Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family Gambling is destroying my 5.5 year old relationship

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  • #6117
    ampwire
    Participant

    I really need help. I feel completely lost and disrespected.
    This is super long, so maybe I won’t even get an answer, but here it goes:
    My boyfriend of 5.5 years has spent the last year (and a half) gambling.
    I’m 25, he’s turning 25 next month and we still live with our parents. We are both college graduates, I have a master’s degree and he has a bachelor’s. We live in a country where work opportunities are very rare, so we’ve been struggling to get a job and finally be independent.
    Since he came back from college his life has been a living hell at home, he has a 20-year-old sister and a little brother and his parents treat him like a slave working on the family business and only show love to his siblings. His father is a very cold, destructive person and his mom doesn’t care much about him either.
    About a year and a half ago, he started playing online poker again. He started gambling 20 euros each time and then increasingly started playing more, up to 100 euros each time. He would be winning and then he would gamble it away going “all in” and losing whatever amount he could actually make. He had already played online poker before for a month (two years prior to this) and got into a compulsive/addictive behavior, but he stopped on his own. This time was different, he played online poker everyday for a year and he gambled away more than 10k. He admitted he had a problem and stopped for a week, but then started again, stopped again for about two weeks, and did it again. He stopped when his parents found out he had gambled away all of his savings money and money he had been given by his parents throughout the years. His mom found out first and asked him to promise to never do it again, his dad found out because his mom went ahead and told him (although they are clueless about the real amount he gambled away the whole year).
    Even after they found out, he started again after about a month and kept going. He got frustrated with it because he kept losing and finally stopped online poker for good.
    The problem is that little by little, he started gambling on sports bets, first it was only once or twice a week, but then he installed an APP on his phone and since then (about 4 months) he has been gambling nonstop, he started using on APP that is legal here, and about 1 month ago started using another APP that is actually illegal here in the country and betting A LOT. On sports bets, I would say he has already spend around 5k, but it could be more.
    He won 1k last week and transferred it to his bank account, but during the next day he managed to gamble it all away due to accumulated losses. It’s taking over his life and now he only goes to bed at 4AM and wakes up at noon, because he spends so much time during the night looking at games and analyzing bets.
    Although all of this is happening under his parents’ roof, they are completely oblivious to the fact that he keeps on gambling and they honestly don’t care, but he’s reached the point of stealing money for them to gamble, so that worries me, because that really isn’t the person that he is. He keeps saying that he feels guilty when he does it, but he keeps doing it anyway because he won’t stop gambling.
    The worst part of this is that I have been putting up with it. At first, he didn’t act different around me, but the sad part is that when he has big wins during the bets, he starts hugging me and being affectionate because of the winning hype, and when he loses… He ignores me and treats me like shit. Then when I complain and tell it to his face—that I know he’s been ignoring me and not spending time with me lately because of the gambling—he says it’s not true and that he’s been acting like that because of me and because I don’t leave him alone.
    We used to spend 2-3 hours at the end of the day (night) together, every day, now he only comes over 2-3 nights and stays for about an hour. We don’t go out, we don’t do boyfriend-girlfriend stuff like walking in a park, watching a movie, or having dinner, and anytime I try to push him to do anything like that, he can’t stay away from his phone for more than 5 minutes (because he’s constantly gambling and checking bets).
    He was never like this before, he was the most romantic, affectionate boyfriend. He’s turning into a cold, heartless person all because of gambling and I’m starting to see him turn into his horrible father. I know we’re not in a great phase of our lives, but I wish we were trying to work it out together and trying to stay strong. However, he ignores me more and more and doesn’t seem to realize that I need affection and attention too. I’m not being greedy and I’m not only worried about him for my sake (because I “want” his attention), I’m also worried about him for his own sake, because he is destroying himself mentally and he doesn’t admit it.
    Therapy is also a big no-no for him. I’ve tried, multiple times, to talk him into going to a psychologist to just talk for a little bit, and he starts lashing out on me. He’s in total denial, he doesn’t see himself as an addict although he has admitted that he has been compulsive at times. His parents are also the kind of people that would never take him to therapy, because they are old-fashioned and think that psychologists are for losers and the mentally ill.
    I really don’t know what to do. We had so many plans for the future, but it’s all wasting away, especially because I’m losing my faith in him and even when we finally are independent, I’m starting to second-guess if I really want to be with someone that is capable of gambling so much money—which I will not tolerate—so I need him to stop for good, forever, or else I will not be able to find the strength to go on much longer. But I also don’t have the strength to leave him in such a horrible situation.
    I love him to pieces, but I just can’t stand it anymore, I feel like I deserve better and I need love and affection. He doesn’t know how to give that to me anymore and I’ve been so patient that I really have no clue what to do anymore to grab his attention. I just wish there was a way to magically make him stop and make things go back to the way they used to be.

    #6118
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hello Ampwire

    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!

    #6119
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hi Amp
    If there was a magic pill to stop the addiction to gamble this site would not exist – unfortunately there isn’t and it is only with acceptance and then treatment that the addiction can be controlled.
    ‘Taking’ a CG (compulsive gambler) to therapy is a waste of time; your boyfriend has to want to stop for himself and there is nothing you can do to save him if he doesn’t want to be saved.
    I hope you will keep posting and learn about the addiction to gamble so that you can gain the knowledge to help you make the right decision for you. A compulsive gambler will always be a compulsive gambler, there is no cure but they can control their addiction. I wouldn’t be writing to you if I didn’t know many CGs who are living wonderful gamble-free lives.
    Only you can know how far you will go, I know that love gets in the way of doing what is right sometimes but love will not conquer all with this addiction.
    I suggest you download the 20-Questions from the Gamblers anonymous website and ask him to look at them – it might help him appreciate that he does have a problem but that it is recognised and there is a lot of support available for him.
    I am glad that you are living apart as it will make it easier for you to cope with your situation; it is always harder when it is in your life 24 hours a day.
    I cannot comment on his parent’s attitude, I know that many parents feel at a loss when their child is addicted to gambling and often, understandably, do and say all the wrong things.
    I hope you will pop into the F&F group on Tuesday between 22.00-23.00 hours UK time, it would be great to talk in real time and it is private.
    I am sorry I cannot offer you an answer to your situation; I can only support you and walk with you for as long as you want me to do so, while you work out what it is that ‘you’ want from your life.
    Maybe you could tell him that you have sought help for you – many CG do not think that their loved ones need support, believing the problem to be all about them.
    Speak soon
    Velvet

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