Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family Can hope and reality coexist in moving forward?

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    So many of the stories on here bring me to tears as I see myself in so many of you.

    My partner left me a few months back after I had been suspecting he had started sports betting again for the last several months. He was becoming increasingly distant, reclusive, not wanting to socialize with friends, and lacked the desire to be intimate. He claimed it was a funk he was in due to the debts he had incurred 5 years previously before he had stopped gambling, and the guilt and shame from owing me money (my naive self gave him money for a consolidation loan of sorts that was supposed to take care of all of the “bad” bookie debt before he “turned himself around”). I was starting to ask more questions surrounding his gambling and trying to hold him more accountable, which was pushing him farther away from me. He insisted there were relationship issues, including intimacy and guilt issues surrounding my helping him financially 4 years ago that could no longer cope with. He also said that he needed to salvage his pride, save me from going down with him, and that love was not an issue, but he couldn’t be in a relationship now. Things didn’t add up, and I asked if he was gambling, and whether that what why he was feeling guilt about not repaying me completely, which he vehemently denied.

    A week after he left, I found out that he had been gambling anywhere between $3000-$23000 bi weekly on a sports betting website for the last several months. I found several old payday loan collections notes, and realized his work bonus went to paying these off instead of going towards a downpayment on a new home. It became clear that all of the ‘relationship issues’ he said were having were due to his continued gambling.

    He did go to a few GA meetings, and counselling sessions where he realized gambling was the problem in our relationship, but unfortunately he doesn’t understand (or WANT to understand) right now that he has a CHOICE to stop. He dropped going once I stopped communication. He feels like gambling is the ONLY way to pay off the debts he has accumulated in a reasonable time, and simply doesn’t want to stop because he believes he is in control.

    I have stopped all* communication now, in realizing that my mere PRESENCE in his life, by phone, by email, was ENABLING him to continue and use our once beautiful relationship as the cause for his guilt, and general unhappiness. However, I use the “all*” because we do have to communicate about the loan he has with me, and he fails to pay me in full or on time nearly every month. While I try to keep these exchanges strictly professional, he will often times tell me how he misses me every day, thinks about me, loves me, and that he is truly sorry he cannot be the man I need/deserve. This rips me apart because we both love each other so much and wanted to spend our lives together and start a family together. On the other hand, I have started to receive angry texts, if he is caught in a lie with friends, where it becomes my fault because I am not hiding his secret any longer (for the record- these texts are NOT replied to). He will have his ‘moment’ where he will then apologize, but it always seems short-lived before the addict pipes up again.

    He is my best friend, love of my life, and I would love nothing more than to have a future together – but I realize he MUST be in a place first where his pride is not his first priority, and he chooses for himself to get help. I cannot guide him in any way.

    It is difficult to hear from friends that he is golfing all the time, going out and spending money liberally, instead of paying his debts. He is clearly not in a place where he wants to better himself right now, however, has taken baby steps in accepting that he is a compulsive gambler. Furthermore, his largest debts are to me and his mother (who is the infinite enabler), both of which cause him a huge amount of stress and guilt. If he is not giving either of us our agreed upon monthly payments for another bet or round of golf, I know how truly deep his addiction has become.

    I am still going to the counsellor we went to as a couple every few weeks, who his helping me take care of myself, for which I am very grateful!

    I am realistic that he may never seek help, but hopeful that he will and that we can reconnect and move forward together. I realize this may take some time, it may not happen at all, and that if it does it will be a difficult road. In the meantime, I am staying strong in my approach to ‘tough love’, not seeing him when he offers the opportunity, and continuing without communication unless it pertains to our financial relationship. I wonder if there is anyone out there who has separated and reconnected from their partner who may be able to offer advice one way or another? Can we be hopeful while being realistic about the prospect of recovery?

    I am grateful to find such an active forum of individuals who are living many of the same realities and struggles as myself. It is such a comfort! Until next time, I will be taking things day by day, one step at a time.



    Hello San27

    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, you’ll find the times for these if you click on the “Group times” box on our Home page. Now that you have introduced yourself you’ll find that many of the people you meet here have already read your initial introduction and they’ll welcome you in like an old friend 🙂

    If you’re 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 isn’t connected with GMA, please don’t identify them either directly or indirectly just in case they decide to use the site themselves.

    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 🙂

    We look forward to hearing all about you!

    Take care

    The Gambling Therapy Team

    PS: Let me just remind you to take a look at our

    privacy policy and terms and conditions so you know how it all works!


    Hi San
    Members who come out from the shadow of the addiction usually move on and no longer post which is unfortunate for new members who cannot read the successful outcomes. What I can tell you is that I have known quite a few people who have separated and reconnected and gone on to wonderful lives but I would be doing you a disservice if I did not also say that I have known many people who have not gone on to a future with their compulsive gambler (CG) loved one.
    I have found your post to be really enlightened and I commend the way you have handled your situation. You have been brutally honest in recognising that your presence in the life of your loved one was probably/possibly enabling him – I know the pain that comes from such a realisation. In my opinion, those who love CGs cannot help but have the belief, during a very painful experience, that love will conquer all, which makes it unbelievably difficult to walk away.
    The loving texts are hard to bear but harder still are the unpleasant ones where blame is heaped on you that you don’t deserve. Understanding why your partner blames everybody, especially you for his pain might help. To protect himself and his addiction he will not, cannot, take responsibility for his behaviour without accepting he is out of control and it appears your partner is not ready to fully accept this yet so he blames you.
    When you say his mother is the infinite enabler, I take it that you are not able to talk to her in a way she will understand or want to understand. Unfortunately if she is in denial of her son’s problem, she is not helping him but unless you can persuade her to seek support and knowledge for herself there is little you can do. It is sad but while your partner is behaving as he is, he is not your best friend and it is best, I think, to view anything he says with suspicion, including any supposed guilt or stress over the debts he is running up, certainly with his mother. I learned from my CG, after he had taken control of his addiction that any thought I had about him feeling guilty about me, while he was actively gambling, was just me hoping for a glimmer of care and had no basis in fact.
    I wouldn’t be here writing to you if I didn’t know that the addiction to gamble can be controlled but the only person who can take that control is the CG.
    It would be good to talk to you in a group San – my group tomorrow is 22.00 -2300 hours UK time which I think is 5pm where you are.
    Well done starting your thread
    Speak soon


    Thank you velvet for your well thought out response. I have tears in my eyes because its so nice to hear from strangers with such insight and perspective based on a blurb I wrote.

    In terms of communication with my CG, I actually find the angry ones easier to deal with because I see the addict coming to the surface full force. When you see glimmers of your partner in the loving texts, but nothing is changing, it is MUCH more difficult to deal with. This happened last week and it knocked me back 20 steps I had hiked up over the last couple of months.

    I find every decision, every response I make is met with asking several peoples advice while I still try and stay ‘tough’ in my approach, especially when other family members are continuing to enable him or fail to acknowledge the problem. I have to realize that my relationship with my CG is different than a buddy’s relationship with him, a brothers relationship, and even a mother’s relationship. I am 28, and my future was wrapped up in this man. None of those people can say the same. My CG knows this, and realizes that he can’t give that to me , and I don’t actually believe he thinks he has a choice to change that. I may be wrong, but it helps me sleep.

    Anyway, velvet I would have enjoyed joining the group yesterday, but was not home unfortunately! Hopefully next time 🙂


    Hi San

    Velvet has welcomed you and shared some important things with you. I just want to add another Welcome. I hope you find the support you need here – on the forum, as well as in groups.

    I can imagine that it is heart-breaking to see the young man you love so much seem to destroy his own life and also the hopes and dreams of your life together. But I can also see the strength and wisdom you have discovered or developed within yourself, too. It is unlikely that the journey you have to make can always be smooth or in the forward direction, but you will find the way through for yourself when you focus on the most vital things and use the support that is now around you. It is very likely you will get conflicting advice from people who do not understand the addiction (or are unwilling to look at it honestly), but always take your time to make decisions, do not be too disappointed if you feel you made the ‘wrong’ ones and just keep going one day at a time.

    My good wishes are with you,



    Hi San

    Welcome to the site, you have definitely come to the right place for insight on any thoughts you may have related to your loved ones gambling.

    I commend your position on your CG’s gambling and your strength in your position and the realization you cannot control or fix your CG’s problems. I myself still struggle with this regularly. You have made all healthy decisions for the two of you. You have remembered that you are the most important person in your own life and that you must take care of yourself before you take care of anyone else. That is the absolute most important realization you could have come to.

    kudos to you

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