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    This is my first time writing about this at all so I apologize in advance if there are any gaps in my story or if certain things are unclear. Chalk it up to nerves, I guess. So, my boyfriend and I have been together for over 10 years. We are also an international couple. We were long distance before I moved to his home country for work. We lived together for 3 and a half years. In 2015, after a year into living together, he revealed to me he has been gambling for quite some time, has no savings, and credit debt as well as loans because of stress from work and other personal matters. I was always wondering why he never had much money to spend and why he was very secretive about his finances but I never questioned it because I was young, naive, and trusted him. I was devastated by the news and from that day on, he slowly but steadily stopped gambling. He even paid off one of his loans and became more open with his finances. Things for him, and by extension us, were getting better. But, I needed to move back to my home country for serious personal reasons and we agreed we would work on moving him here with me. That was always our goal anyway when we first got together.

    During the two years we’ve been physically apart, he has been gambling again. He’ll tell me he’s stopped, but then admit later on he lied and hasn’t stopped at all. I’ve sent him money and he’s gambled it away. He says he’s lonely and bored. He doesn’t want to do any of the activities he used to like doing anymore. He doesn’t really have any friends and he’s not particularly close to his family where he feels he can ask for help. His culture is very big on shaming. He hasn’t paid off really any of his debts and uses the little bit of money left over from his salary to gamble with, forcing him to use credit cards to pay for food and other necessities, thus further pushing him into debt. So, no savings to move him here. He wants me to move back to his home country because he says if I’m with him, he’ll have things to do and someone watching him. But he’s not too keen on seeking therapy, but he’s aware he has a problem and wants to fix it on his own. But, he just ends up pitying himself and has even mentioned suicide on more than one occasion.

    I’m think of moving back to be there for him within the next 6 months because I can’t bare the idea of him sinking deeper and deeper into his depression, or something worse happening and I’m not there for support. I do have a job lined up as well. But I’ve been under so much stress and anxiety over this. I finally have a decent job in my home country and have been working on building a foundation for us here. I don’t think he realizes how much this has affected me physically and mentally. I cry sometimes just thinking about it. I don’t want to tell my family about it either and have them worry about me. They like him, too and I don’t want anyone to think ill of him but they have been asking when he’s moving here. I also don’t want to get stuck in his home country because of this situation (I do enjoy it there, but our goal has always been to move to my home country to start a family, etc).

    Before moving back, I want him to agree to strict rules to follow. I want complete access to his accounts (credit cards, loans, all of it). I want to monitor how he spends his money. I want him to give me his paycheck to pay the bills and teach him how to save money while paying off his debt. If he’s not willing to give me access to these things and let me be the financial leader of the household, I may reconsider moving back and possibly leave him. I REALLY don’t want to though. I guess I just want to know how I can best support him and at the same time help him get on the right track in every aspect possible way, especially mentally and financially. It’s been nearly a year of thinking about this and I’m just tired.

    He has a beautiful soul and is the love of my life, but I don’t want to constantly worry about money or his health if he doesn’t want to get help with his gambling and depression. Any advice would be very welcomed. After so many years, I’m truly at a loss and don’t know if what I’m thinking of doing is the right thing. Thanks in advance.



    Thanks for starting a thread in the Gambling Therapy friends and family forum. This forum will provide you with warmth and understanding from your peers.

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    You’ll find a lot of advice on this site, some of which you’ll follow, some you won’t…but that’s ok because only you fully understand your situation and what’s best for you and the people you love. So, take the support you need and leave the advice you don’t because it all comes from a caring, nurturing place 🙂

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    Hi Mo
    I am so pleased that you have posted and with such great clarity. I hope I can help you to make the right decisions for yourself and also for your boyfriend.
    Compulsive gamblers are not bad people, so I believe you when you say that your boyfriend has a beautiful soul. Your boyfriend did not ask for not did he want his addiction but it is unwise to put your head in the sand if the reality is that he does own it.
    I can hear in your post your desperate desire to save this man you love and I wish I would tell you that it was possible but the only person who can save your boyfriend is himself, sadly love does not conquer all.
    Your boyfriend could agree to all your rules and even believe that he could live by them but until he has taken action to seek treatment to help him control his addiction, his words are no more than that – just words.
    It is to his credit that he has admitted that he lied about stopping but I am extremely concerned that he is suggesting that everything will change if you move back to him, or he to you. This might be his hope but in my opinion, the reality is not that simple – controlling an addiction to gamble is not easy and requires action on the part of the gambler which should not include asking a loved one to take responsibility for his failure or success.
    I am not surprised that you are stressed over this situation – your boyfriend is putting a lot on your shoulders instead of accepting that it is him that should be actively taking steps to control his addiction, before he asks you to be with him. I am sure that he does not realise how much you are affected physically and mentally – his addiction is a selfish one which will prevent him understanding your feelings. To understand ‘you’, he would have to take responsibility for his behaviour and I don’t hear him wanting to do that yet.
    I don’t think ill of your boyfriend, quite the reverse, I sincerely hope he will take a leap of faith and seek support but not in the way he is doing. I have never heard of a compulsive gambler who has controlled his addiction ‘on his own’ but I have heard many times of compulsive gamblers who have wanted someone to sacrifice their own life to support them.
    I suggest that you ask him to seek the right support for himself. Maybe you could download the 20-Questions on the Gamblers Anonymous web site for him, maybe you could ask him to contact GA, or a dedicated addiction counsellor or join our community on this site who would welcome him, understand and support him. Actions speak louder than words and although I cannot tell you what to do I know that if it was me I would not join him until he had made the effort for himself.
    With determination, courage, acceptance and the right support, your boyfriend can learn to control his addiction and live an honest and fruitful life – if it wasn’t so I wouldn’t be here writing to you.
    Please post again – I think this must be very confusing for you

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