I wrote most of my reply earlier before I saw Jenny had replied. Sometimes it is good to hear different ways of saying the same thing so I haven’t changed my words.
Your post is far from lacking emotion or whiney – it is mature and well thought out which is remarkable considering the confusion you are feeling.
Leaving a person with the addiction to gamble is not the same as leaving someone with cancer because control does lie with the person who owns the addiction.
“What I want is for him to have not gambled and to not do it again” is an ‘if only’ wish and ‘if onlys’ and ‘what if’s’ don’t help anybody. By standing still and seeking support and knowledge, you are doing the right thing for both of you.
Many people live unwittingly in the shadow of the addiction to gamble and their ignorance leaves them open to manipulation but you are aware of your loved one’s addiction and you are gaining a knowledge that most people do not have. You will have the knowledge to do the right thing for the right reason.
You won’t ‘fix’ your fiancé if you stay but you could support a change if he is really willing to try and has the courage and determination to do so. If it was me I would be looking for a positive step towards recovery – I don’t hear it in his words so far.
You have recognized that staying may bring out things in you that you would rather not have to deal with and that is worth your full and very serious consideration. If his addiction brings you down then you will be another victim of his addiction and that, in my view, is completely unacceptable. .
If you stay I would recommend that you never bail him out again. Giving money to a CG is the same as giving a drink to an alcoholic – it feeds the addiction and helps it grow.
I am not judging when I say his father did well telling his son that he should go to therapy but it would probably have been better if he had not said that he would not see him on the streets as this suggests there will always be a cushion to fall back on – very often loving a CG means standing back and letting them fall all the way – not easy. Do you and his father have a good working relationship? The best thing for a CG is that everyone around them works as a team, sharing information and refusing enablement.
It is not recognized professionally but the following is a coping method that many have used while learning how to live with someone with the addiction to gamble.
Imagine your fiancé’s addiction as a slavering beast in the corner of the room. As long as you keep your cool and don’t threaten it that addiction will stay quiet but be aware that it never sleeps.
Your fiancé is controlled by a terrible addiction but you are not. His addiction is the master of threats and manipulation which you are not and nor do you want to be. When you threaten his addiction it leaps between you and controls the conversation or argument. Once it is between you, you will only hear that addiction speak and because it only knows lies and deceit, it will seek to make you feel blame and demoralize you. When you speak the addiction distorts your words and your loved one will not comprehend your meaning.
My CG explained it to me by saying that when I told him (for instance) that if he didn’t lie but lived honestly he would be happy, his addiction was distorting his mind convincing him that I was lying because he truly believed that he was unlovable, worthless and a failure – he was lost and fought back because he didn’t have any other coping mechanism. The addiction to gamble only offers failure to those who sadly own it.
I believe F&F waste valuable time ‘wanting’ to believe that the CG they love is telling the truth and that ‘this’ time, maybe, he/she is different. I think it is good, although difficult, to not ‘try’ and believe the CG because in doing so you become receptive. If you can stand back a bit and listen to what your fiancé is saying, it becomes easier not get caught up in an argument that has no point apart from making you feel less in control. Once you begin to try and put your side the addiction has something to get its teeth into.
This all sounds a little negative but the positive side is that it removes you from the centre of the addiction giving you time and energy to look after you time to think what you really want to do.
I think it is right to say that a CG must seek treatment if they are to control their addiction and not relapse, this addiction does get worse without treatment. If your fiancé is not ready however nothing you do or say will make him change.
By looking after you first you will safeguard your identity while you make the right decisions for your relationship.
I am away for a long weekend but I will look for you when I return.
Please keep posting – writing is therapeutic and helps put muddled minds into perspective.