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  • #6465
    gamlingtograce
    Participant

    I have been in a loving and happy relationship for 6 years. In the last year, upon finishing my Masters degree, I learned that my partner had been struggling with a closeted gambling addiction. He had run out of options in regards to paying his share of the bills and with my already working two jobs to put myself through school and tend to my daughters’ needs, I knew I couldn’t cover everything, but I felt like I could help him at least get back on his feet with bills. Within a matter of a few months, the money I had put into our joint savings was drained, as well as my own savings from me covering the extra bills. We were officially broke and couldn’t make rent. This meant coming clean to our parents. It has been 5 months since that time. He is now self-excluded from all casinos in our state and his parents handle his finances. In regards to our relationship, we have been working on trust and honesty, as well as setting attainable goals for our future. He has truly been making a turn around and striving to make amends. He seeks help from meetings, and my father who is a licensed counselor. However, lately I am finding myself struggling with anger and resentment that I feel is only making matters worse. As I mentioned, I just finished my degree. In the time I spent working towards that degree, he and I had made plans for our future. I always had to have two jobs and have more stress on my plate than was fair to him or our daughter. We had a joint savings and I had my own personal savings. We had plans for a home with land where we could finally give our daughter a puppy. I had plans for a newer vehicle that wasn’t falling apart. The last 6 years of my life have been the best, but hardest of my life. Always telling my daughter why we can’t have this or that right now, and how much better our future will be once I finish this degree. Then upon completion of that degree, every penny I’d ever earned was gone, my credit was tanked, and we needed to move back to our hometown to have the emotional and financial support of our families. We couldn’t afford much and owning anything wasn’t an option anymore, which meant a rent house built in the 60’s with black mold. While this was the time we’d planned on getting engaged, buying our first home, and finally starting our slower-paced life with some of the normal things, instead, I now live in this rent house, which takes the entirety of my check to pay for, and I’m miserable. He’s trying, and pays what he can, what his parents allow for while still paying back his other debts. I know he’s trying and I can see the positive in his overall demeanor now, so why am I still so angry? Is it displaced entitlement to feel like I shouldn’t be here? I made the decision to stand by him and love him through his demons, a decision I still standby. So why do I feel so hopeless? 

    #6466
    Dunc
    Keymaster

    Hello

    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

    Read about the friends and Family Online Groups

    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!

    #6467
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hi Grace

    I don’t think there can be anybody who loves a compulsive gambler who at some point has not silently screamed ‘what about me?’

    I remember when my CG first began to live gamble-free that I couldn’t understand why nobody seemed to think that what I had been through mattered – it seemed to be all about him. I knew that it was important that he was first in the thoughts of those around him; that I had to stay calm; not ask questions; not be selfish and worry about me; that I had to understand that it was his time to blossom – but the silent scream echoed round my mind ‘what about me?’

    I too experienced anger and resentment. I was told by a counsellor that I didn’t need support – what had I got to worry about? She could not understand that when recovery starts for a compulsive gambler that the world doesn’t instantly become a wonderful place for the person who had been closest to the gambler. In reality I was more confused than before.

    I determined that I would never belittle the anguish of those whose loved ones have just entered a gamble-free life because it isn’t easy.  

    Forgetfulness, not in the sense of repressed memory but in the sense of deliberately refusing to think about the past is often an effective way to achieve mental equilibrium.

    Sharing thoughts about feelings that confuse you, in the anonymity of this cyber world, will hopefully be liberating for you. The addiction to gamble, that neither you nor your fiancé asked for or wanted, has taken enough away from you both already; letting it go is hard but hanging on to resentment will hurt you further – don’t let it take any more of your life.  

    The CG in my life lives in control of his addiction, we have love and trust and I have no need of resentment or anger but it did take time – for both of us.

    I wish you both well and I hope you will keep posting

    Velvet

    #6468
    gamlingtograce
    Participant

    Thank you for sharing such a positive message. So many stories I have read over the last few months have portrayed such dark futures that may lay ahead and inevitable parting of relationships as a result of compulsive gambling, so it is extremely refreshing to hear a couple come out the other side of it…. as I hope to be as well.

    Since my last post, his moods and behaviors have thrown me for a loop. There have been days where I truly dreaded coming home and knowing it would be a tension-filled evening of walking on eggshells or a long night of arguing. Anything could set him off, anything could be a stressor. It got to the point we were fighting more days than not. The weekend before Christmas, I broke down. I needed to breathe without the pulsating ball of lava that was my bleeding stomach ulcer, threatening every fiber of my being. I told him I needed some space. I needed to enjoy my daughters laughter and excitement when our elf would get more creative with his hiding spots every day closer to Christmas. I just wanted to be… if that makes sense. In all honesty, looking back, it was so bad I feel as though I would have asked for that space regardless of what time of year it was. However, he did not see it that way. The day after asking for some space, he called me to end things. He said he knew it had been hard on me, but it took him realizing that it was to the point that I wanted to be apart from him during the holidays for him to see how different he had been. 

    He came over the next day for us to say our goodbyes (mind you, this is almost 7 years together), and I saw him cry for the first time ever on that day. Fast forward to Christmas day, my dad surprises my daughter and I with a puppy from santa. My daughters reaction was very emotional and she wanted him to come meet the puppy. I called, he came. We stayed up talking late that night about how we ended up there, in a place neither of us wanted to be, but couldn’t manage to get out of. He posed a question to me that I had never considered: what had I done in all that time that I was “staying with him” and “supporting him through it,” what steps had I actually taken in this recovery process that I claimed to be a part of? I had always told him to see a therapist, try medication, go to a support group, self-exclude, etc., but never had I said, “hey lets go do this,” “I have these concert tickets we can’t let go to waste,” or “lets cook and invite so and so over since we haven’t visited with them in forever” etc. I realized I wasn’t as proactive in his recovery as I could be. Since that time, I have attempted anywhere from 5-7 times a week to do something with him to get his mind elsewhere and everytime has been rejected. As a signiifcant other to someone recovering from a gambling addiction, rejection is an especially difficult thing to swallow because of the time spent feeling unwanted or unloved during their gambling.

    To add fuel to our fire – this past week was a different kind of breaking point for me. Five days ago, he attended his first gamblers anonymous support group. I was so very proud of him; I did everything I could think to show support of this. I offered to go with him, to be an ear for him to vent if he hated it, or to build him up if he loved it, etc. Since that meeting, he’s barely spoken to me besides telling me he liked it and plans to go back. The afternoon after he attended the meeting, he went and visitied with his family, next day he went and hung out with a friend he had drifted from, day after he drove hours to visit an old friend from when he worked offshore. On Wednesdays of every week, my daughter stays with her grandparents so that’s at least one night during the week that is usually guarenteed the house will be quiet because he has to go to bed early for his 3am shift. So on Wednesday of this past week, when I got off work, I went straight home and started cooking one of his favorite meals in the hopes maybe he’d want to come over for the first time in days. I still hadnt heard back from him from when I had texted him during my lunch break or when I had gotten off work. I tried again when I got home and had the food going; still no response. I called and no answer. A little while later he called back, sounding frustrated that I had been trying to reach him because he was visiting with an old buddy from offshore. I told him I felt like something was off and that I was just trying to spend time together. After we hung up, he sent a photo to prove his whereabouts, and that should have been it. That should have left me at peace and calmed my concerns. But it didn’t. I felt, more than ever, rejected yet again.

    On his way home, he called me back. He asked what was wrong and I told him. I apologized for possibly being insensitive, but that I’m happy that he is going out and socializing again, and making an effort in just being his old self, but that I long to be included in that too. His next statement baffled me; he told me that in his meeting, it was communicated that it would be better if he not stay with me anymore and that our relationship is doomed to fail because of the recovery process gambling addicts must go through is hard on couples. I understand I can’t ask about what goes on or is said in the meetings so I am trying very hard not to push for more information. But with a Masters degree in psychology, I have taken my fair share of classes in addiction so for the life of me I cannot fathom how it’s healthy to tell a recovering gambling addict to stear clear of his partner? 

    I would understand if our relationship had been a casual thing prior to the addiction, but we’ve been together for almost 7 years, lived together for 4 years, and he’s been in my daughters life since she was 2. We had been waiting to get married until I finished my Masters, which I did in May of 2018, but that time unfortunately turned out to be the peak of his addiction so everything has been put on hold. I am in this with him, for intents and purposes, I have considered him my partner for life. I have not bailed, with the many times I’ve wanted to, I’m still here. But I feel like he’s not. This addiction has condemmed the man I love into an angry, resentfull shell of a person. I feel like he’s fallen out of love with me and wants out, whether its his subconcious or not, because I feel as though he’s utilizing every excuse to not be with me. From a little girl and her puppy being too loud for him to be able to fall asleep on the couch in the evenings to my dads supposed judgement of him staying with me without paying the rent (even though he paid the rent while I was in graduate school, so to me its right for me to pay it now when his entire paychecks are going to paying back his gambling debts). And now his support group is telling him he shouldn’t be staying with me. 

    I guess I assumed that emotionally, the hardest challenges through this would be during his gambling and the start of his recovery. He hasn’t gambled since the summer of 2018, but I still don’t feel like he sees me yet. Daily, I feel like I’m in a relationship with a person who is no longer in love wjth me, but I don’t know how much of the things that make me feel that way are because of his recovery process and therefore are temporary, and how much are actually genuine. 

    #6469
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hi Grace
    I wish I could answer posts like yours more positively but sadly a compulsive gambler taking control of his gambling addiction can throw a few curve balls that are more difficult to explain.
    I feel for you when you talk of the challenges you faced during his gambling years and the confusion you must now feel. Unfortunately classes in addiction will never prepare students for all the outcomes of recovery.
    Taking control of an addiction is an overhaul of life and not every loved one gets the hoped-for new man they believed was hidden. This is in no way a reflection on those who have loved them through thick and thin and who have done everything right for all the right reasons.
    This would almost certainly not have been the outcome that your partner would have thought was his way to deal with his recovery but unfortunately it does often happen this way.
    Please don’t allow this unfortunately ending to blight the rest of your life. There are reasons why a gambler does not embrace those who have seen him through the terrible years of addiction and it is not that you are any less the wonderful person he once loved.
    I hope you will post again with an update but in the meantime I hope that you will grasp your own life with both hands and move forward with you head held high knowing that you did all you could. It will be impossible for your daughter to understand and I think you will have your work cut out helping her through any feeling of rejection she may have. This was not her fault anymore than is yours or indeed your partner.
    Velvet

    #6470
    gamlingtograce
    Participant

    I sincerly believe I was meant to read your reply the day that I did…

    Since my last post, my father recieved a terminal diagnosis. His lung function is very poor and the doctor told us if he contracted any virus or infection, it would be life-threatening. Last week, I recieved a call from my daughters school stating she was running a fever of 102.8. I rushed to get her and went straight to my dads doctor, as my dad had just called for an appointment himself for trouble breathing. His doctor was able to see my daughter right away. While waiting on her flu test, outside of the exam room, I heard the doctor yell to his nurse to get Scott (my dad) on the phone immediately and in for a flu test because his granddaughter just tested positve for it. Hearing panic in a doctors voice is an extremely uneasy feeling. Many prayers later, dad was in the office and thankfully recieved a negative test result. The doctor took precautions and put him on medication anyway and instructed us to stear clear of my dad.

    I shared this story because in the time I spent waiting for my dad to get tested, all I wanted to do was pick up the phone and call him to unload my tears and worry on my partner in the hopes of some sort of comfort and reassurance, only I couldn’t. I couldn’t call him because he’s not my partner anymore. He’s not my person, he’s not my rock he had always been, he wasn’t mine anymore. 

    Sadly, the ugly side of recovery had too big a presence in what was left of our relationship. Over the last few weeks I’ve wondered if I was selfish in for asking for all of him. If I was selfish in asking that he move back home where he belonged with my daughter and I, the people that were his home for the last six years. If I was selfish in asking that he let me, his partner, support him through this in the comfort of our home rather than him staying with his parents. Ultimately, in the end, I can’t help but wonder if I was selfish in refusing to take a step back in our relationship. While I know its unrealistic to expect him to come back to me unscathed or as a new man, it’s hard to swallow loosing him when I didn’t want either of those things. I didn’t want a new man, I didn’t want him to feel like he needed to hide his scars. I didn’t need him to fake it or pretend to be okay. I didn’t want anything but him… I needed him, his physical presence in the life he claimed to be sharing with me. 

    I have had my fair share of heartbreak and loss, but this is different. This is all-consuming. It comes in waves that are way too close together, waves that take my breath away and make me sick to my stomach knowing we are over. He has called and texted a couple times, but nothing has changed. I don’t know if this makes me a selfish person, but I want to be chosen first. I want to chosen above everything else. He tells me he loves me, but that he can’t do anything about it. He can’t come home, he can’t go to dinner with me, he can’t reach out to my dad, he can’t, he can’t, he can’t. For me, I love hard, I give my partner all of me, which is exactly why I feel this is unbearable. 

    My mind is made up; I don’t feel as though I can compromise another ounce of my self-worth or chance at happiness by going back to him without getting what I need. He continues to try and give explanations to his behavior, but every part of me (except my heart) is telling me this is just not how someone acts when they love someone. This is by far the hardest decision I’ve ever made, and I guess I am just looking for the slightest affirmation that I made the right choice.

    #6471
    velvet
    Moderator

    HI Grace
    I am sorry to read of your father’s diagnosis, you have certainly got more than your fair shares of difficult life-changing worries at this time.
    You are suggesting that an unselfish person would have asked her partner to move back home so that she could support him through his problems whilst taking a step back in their relationship. However, offering home comforts to recommence, whilst telling your partner that you are willing to take a step back, is generally a recipe for disaster for both parties.
    It is not unknown for a compulsive gambler, who is working on controlling his addiction, to refuse to return home however willing the partner is to change and support.
    A compulsive gambler does not want to be a compulsive gambler and in fact they generally hate who they have become so I don’t use the expression ‘a new man’ to describe a being that did not exist before but to describe a man who has had the courage to find, within himself, the man ‘he’ wants to be, the man who is not weighed down with the heavy burden of addiction. I would never suggest that a compulsive gambler in recovery hides his scars, in a true recovery scars heal and have no need to be hidden.
    I believe that your all-consuming feelings come from your confusing relationship, the worsening condition of your father and your daughter’s day-to-day needs. Everything has piled up and it is natural that you want your partner to step up and support you. Unfortunately, your partner cannot take responsibility for the things that matter in your life at the moment, whilst it appears that he is unable to take responsibility for his own.
    I am not sure whether you are suggesting that the separation you have at the moment is final but it seems to me, that whatever the future holds, it would be good that you use this time to regain control of your own life; time to give your father attention; time to enjoy your daughter and time to do the things that please you.
    I hope this goes someway to helping you.
    Velvet

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