Hello all, new here and my head is all over the place so please bear with me.
So I've been with my partner almost 7 years now 2 kids. I found out when our second child was about 9 months that he had a gambling addiction. I was devastated. At the time my immediate thought was self preservation and protecting my children, and I was unsure whether I should stay. The thing was though we hadn't long bought a house together, (only a matter of months before I found out) and on my part-time wage things would have been tricky. In all fairness to my partner I would say he did all the right things. He showed me the mess his accounts were in and told me who he owed money to. He rang gam care that afternoon as soon as he got home and accepted some counselling. He signed up to the forum and checked in every week for at least the first year. I genuinely thought things were sorted and was impressed that he had sought to change things himself.
Anyway flash forward to last night, when I found out it had happened again and I realise the way I probably handled things the first time round was incorrect. I should have also sought support here then.
Towards the back end of last year my partner proposed to me. Even though a couple of years previous I could never have Imagined accepting I thought ironically we had beaten the odds, and so I accepted. We are due to get married in October this year. With the wedding looming in recent weeks I have been asking my partner to show me his credit file to put my mind at ease all was still well before taking the plunge, something he had done a lot in the early days the first time around. He kept putting this off and wasn't as forth coming as I'd have expected particularly when he knew why it was important to me!
Well you guessed it last night when he knew I wasnt going to let it drop he came clean and told me he fell off the wagon at the back end of last year for around 3 months. I am gutted I really dont know enough of the details at the moment to be honest, I just could not engage with him. He is at work now so I will need to get some more answers later. From what I can gather though it is about 8k he gambled. The debt is a little higher than this as he was still paying it off from the first time around. His circumstances at work changed for a little bit around the time it happened and he tells me the spare time he had on his hands is what started it off. It is all on the credit cards he had from taking care of his last lot of debt. Or so I believe.
The thing is I am now so conflicted on the one hand I am so angry at the amount of money wasted yet again and the thought of what it could have done for us. On the other hand I feel responsible in a way because I enabled him access to this. I did not want to treat him like a child the first time around removing his cards and viewing his accounts weekly. He had been so forthcoming in getting help I thought things would be ok and that I did not need to seek advice or take these measures; because I didnt I feel partly responsible and pretty certain it would not have happened had I done things differently before. If nothing else I should have asked him more often how he was doing and encouraged him to keep checking into the forum.
You read so often that gamblers cannot be helped and that the significant other should run for the hills. However despite all this deep down the man has a heart of gold. He'd do anything for anyone, is supportive and loving and a good dad. I know some may argue he could not be these things when he appears to have put gambling ahead of his family again but that's not how I feel about it. I suppose things could progress again way beyond my control but in all the time we have been together (most of which this has clearly been a problem) he has never missed a payment of a bill and he has always without fail transferred the agreed amount of money to our joint account to cover family expenses. I have read some awful things about people using other peoples cards and other forms of identity fraud, stealing jewellery and other expensive possessions and I honestly hand on heart (but maybe naively) dont feel he would ever get to that point.
I just dont know what to do from here on in. My first priority was always protecting my childrens best interests. I thought if there was ever a relapse then I would leave for my own dignity and their benefit. However the truth of the matter is if this was taken away we are a good family unit and the kids would be devastated if we went our separate ways. The quality of their life would be affected on many levels. My main worry I suppose if I walk is that their dad would be completely ruined and would self destruct. His family support unit outside of us, his parents are quite frankly useless and in many ways I believe are why he has the problems he does. At least this is what he indicated last time, and knowing what I do about his childhood I can see why that would be the case.
I haven't spoken to anyone on the gamcare team yet as I need to lose my kids for a couple of hours to do so. I dont really know what I want from this post, I suppose I just needed somewhere to get my messy thoughts down before I speak to someone. I'm also hoping for some positivity and some tales that tell me all is not lossed. I am a realist though and so understand that may not happen.
To all on here who are in recovery I wish you well. To the loved ones on this site my thoughts are with you all.
Thanks for your share. I can identify with your partner but also how I made my wife feel which is how you are feeling.
Only you know how you feel about your relationship and your future together and I can't possibly comment on that, but I wanted to pick up on your point about no helping gamblers and running for the hills.
As a problem gambler and a long time Gamblers Anonymous member, I have a clear understanding of why I go back at it. When I'm getting help through meetings, for example, I don't gamble. When I stop getting help, eventually I relapse. I'm sure that's the same with your partner. After getting help through Gamcare, doing counselling, checking in weekly to Gamcare forums, he stopped doing those things and eventually through various circumstances relapsed himself.
The longer we gamble the worse the illness can become and although it can get worse for him and you, there is hope for him and ultimately you and your kids. He just needs to keep getting help. Whatever he did that helped before he needs to do again. Check in to Gamcare forums and share how he's feeling. Talk to a counsellor. Be accountable to you by his honesty. Personally I'd recommend regular GA meetings and to be aware that this is a life time illness kept in check a day or a week at a time. Even when life is perfect, a regular two hour meeting keeps it perfect, and when life gets tough, those two hours help see him through the bad times.
You can't make him do it though, he has to want to do it, but it sounds like he does. So, don't give up on him but know there is hope for him and you if he works at it.
I hope that helps a little.
Thanks for your reply Chris. It is good to hear from somebody else who has experienced the problem because I can't possibly understand what drives him to do it.
Last time he did not attend any meetings, accessed support only through this site and talking with someone. I will encourage when meetings start back up that he does go. I think from my point of view because he dealt with things so quickly last time and because you hear of cases sadly so much worse I thought his problem wasn't as big as others but I realise now that was a naive way to look at things. He did so well last time round he abstained for over 2 years and I was so proud of him. Hopefully this time round with the right long term support we can make sure he never has a relapse again.
What a dilemma that so many off us have been in on both ends, I'm a problem gambler who went over a year without gambling then one night out off the blue when I got an email from a well known gambling site I thought I'd go on and spend £10 nobody would know well 1hr later I'd lost nearly £8000 that I didn't even have it had all gone through my partners PayPal I was in such a state and ended up doing something stupid that I should've but at the time it felt the only way out. Well I got out of hospital 5days later and that was when everything had to get under control my partner only had me back as the kids wanted me there. It's been about 10wks know and I won't say it's easy as its not I'm talking things one day at a time, but all financial control has went to my partner I've No7 money whatsoever! I'm going to be a problem gambler for the rest of my life as it doesn't matter how long I go gamble free it just takes that one time. I also have a nhs gambling harm worker also doing a cbt group so got as much blocks in place as I can. All I will say is it's an evil addiction and one I've found you can only put blocks in place in case I relapse again. I hope you get this sorted
Hi mel53 sadly you are the third loved one of a gambler I've posted on today. I'm the gambler in my relationship and just wanted to add a couple of things to what Chris and Kev have said. Gamblers can be helped it they want help its 45 days since I last gambled and I gambled daily for about 2years altogether gambled in a mostly controlled way for 20years. Gambling is a cruel addiction both to the gambler and family and loved ones of the gambler. I didn't gamble because I didn't love my family enough or because I didn't care that their lives were being affected, I'm sure that he does love you and your children as you say that apart from this he is a good partner and dad. Nevertheless you must protect you and your children first make sure that you find out the whole picture, I hope for your sake that there are no other debts other than what you know so far. Gamcare give help and support for family of gamblers you need to keep mentally well for you and the children. Now being 45 days forward I know that there are things that have really helped. Gamstop blocking my access to online gambling websites, this forum and the advice and support I get , my husband has full financial control I have no access to bank accounts, passwords, pin numbers etc he gives me money for shopping etc. Is this easy for me..... No....is it necessary absolutely Yes.I don't know if I ever want access to accounts etc I believe that it will be lifelong keeping myself in check I'm waiting to start GA meetings, I want to stay away from gambling I'm happier more stable, enjoying life more. Why would I want to go to back to the feeling of panic trying to keep shameful secret, gut wrenching feeling of losing trying to find more money to chase my loses the dizzy heart pounding feeling of losing again. For you and your family I hope that you manage to sort it out, if you go forward with your partner you will have to be vigilant but where you say that you feel that it's your fault it's definitely not. Best wishes for your future
Hi Charlieboy unfortunately a busy day then, too many people are affected by gambling these days its just so easy to fall into. Thank you for sharing your story well done on the steps you are taking to begin recovery. I am hopeful there can be as good an outcome as possible. All details have been disclosed today alongside login details for credit reports etc. Only time will tell though. I wish you all the best on your journey.
I have this week also found myself in a simular position to you. In a strange way its kind of comforting that I am not alone.
My husband and I have been married for 10 years and have 2 young children. Over the past 12 months the grip of a gambling addiction has taken hold of him and he has taken this to a whole new level which is having devasting consequences not just for himself but for our family.
I too have questioned myself and whether I have some responsibility to take for his actions. In all that I have learnt over the past few days, I realise now that despite the fact that I do not know him when he is in the gambling mode, he is vulnerable to returning to this awful addiction and a trigger could be at anytime. He needs to independently work through the gravitational pull, and sadly I cannot have any control over him having the resistance, this has to come from him.
Talk to the Gam care team, I can honestly say that they have given me the sanity check that I have needed.
It's not easy opening up and I cannot make him any promises through his recovery. For me personally, I have to now put in place measures to protect myself and my boys from any further damage and that includes removing him from my financial assets. I'm not walking away but I am now in a place where I am making him accountable for his actions and I am ready for whatever outcome that brings.
Your not alone and your not to blame. Get some clarity on your feelings and on what you want, don't feel that you have to become the person in your relationship that cleans up or manages the addiction on his behalf.
Remember that if he makes the decision to bet, regardless of the measures that you have put in place he will find a way. The gamstop is great but this doesn't restrict the American sites. Its so difficult for the spouse and I wouldn't wish this on anyone to have to experience.
Your stronger that you believe and you will get through this. Search for your inner strength.
I wish you all the best for you and your family.
Thank you very much for getting in touch. As you say it is comforting to know there is somebody going through similar. I think one of the things I find most difficult this time is how to act if that makes sense. In choosing to try to support one final time but especially with having young kids around I feel the need to try to act as normal as is reasonably possible. Yet at the same time because I am so upset, annoyed I cant possibly be completely normal and measures that have had to be put in place are not normal. I suppose everything just feels a bit awkward. I'm probably not making much sense but it is probably difficult to explain properly without a life story!
I know it is not my fault deep down I just wish I had kept monitoring him more closely and I certainly wish I'd cut the credit cards up the minute they'd come through the door and balances had been transferred. Whilst its also completely his problem/fault I am annoyed at the credit card companies allowing thousands of pounds of transactions on gambling. Had they stopped this from happening in Jan when they announced changes and not April, the loss would have been significantly less. I dont quite understand how it takes so long to put something like that in place.
I think I also feel like a bit of a fool for trying to take the positives from all this, unfortunately though I suppose there are some as for some people things go much further. I saw his personal account yesterday and to my sheer relief he is not in an overdraft. These are absolutely crippling these days so I am thankful for that. We have a joint account for bills and shopping and this has never been touched ever. I'm not sure if it is because he is able to stop himself going that far, or he knows how religiously I check it, and that if he took anything I felt belonging to the kids or I it would absolutely be a line crossed for me.
I am pleased you have taken steps to protect yourself and your boys and are prepared to do whatever it takes. I am also 100% ready to do whatever it takes in the future for the sake of my kids. I wish you continued strength to deal with this and all the best to your family. Thank you.
You are making complete sense and I have been in this torment too :). I don't have the right answers as to what you should do, I have learnt from the Gam Care advisors that this is very personal to each individual. I can however share with you some of the things that i have done which has made me address my issues in this situation.
You have to self care right now, for me i found this very difficult to accept. This time last year i did what i always do and that was to solve the crisis that i found myself being handed. I chose to let my heart rule my decisions because i loved my husband - to some extent unconditionally. I know and accept now that what i did last year wasn't wrong but that my husband wasn't ready to accept that his addiction was a problem that he needed lots of ongoing help and support with.
I found out on Wednesday morning of last week and was consumed by his and my close family trying to do what they thought was best. Yes, there was an element of blame being directed at me for his actions and others wanting to resolve the problem with their money. I found it suffocating and because of his actions i started doubting who was trustworthy.
I took myself off on Saturday and reached out to a mutual friend who i knew would be objective and i could use as a sounding board. After a few hours of tears and allowing me to show them my vulnerabilities in what i felt was a safe environment, i was able to get clarity about what i wanted for my future and to start thinking about the boundaries i needed to put in place for my protection.
My husband also didn't touch accounts that i had full view of. This awful addiction over the past few years has changed our relationship into me being the authoritative figure, the sensible one, the responsible person and he therefore found other ways to feed his addition. Foolishness and naivety sadly are very common emotions/thoughts for the partner of an addict.
Put in place support for your children, where we try our very best to keep this away from them, they feed off of our stress unconsciously. I have made arrangements for children to spend two half days at their grandparents. This will give me the time to digest my feelings and make further clear choices.
I have made the decision not to check my husbands financials and betting activity. I need reassurance from him that he is continuing with his recovery because its what he wants and not because i am continuing to be that authoritative figure. I am hoping with out expectations that he volunteers this information and asks me for support.
I again spoke to Gam Care yesterday to discuss with them my plan and we made some adjustments so i can proceed. I will continue to check in with them to ensure i have an outlet for my emotions and thought process. I don't hate my husband, i don't like the situation he has put me in but i still have compassion for the demons that he has to face and live with.
I feel sorry for you band your family as what your partners put you through I've put my family and partner through the same if not worse as the last time I gambled I had been gamble free for over a year and I got an email from a well known gambling site, I thought I'm fine just use £10 on roulette who will know, well that's the worst thing a problem gambler can think! in the course of 1hr I'd lost nearly £8000 but it wasn't my money I'd used my partners PayPal account and for some reason it had allowed me to run up this amount of debt, so truth being told I had stole this and left my partner in thousands of pound worth of debt. I had gambled, stole, lied, not thinking off anyone but myself. But what I was trying to say to you is gambling is an impulsive action and I know gamban ect, there's ways round them but the way I see it by the time you find away round it your rational thinking would've came into play making a lot off people not want to gamble anymore as impulses had dropped, not for everyone but it's a block
Thank you for taking the time to post. It is such an awful addiction and sadly our government allows these gambling companies to advertise and promote their sites.
I understand and have compassion as to how difficult it can be to keep in control and remain in recovery with these temptations as a constant.
If we were dealing with achololics or drug addictions it would be viewed as cruel and abusive to put the substances in reach as a temptation.
Whilst I am understanding, I am also aware that he needs to take responsibility for his actions by taking the recovery steps and facing the consequences that he is now presented with.
I don't hate my husband, I am not OK with the effect that his choices have had on my life and my children's. I am currently setting my boundaries as I cannot continue to rebuild the damage only to experience it again and again.
He has used unacceptable means of funding his addiction, which makes me sad for him.
I am working on myself and ensuring that I am in a good place to provide him with support. It's difficult as being resentful within my emotions is natural but I am working on it.
Were you able to be honest with your family once you had lost the £8,000?
I had to be honest as PayPal allowed so much to come out my partners bank account there and then well within the hour, but she only thought it was £1200 as if that wasn't enough, but I didn't know how she would cope with the full extent. I was a wreck she went to bed calling me a thief I had my 15yrs old son telling me what was I doing spending all the money, I really felt I had know way off sorting things out so I did something stupid that I totally regret, well I got out of hospital 5days later and had to face it all my partner was in contact with the mental health crisis team and only wanted me home for the kids. Things have been awful at home I've sleep on the couch since the 24th of April, my partner has been up and down with me, I don't blame her as I had to use a church food bank twice to feed the kids. I've got a lot off help from the new nhs gambling harm service so I get calls every week and do a zoom session once a week with them as there based in Leeds nowhere near me. I'm trying to sort all this mess out as best l can. Each day I awake ashamed, I hate gambling harm and never want to be involved with them again
Good morning kevthekev40
Sorry I didn't get to respond yesterday. I know that when I post on here, I find myself checking for replies and almost feel sad if I don't receive one.
It must be very difficult for you to share your story, but incredibly brave to be so open and honest.
I cannot begin to imagine how your wife and children feel right now. But I can be honest with you as to my emotions/feelings surrounding my own situation.
I have found it difficult to understand and accept why my husband isn't able to reach out to me when he relapses and continues to gamble and experience/ignore the feelings of regret and remorse.
His self indulgence has been hard to live with and i am most certainly guilty of allowing this behaviour and taking responsibility for everything. I now have to self care first and for me this is a daunting thing as I'm used to and want to look after and take care of everyone that I love including my husband.
With regards to his situation he has created a mess in two different ways. The first is with his own finances and the second is with his job. The consequences he will be facing are huge and I am being practical around this as we have small children and a mortgage.
I need from him to volunteer information and his feelings without me having to ask for it. This also goes with taking responsibility around our home and helping out without seeking my permission or instruction.
It's still important for us to laugh and cry and spend time together but I'm scared I will resent him.
Well said b2204
I hate myself for what I've put my family through I actually put us in a position I couldn't sort and when it effects your kids eating there's nothing lower than that. Things are fine shopping wise ect now as I got a loan to sort us out abit. I've signed up for every block I can put in place plus I'm dealing with the nhs gambling harm service that also deals with the mental health side off it as I've got post traumatic stress disorder, and I'm not using that as an excuse. I was the one who got us in to this mess but please believe me there's not a day goes by I don't deal with people to get me stronger and put this mess behind me or us as a family I'm sat here waiting on my weekly phone call from my gp we've got a good relationship as I usually see him face to face every week but not at the moment down to you know what. As I'm on very high medication so he's got to check me over before allowing me to have it. But gambling is over for me as I don't know if I told you but after the gambling I didn't know what to do and thought everyone would be better of without me but that was stupid and do you know those strong pills yes I did so gambling nearly took my life aswell I was in hospital for 5days and made a recovery. I hate myself for doing it but due to my bipolar things are all messed up in my head sometimes and I left a note saying I'd used my partners PayPal account without her permission therefore I'd committed fraud and she should've got her money back but no as I'd used the same ip address it wasn't fraud for God sake I stole her money how much clearer can I be. So that's it lock stock and barrel. I'm a problem gambler who lies, stole plus tried to do you know what. Just oh I don't know I could just wring my neck sometimes. Hope you and your partner can get through this and he seeks the help as this isn't a life for any off us