I found out two and a half years ago that my partner had a pretty big gambling problem. He had racked up 15k worth of debt and was a compulsive gambler. I was completely in the dark until I came across one of his bank statements and saw the gambling transactions.
We worked through it, I took control of his accounts and had access to his credit file. He set up an IVA, paid back his other debts (to family & friends) and we both went through therapy. It took me a long time to trust him again and I had to give him some tough love to get him to tell his mum & sister about the gambling. All was going well but I always had this fear that if he relapsed I wouldn’t know about it.
Fast forward to two weeks ago. I was away on a business trip on the other side of the world. The day after my return he messaged me, whilst we were both at work, confessing that he had relapsed whilst I was away. I understood that he hadn’t wanted to tell me whilst I was in another country or immediately after my return when I was incredibly jetlagged! The football had been everywhere and triggered it for him. He has registered with Gamstop but went to the bookies and placed a bet, lost then chased his losses. I was not financially impacted by this, it was cash, his own savings which I thought he could be trusted with. He admitted this all to me, we acknowledged that he needed to go through therapy again and I appreciated his honesty. It was a blip, relapses happen.
Three day later I get another message that he’s been fired for gross misconduct. He’d taken money from the petty cash tin at work. I had a complete break down, I was in so much shock that he had done this! I later found out that this wasn’t the first time he had done it and it had happened a few times over the years. He is now living with his mum whilst I get some time & space to myself. I have no idea what to do.
He’s owned up to everything (as far as I’m aware), self excluded himself from all the bookies he knows of in our hometown, he’s already got a new job and he’s also told his closest friends about his problem. Something he was adamant he’d never do. I understand that gambling takes a complete hold and rational thinking goes out the window but it’s the theft that I can’t wrap my head around. His friends & family , including myself, believe that this is completely out of character for him. I just don’t know if this is something that I can move past and I’m left questioning who he really is.I want to be there to support him and we are still in regular contact (he is currently cat sitting for me) as I know he needs the support and I think I’m the only one who talks sense into him. He is my best friend and I always thought we had a pretty strong relationship but I just don’t know what to do now for the best.
Sorry for the essay but if you’re still reading, has anyone been through anything similar? I know some people comment saying just leave him but I don’t believe these situations are as black and white as that. Gambling Addictions are compulsive behaviours & a mental health issues but maybe I’m just being to naive!
Hi, I’m now in a similar situation hoping my wife will stick by me after finding out about my gambling. I’d like to think she will but understand the trust issues are huge.Your partner is still the same person he always was I’m guessing, just felt forced into doing crazy things maybe. With me it was day to day pressure of not being able to pay someone who I owed money, then I did something completely out of character. I’d always say to stick by someone,especially if they are your best friend.
Hello and welcome to the forum,
I am in a similar position as my husband is a compulsive gambler. I found out he'd been gambling secretly for about 15 years, losing large amounts of our savings and shared income. It was devastating.
I totally understand you feeling like you don't know him, as that's how I felt.
I have stuck by him, though it has been hard at times. He is really committed to stopping and I understand that it is an addiction.
It sounds like you have done all the right things, giving him tough love, and it is good that he has told family and friends and good that he confessed to you about his relapse.
It's a wise move to give yourself space to decide what to do. You matter too and you deserve to be happy.
Good luck and keep posting. You are not alone. There are lots of people on here who can relate and offer support.
This documentary will help you a lot in understanding (the real hustle Alex): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W2HqF4x8Bc
Addictions are horrible but can be cured over time, Alcohol or drugs people see serious but gambling I think support lacks a bit and more needs to be done.
Thanks for the link @mobilephone.
I've just watched it. It did give a real insight into gambling addiction. I totally agree that more should be done to support gambling addicts and it should be taken more seriously. The amount of advertising and the number of betting shops openning up should be regulated. Sadly I think the government make too much of a profit in taxes and donations to oppose them too much!
All the best.
Thank you for taking the time to watch the documentary. I just wished that more support was available, juding from my own experiances it really is a horrible and usually hidden addiction and certian mental health conditions can also impact and make the struggle worse and harder to overcome.
Key point in the video - gambling changes the brain chemistry and endorphines, so it takes time to heal/recover. Cravings just like abstaining from smoking or drinking. They say gambling can be as addictive as drugs, don't know how true the statement is because I don't do drugs but can understand in terms of it chaning brain chemistry.
I was gamble free for a full year, but had recent trauma and a bad patch of my life again and recently started up again - For me it's when I start winning or getting near misses you honestly don't realize how much time and money you waste.
I am taking steps to stop once more and hopefully this time for good. I can not make decisions for you in terms of you and your partner but I can sympotise with the both of you, I would concider forgiving him but have a serious talk together register for GamStop - which will block every website/bookies as such 'national self-exclusion'. You need to be calrm and paitent if you want to forgive - addictions don't get cured overnight and debt is a big killer; it scares a lot of people. StepChange charity can help from what I am told to get creditors of your back/stop any charges or interest.
I also understand how difficult it is on your side, gambling affects everyone differently - with me I get angry much easier, don't sleep and even forget to eat so it has a big impact on my physical health as well as mental health. When you abstain, you get cravings like smoking or drinking but after x amount of days pass it does get easier. Also remember, debt doesn't last forever money comes and goes if you're willing to forgive and see past the addiction help him through it put the blocks in place and build up trust again.
For me, the biggest struggle was having nobody around. I also felt extreme guilt and hate towards myself as nobody realized I was gambling. Websites have systems in place that alert 'red flags' say large deposits etc, but they always act too late and not perform 'KYC (know your customer)' at the right times - this is a breach of liceancing and if you suspect this you should report it to the gambling commission. IBAS help with complaints, but I wouldn't expect any kind of refunds/returns unless extremly unlikely situations - I'm still awaiting for my complaint to be actknowledged.
Support sites like this has helped me over the past week, I really want to stop for good. I suggested your partner to talk with you, set up the blocks (full blocks) GamStop & GamBan. You can get GanBan software for free by doing a live chat with GamCare (this website).
I wish you both success for the future moving forward, I also recommend group therapy talks (I've just signed up to them, awaiting a date). Apparently you can also meet people on this site to compare/share experiances whitch may be another alternitive - having a support network around is key.
@mobilephone thanks for your reply. You give some good advice.
Gambling is hard on friends and family. You talk about getting angry and having trouble sleeping and I can relate to that as my husband had such a short fuse when he was gambling and he still struggles to sleep now. It has altered his sleep patterns for good I think.
He has installed Gamstop and though he still has access to our joint account, I now have access to and am able to see all of his income/outgoings etc.
He has managed to abstain for 10 months and I see the positive changes in him. He is doing really well, but I will always be vigilant.
I have forgiven him and will stand by him. I still struggle at times to understand the addiction, but this forum really helps.
Good luck to you with your attempts to beat the addiction. It must be so tough at times.
I wish you the very best.
So much more needs to be done to regulate gambling adverts. They are everywhere,I saw my partner last night and we were discussing it and even if he wants to check the football scores on the Flashscores app there are gambling adverts everywhere! Whenever I’ve searched online for football shirts etc I’m then inundated with gambling adverts on social media (which I’ve blocked because I cannot stand them obviously!).
Although the debt can be a shock I can deal with it, it’s only money at the end of the day. It’s the lies that I can’t deal with. I had a really good chat with my partner last night and I asked him about what he goes through when he has ‘urges’ and it definitely helped me see things from his perspective. His behaviour has been unacceptable but I do understand that this is an illness, I really want to believe that the poor choices have been made by a part of him he has no control over. I’ve told him that he has to be completely honest with me moving forward and we both have said that we need to work on our communication as we’re both very reactive when having serious discussions. I’ve also suggested to him that he needs to find a hobby, just something that can distract him when he is going through a wave of having urges.
what does the group therapy sessions consist of, is that like Gamblers Anonymous? We want to go for couples therapy but I want to go to someone who has experience in addictions so that they can help my understanding etc.
No matter what happens in our relationship I’ll always be there for him.
@mobilephone I also meant to say you did really well abstaining for a year before so I'm sure you can do it again. Don't be too hard on yourself over relapsing. Hopefully you can learn from it and move forward.
Good luck and keep posting.
The lies are hard to accept I know. For me, I think back to times when my husband manipulated me and I was so naive I didn't realise. I struggle with that. As you say, I tell myself that it was the addiction altering his behaviour, but it's still hard.
We have never done any sort of therapy or Gamblers Anonymous so I'm not really sure, but others on here can probably tell you more.
I am in the process of setting mine up, once I have completed them I'll share my experiances. There are different ones available - Group talks and counciling. I opted for the couciling one in hope that it would work better. Like everything, you don't know what works till you try but different people have different opinions on what works best for them.
There is some videos on YouTube you could maybe watch to learn and educate a bit, people share how they overcame addiction a bit on there too. The main one is time - Fullfill time and have a routine without any time, you can not gamble. I really do hope things move forward in the best way possible a victory I like to say to myslef is every deposit that is held off and I do not gamble with is a win, because I know I haven't lost anything.
Been where you are and got the t-shirt to prove it. You're understandably reeling but the sad fact is you're the rational one in this and you're the one who has to step up if you want to.
You don't need to understand or even try to. I needed all my energy for me and what I had to do when the full facts came to light. There's plenty of understanding, support and advice out there for him. He can start with GA where they get it in a way non-gamblers (us) never will. Being too understanding leaves you open to further manipulation. Protect your own interests and don't trust a word he says without being able to verify it independently for yourself.
All our savings, major assets and purchases are in my sole name. Mr L has scrutinised access to an extemely limited amount and I watch the credit reports like a hawk years down the line.
Think about what you want need and deserve. Is this how you see your future?
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