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Struggling with tough decisions

Red cat

I am the wife of a compulsive gambler.  On Wednesday we will be married 19 years and we have a daughter.

Four years ago on the eve of when we were going to buy a newer car my husband told me he incurred debt on secret credit cards and gambled away a significant amount of our retirement money (because he knew it would come up during a credit check).  At the time I believed it was an isolated incident and that he was deeply remorseful and that he wouldn't do it again. I truly loved the person I married with all my heart and believed he was honest.  I did not know anything at that time about addiction or compulsive gambling.  I blamed myself, that somehow I drove him to gamble.  We took out a loan to repay his secret credit cards that we are still repaying.

In December I found out he had been back to gambling for over two years.  That is when I realized he is a compulsive gambler and liar.  With the exception of one account, he has gambled away all of our retirement money and incurred significant secret credit card debt again.  This time I have yet to see remorse, only what I believe is regret for having gotten caught.

He has been sleeping on the sofa since that time.  He tells me he attends GA meetings twice a week.  At my insistence he has taken on a small amount of part time work so he can work on paying back all the secret credit card debt he incurred because I told him we are not repaying it out of marital income like last time, but he needs reminders to do this.  He also eventually agreed to go to marriage counseling.  I keep putting my feelings out there but I feel they are falling on silence.  I cannot continue to live this way and it is having a detrimental impact on our daughter as well despite my best efforts.  What I am coming to see as time is passing is that he is only going through the motions and not putting forth the effort. 

This is not the life I signed up for.  He is not the man I fell in love with and I married.  I question if he ever was that person or if the addiction has changed him, but at the end of the day he is still this person now, and as time goes on I am not seeing signs of improvement.

The love of my life and my daughter's father has been taken away by addiction and I don't know what else I can do about it.  I think the painful reality is that he is the only one that can to do something about it, and if he is not willing to take responsibility then I need to accept this and move on.  It has been tremendously difficult and I cry every day.  I am tired of feeling this way.  As so many of you have said, you keep waiting, maybe tomorrow he or she will start to improve, the littlest crumb of hope. I don't want to feel I didn't try enough.  I am a fighter and it is difficult to accept that sometimes things don't work out.  I am struggling to find the courage to file for divorce.

The Serenity Prayer.

Lying by omission is lying. 

I have given everything I have and it is still not enough.  It is not about money.  It is about trust and respect and responsibility and love.  I believe in my heart if he really wanted it to work he would be remorseful and transparent and doing everything he can to make things right and I'm not seeing it.  And yet still I love him. 

Thank you for listening, and I would deeply welcome any insight from the group.

This topic was modified 2 weeks ago by Red cat
Topic starter Posted : 20th June 2022 4:37 pm

Hello Red Cat and Welcome.

It's difficult to give you the words you want to hear but this is not your fault and the decisions are yours.

If you choose to help him through this you will need to be strong and start again with a new brand of tough love.

You need to learn about this as a drug addiction and it was never something you could have trusted him to stop without a full recovery and full monitoring

You can not blame yourself in any way and if he is blaming you, that is manipulation an addict will do

He is either listening to you or he is not. Reality checks are needed which include informing him that you will not tolerate a sniff of gambling and your relationship is on the line.

I don't know your relationship and I'm not saying he is inherently bad. However I understand this addiction and its power to alter minds and create a mental illness for gambling.

You may well need some family support or counselling.

The trusted advice is you need to protect yourself financially and control all the money. He should be living on a small allowance and show genuine signs he is reaching out for help.

Forget the full trust....he doesn't need your trust. He needs some love and understanding but he has a full recovery to do.

If he grumbles fights it or feels he is being treated like a baby you have a problem on your hands. The addiction is controls him into seeking his fix at all costs

Gambling is a mugs game and a vice. Its extremely addictive and gamblers don't realise this until real damage has been done

You can help and he can recover if he is willing to do so. Nobody is going to judge you for your decisions. The stability of you and your daughter come first. He needs to realise what is important in his life

Best Wishes from everyone on the forum

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by Joydivider
Posted : 21st June 2022 2:18 am

@stacy-m All I can offer is advice through my own experience.

After I continued to gamble despite so many last chances and apologies and promises that I couldn’t keep, my wife finally had enough and decided to look after herself and the children. I was part way to ruining them when she said enough was enough.

Now she’s happy and remarried without the gambling worries in her life. 
Id say that everyone deserves a chance or two because this addiction is relentless but at some point you need to look after yourself and the gambler needs to be responsible for themselves.

It is your life and life is too short. Look after yourself.


Posted : 21st June 2022 12:13 pm
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