Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family How to leave my gambling boyfriend

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    Hi, everyone. This is my first time writing in this forum but I think it is really time for me to hear from others who can relate. Sometimes people I am close with don’t understand how much being with someone you love very much with a gambling problem can cause so many emotions. I feel like people either 1) don’t think a gambling problem can be that serious, or 2) think that person is terrible and tell you to leave them without understanding the major guilt you feel for leaving someone you love with such a terrible mental illness.
    Back story:
    I have been with my boyfriend for 3 1/2 years. He is truly an amazing person and has never done me wrong. However, about 2 years ago he started going to the casino. Eventually he started hiding it because he was going so much. He started by calling me crying and asking to see me because he lost his money (happened three times, and at the time, I didn’t even consider that he could possibly have a gambling problem). Now, it is so serious that he has taken money from his brother (which he paid back within 2 months, though), loses his whole paychecks to the casino, etc. We live in Indiana and we have the option to sign up for the voluntary exclusion program which prevents him from going in to a casino in Indiana, and if he does he can be arrested. I thought this was a huge step and everything was going to be okay. He started GA meetings, but eventually got bored of them because he said “they were the same old thing every time” and also that they made him feel “weird”. He stopped going to those. I thought everything was going to be okay until he told me that he found casinos in Illinois and lost all his money again. He failed to celebrate my birthday with me because he went to the casino in the morning prior to our plans, thought he was going to win and could take me out somewhere nice, and then ended up losing the money. So we broke up, but got back together because every time I see him cry and beat himself up over his problem I feel terrible guilt and want to be there for him. We got back together and had a great 2 months, but just two days ago he told me he went back to the casino and lost his whole paycheck again. He broke up with me again because he does not want me to be with someone like him, and does not want to bring my life down. He’s right… I am young (23) and I don’t want him to bring my life down. But I love him so much and really want to be there for him. But my rational mind knows that I shouldn’t. I guess I just need help on how to get past the guilt of not being able to be there for him because the other part of me wants to stay in hopes he’ll get better. I’d hate to see him in several years and hear he is doing better because then I know that I missed out on a future with someone I care about. This is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through, and I feel like I don’t have anyone who can relate.
    Sorry for it being so long!! Thank you for taking the time to read this.


    Hello GoIU

    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 Go
    I think it is very hard for those who have not lived with the addiction to gamble to be able to say the right words and often to even think the right things. I am sure that before this experience changed my life I would never have understood and probably made really crass comments.
    I would never tell you to stay or to leave. What I ask is that you gain all the knowledge you can about the addiction to gamble so that you can make your own informed decision about ‘your’ life.
    I don’t quite understand what you mean when you say that your boyfriend has never done you wrong – it seems to me you wouldn’t be here if he has always done things right.
    When I first started working as a therapist I wrote to someone that my CG had finally left me because I believed he didn’t want to hurt me anymore. Fortunately my CG, who has taken control of his life and was reading my earlier posts, phoned me and put me straight – he told me that he left for himself and it was never about me.
    The addiction to gamble is selfish and it will bring those who love them all the way down if they allow it to do so. Guilt is unnecessary for both of you. Your boyfriend has an addiction that neither he, nor you, wanted nor asked for so guilt is a waste of energy. He is the only one who can save himself however, nothing you can do or say can save him from himself if he is not ready to change his life.
    The addiction to gamble doesn’t get cured and sadly it gets worse without treatment. Your boyfriend has rejected GA because he was bored and I hear denial in those words. I understand it making him feel weird, Gam-anon made me feel weird but every GA and Gam-anon has people in it who are trying to live without the addiction to gamble wrecking their lives and I find that anything but boring.
    It takes courage and determination to face the addiction; it takes weeks and month to fully enjoy a gamble-free life but it only takes one day at a time to achieve that goal.
    I think you maybe know the right thing for you to do but the hard bit is doing it. If it was me I would need to see ‘action’ that says that he is seeking support.

    We offer tremendous support here on our Helpline and in our CG groups. GA is fantastic although I understand that it is not for everybody.
    Keep posting and you will eventually see the way you want to go.


    I am in the same situation except that I am older.
    I have been with my bf since August 2016.
    I love him and had seen a future with him.Now I am so confused,
    I have no one to talk to that would understand my situation.


    Hi Mbeckoff
    You are in a forum where you can talk to people who understand you.
    Please start your own thread so that you can get the support you deserve. I can’t support you on someone else’s thread.
    You would also be welcome in the F&F group s where we often find confusion becomes a whole lot less confusing.
    Speak soon


    I can tell you what happened to me, with a CG girlfriend.

    Prior to her I might go into a casino once a year for a seafood buffet then chance $20 on a slot machine. That’s it!

    Girlfriend is a severe addict who spent years losing money but never short of cash due to running a restaurant. Eventually racked up $50k in credit card debt and declared bankruptcy. I met her a couple years after that.

    I was foolish and accompanied her into casinos where she’d play a couple hundred then I’d say time to go. I should have never condoned this because it just allowed her to gamble.

    Here’s what she does to emotionally manipulate me. It sounds familiar. She gets really nasty with her words and makes me feel rotten, as she has a way of interrogating me and putting me on the defense. She just opens conversations by suggesting I’ve done something wrong or have been bad in some way or another. Obviously I don’t respond very well to this and an argument erupts.

    Every single time, she retreats by calling herself names. She says she’s not good. She has no money so I don’t love her. She isn’t good for whatever reason. She sulks back seeking sympathy. Every time ! Sounds a bit like your Prince Charming. I’ve had it. Suggest you move on to a more loving relationship.


    I don’t know why i find it difficult if you should stay and help but protect yourself or leave him. I am a gambling addict and are in similar situation with my girlfriend. I feel like i have ruined my life and i don’t wish how painful it feels on any other person. I have been with my girlfriend for 7years now and i started gambling about 3 years ago. Now i want her to leave me because i feel like i need to protect her until i am able to help myself out of the financial and mental state i am now. The situation with your birthday, i have experience many times and i can tell you that it is true that his dream is to win money so that he can finally make you happy and put all that has happen behind.
    I can go on and on, i can signed up here after contemplating suicide. I just hope i can at least be free from this horendurous mental state. If there is anything discuss with his family or someone that he you know he feel ashamed to reveal his problem then he would come to a breaking point even if he break up with you he is more likely to seek help. This is from experience because i have been hiding my problem from my parents and i feel like that would be my breakpoint.


    Here’s what she does to emotionally manipulate me. It sounds familiar. She gets really nasty with her words and makes me feel rotten, as she has a way of interrogating me and putting me on the defense. She just opens conversations by suggesting I’ve done something wrong or have been bad in some way or another. Obviously I don’t respond very well to this and an argument erupts.”

    Is this normal behavoiur for a CG then? because I get this a lot, I’m a giving caring person, and I am constantly criticised for my appearance, I’m not fat – 5kgs over norm. but get commented on that constantly, so I always feel wrong and disadvantaged. and that he’s superior, but when I get too upset, he caves and lifts me up and says I’m wonderful. sometimes it feels abusive, but then he can be so loving and caring and I’m off again wanting that behaviour – lilke I’m the addict to it. Maybe the current ‘cash loss incident’ is because i have a birthday coming up. 



    Agreed with Velvet, “I am sure that before this experience changed my life I would never have understood”. Each time I told my friends I had caught my boyfriend gambling AGAIN, they’d want to hear it less and less. “Just leave him already.” “You’re not married you shouldn’t deal with this.” It was terrible because they do not understand addiction, and being in love with an addict. I also am 23 years old, so I can relate to your situation. It’s A LOT to handle at this age, and we’re at a state that someone we’re dating is either going to be our husband or not. It’s a tough decision to choose to stay or choose to leave. Staying means trying to cope with the problem and doing everything in your power to try to help him (which isn’t a lot, it’s all his choices); leaving means you may have guilt built up inside and he may end up in a betting hole since he’s losing support. You shouldn’t imagine the latter. I’d say if you do choose to break up, or take a break, stay in touch. Still provide support and check in. He may lie about how he’s doing, but showing you care is huge. As you said, “I’d hate to see him in several years and hear he is doing better because then I know that I missed out on a future with someone I care about.” so be there for him if you choose to opt out of the relationship.
    Best of luck.

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