This Is Actually My Story
OK – here’s at least part of my story. Most of it has been sitting on my laptop for 3 days now – not sure why I haven’t posted before now. It’s going to be very long, so I apologize for that…
I am 52, my CG husband is 61. We will be married 25 years in September. This is my first marriage and his fifth (long story). We don’t have children together, but his daughter was only 6 when we married and I love her as my own. She and her husband have blessed us with two beautiful granddaughters (1 and 3 years old) who have very nearly been the only true joy in my life for 2 years.
My husband began seriously gambling compulsively in June of 2011 when he took a job in a different state that has casinos. I had planned to move there when circumstances allowed (my elderly mother lived here at the time). Two months later I found credit card charges for cash he had gotten at the casinos – and it has been steeply downhill since then.
As one painful shock after another morphed in to my new reality, I could not make myself want to move up there with him. I think I didn’t want to live with a stranger … I’m not sure. So I "dug in" here at home trying to maintain our mortgage, and we have basically lived separately since the birth of this "Slavering Beast". He usually comes home on his days off as far as I know.
Last summer he transferred back to Texas with his company in order to get away from the casinos. (We didn’t think we had any casinos in Texas.) The place where he works is still 6 hours from our home town, and on his very first trip down there he discovered a casino on an Indian Reservation about an hour from his office and the ‘man camp’ where he lives while he’s on the job. I was devastated! Of course he told me it was just a ***** little casino that was not worth the drive … *** *** ***!!
The last 2 years have been miserable and expensive, but April was really horrible! He is spiraling to the bottom completely out of control – In deeper debt with new payday loans – ***** to me about everything, not just the gambling – Complacent and detached in our marriage and his personal life. He puts nearly all his energy and effort in to his job (thank God) and his addiction.
Velvet, I am really going to have to read and re-read those elusive words about Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. As for Yesterday – I don’t have the time or energy to worry or even care about it, because – Today and Tomorrow(s) I am agonizing over whether or not to try and settle the latest payday loans that are due this week, and I need to decide if I am going to continue the payments on all the past loans. It’s that or let his credit tank out – which will also affect my credit. I mean seriously … how do I NOT worry about Tomorrow? One day at a time seems unattainable to me right now, but I will strive to embrace that mantra.
I run the gamut of emotions on a regular basis. I feel angry and outraged – then I feel guilty. I feel hopeless and paralyzed – then something motivates me. I get scared and insecure – then I muster up some temporary determination and resolve. At ***** I have worked very hard to be sympathetic and supportive, then BAM!!, I’m back to angry and outraged. Thus is the F&F Cycle I suppose.
You are absolutely right Velvet – my mind is filled with his addiction and little else. Most of my effort has been directed at breaking HIS cycle. I constantly check his emails, checking accounts, retirement accounts, various web sites, etc, etc. I pay $70 per month for a company called LifeLock to alert me immediately if anyone (my own stinking husband for instance!) opens an account or takes out a loan using our identification. I now have a mailbox with a lock on it because he has taken insurance checks, unsolicited credit cards and the like without my knowledge. I put a lock on my home office so I can hide the valuables we have left because he has sold things from our home to feed his beast. I have a separate checking and savings account now – which we have NEVER done. To his credit he has never diverted his directly deposited paycheck. But I know that is a possibility in the future given his escalation.
In the drudgery of doing these things it has become difficult to feel kindly and supportive toward him.
The man I married was far from perfect (like me), but I felt he loved me, was faithful to me, and wanted only to take care of me and make me happy. However, I discovered very early in our marriage that he would *** to me about things that he felt embarrassed about or ashamed of. For instance, about 2 years into our marriage I learned about his first wife when I found a forgotten picture of their wedding. His whole family had kept this from me. And get this – twenty years later, I found out he had married this girl twice!
And his stupid **** … I have never been able to make him understand or care about how it makes me feel. Although he would promise to never again … blah blah blah … he just doesn’t get it, so it continues. Not obsessively, but any is too much for me. This has been an issue throughout our marriage.
I feel like I’m making him out to be a wretched man when he really isn’t – or he wasn’t. At least I don’t think he was. **** I don’t know anymore. Our family and friends adore him, and he has always been highly thought of and respected in his work environment.
He knows he has a problem, but he thinks calling it a disease is too easy a copout for him. He said he wished he’d never heard it referred to as a disease. He be***ves when and if we are living together again that he will be able to control his gambling behavior the same as when he quit chewing his nails and quit smoking. Since he thinks he knows the solution to the problem, he has made very little effort to get help. My husband is a very stubborn, thick headed man.
I have told him about this site, and he did some reading on it this weekend. He said he had gained some unexpected insight from what he’d read so far, and we even had a couple of brief but meaningful conversations. I want to be***ve that a little of his addiction was "tipped out" if only for a moment … but I don’t want to get my hopes up just yet.
Given the unresolved issues in our marriage, I struggle to have any hope that my husband possesses the strength, integrity and courage to dedicate his life to being gamble free. He asks for my patience but has yet to make a commitment to get help – even knowing the stakes.
It is painful for me to be considering divorce as an option, because I do love my husband very much and we have a lot of years invested. Everyone would be absolutely stunned if it comes to that except for our two best friends. They are aware of his addiction and are as supportive as they know how to be with both of us. My stepdaughter would be devastated though. She does not know of her father’s addiction, so part of me is terrified that I might lose my grandbabies and it would kill me. And finally, it is unbearable for me to think about what might happen to my husband on the loose with this beast ….
There’s a voice inside me telling me to open my eyes and see that no matter what he says, he wants out this marriage to be free to do as he pleases. And yet, some***** I know he still loves me very much. And some***** I feel that there is still something there. That must be why I’m still hanging on … but just barely.
Velvet, I am so very glad that your son is in recovery. I cannot imagine how frightening this experience has been for you as a parent. Thinking of your perspective – I do understand "one day at a time". My prayers are with you. And I am grateful that you are our "Wounded Healer".
"… should I give up or should I just keep trying to run after you when there’s nothing there?" Adele
— 5/9/2013 5:02:30 AM: post edited by chasing pavements.
— 6/14/2013 7:21:37 PM: post edited by adele.