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Helping to pay off their debts

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#1 Posted on:
Thu, 26/10/2017 - 14:33



Sorry to post again, but as this is a slightly different topic I thought I would make a new post.

I've been reading through a lot of the threads on here and a lot of people are giving the advice not to "bail out" the CG, which I totally get as there needs to be consequences.

My dilema however, is that we are recently married and want to get on the property ladder. Luckily when he was gambling our savings were in my name (not that we had loads) but he racked up about ten times that in credit cards and loans. Because he was clearly limited in what he could get the interest rates of these are astronomical.

Everything came out about 3 months ago and since then he has been a "model pupil", I have complete control of the finances, he has owned up to my parents, he insists on only having money if he really needs it so the maximum possible can be paid back on debt (we both used to have XX a month "pocket money" and everything else went into a joint pot, he now has reduced his to 25% of that) and insists I still have the same "pocket money" as I had before this came out for clothes etc. He goes to GA once or twice a week, is doing the 12 steps and has just started counselling.

So basically as everything seems to be back on track and we know how much debt there is and we have a plan to pay it off and save a bit at the same time, I got a 0% credit card which covers about half the debt and transferred it on to that.

I'm now wondering if that was the right thing to do from some of the chats I've seen on here but my rationale was:

- we are having to pay off the debt as a couple anyway as we can't really save with that much debt (although he earns a lot more than me so realistically he is paying it)

- it is in both of our interests to get it paid off as quickly as possible and huge interest rates won't help that

- we are married anyway so his debt is basically my debt, does it matter whose name it is in?

I would be really interested in people's thoughts :-)

Posted on:
Thu, 26/10/2017 - 17:59



Hi Emm and never say sorry, post as many threads as you want, that is what this place is for.

Hard one to answer really. You two appear to be talking, getting along, and planning for a future. He seems to be doing all he can to beat the gambling and has put in place some good barriers. Just be careful and watch things. 3 months is great going, but this is a long road. He is doing great and hopefully he will get there. I hope so and I really hope you both have a great life together.



Posted on:
Thu, 26/10/2017 - 18:11

Merry go round


Hi emm88 looks like I'm the only one answering, lol. So the rationale is, it's his debt. Every debt in his name. If he goes back to it he can borrow more money because you've taken on half 'his' debt. The recommendation is no joint accounts. It's up to him to sort out repayments, pay his own debt. Your money is yours. Did he say ' do you mind if I go and gamble our savings?' You need to safeguard your money. If he earns more money than you then it shouldn't be a problem for him. In my experience rushing to pay debt let's them think it's 'ok'. This isn't a quick fix, this is a lifetime. He can get an interest free card, not you. Or a loan to consolidate the debt in his name only. Just because you're married does not mean his debt is joint. Please be careful.

Posted on:
Thu, 26/10/2017 - 19:06



Hey both thanks so much for your replies and I definitely see what you mean. I don’t want to make it easy for him at all but then for my sake I just want the debt gone.. it’s a tough one but I understand what your saying.. thank you :-)

Posted on:
Fri, 27/10/2017 - 10:38




Unfortunately bailing them out often just gives them a clean slate to go right back at it. That (and worse) was my experience even after everything was cleared by me and my parents first time round. Great lengths were gone to to hide the debt that was building up all over again, lines were spun and because we're always so desperate to believe it's all over, we fall for them.

Second time round my parents offered again but I said no. His debt, his problem. He ended up with a DMP via Payplan for a couple of years. As time has gone on and I haven't seen any sign of the beast raising its ugly head I have allocated funds to making full and final settlement offers but that was a good three years down the line and with me having 100% access to everything including opening post.

I wouldn't recommend taking on anything else in your own or in joint names because you will potentially end up liable for it. It's his debt. He can worry about it. Use your allowance without guilt. He can do the going without. Make sure your finances are ringfenced and don't trust a word he says without seeing independent proof for yourself.

Posted on:
Fri, 27/10/2017 - 11:45



Hi Lethe thanks for your reply that is really useful. So has Mr L been gambling free for 3 years then? Even though the credit card is in my name it is still being paid back as part of his payments so I'm really hoping I don't live to regret it!

Posted on:
Fri, 27/10/2017 - 13:30

Cynical wife


Hi, Emm,

You’re in a relationship with a compulsive gambler, a person who has an addiction and issues which are not yours to fix. The addiction can be arrested by his commitment to change himself and to do and keep doing what it takes... but it’s never cured. It’s a weakness that will always be there. So you will never know if it’s the last time.

Therefore the advice to F&F is to focus on ourselves, what we want in a relationship, what a healthy relationship consists of, who we are, what we need, what our goals and dreams are and how we can achieve them. In so far as he fits in, he is as he is and you can’t change him being what he is. So what impact does that have on you and how are you going to deal with it?

Rushing into clearing the debt and buying the house isn’t addressing the messy emotional issues but if you don’t, they won’t go away.

Look after you. 


Posted on:
Fri, 27/10/2017 - 20:58



Hi again

Mr L is closing in on four GF years as far as I can tell. We can never be 100% sure and even having access to every credit report under the sun isn't a guarantee. Mr L conned the kids out of their savings and channelled them both through the secret account and my son's bank account. He'd also (first time round) borrowed an eye watering sum from a colleague and those things won't necessarily  show up anywhere official which is why it's a good idea for you to maintain regular access to every bank account shown in the credit reports and consider putting any potential recipients of sob stories into the picture.

You can't control what he does and trying to second guess it is a fast route to insanity. Put yourself and your interests first every single time. It's absolutely fine not to trust your husband around money now and ongoing. If he has an ounce of self awareness he will understand why and accept it.

Posted on:
Wed, 01/11/2017 - 21:49

Who Girl19


Hi Emm,

I am sorry to hear about your situation. My partner is also paying off debts that have built up from gambling. We sat down together and made a payment plan, to help him pay off his debts in a managable way that leaves him with money to live. This has made him focused on paying the debts off. Maybe this will help for you and your husband. 

I'd be careful not to get yourself involved in his debts, it might sound harsh but it's him that has got himself into this debt and he needs to get himself out of it. You just need to be there to support him. I'm sure there are places that can offer you advice on how best to tackle the debt and help to give you a fresh start to start looking to the future.

This is all pretty new to me, so I cannot offer much wisdom. I just wanted to offer some advice. I really hope that your husband finds a way to pay off his debts so that you can both move forward :)

Posted on:
Sat, 04/11/2017 - 11:49

Compulsive Gambler

Before 2009


I haven't posted much recently but do regularly read the posts and just wanted to add some points to your question:

For context, I'm a CG, I've been totally addicted for over twenty years.  I've been married for 7, together for 10 years.  We have three children and a house in my wife's name.

I earn, now, good money, take home around 2.5k per month, give or take.

6 months ago I had built up unsecured debt of around £70,000.

In the last twenty years, I have been bailed out five times. Four times I was bailed out by very close family, essentially any inheritence I may have received in the future is long gone.  About £40,000 was supposed to be repaid to this relative and so was essentially 'ringfenced'.  This came from three of the bailouts.  After the third I was also given money to pay for private counselling, which was brilliant and I had around six months where I had pretty much stopped, a few scratchcard here and there, maybe a quiz machine in the pub with friends.  Then a debt I hadn't declared to those that knew came to light.  About £500.  No-one had access to any of my mails, credit file, certainly not my bank account.  I 'panicked' and thought I could double up, just one time - gamble £500, turn it into £1k, clear the debt and no-one need know.

Three years later and I have wrecked my marriage, destroyed the comfortable life I could and should be providing for my family, my childrens accounts don't have the money they should, money has constantly been diverted to repay the debt.

My hidden debt escalated to around £10k - which is scarily easy to hide from a Partner - online only statements, email only contact, very easy.  A relative passed away and I knew I was going to inherit some funds, thought about £10-£15k.  I pushed the boat a bit in regards credit facilities, suddenly I was £17/£18k in debt, inheritence was actually close to £30k, still I never confessed and by the time I had the money, I cleared all my credit cards etc and had nothing left - but I had access to all that credit again - most actually suddenly increased limits because I had cleared the balances.  Once I maxed those out, I turned to outright lying, essentially theft by not paying my wife my monthly payments, racked up credit card debt in her name and from having inheritence of almost £30k I had put us into £27,000 of debt within 6 months.  Payments to the £40,000 debt had long since stopped.

I lied, twisted facts, hide post and emails and phonecalls and ended up very very desperate, very suicidal.

Somehow, I kept my job.  Somehow I managed to confess.

This time I confessed to anyone that would listen and anyone that those people wanted to tell.

My family made me face into my actions more than ever before.  There was a loan shark debt that THEY decided they would repay, essentially bailing me out again but only because the borrowing had been illegal, Police involvement or total repayment were the only options. Police involvement would very likely have led to the loss of my job.

One member of my family, who lives a very comfortable life could probably have helped with some of the other debt but they were emphatic.  No, there were no funds, they were not going to help anymore than above.  Well there was one more thing, they gave me a tent and a sleeping bag (second hand).  Told me I could sleep in my car or on the beach.

Sorry for the ramble but it was the first time, throughout the previous 20 years that I was at the end, noway out.  I felt suicidal, those that love me, knew that and knew there was a risk.  I was given someone's old mobile phone loaded with £10 credit and I was given the number for the Samaritans. I was on my own.

10 years ago I knew I had had enough of gambling, I knew it was destroying me yet I never truly stopped.  Despite what was at stake I never gave up.  I have a lot to work through and still don't really understand why I chose to do what I did, why I allowed the addiction to continue but I do think there was a lot to do with shame and desperation.  Financial desperation and I couldn't see another way.

So my view on bailouts is that there are potentially lethal.  As others articulate far simpler than I do, they give us CG a blank canvas.  We 100% believe that we will paint a different picture this time.  Then we make a tiny mistake, we smudge a tiny bit of the picture and that's our excuse, suddenly our painting is ruined, a blur, a complete shambles of what we thought it would be, yet we keep painting, we keep going, adding more and more colours and layers, totally convinced that we will turn it round, we will turn that mess into a work of art.  We don't because even when we win, we turn the mess into something good we don't stop, we keep painting . I did, time and time again.

Having said all this, I totally understand what you are saying about a future house/mortgage but this is more serious than I think you might realise. 

One saving grace for me is that I was never on the mortgage, if I had been I would of borrowed money against the house. I', ashamed to admit that but I would of done.

My wife is not stupid, far from it, she is a fully trained and qualified professional - yet my lying became so good I hid it all from her, time and time again.

You've made the decision to transfer that debt, for sound financial reasons - providing your husband doesn't relapse.

I'm now in the very early stages of recovery, recently reaching 200 days GF.  I'm in my wife's house, primarily for the same reasons you outline - it's her decision that I stay because it is the quickest way for me to repay the debt.  She orders the odd treat for herself, for the children.  I don't. There is debt remaining and we talk about it every day.  We brought a keypad safe (£25) on which every password, log in detail for anything I have is written.  She can access it at any time.  Alerts for spending are all linked to her phone, I don't have the password to access her phone.  We pay the rather expensive £14.99 a month for the full experian access and again all alerts go directly to her.  We manage all our bills via her account so I get paid, transfer all the money to her, show her my bank account and then she logs in to her bank - I do not have any of these log in details. I then make the payments, manage the bills and do all the work. I then update our spreadsheet and she then logs into each account to cross check the sums.  I spent about £10 a month ago, on the way home from work at 02:00 and she woke me up at 05:00 when she got up and asked me to account for the spend - I hadn't asked her or messaged her.  It's very uncomfortable for me but is a price I am very willing to pay. 

We are at polar ends, I'm feeling stronger each day, I'm enjoying looking at the accounts, seeing the debt reduce, I can feel the pressure I've felt for twenty years lifting, she is struggling still, there is still debt, another year of no holiday or even a short break. 

6 months ago, I would of put the chances of our marriage surviving at 1-2%, now it might be 5-10%.  We seem to have found a way of making this work - much borne from communication, all financial decisions are made jointly, with her having the final ay - which debt to pay, in which order, which amount.  I do all the legwork,the calculations and then present the facts as bestI can and then talk about the options.  We have some debt in her name that we coudl transfer to mine, I am willing to do that, she doesn't want to because she has it on 0%, for me it would be 20% or thereabouts.  It is my debt though.

I get told most days that the kids wanted something or asked if we could go on holiday or when we will be moving house and it hurts everytime I hear it but it is also very clear the hurt and dissapointment my wife feels because we should have the options to do all those, we don't because of my choice to gamble.

I truly hope you and your husband can work through HIS addiciton, It sounds like he has started well but sadly you must never let your guard down. 

Again, I'm sorry for the length of this message but it sounds like your husband has actually had it pretty easy so far, despite him probably thinking the opposite. 

I wish you well

Posted on:
Sat, 04/11/2017 - 16:39



I agree with all that's been said... the post above gives some insight for how the problem can persist. My experience is very similar, but I'm the partner of a CG.

For the last 5 years Ive been trying to save to get on the property ladder. Something I've now had to park for now. The reason being, my partner is a compulsive gambler and has been for the last 10 years. We talked about saving for mortgages etc. I too have taken out 0% credit cards, loans etc to consolidate debt. I've done that about 4 or 5 times. Each time I've been completely let down and shocked that the debt had been racked up on gambling again as partner relapsed. It's absolutely gutting. What's makes it even worse, is now I'm stuck with £25,000 of debt in my name and the majority of our money is diverted to paying off debts it's impacted me. I still have a good rating, but knowing what I know now..

That absolutely doesnt have to happen to you, sounds like your awakening to the problem early...and i wish i had come to these boards sooner as there is some sound advice. I've only been coming to these boards for the last 4-5 weeks. I now go to GamAnon meetings. Biggest change I've made in my mindset is realising it's lifelong. I too would say stay alert always with a healthy level of caution as it can creep back from nowhere.
Protect yourself always from now on as the results can be devastating.

I wish you all the best.