Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family I’m new, here’s my story. – Girlfriend of a Gambler

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    I always knew he was a gambler, specifically sports betting. He was part of a friend group, and I heard stories about how he will gamble all of his paychecks. Knowing this secret, I watched him intently stare at the tv screen on a football Sunday. Little did I know I’d be dating him a year later.


    The first time getting caught is seen as a mistake, so the second time had to be memorable. I remember it was early on into us dating, before even being “official” – We walked on the beach, and he slipped a necklace around my neck, saying “I promise I’m done.”


    Each time I would catch him gambling a new way – laptop internet history; phone internet history; phone text messages; iMessage on his laptop; deleted pictures on his phone; pictures in his trash on his laptop; Venmo history. I swear he’s tried every online betting website, and exhausted bookies until they got the drift that he was unreliable with payments. Only a portion of the time he would honestly admit to gambling when asked. Every other time I needed physical proof – “I saw this, you’re lying.” There was even a time I saw something and he still denied it, making me think I was crazy. There has been so much manipulation and sneaking around on both of our parts.


    My roommates, the only ones I talked to about the issue, got tired of hearing it really fast. Oftentimes, my boyfriend would be the source of the problem and the only comfort available.


    I’m not going to get into his past with gambling, but in our time together, I saw the darkness. $3k down in one week, and that’s how much he makes in a month. One time (maybe more?) he had to scrape up the change in his car to afford gas to get to his destination. He skipped meals because he couldn’t afford them. He would ask people to borrow money until they couldn’t deal with harassing him about his debt any longer. I’ve had to spot him so many times, and in the beginning of our relationship I was even paying for him and didn’t expect money back. The list goes on and on.


    I feel like it’s part of my To Do list to make all checks to see if he’s gambling. And this isn’t just for me and my need for financial security, this is to prove honesty and trust is rooted in our relationship, and to help him end his addiction.


    Anyways, I began planning for a future, full speed ahead, to distract from the present. My lease was ending soon, and my roommates were moving out of state. “Boyfriend, let’s do this!” The idea sounded picture perfect. I got so wrapped up in packing my belongings, his belongings, looking at apartments, unpacking into the new place, decorating, etc. I caught him gambling again the day we moved in, new website. My heart sank – he really isn’t going to be able to make rent and bills. My old roommates warned me. How can I be so foolish?


    Again, the promise of never betting again came up, and everything would work out. We got into our happy place, me being in oblivion to more betting, as I would charge expenses to my card for vacations. Plan a future to distract from the present – excellent idea.


    Side note: He does pay his portion of the bills, and he pays off his debts to me, slowly. He knows he has that safety net. But when I catch him betting, I know he tells himself “She knows I’m broke, I don’t have to get into any more debt by treating her.” I hate to say I deserve to be spoiled, but come on. I’m sick of a 50/50 relationship. But even more than that, I’m always spotting him. And I’m the one that does the cooking, cleaning, decorating, planning, etc. There’s no responsibilities for him. He’ll just slowly pay off expenses when I ask for them. It’s when he’s betting and I haven’t caught him yet that he’ll buy flowers or pay for dinner to almost prove he has money as a way to disguise that he’s gambling. There have been times I saw gambling proof, but didn’t want to bring it up because I knew I’d be cut off. I felt horrible.


    Not long ago, he had a good cry (rare for him) and the motivation to stop for good (too many times to count). On Sunday, just a few days later, I knew he was being sketchy, but he denied everything. My instinct was right. I felt physically sick when I saw the proof – last week was the most he spent in a week betting in his lifetime. He owes me money. We have a vacation coming up.


    I’ve never imagined a future without him, but each time I catch him it gets a little less painful to imagine. We’re financially bound to living with each other until the apartment lease is up, so now I’m at a crossroads – Is this his final time to get it together as he promised or do we live together as roommates and go our separate ways in our relationship? I can’t imagine the latter, but he finally manned up and presented the ultimatum because he knew I was too scared to say it.


    We had taken a break once before, and he said he never wanted to lose me again. That was our worst fight, besides last night’s. Come to find out, after that first fight, he bet the next day and throughout our break. I’m nervous that will happen again, despite the larger debt this time.


    He admits his problem, goes to meetings, has the desire to stop, and thinks the world of being with me. He truly cares for me and loves me like no other. The good is so good. But the bad is so bad.


    After yesterday’s breakdown, I’m finally cooling off and decided I needed to look into help. I found this website and I hope to seek advice and comfort. I’ve always been an easy-going, positive little peach, and it’s that part of me that has put too much faith into him. “This will be the time he changes!” “Everything will work out!” For me, his problem has created so much anxiety, trust issues, and self-blame.

    Thank you in advance for listening to my story.


    Hello Nic Nac and thanks for starting a thread in the Gambling Therapy forums

    Here at Gambling Therapy we pride ourselves on being a caring and diverse online community who can help and support you with the difficulties you’re currently facing. We understand that this might be a tough time for you, particularly if you’re new to recovery, so come here as often as you need to and participate in the forums, access online groups and connect to the live advice helpline if you need one to one support. We’re in this together!

    Here on the forum you can share your experiences in a safe, supportive and accepting environment. The beauty of writing it all down is that you can take your time and you will be creating a record of your progress that you can look back on if it ever feels like you’re not moving forward. So, share as much or as little as you like but do try to stick to keeping just one thread in this forum so people know where to find you if they want to be updated on your progress or share something with you.

    As well as the forums New Members are invited to join Charles in the New Members Practical Advice Group On Mondays at 21:00 (UK) and Thursday at 19:00(UK)

    And on that note….

    I’m going to hand you over to our community because I’m sure they will have some words of wisdom for 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!


    Hi NicNac
    I can see that you have read other threads so I am sure you will have noted that I can’t tell you what to do, all decisions have to be yours; you have to decide what is right for you. Having said that I know what it is like to play detective and I know it doesn’t feel right to be constantly doing so – it doesn’t reflect the people we know ourselves to be. When we play detective with a CG we already know deep down that we are probably not going to find something good, so we only end up making ourselves unhappy and changing nothing. Asking an active CG if he has been gambling is going to result in either (a) being told -yes he has gambled which still manages to hurt every time or (b) being told he hasn’t which we don’t believe anyway. Either way the questioner cannot win.
    When your boyfriend does take the leap of faith, which we call recovery, you probably won’t know immediately, true recoveries take time to blossom but in time the change of overall behaviour will make it apparent. In other words I think it is good to ask yourself – ‘am I going to keep asking questions that just wear me out and don’t help me’ or ‘am I going to look after myself, enjoy my life without sneaking around’.
    Your boyfriend cannot ‘prove’ his honesty until he has made his own choice to stop gambling and live honestly and that won’t happen regardless of how many hours you spend trying to get him to admit something he isn’t ready to admit.

    I love the sound of an easy-going positive little peach and I hope you will hang on to that person because she obviously is caring and deserves a good life. I can also hear that you are not feeling happy about what his addiction is doing to you and I understand that feeling only too well.
    I believe we put our faith in a loved one with a gambling addiction because we believe that in the end our love will conquer all. I do know now, without any cynicism whatsoever, that love is not enough, it cannot conquer all. In my opinion, the loved one who will survive this confusing experience has to put his/her life in the forefront of their minds which is not the way we envisage a loving relationship.
    I think it is good to tell a CG when we seek help because it tells them that we are taking their addiction seriously. Does he tell you about his meetings?
    I would like to give your post more thought and I will come back to you asap. I have visitors at the moment so it will probably be Saturday but I wanted to get a reply too to you fairly quickly so that you would know you have been heard and understood.
    You are stronger than your boyfriend’s addiction NicNac. Well done looking for more support.


    Thank you for listening to my story. I never thought of it that way, how the sneaking around playing detective has two effects, neither positive. 

    He has admitted his addiction. There are times he says he wants to earn his money honestly and be honest with me. There are times he admits to gambling, but mostly when he knows I have proof. 

    He’ll only tell me bits and pieces of the meetings if he’s willing. He says he doesn’t like to talk about it, he feels like their stories are personal and they all have a matched bond that I wouldn’t understand as a non-CG. So I respect that and listen when he offers a story to share. 

    And I have just told him I went to seek help. 


    Hi NicNac, I am also new to this forum. I have been married to a compulsive gambler for 30 years. I didn’t know he was a gambler when I married him. If I had that knowledge before hand I wouldn’t have married him. There is so much heart ache and stress when you are married to someone who lies to you everyday. I used to search his stuff looking for signs of gambling. I don’t bother anymore. It doesn’t help anyone. It just makes you upset when you find evidence . Just take it for granted that he is gambling. The best advice I could give you is protect yourself from him. Do not have any joint accounts with him. Don’t cosign loans for him. Don’t enable him by letting him borrow money. Get your own finances in order. Put a freeze on your credit with Experian, Equifax and TransUnion so he can’t get credit cards in your name. Be vigilant about financially protecting yourself. I have chosen to honor my marriage vows with my husband, I will never leave him because he is a CG. Just know that all functional and happy relationships need to have trust as a core element and that is something that you will never have with a CG.


    Hi Bleak
    The picture you paint of your marriage is very bleak indeed so I am pleased that you have joined this forum where I hope you will gain some strength from knowing that you can talk openly in a place where you and your situation are understood.
    I am glad that you have taken steps to protect yourself financially but I am wondering what steps you have taken to protect yourself emotionally. Have you sought support for yourself before?
    It is impossible to get the support ‘you’ deserve on somebody else’s thread, so I hope you will start your own thread– it would be great to get to know you better, I am sure that if NicNac is still reading she will find you.
    It is never too late for a compulsive gambler to learn to control his addiction – even after 30 years – I know this to be true from experience. Has your husband ever accepted his problem and/or has he ever tried to get help?
    I will leave it there for now Bleak. I am going on holiday for just over two weeks starting on Thursday so I won’t be around for a while but maybe you could have conversations with other members – I think you have a lot to offer and hopefully a lot to gain yourself.
    Thank you for taking the brave step to write as you have done, I know it cannot have been easy.


    Just felt like venting some more in here so I thought I’d give an update.
    His update- Earlier I said I had caught him with $3,000 down, and I had found a text to the bookie saying “If my girlfriend texts you, please don’t tell her.” This was before vacation. I had taken the advice to not look at any of his personal belongings. Well, day 1 of vacation, we were at a bar and I saw a reflection in a mirror.. that is how I caught him again. Day 1 of vacation. I was distraught, and our vacation was different than what it could have been. Since then, he admitted that he had placed a bet the last day of vacation, and the first football Sunday, that weekend we came back, but swears he has not bet since (so about a month now). I have my doubts, but the man is truly broke, and I feel like this bookie would be crazy to spot him any more than he already owes. But, he could always find a new source, which is my worry. Also, this month was the first time he didn’t make one of our bills and I had to put the money up to not get disconnected. As of this week he is finally paying the remaining of his debts to me, but I still have huge trust issues if he’s betting or not. He has never came to me and said “I messed up, I betted.” It’s always me finding evidence, or me going on a whim and asking him to be honest, so he still has not gotten to that point. He has stopped going to GA meetings because they did not help him one bit, if anything he got worse.. I guess it’s not for everyone. I suggested a forum.
    My update- after the whole vacation drama, I finally went numb and FINALLY developed a mindset where I said if he does not change, I will move on without him. I am able to break my lease if I find a job 100 miles away. I have been applying. If I find a job soon, I will move away without him because he is not ready yet. It hurts me very much, but I’ve finally accepted that fact. If I find a job in maybe 6 months and he has truly proved he is clean and changed, we will start somewhere new together. Our place just has too many bad memories for me now. Additionally, since he’s hitting that month point and my trust issues are at an all time high, I’ve been reading the forum more often. I feel very insecure believing him, but I want to support him.



    Hi Nic Nac
    Sometimes F&F have to move on and sometimes the CG does change but it is important to know that you cannot ‘make’ a compulsive gambler stop gambling.
    I know that if you move away with the thought that leaving him will make him stop gambling then you could get hurt but on the other hand if you move away for your own health, you will not be living in the eye of the addiction storm which will allow you the peace in which to retake control of your life.
    I would never tell you that I think you should go or I think you should stay but I believe that sharing thoughts and experiences helps. I hope you will keep posting until you know what is right for you.


    I just stumbled on this site and am so relieved to have an outlet to say what I am ashamed to share. My husband is a gambling and drug addict that has tried to stay clean and stop gambling but cannot stop.
    I’ve been with him for over 8 years and after realizing that I’ve enabled him, have gotten the courage to make him leave our house when he doesn’t come home at night after spending all of his paycheck in the casinos. I have made him leave too many times to ***** and now I have given him an ultimatum to live in a half way house for 60 days if he wants to come home.
    He’s trying to make me cave by telling me he has no food, gas and is living in his car. It pains me to hear this but I can only remind myself that I’ve bailed him out too many times only to have him be in the same or worse situation.
    Now he’s telling me that he wants to get a storage unit to move his stuff out. I am sharing all of this because he’s supposed to come to the house tonight to get some of his things. I know he’ll be remorseful and want me to feel sorry for him enough until I let him stay home.
    I am asking for strength from all of you to help me stand firm.


    Hi Lamman

    It is so hard to support you on someone else’s thread, please start your own.
    If you scroll to the bottom of the F&F forum page you will find ‘New Topic’ – please click on it, give your thread a title, cut and paste your post into the box then scroll down and click on ‘save’.
    I would love to give you the strength to stand firm but it isn’t something I can do – it is something you can do for yourself though. You have strengths in you that you have not tapped yet. You are refusing to enable your husband because you love him – maybe you could tell him you have sough help for you and let him know there is support for him in GA and on this site
    Loving someone with a gambling addiction is not easy and often giving in and enabling seems the easier option but you are doing well .
    Please start your own thread – you deserve support


    I finally gave in to my suspicions, since I was having anxiety. One month without betting? I was completely wrong – he had bet nearly every day, multiple times a day. All of those lies. What hurt more was how he apologized, and come to find out the next day he bet 12 more times as he’s messaging me apologizing saying he won’t do it again. That made me give up – I accepted he will bet but I will only get angry if it’s in front of me or if he does not pay bills / asks me to spot him. It is on him to change, he has to want to be done with his addiction. I did things differently – we did not buy groceries together, I did not cook for him since then, I refused to send money for him to his bookie. I put my foot DOWN because I am sick of the pain. Since I did that, things have felt off. Our connection is dwindling. Our friendship even feels achy. We feel so distant and we’re both in a state of depression. We talked about making a final decision soon – either we’re in a relationship or just friends. The awkward part is that we live in a one bedroom place, so as friends until we move will be extremely difficult. We’re finally having a date night tonight and I hope our magical connection has a strong energy. I hope we overcome this. 

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