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Do I live with a gambler?
#1
Hi there,

this is my first time here and I would like to tell my story. 
I met my bf 5 years ago and our relationship has been fantastic.  I felt like i found the right person even though I had some signals since the beginning of our story that worried me. I did share my worries with him at that time but I've been told that I was worrying too much as we were at an early stage of our relationship so I just left my thoughts on a side and lived my relationship.

I will try to explain in order what happened and I would like a honest opinion as I have been having a lot of arguments with him lately and the only thing we get to is disagreement. One one side me, worried about him being a gambler and, on the other side, him who doesn't think he is a gambler at all but only a casual gambler with all under control.

Going back at the beginning of our relationship, one day we passed by a Casino and he genuinely looks at me saying: i don't go to casinos, I've banned myself to go to those places. Well this obviously opened other questions which I asked him because I wanted to know more about it. Then he admitted that he have been to the casinos and played and lost money. He didn't go too much into details and I didn't push any further. I just let it go, even if inside me I didn't like it. But I didn't know him very well and things were going great and he wasn't actually going to casinos so I told myself not to worry.

During our relationship I've seen him buying lottery ticket and play online-games and spending money on those. They were always poker or roulette, sometime they were simple games where you can buy add-on. 

Again, our relationship was strong and we didn't live together back then so I wasn't really aware of what was really going on. 
Since when I met him he was 'unemployed' but he always had money and I found out only later on that his availability with money was because his family was supporting him and credit cards. 

We were able to do our things but there was always this 'money' thing between us because one day he had the money and the day after was down because he finished his credit card availability. I'm sure he didn't spend all his credit card money gambling but part of it and the worse part was that when he got to the stage that the credit card finished its limit he was going to his family and ask help to pay off his debts because he felt down as he couldn't pay for it.

Since I've been with him this happened at least once a year: he finished the credit cards availability and his family helped him out and this started over again. It always been clear to me that he was reckless with money, always thought that a credit card could solve his needs of money and always thinks he will pay that off. Never happened.

back last year he was into his new job but still had his credit cards, because it was a self employed job money were coming in but not regularly so he told me that  credit card made him feel comfortable whenever he needed money in case of a low week at work. I wanted to believe him even if I knew that wasn't a wise choice knowing him but I wanted to respect his decision, he is an adult man after all.

well back in august last year he got to the limit of his card again, even though the income was pretty steady and I got worried but I let him doing his way, going back for help to his family who paid off nearly £xxxx  off his credit cards. He promised to get rid of his credit cards. So started fresh again but after a bit another credit card arrived and I asked him to keep his promise, he didn't want to listen and kept the new credit card. After a while, I thought something wasn't right and I checked his emails, (we always have a pc at home on with both emails always open so it was easy enough). After only 2 months that his family paid his debt his credit card balance was back to the limit and that was the point I lost trust in him completely, I went mad, I was so disappointed, I couldn't believe and a puzzle was starting to get together in my mind. Like something I didn't want to see now was there, in front of me and I couldn't ignore it anymore.

I started thinking of how many times this happened before (going to the card limit, get money from the family and they even wonder what he was spending money on!) I asked an explanation and he said: it is because my job has lots of expenses and I need the credit card to cover those when I don't have enough income. It didn't sound right to me as I was helping him with his business so I knew exactly what was coming in and out. Yes, there wasn't much left for him but still we managed to pay the bills. He wanted more, xxxx a month for him wasn't a good income apparently.

At Christmas we had a chat with his family because of his credit cards balances were again to the limit, I suggest to speak to his family this time, he didn't really wanted to share this but we did in the end. His family decided to help him out again but this time I asked them to help him paying only part of the balance and we agreed for me to control his bank account in order to pay the debts on the credit cards. He didn't want to show me the credit card balances, he said it was personal. I knew that was some gambling involve as I still could see some emails of purchases on betting websites, subscriptions. I didn't have access to his credit card balance but he agreed to give me all his credit cards so I could manage to pay off his debt (from his account) bit by bit.

I wasn't happy but I thought that at least it was a good compromise. At least, something was under control.   

so things were going well, on the money side, because our relationship was going from bad to worse. I lost respect for him, I think he hated me controlling all his money but kept on let me doing in. Then, back in June he had a medical condition and he wasn't able to do his job anymore. So that day he decided that was wise to use the money left on his account to bet online £xxx in 1 hour only. I saw the transactions as I have access to his business account. Then I got mad at him.he said that he saw this advert and he thought it was good so started betting. I said that I wanted to see the credit card statement because I was sure he did it before. After lots of discussion I said that the only thing could save our relationship was to see his credit card statement and go counselling together. those were my conditions, I also involved his family in this, after a lot of fighting he agreed to my conditions. We started counselling even though he denies to be a gambler and kept on saying that was a waste of money. When I saw his card statement I learned I was right, he spent in less the 2 months nearly xk and his explanation was:" I am not a gambler I was trying to do a system with the lottery. I read online that this was good and I wanted to do it. They are my money and I can do whatever I want with it. And stop calling me gambler because I'm not a gambler!And this only affects me not you"
We went counselling again and he said again it was a waste of money.

So I'm writing today, as I found out that he spent £xxx on skybet yesterday of his bank overdraft, we had an argument and he said that it's his money and it's all in my head as he is not a gambler! again same story, I thought it was a good offer!

He said he is depressed, has anxiety and he was bored, so he wasted £xxx. I replied that wasn't even the money he had because was the overdraft and he repeated again he is not a gambler. For him gambling is entertainment, like ordering a pizza or going out for a drink, nothing different.

I surely got angry with him and probably I haven't been gentle. He is accusing me that I'm stressing him out, I'm harassing him because I keep on telling him that he is a gambler.

I don't really know as sometimes I doubt about myself, maybe I'm too hard but I can't stop worrying especially if the person next to me doesn't think he has a problem. I have been reading a lot of other stories on here and found many similarities even though probably he doesn't have a  strong addiction I'm still worried and I can't help.

I put him on the spot again today, we either go counselling or our relationship is over.

Please I'm more than happy to listen to opinions as I really want to find a way to communicate with him.
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#2
Hi Serena80,

Thank you so much for sharing. Being a compulsive gambler myself in recovery, I was able to spot that he is a compulsive gambler within the first couple of statements. No 'normal' gambler excludes themselves from a casino. It's very clear that he's in denial of the facts, and it's very common with addiction. To get into recovery it's important to squarely face the fact that he's powerless over gambling, and his life has become unmanageable. I suggest him going to ga meeting, the only requirement is a desire to stop gambling. The GA program works for anyone willing to follow a simple program of suggestions.

His parents are unfortunately enabling his addictive behaviour, my parents did the same for years, they didn't understand, they just wanted to help me, but giving me money to clear my debts wasn't actually helping it prolonged the pain stuck in addiction. It wasn't until they refused to help me out anymore financially, that I had to face up to the problem.

Stay strong and stick with your ultimatum, a firm stance is often required to make the compulsive gambler actually realise the problem. My wife said to me that she will help me as long as I helped myself.

You are right to worry, he is clearly suffering from gambling addiction, and there is help.

Have a look at Gamonon for yourself, a fellowship of men and women who share the same experience of having a loved one with a gambling addiction. He needs to go to GA, and also consider going to the doctors, I was referred to a psychiatrist and diagnosed with pathological gambling and went to rehab. It was a tough time, but it was a real turning point for me and my journey in addiction. Not everyone has to go to rehab, rehab is a fast track to fellowship meetings, it's going to meetings and working the recovery program that's I've found essential for me to recover from addiction.

Wishing you both well.

Simmo
One day at a time.  My last bet was 15/03/2016 and I hope and pray each day that it stays that way.
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#3
Dear Serena80

Wow. Seeing it how you wrote it, I wonder why my usually strong wife didn't put a stop to me all those years ago. She was never in control of my money, and I racked up debt after debt. Maybe I was better at concealing it, lieing about it and generally hiding it from all who are close to me. You've spotted it and want to get to the bottom of it.

Ultimately, your partner will need to move on from the denial stage, accept that he is powerless against this disease and seek the help that is needed to move the brain on from wanting to be part of this addiction. He will need buckets of help and a strong family behind him to give him the re-assurances needed....once he has accepted and become part of the program.

The most important in my life (other than my family) is the GA meetings, and it's there that I find like minded people who have a wealth of experience and who help me work through my demons whilst facing their own recoveries. If you can, seek out where your local GA meeting is, and ask your partner to go and be part of it for an hour/two hours. It's very little time to actually give up, and it might just help him over the line and into recovery.

He will though need to eventually seek help for himself, otherwise he will fail. FWIW, my wife having control of my bank account, my cards (including credit), is an absolute god-send. It's one of the many barriers that keeps me strong, and I'm glad she is my guardian angel now looking after me. My only regret is that it took me 28 years to realise I had a problem.

Does he read these forums? Maybe asking him to read a couple of the journals will also strike a chord with him and help to point him in the right direction?

Best wishes, keep posting,

STS
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#4
Thank you very much for your reply.

My Bf didn't know about this forum but when I posted my story, I've share it with him. He got mad at me and still denies he has a problem. We had more discussions but he ended up admitting he has a problem with money. Basically he doesn't respect money, therefore he agree to go counselling. He also said in his denial that he is not a gambler and he has everything under control. In fact last sunday he promised me that he won't be a problem stop gambling and that he will do it. and 4 days after I found out he did..
I know about the denial, I know about the lies, I read all in here. How do I fight someone that denies this? I also thought he said yes about counselling to make me happy so I would stop checking on him.
I'm so sad at the moment. We will start counselling and will look for GA groups to and Gamanon groups.
thank you
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#5
Hi Serena,

It's so common to appease partners with anything to get them off of our backs, I did similar for years and kept on gambling supposedly under control but in reality it never was under control at all. I strongly suggest he goes to a few GA meetings just to listen to others with an open mind. I was in denial for years, and it wasn't until I squarely faced up to the facts and listened to others with similar stories did I finally admit and accept that I'm a compulsive gambler.

Don't let him fob you off, stay strong and to the point. You can be assertive in a loving way, where it's genuine concern for him to get well.

Wishing you well

Simmo
One day at a time.  My last bet was 15/03/2016 and I hope and pray each day that it stays that way.
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#6
Hi there, I'm here again. I'm in struggle at the moment, my partner and I had a long talk over the weekend, I thought we were going somewhere but this is not the case. The gambling is still there, between us, together with his depression. I wasn't expecting it to go away over night but I was expecting a kind of 'reaction' from him. Something that showed me that he wants make a change in his life.He is not working at the moment and he is not doing much to find a job. This period of the year is not helping too, the psychotherapist we seen before is on holiday. I can't wait for her to be back. I will see his family over the weekend and I will ask them if they want to join me in the Gamanon local group.
I see I have a problem with things not moving, I have been depressed myself a few years ago and I went counselling which helped me a lot, I really struggle living with a depressed partner and my fear is that depression is 'contagious' I really see already what kind of effects has on me and I believe I over react with my partner sometimes as I don't want to go back to that situation ever again.
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#7
Hi Serena,

My depression certainly rubbed off to my wife, it's not something that is intentional, however it did happen, and still does to some degree. You have every right for things to move forward, and I hope that he gets to to the point where he realises that he needs help. Counselling, especially CBT can be good for depression in my experience so far, but for the gambling aspect, the answer really does lie within the GA rooms. It's the only thing that has helped me stop and stay stopped. Depression often leads to wanting to escape from the feelings, and gambling is most likely his escape, I did that for years. Gambling however makes the depression worse, so it's a vicious circle that only seems to go down hill. Please ask him to read the posts on here. There are no judgements in GA, and we all all here to help one another.

Wishing you both well

Simmo
One day at a time.  My last bet was 15/03/2016 and I hope and pray each day that it stays that way.
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#8
Thank you Simmo. Your words are really helping me. I will share this post with him as I did before. I think he is starting realising about his problem with gambling. Yesterday also made a comment like: why all advertise on TV are about gambling? which i found so true, I notice that on 5 minutes adverts on TV every 2 adverts are about gambling. Yes they say: "gamble responsible" but come on, is there any petition that I can sign to stop advertisements on tv about gambling? ..I'm disgusted how media are pushing people to gamble. I'm not say he is not responsible, but TV has a huge impact on people mind, shouldn't tv and government be more responsible about this?
I'm not British, in my country I remember a lot of campaigns because at some point all bars had those slots machines, then because of gambling the government decided not allowing withdrawing any real money, only tokens to make purchases within the premises, then they noticed that gambling is a huge business and decide to put it under government monopoly, this way, it was ok using real money!
I think all this is absolutely disgraceful. Maybe I've gone off topic but I can see how easy is to get into the 'gamble trap'
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#9
I agree that the gambling adverts are out of control, however GA neither opposes or endorses any cause, the primary purpose of GA is to stop gambling and help each other do the same. Since being in recovery, the adverts don't bother me anymore, they pass over me as if they are not there, but I appreciate it's hard when still gambling and in the early stages of stopping. Consider turning the TV off, or only watching recordings and skip the adverts.

Simmo
One day at a time.  My last bet was 15/03/2016 and I hope and pray each day that it stays that way.
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