2 October 2015 at 9:31 am #4355Lenore84Participant
I moved in with my boyfriend about a year ago. In the time we were dating before that he has mentioned that he has a gambling problem, but it was kind of done in passing and I didn’t make much of it at the time. We did have a long conversation about it before I moved in. He assured me that he hasn’t gambled since before he met me.
The first two weeks of our cohabitation went perfectly! I was so happy, I truly did believe I was the luckiest girl alive. By degrees it became apparent that he was gambling online again. I confronted him and he excluded himself from most of the online casinos in our country. Then he started working later than usual and having frequent “drinks” with colleagues after work. It didn’t take a genius to realise that he was going into the casino close to his office. His parents have access to his finances and could prove this as well. After many fights and tears, I managed to persuade him to do a self exclusion from all casinos in our region. In the time I’ve been living here, he’s excluded himself from online and physical casinos, went under debt review, changed psychologists and we went to see an addiction specialist last week.
The latter was prompted by an incident where he took my card out of my wallet while I was sleeping and used it at an online casino he shouldn’t have been able to access to begin with. It is in another country and he was only able to do so because he has access to an international server. It wasn’t a lot of money, but the event was significant. He has never resorted to stealing before. It shook both of us and that’s how I was able to persuade him to seek more help.
And while we were seeking avenues for treatment and support for him that I had the most baffling emotion of my life. Jealousy. He has so many options of people to speak to about his problem that he has the luxury of being picky about it. I have made a promise to myself at the start that I will not get my loved ones involved in this. If I hope to have any type of future with this man then I can’t tarnish his reputation like that and they have their own problems to deal with.
I have learned very early on that his family have been stretched to their limits and are struggling to cope. I often got the feeling in the beginning that they may have prompted the decision for me to move in the hope that it would help him somehow. I still sometimes feel resentment at them for treating me like a sacrificial lamb, but I truly understand that they were at their wits’ end. In any event, I’ve seen them break just one too many times to burden them with my feelings. I’ve slowly taken on the role of cheerleader, doing a little dance for them every time we have a minor breakthrough.
So there’s no one I can talk to. Therapy is not an option for me at this stage and the people I asked for advice have only one piece to offer: RUN! I can’t do that. Not while I still have enough faith that we can beat this thing. But I also realise that I am not the person I was when I moved in. I hide it well for the most part, but I have become neurotic, irritable and distrustful. I work from home so no one knows about this, but some days I can’t get out of bed. I spend an inordinate amount of time just staring at the computer screen. My health has degenerated to the point where I have vomited blood.
I have been praised by many people who are aware of his problem for sticking with him. I’m not so sure that was the difficult choice. Which begs the question: am I being brave or stupid for trying to see this through?2 October 2015 at 11:49 am #4356velvetModerator
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.
Feel free to use the friends and family group, youll find the times for these if you click on the Group times box on our Home page. Now that you have introduced yourself youll find that many of the people you meet here have already read your initial introduction and theyll welcome you in like an old friend 🙂
If youre the friend or family member of someone who is either in, or has been through, the GMA residential programme please take extra care to make sure that nothing you say in groups, or on our forums, inadvertently identifies that person. Even if your loved one isnt connected with GMA, please dont identify them either directly or indirectly just in case they decide to use the site themselves.
Youll find a lot of advice on this site, some of which youll follow, some you wont…but thats ok because only you fully understand your
situation and whats best for you and the people you love. So, take the support you need and leave the advice you dont because it all comes from a caring, nurturing place 🙂
We look forward to hearing all about you!
The Gambling Therapy Team
PS: Let me just remind you to take a look at our2 October 2015 at 12:14 pm #4357velvetModerator
I have guests arriving any minute so my post will have to be brief, however, I wanted to give you a personal welcome to the F&F forum and say a couple of things that sprang to mind on reading your post.
You have come into a forum Lenore that understands what is going on in your life and will not judge in any way. We pride ourselves that those who love CGs (compulsive gamblers) can talk and share freely here, thus gaining a knowledge that will help you make your own informed decisions – when ‘you’ are ready and not before.
At no time will it ever be suggested that you run. This is a natural reaction from those who are trying to do what is right for you without considering your feelings for the man you love – equally it will not be suggested that you stay in the relationship regardless of the damage your boyfriend’s addiction can cause. All the decisions about your life should come from you
I also understand the feeling that you found baffling – I too admit that I was jealous that it took others to change my CG’s life when I had done everything I could to save him. I now know that I could not save him and I understand why, I will talk about that later.
I would not be writing to you if I didn’t ‘know’ that the addiction to gamble can be controlled and fantastic lives lived as a result so you are definitely not stupid in your hope. There is much to say but I will leave my first post there.
The first post is always the hardest, so well done writing yours
Velvet2 October 2015 at 12:38 pm #4358veraParticipant
I applaud your loyalty, Lenore, for not wanting to tarnish your boyfriend’s reputation. Has he asked you to keep this a secret? Gamblers often request secrecy from their nearest and dearest.
Just remember that secrecy causes a lot of stress. “We are only as sick as our secrets” is a commonly used phrase. When we have to hide things, we become dishonest with ourselves. This has far reaching consequences. Life is difficult enough without adding unnecessary stress and strain. Take care of yourself, is my advice. This site will offer lots of help. Gamanon is also an invaluable service. Gambling is a progressive, insidious and long term disease. It stretches faith, loyalty and optimism to extreme limits for the gambler and the “victims”. Being aware of it’s effects and consequences will help you to seek the support and protection YOU need. It seems to have taken it’s toll on many areas of your life already. Open your eyes before you make long term commitments. Compulsive Gamblers come with heavy baggage.
I know, because sadly, I fit into that bracket.
Among many other things, I am a Compulsive Gambler.
Keep posting!2 October 2015 at 2:06 pm #4359Lenore84Participant
Velvet, thank you for taking the time to comment, despite being in a rush. I appreciate your insight and I will take your encouragement to heart. 🙂
Vera, no, he didn’t ask me to keep any of his secrets. I chose to leave my family and friends out of it for a few reasons. Firstly, many of them haven’t gotten to know him well enough to be able to see beyond the problem. I know that he is an awesomely caring, funny and intelligent human being who happens to have a disease. I’m afraid that if I were to talk to them about this they’ll never learn about his good qualities and he’ll have to suffer the prejudice for as long as we are together.
Secondly, I’ve seen how the people in his life have reacted when they found out. And these aren’t people close enough to be directly impacted by his actions that I’m talking about. Most of his friends and some of his family have abandoned him. The rest believe they are now at liberty to treat him like a child. He has very few good relationships left and I don’t want to deprive him of the opportunity to form new ones with the people in my life.
Thirdly, in all honesty I may be scared of what they will tell me. My cousin, who is about 15 years older than I am, was in a surprisingly similar relationship with a CG when she was my age. It ended with him committing suicide. I doubt very much that I would get any positive feedback regarding my situation.
And I can’t argue with you about having to take care of myself! I came across the advice yesterday while I was browsing another forum as well. I burst into tears because I don’t know how to anymore. There are a couple of other things in my life that have been problematic for a long time and my needs usually take a back seat to whatever else is going on. Right now, I wouldn’t know where to begin…2 October 2015 at 10:06 pm #4360worriedmamaParticipant
First of all take a deep breath! None of this came on overnight and it will never be dealt with overnight! The good thing is that as long as you have secured yourself financially (making sure you have put provisions in place to keep your personal money safe and bills paid) you don’t have to make a decision right now.
Living with a CG and all that that entails is a shock to the system. Give yourself some time. Read up on compulsive gambling, attend a chat on this forum, or try a Gam Anon group. There is so much support out there … you don’t have to feel alone!
Your boyfriend is the only one that can help himself. You can take this time not to figure our how you are going to get him thru this but how you are going to get you thru this.
It is a very difficult addiction but there are many people that have learned to manage it. There is always hope!
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