Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family Fiance addicted and with big debt

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    Hello. I am new here and looking for advice.

    I met my fiance about 1 year ago and he was opened about his problem from the early stage.

    I thought it would change.

    He has already been to rehab and psychologists but nothing seems to help. He said the solution would be my love but since the time we met he gambled his salary away several times and there were occasions in which he was left with no money not even to buy food.

    His loans because of gambling exceed $100.000,00 (one hundred thousand dollars) and he currently stopping paying his bills to negotiate via a lawyer.

    Last time he gambled was less than 2 months ago and he said he felt like comitting suicide.

    What should I do?



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    Hi Sweet

    It is common among all of us who love compulsive gamblers to feel that ‘our love’ will conquer all but sadly it is not a solution to the addiction to gamble. ‘Our love’ can cause us to overlook the dangers and in many cases result in many days, months and years of doing all the wrong things for all the right reasons.

    Unfortunately many F&F have heard the word ‘suicide’ and felt the terrifying pressure from the word – sadly it can often cause the wrong reaction. It can be felt that if bad behaviour is overlooked then, maybe, the CG will feel less desperate – but it is the continuing gambling that causes the desperation and no amount of overlooking bad behaviour will change that.

    Has your fiancé tried returning to his rehab to ask for further support? Rehabs, certainly in the UK, will be supportive even after a person has left because it stands to reason that not all those who attend the programme will be instantly gamble-free – there is no magic solution. A rehab gives the CG the tools of recovery but cannot make them use them. If the dedication is not there from the CG then there will be relapses but rehabs want to see those who attend them succeed and if it takes a bit longer to get the light switched on, then that is understood.

    I cannot tell you what to do but clearing the debts of a CG only enables the CG to gamble further – as soon as the debt is cleared then the clean slate is an open invitation to indulge the addiction further.

    When you fiancé has left himself without money for food what has been your response? Giving cash to a CG is the same as giving a drink to an alcoholic. If you feed him then, in my opinion, it should only be the basics.

    I will leave this reply to you here and wait for you to update.



    Thank you for spending your time comforting me.

    He made another loan when he was left with no money to buy food.

    After this post he gambled again and I am seriously considering giving up on this relationship, even though he has an appointment for professional help.

    He mentioned again he wanted to cut his veins after he lost a big amount on gambling.

    I want to get married and have children, how can I achieve this dream with someone who is not even paying rent because he gambles his salary away? I don’t feel safe.

    I am tired and hopeless. And I never gave him cash.


    Hi Sweet
    Is he returning to his rehab for his professional help?
    It stands to reason that not every person who goes into rehab is going to have the dedication to really embrace the tools on offer and have the necessary desire to live gamble-free. The reason that so many compulsive gamblers have to re-seek control of their addiction is that they have tried many times to take control but have been caught out by complacency. It is very hard for a gambler to accept that they cannot be cured especially when gambling is being thrown at them all the time from the media, family and social groups. Letting go takes a lot of courage – who could tell if we had the problem if we would have the courage required?
    I know that a compulsive gambler has a greater hope of controlling his addiction when he has the right support which is often achieved with dedicated addiction counsellors and therapists; however, good, support from friends and family is immeasurable.
    I am only pushing a thought around and you must act as you think fit but I think that if it was me and I still loved the gambler then I would possibly wait until he had received further professional help, I would walk the extra mile whilst seeking constant support for myself until I was sure that I knew the limit to which I was prepared to go. I would also want to see a difference in his behaviour,
    I assure you that whatever you decide to do I will understand. We often don’t know our limits until they have been crossed so I think it would be good if you knew what yours were. You are gaining knowledge of his addiction and I would imagine you are gaining a lot of knowledge about yourself – I believe that knowing ourselves is the start of us walking back to life. I think that maybe you should think what it is that you really want because what you want really matters – after all this is your life.
    Small comfort I know but dealing with this addiction now is better than when you are married with children.



    He is not returning to rehab but it is a clinic specialized in gambling. From what I understood, he will see a psychologist.

    I love him but we have not spent so much time together. We live in different countries and he came to visit me a couple times.

    In order to be together I must get married, leave everything behind and move to his country which is already scary enough specially when I know I will be having a lot of stress because of the gambling. He did not pay the rent last month.

    So I would be completely dependent on someone irresponsible because of a terrible addiction.

    How can I trust and bet my whole life under these circumstances?

    He says he gambles because he feels depressed or stressed and my love would heal. He said that if we lived together he would never gamble again but the fact is that he gambled twice when we were physically together.

    And there are other problems. I made the mistake to tell my family about his addiction and now they are absolutely against the relationship. They don’t accept him and never will. My mother said if I leave the country to stay with him I don’t even need to keep in touch.

    And more: he owes more than 1 hundred thousand dollars because of gambling, I am afraid that if I marry him I will get 50% of that debt.

    He is not even paying his bills now to negotiate everything via a lawyer.

    Give me some insight please!


    Hi Sweet

    I cannot tell you what to do but in my opinion it would be unwise to consider marriage until you have seen a very big difference in your fiancé’s behaviour. As a compulsive gambler your fiancé cannot promise that if you lived together he would never gamble again because a compulsion to gamble cannot be cured – it can be controlled but it requires treatment, courage and and dedication.

    Your mother is obviously very worried about you and I think her concern is understandable. Re-read your post and imagine someone else had written it – what would you say to a girl who was talking about giving up her home and security to marry a man who owed a hundred thousand dollars as a result of an addiction to gamble – you might react in the same way as your mother.

    Your fiancé is almost certainly depressed because he gambles and not gambling because he is depressed. It is unfair of him to place the responsibility of his recovery on your shoulders when the only person who can save him is himself. We can only save ourselves; we cannot make a compulsive gambler stop gambling. I naively believed that love could conquer all and I tried everything to get the compulsive gambler in my life to stop gambling but in the end there was nothing that I could do.

    Divide your post it into two columns – in the first column put the reasons to marry your fiancé and in the second column put the risks and dangers of marrying him. I don’t think the result would surprise you Sweet because I think that you are asking for advice when you already know the answer but you wish that you didn’t.

    If your fiancé loves you then he can turn his life around without you giving up your family and sacrificing your security to go to him. Your fiancé can change but he doesn’t need you with him to do it. In my opinion, if he loves you, he should understand that you cannot commit until he has had treatment and lived gamble-free for at least a year. He cannot trust himself yet, so why should he think that you should trust him?

    I think you have a very tough decision to make Sweet and I hope that some of what I am saying helps you to make the decision that is right for you.

    Keep posting and asking questions.

    You are in my thoughts



    Hi, Velvet. I am sorry ablut the long time to reply, I have been having some personal problems.

    Last time my fiancé gambled was about 1 month and it took his entire salary.

    I said I would break up and now he says he stopped for good. He calls himself an ex gambler.

    He won’t go for treatment because he said he is cured.

    I am suffering because I love him but my father gave me an ultimatum that I have to choose between him and the family.

    My family doesn’t accept him, specially because of the gambling addiction.

    This situation makes me so mentally unstable that I took a full box of tranquilizers; I don’t know if I was trying to suicide or if I just wanted to relax.

    I am very vulnerable to stress and the least of it makes me suicidal. I am retired in my country because of a mental disease.

    So I really want him, he makes me feel happy, he improves my health but it is very hard to continue with my whole family against.

    I think I will have to leave and it is breaking my heart. I don’t even know what to say to break up and he wants to visit me in my country the next months.

    We are engaged. I am struggling.


    Dear Sweet
    I am so sorry that you are feeling and have been given cause to feel, so vulnerable. Sadly, it is common for those who love compulsive gamblers not to find good support in their family. In trying to force you to give up the man you love, I suspect that your father is probably trying to do what he believes is right for you but you are being pulled in two different directions and that does not help you one iota.
    Many F&F become so immersed in the addiction of their loved one that they lose sight of what will make them happy forgetting just how important they are. You are important Sweet and you deserve to be happy but at the moment your fiancé’s addiction and your father’s reaction to it, are the reasons you are having so much suffering. In my opinion, you need time to breath without pressure from anybody. Do you have a friend or sibling that you can trust, someone who will not put pressure on you, someone you can talk to about things that make you happy, someone with whom you can share a hobby or interest? Do you have a church or other place of faith where you can go for peace and understanding? Do you have a Gam-Anon group meeting near you?
    I am sorry to say that although a compulsive gambler can learn to control his addiction and live a wonderful life, there is no cure and your fiancé is not right to suggest that there is. What leads you to believe that the last time he gambled was a month ago?
    I am concerned for you Sweet and I hope you will keep posting. I have not been visible in the forums this past few weeks because I have broken my hip but your post spoke to me very clearly and I felt the need to reply to you. I have found that, in replying to you tonight, I have forgotten the pain in my hip because my mind is not on me which is what should happen when we talk and share with friends.
    I can hear your struggle and I can imagine your pain, but in my opinion, it would be good for you to take time just for you. Maybe you could ask your fiancé to try and understand the way ‘you’ feel and that you need peace from being asked to share his gambling problem and hearing about his lack of money. Maybe you could let me know what he says. The addiction to gamble is a selfish addiction and because you are unselfish you are being hurt.
    Sometimes when we are being pulled in different directions Sweet, the only way not to be hurt is not to join in with either side but to stand our ground and look after ourselves. Look after ‘you’ because in doing so, you will be doing what is right for you, your family and your fiancé.
    Keep posting and speak soon


    Thank you so much for replying to me even though you broke your hip. I hope the pain goes away and itgets healed soon.

    My fiancé no longer complain about financial problems because he said he is cured. He is not even looking for treatment.

    He said he wants to stop because he wants to build a family with me and he feels ready.

    Today I tried to break up with him because of the pressure from my family and we both cried a lot.

    He said he begged on his knees for me to stay strong and continue in the relationship.

    In the end I couldn’t break up because I love him too much but I asked for a few days to make a decision.

    He said if I want him out of my life I will be the one to break up because he never will.

    I don’t know what is worse: his gambling addiction or the pressure from my family.

    My father believes he wants to use my name to gamble since he already owes 100 thousand dollars.

    Soon I will need a new support forum, this is for gamblers and this whole situation makes me feel suicidal. I took more than prescribed tranquilizers today.

    The thing is, like I already wrote, if I marry him I have to go alone to a new country and I don’t trust he will never gamble again even though he says he’s cured. I will be completely dependent on him and alone.

    My father has the best intentions but he hates him and said he will never accept. Like I said, he gave me an ultimatum: my fiancé or the rest of the family.

    All my friends and aquintances think I should break up the relationship and I am not a member of any church.

    I really think of giving up and find another man without this terrible problem but at the same time I feel selfish. I believe he has a disease, I also have another disease and he accepts me.

    Thank you for reading all this.

    I hope things will get better for me and I will be able to make a good decision.

    Just the thought of leaving him already breaks my heart.

    Take care of your hip.


    Dear Sweet
    First of all, I hope to encourage you not to leave this forum which is for Friends and Family only – in this forum ‘you’ are understood. I am not a gambler but I have studied the addiction and I have lived with someone with a gambling addiction.
    On this site we have another forum for gamblers who are seeking support and who do want to live gamble-free lives but I know from my own experience that I did not find this forum helpful to me when I first joined this site many years ago. This forum is ‘you’, however, so I hope you will continue to post.
    I cannot tell you whether to go on with your relationship, or to leave it because it is important that you make our own decision – this is ‘your’ life and nobody else should tell you what to do with it.
    What I can do is offer you an ever-listening ear and a warm understanding. I can possibly tell you the pitfalls of going one way or the other but even these should not be your deciding factor.
    If it was me Sweet, I would not marry an active compulsive gambler and move to another country with him where I would not have the support of family or friends. The reason I say this is because unless my fiancé could prove to me that has sought support and was not just telling me what he wanted me to hear I would be extremely unwise to trust him. Your fiancé has an addiction that drastically distorts his reality to fit his personal perception – he will almost certainly use lies and manipulation, as a means of getting what he wants.
    When a compulsive gambler uses words like ‘I am cured’ he is either doing it deliberately or unconsciously to mislead those who love him and those who might enable him. Only with treatment and a long-term gamble-free period should a gambler be able to say, ‘I have taken control’ – but never ‘I am cured’.
    When your fiancé says, ‘if I want him out of my life I will be the one to break up because he never will’ – he is putting the blame on you – but you are blameless Sweet, your fiancé’s addiction is not because of anything you have done or said. There is nothing you could have done or said that would have made any difference to your fiancé’s addiction.
    Whatever your decision, you are not selfish. I don’t know what disease you are talking about in relation to you but I do know that your fiancé’s addiction is definitely selfish and manipulative – only ‘he’ can do anything about it. You cannot save him. The only person who can save him, is himself and there is no magic cure. Telling you that you alone hold his future happiness is untrue – his future happiness rests with him.
    He can live a gamble-free life Sweet, he can live a wonderful life but at the moment, I am sorry to say I do not hear him saying the words that mean he is accepting his addiction and if he cannot accept his addiction then he is, in my opinion, not a man that I would trust. Words are not enough, words are easy. Facing the addiction to gamble means taking responsibility for your actions, not expecting others to do it for you, it means acceptance and action.
    I hope you will keep posting.


    Thank you for your ever-listening ear and warm understanding.

    I also have my doubts when he says he is cured as he is doing no treatment. He keeps on saying he is completely cured of gambling.

    I am suffering a lot with the pressure from both sides: my family wanting me to break up and he expecting me to make a decision until the next few days if I will get married and move to him. He wants it to happen this year.

    I have been taking tranquilizers.

    My family will never accept him no matter what because of this problem and if I go I will be on my own risk.

    I can’t remember the last time he gambled but it was not so long ago and there it went his whole salary.

    He hasn’t gambled since my last post.

    And he says now that my doubts about moving to him makes him depressed and he can’t live like this anymore.

    So he also gave me an ultimatum to decide until the next few days.

    I am so exhausted of this situation that I might end up breaking up.


    Hi Sweet
    I cannot tell you what to do but I do know that the ultimatum being forced upon you is one that I would personally reject. I do not believe that love offers ultimatums such as this and if your boyfriend feels that this is the basis for your future together then I suggest he is terribly mistaken.
    You would not need tranquilisers if everything was as it should be. You should be happy – and it seems to me that you are not which makes me concerned for you.
    Why do you believe that he has not gambled since your last post – is this what he has told you?
    A compulsive gambler cannot be cured, he can learn to control his addiction which takes time and support but your boyfriend is making no attempt towards either. Instead, he is choosing to do the exact opposite by denying his problem, by not seeking support and by trying to force your hand with an ultimatum instead of giving you the time you deserve.
    Keep posting Sweet. I am so sorry that your family will not support you which is leaving your more confused and vulnerable but I do hope that in the middle of all your confusion you are beginning to see what is the right thing for you.


    First of all, thank you so much for your support.

    How is your hip?

    I hope you are having a fast recovery.

    Our relationship is long distance at the moment then he wants fast decisions so we can get married and live together. He said he can’t stand living in different countries anymore and the deadline he gave me for a final answer expired yesterday but I am glad he mentioned nothing yet.

    I have doubts not just because of the gambling. My world would change completely and I am scared, specially with my family being against.

    Actually I don’t have anyone who supports this idea, not a single friend, not a single family member.

    My father believes he wants to use my name to make loans to gamble since he can’t get anything from the bank anymore as his debt is already too big.

    I believe he has not been gambling because that is what he told me. He said if it happens one more time he will tell me and break the relationship by himself.

    He always told me when he gambled so I believe he is telling the truth. 

    Usually it is his brother who fixes the situation for him, gives him money not to starve or even makes loans for him. His brother hasn’t mentioned anything either so it is a confirmation that he is staying away from gambling.

    But I don’t know how long it is gonna last, as I said he is seeking no treatment, joining no meetings and believes he is completely cured.

    It is not easy to be in my shoes with such big decisions to make. You are right, if everything was as it should be I would not need tranquilizers.

    I believe my family would have nothing against him (my father was very supportive in the beginning) if he was not a gambling addict. Now they think he is a liar.

    I hope I can make up my mind soon and decide what is the best for me so I can proceed with my life.

    The best would be with no pressure, neither from him nor from my family. But unfortunately the pressure goes on.


    Hi Sweet
    I wish I could say that I think it is ok to take your boyfriend’s word when he says he isn’t gambling but believing a compulsive gambler is not wise. I further believe that he is pushing to get married quickly to deny you the time to know what it is that is right for you and the time you deserve to make such a monumental decision. I don’t hear anything to support his ‘non-gambling’ claim, in the fact that his brother is not enabling him at the moment.
    Dear Sweet, there is no ‘cure’ for the addiction to gamble. It takes dedication, courage and treatment to learn to control the addiction but even with all the courage, determination and treatment in the world there is still no cure. If your boyfriend is saying something different then he is possibly fooling himself or possibly deliberately trying to fool you.
    I think you are in a very uncomfortable pair or shoes and I hope that by keeping talking here and thinking through your replies that you will soon be able to kick those shoes off and be light-footed again.
    Sadly your boyfriend is proving your father right in his assertion that your boyfriend is a stranger to the truth. As long as your boyfriend tells you that he is cured you will know that he is deluding himself. If he was giving you time and space to think about your decision it would not be so bad but trying to hurry you into the unknown shows a total lack of understanding which sadly is a trait of a gambler and not a lover.
    You deserve to be loved Sweet – you deserve to be given time.

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