Just thought I'd ask for some advice as this is all very new to me...
Long story short (er) ..
Few days before Christmas I've accidentally discovered my husband of 15 years has a gambling addiction. Apparently he's been gambling since his late teens ( now 42) I never suspected a thing and I was probably totally stupid to trust him with family finances without ever questioning it.
I found out we are 23K in debt, all our company shares we've been so hard saving for, for 5 years were cashed out and spent and we're literally left with nothing.
He's in touch with Gamcare, doing some online program modules and we've got gamban on everything etc.
I have taken over finances ( bills, accounts, budgeting and shopping etc) and I made him speak to the bank to ask to lower some of the charges on overdrafts,loans and credit cards. We've got a repayment plan in place and luckily we can still afford to pay all the bills and rent ( although that leaves us with very little at the end of the month)
But I'm just left feeling like I don't know how I'm actually supposed to feel..I feel angry and betrayed, especially as we've got children together and he has taken this money from them and spent it betting on bloody football instead of investing it in them, I feel like they've missed on so many things because we never had the money ( he pretended he's earnings are £800 lower then they actually are) we could never afford for kids to do things like music lessons or clubs etc and knowing he chose to spend £1000 a month on bets instead of investing it in our future and to get us in such a debt, I just struggle to understand. He says he always separated it and didn't think about it that way, but I just struggle to figure out how am I supposed to feel and be, I'm trying to be supportive and not blame him as I'm trying to understand it's an illness, but it's so hard. I'm currently on anti anxiety meds and sleeping meds and think I'm somewhat coping now..but am I actually helping him by taking charge of things and carrying on like everything is ok? He knows well that this was his last chance and if he were to relapse, I will take the kids and leave him, but will this be a motivation enough?
Sorry for such a long post, I'm just lost and unsure what to do.
Thank you very much for sharing what has been going on for you with your husband. I can imagine you are feeling hurt and angry and betrayed and a lot of other emotions. It is difficult to not take this personally and I understand this is all the more troubling as you also have children together.
You are allowed to be angry and you are allowed to voice how you feel, that is natural. And no, I wouldn't think carrying on like everything is Ok, because everything is not Ok. There is a huge breach of trust and for this to heal takes time and effort. On your part and on your husband's part.
It sounds to me that you yourself would benefit from treatment support to work through all this and try and make sense of it all for yourself. So please contact our Helpline or Netline, we are here 24/7. All these emotions need to come out, need to be looked at and processed in order to move on.
I would also strongly recommend that you approach this from the perspective of what is best for you and the children. So make sure you exercise self-care.
Please keep posting and sharing and please contact the Helpline.
Wishing you all the very best,
I can not imagine what you must be going through but I can tell you the story from his perspective. This spending of money/savings/ sallaries. It is just fuel for a well oiled engine. Just imagine that he has one foot on an accelerator and one on the break. He "learnt" gambling ages ago. Ther is no malice or ill intent there is just craving to gamble and the addiction of needing to have more. He needs money ( fuel) to keep the car going but it is not going anywhere,´. The engine is clearly overheating as you now are aware of and he is burning up more and more fuel. It always comes to a breakdown, always, some times more than one. Normal people can not relate to this feeling as you have never been through it so there is nothing you can compare with. It is being a complete slave to your impulses and spending it all to satisfy your need to gamble. It is a dopamine.
Do not trust him for a while. Let him earn that trust by action and not words. Keep your own economy from now on so that you can safeguard your own future. A word of hope. Gamblers can become totally free o this addiction. It does not have to be permanent and life is not all lost. He needs to work at it and it is going to take a while but it can absolutely get better. Never give up hope.
I would take control of finances and do credit checks.
I would look for support from gamanon as well, all online, some zoom meetings or email them.
Get some counselling from gamcare. Use every free resource for support you can.
Your partner can access gamcare, GA meetings too. He should sign up to gamstop and show you the email. If you think he would gamble in your name, you too can sign up.
your anger is understandable, it is beyond belief what a gambler will do. The debts are not yours and an affordable repayment scheme is better than living just to pay debts. Get some professional advice as well, stepchange are a charity for this.
Put yourself and the children first. Living expenses first. Only believe what you see. If you give him any money for normal every day expenses, you need to see receipts and change. Don’t give him money to pay friends etc.
Take each day at a time, this won’t be fixed overnight. Get some support and look after yourself.
It's fine to feel angry and betrayed. It's also fine not to hold it all in. Mr L had to listen to some very blunt home truths.
You don't need to try to understand or not blame him if it's beyond you. He's the one who chose to carry on despite help being available at any point. Being too understanding can lead to further manipulation. He can find support at GA and the free counselling available at Gamcare.
Focus your energy on you, what you want and what you need to do to protect yourself.
Thank you all for your replies, it's just so hard every day, I started running just to clear my head, but even then all I'm thinking about is gambling, money, debts..and I look at my husband and he seems so calm and I feel angry, at the moment he's doing everything I asked him to, I think he feels he's in control and doesn't need to do anything else, for example, I asked him today whether he should seek some extra gambling support except doing the self help modules provided by gamecare, for example GA group or something and his answer was " lets see how this goes first" 🤷🏻♀️
He doesn't have access to any money without my knowledge, his wages now come to account I'm overseeing and I transfer money for debt payments, while he's next to me and shows me that it's paid. He also has to show me weekly statements from that account to ensure he's not using the overdraft he's got there and is currently in process of paying off. I feel awful checking his every move, every food shop receipt has to recorded and then filed. I get notifications on every spending from our join account and I check several times a day that nothing has gone out. I have also opened a separate account in my name only and any cash left over at the end of the month ( after bills are paid etc) will be transferred there and only managed by me, but I feel exhausted, I feel drained and stressed and I know he has apologised, I know he's trying, but little things get to me, like today he said that once lockdown is over he would like to go for a pub meal with few of his work colleagues, I know them and they are a nice lot, but still, I feel like he doesn't deserve to spend money on luxuries like meals out? I send we'll discuss it closer to the time as I just didn't want to get angry, am I being unreasonable? We are 23k in debt and he wants to go for a meal out? 😭
Thank you, I'm just hoping our marriage can survive this, I've always told myself how lucky we are as we were always so God d**n happy, we always laughed and I just trusted him so much, so it really hurts that I was being lied to for the last 15 years, I feel like nothing in our whole relationship was real, everything was build on a lie and I can't stop replaying our lives together in my head, random conversation when he told me we don't have money to take the kids camping for the weekend, I always just assumed that life is just too expensive, I never expected him to prioritize spending money on bets over his family, it just bloody hurts, I've always sacrificed everything for the good of our family, didn't ask for anything, as long as we could provide for the kids and they were happy and he spent easily 1k. He knew the biggest regret I always had that I'd never be able to travel, I always wanted to see the world, but never had the money, and I can live with little and on budget, but knowing he's the one responsible for us not being able to buy a house, or to take the kids on camping holidays, me not being able to visit my parents who live abroad, I feel resentment and I blame him for taking this away from us. 😭
It is understandable you are angry, but simply blaming him each day for everything that did or did not happen will not help this. You are not being irrational or over the top though as you are simply protecting yourself and your children. You clearly have your head screwed on an are very supportive but dont forget to get support for you. GamAnon is a support group for others in the same boat as yourself.
He should be seeking his own support, I attend GA meetings which have helped me battle my addiction and save my relationship. Think back about his behaviour when he was gambling, did you notice any signs that still exist? Recovery is about more than just stopping gambling, hense your justified reaction to him wanting to go for a meal with mates once things return to normal after all the destruction he has caused.
One other thing is to make sure he has not left avenues to gamble open, has he registered with GamStop? Dont take his word for it. Do you have access to his credit report so you can see any debt in his name?
As I read your post I felt the urge to reply so I hope you don’t mind as it may not be what you want to hear.
I’m the gambler and I lied beyond belief to the man that I truly love. It started small but then I couldn’t stop and almost became another person. Lying at every chance to get my partner to give me money to help family in urgent need which wasn’t true. Also lying about my salary each month so I could plan to gamble. We are not wealthy so I really shouldn’t have been doing this.
I had to tell him before he found out. I can tell you for sure that your husband will be so ashamed, hugely regret it and feel all of those feelings.He will probably also feel huge relief that you now know. But and here is the important bit, what options are there, you either decide to try to make it work or leave and you want to try so things have to try to go back to normal.
My partner decided to give me a go, but probably like your husband although we are trying to be normal, he won’t be feeling that. Every time I look at him I hate myself for what I have done and the betrayal, but at the same time I want us to work. So I too mention normal things like going out for a meal or on holiday. Even though I have got us in the most terrible debt. The reason I say those things is because if we can’t try to be normal, then what’s the other option, be hurt everyday and cause more upset and stress. Don’t get me wrong you have a right to be angry, I just wanted to explain it from the other perspective. I feel guilt everyday but don’t always show that. I have a long road ahead and gambling still comes into my head as it is truly not like it’s me, it’s something that takes control and it’s much worse when I am unhappy. All I can say is your husband may feel a trigger when he is unhappy or desperate to try to make things right.
I hope this helps and that you can see what I am trying to say.
Best of luck
Hi and thank you so much for sharing your story with me, I really appreciate it 🙏 It's really useful to see if from the other side. In a way I feel better now I know, because I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel, we are on a tight budget now and all expenses have to be documented, I feel like an accountant, and we managed to cut down our food shopping bill by almost a half by planning more ahead and doing our weekly shop at cheaper stores than our previously favourite one ( Waitrose) from the money I manage to save, half will go to my separate account to be used for necessities for kids, like uniforms or new school shoes etc or birthday presents etc, and the rest will be going to top up the repayments for his bank overdraft which is still £3k ( at the 40% apr rate it's the worst one, so trying hard to pay that off asap). I really hope that I can trust his word that he will never do this to us again, and I will stand by him as long as I can believe it.
We reached bit of a compromise that if he gets some overtime pays, he can use some of it for stuff like occasional meal or drink out with friends, but paying the overdraft has to be our top priority. Once that's paid off, we can then make sure we give ourselves some small reward if we stay on track and manage to save up during the previous month.