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    Hi all…

    Have read a bunch on the forums, but doesn’t make me feel any better about the last couple days. I believe that my wife has gotten out of control on some of the local video slot type places. My paycheck went into her account, and she paid the majority of the bills. Every now and then something would come up, and I’d get involved, but tried to keep out of it, so she wouldn’t feel it was a lack of trust or faith in her ability to pay the bills.

    Recently there were more things that cropped up, and when I asked about them, got answers that didn’t sit right. So, took an in-depth look at the checking account. Multiple atm stops, sometimes 5 minutes apart, for anywhere from 20-300$, plus all the fees. (Multiple of these occurred where the account was already under, so fees adding up fast).

    She claims that she’s not gambling, and since November, there have only been 2 atm stops at one of the gambling houses, but over 100 have occurred since November, with at least one gambling shop less than 2 blocks away.

    She has outright said that she’s not gambling. I have no direct proof, just thousands of dollars in overdraft fees, and money that’s just disappeared.

    Yesterday, I had a talk with her, with copies of the statements, where she again reiterated she isn’t gambling, and wasn’t sure what all those atm’s were. This morning, I had my deposit for my paycheck changed so it goes direct to my account, that she is not listed on. That won’t stop her from gambling, if that’s what she’s doing (the other options for all the money worry me even more) but it will significantly limit what she has access to. She can still use her paychecks, and drag her account under, but I can’t stop that if she won’t tell me what’s going on….

    There’s a lot more to all of it than this, but really hoping that I’m at least moving in the right direction. Can’t risk losing the roof over us, even if she and the kids end up resenting me.



    Hello Dcor

    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 🙂

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    Hi Dcor
    I can’t see a single goof in your post.
    It is usual for an active CG (compulsive gambler) to deny they are gambling even when there is more concrete proof than you have because lying is symptomatic of the addiction. In my opinion, you have done the right thing for your whole family, including your wife, by protecting your paycheck. You are right that it won’t stop her gambling but it does make it harder for her to find the wherewithal to indulge her addiction.
    It is difficult for the non-CG to understand that money is not the root of the problem – it is the actual gamble that causes all the tension, misery, lies and deceits. Giving money to a CG is the same as giving a drink to an alcoholic – it is only a means to an end.
    Unfortunately without treatment the addiction gets worse and if your wife continues she may find herself in debt and think that you will bail her out. Clearing the gambling debts for a CG also clears away their worry leaving them free to continue unabated and I think maybe you could give this some thought before it occurs.
    It is possible that you wife is unaware of the support that is available for her should she want to control the addiction that is over-powering her at the moment. I believe it is good to print off the ‘Gamblers Anonymous 20 questions’ and give them to the CG – sometimes it helps for them to realise that what they are experiencing is not unknown. Your wife will have low self-esteem and little confidence as her addiction means she will feel failure over and over again. Arguing, pleading, threatening has little effect as she is unable to think logically or reasonably about her addiction, hence the need for the right support. We have an excellent helpline on this site, run by CGs who are in control of their addiction and a dedicated counsellor who would be able to offer your wife a light at the end of the tunnel that sadly you cannot shine for her. We also offer CG only groups and a CG forum where she would be welcome – CGs do not fool each other. Perhaps you could also get the address of the GA (gamblers anonymous) group in your area for face to face support.
    You may well be thinking as you read this that I have not listened – your wife is saying that she is not gambling so why would she seek support? The point is that ‘she’ knows she is gambling and although she cannot admit her addiction to you, it is possible that she knows she needs help. I suggest leaving information where she can see it and she can read it in her own time. It might be that she screws it up and throws it in the bin but I have heard of CGs who have retrieved information they have discarded once they have had time to think.
    It is important that you look after yourself and your children while their mother is not taking responsibility. In my view it is important to get as much knowledge as possible of the addiction because knowledge will give you power over it and help you cope.
    I fully appreciate that there will be more things going on than you have written in this first post as I really do know how difficult it is to live with this addiction casting a shadow on your life.
    Keep posting – you will always be heard

    nomore 56

    Hi Dcor, since you are living in the US, here are some things you might want to do to protect yourself and your family financially. If you live in a community property state, you are responsible for the debt your wife accumulates whether you know about it or not. Pull both your credit reports to check if there are any loans or credit cards you do not know about. Sign up for credit monitoring so you are notified if your wife applies for something behind your back. Make sure YOU are paying all the bills. She might get upset but that is the addiction talking. Best case scenario would be for her to hand over all her cards to you and give you access to her account so you can monitor what is going on. Do not give her any money for anything and don’t pay any debts for her. Your state should have a council for problem gambling, you can find it on the internet. They are an excellent recourse for all kind of info. GA and GamAnon groups in your area, treatment providers etc. The more you know about this addiction the stronger your position. Had I known all this, I would have not have my life destroyed by my hb’s addiction to the extent it ended up to be. Right now, you and your kids are all that matters, sad as it is.


    I appreciate the responses, and am still trying to get my mind around all this. Things have definitely been rocky since I told her I was changing the deposit and taking over the bills. I checked, and from what I can find, am located in an “Equitable distribution state”

    So, sounds like if she racks up a lot of debt, I’ll be on the hook if she leaves…

    I guess my biggest immediate concern is getting a handle on the bills to stop things from getting worse. BUT, she still says she isn’t gambling, and is not open to depositing her paycheck into my account. So, there is that income that I can’t put toward bills, but she can do what she’s doing. Any ideas on how to approach that, when she still denies everything?

    How can I NOT enable, when she still has all her credit cards (that I am NOT listed on, so can’t call and get limits lowered, or cancelled?) and if she defaults on those, I am still responsible for? I don’t want to pay them, and have her do a cash advance and run it back up?

    Sorry if my tone is abrasive, I mean no insult to anyone, it’s been a long couple days, and I’m stretched awful thin. It means a lot that I can at least get this out there, I haven’t wanted to talk to anyone else here, since I don’t know for certain what has been going on, no concrete proof other than the long list of fees and withdraws.

    nomore 56

    Hi dcor, I hear you about being stretched thin. To the point of breaking I guess? First thing I would do is get a credit report for the both of you. You can do hers if you have her social. And sign up for a monitoring service. They will alert you any time she applies for a loan, a new card or cash advances. Once you have info about the whole “damage” she has done so far, you might want to sit her down without being angry or emotional, just trying to be matter of fact. The addiction will not want to listen and get really upset but you should not let that stop you. It’s important that you don’t get angry and let her know that you want to support her but can only do so if she is willing as far as the finances are concerned. What happens if she continues to gamble away her paycheck? Will you be in danger of losing your home, be without power or anything? My husband only had moments of enlightenment when I showed him the numbers. Not even in his worst days was he able to deny the naked facts. It is exhausting, I know. Do you have access to her account? That way you could at least check what is going on. Do not threaten her with anything you are not prepared to go through with. The addiction will just happily ignore you and keep on moving. Can you find a GamAnon group in your area? It helps to talk to people who are in the same boat. RE the finances in your state: maybe you can find out if you are able to inform her credit card companies that you are not willing to back her debt. I should have done that! I filed bankruptcy for debts I didn’t owe and knew nothing about. As a last effort, you could think about filing for a legal separation. Just for the time being. You don’t have to actually leave, just put the document in a drawer just in case. That way, you can protect yourself. Learned my lessons the hard way and looking back I still don’t know how I survived it all. But I did and so can you!!!!


    First and most, Thank you all so much for the replies. I know it’s only text on a screen, but it’s helped a lot. What’s behind screen makes a big difference. Definitely not a fun situation, but a lot better than trying to do this on my own.

    I’ve tried talking to her about this multiple times since my last post, and she still says there’s nothing there to know, even with printed bank statements, etc. That caused no little hiccup, apparently I don’t trust her, so I had to go behind her back to do all this snooping, THAT’s why she can’t talk to me about anything… because all I will do is harp and snoop and not trust her. I know it’s all trying to justify her actions, etc, but doesn’t make it any easier to sit through.

    Jumping back to the info above, yes, I’m probably going to be getting credit reports this week, for both of us, just to see what’s what. I don’t honestly know if we can cover the bills just on my check or not. Some things are current, some are past due, so I have no idea what the monthly payments on some are. One, I got the info, and it’s 600 due now, but the monthly, once caught up, will be about 50. So, going to take a bit before I have a handle on a lot of it. Some, we don’t get paper bills for, and I don’t think they’ll talk to me. She may or may not get me the info. Some times, seems like she wants to help, others, seems like she wants me to crash and burn so she can blame me for something else, say I made it worse. I don’t really know.

    I’ve tried to have the calm discussion, but she always gets nasty, and defensive, and lashes back. Makes it very tough to have a talk about it. Looking at the hard numbers, it’s been about 10 grand in atm withdrawls the last 4 months, and the one place I know she goes. We don’t make that much. That’s not counting overdraft fees, atm fees, bounced check fees, etc. Even showing her the hard numbers, she still says I’m wrong because there isn’t enough there to do that much. Any savings we had are gone, and, as I said, I have no idea what it will take to cover monthly bills. I know I can cover the house, electric, heat, etc. All the credit cards beyond that, I don’t know.

    Should I make sure all mine get covered, then do what I can with hers? I’m not listed on them, but it is a state where I believe I can still be held accountable for hers.

    I have access to the checking account that she had been using, but I believe that she just opened another one, at a different bank, that I am not listed on, so I won’t be able to see if she’s still doing it from there.

    I thought about going into that little shop, and asking if they could ban her, but I know she says she is friends with the people who run it, and if I went that route, that would probably make her mad enough that would be the end of our marriage, regardless of if they would do it or not. Plus, there are multiple little gambling shops like that around here.

    Making small steps, but hopefully still steps in the right direction.

    nomore 56

    Hi dcor, I feel for you. This is so hard and exhausting. Your wife is in full denial, she refuses to see what is going on, explains it away and will ultimately result to blaming everyone but herself. That’s addiction talk. Whatever she says is just white noise and aimed to deflect from the gambling. Imho it is important for you right now to protect YOURSELF and the kids. If you have not done so, remove her from all your accounts and credit cards. Hide money and your cards from her as she will ultimately start to look elsewhere once her own funds run dry. Re her cards, you can find info about your responsibilities on the internet. You can also find your state’s Gambling Council, they will probably know something about your legal status. Personally I would see a lawyer, the first consultation is usually free. Then you know where you stand. A cg cannot be trusted with anything so you don’t have to feel bad about going behind her back. If you can survive on your income, pay the bills and your credit cards only. Stay calm if you can not matter how much ranting and raving the addiction produces. I would offer her support if and when she is willing to address her gambling. Do not give her any money, no matter what reason she comes up with. Sure thing, the people at the shop are her friends. She spends a lot of money there. I am sure they know what is going on. As for me, I felt a lot better once I figured out the details and made sure my hb could not touch any funds other than his own. This is very difficult and involves a lot of hard, painful work. Is there anyone you can talk to? Maybe a GamAnon group in your area? It helps to talk to people who know what your are going through. And they often have a lot of very helpful advice also.


    Sorry for coming here to complain, but thus far, there really hasn’t been anyone else that I can talk to.

    We just got into it again… It’s my fault that I can’t trust her. She says she’s been doing everything that she can, everything that I’ve been asking for. She’s opened a checking account at another bank, and said something about me not trusting her. I said that I’d been lied to for years, I can’t take “But I’m telling you the truth” as honest anymore. Tell me, but then prove it to me. Let me see that you’re not pulling and overdrawing the new account too….

    No. I won’t do that, I shouldn’t have to. I’ve done everything you asked, you should trust me now….

    I’ve tried not to keep tabs on her, or keep asking her where she’s been, etc. I don’t even know what her work schedule is at this point, so I don’t know if she’s at work, gambling, or on the side of the road with 2 flat tires. But me not being able to take her at her word is apparently more than she’s willing to accept right now….

    nomore 56

    Hi dcor, I was wondering how you are doing. No, you are not complaining. What is going on with your wife is all too familiar for everyone who deals with a cg. Her addiction is very upset with you right now because you are threatening it by not believing the lies anymore. If you are on to it, it will be more difficult for the beast to frolic undisturbed. What you are saying is as much white noise to her than her angry accusations re not trusting her are to you. Arguments don’t do a thing for you. Neither does trying to keep tabs on her. Addicts live in their own world and believe what they are saying. Try to take care of YOU, pay the bills to make sure YOU are safe from her actions. My hb was outraged that I didn’t trust him and we argued all the time. At the end this made him mad and gave him reason to go and gamble. “If she doesn’t trust me I might as well do what she thinks I’m doing anyways.” I ended up just shrugging my shoulders and told him that I could not and would not trust a word he was saying unless he proved otherwise. I also told him at the end that the only thing I wanted from him was to show me enough respect to not expect me to believe what he was trying to sell me. I had to leave the room to end the conversation right then and there. Sometimes refusing to take part in this charade is the only thing that’s left. Indifference did the trick for me. No matter how furious I was, I just didn’t want to waste my time anymore. If her car has 1 or 4 flat tires she will find a way to either get help or contact you. And frankly, what she is willing to accept from you makes not one bit of a difference to either one of you. The only thing she needs to accept is that she is a cg and is hurting the both of you until she is willing to seek some kind of help. Your posts bring up a lot of memories for me so that’s why I write lengthy replies :}


    Hi Dcor
    The beauty of a forum such as this is that you can hear many opinions and then act, or not, in accordance with what you want to do – nobody here can, or should, tell you what to do.
    I am in agreement with most of Nomore’s post apart from the suggestion that anybody on this site can claim to ‘know’ what is going on with your wife.
    Many, many CGs do change their lives and are reluctant to share the process with those who love them. They feel they have changed and made the effort but that those around them have remained the same and will therefore only come out with the same well-worn expressions – so why bother to share? You will find a lot of posts in our CG forum that refer to the inability of the non-CG to understand and whereas I think nobody can understand what it is like to have the addiction I believe it is possible to understand a great deal of what goes on around it but it does take effort.
    What if maybe, just maybe, your wife has had the courage to face her demons and change her life – where does that leave you? Full of natural doubt of course, with only a long and painful experience behind you on which you can draw your conclusions. I struggled for quite some time after my CG told me that he had changed his life. I had no hard evidence that he had changed, or not, apartfrom a difference in his overall behaviour – a lightness that had not been there before. However some time after he told me that he no longer gambled I had a doubt about something I could not explain and I thought it safe to ask him. In one short sentence I proved to him that ‘I’ had not changed. Fortunately for both of us his determination was strong and although I rocked the boat we both survived, he leads a gamble-free life and our relationship is built on ‘mutual’ trust.
    Not everybody can trust Dcor and many relationships do flounder but what I do wonder and don/t hear in your post, is positive proof that your wife is gambling. This is really only thoughts for you and there is no judgement intended. Is your wife going to GA or seeking help with her addiction?
    If you disagree, or agree, with anything you read on this forum please post – we all want the same goal but we do have different ways of going about it – some suit and some do not. It is not complaining, it is our way of making sense of the senselessness in our lives. I think it is important that while you are so full of doubt, it is best to hide your money and pin numbers so that your wife has no access. If she asks why, it is not necessary to get into heavy discussions – maybe you could say that you are trying to appreciate what she is doing and this is your way of supporting her. CGs who do change their lives do appreciate that they are not to be trusted with cash and many do want their finances cared for by another.
    I hope this doesn’t confuse Dcor, as I said please post again. I know I am being controversial when I say that ‘I’ believe there are differences between many male and female CG. Your wife is also a mother and if she is lost in her addiction she will be a terribly unhappy person.
    I wish you both and your children well.

    nomore 56

    Velvet’s comment made me want to edit my statement that everyone “knows” what’s going on with your wife. I meant that in general terms re the anger, the protests, the lies and every other tool the addiction is using, that is what is familiar to most of us. I hope this will be more correct.


    Sorry if I’m missing things, using a comp with a really small screen, so cutting it a little short today… will try and provide a fuller response later.

    Velvet, thank you (and all the others as well!!) for your time. No, I don’t have concrete proof that she is gambling… but I do have dates and times, where she has withdrawn money from an ATM. The address that shows up on the bank statement isn’t where it is located, so I asked our bank. They got in touch with their technical folks, and that ATM is registered to one of the gambling shops around here (Is that legal that the address is wrong? I asked the business for the address that shows up, and they say they have no association with the gambling shop)

    Anyhow, the ATM times show up, sometimes 15 minutes apart, for anywhere from 40 to 300 dollars, sometimes 3 within 20 minutes, for totals that sometimes top 600$ a day. Sometimes, her account was negative before the first withdrawl, and that just drags it further under. Sometimes it’s a couple weeks in between, sometimes, it’s 8 days in a row, every single day, with 3 or more every day. The only way I can interpret that is, gambling, or sitting there with people who are, and loaning them money. In either case, it’s come close to costing us everything.

    Last year, I received some money from a relative that passed away, and we had to use all of it (over 5K) to get caught up on bills. I was hoping to use that for something specific, but no way at that time. We paid the bills with it, and got everything almost current…. THEN, over the next 3 months, at that single ATM, there were over 4000$ in withdrawls again, and we’re almost back where we started, and that money from my aunt basically got flushed. I don’t want to say that the money was that big a deal in and of itself, but it is. My aunt that passed wouldn’t be happy that it got run away like that, and that tears me up more than losing the money itself. (I was hoping to have eye surgery with it, to get rid of my glasses, and my aunt would have definitely preferred that instead)

    We got into it pretty bad last week, she said she was going out with friends, and I asked about her account (she opened a new one, I don’t have access to). She says she isn’t going gambling, and that I can trust her when she tells me that. I said I want to trust her, but that that’s exactly what she told me before, how do I know this time is different? Show me the bank account, so I can see that there aren’t ATM pulls at the gambling shop… she says… “I’m not playing that game. I told you I’m telling the truth, that should be enough”

    I want it to be, but it isn’t. I’m trying to get a handle on the bills, but I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get things caught up, and keep them paid. Our son’s car just had some issues, so he wants to replace it, but just started a job, and needs a cosigner. I’m scared to do that, when I don’t even know if I can pay the bills we already have, but I don’t want to hang him out without a car.

    On top of all of that, my wife’s (I guess I can still use that term, legally….) wedding ring has been sitting on the dresser for days.

    That hurts a lot, but at the same time, I’m wondering if that isn’t such a horrible thing…. and that hurts even more thinking like that.


    Although it may be true that there is no concrete proof that your wife continues to gamble, there is certainly a considerable amount of evidence pointing in that direction and I also feel that within your gut you have a very good idea of what’s going on here. I am a strong believer in gut instincts and their ability to be spot on, with the proof following at a later date when or if the bomb explodes.

    My personal opinion for what it is worth, is that why on earth would you trust her at such an early stage and if she were serious about a recovery – would she honestly expect you to ?

    Putting the tremendous amount of, missing cash with no logical explanation for its disappearance, on one side for a moment, do you notice any positive changes about her ? Is she for example seeking any help, small personality changes for the better ?

    It is hard when one has a priority of paying bills etc to not feel the need to ask where this money has gone and more so to then be faced with the knowledge that the answer is probably not a truthful one and just to compound the annoyance to be branded as a mistrusting nosy parker ! I remember the feelings well unfortunately.

    I know things may work differently there with regards to responsibility for debt and from what you say you may end up being responsible for it – just to add insult to injury but if she continues to rack it up where on earth is it going to end – is there no way of legally limiting yourself from further damage ? I am asking out of complete ignorance, it seems very unfair.

    It is difficult, soul destroying, to want so much to believe that things are in some way different from the last time but to also know deep down that they are not.

    Don’t beat yourself up over the mind twisting statements made by an addiction, they are perfectly designed to have the effects that you describe almost ‘text book’ its a great pity that the cleverness needed in making them isn’t as yet being channelled into a recovery – or so it would appear.

    I guess the ring being there is hurtful – yet another manipulative statement or just a coincidence – who knows. The constant creation of emotional dilemmas, on one hand I understand why you need to keep money for bills but I’m sure there would be a strong temptation to help out with the car rather than see it wasted on a fruitless addiction.

    If you have protected yourself as far as you are able financially then what else can you do, short of leaving or asking her to go if it comes to breaking point and biting the financial bullet unless she gets help.

    Trust your gut instincts, if you feel that she is gambling then she probably is. There is little point in asking the question because if she is gambling she won’t tell you the truth – so why wind yourself up and why ask a question that you know the answer to, its just giving the addiction a fight and causing you further distress. Actions speak a lot louder than words in these situations.

    Keep your chin up and do what you can to protect yourself, you can do no more until you decide that something more needs to be done

    I wish you well



    Thanks for the response Jenny… I’m trying to keep it together, have to see how it goes.

    Thus far, to the best of my knowledge, she hasn’t gone back there, but, I haven’t been trying to find out, or keep tabs on her. That would do me no good at this point, just stress me out more. So far as I know, she hasn’t sought any help anywhere, no groups, nada. I know I can’t force that, so I just have to let it go. She knows what I think, the next steps have to be hers.

    I have my hands full now, trying to get the bills pulled back together. She isn’t on any of my accounts at this time, and I never have cash in my wallet, so no concerns there. As far as responsibility for the debts, I haven’t made it to talk to anyone yet. We have monster deadlines at work, so I’ve been doing 10-14 hour days. Have to work to pay what I can, then schedule after that to see what I can manage.

    As far as, have I seen any difference in the way she acts…. yes, but nothing I would consider positive. As I said, she hasn’t worn the ring in days, and isn’t outright rude to me most of the time, but there have been days where, unless it was something concerning the kids and school, cars, etc, she’s said less than a half dozen words to me.

    As for where the money has gone, I know it’s gone, trying not to dwell on it, but it’s tough. But, I know there’s nothing I can do to get it back, so grit my teeth, and onward.

    As you said, not much more I can do at this time, without it being a more drastic, likely permanent decision. If it gets to the point she feels she’s leaving, she won’t come back later. She’s too stubborn to do that. I’m not at that point yet, but I can see where it might be my only viable option. We’ve been together almost 20 years, and divorce isn’t really the route that I want to go.

    Sorry for the bouncy responses… just typing per my train of thought. Thank you again.

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