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Treading water  


Hi there,

I have finally plucked up the courage to post something - I am not sure why it has taken me so long or what has blocked me from posting, maybe it's fear that once I have, it's all real, I don't know. All I know is I feel like I'm treading water and have been for over a year now and feel very emotional doing this.

I discovered my husband was/is a problem gambler over a year ago now. I found out  by guesswork and process of elimination really. I noticed his behaviour started to change probably over 2 years ago - he was going out more and  more often and staying out later and later and eventually all night, saying he was staying at a friend's. This caused issues obviously and I suspected every possible thing from affairs to mid life crisis to drug/alcohol problems - he always denied everything. There was a family illness/issues on his side and the only explanation/reason for his behaviour was he was depressed about that.

Things came to a head last year when I  pushed him to explain himself (after months and months of vagueness and not really being around) and things blew up - he blamed me for things and said some quite hurtful things, which obviously made me look at myself  and wonder if it was my fault - I am far from perfect I know that - now I know this was deflection and him protecting his 'secret'. 

The behaviour  (being out all the time) continued and then he started saying someone (a family member) had asked to borrow money so he dipped into our joint savings without discussing it with me - it wasn't until a few months later that I finally suspected gambling and when I asked if that was the issue he went quiet, so that was when I knew (not because he came clean but because I happened to 'guess' correctly). 

It was only then that I realised everything had been lie after lie (too many to go into here and about various things) probably for the past 2yrs. The sense of betrayal and pain was and still is so profound that I am not sure I can trust again. I have since read up about problem gambling loads and sought help for myself and my husband has finally sought help - I don't know if he would have had I not researched things and found the relevant info for him and encouraged him to.

Just writing all this is making me realise there is so much to deal with - there was a family bereavement during this time as well.

The constant stress and pain of everything has taken a massive toll on both of us and our relationship and highlighted that communication is a big issue.

I have fluctuated between wanting  and trying to help him, to being so resentful and hurt at times that part of me doesn't care. I feel awful for feeling like that, but have neglected my own needs and feelings for a long time and probably still am to a point as I have asked for transparency around his finances but he still (despite numerous requests) won't let me see his bank account, plus I  have suggested relationship counselling  a few times but he won't entertain that either - he seems to think we can sort it ourselves.

I have tried to be mindful of his fragile state (he lost his job last year too which further added to the financial strain) and been patient and tried to give him time but not sure how long I have to /can wait.

I do find it's a real struggle to be 'nice' to him as I am constantly frustrated and irritable with him - I hate being like that and don't want to hinder his recovery at all, but it's hard.

I wonder if anyone has any insight or experience where a marriage (almost 30yrs ) is concerned - do things get better? Can relationships improve without any help, especially if one person doesn't really open up?

Sorry if this is a bit all over the place - so much has happened and so many feelings have come up and I am still trying to make sense of things.

Thanks for taking the time to read this

Posted : 25th May 2020 8:01 pm
Forum admin

Dear @lamo,

Thank you for finding the courage to share your story.

It can be daunting taking steps to post so well done for overcoming this and posting here. 

I think that another Adviser has also responded but as this message is now on the Family and Friends Forum, I wanted to say that I am certain that you will find others affected by problem gamblers are familiar with your feelings and that you are not alone.

It sounds like you have had a lot to cope with over the past 2 years. Please know that there are services dedicated to help with the difficulties you describe.

You might want to speak to Cruse  about your family bereavement. The loss of a loved one can be hard to bear and as you are going through an already difficult time it would be good speak with someone who can support you through your feelings.

I think that you are aware of Relate from your other post but here is the link should you need it They help with relationship issues and may be helpful to you.

Please also remember that you can call our Advisers at any time, we are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We also have a netline that you can use if you prefer. Our helpline number is 0808 8020 133.

Thank you again and keep posting.

Kind regards


Forum Admin















Posted : 25th May 2020 10:56 pm

Hello there,


Just a short message to remind you to get help for yourself too,


You have done nothing wrong so please don't feel bad in any way.


Do call Gamcare for some support they are brilliant for gamblers and relatives too

Posted : 25th May 2020 11:33 pm

Thank you so much Trizzybee,

I have (finally) sought help -Gamcare have been amazing.

Even when you know it's not your fault, you can't help but feel responsible. I'm learning a lot through this and it's helpful to know there are other people who understand.

Thanks again 

Posted : 26th May 2020 6:01 am

Hi Jo,

Many thanks for taking the time to respond and for the useful info - I will look into this.

Really appreciate the support

Posted : 26th May 2020 6:02 am

Unfortunately I have no idea how your feeling..but I gotdgot pretty emotional reading your story, please get help for yourself and put number 1 first. I hope he is willing to get help also and you can beat this together as 30yrs is a long time ! Maybe try to remember why you have been married this long also?? I'm only young but my mum said that once while watching some chat show on divorce and it stuck with me, she been with my dad 40plus years now.

Best wishes,

keep looking forward


Posted : 26th May 2020 9:09 am

Hi Libby,

Thanks so much for your response - it is helpful to know there are people out there who care or 'get it'. Also great your parents have been together so long - I hope they are well.

I think I have always struggled to put number 1 first and this whole thing is causing me to look back and try to understand my behaviour  - I feel we really need marriage counselling but he is not open to this - he thinks we can work it out ourselves but can't explain what that means or how we do that. Also I still feel there are secrets as he won't let me see his bank account even though I have asked numerous times and said it would go some way to helping rebuild trust if he was completely open and transparent. I think part of him thinks he can sort it all out put back missing money etc and then it will all be ok.

But the trust is broken and can't be restored if he won't be fully honest. I am left thinking he must still be hiding something if he won't let me see. I am supposed to take his word about the contents of the account.

I moved our joint savings account once I found out about the gambling only after a significant amount of money had gone but obviously I can't access his own account.

Maybe he can't focus on more than one thing at a time and he needs to focus on recovery before he can focus on our relationship - I don't know - in the meantime it's hard waiting and not sure how long I can hold on.

My faith is instrumental in bringing  me this far, so know I will ultimately be ok, but am navigating these issues and feelings with a sense of shock and profound disappointment.

Thank you for your kind comments and wishes and I hope you are coping with whatever you are going through and moving forwards.


Posted : 29th May 2020 4:39 pm
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