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    Hi I am the partner or (ex?) Of a CG. He has had a problem for many years. We have a daughter who is nearly 4. He was attending Ga self excludes from bookies. I was monitoring his money. We had a big row 6 weeks ago about him carrying around more cash than he needs too. He said he wouldn’t be controlled. Had his card back gambled or his money blamed me moved back to his moms in one night. We have little contact. I ask him to see our daughter as she keeps asking for him but he keeps messing her around. She’s very upset.i haven’t mentioned gambling at all in last 6 weeks only seeing her. I mentioned maintenance but nothing..he won’t be attending ga. He gambles all his money from his job but then cuts grass and gets cash to supplement. His mom let’s him live at home. I took all his stuff over to his moms as after a few weeks he was still coming to the house but when I was at work and not to see his daughter. I was furious . I am still furious at his lack of contact with our daughter. She is so upset he knows this. Its cruel. In speak to his mom but she continues to let him stay there. Its my house. I am financially independent. He had an iva that has failed. We have split many times due to gambling. 2 years ago our daughter lost her hair. He claimed to have hit rock bottom and have changed. I let him back in he was gambling again within a month.!! I’m here again. I know its my decision to walk but worry about the emotional strain on our daughter. If he sorts himself out he would be a good dad irrelevant of our relationship is what I think I’m hoping. Friends know and family and hate him at the moment for the upset inflicted on our daughter. I’m very tired. I’ve had counselling before as has he. His mother constantly enables him so don’t think there is much hope. Its the upset of our daughter that is really taking its toll on me. He sees her for maybe hour a week when I really push and she seems to be OK for a while but a week and she’s really upset so I contact him. I keep trying to make contact arrangements but they keep failing as he says he has no money. I will take her to his moms and pick her up .he has been here to see her. I went out. I have limited support with our daughter. What I want is for the upset on our daughter to register and for him to do something about it. Sorry there is little fluency!! Thanks very much




    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.

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    Hi Michelle
    I found your post completely fluent and I’m glad you have started a thread.
    Even with an enabling mother, there is always hope Michelle – she just makes it harder.
    As I have said to you, nothing I think or say is judgemental; I am just trying to find another way forward for you. I am wondering if it was your choice or your partners that you went out when he came to see you daughter. I know that anger and exasperation makes those who love CGs avoid the CG because they are fed up with hearing the same old excuses as to why there is no money but maybe this was a time that you could share news of your daughter’s achievements – not her distress. In other words lighten the atmosphere and help him to be more receptive to what you may want to say in the future.
    When my CG had completed his programme in the Gordon House rehab I found the strangest thing was that he had to learn to trust me. Why wasn’t it his job to win my trust, after all ‘I had done nothing wrong’? I learned to listen because before he made the leap of faith to live gamble-free I had long-stopped listening, I had heard every excuse and given up all hope of ever believing him and I imagine that is where you are now.
    Not only is your partner hiding behind his mother’s skirt he is still drivelling out the same old ‘can’t afford it’ excuses and being unreliable – all of which point to an addiction that is active but just maybe he does want to change.
    Unfortunately, even though it is understandable, friends and family make unhelpful suggestions and offer little constructive support. They are only reacting to what they see happening to the person they love but these opinions help nobody. Your partner has an addiction that he didn’t ask for or want and, in my view, we are all blessed/lucky that we do not share that addiction; I appreciate for you to feel like this, however, will take a very long time and for many friends and family – never.
    Your partner feels himself to be a failure and all his present behaviour is amplifying that belief. His addiction is responsible for his child’s unhappiness but instead of putting it right, he has run away and is making it worse – his addicted brain will be thriving on his failure. Something has to change and if he is not ready, willing or able (and you love him) then perhaps the change has to come from you.
    If it was me, and believe me I appreciate how hard this is, I would ask for a visit, not because your daughter is distressed but because she wants to show him something, tell him about her day share a secret. I would encourage him to see his daughter is growing up and doing ok, under your parentage, rather than struggling. I wouldn’t go out but stay to ensure a happy time for both of them. I realise this feels like removing responsibility for the pain he is causing but all the anger so far has changed nothing. I also wouldn’t tell your daughter too far ahead of any possible meeting, as each failure to turn up on his part adds to her distress – he will undoubtedly let you down a few more times yet.
    I cannot offer any guarantees but I am convinced that stuck in a cycle we change nothing – it has become a way of life and I wouldn’t be surprised if you thought I was off my head suggesting what appears to be a way-out for him. A way-out is often what we all need, however, bad behaviour doesn’t get better unless it is treated.
    He possibly will see a pattern, (his addiction will certainly hope for it) – all he has to do is behave himself for a while and everything will go back to the way it was and he will be able to indulge his addiction. I believe from your post and having ‘spoken to you’ that this is not the case this time – this time it is all about a 4 year old dependent child and that belief in itself will give you a backbone of steel.
    I often see a tug-of-war between an enabling parent and the partner of the child – I don’t think you will ever win with anger, which plays into his mother’s hands. Keeping him in his addiction is just that – ‘keeping him’ and it isn’t a right or healthy relationship but it is something you can never tell him. My CG told me that as long as I enabled he could not/would not have had the courage to face his demons. I believe, therefore, that for you to win it is best to find another way to skin the monkey.
    I hope some of this helps – please keep posting, talk to our helpline. I promise to keep thinking too.


    Thank you so much for your thoughtful post. We have been stuck in the same cycle for years. Including may separations the last one for over a year.

    This is the first time I feel like there mat be a different way to do things. I have sort help but always felt confused? If I knew what to do differently then I would!!!

    You have such insight that gives a different perspective. If he comes here he is less rude shall we say than when I take our daughter to his moms but I choose to leave here a lot of time for practical reasons. To go to shops etc. Generally you are right its because of the anger. You are also very spot on in that it changes nothing!!

    I have never identified that his mothers involvement hinders rather naively. I couldn’t image ever having anything other than my daughters best interests at heart. She is my whole world , its my my job to assure her growth development and happiness so assume its so for everyone. How naive!! My own parents have passed away and I really miss my own mother particularly in such difficult times. For many years I struggled with the idea of the addition being an illness (my mother died of cancer) but I can see this more as time goes on but really struggle with the bad treatment of our daughter.

    I tell our daughter daily daddy loves her very much and she will see him soon. I never say today because I know it will change. I have had text saying he can’t see her tomorrow as planned as he has no petrol. I would usually ignore this and ring in days asking when he would see her then ? He shouldn’t let her down etc. I have said OK this time she is good but would love to see him soon. I will see if there are ant developments . He generally thinks its OK to be rude to me if we have any contact at all.!!

    I will try the helpline thanks. Many thanks for helping me see a different perspective. I need to think I am doing what I can . our daughter needs a father I can survive either way but she is worth so much more!!!

    Kind regards Velvet



    I wanted to add and express how much he seems to despise me as I don’t think it comes out in my post. I make all the contact he usually ignores any call or request to see our daughter unless I push. I do it for her as she really upset although my insict is to leave him until or if he is ever ready. Oddly it was me who pushed getting back together before because I think I’d forgotten how bad things get and we had been doing things more as a family. I just get fed up of taking all the responsibility.

    I have sought legal advice and there is little I can do to force contact . should I tell him I have sought legal advice. Should I also just seek maintenance via CSA. ? I believe he needs to take responsibility for paying for his daughter but in reality know this will mean nothing if he gambles. He will just loose his job so is it worth it. I keep pushing for regular contact for stability for our daughter and me but he won’t agree to it because of ‘work’ he says which is just an excuse. He seems to relish in making things as difficult as possible. His pattern is to gamble and run away to mothers in anger and not come back even for a few days before this. I would then get a text saying ‘i’ll me and get my stuff’. I took it all over this time to take control. If if I ever try and talk to him all I get is’im moving on now’. . His friends will not even know he has left again. He is not even showing the slightest bit of remorse.!!

    I didn’t want to give the impression he is desperate to come back. He clearly isn’t. Seems happy when I see him barely sees our daughter then makes plans to go out with a friend drinking so I will get her early. But has no money to give me for maintenance? I prefer to get her. I worry he will leave her in the car and go gambling if the urge takes him.

    Its just a mess. I can’t see he will ever take control of his responsibilities but don’t know what I should do re maintenance .

    Thanks for reading!!!


    Hi Michelle
    It would be naïve to suggest that people don’t fall out of love but when the addiction to gamble is in the equation it is impossible to fathom what is in the CG mind; I can only offer that which I know through experience or knowledge of the addiction.
    It appears your partner is fully indulging his addiction and, therefore, not thinking logically or reasonably. With logic and reason he could maybe understand that his lack of responsibility and poor addictive behaviour is to blame for his daughter not being under his roof – but without logic or reason, who is his addictive mind to blame that his relationship is broken and he is feeling unhappy? I suggest that the feeling that he despises you comes from his need to blame you and I believe it is so important that you know that you are not to blame.
    I see little point in telling him you have sought legal advice, unless you intend to follow through with action. Until you know what it is that you really want to do and you are ready for the consequences of your action, I don’t believe in saying something that sounds threatening.
    I cannot tell you what to do, even though I believe I understand exactly where you are at this time, because making your own decisions is a major part of your recovery. Of course I believe a father should pay maintenance but I too recognise that a father, who is a CG, would probably gamble rather than pay and could lose his job. As a mother, I would also prefer to collect my child than to risk her being left to a gambling urge.
    I suggest that when he says he is moving on it might confuse his addiction if you tell him that you understand and you wish him well but to please include his daughter in his plans. .
    There is a possibility that your partner’s addiction has to take him all the way down before he tackles his demons and there is a strong argument that it is better to let him fall – I certainly don’t think that preventing the fall for a CG helps them.
    I hope these thoughts do help – I still have my thinking cap on but sadly when the addiction to gamble is smack in the middle of a relationship, there can be no guarantee of a good outcome. What is important is that you recover from the misery of the experience and that your daughter is safe and well.


    Thanks so much to take the time to write such a thoughtful and personal response. I was feeling very weary the last few days but your words show such empathy . I finding difficult to express how grateful I am. I keep reading over your posts and find such comfort in your words.

    Your words somehow give me courage not to lash out in anger and frustration. I’m trying to take control and not make emotional decisions. I have been reading this advice for years but wonder why its so difficult to do? In black and white living with a CG seems straightforward but its a minefield!! Not blaming myself and going over things is so hard to do!! Although I do know logically this is the case.

    Your advice seems very spot on.I have read virtually everything there is on the net about how you should act when splitting with a partner and you have young children. None of it applies when one party is a CG gambler though and my biggest stress has been the effect on her!! I have thought about situations in the past and when I do not respond as expected with anger or challenge or with a reminder of his responsibilities as a father and it does have a much more positive impact as you have suggested. Its so hard to do though. As it seems ridiculous that a cg adult behaves like a child. You see an adult but are trying to rationalise that they are behaving like a child!!

    I will bide my time with contact and maintenance issues. I’m unsure yet and usually respond emotionally and with regret even after many years of dealing with the addiction. When I take a step back I think how strange that I had not realised that I have also been doing the same things for years??? I think that is because of my focus on him. I now get the advice is to look after yourself. I feel a bit silly that its taken so long to grasp!

    I believe tonight I will survive this misery and so will my daughter. That is due to your advice and encouragement. Our paths just may be different to what I thought.

    I will keep on trying to think and not react to the words of his addiction. I find this immensely difficult to do. But now I find a place I can be honest about it it somehow becomes easier.

    I feel much lighter tonight. Thank you.


    Hi Michelle

    A massive coping mechanism for relieving pent up anger and frustration is to write a secret journal. Committing bad experiences to paper, instead of having them whirl relentlessly around in your brain, is a powerful method with which to unleash your pent-up anger. Pour the bad stuff out with no regard for spelling or grammar or the feelings of anybody else – write it just for you. This was what I did and I found that following each crazed writing session I would feel drained but I would also have a tremendous feeling of release. I didn’t re-read what I had written but printed the pages off and I kept them in a secret file. I never felt the need to re-read them because it was like having an external hard-drive for my mind – a place to hold my pain.

    I have also heard about people writing things down and then burning the pages – or taking them to the top of a hill, reading each documented detail through for one final time and then tearing them up and throwing them to the 4 winds whilst yelling at the top of their voices – ‘I am relieved of this particular memory’.

    I did eventually destroy my file and although I did it after my CG changed his life – it was all about ‘my’ recovery, not his. I destroyed it gradually over a long period of time, one page at a time – as I recovered. The damage caused by the addiction to gamble builds up over time and therefore, in my opinion, recovery does not come quickly or easily – but for those who have had this experience, I believe that fighting for their personal recovery should come first or else the addiction has won another victim which is totally unacceptable.

    While your partner is not under your roof and your daughter is your main concerns it seems to me that keeping a dialogue going with her father is important – unless you feel he is damaging her. I know my approach seems to be softly, softly and therefore perhaps a bit negative but I think from your particular thread this is the better way – the iron fist in the velvet glove. I don’t believe that keeping a dialogue open is enablement; I think you recognise enablement and therefore you can avoid it – you can always come and push your concerns around about it, on here.

    Once again I hope there is something here to help you but you know where I am if you want to push any more thoughts around



    Hi Michelle
    Has a time been fixed for Friday? Assuming he turns up I suggest that you wish him a happy time with his daughter and perhaps say that ‘if he must gamble, do not leave his daughter outside as it is too dangerous’. In other words, you will be reasonable if he looks after your daughter because she is your sole concern.
    Hope to speak to you again soon


    Thanks for your advice. Not yet! I was worried about this and even said about going out with them as its her bday my reasoning being she won’t be left anywhere as its my day off too.. (He doesn,t know my reasoning) I was worried about saying something in case he got angry and stormed off leaving her upset on her bday?


    Hi Michelle
    I hope that there are some plans in place for tomorrow – if you have any thoughts that you want to push around you know where I am.
    It will be difficult for you having time off on your daughter’s birthday if your partner is going to take her out, without you – I suspect the time will drag, so I am with you on the thought that spending the time together would be better – especially for birthday girl. My thought is that gambling is not up for discussion and anger needs to be capped however hard that is – I am sure you are already in agreement with this as I know she comes first with you.
    I hope that whatever happens your daughter has a lovely day – at her age, every day should be lovely.
    Speak soon


    Hi velvet

    Thanks for your kind and thoughtful words as always.

    My daughter did have a lovely weekend thank you and I hope a bit oblivious to the chaos her father tries to create. I wonder do you have any thoughts on how I might deal with difficult situations for example:

    My CG has little impact on my life now apart from times he is supposed to see our daughter. He is often late and still makes very little time for her probably about 3 hours a week. On Friday when it was our daughters birthday he was 2 hours late. He rang her to wish her a happy birthday and told her he would see her. She was very excited and kept looking at thecwindow. He then became really angry saying he was important in her life too when I reminded him we had to be back for 4 Pm due to other plans I had made of which he was aware . when I called to chase him as he was late he then said he wasn’t coming. I resorted to pleading which I have not been doing just because I couldn’t believe he could be so cruel to her. He did eventually come but in an angry mood. Saying he wanted to take her out on his own. We eventually agreed i was going too!! ( i was too worried about his mood).when we were out he said he was leaving after about 20 mins as we were in separate cars!! (He refused to get in mine although a lift was offered).My daughter spotted him trying to leave the park and she cran after him and so he stayed. Its all so ridiculous.

    I’m thinking in future try to avoid him speaking to her on the phone to tell her anything and then when he phones to back down it has no impact on her. It has even stopped making me so angry only perhaps weary. My daughter is still very excited to see her dad and when he is not wrapped in his own self pity or anger he is lovely with her. These glimmers seem to be getting less and less though. I now recall when ever I tried to rely on him to sit when I was going out he would often gamble then do the ‘I’m not coming back now ‘ self pity card. Which I would usually fall for usually because I just wanted a break!!! So I would say oh go on we can sort this out and he would come. I do see his behaviour hasn’t changed only maybe mine has a little.

    I suppose the only way he can have any impact on her /my life. is by causing chaos. I can only perhaps relate to a child having a tantrum?

    I think I just need to try and speak to him weekly to try and set some plans in place but there seems little I can do if he fails to keep them. He priority seems to be work and then cutting grass after work and weekends for cash. There is no end to his stream of income so no stop to gambling.

    I’m far less emotional when our daughter asks for dad. Its usually at bed time when she’s tired. She is usually distracted I realise but I’m getting weary of the chaos he tries to create. I keep saying about turning up on time but he knows how desperate I am that our daughter is o.k so I suppose he is seeing how far he can push things. His selfishness and cruelty to our daughter is a wonder to me but its for him to come to terms with if he ever is able to.

    I have now even managed to tell a friend I have been avoiding speaking to properly for months as I didn’t want to say we had split again. But I did the more a statement of fact and it was better for me. She seemed a little annoyed I hadn’t said but had guessed anyhow. Maybe because I left it till just before my daughters birthday party on Saturday as I knew she would ask where my CG was. He choose not to come. I said little about this . in the past I would have pleaded. Keeping up appearances and all that. Again how irrelevant that now seems!

    Anyhow just a few thoughts I have. I would be grateful for any of yours as always.

    Kind regards



    Hi Michelle
    Sometimes I think it is difficult to differentiate between the selfish, destructive behaviour that comes with the gambling addiction and the behaviour of incredibly, thoughtless selfish people who seem to walk through life causing chaos and then walking away to the next ‘best thing’. The addiction to gamble can be controlled – yes they do cause chaos and they often walk away from relationships, for enablement, when the going gets tough – but there are also many people who leave relationships and children because they are not getting what ‘they’ want and the other man’s grass looks greener. I do hear the compulsive gambler in your partner but I can’t help wondering which came first – the selfish man who became a CG or a CG whose addiction has made him selfish – one, in my opinion, can be treated, the other I am not so sure, especially with an enabling mother. Whatever the outcome of all this, his behaviour in front of a 4 year old in the park is not acceptable.
    I still believe that angry confrontation with him will only wear you out and not make a scrap of difference to him – I prefer the ‘softly softly catches monkey’ approach although that is not always possible, nor is it everybody’s way. ‘If’ he does want to change and have his daughter in his life then he obviously has a lot of work to do but in the meantime I agree with you, I would try and avoid my child speaking on the phone to the person who has the potential to cause her pain. I would not voice an opinion about her father’s feeling towards her or tell her that he is due to visit or raise her hopes in any way about her relationship with him. I am sure you can distract her at bedtime when she is tired so that she goes to sleep with warm thoughts.
    I am glad that you have talked to a friend – I think that keeping up appearances is very draining and you do need ‘on the ground’ support.
    My remit with GT is the addiction to gamble but as a mother/wife and human of course I see things on the wider scale. I hope that you will join me this evening so that we can talk more freely.


    There is one other version and I like very much

    God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change
    Courage to change the thing that I can
    And Wisdom to know it is me.


    I have tried to remember this many times today. Having a bit of a difficult day trying to have courage but thanks for your kindness as always.

    I’ll speak soon.
    M x

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