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Dear Velvet,

Thank you so much for your post. It has really helped me to stay strong. I am still staying with friends but I have started looking for an apartment. I am not going back to live with my CG. Everyone in my life who cares about me has advised me against it, and I know they are right.

But it is still extremely painful. Today I had to go to the house where we were living together, and where he still lives as he owns it (partly through the proceeds of poker!) I had to go as I needed some important documents, medication and warm clothes. It was heartbreaking. Seeing my ex for the first time in two weeks, the house where I tried so hard to make a home (when I am currently living out of suitcases in spare rooms), and the cat whom I really love (she has been sleeping on my blanket ever since I left 🙁 I miss the good stuff and our little world so much. And that’s the dangerous part…that’s where I start to get drawn in to his line that he cannot stop playing poker as he ‘has to make a living’ and it’s really not that bad and he doesn’t play that much and it’s not because of poker that he doesn’t sleep or wash and lives on burgers and chocolate…it’s just because he has a few bad habits and can’t I be more accepting and tolerant?

I also know that it is a whole crazy, toxic ‘system’, supported by his parents, and they have way more power in this situation than me. He is very much still under their control, and they are obsessed with money and financial security. They put a great deal of pressure on him in that regard, especially since he has chosen a profession (against their wishes) which doesn’t usually reap great financial rewards. My ex told me they are happy he plays poker as he makes a lot of money at it, and I know this is true as I have talked to his father about it. And now that he has bought the house, he’ll have to keep playing in order to pay for the repairs that need doing, upkeep etc. He does appear to make good money at it, that’s true – but as I said before it’s the behaviours that go with it that I find so toxic to live with.

I also believe that he is so talented in his profession and would go much further if poker wasn’t sucking up so much of his energy and time, but he sees poker as enabling him to do the work he loves. When we discuss these issues, we see everything from opposite angles.

Anyway, I know it is no longer my problem as I have left. It was just so hard today. He kept saying that it felt so strange and wrong breaking up, that there was still such a strong connection between us – which is true…and he was so happy to see me, that the house feels so empty and pointless without me. It wasn’t manipulation to try and draw me back in, as he has been the one instigating breaking up our civil contract, so he has accepted the breakup. It was genuine sadness. So then…why won’t he do what it takes, when we are both in so much pain?

But I know that I just have to keep moving forward with my life, find a nest for myself and focus on my needs. I have a strong spiritual faith and I believe that if he is meant to find recovery he will…but I can’t wait for that to happen.

I agree with what you say about therapists often not understanding the true nature of addiction. Mine thought I should go back and keep trying to talk things through and try to get him to go to couples therapy. I knew that would not work – we did it before and it was useless – so I didn’t even try.

Anyway thank you again for your comments and I would be happy to hear your thoughts on the above.