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Partner to a gambler - help  



I'm new (well fairly new) to the forum side of the website. I've been with my partner for over 13/14 years - we met when we were 16  and we are now in our 30s. We have a house, good jobs, amazing family and are due to get married new year. All seems great apart from the elephant in the room that is my partners gambling addiction.

He's racked up debts of more than 30k, bets on anything and everything and does it all online. Thankfully i found out (by accident mind you) around 2 years ago just how bad it had gotten. It all game flooding out - the credit cards maxed out, the £0 in his account, the savings completely gone. I helped him by going to citizen's advice, by encouraging him to tell his parents, me telling my parents, i also listened when he would talked and suggested groups when he couldn't. To our amazement our parents were amazing. They didn't judge they only asked how they could help and while it wasn't the only solution his parents paid off his debt but he has a repayment plan in place where he pays monthly to clear his debt. The repayment plan is for the next 10 years so although the debt was taken away it still hangs over him that his debt is still to be paid off. Potentially not the best idea as i know pushing money at the problem isn't the answer but he is still repaying it. 

It went well for the most part over the coming months - we agreed that he would show me his account every 2 weeks to see if he had betted, we went to the bank to put a limit on spending and withdrawals, he even went to meetings. But he did fall off the wagon and i found out again - the trust that had been in tatters before went even further but we started again knowing it wasn't a quick fix. Again it was good, big events took place like my mum and his mums 60th, i turned 30, we got engaged. I became slack in checking, he didn't go to meetings, he got secretive again, his mood swings came back. I know before christmas something was amiss but stupidly i didn't push it but i pushed it a bit last week, wanting to see his account and he just admitting it, he'd been betting for months. This time hiding behind paypal and making up fake email accounts to get back onto betting sites. Within 3 months he had lost over a grand. 

I'm at a lost. It's not up to me to make him do things he needs to be the one to do this but how can i help? How can i be there for him without pushing him away further and pushing him into debt? I've asked him to have a think over the last week and we can catch up with what he's decided to do but can anyone suggest what i can do?

Your help/advice/stories/anything is so appreciated.

Thanks for reading 

This topic was modified 8 months ago 2 times by Katie_1989
Posted : 21st January 2020 6:23 pm
Merry go round

Hi Katie, welcome!

I'm wife of cg. The most important thing to do is get help for yourself, you find a gamanon meeting in your area. If there isn't any near, there is an online meeting Sunday night 8-9. The person who needs to change is you. As you've said it's not your place to tell him. Living with an addict is hell. He's already got a repayment plan and still he's continuing.

We all learn by our mistakes, unfortunately we all enable knowingly or otherwise. You need to stop sorting everything out for him, it's his debt his mess. He needs to take responsibility for it. Parents paying debts is enabling, it allows a gambler to get more credit, almost saying it's ok.

As partners, wives, parents we all need to learn that you can only offer emotional support, not financial. He has to sort the debt, a meeting, make a call to get help. 

It's very easy to say the person who needs to change is the gambler. The most difficult thing to realise is it's us as well who need help. Why do we have the urge to sort everything, fix it, help, lie, pretend everything's ok, pay their share? Gambler's are emotionally absent. It's an emotional illness and they need help, but they have to be the one to choose help.

It's time for you to focus on yourself. There are many things to do, meetings, gamcare, literature, find out about addiction. Encourage him to go to meetings and get help. Until you physically see him doing something about this, it will continue.

Posted : 22nd January 2020 7:56 am

Hi Katie,

I'm a compulsive gambler and I've been GF for nearly a year. 

When my partner found out about all of my secrecy and lies she told me that she would leave me if I ever did it again. My parents told me that they wouldn't support me emotionally and that there wouldn't be a room for me if I was to get kicked out (they had helped me previously but clearly I had broken that trust again). This harsh love was enough for me to want to quit gambling for good! 

As said above though, as CG's we have to want to quit and to put in the work to do so. If he is gambling online has he joined Gamstop? My partner held onto my cards etc for a good 6 months, and also had access to my credit report which she reviewed on a monthly basis. We downloaded an app called life360 so that she could see if I went anywhere near a bookies etc. 

You need to look after yourself though. If you're willing to give him another chance then I hope the above advice helps. Good luck x


Posted : 22nd January 2020 10:32 am


You both have said things that have rung so true to me. Your automatic reaction is to help and try to patch it all up but you need to realise you can’t. I do need to look after myself and so how I can change - I didn’t look at it from that way to be honest. 

He has joint Gamstop, let me control his account for months, he went to a few meetings but excuses began to creep in and over time you slack checks off. I only found out by accident again as I began to noticed some things about his behaviours that trigged memories of when he used for gamble and low and behold he had. 

I believe he needs to start that process again but I’m trying to protect all the money at the moment and sometimes feel like I’m telling him what to do rather than him wanting to do these things. 

Thanks for your advice, 

Katie x

Posted : 22nd January 2020 11:39 am

He doesn't want to do the things that will stop him gambling because he doesn't want to stop gambling.

You don't have to support him if you can't or if you don't want to. I needed all my energy for me. There is a wealth of help, advice and support out there for him if and when he's ready to take it but he has to do it and want it for himself. Protect yourself emotionally and financially and think hard about how you want your life to be and what you deserve from a partner. An active gambler who won't stop can't provide it.

This post was modified 8 months ago by Lethe
Posted : 22nd January 2020 8:33 pm
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