27 November 2017 at 9:50 pm #6049
I had some good advice on another forum and I think this time I’m after peoples opinions of what happens from now, can it ever get better? Can we have a”normal” life? A bit of background – Boyfriend has a 12 year history with online gambling, we’ve been together 3 1/2 years and I’ve known for a long time, we’ve had a lot of conversations about it and empty threats from me that I won’t have the conversation again and I will leave if we do, which obviously hasn’t happened. He went to counselling earlier this year and I thought he’s got it under control, he told me Thu night he’d gambled that day and lost £1000, and said he’s done it 2 more times on top of this since he finished counselling (winning one time, losing the other) and the longest he’s gone ever is 3 months not gambling. Since the conversation he has said he will start going to GA (he hasn’t gone, first due to his health and tonight he picked up a shift in work, he has also said to me he’s only going for me which I know is pointless and he won’t go), he has signed all bills to now come out of my account (he will transfer me the half of his money for them, I never had any concerns about this before and 100% believe he paid everything on time, he said if I’m going on forums and things and first thing I will be advised if to sort everything financial out myself so he wanted to do that) and has put a block on his phone that only I know the password for to stop him going on any gambling sites, downloading any apps etc.
This has been the first time we’ve had the conversation and I’ve actually taken a step back to think about myself and what I want. I’ve told him I feel like I’m putting my life on hold for him now and we cannot make any decision that ties us together (planning to get a dog, planning to have kids etc.) until this is under control, and I said (when I was angry) that I resent him that I am having to access support for something that is nothing to do with me. Someone on the web chat said it sounds as if I’m treating this as an illness that will get better and disappear, and I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that if we stay together this will be something out of my control we have to think about constantly, I feel like I’ll be questioning all of his financial decisions and if he’s in a good or bad mood I will be thinking if its because he’s gambled. I think at the moment I’m trying to think practically what would happen if we stayed together or if we split up and weighing up my options. I really desperately don’t want to leave him and I want a future together as he says he does too, but then he gambles and it just comes crashing down around me again that the illness is more important/has more of a hold on him than the thought of our future.
I posted this in another forum 2 weeks ago and since then I can’t get it out of my head, in the past a day or 2 after he’s told me hes gambled I forget about it and carry on as normal but this time I can’t. I just keep waiting for the next time he tells me, and I’m worried that I’m talking myself round to it now… Trying to lessen the impact when/if it happens to make it not hurt as much maybe?28 November 2017 at 11:19 am #6050DuncKeymaster
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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The Gambling Therapy Team28 November 2017 at 11:15 pm #6051
sorry I didn’t see you post until after the F&F group tonight but I will reply to you asap
Velvet19 December 2017 at 11:18 pm #6052
Hi Worried GF
I am glad that you have taken a step back to think about what ‘you’ want and furthermore that you are putting plans for the future on hold until you know what it is that you want. Knowledge of the addiction to gamble will give you power over it and help you make informed decisions.
You have already established that threatening a compulsive gambler makes no difference so always be sure that when you make a threat that you are really able and willing to carry it through. When you make a threat and don’t carry it out, a compulsive gambler will almost certainly believe that given time and a bit of blarney you will always crumble.
In answer to your question, your boyfriend can control his gambling and I know from my own experience and the experience of many others that you can live without constantly questioning what he is doing BUT and it is a big BUT, he has to have the courage to want to change his life and the determination to see it through. This takes time and I mean a long time. Actions do speak louder than words and your boyfriend does need the right support.
Practically, if you stay together it will be tough and the best way for you to help him is to look after yourself first so that you are safe both financially and emotionally.
There is support for your boyfriend; GMA is a fantastic rehab, GA and this site change many lives for the better – but the CG (compulsive gambler) has to want to change.
Please update. It has taken me a long time to reply to you but I have had personal difficulties to overcome, hopefully I am back now and willing to support you for as long as you want me to do so.
Velvet26 December 2017 at 9:35 pm #6053
Hi Velvet, thanks for getting back to me. To be honest since I first posted this 4 weeks ago it’s still constantly been on my mind, I’ve come back home for Christmas (my family are in Norfolk, boyfriend stayed with his in Wales due to work commitments) and more than ever I feel like I’m still talking myself round to the idea that we will end at some point and I still have no faith that he won’t gamble again, which is awful to say and he would be crushed if he knew I was thinking this.
Again, I don’t want us to end and I want all the things in the future that he says he wants to, but the more I’m thinking about it and speaking to my friends from home the more I am convincing myself that nothing is going to change and we will end. This is an illness hes had for 12 years, he has made these promises to me before about stopping which haven’t happened and I also haven’t followed through and left when I said I wouldn’t put up with it any more. I’ve said to myself if anything happened again in the next 6 months then that’s it, and if it doesn’t then I need to have a long hard think about whether I can cope with living with this, which right now I don’t think I can (which opens up the question I that if I know now I can’t live with it then why am I continuing the relationship, but that’s an issue I just don’t want to/can’t face yet). My last relationship ended very suddenly and unexpectedly and I was left living on my friends sofa for a month so I think part of me thinking over the worst case scenario is that I don’t want to be in that situation again when if the worst happens I won’t know what to do, luckily the house I bought this year is in my name only and I could afford to live on my income alone if it came to that. I feel even more down and confused about everything than I have done the last few weeks when we were in the same house before I came home for Christmas. I know I need to make my own decision and no one can tell me whether to stay or not, and it will take time for me to decide what I want to do but this is so so hard.27 December 2017 at 4:34 pm #6054
I am glad that you have written that which you feel you can’t tell your boyfriend – I believe it is important to get your feelings out and where better to do it than anonymously where nobody can get hurt?
I believe I know why you are continuing the relationship rather than ending it at the moment – you love him and you are hoping that love will win in the end although you are aware that love in itself is not enough. Has your boyfriend shown by his actions, rather than words that he is prepared to try and change his life? There are plenty of GA’s in Wales and GMA is in the Midlands and in Kent, this site is available to him, offering terrific facilitated groups and a fantastic Helpline all of which are anonymous and supportive.
I hope you have had a good Christmas in lovely Norfolk although today is proving pretty rotten weather-wise. Has this period away from your boyfriend been less stressful; sometimes an enforced temporary separation helps you to see the difference between living with an addiction and living out of its shadow.
I am really only posing a thought and not telling you what to do but there are worse scenarios than living on a friend’s sofa for a month – you have a house of your own now so hopefully this is not the only option available to you anyway. Only you can know how much you are prepared to put up with but in my opinion, spending time thinking about what it is that ‘you’ want is more important than wondering what he is doing at any given moment.
I suggest you keep posting, sometimes things become clearer the more you post. It would be great to ‘see’ you in a group where we can ‘talk’ in real time.
In the meantime please ensure that you do things for ‘you’ and that you look after yourself. Don’t make threats you cannot keep, give yourself time to be sure that what you are saying is what you want.
Your boyfriend can change but he has to want to do so and this is shown by him doing things and seeking support towards a gamble-free life.
Velvet28 December 2017 at 6:29 pm #6055
Hi, yes I do love him and yes I do hope “love concours all” but I also feel more realistic than I was the last few(!) times he told me he’s gambled. Originally he said he would go to GA which never happened and hasn’t been spoken about since which was really disappointing for me (particularly after saying he would go and then a week later saying he only said that for me, which I knew at the time anyway) he did buy a self-help type book and said it was really useful and advised me to read it too which I may do at some point. As previously mentioned he went to counselling earlier in the year which at the time I believed worked, however it clearly didn’t as well as I’d hoped.
I’ve spoken to my mum about it at length for the first time and feel that I have told her and a few other close friends as I know deep down eventually it will come to an end, but I still really don’t want it to. We’ve obviously spoken since I’ve been home but I feel distant from him, he’s saying all these things about how next year will be our best ever and he’s really excited for what will happen (to be fair, 2017 has been awful for me even without this) but I can’t help not feel as enthusiastic as he is making out. We’ve spoken again about getting a pet early next year and he said again he wants a puppy which I was anxious about as I said when he told me about the gamblimg I don’t want to do or make any decision that ties us together, and I still stand by that but again if he knew that he would be crushed.
The time apart for my own headspace has been really useful, and speaking to my friends (rather than our mutual friends) has been good for me. I’m hoping I will feel better when I’m back with him and as I have said before this aside he is who I want my future with, but I don’t know (/don’t think definitely at the moment) that I could live with the thought of is he or isn’t he gambling looming over our relationship, particularly if we had joint responsibilities such as children.
Again I don’t know what I want to get out of saying this anonymously on a forum, I think it’s just getting it out of my head rather than wanting an answer from someone (because I guess I know the answer?) but this is helping me28 December 2017 at 9:07 pm #6056
Forums like this work exactly as you said – you get your thoughts out rather than allowing them to go round and round in your mind with no hope of finding a different solution.
Don’t worry about doing nothing until you are ready – it is better to stand still at such times until you know which way forward ‘you’ want to go.
Your boyfriend lives with failure, which is the nature of his addiction so he will lack confidence and self-esteem. To cover up he will use lies and prevarication to confuse you which is his coping mechanism. However much your boyfriend convinces you that he is in control – he is not.
Puppies and children need someone to be responsible for them but at the moment your boyfriend is not able to take responsibility for his own life never mind additional little lives. It seems to me that you are doing the right thing holding back on things that would merely add to your worries.
Would you consider telling him that you are seeking help – maybe he would be surprised that you would consider that you need support too?
Maybe you could download the GA 20-Questions from the gamblers anonymous web site and ask him to look at it – often CGs do not realise that they are far from alone and that there is real help available.
Sometimes a CG has to experience real hurt as a consequence of their behaviour. You say he would be crushed if he knew that you don’t want to make decisions that tie your lives together so I pose this thought to you – his behaviour is crushing your dream and it is within his grasp to give you both the future you want. If he doesn’t know how you feel and he is ‘getting away’ with crushing your dream then maybe he has no incentive to change.
Was the counsellor he saw a dedicated addiction counsellor?
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