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How can I end this misery?
Hi, I am married to, but separated from, a compulsive gambler. He left the country last September and when he had gone the whole story about his gambling and debts came out. He had stolen things from the house to sell, borrowed or conned money from my family and friends and generally destroyed any trust I ever had in him. when we were together he was very controlling and life was stressful with constant crises. At least finding out about the gambling explained why our life together had never worked.

He has admitted to his gambling problem but refuses to seek help for it. He claims he can beat it on his own and seems to believe that he can stop whenever he wants to. I think his condition (illness?) is far too advanced for this - I can answer yes to all 20 questions in the gam-anon questionnaire and I have read a few books about gambling and they all describe his personality with frightening accuracy.

My husband is now moving back close to us, apparently to be near our son and is making life a misery for me. In my opinion, he is completely unreasonable about arranging access to our son, he demands to stay in the house with us when he visits and he constantly makes threats to take our son away/take the house from me/tell people that I am the one with a problem etc etc. I have been to women's aid who advise me to get him out of our lives completely but a big part of me doesn't want to go down this road if possible. I suppose my question is, what is the best thing for me to do to make him realise that he needs help? Do I continue trying to facilitate his unreasonable demands or do I cut off all contact and hope that makes him come to his senses? I would be so grateful for your opinions as I just don't know the right thing to do. Thank you. V
Hello. I'm a lifelong compulsive gambler who only admitted the fact on 11 December last year. Since then, I have come clean about the issue with my wife, friends and family and, although I have slipped twice since then, my life is beginning to come back together. I suppose there are 4 things I want to say to you:
1) Do not on any account blame yourself for what has happened in your life. Your partner has an illness which is just as serious and destructive as cancer. He is the only one who can start to solve his problem or at least get it under control - you can help and support but you can't make it happen.
2) Your priority has to be yourself and your child. I'm not qualified to advise you what to do but there are people who are - don't be scared to ask for help. It is good that you have been to woman's aid - let them advise and help.
3) If you are able to get to a Gamanon meeting go - you will get support from people who completely understand what you are going through. They won't judge you and the fellowship of the Group will give you comfort.
4) Don't give up hope. If a 57 year old can start to get his life back on track, anyone can.

Good luck to you.
Hi Wee_vee
I can and never will be able to understand things from your side as I am a compulsive gambler,all I can say is don't give into any of his demands and explain to him that if he wants to continue getting access to his son he must meet in a neutral place and not in your home,In regards to the house and him taking it away from you I don't believe that he can do that unless he owns it fully, why not go to a c a b advisor and check where you stand.

Rob H
Hi, You should not take anything that your husband dishes out to you and he probably is not a fit person to have around your son at the present anyway. Your son and yourself are your first priorities and until your husband decides to admit that he needs help and does something about it I would not allow him back into your lives. I too am a compulsive gambler and have been in recovery now for 10 years but realize what a horrid person I must have been when I was in the process of active gambling. I also tried to control anything and everyone around me and when they didn't conform it gave me more excuses to gamble.
Please seek some professional advice and get yourself along to a gamanon meeting where you will find people in a similiar situation to yourself.
Take care of yourself and your child.
Helen - Australia
Thank you for your replies. Getting opinions from you who are on the other side of this illness really helps. I realise that I need to look after myself and our son as a priority until my husband decides to get some help. If he does I will support him all the way to allow him to be the good father I really believe he wants to be. V

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