7 July 2019 at 9:06 pm #6834HesdoingitagainParticipant
Sorry this is probably going to be long! I feel like my story isnt so bad but I’m terrified it will get worse and I’m stuck.
Not long after I married my husband I realised his gambling (horses and dogs) was more than just the odd flutter. We ended up with a debt that I agreed to pay off with a small inheritance and foolishly believed him when he said he would stop.
A few years later I noticed he was getting finance company letters which he said was just advertising, but realised he had maxed his credit cards and was taking loans to make repayments. I finally got the courage to confront him and we made a plan. He would get a personal loan (at cheaper interest rates) to pay off the debt and get help. Which he did and things have been great. He self excluded from the TABs. He has a separate account that some of his wages goes into and the rest goes into our joint account. So i have control of most of the money and pay the bills. He still has a credit card (because he was travelling for work).
Lately i have noticed some familiar behaviours. Late home from work. He seems stressed which he says (and quite possibly is) work. But last night I caught him with the TV on the racing channel and in my heart of hearts I know nobody watches that if they are not gambling. And I was going to confront him but he had quickly changed channels.
I hate confrontation at the best of times and despite having done it before, my circumstances have changed since last time. I had problems at work a year or so ago and quit for my sanity but have struggled to get another job, so set up my own business. Which is small and not turning a big profit. So i feel like I’m not contributing much financially.
I think maybe my situation has been the catalyst for his gambling again. We are not struggling financially but obviously not as comfortable as we were when I was working. We can pay the mortgage.
So I have no definitive proof that he is gambling. I suspect when I confront him he will be angry and blame me. It was my fault the previous times to until he got help and apologised. Last time I was really strong and said I wouldn’t put up with it and put our families future at risk. (We have 3 kids) I said I would leave if he put us through the stress of the extra debt again. Problem is given my circumstances I cant even go through with that anymore. I dont know how to confront him because i feel like I created this, and I dont have proof.
Any ideas. I feel like I need proof in order to have enough “power” (not the right word) to encourage him to get help again. Thanks in advance.7 July 2019 at 10:31 pm #6835velvetModerator
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The Gambling Therapy Team9 July 2019 at 12:16 pm #6836velvetModerator
I think you have been doing very well so far with your husband in many respects. You have recognised that his behaviour is probably slipping back and you have sought help – he is a lucky man to have you even if he doesn’t realise it – yet.
I cannot tell you what to do because it is important that you make the decisions that are right for you. What I can say is that before you give an ultimatum to a gambler it is important to be 100% sure that you, can and will, carry out the threat because not to do so will only show the gambler that the threat was just words and there is no need to worry about reprisals. Don’t panic that you have already made this threat and you don’t feel able to carry it through, it is unlikely that he will be concerned, or that it will make any difference to his behaviour but I think it is important to remember in the future.
I think that proof lies in behaviour. I am bringing my thread entitled ‘The F&F Cycle’ up for you which may help you to see that reading a gambler’s behaviour is all important. If he isn’t gambling, then he will be angry that you have doubted him and if he is gambling, he will be angry and blame you anyway, so it is a no-win situation. In my opinion, it is good to imagine his addiction as a snarling beast in the corner of the room – if you threaten that addiction it will bite and sensible conversation will be impossible. If and when you are sure he is gambling then confrontation might be the answer but be prepared for lies and blame because that is the only way he knows how to defend himself. Maybe we could discuss this when you are sure.
Perhaps you could download the 20-Questions from the Gamblers Anonymous web-site, maybe you could leave them lying around for him to find. If he gets angry then you could possible say that you have been worried and sought help for yourself – gamblers do not tend to think that those who love them need support! It is important not to get bogged down in an argument that you did not want and which the addiction will only use to blame and demoralise you.
I think that ‘power’ is the right word and with knowledge you will have power over his addiction because you are stronger than it will ever be, even if you don’t believe it at the moment.
Has he ever sought help for himself? I have yet to meet a compulsive gambler who has successfully learned to control his addiction without treatment but I do know that with treatment a gambler can learn to live in control of his addiction and live a wonderful gamble-free life – often a better life for having the courage to face such a corrosive addiction. If I didn’t know this, I would not be writing to you now.
‘You’ matter and it is so important that you look after yourself. A gambling addiction will take loved ones all the way down with it – if they allow it. Keeping healthy, enjoying friendships, family, the world around you and anything non-gambling is important. Every day please make sure that you do something for yourself that you enjoy and hopefully something you can talk to your husband about when he comes home. The gambling addiction can hang like a pall of thick smoke over lives, destroying all other interests and choking family life. It is sadly too easy for addiction to fill your thoughts 24 hours a day – but this is not good for you, your children or your husband. You cannot make your husband stop gambling but you can save yourself from being destroyed by his addiction. You are the role model for your children and hopefully the rock your husband can tie himself to once he accepts he has a serious problem.
Please keep posting and asking any questions you may have.
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