12 May 2015 at 6:50 pm #3884June-bug87Participant
I’m new to the forums and not reallly sure where to start, but I guess I’ll just share my story and hopefully I can get some advice on how to move forward.
I’ve been with my boyfriend for over 5 years now. In the past I’d noticed a few unusual gambling habits, I.e. once we went to the shops, he popped into a betting shop, I had to wait outside as I’d forgotten my ID, and he basically just forgot I was there waiting for him. I had to go back in where I’d spotted him casually playing on the roulette machine. He said he just forgot I was there. Anyway, a few odd occurances but nothing major. He’d spoken about how he knew he bet too often and agreed to stop.
So, we’ve been saving to get a house deposit and he had a good chunk of inheritence money that his family had saved for him. As we were starting to get serious about the house purchase, his dad transferred the savings to him, and My boyfriend put these funds into an accessible savings account.
So, for the last few months I’ve been doing all the necessary prep for buying a house, sorting out our finances and everything. I had a mortgage appointment booked for the following week. We knew how much we could afford, and found an area we liked and some houses we’d like to view. It was really exciting! Then, the night before the appointment he tells me he needs to talk to me. he explains that he’s been gambling again, and that to cut a long conversation short, he has spent over half of our house deposit money and is also thousands of pounds overdrawn.
I am devastated. I don’t know what hurts more, the lies and deceit, him not feeling like he could tell me sooner or that what our plans for the future have to be scrapped. I’m so upset but know that I can’t get angry at him or yell, because its an illness. But it’s so difficult. I’m panicking about what I’m going to tell my friends and family about our moving plans (id been so excited about our plans to buy a house that Itd been a regular conversation topic with my close friends and family, and even some work colleagues). Obviously I had to cancel the mortgage appointment, and given the state of my boyfriends bank account we can’t think about buying again for a very long time. I just feel so let down, and so sad that what I thought was our future, isn’t anymore. How can I support him when I’m feeling so let down ?
Any advice on how to deal with this would be appreciated. I just don’t know who to talk to.
Thank you.12 May 2015 at 8:06 pm #3885
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 our12 May 2015 at 8:09 pm #3886
Very quickly – if you are reading this in real time I can communicate with you live at the moment. click on ‘Support Groups’ at the top, scroll down to Friends and Family in the purple bit and click on ‘join’. I am here until 21.00 UK time .
Velvet14 May 2015 at 12:10 pm #3887
The addiction to gamble demands secrecy and those around it very often oblige unwittingly, thinking they are doing the right thing. You need good ‘on the ground’ support so, in my opinion, you should not panic about telling your friends and family about this problem.
In my experience people who have not lived with the addiction to gamble tend to struggle with understanding and as a result their opinions can be very narrow and not supportive. In view of that I believe it is best to tell others as a statement rather than asking for opinions. You are going to get your knowledge here and you can make your own informed decisions with that knowledge. At no time will it ever be suggested that you leave or to stay in your relationship – everything will be in your hands.
I hope it will ease the pain you are going to through to know that your boyfriend didn’t ask, or want this terrible addiction in his life, anymore than you. It is very unlikely that he has hurt you deliberately; far more that he has been swept along with an addiction that he doesn’t know how to control.
Sadly, without treatment your boyfriends’ addiction will get worse – it is quite likely that his addicted mind will be trying, even now, to work out how he can gamble the money back that he has lost – it is his only answer to devastating problems.
You don’t say what, if anything, your boyfriend has done to seek help for himself. Saying he is sorry will never be enough – he has to act positively to control his addiction. We have a brilliant Helpline, facilitated CG (compulsive gambler) groups, and ‘My Journal’ forum where he would be welcome and understood as those who do not share his addiction will probably never understand. The Helpline is there for you too. There are also many GA groups where he would be supported.
In the meantime I suggest you ask him to turn over all the finances to you, put everything in your name and ensure that pin numbers, etc. are safe. I suggest that you do tell him that you are seeking help, I think it is good for CGs to feel that their loved ones are on their side even though it will mean that enablement will cease.
‘Who you talk to’ is a difficult question. In my own experience and in the experience of many others, general counsellors did not offer any real support and certainly in my case, did more harm than good. The best support comes from dedicated addiction counsellors and therapists, Gamanon – which is the sister group of GA and obviously this site and all its services.
You and your recovery are so important at this time, not just for you but for your boyfriend as well. There is a lot more to tell you but I will leave it there and await your reply.
I know how hard it is to write the first post – so well done.
Velvet16 July 2015 at 3:23 pm #3888June-bug87Participant
I just firstly want to apologise for the disappearing act. I read your response and then did a lot of research into the world of compulsive gamblers and completely forgot to reply to you.
Thank you for your comments and advice, it was really enlightening. I decided immediately to support my boyfriend through his addiction, like you say, he didn’t mean to hurt me or our future, it’s an illness that he couldn’t control. When I told him I was going to support him he just broke down, he was so relieved. Since having my support, he seems to be much happier and more relaxed.
So, I took control of all the finances and still have his debit cards etc and he hasn’t gambled in the two months since he told me of the news. He’s been to see a GP who has recommended counselling groups which he’s made an appointment for (I do feel like this could’ve progressed a little quicker – he still hasn’t had this counselling appointment yet and I do worry that he’s putting it off and brushing it under the carpet a little). He is much more open with me though and I think we’re in a good place with it all considering.
I appreciate that the issue isn’t going to disappear, but I do feel a little sad that I have to control every money related decision now. Little things like the fact that it was my birthday recently and I had friends and family asking what he’d got me (we’d agreed no gifts given his financial situation). I know it’s a really trivial thing to feel sad about and I do feel a bit silly for even writing this, but it just made me think. Do you think it will ever be OK for him to have control of his money again? Or is this a forever situation?
I’ve confided in my sister and a close friend about it, just because they were constantly asking for updates on our house move situation and it has really helped. They didn’t judge or try and give advice, they were supportive and just ‘there’.
One thing that is bothering me is who my boyfriend has told, which is no-one. He is very fortunate to have a Dad who is very generous with money. His dad rarely spends any money on himself and instead prefers to give it to my boyfriend and his brother. (Hence the original house deposit money). So, his dad doesn’t know about these gambling problems or that he’s lost so much of this money. And recently, he’s offered him £5k to buy a new car! I’m really struggling with this. I feel like I know some big secret and I’m not sure how he’d feel if he found out what had happened to the money. I would never say anything, but do you think I should encourage my boyfriend to come clean?? I really don’t want him to accept this money for a car.. Even though he does need one, it doesn’t feel right.
It would be great to know your thoughts. Thanks for your advice and help so far. 🙂16 July 2015 at 10:49 pm #3889nomore 56Participant
There seem to be some red flags in what you wrote in your update. GA doesn’t require a referral from a GP and no appointment is necessary. From my own experience it looks a bit like buying time and satisfying your expectations. My hb is in recovery for almost 6 yrs now and told me that he never wants control of his money again. For him, it is part of his recovery. He gets a certain amount each month to pay his bills (we don’t live together) and the minute he asks me for something out of the ordinary, I pull the plug so to speak.
I have some thoughts on the money issue with the dad but it is strictly my own opinion. Every addiction thrives in secrecy. I would not talk to his family myself but encourage your bf to disclose what is going on. After all, as long as there is money available, there is really not such a great need and urge to stop gambling. Always something to fall back on. I don’t think a drug addict or alcoholic would be in a good place if dad would finance the substance. Indirectly that is what is happening looks like.
And the issue with presents is also connected to the secret. Nobody would ask questions if the gambling is revealed. The greatest present I ever got was the change I saw in my hb after being showered with gifts for 25 years that he could not afford, charged on credit cards for which I had to file bankruptcy in the end. I had no clue how many cards he actually had, go figure. Just some stuff that came to my mind when reading your post.24 July 2015 at 12:28 pm #3890
Nomore has made some very valid points. Maybe the doctor is arranging for your boyfriend to see a dedicated counsellor but for many CGs there is nothing as good as talking to those who share the experience of addictive gambling. GA is not an organisation that requires an appointment – all CGs are welcome to every meeting.
It is common for CGs to truly avoid controlling their addiction and to keep one foot in the door just in case an escape route (in their perception) becomes unavoidable. It is scary to face ones demons and admitting them to other people is something that they struggle with. As Nomore says, it is an addiction of secrecy, so ‘talking’ openly is not something that comes easily. Likewise not telling his father, especially with his father willingness to enable, is a fact your boyfriend’s addiction is well aware of.
These points are not given to frighten you – they are hopefully guidelines that help both you and your boyfriend. He won’t consciously be thinking ‘I won’t go to GA, I won’t tell my father because I may want to gamble tomorrow but when all is said and done he has a terrible addiction that needs handling carefully. Unfortunately you cannot save your boyfriend, only he can do that and if he is avoiding the support he needs he will struggle too much.
I don’t find it trivial that you write that you were sad about not getting a birthday present – I take it that your friends and family are still unaware that you boyfriend is a CG. If they were aware it would be easier for you to say that you have an agreement that is working for you as a couple. All couples have different ways of handling different situations within their relationships – you are handling the finances in your relationship and that is right for the two of you, what other people think doesn’t matter – but I do know that the longer the addiction is covered up, the harder it gets to appease ‘interested’ family and friends.
I might be missing something but it does seem to me that ‘you’ are doing all the work towards supporting your boyfriend and I do know that his addiction will be quite happy to sit back and let you do it. A CG can often ‘dry ‘gamble’ in early recovery, mistakenly believing that abstinence is recovery – it isn’t’. ‘Dry’ gambling is where no money is involved but the addiction is still very alive and kicking in the head of the CG. It is a very good way to get F&F to relax and believe that all is well so that they remove the barriers and begin again to accept ‘odd’ behaviour. By dry gambling, the CG can keep the addiction juices flowing until it can burst the banks again.
I hope you write back soon – and of course you will be welcome in an F&F group. Keep your thoughts coming – you are doing well but looking after you is more important than all the research into your boyfriend’s addiction.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.