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    I have just found out my husband of 10 years is gambling again. I caught him hiding my credit card bill, then found our he had been using it (he has maxed it out over £4K).

    Previously (2 years ago) he had been stealing my current account card and using it to extract £10 a day to make about 50 small bets (50p to £1) on betting apps (I saw them on his phone) and he also spent my 2 year olds savings. I forgave him but gave him the ultimatum, sort it out or get out.

    Now he is at it again, I just feel broken. I can’t look at him. He is a lying, devious thief and the thought of sharing a bed with him makes me feel sick. However, he is a wonderful father to my two children (aged just 2 and 5).

    I feel very lost and angry, hurt and lonely. Part of me really really hates him for what he is doing to our lovely little family. I don’t know if I can get beyond these negative feelings right now but I feel like I should try, for the children.

    Can anyone offer me any advice? I have not kicked him out (yet?) as I am trying to calm down and see if this hatred subsides. My friends have advised me to tell his family, who are unaware of the problem. My husband, of course, is very apologetic, and is staying out of my way as I have asked.

    Please help.



    Hello Gemneuro21

    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

    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!


    Hi Gem
    It’s hard to calm down I know when you have had everything sucked out of you once too often but I hope you will stick with us for a while to gain information on your husband’s addiction so that you can cope and then make informed decisions on your own life.
    There is much to say to you but I will try and keep this short so that you are aware as soon as possible that you are being heard and understood in this forum.
    You have implied that your husband stopped gambling when you issued him with a ‘get out or ‘sort out’ ultimatum. If he did indeed succeed in putting a hold on his addiction, do you know how he did it – did he go to GA, a counsellor or come on a site such as this? Often when a gambler is given an ultimatum they take their very cunning addiction underground until the heat wears off – I am not suggesting this happened to your husband but unless he sought some kind of treatment the likelihood is his brain has remained in gamble-mode all the time and his addiction is now spilling over and has become out of control again making him less cautious.
    However he got to this point Gem, he does need treatment but treatment is available and he can live a wonderful gamble-free life if he chooses to do so. I know it is possible to control this addiction or I would not be writing to you now.
    I hope it will help your feelings a little to understand how your husband probably got to this sad position. The chances are the first time he gambled he would have felt he was doing the same as so many people do; having a bit of leisure time, enjoying a moment that took him out of everyday thought, a bit of fun. Unfortunately for your husband, addiction was waiting for him and there was no way he could have know this until it was too late – he neither wanted nor asked for his addiction any more than you did. For my part, I hate the addiction but I feel for those who own it.
    I believe you can get beyond your feelings but it takes time, quite a bit of time and a lot of strength. Your self-esteem and confidence are probably severely dented at the moment and they need to be built up but your husband is not in a position to do it while his mind is preoccupied with addiction. His self-esteem and confidence are also very fragile – his addiction is one that only gives back to its owner feelings of failure and worthlessness. Recovery for you both is a selfish walk back to health but for you recovery can be complete. For your husband, recovery is never complete, he will always own his addiction – but he can, with great courage, face his demons and the wreckage his addiction has caused and take control of it. Wonderful lives can be lived by those who are determined enough to win the battle and re- take control of their lives and I believe this battle can make them very special people.
    At no time Gem should anybody tell you to leave or to stay with your husband – all decisions should be made by you as part of your important recovery. Your friends appear to be supportive which is great; people who have not lived with the addiction usually cannot comprehend what it is like. I believe that if his family are truly unaware then it is better for them, and your husband, that they should know. I say this because the addiction to gamble needs money and giving money to a CG (compulsive gambler) is enablement – it is the same as giving a drink to an alcoholic. His family could unwittingly enable because they don’t know what is happening but with knowledge they can withdraw their enablement, thereby protecting themselves from loss and thwarting your husband’s addiction. However I repeat what I said earlier, all decisions on what you actually do must come from you, I cannot tell what to do. Maybe his family are already aware but are hoping that the problem has gone away or is being handled by you. How do you get on with your in-laws?
    I am going to leave it here Gem and wait for a feed-back from you .
    You have done really well writing your first post, it is always the hardest.
    Speak soon


    Thank you for your words of support. I need it right now. I feel like a complete fool for letting this happen to my family but also an emotional wreck and completely unable to cope right now.

    I have now spoke to my husband. He says he did stop for a while and that he self excluded from a number of sites. But then he got ‘bored’ and joined new ones. it would appear (though I don’t know what to believe) that he is gambling less, but with larger amounts. He says he will stop (again) and he says he will seek help. I have directed him to this site.

    I also have told his family. They are very saddened. I think they will be supportive once they get over the shock but at the minute he has been ‘told off’ from what I can gather. His dad is his ‘gambling buddy’ they go to the races etc and so I think he will be really upset about this too. I only managed to text him as to talk is still too hard for me right now.

    He said he will join support groups etc but I have heard this all before. For our whole relationship I have co-ordinated everything for us, buying a house, choosing holidays, picking the bloody sofa, writing his CV, choosing the kids Christmas presents, buying their clothes, buying his bloody clothes………… I’m all out of faith. If I can’t do it for him, then I just don’t believe he wants to stop gambling that badly.

    I keep trying to use the kids as my sense of reason. If I stay they have a loving father figure, but he could potentially cost them their home if this continues. Or I cut and run, they still see their dad (but less frequently) and I will be skint but in control, with a bunch of logistical issues (such as school run problems) and without the love of my life (as was, I’m not sure he is the same person I married).

    I have told him how I feel. I have told him that I am broken. I don’t even know if he will even bother to try and fix this or if he is even in love with me and if this is his way of escaping.

    Sorry for off loading. I am still in the ‘cry when I try to speak’ stage so just typing this is quite therapeutic.



    Hi Gem
    This really will be just a quick post as I am off to bed but I will write more fully tomorrow.
    You are not a fool, complete or any other sort – how could you possibly have defended your family against something of which you had no knowledge? Your husband’s addiction thrives on secrecy and lies – you were not meant to be aware of it.
    Never apologise on this forum – this forum is here for off-loading sadness, pain and confusion, leaving room for new and better thoughts.
    I believe it is good to tell a CG when one is seeking help; it is a selfish addiction that leads its owner to believe it is the only one with problems – your decision again though.
    It is interesting that his father is his gambling buddy – I hope he will think carefully about how he can support his son best. When he didn’t know about his son’s problem his enabling was understandable but now he is aware I hope he will cease enabling immediately. Please tell him that if he wants support or guidance our Helpline is there for him as it is for you too – it is one to one, anonymous and private.
    You are doing well Gem – writing things down can be very therapeutic and as your journal builds you will have something to look back on and see how far you have come – and you will move forward.
    Anyway it is time I was in bed but I will write to you again tomorrow when I have had time to give your latest post more thought.
    You are not alone and I will walk with you for as long as you want me to do so


    Thank you again for your words of support.

    I feel a fool because I think deep down I didn’t believe he had stopped but I just pretended everything was ok as I didn’t want my family to fall apart. This time it is so real and I can’t ignore it or cover it up anymore. He has a problem. A massive one. And I can’t fix it and that is so upsetting.

    I think my husband joined a one of the support sessions on here last night and he said he is going to a physical group tonight. This is the first time he has sought help so at least that is some progress. I’m not sure if he will keep it up but there is no point worrying about that now.

    Today I feel less angry but more sad. I have suggested to my husband that I should take over all the payments and that he should transfer his salary to me so that there isn’t the temptation. He recently got a pay rise and I think seeing such a large amount of accessible funds in his account will be too hard to resist. I feel like I am treating him like a child but I just don’t trust him not to gamble it. It will help me sleep better knowing that I have more control. I seemed annoyed when I suggested it but he agreed. I don’t know if this is the right thing to do or if this will just force him into more devious ways of obtaining money. Or maybe it will just make him resent me.

    Hopefully he will learn to control this. He has an addictive personality. MANY many years ago, he was addicted to cocaine. Then it was smoking. Now gambling. I’m worried that if he controls this addiction he will just start up a new one.

    I’m hoping that if he continues to get help he will be able to at least be honest with someone, even if it isn’t me, and that will help him through this.

    Thanks again. It really is helpful to have someone to talk to. My family are so emotional about it- they all have their own idea of what I should do and I am trying to ignore them whilst my head and heart battle it out.



    Hi Gem
    I still cannot hear a fool in your post; you wanted to believe your husband which surely is what every wife hopes to be able to do?
    When your husband attends GA or groups on line maybe you could suggest he asks the others what they think of you taking over the finances. CGs who are living gamble-free will hopefully tell him that you are supporting him in the best way possible, that you are not treating him as a child. Money is a means to an end for a CG – ‘the gamble’ is the addiction and money is merely the tool that makes ‘the gamble’ possible. Hopefully his annoyance will lessen as he gets some gamble-free days behind him and he can begin to see the importance of what you are doing. In early recovery, support can often be met with objection which can sometimes be quite unpleasant. I remember my CG not liking me going to Gamanon which is the sister group of GA because I began to ‘know’ things that he didn’t want me to know.
    I am glad that you hope that your husband will at least be honest with someone else even if it isn’t you. It is hard to think that the person we love the most cannot turn to us when something as bad as this is hurting them. I tried every which way to get my CG to change his life but when he eventually hit rock bottom and did control his addiction, he told me that there was never had been anything I could have done or said that would have made any difference – but that it had never been my fault.
    I see no reason why your husband should turn to another addiction. How did he take control of his cocaine addiction?
    I cannot stress enough Gem that looking after you first is the best thing you can do for you and also for your husband. When we are worn down and weary we are unable to cope and cannot hide our sadness. If your husband determines to control his addiction then seeing you happier and in control of your life will make it easier for him to change because he will see that you are not part of the wreckage his poor behaviour has caused. Every day determine to do something just for you, something that pleases you, possibly something that you have stopped doing because of the addiction. See friends, resurrect old hobbies and interests, take your lovely children to the park and just enjoy their play – anything but thinking about addiction.
    I am not surprised your family are emotional – there is often guilt and anger when families feel they have not protected a loved one – getting rid of the cause of the unhappiness seems to the best option to them but of course it isn’t always so for the person who loves the CG. I suggest that you ask them to support you at this time but that you really don’t want opinions as they don’t help.
    I have brought up my ‘F&F Cycle’ thread for you, hope it help you to know that everything you are saying is recognised here.
    When we don’t know what to do, I think it is better to stand still until we can get some peace in our minds and then we can think more clearly. Writing your thoughts is hopefully helping your mind get less confused. You are really doing well.
    Speak soon


    Thank you for your kind reply.

    I read your F&F cycle post. Parts of it made sense. His addiction is online so was on his phone constantly. He often seem frustrated if I questioned him about it or wanted to do anything over the weekend (especially when the football scores were coming in!).

    You asked about his cocaine addiction- this stopped only when we moved cities and he completely cut the people out of his life who he did drugs with.

    He went to his first GA meeting last night. When he left I had a panic attack and convinced myself he was either on a gambling splurge or worse, that he was going to kill himself. It’s clear that this has shook me to a level that I’m only just beginning to understand…… I hope this anxiety will fade with time.

    My husband seems massively elated and positive after his meeting. He doesn’t have many friends (since the post cocaine friend cull) so it’s nice that he has some ‘male’ support.

    I on the other hand feel emotionally drained now. The intense emotions have passed and I feel numb. This all seems very real now.

    I work full time and most evenings so ‘me’ time is difficult. I’m hoping to get to a few yoga sessions next week to clear my head.

    We will need to sort finances out this weekend- he has spoken to his new GA buddies and I think they have made him feel better about me taking over.

    Thanks again, your comments are really helping. It’s nice not to feel so alone in this mess 🙂


    All of your emotions are normal! Realizing that you have been living with a CG turns your world upside down and makes you doubt everything about your relationship.
    Yes you have been living with a liar for 2 years but that was the addict not the husband you love and married. The addiction is all consuming and they truly are 2 people… gambler and your husband.
    You have done well to start taking over the finances. Although this feels like you are treating him like a child it can be a huge help to a recovering gambler. You wouldn’t leave alcohol readily available if he was an alcoholic. I found myself thinking ” I shouldn’t have to look after his money or ask for receipts” etc. but you now have a new normal and its honestly easier if you don’t fight it… it is what it is.
    Go easy on yourself. This is not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Step back from it as much as you can to keep your perspective. Its so easy to get sucked into the chaos. Keep writing and see if you can find some support via a Gam Anon group.

    You are not alone and you are doing great:)



    Thank you for those comforting words. A week ago I had a perfect life but over the last few days I think I have gone through every emotion possible.

    I awoke this morning from a series of nightmares. I dreamt my husband had left me for a woman he met at GA. I also dreamt he sold our car. I hate this paranoia and anxiety.

    Today was odd- I felt more normal and we went about the day doing our normal Saturday jobs, shopping, playing with the kids etc. Then every now and again my stomach would lurch and remind me that despite the front, things aren’t normal. Once the kids are in bed I get the horrible feeling of uneasiness. Tonight we watched a film and ate pizza, it was nice! But as I lay in bed writing this, I hear him downstairs watching football and I’ve no idea if he is on his phone, downloading more gambling apps, checking bets etc. Urg. He still has his head in his phone all the time which isn’t helping. Every time I hear anything sports related my heart skips a beat, even if he is just watching the latest scores or whatever. I wish he would just throw the bloody phone away!

    Thanks for the advice about the support group. At the moment I feel like I’m not ready to do that year but I will think about it.



    Hi Gem
    I think that massive elation is quite common once the first step has been taken towards a gamble-free life – suddenly the way seems clearer, the blinkers are off and it is going to be plain sailing from now on.
    Unfortunately such elation is unlikely to last because controlling his addiction is the toughest thing your husband will probably ever do. However, the first step is also one of the hardest and he has done that. Did he tell you anything about the meeting? If not, it is probably best to wait until he is ready to talk and if he does it is best just to listen– sometimes CGs have tremendous surge of hope but they don’t want to talk about it because they cannot trust themselves too early – they know what has happened in the past. Many CG are very considerate of their loved ones continued pain and misunderstanding but others are less so and expect that all is suddenly wonderful so why are you not happy? However you feel Gem will be understood here.
    I understand you being emotional drained as well – he is high on expectation and you have had no such light bulb moment. His recovery will be a very selfish one and that is why it is good if you are selfish with you. I have met F&F who are angry that their CG loved one appears so happy when they are not ready to forget what has gone before and are full of resentment. There are many conflicting emotions and talking about them is the best thing you can do – don’t hold them in.
    Please try and make your yoga sessions a priority – a time to forget all that is going on with your husband’s addiction, just enjoy being at peace.
    I will be looking forward to hearing how the finance chat goes – again it might not be easy, I think many F&F have been made to feel as though they are being over-controlling but a great many CG, who want to change their lives, welcome such intervention ‘in the end’. It is important that he doesn’t think it is a punishment but that it is you doing your best to help him achieve what he wants.
    Many F&F compare their spouse’s addiction to having a lover which I think would account for your dream but you awoke and the car was still there and so was he. Gradually if he follows recovery such dreams will fade.
    The support group that Cathy mentioned is worth a try – it is the way that I found salvation because at that time I didn’t know organisations such as this existed. I found it terrifying to enter the Gamanon room, I was trembling, feeling sick and afraid but nobody asked anything of me, they ‘knew’ why I was there. I could have left at any time. I was welcomed and given a chair beside the woman who was to change my life. I couldn’t speak when I was asked to do so and a box of tissues was gently pushed towards me and the next person in the group spoke instead. I didn’t speak for weeks but listened and felt friendship and an understanding that I had found nowhere else.
    I loved the line ‘today was odd – I felt more normal’. I hope that you will experience many such ‘odd’ days Gem although please don’t expect them all to be so. Your husband’s recovery will be up and down and then hopefully there will be more ups than down until one day the ups outstrip the downs as they do in any other home.
    As far as anxiety goes, it will take time to unwind, you have been coiled up tight for so long you don’t know how to begin – just keep breathing, that is an order! And keep posting of course.


    Hi Gem!
    I hope you don’t have any objection to someone from “The Other Side” dropping in to visit your thread.
    As A CG, I find it interesting to read what goes on in the minds of spouses, family and friends of other gamblers.
    I guess the reason, I am interested is that I never found out what effect my gambling had on my husband , simply because he just remained shtum and never expressed his thoughts or feelings. It has baffled me from day one. Many times (mainly when I needed a bale out) I would pour out all my transgressions to him and his only reaction was to hand over more money, in silence.
    Why would a non CG do that?
    I don’t expect answers, really. Just thinking out loud . When I read threads with posts sharing measures “F and Fs” go to in an effort to support their loved ones, I can’t help asking “Would I have stopped gambling earlier if I had been given that support?”
    I know it must drive you nuts watching him tapping on his phone all the time Gem. I annoys me to see ANYONE do what, when I am in their company.
    One of the “tips” (excuse the pun) for online gamblers, is to change to a phone that can be used only for texts and calls.
    Keep the lines of communication open Gem.
    Secrecy , silence and isolation were a few of the things that kept me gambling.
    I started attending GA a few weeks ago . Conscious, of course that “what is said in the Room, stays in the Room”, part of me was bursting to tell him some of my experience. He never asked!
    Attending GA made me feel surreal. It will take time to adjust. I smiled when I read about your dream. Just for the record, GA is very much a “man thing” from my limited observation. 12 to 15 men and ME at every meeting I attended so far and I’m old enough to be their mother . “Toy boys” only go for wealthy old dolls so that rules me out!
    In a few years time you will look back on this period of your life and it will be a distant memory , but “himself” will always be a CG and so will I!
    Thanks for allowing me to share.


    Thank you all for reassuring me that my emotions are normal. I feel anything but normal right now!

    The support my husband had got for GA and here means he is quite accepting of me taking over the finances and actually, that he has more control since he is ‘choosing’ to do this.

    I agree with comments about it almost being like he has had a lover. I certainly feel that me and the kids came ‘second’ to the addiction and that is still what hurts. I still can’t believe how easy he found it to lie and steal from me. It makes me think that he COULD easily lie about cheating or other stuff which is a large cause of the knot in my stomach.

    I think as a non gambler I just still find it difficult to understand which is why is it useful to hear from CGs. Please do continue to share your stories, it helps!

    I’m working on my own recovery. I will pick up on yoga Eric this week but today has been awful. I’ve just felt so depressed. I feel like a shell of my former self, drifting through life in a cloud of numbness. I just wanted to freeze time and disappear today and be away from all of this.

    The husband is trying really hard. It’s clear he is worried and he is trying to support me and asking what he can do to help. The problem is, I have no idea. He has cleaned and cooked today whilst I stared into space, I’ve only just started to snap out of it. I think my head is just tired and needed some space today. I hope tomorrow is better. I’m at work so that will help distract me.

    Thanks guys x


    Hi Gem
    A day staring into space probably didn’t make you feel any better, I know it never did anything for me – but sometimes it is what we do when we don’t know what else to do.
    I think maybe an answer for him when he asks what he can do to help is to tell him the truth – that you really don’t know but that you are not trying to make a point. I firmly believe that F&F should tell the truth to CGs who are on the starting grid of a new life. I remember being close to telling a white lie to make my CG feel less worried about me at the beginning but I stopped and vowed that if I couldn’t tell the truth then it wasn’t right that I demanded the truth from him. Another thing you could possibly try is to ask him to help you understand but whatever you do please make sure you are happy with what you are doing and saying.
    Has your husband cleaned or cooked during the recent gambling years or is this behaviour new?
    When your husband was first caught out gambling he would have lied to cover his shame. The lie was probably unexpected and possibly doubted but allowed to be upheld rather than having a difficult scene. Calling someone a liar is unpleasant and should not be done lightly. Having got away with the lie the first time it made it easier to lie next the time because there will always be a next time with an active CG as they cannot stop when they are winning – and so it possibly continued with you becoming more confused by obvious untruths and him becoming more unable to remember truth – he probably told so many lies that his memory was clouded with them.
    I know that he can change Gem, I believe he will not like the man he has become. You are both going through emotions that are new to you and disturbing. The other thing that he will probably feel is a void, an emptiness that once he would have filled with gambling. It is important that he can see that life can be good; that there can be laughter and hope.
    I am not suggesting that you get out the flags and start cheering him on but I am suggesting you think about yourself and what you want to do to make you happy.
    I hope to see you on Tuesday in the group where we can ‘talk’ in real time – it is private and nothing said in the group appears on the forum.
    You will feel like you again, it is just hard to get started especially as you are possibly thinking supposing this is all another lie. True recoveries have to start somewhere Gem and without a crystal ball none of us can know when the true recovery starts. Your husband has to do more than say words, he has to act and so far he is doing things that seem good.
    Whatever is happening ‘you’ matter. You matter to your children, your friends, your family and this forum. Do something for yourself tomorrow even if it only to have a wicked cream cake with your lunch – but whatever you do enjoy it.
    Hoping to hear again soon


    Hi everyone

    I’ve not been on for several days, I haven’t had the energy or strength. I’ve really been struggling, I don’t think I have ever felt so depressed. I’ve also been really busy with work and to be honest I think that, and having to look after the kids, has been the only thing keeping me going. I even looked in my diary yesterday to see if there was an appropriate date to have a nervous breakdown, but alas, I would appear I have to keep going until Easter.

    Yesterday I went for a massive walk and listened to a ‘mindfulness’ app and that really helped. I did it again whilst having a bath and this morning I went to yoga and I feel lot’s better. Yesterday I just wanted to lay on the floor and scream so today is a massive improvement. Today I just feel sad. But not so sad that I feel I won’t recover, which is progress.

    My husband, for the first time, is making such an effort to look after me. He has cooked for me three times in one week (he prob cooked three times all of last year….!), he put something on the TV that he knows I like (in the past I have been watching something and he has literally turned it over without even realizing that I was in the room) and he stopped messing with his phone all the time after I told him how much it was stressing me out. He has also advised me to have some time to myself at the weekend which I will do. For the first time that I can remember, he is looking after me, rather than the other way round. He is really trying and I love him for it.

    It is so sad that he has only just realized the effect all of this has had on me. It is like he is only just realizing i am there again. Yesterday I thought about just going into A&E and just laying on the floor so that someone would try make it all better…….It has been a week since all this blew open and nobody at work has even noticed a difference in me/ This is so odd because inside I feel like I’m rotting away and I would have thought that would maybe show on the outside. Clearly not. The only hug I’ve had is from the kids. But today, at least the agonizing sadness is less. I’m hoping my mum will come over soon so I can get that hug.

    I think the sadness stems from the fact that that I feel undervalued, disrespected and unloved. This isn’t the first time my husband has intentionally deceived me. The lies and the deceit are not simply part of the gambling addiction, I have been here before with his other addictions and it is the fact that he is so comfortable with lying that really worries me. He is going to GA tonight though and he went on Tuesday so again, all steps in the right direction.

    My father was an alcoholic who compulsively lied to me throughout his addiction and I feel like I’m now back into this cycle of lies and hurt. As a kid and young adult I always had this feeling of dread that it was all about to kick off and of course it would, and he would fall off the wagon. That feeling is back. However my Dad never wanted to stop. At least my husband does.

    Anyway, that was a rather depressing post. I will keep trying to look after myself like you have all suggested and thank you for your valuable advice.

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