better off without her and that everyone would be better off without her.
I've tried to explain she needs to get some professional help but she's just staring into space and I'm honestly not much more help as I'm overwhelmingly shocked. I never saw this coming. Not ever.
She's explained she wants to call the credit card company herself tomorrow and explain all and has told me to contact the police for the fraud. I just want her to get help but I honestly don't know what I'm dealing with here.
That is really tough for you.
Bottom line is she needs to decide to stop gambling and block herself with GamStop and any other means available. You take financial control and she seeks support for her addiction. You'll get a lot of advice on here. I hope it works out for you.
Time, Opportunity and Money. Remove one of these factors and it's pretty hard to gamble.
Do not bail her out. Having to face the consequences of her actions can go a long way towards building up aversion to pressing the self destruct button.
I wish you well mate 👍
Hi Steviee and Welcome
Yes after a few paragraphs I could see where this was all going. We have seen the results of this devastating addiction countless times here.
We understand the power of the addiction and what it drives people to do. However she needs reality checks and you have to balance your loving support with the truth of whats going on here.
If you chose to help her you can both never be complacent again. Im not saying she is inherently bad because this is a drug addiction. Its the worst addiction I know about and you must now face the dangers of living with an addict and protect yourself first and foremost.
This takes more than her willpower and she needs to be ready for a born again moment and full abstention recovery
You now need to start learning what you are dealing with here. The tears and remorse do not prevent it from happening again. You will need to control all the money and leave no loopholes. Nobody should be lending to her and that includes all friends and family.
That is full on fraud whichever way you look at it. You need to sort and calm that down before the credit card company call the police in as they will feel obliged to do. She needs to face some of that as part of her recovery but obviously you are not going to get her into serious trouble.
She needs help and help is out there. She needs to be ready to accept help and you may need counselling over this.
If she doesnt seek help and show you she wants to change you have a real problem on your hands.
Ive been a gambler and I wouldnt live with one. However there is hope if you are both ready for the recovery journey.
Now the crux is she seems to have a history of this and Im afraid that is dangerous information that would ring my alarm bells. Once addicted she needed full monitoring and no temptation lying around.
Its not your fault so Im not blaming you. I think you will now learn what you are dealing with. We are not relationship counsellors so the decision to offer the help needed is yours. I would like to think you have a loving relationship and she deserves a chance
Best wishes from everyone on the forum
Sorry to hear what you are going through,
You will need to get on top of your finances and make sure she hasn't got access to any of your money. As Winterishere said, Time, Opportunity and Money are key ingredients.
Gambling addiction is a VERY SERIOUS problem. The reality though, is that in life, there are far more serious problems that one could encounter. If you truly love your partner, you'll need to support her to BEAT THE ADDICTION but first she has to be ready to help herself and you also have to protect yourself too. I personally hate to hear people say things like - I have been a gambler and I would never live with one. The magnitude of the addiction varies from individual and it takes different times for addicts to realize how big a problem it is or even if it's a problem at all. As someone who went from being very organised and responsible to a destructive gambler, I know first hand that this thing rips away anything that resembles sensible or rational thinking from your head, you become so reckless that you wouldn't even care about any outcome.
Don't take this issue likely with her, she has to be ready to stop. What's her view about seeking professional help? Ask her to come here.
I have a slightly different approach than others but you need to consider the implications of what a criminal record will do. It's all well and good saying that she needs to learn a lesson and maybe a deterrent from doing it again but unless you've gone through what having a criminal record means it's something I would consider as a last resort. The size of the debt isn't unmanageable so I would consider her and you have an agreement on that being cleared as well as what your future together is and what help for her addiction she is going to get.
Although it may seem like a short sharp shock the record isn't just invisible. It will potentially affect future jobs, it could affect travelling abroad, it could affect insurance costs and if she is written up in the local paper it's also online and that could cause problems years in the future.
Chances are if its a first offence with mitagating circumstances the sentence will be suspended but it still can affect so much more of her life. Yours too if you stay a couple.
I wouldn't get her to call the CC company unless you want to go ahead with the police as they may well be obligated to do it anyway.
See if she wants to get help first, it's never too late to put things right, but please consider the criminal aspect of it as a last resort.
Yes I said to try and calm it down in order to avoid reaching that stage. None of us have mentioned pursuing that line for punishment. The financial mess and heartache is punishment enough. Further advice from professionals will be needed
Reality must be faced in some way but Im not saying that someone would effectively press charges against their partner or even get their partner into further trouble.
I would say that openness, honesty and a gambling addiction are a plausible defence
Im not holier than thou. I've been there defrauding my parents with lies. Who knows what I would have been capable of to fund that addiction
This is so sadly what deregulated gambling is doing to people. I try and balance what I say but I dont soft soap people with this. To those that think gambling is a silly little flutter I say that the high street and online dens are pushing something extremely dangerous from the start. I don't think all the fault is with the gambling addicts although we have to accept responsibility to recover
There are millions affected by this problem and many of them dont really know the full extent of it yet.
I am just trying to tell Steviee what this is all about and obviously it takes more than a kiss and make up moment.
I wish Steviee all the best. There is help and there is hope for a good future.
Best wishes to everyone on the forum
I feel like you're replying to my message so I'll reply.
This is part of your message.
"That is full on fraud whichever way you look at it. You need to sort and calm that down before the credit card company call the police in as they will feel obliged to do. She needs to face some of that as part of her recovery but obviously you are not going to get her into serious trouble."
This is from winterishere
"Do not bail her out. Having to face the consequences of her actions can go a long way towards building up aversion to pressing the self destruct button."
Both these comments can be read as ensuring that the partner faces consequences, and quite rightly, but I don't see how she can face some part of it and not get into serious trouble. If she in anyway contacts the CC company, then the CC company have to notify the police for fraud. They won't just give her a stern talking to, if there's an opportunity for a fraud conviction they will have to follow it through as an example to others.
For me, if there is a way to face consequences over this, it would be to be liable for the debt and interest. The amount is manageable.
In certain circumstances there is a justification for a partner to contact the police regarding a fraud or financial situation, and if that meant looking after oneself then that's okay.
I'm giving advice based on my own experience, something I have been through, not something I have seen, heard or read about, so I know a little about this.
If she turns out to not want help or not bothered about the mess that she has caused then the shock of going through the judicial system could be bad enough that a short term punishment becomes a long term solution.
It is a difficult situation for anyone to be in and I'm sure Steviee has a lot to consider.
I hope I can just add another dimension to the thought process.
Hi steviee. You have had a few replies differing in content and although I wasn't going to post I feel compelled to. You are in shocked in pain distressed and don't know what to do this is what I inflicted on my husband a little over 6 weeks ago. I have shared most things on this forum but this is a first . I also ran up debt on my husband's credit card I deleted emails addressed to him regarding this. I changed his phone number with the bank account that is in his name to my phone number so that text alerts that were about statements, balances, overdrafts,came to me not him. I found out the password etc to his premium bond account and while he was sleeping I cashed out a chunk into our bank account then transferred it into my "secret" account . I got found out in the most dramatic way early one Friday morning and then I told him everything every sordid detail once I started I couldn't stop. After obvious shouting etc he left to meet his sister . A few days of not talking then we gradually started to talk, he told me that on his way to meet his sister he detoured as he was going to go to the policestation and have me arrested. He thought about the devastation this would cause especially for our 15yr old son and he didn't go in. He left me under no illusions that a second time would not end so well for me also he had read up a bit about gambling addiction and had started to come to terms with what had happened. Now 6weeks on we are working on not only my addiction together but also our marriage that for the last few years had been difficult especially for me. I have asked him for his opinion on this as it's thrown up questions for me . He said that he was 100% glad that he had not gone into the police and that that at that time was a knee-j**k reaction however he was serious about no more chances and I believe this. I didn't intend to commit fraud I got caught in a horrible spiral of addiction and like all gamblers I " knew I was going to win big would repay debt put the money plus more back into the premium bonds buy nice things and we would all live happily ever after" .....The crazy deluded world of a gambling addict. No one on here can sway you in what to do I hope that I've given you food for thought and do you honestly think that it's just me and your partner that have done things like this .......I'm waiting for GA to start meetings again I've done everything else and I believe that I'm giving myself and my family the best chance. Best wishes
Before making any decisions please speak to the Gam Care team. My husband did something similar and I averted this course of action with the best intentions.
However it had a devestasting consequence. He felt so undeserving that the next time he gambled he took the criminal activity to a whole different level.
Be careful and make sure you get the right support from professionals who know what your dealing with. A Gambling addiction removes rational thoughts when they are caught up in the moment.
I wish you and your partner all the best of luck with your journey.
Well my friend I feel so sorry you've had this horrible addiction effect not just your partner but also yourself, gambling is the devils game and I get where your partners comming from just starring into space as that minute the cat came out the bag she must've felt like the world had fell in all around her even the possibility off losing you, look I'm not saying what she did was right as it's totally wrong and I did it myself, after being gamble free for over a year I got an email from one of the big gambling company's and I thought I'll use £10 no one will know well as a problem gambler I should've know it wouldn't stop their But you chase your money when you lose. 1hr later I'd lost nearly £8000 that my partner didn't even have so I couldn't believe what I'd done and couldn't see no way out as I had stolen from my partner and our kid's, I'd took food out off there mouths, I couldn't understand how I'd used as much and that's the God's honest truth. When your a problem gambler I believe you'd do anything, you'll probably find out your partner has maxed out her own card's and having no more money on her end she's turned to using your card or whatever else chasing this money thinking she could get it back, I think she needs to sign up for gamban, get on this site to talk to an adviser or even one of us as she's not on her own. Unless your a problem gambler you'll struggle to understand, it's like a drug addict needing there fix! You tell me any drug in the world that can leave you in so much debt after such a short period of time. Your partner and even yourself need help to get to grips with this destruction that's been caused. I don't know if you've found out how much debt your partners in but I don't just think it'll be the 5k on your card. Get a credit check if need be, but its clear your partner needs to get help plus she should put you in charge of her finances. I hope you get to the bottom of all this and your partner reaches out for help as you both need to know where your at. I wish you both all the help in the land and a gamble free future