Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family How do I bring up my partners gambling problem?

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    Snow white

    Hi everyone,

    So my partner and I have been dating for almost a year now. We don’t live together.. At the beginning of the relationship she advised that she had a bad credit rating due to an ex-girlfriend taking all of her money. The maths didn’t add up in the beginning, and she mentioned when she was very young and she had a small gambling problem. So I questioned the issue from the start, but she advised she was telling the truth and that she has no gambling issues now.

    So a couple of months ago, her work sent her on a trip away to work at a different office for 3 weeks. The work colleague she went down with was a problem gambler. He would throw $1000s away each night. Every night they would go to the club and have dinner together. She would tell me she would ‘watch’ him play. I would go down on the weekends to stay. It wasn’t until that weekend when she asked me to stay and play with them that I saw how her eyes lit up when she hit that button and every feature she got, her mood changed. I totally understand what everyone says about the addiction and how powerful it can be on the brain. Infront of me, she was only putting in $20 but I could tell she was only doing this infront of me because she knew how I am against gambling. After the 3rd weekend I realised she had a problem. I confronted her about it and she reassured me that she was only ‘gambling’ because her and the work colleague had nothing else to do and they were bored.

    I trusted what she said at the time, but in my gut and heart, knew she wasn’t being honest with me. So little things along the way have also led to my knowingness of this, like all these unexplainable debts, a PO box so her parents don’t see her mail, online Sportsbet and betting on the football.

    It wasn’t until she left her phone on the bench one night unlocked that I looked at her internet banking and was very surprised to find it was worse than expected! One day she told me she was ‘sick’ so she took the day off work, she was at the club gambling . And on her trip for work she gambled over $4000.

    I don’t know what to do. I love her, but I honestly don’t know what to do. I know I shouldn’t have looked at her accounts. But I knew something was up. But now, I don’t know how to bring this up with her without her going off at me. I’m so stuck, help!




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    Hi Snow White
    Living with a CG (compulsive gambler) in one’s life tends to make one behave like a detective when it is behaviour that one doesn’t like in oneself. It is natural and in my view, sensible. I am pleased to tell you though that the detective persona does go away once you have removed yourself from the addiction.
    Your partner may have been telling the truth, as she saw it, at the beginning but small gambling problems have a tendency to lead to greater problems unless they are addressed.
    When you say that she knows you are against gambling, I am wondering how strong the terms were that you used to put this message across. If you want her to be straight with you, bearing in mind she doesn’t want you to know whatever you say, it is important that she trusts that you will not use the information against her. She will be vulnerable and she will certainly have low self-esteem which comes from constantly losing,
    What doesn’t work with a CG is threats or arguments because they are the masters of such and will use them as an excuse (reason) to gamble. There is a strong possibility she will think “You don’t understand me (trust me), so what have I got to lose – why should I listen to you?”
    Back to your question – ‘how do you bring up the subject?’ This is difficult based on all of the above. If she is a CG then you will almost definitely hear lies and possibly she will blame you. You could download the Gamblers Anonymous 20 questions of their website and leave them around for her to find so that she knows you are concerned. You could tell her that you have sought help because you are worried and that you have been told that problem gambling can be controlled. You could say nothing but try and occupy her in hobbies that are not damaging.

    The most important thing that, in my opinion, you should do is look after ‘you’ because her addiction will take you down with it if you allow it to do so. You can’t save her but you can support her ‘if’ she wants to change her life.
    The ability to gamble thrives on secrecy to obtain enablement. As you don’t live together I am hoping that your finances are completely separate to protect yourself.
    I wish you both well and look forward to hearing from you again

    Snow white

    Hi Velvet,

    Thanks for your response. I took your advice yesterday and asked her about her gambling. I said I had a suspicion and have puzzled the pieces together. I asked her to be honest, but she lied directly to my face, if I didn’t know the truth. I would have believed her, that’s how good her lies were. Now I’m really stuck and I don’t know what to do. I love her, but feel like she’s always going to lie to me about this now. She was adamant that she used to have a problem and doesn’t anymore. She will put $20 in and that’s it, she has a limit. (Which I know, isn’t true)

    This makes me so upset, I’m so unsure of where to go from here. I feel like she is always going to lie to me about this.


    Hi Snow White
    I’m sorry if my post led you to believe that asking an active CG about their gambling would get anything other than lies and suspicion. Asking for honesty will always be a waste of breath until your girlfriend is ready to go give it..
    What I believe is the best way forward is to do the things that please ‘you’ and to talk to her about what you are doing and the things you enjoy and possibly asking her to join you in non-gambling pursuits – in fact to talk about anything but gambling. When you have sufficient knowledge of her addiction it will be easier to understand what she saying because listening is more important than talking.
    If you love your girlfriend then I suggest you keep posting and learning about an addiction that she neither asked for nor wanted. At some point in her life she would have gambled (as most people occasionally do) but she would not, could not, have know that for her addiction was waiting.. Nobody wants the addiction to gamble, it destroys the confidence and esteem of those who own it – your girlfriend would probably like nothing more than to gamble and then walk away but she cannot – that is the nature of what she is living with.
    I suspect she will always lie to you as long as you are questioning her – if she wants help you will know and then it is important to listen.
    Your girlfriend will need to have great courage to accept her addiction and then support from those who love her is fantastic for her. Enjoy non-gambling things with her, show her by example that there are so many good things in life to enjoy by living ‘your’ life and letting her share the good times.
    V elvet


    I keep allowing my heart to be squashed. I fell in love with a compulsive gambler over 5 years ago. Just three months into the relationship I began lending him money for a variety of construed reasons. That amount is now quite large. We have everything in common in our lives, except gambling. I don’t gamble… He tends to be a ‘winner’ but he never shares his losses honestly. I ask each year for him to share the casino win/loss document, but he puts it off and I unfortunately let him. He makes twice as much as I do, yet needs to borrow money. Our fights are only about money/ or the lack of talking about money and his behavior at the casino’s toward me. I “bring negativity and make him lose”. He “only wins if I am not with him”. At the machines it’s always, “just one more $100”, but it’s 2 or 3 or 4 more. It’s “just 5 more minutes”, but it’s 30 min, 1 hour or more. It’s “I won’t go below $500”, but he goes down to $0 and then adds more money. If I express any displeasure or remind him of what he said, there is anger and then….the silent treatment.
    for days until I go to his house and end it. He “loves me and can’t imagine life without me” but he keeps pushing me away with these behaviors. He transfers all his negative behaviors onto me. HE is controlling, but I am accused of same. HE is always right, but I’m accused of this. HE is always giving, but I’m accused of always taking from him. I am guilty of enabling all this. He gambles enough to constantly be on the receiving end of endless gifts, concerts, overnights and hotels and free trips with endless free drinks and meals. Of course, we LOVE together all these perks. And we couldn’t enjoy so many vacations each year without the gambling. We both have high stress jobs and these getaways are vital. However, each trip we end of fighting and spending a day or two with him not acknowledging my presence because I’m “complaining or sabotaging his casino success”. I’ve been threatened with “your talk about money is what will end us.” I just found out he has been active for some time on an online dating site – just as we met. My friend set up a fake account that she gave me access to and he ‘bit’. He responded. OMG, the shock and heartbreak. He didn’t continue the dialogue, but the fact that he is online and responding at all!!! I feel he is potentially hunting his next prey as I am no longer lending him money. I’m so hurt by his words and actions. I feel he really DOES love me, but honestly have always felt he never meant to fall in love with me – which is probably true – I was just supposed to be preyed upon. Too consistently his words and actions do not mirror what a man who proclaims he loves someone and can’t imagine life without them would say or do. Do I leave and take huge financial loss AND a person who is truly a soul-mate for me if he weren’t a gambler, or do I stay and try to work through this? It’s such a lonely place to be… Everyone thinks he is this completing engaging, outgoing, wonderful humanitarian (and that IS a huge part of whom he is) but no one knows the mental abuse I suffer from him as well. Just needed to finally “say” this all “out loud”. Of course, I’m in the midst of a silent treatment right now due to a visit to the casino yesterday…


    Hi Sad and Hurt and welcome to the site. I am sure Velvet will respond to you after the weekend but I just wanted to say that there is a lot of support available to you. I hope you copy and paste your post and start your own thread. Just scroll to the bottom of the Forum and click on New Topic.

    You have some tough decisions to make and using support for yourself will help you be in a stronger place to make those decisions.

    Keep posting but please start your own thread so that you can get the support that you deserve.


    Hi Sad and Hurt
    As Charles has said there is a lot of support for you on this site but it isn’t right for me to reply on the thread of another member. Please take his advice and scroll to the bottom of the forum, click on ‘New Topic’ and either write your post again or copy and paste the one you have already written, scroll down to ‘save’ and your thread will be up and running.
    I would be delighted to support you and answer your questions.
    I hope to hear from you again soon

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