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  • #5155
    Miss Juggles
    Participant

    So last Friday my little girl accidentally opened a letter addressed to my fiance. the content of the letter detailed a total of £40,000 worth of credit card debt that my fiancee has accumulated over the last year. After asking him about his finances he finally confessed that he has a significant gambling problem. He says he is dealing with it and our House is not at risk but I’ve no idea where were going to find the money to repay these credit card bills. Aside of the money issue I feel I don’t really know my fiance as well as I thought I did, We are due to marry early next year but at this stage i’m not sure whether I can go through with the wedding. He says he’s getting help with a gambling problem and is attending gamblers anonymous and doing everything he can to try and find a way out of this mess. I don’t know where to start in rebuilding trust in our relationship and finding a way forward. Before I found out about his problems, in my head, we were leading the perfect life and had the perfect relationship. At the moment I’m feeling really stressed and worried about what the future holds for my family. I feel torn between wanting to support and help my husband to be and wanting to run for the hills . Grateful for any advice and tips on getting through these challenges.

    #5156
    velvet
    Moderator

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    Hello Miss Juggles

    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

    #5157
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hi Miss J
    It is a terrible shock to realise that a perfect life and a perfect relationship is not as straightforward as it seemed. I believe the way for you to cope with the bombshell that has dropped on you is to learn as much as you can about his addiction so that you can be one step ahead instead of unwittingly and blindly trusting someone who cannot trust himself.
    The addiction depends on secrecy to thrive but now that you are aware, you can protect your finances by putting them in your name alone and you can support your fiancée if he is seeking help to control his addiction.
    I cannot tell you what to do but I know that with knowledge you will be able to make informed decisions that are right for you, your daughter and your fiancée.
    I appreciate your worry but at the moment you are not committed by marriage and you have time to think what it is that ‘you’ want to do – because ‘you’ matter. Whether you run for the hills or you stay and support will always be your decision. I hope it will help when I tell you that the reason I am writing to you is because I know the addiction to gamble can be controlled.
    My thread entitled ‘The F&F Cycle’ has been brought up to the top and I hope you will read it so that you know that you are not alone.
    It is ok to ask your fiancée about his meetings and to be interested but not every CG (compulsive gambler) wants to talk straight away. It is important that he can trust you to listen – he won’t expect you to understand but that is why this forum is here – to support you through the confusion. I am concerned that your fiancée say that he is dealing with it and yet the only way that you have found out about his problems is by a fortunate accident.
    It is too early to consider re-building trust but given determination your fiancée can change his life and be the man he wants to be because at the moment he is not that man.
    I will leave my first post there and wait to hear from you again. Well done writing your post, the first one is always the hardest.
    Speak soon
    Velvet

    #5158
    Miss Juggles
    Participant

    Thank you velvet – I feel like I need some space to vent as the last few weeks have been all consuming with little else to think about other than trying to find ways clearing up the mess. Having been sworn to secrecy due to fiancé feeling highly ashamed and embarrassed over his actions I’m feeling like I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. Whilst I have given him a fair share of grief and spelled out the consequences of his behaviour for me and our family I feel I’m treading a fine line between providing motivation to abstain from gambling (he says it’s been a month now) and becoming a trigger or an excuse for a lapse! We’ve managed a lengthy and emotional conversation about his CG and so far he’s agreed to all my ‘practical’ requests (taking on his finances, locking down the internet access, swapping the smartphone for a basic model, monitoring his credit file …. the list goes on). I do believe he’s committed to building a future gambling free however I don’t want to have to police his every move forever and a day and worry about the impact assuming this role will have on balance in the relationship. I know things are still pretty raw at the moment and the emotional baggage surrounding the lies and betrayal are yet to be fully realised& I suppose the approach at this stage should be to take one day at a time but I can’t help feeling robbed of the future we had planned and the future I’ve been working to secure for us! Apols for the long ramblings but it does feel better to write down some of these issues rather than letting the feelings of resentment build further!

    #5159
    vera
    Participant

    Hello Miss Juggles and well done on seeking help .
    Being involved with a CG is both scary and exciting. I say exciting because gamblers can be charming, unpredictable, fun loving and can sweep their loved ones off their feet. The scary bit comes when you find yourself with the proverbial rug pulled from under your feet and you are scrambling for damage control.
    In this case, Miss J, it is I who am the CG and reading your post set off a few alarm bells in my brain.
    For one being “…sworn to secrecy”, would be a big concern . Why? because that was the ploy I always used when I wanted to manipulate my husband and lead him to believe we could “sort out the mess ” together. I would open up, confide in him and say “if you have any loyalty or concern for me, the least you could do is keep this between us”! This of course put him on the back foot and gave me a breather! CGs thrive on “breathers”!
    This “secret agreement” leaves the door open for further promises to be made and broken. Also, as Velvet has said, the fact that you found out without him revealing his problem could mean he is being defensive now and buying time. I also find that alarming.
    I have no reason to doubt that your fiance has every intention of beating this addiction, that is up to him. From your present standpoint, I would suggest that you take ten steps back and take on the role of “observer” rather than “policewoman”. A CG hates being monitored. In fact, even when I asked my husband to “police” me, it drove me further into deceitful methods to get money and my imagination ran riot with excuses and justifications to gamble. As you rightly noted, the SO can be used/blamed for causing relapses and the words a CG uses will convince you that you are the cause of all his problems. I used all those tricks to allow myself to continue gambling for years and always managed to project my problem on to others.
    For this reason, you need to detach yourself emotionally for now. Listen to him by all means but quietly secure your bank account, protect your property and keep out of the firing line as much as possible. CGs thrive on chaos and have the ability to bamboozle anybody who we think will enable us to feed our habit.
    This is a complex problem but it can be overcome and in time , with support, you will both grow closer and live a happy life free of gambling but for now you need to thread softly.
    Remember, Miss J, that the mess your fiance has created is not your mess. His debts are not yours. You are not responsible for his gambling, nor will you be the person who stops him gambling.
    My suggestion to you would be to attend a GamAnon meeting , visit the online Groups here for personal support and do not allow yourself to be drawn into any “secrets”. Shame and guilt go hand in hand with gambling, but these emotions can be used to trap our enablers into protracted and confusing “binds” which will of no help to either to the CG or to the “victim”.
    Keep posting your thoughts. It will help to clear your head. Use all the support available. You will need every bit of it!
    Take it one day at a time and never lose hope!

    #5160
    Miss Juggles
    Participant

    Thank you Vera! The secrecy issue is one that is really dragging me down at the moment and I feel so isolated. I am working on him to get him to open up to a select few to allow me to get the support I need! It’s really draining trying to keep up the pretence that all is well when I feeling I’m drowning inside! I am finding it difficult to detach myself emotionally from the situation – selfishly it keeps coming back to ‘what about me’! The worrying thing is that he doesn’t see that accruing that level of debt will impact on me – he keeps saying its money we never had and he’s never stolen from me or the household budget! The reality for me – and I’ve explained this to him – is that I’m responsible for picking up the tab on household bills whilst he sorts this out, I have to deal with the Instabilty that his actions have created, it’s down to me to make the choices of shoes / clothes for the kids over other things and the one that hurts the most is that financially I’ll be unlikely to afford to have another child (I’m fast approaching 40 & it’s gonna take years to sort this mess out).

    I have taken advice on securing my personal finances, protecting my own position and I’m desparately trying not to be a victim or enabler. I love him dearly but it’s not going to be easy to move forward!

    On a positive note – that you for sharing your thoughts and experiences & letting me know there is hope!

    #5161
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hi Miss J
    I’m glad you have taken advice on securing your personal finances and I hope you are feeling less isolated now you can share on here.
    There is nothing for you to be ashamed about – the addiction is not something that your fiancée wanted or asked for anymore than you did so there is nothing to blame yourself over. He probably gambled as so many thousands do without any problem but never dreamed that he would have the reaction that he has.
    Nobody wants to play detective to the person they love but this is something that most F&F do when they first become aware of the addiction but when he controls his addiction the feeling that there is a need to police his actions will stop.
    Please keep talking and please use the F&F group – it is only for F&F and is quite safe. Nothing said in the group appears on the forum. Everyone in the group is or has been affected by the addiction to gamble.
    Speak soon
    Velvet

    #5162
    Miss Juggles
    Participant

    So last night I got home work and completely flipped out! The smallest things are tipping me over the edge! I’m so tired of clearing up mess (actual and metaphorical) – I work long hours in a mentally stressful job and just started to feel like life would be so much simpler if it were just me & my daughter! imagine – a life without debt and addiction, coming home to a clean and orderly home, having to look after just me & my girl, no lies or deceit – it sounds great!

    I am lucky enough to have a decent enough job that would allow me to stand alone so that isn’t the barrier to a simple life dream. It’s love, worry for him, love and concern for my stepson etc etc!

    There’s just more and more crap adding to my ever growing list of stuff to deal with and I feel like I’m so close to breaking point! The stuff that doesn’t normally stress me (e.g keeping on top of household chores) is literally bringing me to my knees and triggering huge meltdowns! In the meantime my CG is carrying on as normal, not really taking responsibility but relying on me to come up with the plans, sort family finances, childcare, household chores, support him in recovery and try and keep myself sane!

    Sorry for the long rant – just feeling like I’ve pulled the short straw. I’m trying to get my head straight and decide what I want for me and my daughter which is hard going on very little sleep & high anxiety!

    #5163
    vera
    Participant

    Gambling aside, Miss Juggles, yours doesn’t sound like an equal partnership!
    Christmas, with the extra stresses it brings can be a pointer to where we see ourselves and others in family circles.
    Try not to over react.
    Have you ever considered Family Counselling/Therapy? It would help to set some rules and boundaries and give every family member an equal share of duties/tasks.
    Lack of sleep affects our ability to function, mentally and physically .
    Take things one day at a time and set aside a half hour every day to relax.
    Never lose hope!

    #5164
    Miss Juggles
    Participant

    You are right Vera – at the moment the balance isn’t right ! At various points throughout the relationship the balance of responsibility has swung back and forth and we’ve managed. Recent months have involved huge upheaval – I only went back to work in sept after maternity leave, he had a period of significant illness (which I now know was stress due to the gambling). Other times he’s been there for me – we’ve hit this point where we’re both in this awful place and energy is low on both sides.

    Family therapy is a good suggestion – will look into what is available!

    Thank you for being there – just knowing that someone is hearing me makes such as a difference x

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