Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family first time admitting she’s a gambler

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    Hi! I woke up finally and faced the fact that i’ve been innocently, then desperately enabling my fiancee’s compulsive gambling.

    We’ve lived together off and on for a year now, and have been planning to get married next May. In early December, she went home to family for the holidays. She’s coming back this week, and has just admitted to me two days ago that she has a new load of debt. She said she wanted to start treatment when she returned, because she didn’t have support from her family; her brother gambles compulsively, and there’s a lot of it in her town.

    She asked me for help finding a psychologist, and I helped set up an appointment for her. She’s scared and wants me to go along for the visit; I contacted the psychologist and she said it’d be ok.

    While I am proud for her that she has confronted this, that she has admitted she has a problem, and that she has reached out for help and support, I’m very conflicted now about how to help support with her recovery. I’ve been as supportive as I could: I have helped her get her residence here; for the past year we have been together, I have supported her financially while she stopped working in prostitution, stopped using cocaine, and found gainful employment; I’ve given her positive encouragement and tried not to judge and nag her about her problems. This fall, she self-excluded herself from her friends in prostitution who’d encouraged her lifestyle of gambling and cocaine use.

    I am proud she’s taken active steps forward, and am fully aware that there has been a physical and mental cost to me for the support, including multiple trips for STD analysis, reduced cash flow, and the constant worry of her relapsing into her old habits. To date, none of those fears have come true. Yet, the gambling persists.

    During this last trip home, about mid-December, she admitted to me that she’d pawned her mother’s and brother’s jewelry to gamble. I told her I wouldn’t pay off her debt and that she’d have to work it off. We fought about this throughout the holidays and I postponed and cancelled my trips to visit her for Christmas and New Years.

    Two days ago, she admitted to me that she’d reclaimed the jewelry and returned it to her mother and brother, but is now in debt for this, plus additional money she borrowed for gambling again, for about €10.000. She talked about returning to prostitution to pay off the loan shark. After we discussed this, she thinks she can make the payments with her work, and earlier if she chooses to sell some of her own jewelry. Last night I decided that I will not pay off her new debt. Before saying no to her request mid-December, I had paid off her debts in February, May, and November 2019.

    I love her very much, and when we’re together it’s great, except when it’s not. I know she’s been gambling when she’s with me as well and she openly admitted this to me last month. I am hopeful she starts the treatment next week, as I firmly believe she’s the only one who can solve this. I want to support her because she supported me during this time as I was (and still am) going through therapy and treatment for trauma and depression.

    We all need support, shoulder to shoulder, yet how do I know if my support is enabling her gambling? Is allowing her to live with me while she actively seeks treatment enabling her gambling? Can I set limits to keep my boundaries? I’m conflicted because my gut says yes, I’m enabling her, and my heart says no, I’m giving her space to heal. She has alternatives: she could return home and ask for help. She’s worked for her aunt before, so finding work wouldn’t be an issue. However, she has no support for treatment in her family.

    I’ve signed up to the site and have started reading posts. If there’s still a newbie group on Tuesdays at 20.00 UK, I’d like to join in. Thank you to all who’ve posted and written about your loved ones; I’ve found a lot in common in reading these posts and feel I’m not so alone in my worries anymore.

    Paul Dent


    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

    Read about the friends and Family Online Groups

    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!


    many thanks for the kind words of suport


    Hi Onenonly
    I agree that many of us need support in our lives and you are certainly trying to do the best for your fiancée – only you can know if you are doing the best for you too – I hope that you keep your support going while you go through this difficult time because you are vulnerable too.
    Has the psychologist you have found for your fiancée been recommended for gambling addiction?
    I hope that keeping a journal on here will give you support – there is always someone listening and caring.
    Keep posting and please make sure that every day you do something that you enjoy.


    Hi onenonly,
    I’m coming from a compulsive gambling perspective here, somebody who has lied to my husband & family, you can only support her so much (sounds like you have completely) but if the money is there she’ll use it to gamble! You have to let her take responsibility for herself, if she’s pawned jewellery make her get it back. You’re doing everything you can to help her it has to come from her now because it’s going to cause your mental/physical/financial health to suffer! Be supportive, talk to her & let her know you’re there for her but stop the money & paying off debts etc. I do not want this to come across as rude but try not to let her walk all over you! The best thing my husband has done for me is taking away financial responsibilities so he has control over bank Acc’s and bills, I gambled to the point of nearly making my family homeless (2kids, 2dogs me & my husband) and even after the arrears were paid I still went on to gamble & not pay rent.
    Gambling can turn the nicest of people into dishonest and conniving people.
    I hope you work it out


    What exactly are you interested in gambling? Do you want to ask for advice about gambling or the best sites? The fact is that this is the most common question 🙂


    I find therapy useful! I find anything not tearing me up, useful. That time, spent, at Trget, Walmart, or a new makeup collection is money well spent, but healing begins in therapy.

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