1 January 2017 at 2:01 pm #5197
Hi, this is my first time reaching out. My boyfriend has a gambling issue. We have known each other for two years and been dating for over a year. I love him and want to help I just don’t know what to do anymore. He has asked me for help about a few months ago and admitted he has an issue. He told me to be super negative about gambling and that it’s all rigid. When I have done that he yells at me for not being positive/supportive. I wil admit I have enabled him, but it is hard for me to know where to draw the line with being a supportive girlfriend or an enabler. He has been gambling for at least 8 plus years. This is the first year it has gotten out of control to the point he has admitted he was fearful of this happening. When I first met him we would gamble for fun. Not an issue tho there were signs he didn’t know how to handle loosing or being able to know when to walk away. At the beginning of the year it became more noticeable there were issues. I even stopped playing with him because he made it not fun and uncomfortable. If he lost he would just complain about luck or how is it only him that looses. I tried to be the rational one and said it’s luck it’s not something you can control and that everyone loses. You are probably seeing the small percentage of them winning in this moment not the 23 other hours they are playing.
As 2016 year was moving along. He was going to Vegas every week or every other. Has he began to lose more and more he would take it out on me. I don’t like confrontation, I will just sit there and take it. He gets in a tunnel vision of rage and becomes verbally abusive to me. When and if he snaps out of it has said he’s mad and hates himself for allowing this to happen. My therapist said a lot of it is him projecting on to me. I have suggested getting help in the past. He said no wouldn’t help and that’s not the issue. It’s not even about losing the money but just the mind set he gets in. In November we went on vacation he started playing online poker. He started yelling at me that I didn’t stop him from playing. I had asked him to stop or not play the rest of the trip. He tells that’s impossible and no. He said begging and pleading with him isn’t going to stop him and he’s going to want to what he wants. He can get very scary. At one point in the trip it got so bad he was trying to physically hurt himself. Not enough to commit suicide or anything but as like a punishment to himself. I freaked out and tried to reach out to an older man I know he trusts and respects. I got horrible back lash from the bf saying how could you jeopardize real life things for me. I did what he asked and covered it up. I am 31 yrs old, who got divorced in 2015 to be with this bf. I love him but I don’t know how to help in a productive way. I also don’t feel it’s fair for him to put all of this on me.
Friday was the last straw that broke for me. I’m tried of dealing with his mood swings. Again I know I shouldn’t have gone to Vegas but we agreed if it’s for a special event i.e. Sporting or concert I would go but I don’t partake in any gambling. He made a sports bet lost blamed me that I didn’t even try to stop him. As I said before I feel like I’m in a lose lose situation. If I say don’t do he says it’s my money I can do what I want and your not being supportive. We were in a hurry and I didn’t want to get into a fight before we went to the UFC fight. We get there watch one match his parlay is over after the first match we watch. Mood changes so quickly. He tells me u said we weren’t doing Vegas together anymore. I said I told u several times I didn’t want to go but I want to be with my Bf for New Years. He goes Vegas with u is the worst I don’t even have a place to chill by myself. I said I can leave then. He flips out and said how is that being supportive. We get in an agreement he’s threatened to break up with me bc I didn’t stop this from happening and that I have only watched him go from happy to serverly depressed. I have no one I can reach out to about this bc he doesn’t approve of people knowing his business. He only like to have certain information out to the public. I told him in November I can not be the only person to fix this issue. I can help him get work or normal life issues. This is too hard for just me to handle. Even when he was a kid his parents would try to enforce rules on not playing video games for an excessive amount of time that he would get very scary and he can be very powerful in voice and physically. I’m not worried about my physical safety just my own mental health.
I decided yesterday morning after him “stating” facts that I’m not helping him and nothing is fixed to leave and go visit my family. . (I just moved to him to live closer 6 weeks ago and he feels everything should be fixed by now). I don’t believe just me working on things can fix it but I just don’t know what to do when I feel he’s not doing anything to help himself. He told me last night how he can’t believe I left him alone on new yrs eve. Where as I felt he pushed me away and I had to leave for my own mental health. If anyone could give me advice on what to do I would really appreciate it.1 January 2017 at 11:02 pm #5198velvetModerator
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 🙂
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!
The Gambling Therapy Team3 January 2017 at 9:21 pm #5199velvetModerator
It is hard to know where the line is drawn between enabling and supporting and it seems to me that your boyfriend is using you as a punch bag to hit out at when things go wrong which they inevitably will due to his addiction to gambling.
He is right that his problem is not the money – it is the gamble itself that excites his brain and money is merely the tool that gives him the opportunity to gamble. He is also right that if he is determined to gamble he will do so and there is little or nothing you can do to stop him.
You were right to stop playing with him because that gives him your seal of approval to his behaviour. You are also right that it is not fair that you put up with his unacceptable behaviour.
I hope you will keep posting and reading because knowledge of your boyfriend’s addiction will give you power over it.
Only you can decide if you have had enough of a lose lose situation, just as only he can stop his gambling.
Have you gone to visit your family and are they aware that your boyfriend is a CG (compulsive gambler). The addiction loves secrecy but in my opinion you need support on the ground as well as using this site.
Please keep up with seeing friends and enjoying interests and hobbies that are ‘just for you’ – it is important for you and also for your boyfriend that you are not part of the wreckage of his addiction if/when he accepts responsibility for his behaviour.
Keep posting and take care of ‘you’
Velvet4 January 2017 at 9:21 pm #5200
Thanks velvet for writing back. After reading everyone’s stories I have a much better knowledge. He kept trying to push me away and saying we are over. After 5 days he has admitted that he has been awful to me and is shocked I am still fighting for us. Even tho yesterday he kept saying he was mad I left him on New Year’s Eve. I just kept trying to be neutral and not blaming anyone for anything but we all have different reactions to situations. I again stand by for leaving especially after he has treated me awful when he gambles and loses. We have said if he needs to talk away and need space say that. Then I know but don’t attack and call me vial names. That’s not appropriate. He said he had warned me it’s getting worse. I told him u telling me and giving me all the info in the world doesn’t prepare me in that moment. I have seen him do crazy things and say horrible things. So even if it’s not as bad it’s the weight of MANY bad situations hits me all at once. I know he hates himself. He has said that several times. He use to make himself happy and he’s struggling to do so bc of the addiction. I have said over and over again the past few days u need to get professional help. It can’t just be on me to support you. He says he never asked me to. Definitely contradicts himself a lot. Because he yelled at me I didn’t try to stop him. I think today we had hopefully a break through. He doesn’t want to talk about it but I brought it up again about getting help. He couldn’t even look at me and looked upset. He left and said sorry I hate that I have made you so sad since u moved out here. I said u need to help urself and this makes me sad that ur lost and not the man I fell in love with. He said he misses himself to. I hope this was the “rock bottom” and he’s tired of feeling this way and do something about it. He said he wanted to break up bc seeing my face reminds him that he failed me. He can’t handle failing or losing. I said the only way u fail me is by pushing me away. I told him I am genuinely happy and I smile at him. He tells me all the time it’s too cute it kills him.
do know he’s a control freak. So between losing and him feeling like i abandoned him on new yrs I think scared him emotionally. He never has serious emotional relationships and I said when u love someone u give up complete control bc now u really have to trust the other person practically going in blind.
I myself have been seeing a therapist for years. I know I get seasonal depression or get depressed for a variety of reasons. I on the other hand have been learning and trying to become the best version of me that I can. My family and friends have been a huge support system for me. They keep saying trust ur gut and stay focus on u. I am for sure. I was married before and didn’t do that I know that was part of the reason it wasn’t successful. I don’t want to go back to my old habits. So when my current bf said ok let’s work through this but u should save ur money and not get ur own place. I said no I’m going to kill it with my new job that it won’t matter even if I don’t use it often. It’s a way for each of us to get space. We are not at the stage of the relationship to live together full time. He agreed so I’m sticking to my guns. I’m trying to make new friends in the city. My therapist and I talk about boundraies. So with him wanting to work on this. I’m going to try to set new boundraies for him. I don’t want to enable him in any aspect of his life.
Any other advice that anyone could recommend would be hugely helpful.6 January 2017 at 4:17 pm #5201
I have been reading people’s stories for days. It has helped me tremendously because I can now see when my boyfriend is talking and not making sense it’s the addiction talking. Velvet, I have read ur suggestions on other people’s post and I have been applying it for the past few days. I have been staying super neutral so he has nothing to blame on me. I know many of us don’t wish to be dealing with this problem. I had a very comfortable life before I met my boyfriend. I’ve I had known this was going to put a big strain on me and our relationship it’s sometimes hard to not think what if I chose a different path.
He did try to blame me for not helping him better and that I’m terrible at motivating people. I know that isn’t true from my past relationship and what I do for a living. He said bc I wasn’t able to help and he’s just frustrated all the time, that how he helps himself is none of my business. I said ok. I’m going to just keep working on myself and put my energy into making myself happy.6 January 2017 at 10:09 pm #5202jenny46Participant
My name is Jenny and I haven’t been here for a while as I am now a few years out of my relaitionship. Your posts remind me a bit of where I was some years ago.
I think what jumps out at me is that you know the advice you are taking and reading about is correct and that looking after you is the priority but your thoughts are preoccupied with ‘helping’ another who appears to as yet not be helping himself.
You cannot set boundaries for him, only yourself. You are doing enough by being there, but with this addiction nothing is ever enough until the light is seen by the owner. Most probably nothing is true that he is saying whilst the addiction continues to rampage!
It is easier for him to find blame in others for not helping etc not motivating !! Oh dear he is scraping the barrel there, take none of it on board or it will without a doubt bring you down.
This is his problem and ultimately only he can sort it – he needs to get his own motivation and take responsibility instead of looking to blame others whilst he wallows in self pity and denial of the issue.
It is so difficult to not worry and ‘mind your own business’ and to focus on you whilst you see a person you love attempting to self destruct but it’s true yet unrealistic until you get to that point where you are really comfortable with doing that.
You didn’t choose a different path but you still could, your choices have not been removed. If it was me I think now on reflection I should have thought more about the different paths I should have chosen and how things could have been better for me and my children – sooner.
The vile insults are bang out of order, addiction is not an excuse for abuse, when you look at boundaries concentrate on your boundaries and how you feel you deserve to be treated because it isn’t like this.
Keep reading but above all keep posting, every experience is different and everyone is individual. Tell your story and keep getting it out .
Wishing you well
Jenny6 January 2017 at 10:29 pm #5203
Jenny, thank you so much for writing to me. I definitely agree in what you have said. It is super hard for me not to try to help him. I was in a different relationship not like this, but it ended bc I lost myself and I do tend to put other peoples needs before mine. I have ever since I was a little girl always trying to please my mother or other people in my life. At the point it gets exhausting to please everyone.
Do you have any regrets or wish you knew something sooner? I have been only dealing with this issue since March and I have known him for a little over two years. Before this started he said he feeds of of reactions. Such as if I’m really into dating him it gets him more excited. He did so many things that he had never done before dating wise that it swept me off my feet. I do miss that, but know he can not provide that right now to me.
I know he is scared to fail and when he see’s me all sad and that he caused it, its hard to not think of the failure. I don’t know if hes pushing me away bc of the addition speaking or if he truly doesn’t want to be with me. He felt like I abandoned him on Saturday, but I need to leave for MYSELF. I have truly been trying to find myself worth last yr and I don’t want to take abuse from anyone.
Have you made peace with leaving ur CG?
Again thanks Jenny, Hope to hear from you again!7 January 2017 at 4:26 am #5204
So definitely writing and reading here has been helpful for my sanity!! It’s been 8-9 months of my bf dealing with this battle but I’m praying for his sake this past weekend was him hitting his rock bottom. I know he loves to go to Vegas. In November he had a “win” that he said has helped put his mind at a little ease and the following weekend he won’t gamble much. I had suggested that he leaves his debit card at home. He told me NO because he has got to feel like he can stop. He had been trying little things here and there, but honestly I never had faith in what he was saying to me which is true because two weeks ago he had the worst “lost” of his life. He told me today hey I’m going to be so bored this weekend I’m going to go to Vegas to hang out with a few friends and I’m not going to gamble at all. This time he even said I’m going to leave my debit card at home! Finally he is listening and isn’t giving himself any way to take out money.
The money isn’t the issue, like I have said before its the mind set that he gets in when he looses. It could be something small/dumb to big/important things. Its all the same. So since I have moved out here he had asked me to help him with his work stuff because that is important to him to be able to recover the money that was lost and has has sooooooo many opportunities to succeed. He could have everything that he has ever wanted in his life is he digs deep down and works hard. He is bad at that and relied on me to motivate him. Today he had been studying for this test he needs to take and came up with a game plan for himself. I was so relieve to finally hear that. I had been suggesting to do it 5 weeks ago and he would always blow me off. Just like him quitting to gamble is his responsibility to quit, I have realized I can not enable him by helping him with all of his work. He needs to do that himself. In doing so I am hoping he feels a sense of accomplishment and that will boost his ego.
Going through all of this makes me sad, I am assuming that all of the CG’s are smart people but the all just get caught up in it. I look back I easily could have gone down this path and become a CG as well. When I turned 21 I love to gamble…. Losing made me so grumpy but it wouldn’t last long. I had won a ton majority of my trips then had some really bad loses. Here is the difference, one trip I had changed the way I looked at gambling. At 22 I said hey most girls my age would love to spend this money on fancy purses or jewelry. I instead looked at it as its money already sent and I’m spending my money on fun entertainment to me. Plus I would never go to an atm or anything like that to get more money and try to “win it back”. Chasing is never the way to win, that is just a slippery slope to disaster.
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