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My boyfriend hides his gambling addiction

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#1 Posted on:
Tue, 27/02/2018 - 22:44

mp212

Joined:
2018-02-27

Hi, so I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost 2 years now and I know for a fact he has been gambling for a long time especially before he was with me. However last year he lost a lot of money and it made him so angry and depressed because he lost all his money and it put a strain on our plans and what we are able to do. After that big loss he promised he wouldn’t gamble again and said he had banned himself from all betting sites. However I know that this is a lie, I can tell when he gambles because he’s short on money, spends majority of his days on football accumulators and is very defensive at even the slightest mention of gambling. I tried to have a conversation with him a couple of weeks ago about it, but he swore he wasn’t doing it. I have seen him physically doing it when he’s in bed next to me and he tries to hide his phone so I know he definitely doesn’t want me to know about it. I don’t ever nag at him or shout or be angry in the slightest. I’m trying to be supportive and really want to help in any way I can and comfort him. It’s so hard because he’s very shut off about it. I’ve actually seen a couple of posts on here that he has written and I know he doesn’t enjoy doing it, it is an addiction. However saying all this I can’t see myself having a positive look on our future, we have been speaking about moving into our own house together come the end of the year but I don’t want to move with him if he’s going to be unreliable. Just need some advice, how can I get him to open up or even help him?

Posted on:
Tue, 27/02/2018 - 23:10

Compulsive Gambler

Joined:
Before 2009

Hi, I'm a compulsive gambler, I can only add comments from that angle.

To be brutally honest I think you need to think about walking away.  You clearly (and totally understandably) aren't willing to live your life like this.

If you are completely commited to walking away then you could write him a letter.  Explain that you believe he is gambling and he has one chance to talk to you, to tell you everything.  What he tells you, needs to be evidenced, not believed.

Then you can ask him what he is going to do and then you can observe his actions, not his words.

In my height of addiction, this approach would of made me sit up.  I say this approach because what would really have got me is if my wife did this but was present when I read it. If she gave me notice, I would have had thinking time to figure how to get out of it, false bank statements, whatever was needed.

If you live together, he needs to tell you everything and then leave, to give you space.

then he needs to take action and you must understand that he will try and manipulate you.

Others far more qualified will likely suggest far more effective approaches but for me, this would of be effective.

That isn't to say I would of then stopped but at least she would of had the full picture.

I'm sorry you are facing this.

Posted on:
Tue, 27/02/2018 - 23:25

sjw

Joined:
2017-10-27

Hello mp,

As a compulsive gambler myself i would tell you you can't really do much. He will only stop when he wants to. When he's lost everything he can lose or when he's very worried he might be about to. Some people do reach the point of wanting to stop sooner but most on the way to the point of ruin only want to stop losing. I was the same. I wanted to stop losing but i still saw gambling as a way to win back all the money i had lost doing it. It makes no sense to a non-gambler but when in the addiction its one of the ideas we cling to. As long as funds are available we kid ourselves that its not a problem.

What you can do though is protect yourself. Keep your funds away from him. Don't lend or pay off any bills or debts. I borrowed 1.5k off family after maxing my credit and all it really did was extend the time and money i spent gambling. His bills/debts are his worry and can be the kick up the a*** he might need to address it seriously, and it is serious. Make it known to him what you will and won't accept from him. You have to decide what that is. Be real with him tell him you won't commit to a move while he is gambling.

Once he is taking REAL action he will show you everything to prove it. Bank accounts, credit reports, let him self exclude in front of you, put blocking software on his phone, order a new bank card and hand it over to you so he can't use saved details, blocking software, GA and/or counselling. There is a lot of help out there but only when he is ready to use it. There are still always ways round it so it comes back to him REALLY wanting to stop.

All the best.

Posted on:
Tue, 27/02/2018 - 23:35

mp212

Joined:
2018-02-27

Thankyou both of you! I do feel sometimes walking away is the best thing to do but is it not selfish? I am currently unemployed and he is paying for my necessities at the moment which is an incredibly kind thing for him to do and he doesn’t have to do it! I mean I can only ask and ask him about this and get no straight answer and walk away but he has done so much for me! Considering this I’m just scared that I’d regret not helping him, even if I give him the ultimatum and he promises to stop how can I be sure he truly has. It’s such a 50/50 situation. I’m grateful for both of your advice and will take everything into consideration. Sjwsjw - he is for sure not the type of person who has ever shown me his bank balance and hides his letters downstairs so I don’t look at them. It’s hard to even consider that perhaps with talking to him he’d be open to showing me in order to prove himself to me? 

Posted on:
Tue, 27/02/2018 - 23:38

Compulsive Gambler

Joined:
Before 2009

then you need to decide what you want from your Partner

 

sounds like he is a full addict though

 

best wishes whatever you decide to do

Posted on:
Tue, 27/02/2018 - 23:49

mp212

Joined:
2018-02-27

Compulsive Gambler - I have actually just had to do a double check and I’ve noticed you’ve commented on my boyfriends post from last year! I don’t however want him to see this but you have an understanding to him from what I have read which makes me take what you have said to me more seriously, thankyou!

Posted on:
Tue, 27/02/2018 - 23:51

sjw

Joined:
2017-10-27

When i was an active gambler i didn't open one SINGLE letter with my banks letter head on the envelope for 8 years. I didn't answer a single phone call from them or return any from left messages. I applied for loans that i could apply for an receive the money wtihout talking to anyone. I ran my overdraft to the max every month. Worked out the minimum i could spend and the maximum i could gamble. I knew what wasn't in my bank account i didn't need to look at the letter that confirmed it. Same with my credit card statements. I felt the shame the whole of that time but i couldn't admit to myself that i had to stop. That i couldn't gamble my way out of it. I used to have to spend £2 for my lunch on my credit card and felt embarrassed incase anyone saw that was what i was doing and knew how broke i was. I didn't want to see it my self nevermind show anyone else!

Why am i saying this? Because i think he has probably had moments like this. We feel the shame and thats part of the secret we keep. That is part of the 'why' we hide it. The lack of control, the lack of money the desperation of our situation. The stress i put myself through, its tough. But i kept going back until i had nothing.

Something has to wake him up. It becomes routine. It becomes our "normal".

Posted on:
Wed, 28/02/2018 - 00:03

sjw

Joined:
2017-10-27

The only way you can be sure is as i say. He does and shows you everything. Gives you control of his money. It doesn't matter who earns how much out of the 2 of you. He cannot control any income when an active compuslive gambler. If he earns most of the money then you are in more risk of struggling. I gambled for 10 years before i started dipping into bill money. Never did i ever think i would start doing that. I privately rent, hence the 1.5k family loan. 2 months rent and bill money sent off to the bookies. That was my rock bottom "i HAVE to stop this" moment. Then i took all the steps, i told my family EVERYTHING. Every penny, every hour i had wasted, every lie i had told and why i was always broke all the time. I got counselling, handed over my debit and credit cards and my family take cash out for my food when i get paid. Self excluded everywhere i had gambled. I am proud to show them that i have stopped. I am open about everything now and that makes things easier for everyone.

Posted on:
Wed, 28/02/2018 - 00:09

mp212

Joined:
2018-02-27

Thankyou for giving me an insight to the thoughts and feelings he is most likely having. Do you think it’s best I give him some form of ultimatum in order to make him notice what he’s doing and the impact it is putting on me and the relationship?

Posted on:
Wed, 28/02/2018 - 00:29

sjw

Joined:
2017-10-27

Its a tough one. Its hard to tell an active compuslive gambler to stop. He has to find that answer within himself. I think you need to decide what you want and what you are willing to put up with. You can get help and support and learn how to support him and what to do etc from meetings (GamAnon for eg).

You can talk to him, you should be able to talk to your partner! Maybe write it down and give him a letter? You need him to realise how this is making you feel and not just have hime shut down about it. Just tell him how you feel about things. Its really hard to tell you what you should do it has to be your call but you can get support from others if you need it and you don't have to make any choice until you are sure. Gamcare also have a page about support for F&F:

http://www.gamcare.org.uk/get-support/partners-friends-and-family

Posted on:
Wed, 28/02/2018 - 00:53

Compulsive Gambler

Joined:
Before 2009

An ultimatum you are unwilling to go through with is more dangerous  - in my opinion

you make it and you don't follow through and it can feel like there is a lack of consequence to an addict...

Posted on:
Wed, 28/02/2018 - 01:22

mp212

Joined:
2018-02-27

I know for a fact that if it carries on and nothing changes with him I will walk away because I want a future with someone who can at least be honest with me. The issue I’m having is how approach him, obviously the only way I know is like stated before seeing him on his football accumulator and seen betting sites on his phone when I’ve been glanced over at it. Last tike I brought it up he got really defensive, called me nosey, and I need to keep my nose out of it because it’s nothing to do with me. I’m scared it will lead to an arguement or I’m going to look a bad person for caring, I actually want to cry because I don’t know what to say or how to say it

Posted on:
Wed, 28/02/2018 - 02:05

Compulsive Gambler

Joined:
Before 2009

xxx - I'm concerned about your gambling, I don't want to have an argument but honesty and respect are really important to me.  I don't want to live my life with someone I am unable to trust.  I am only going to ask you this once but I want you to tell me about your gambling.  This also isn't about the money, it's your money and you can spend it how you wish - it's about us being open and honest with each other.

Before you say anything, If you lie to me then it's a deal breaker.  I will be devestated but I cant have a future with you, if I dont trust or respect you.

I'd say something along those lines and if it is his house you stay in, be ready to leave, even if it's to give yourself the space to think

Posted on:
Wed, 28/02/2018 - 07:00

Cynical wife

Joined:
2015-06-23

Morning,

If you want things to change, then the place to start is to change you. Because it’s impossible for you to change him, you’re you, he’s him and you don’t get to choose his choices for him. Consider carefully what you have achieved so far by all your efforts to stop him / fix him / change him. He’s still gambling, he’s still lying to you, he’s still emotionally unavailable to you, although he’s not quite run out of funds to help support you financially (the last is probably on some high interest credit - gambling involves a net outflow of money and there’s inevitably debt).

Where are you in all this? Move your focus away from what he’s doing and thinking, not doing and not thinking or might do and might think. Start looking at what you’re doing and thinking - because that’s what you do know and can control. 

I’m not telling you to stay or to walk away, but I would advise you to look at the reality of your situation. Not the fantasy but the reality. You’re attracted to an addict, someone whose primary focus is on using, someone who’s unreliable, someone who needs fixing. Not someone who’s healthy and whole. Why do you want to fix him? Why is it selfish to walk away? Why do you think that he can’t manage without you? He’s an adult, mature adults can look after themselves, mature adults are not incompetent. Why is tolerating this behaviour better than being on your own? And although it’s hard because you’re not working, why does a broken man need to rescue you financially? You probably can manage by yourself but would you want to try? These are your issues and change will come if and when you look at them, rather than being distracted by the gambling. So yes, this post takes a harder line than the other posters, it’s about you and not about him - but that’s where change can be achieved by you, for you.

If you carry him by tolerating the gambling, then that allows it to continue within the relationship. But it doesn’t allow either of you to walk self sufficiently, and it’s crippling to carry someone otherwise capable  instead of allowing them to walk unsupported.

The best place to learn how to look after yourself is at GamAnon or CoDA meetings and/or AlAnon if you’ve been around drinkers. If you start meetings and stick with it, you’ll find that as you change, the dynamic of your relationship changes and that change in dynamic will affect him.

Finally, be very wary of having a rational and logical conversation with a practising addict. Addicts whose minds are on using and who are in denial don’t do logic or rational, the result is that sense meets nonsense and you end up being manipulated. And never give an ultimatum that you are not prepared to follow through on, addicts learn to ignore it and you just hand over your power. Instead, move your focus to you and keep it there.

Look after you.

CW

Posted on:
Wed, 28/02/2018 - 08:24

Merry go round

Joined:
2017-06-08

Hi meg you've said he's been on here, so he knows there's a problem. Has he taken any of the advice? Has he tried to stop? No. Gambling won't get him more money. He'll save more by stopping. If you want him to listen you have to show him. You have to be true to yourself. Go to meetings, leave, open those letters. How serious is your relationship? Why do think he's being kind by supporting you whilst unemployed? Isn't it a partnership? It will be an excuse for him to say 'I look after you, pay for everything, what's my gambling got to do with you?' The point is that regardless of any of those things, gambling is destructive, damages relationships, mental health. What do you want to do? Stop worrying about him, he's on the road to hell. As CW says look after you. If you change he might.

Posted on:
Wed, 28/02/2018 - 21:29

Lethe

Joined:
2016-12-10

Hi

Him being angry and defensive isn't a good sign. You being afraid of an argument is no way to be.

You can't fix him. You can't save him. You can't help him unless and until he wants to be helped.

How do you want to live?

Posted on:
Sun, 04/03/2018 - 02:19

mp212

Joined:
2018-02-27

Hi guys so update..

I finally tried to talk to him. His answer was “I’m not gambling, I don’t even have the money to gamble” and then left the room and slept downstairs away from me. It’s upsetting because i was so kind with the way I spoke to him and told him I wasn’t going to be angry just wanted some honesty. I believed him and I actually apologised for asking him about it because he made me feel like I was really in the wrong for asking. However I’ve seen him once again, this time he thought I was asleep and he was on a new betting site, and messaging his friend who also gambles telling him he’d just lost £200 today. I’m so irritated that he’s lying to me, but I love him so much and don’t want to be angry at him about the whole gambling situation! I can’t stand the thought he lies and makes me feel so bad about it and I don’t dare bring it up again! he knows I am an understanding person and he is meant to be love me so why does he lie and make me feel like a bad person?

Posted on:
Sun, 04/03/2018 - 08:15

Merry go round

Joined:
2017-06-08

Hi mp212, he lies because he's in denial, he doesn't want to give it up, he's waiting for the big win, he's chasing losses. Why are you so understanding? Why give  him an option to argue or deny? Tell him you know you saw him. he'd rather sleep downstairs and gamble. When a gambler is active they will do anything to gamble, they spend their time thinking about the current bet, the next bet, the losses etc. They would rather gamble than anything else. So you can't reason with him. What are you going to do? This is about you. What are you afraid of? Ultimatums don't work. Ignoring it is fine but it will get worse, much worse. You have to look after you. As said above, what are you going to do? Don't live your life waiting for someone else to change. Don't live your life scared to speak or have an opinion. Go to a meeting on your own, a gamanon meeting or coda. Get strong. Stop thinking he will change, he's in the grip of it.

Posted on:
Sun, 04/03/2018 - 18:10

Cynical wife

Joined:
2015-06-23

More of the same, then, from both of you? Quoting AlAnon, if you don’t want to be treated like a doormat, then get up off the floor.

Everything has its time and place, including compassion and understanding. Being too nice and gentle and understanding to an active addict actually isn’t really being kind to anyone. Different rules apply to addiction. 

Change will occur if and when you start to change. Impossible alone, but the help’s there if you choose take it. 

Focus on you. 

CW

Posted on:
Tue, 10/07/2018 - 05:24

Angel Castor

Joined:
2018-07-10

My name is Castor Angel from USA am 43 years old i got married at the age of 25 i have only Two child and i was living happily. After five years of my marriage
my husband behavior became so strange that I don’t really understand what was going on. He packed out of the house to another woman’s house and I love him so much that i

never dreamt of losing him, i tried my best to make sure that my husband get back to me but all to no avail, i cried and cried seeking for help. I discussed it with my best friend Alison and she told me she can help me. She told me of a man called ****** she told me he is a very great man and a real man that can be trusted and there is nothing concerning love and Cancer issues he cannot solve and she told me how he has help her and countless number of people in

restoring their relationship. I was really convinced and went online to search about him. I quickly contacted his email address at ********I explain all my problem to him, he told me that I should not worry that all my problems will be fine. Presently, I am very happy and I got my husband back to me now and we are living with so much love for each other

 

Posted on:
Tue, 10/07/2018 - 22:44

He's trying

Joined:
2018-07-10

My name is Brenda from the USA. I am 44 years old. My fiance has a real gambling problem. He has not yet reached the point where he is thousands in debt, but he only recently started making enough money to make that even possible. I have family members who have struggled with addictions to drugs & alcohol and I am familiar with the downward spiral that he is on. He is 13 years younger than me, so it's difficult for him to understand the guidence I try to give him. Much of it comes from life experience that he hasn't had yet. I am lost. I am broken. I am desperate to find my happiness again. But I love him and want to support him and help him to find recovery. He is such a good man, beneath the demon of his addiction. I hate to lose him to this. But my hands are tied and I have no idea how to help him. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. 

 

Posted on:
Wed, 11/07/2018 - 07:30

Merry go round

Joined:
2017-06-08

Hi Brenda if you start your own 'topic' you will get more replies. Go to bottom of family and friends page and see the button 'new topic'. In the mean time don't give him money, don't pay his debt. Find a gamanon meeting if there is one near you. Keep you finances secure, valuables etc. Your priority is yourself. You can set boundaries, but don't make empty threats. Living with a compulsive gambler is very difficult. Get some support from family or friends. I don't know what help there is in the US. Alanon is same principle as gamanon. Good luck.

Posted on:
Wed, 11/07/2018 - 13:42

He's trying

Joined:
2018-07-10

Merry go Round thank you for your reply. I meant no disrespect to MP212, and I am very sympathetic to their situation. I made this post here in the first 2 minutes of joining. I have never been part of a forum like this and it took me 3 hours to figure out what I was doing. I realized only AFTER I had posted that this wasn't a topic starter, it was replies to the person who started the feed. I've been unable to start my own topic though. I keep getting website error messages. What did happen though, is that I spent hours yesterday reading on everyone's topics. I learned so much about the struggle and that I am very much not alone in the feelings and thoughts that I had. I am so much more focused and ready to put a game plan together for my future now that I see that I'm not "crazy" and this isn't "my fault". I also learned that my fiance's brain is actually more sick than I thought. This forum opened a dialogue between he and I that we've never had. I pray it helps. And I pray that all works out for you MP212. I know how painful it can be to love an addict. I know how painful it is to realize that they are beautiful humans, with a tortured soul. This addiction is very painful for those of us who live with a compulsive gambler. Thank you again and I am truly sorry if my post seemed unsentsitive. I was clueless. I am enlightened now, on posting and on this addiction. 

Posted on:
Wed, 11/07/2018 - 15:34

bluescreen

Joined:
2018-03-13

Hi Brenda,

no need to apologize. It wasn't because you might have offended mp212 in any way, but because your own thread would be easier to find and more people might see it and reply directly to your own topic. You could copy and paste your first post (given it actually works, posting on here isn't always easy, as you have already noticed). It was just a practical suggestion.

As others have already said in their replies to mp212, it would be best to find a GamAnon meeting to learn more about what you are up against and how to protect yourself. You are not alone in this.

Posted on:
Sun, 12/08/2018 - 20:25

stephmlelx

Joined:
2018-03-05

Don’t give ultimatums that you are not willing to go through with. I have done this 4 times probably because I’m too soft but it just makes it okay for them to continue because there is no consequence for them. I feel like I’m waiting to catch him out again and I’m sure it won’t be long but il probably do the same again - kick him out for a few days then he will come back again and back on the merry go round we go x I hope you have the strength I don’t if you do find out he is gambling again x