Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family I feel guilty for telling CG’s parents about gambling debt

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    This is my first post, still don’t really understand how I’m on this website. My life has literally fallen apart.
    My partner of almost 5 years and whom I have 2 children with (2yrs and 8mths) last year told me whilst I was pregnant last year that he has been hiding a gambling problem of 2 years and has accumulated a debt of £250k.
    I can’t quite tell you how I felt in that moment, a little relieved at one point as I suspected he was having an affair as he was very distant and in general not affectionate etc. So i glad that it wasn’t that, but I was then left with this devastating news that he’s lied to me for 2 years and more importantly left us in debt that we will never pay off. (He thinks it’ll take 3-5 years…. realistically there’s NO chance of that)
    He has his own business that is fairly successful but he has borrowed money from some not so favourable people that have were threatening him if he didn’t pay the money back. I decided to support him as I couldn’t bear the thought of him going through this alone and I understand that addictions are illnesses and that he doesn’t want this situation anymore than I do.
    He was adamant that we didn’t tell anyone either as his parents had bailed him out of gambling debts twice before we got together.
    The First month after he told me he was a different man, he was the man that I fell in love with and then a as my pregnancy progressed he started slipping back into his reclusive ways and drinking.. a lot! He has never been abusive but will drink until he passes out asleep and doesn’t say a word to me. I gave birth to our daughter and then from that moment on, Iv been left to raise the two children by myself as he is working all day every day to pay the debt off, which I can only give him credit for. He assures me that he’s not gambling anymore but hasn’t gone to a therapy group or anything and whilst I believe him, I’m terrified that this is going to rear it’s head again. In the meantime our relationship has fallen apart, I’m lonely, I feel that I’m a single parent to our children, we have no intimacy, we don’t communicate and everything that I say is blown up into an argument that ‘I’ve caused’… I get blamed for everything. I’m just walking around with this massive burdens as I can’t talk to anyone as I promised I wouldn’t. His drinking is out of control too. My children wake up everyday to their dad asleep on the sofa (as he didn’t make it to bed) with a bottle of red next to him on the floor. I don’t want this for them.
    So… this is our life, it’s been like that for 9 months more or less and 3 weeks ago we had an argument, one that I totally lost my temper in and let out a few home truths to my partner. He packed a bag and left, he hasn’t and now won’t return home. He has told his parents (where he is now living) that Iv said some hurtful things that he can’t forgive and hasn’t told the anything about the gambling. Iv seen his parents a couple of times since he left and they are telling me that we should work at our relationship, being oblivious to the situation.
    I have now told my parents who wanted to offer support to my partner and to me too but my partner has dismissed this entirely.
    He has now started getting quite nasty in the break up with regards to the house, money and seeing the children. He is adamant to make me out to be the cause of the split to anyone that will listen.
    So… after a long talk with my parents they said that I needed to tell my partners parents about the debt and him gambling again. So… begrudgingly, I did. I now feel like the biggest grass for doing so, even though I did it with good intentions that maybe they can help as my whole family has been torn apart by this horrible situation. I’m deviated that my children aren’t going to have the family life that they deserve.
    His parents were in shock and haven’t spoken to me since I told them 3 days ago… did I do the right thing? They are lovely people and I adore them but I feel horrendous for doing so. I also expected my partner to give me a lot of abuse for telling them but I haven’t heard anything.. have they even spoke to him? I feel sick with worry over whether Iv done the right thing??

    I’m so sorry that’s so long, it’s good to get it off my chest.

    Any thoughts or opinions are more than welcome, I just don’t know what to do. I’m heartbroken my relationship is over, and now that Iv told his parents I know I’ll have no chance of getting it back as he’ll be so angry at me.



    Hello Sk

    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 SK
    I’ve put our official welcome on for you but I just wanted to say that I have read and understood your post and that I will reply to you properly tomorrow.
    The first post is always the hardest and I imagine yours was very hard to write but I am glad that you have,, it is a lot to have going round in your brain.
    You deserve a considered reply but my initial thought, which won’t change, is that you did right to tell his parents and you must not lose sleep over doing so.
    I hope that you have had some relief from putting all those words down; I will never forget the first time that I did it many years ago – ‘my’ recovery started at that point..
    Anyway I will reply to you tomorrow but in the mean time I hope you sleep tonight, you are much stronger than you feel and you are definitely stronger than your partner’s addiction.


    Hi Sk
    As I said in my first reply, I think you did incredibly well writing such a difficult post.
    It is common to think that a partner who gambles is having an affair and in many ways it is true that they are, except their loved one is not another woman but an addiction with more devious ways than any woman will ever have.
    Your partner has lied to you to cover for his addiction. At some time he has gambled like so many other people without a care in the world, little suspecting that for him lay a path of addiction and distorted thinking. By the time your partner realised he had a problem it probably would have been too difficult for him to explain to anybody, so he adopted lies to help him cope. The addiction takes away self-esteem and self-confidence leaving the gambler confused/angry/frightened/desperate resulting in moods that are unacceptable to those they love.
    Active CGs find it very difficult to accept responsibility for their actions and they often struggle more when children arrive needing a responsible parent. This is not to say that your partner cannot be a good parent once he takes responsibility for himself.
    It would not surprise me at all if his parents had not known the cause of your problem long before you told them; I believe that by telling them you merely confirmed their worst fears. They are probably unnecessarily ashamed which is why you possibly have not heard from them since. They now have the problem under their roof and that is scary for them.
    You are not the biggest grass and you are not even the littlest grass ever, you are caring, you are lost and I believe you have done the best thing by coming here and by telling them..
    I really hope you will join one of our F&F groups this week, either on Tuesday or Thursday between 10 and 11 pm (22.00 -23.00 hours UK time) where we can communicate in real time. They are safe and anonymous and nothing said in the group appears on the forum.
    I would imagine your boyfriend is feeling pretty lousy and angry at the moment but that is his problem, not yours, his behaviour has created this situation and it is not your fault. It is common for compulsive gamblers to blame those closest BUT and it is a big BUT – if he accepts his problem and determines to change his life he can be the man you fell in love with forever; if it wasn’t so I wouldn’t be writing to you now.
    Pleading, shouting, crying, threatening a CG when they are actively gambling is a waste of time because they just don’t hear, so when he emerges from his self-imposed hibernation, it would be better to just ask him to talk to you, to help you understand and listen to what he has to say.
    He does need treatment, I have yet to meet a CG who has learned to control his gambling successfully without support but the support on this site, in GA, in GMA (If you are in the UK), in dedicated addiction counselling.
    Given time and knowledge of the addiction to gamble you will be able to make up your own mind what it is that ‘you’ want but in the meantime keep posting, join our groups and look after yourself and your children. Nobody here would ever suggest that you give up on your relationship or that you put up with poor behaviour but with knowledge it is easier to make informed decisions and there is a lot to say about support for those who own this addiction and those who live with them.


    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me. I wish I had seen your message sooner.

    Unfortunately this isn’t my first time in a relationship with someone with an addiction. My previous boyfriend of 6 years was a cocaine addict. I stuck by him too but had the support of his parents. He did seek help and went into rehab for 3months. He came out a different person, he kept going to meetings every month as his rehab wasn’t that local but as he started to go less often the addiction got the better of him and he started using again.
    I had to walk away from him and that relationship as I didn’t want that life for myself. It was horrible having to keep on building on that broken trust and the constant worry was driving me insane.
    So when I met my current partner he was my knight in shining armour. He was just everything that I had ever wished for. So I think half of why Ive taken it so badly when he told me about his gambling is because of that. I panicked as I know this is a horrible life being with a partner of an addict. (More so one that hasn’t got help yet, I do know that some people manage their addictions very well)
    Feeling a little sorry for myself, I couldn’t help but think that the universe had turned on me massively, especially as this time I have two children with this man and to be honest, this life with the gambling addiction has been far worse than that of my ex partner with cocaine. It’s a lot more conceited and calculated, I could tell when my ex partner had been using, I can’t tell when my partner has been gambling. He said that he’s ‘cured’…. he has no understanding of what a grip this has over him and that he is far from in control of this. That’s why I’m so frustrated as Iv been here and I vowed I’d never be here again! I just can’t believe Iv had the wool pulled over my eyes again! He knows about my ex partner too and the effect that it had on me on a trust point of view with relationships and I csnt help but feel like Iv been made a fool of.
    I REALLY want to help him, but as Iv been here before (kind of) but I don’t know if I can live that life of constant panic and worry with young children. Especially as he is in denial that he’s ‘cured’. I’m far from an expert on addictions but I do have a good understanding of the constant work it takes to keep it at bay as such and I just dont think he’s there yet. I don’t also know that his parents, although they know about my partners gambling are going to get him the help that he needs. They are a little naive and I don’t think they understand that it’s not as simple as not betting again.
    It’s so hard! And I’m so angry at how my life has ended up again!

    I’m sorry, I’m feeling assively sorry for myself today!



    Hi Sk
    We are all entitled, I think, to feel a little sorry for ourselves at times but realising that the universe is not turning on us helps us climb out of the pit of despair which is essential if we are to cope and I assure you the universe is not turning on you.
    Unfortunately it is impossible to tell when a person is addicted to gambling, unlike drugs and alcohol it is an invisible addiction, there are no outward warning signs which is why, I believe, so very few people can understand what it is like to live with a CG – unless they have done so. You could not have known so don’t tear yourself apart thinking your judgement is bad and that you are ‘here again’.
    Your partner is far from being in control, his self-confidence and self-esteem will be low because his addiction means he is doomed to fail when he gambles. The conceit and calculation that your partner is exhibiting is him puffing himself up to convince you that he is in control; he needs to believe in his addiction and so he struts to get you to back off.
    Sadly there is no cure for this addiction but there is control and your partner can live a wonderful life if he faces his demons and determines to live gamble-free.
    I understand your anger but please be careful of anger as it can often implode and not allow you the thinking space to do what is right for you – and you are important.
    The most important thing you can do to help him is to look after yourself and your children – it might not seem the most important thing but for all his conceited appearance he will not want to see you brought down. His world is one of confusion and secrecy, it is one that has to place blame on anybody and everybody else because he cannot take responsibility for his actions – yet.
    I understand that you don’t know yet whether or not you want to carry on with your relationship but I assure you that nobody here will suggest you leave or stay, what I do know is that, with knowledge of the addiction, you will be able to make informed decisions about what it is that you want and how to cope.
    Speak soon and hopefully pop into an F&F group – the next one is on Thursday 8th.


    Thank you again for your time, it means a lot to me that you take the time to reply. I try my best to take an awful lot of what you say on board, to improve this recovery for myself.
    I’m definitely feeling stronger today. I saw my partner ( now ex) and spoke briefly over the children, house and finances. He looks a broken man and he does seem very upset. He is very angry at me for telling his parents though. They still haven’t contacted me, he has asked me to not speak to them anymore and I’ll respect that. I don’t know his reasons and I’m not sure if I want to know as I’m sure it’ll only just irritate me. Ultimately now, I’m just going to focus on myself and the children. He along with his addiction have had enough of my time and energy and he still seems very deep in denial and putting blame onto me. I’m getting nowhere, so I have to learn when to know when its time to stop.
    I’m hoping to join your online group tomorrow evening. I look forward to speaking to people in similar situations and hearing their take on it all and to find comfort in it.

    Thank you again velvet, you have helped me in this lonely time to not feel so alone. Forever grateful. Xxxx



    Hi Sk
    I understand you choosing to respect not speaking to his parents again because it is ‘your’ choice but I must reiterate that you did the right thing for you and probably the right thing for them and their son – if they were completely unaware then they would be perfect enablers.
    I like the positivity in this post and I can hear a woman who will come through this dark time whatever the outcome for your partner.
    I look forward to ‘seeing’ you later


    Hi Sk
    I hope you are still putting yourself and your children first.
    You mentioned your loneliness and I just wanted to say that I am here for you, you are not alone.
    I hope you will make a group some time soon – it is good to ‘talk’ in real time


    Thank you, I have been keeping busy during half term with the children. I’m feeling better everyday (most of the time) but my ex partner is now being extremely controlling with finances and conventiently ‘forgetting’ conversations that we have had and then uses it to start arguments. The latest one is regarding childcare, we spoke about arrangements last week and as the childcare arrangements only effect me as I have to get the children there and then to work I can’t really see why he has to have input on every decision that I make. I’m not asking for money towards it or anything. He seemed in aggreance with it all last week when we spoke face to face and then he sent me a message early one one morning a few days ago asking what the plans were with childcare and denied all knowledge of the conversation that we had and then it spiralled and he’s now controlling my money. Is there anyone that I can go to about that? He’s also threatened to take everything out of the house that he’s bought down to the children’s toys, clothes and car seats, prams etc. He’s just being so spiteful and I try to not rise to it but it’s hard to sometimes! His parents still haven’t been in touch which I’m disgusted with too.
    I do have a great support around me though and I’m very lucky. I am going to the doctors later today to speak to them about some counselling or something to help me through this time as I feel like some days it gets the better of me and I feel extremely low. It’s not good for the children to have me like that and I try my best to snap out of it.

    On a positive, I completed a nail course yesterday that Iv wanted to do for years. My plan is to start a little business alongside my job, to give me a focus. I have lots of ideas and plans for it, so that I am very excited about.

    Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts xxx


    So… Iv been to the doctors and they’ve prescribed me anti depressants. Iv never taken them in my life, I never thought I would as I’m a very strong person but this had made me feel gutted. Like… HOW can someone i loved and stood by have such a negative impact on my life when all I was trying to do was support them? It makes me so upset that I feel like he’s broken me as a person and that I’m in this awful situation, it feels never ending the past couple of days.
    Did anyone else go through similar feelings?


    Hi Sk
    In answer to your final question ‘Yes, yes a thousand times yes’.
    I did take anti-depressants and I was – and am again – an incredibly strong person. The addiction to gamble turned me into a pathetic blob and I danced its tune for far too many years.
    It was talking to other people, who understood, that saved me. I can assure you he has not and will not break you as a person; the steel backbone you always had is still there, just a little bent. Someday, hopefully soon, you can learn to use this experience to enrich the rest of your life because allowing it to defeat you means the addiction has won again and that is not acceptable.
    The addiction to gamble can only have a negative effect on your life if you allow it to do so. It is having a negative effect on your partner’s life but he is unable to see it – you can and therefore you can do something about it.
    I went to doctors and saw a psychiatrist because I thought the problem was me – the counsellor I saw only wanted to know about ‘my’ childhood and eventually convinced me that the problem really was me which did enormous damage so please ensure you get a counsellor who understands the addiction to gamble. Finally I went to Gam-Anon and it was there, where I met others like me, that I realised it was not me that was the problem and the relief was unbelievable. It was then that I started to rebuild ‘my’ life and find me.
    Completing a nail course is a whopping big step in the right direction, financially and emotionally it will give you a much needed boost – well done. I would love to be your first customer except that I already see someone every 4 weeks. The girl I see always walks the extra mile with her customers, I know because various friends have gone to her as a result of her transforming my nails. We get shapes, half glitter, full glitter, as many colours as we want and she attempts designs that we ‘think’ will look divine on us. It is walking this extra mile that is important, I think, when we really want to achieve the best result for ourselves and those around us.
    An active GC has often got a terrible memory and it is possible that your partner isn’t putting it on; with his head full of addiction he forgets what he said and then argues that it was you that got it wrong. I can’t tell you what to do but i know entering an argument over child care arrangements will only drain your energy. To cover for addiction, most active CGs will lie and usually one lie follows another until finally their memories are clouded with the lies they have told and their lies become ‘their’ truth.
    I suggest you do what is right for your children regardless of what he has said because at the moment he can’t be responsible for himself never mind another life.
    I am concerned that you say he is controlling ‘your’ money and of course that can’t be right. Is it possible for you to open an account in your name of which he will have no knowledge? You need money to look after your children and your home. Personally I wouldn’t take a great deal of notice about him threatening to take the children’s clothes, car seats, prams, etc because it sounds like a lot of hot air and he is the master of threats. He probably forgot this threat fairly quickly, after all what would he do with things – of course you would be within your rights to go to the police with such ridiculous behaviour.
    I know that I cannot ‘know’ his parents but they are probably struggling too and don’t know what to do with their out- of- control son – I doubt that his poor behaviour is just restricted to you. Look after you first and take all the support you can from those who care about you.
    I really hope you will make a group next week so that we can ‘talk’ in real time but keep posting anyway and I will try and answer all your questions.
    I am sorry the forum is so quiet, the groups tend to see more members because it is private but please use the forum anyway – it gives me time to give you a more thought out reply.
    Once again, well done with those nails – mine are royal blue diagonally up each nail and silver sparkle in the other half – very swish!

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