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How to help the father of my children

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#1 Posted on:
Thu, 26/07/2018 - 20:33



Hi everyone,

I've been reading this forum for a long time but this is my first post. I have just separated from my partner who's a compulsive gambler and the father of our two kids (both still under 2 years old). I will try and keep it short: his gambling spiralled out of control after the birth of our first child. It was a vicious circle where he promised to stop, promised me to get help etc but didn't. I then started to put my foot down: all finances in my name, cancelled his bank card, changed his password to his online banking and he'd only get cash I'd taken out for him. This worked for a while and we were happy. Until he lapsed and ordered a new bank card without me knowing and we were back where we started. Since then, every boundary I tried to set seemed to have the opposite effect. He started to accuse me of so many things: I was controlling; when I tried to discuss our finances I was planning out his life for him, when I asked him to watch the kids I was using him, etc. It felt like I was constantly fighting a battle I just couldn't win. He started to have these outbursts where he was quite aggressive and I was just tip-toeing around him when we were all at home. And then I read on here that one lady wrote that addiction feeds on secrecy. So I decided to start telling my own friends and family (not his and no mutual friends) what was going on. Just saying it out loud made me question why I was still there. So I asked him to leave - I think I lost so much respect for him along the way that in the beginning I couldn't even be sad, it was just one big sigh of relief. Even now, I'm desperately sad for my children - this is so far removed from the future we planned for them - but for myself I think this was the right decision.

But... he is the father of our children, he's a great dad, he loves them dearly and they are super fond of him as well. At the moment he is not in a good place; he doesn't want us to be apart but he refuses to get help. He doesn't talk to me about it and every time I bring it up I'm being shut down. I worry about him: he went to one meeting a few months back and when he came back he was completely distraught; he spent all evening crying in bed, he didn't want to talk about it (I honestly felt he couldn't , he'd gone completely inward). The next day he said he felt low and suicidal. When I asked again a few days after this he said he felt fine, he didn't need any more help cause he was convinced he could conquer this by himself. He doesn't talk to anyone about this, I am the only one who knows. Now he doesn't have any support network, he's very inward and keeps to himself. I really want to somehow help him or make sure he is alright. For his sake and for the sake of our children when they grow up. But I honestly don't know how - I hate to see him destroying himself. Has anyone been in this situation? I know that they'll only get help when they want to themselves but any tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.

Posted on:
Fri, 27/07/2018 - 09:20

Merry go round


Hi Sarah it's such a shame to hear this and your children are so young. Help? The person you can help is you. Unfortunately when a gambler is in the grip of addiction you can't help. Some would say the birth of children (more responsibility, stress) is a trigger. The moods and anger are all classic behaviour. Gambling becomes their 'go to', habit, stress reliever. But of course it makes all those things worse. The only help I know of is to stop giving a gambler money. Find a gamanon meeting. If he wants to stop he should attend GA, limit access to money, sign up to gamstop, self exclude, download blocking software onto gadgets. It's very difficult to stop alone with only willpower. Reordering cards, mail directed to work or parents address are all common. An active gambler doesn't want to give up, they have to learn a new pastime. They aren't bad people. If you find a meeting you will meet others in your situation with experience and advice how to protect yourself. Don't take on any loans for him, no bailouts. Set your limits and stick to them. Once my husband admitted defeat he was more than happy to hand over finances. It's not an overnight fix, recovery takes time. You are the only person you can change. Find out about addiction and get support for you.

Posted on:
Fri, 27/07/2018 - 20:54

Forum admin


Hello, so sorry to hear of your situation. If you can please contact us via our Helpline or Netline where we can discuss support options with you.

Posted on:
Sat, 28/07/2018 - 00:53



feel every single bit you feel,

Posted on:
Thu, 02/08/2018 - 10:40



I could have written your post.
I also have two children, the only difference being I stayed with my husband for 9 years. What a mistake.
He had cbt, counselling and even residential rehab. Nothing worked for him because he didn't want it enough. Ultimately its up to the addict to help themselves.

You've done the best thing for you and your children. It hurts. I know how badly it hurts. I'm in the same situation.

This is not what we had planned with out partners for our futures for our children. But this is where we are.
Use the gamcare support, I had two years of counselling and it really, really helped. Join a local support group if you can. Talking to people in the same situation will help you come to terms with what's happened. Its not you. It was never you. The manipulation and lies a GA brings into the home are toxic. It takes time to clear it all out and find a new "normal". I'm still struggling with that.
I still try and support my husband but ultimately he doesn't want it. He has chosen gambling over our family. We will likely divorce, I just have to get my head around it tbh.
The best thing you can do is show your children you are strong and reliable. They will need you to be while he won't be, no matter how much you try for him.

You have to focus on you now.