Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family I’m struggling but my marriage is over

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    jenny t

    I have so many thoughts and feelings right now as Im doing every thing I can to look after me and my 3 children.
    With my ex husband for 10 years. No idea he was a CG until I was 6 years into the relationship. I proposed (OMG my banner read CG take a bet on me, will you marry me Jenny T), How little did I know.
    He said yes and we started planning our wedding. I worked full time, him part time and each week I gave him money to bank. £7000 gambled as he blew it all.Also a few grand from my current accounts. Caught him on 17 december, one week before xmas, a few years ago. Cancelled the wedding and he sought help. 18 months of recovery and I married him. one year later, he gambles again. I go to counselling and I know there is no more chances after this one.
    I discover in April this year he gambled again. Had been gambling since October last year running up at least 30,000 debt.
    We had booked a holiday in February and I know we cant remain married but I also cant afford the holiday on my wage alone, so I pretend all is ok and I am in charge of his wages, feeling like his mum instead of his wife and putting on a brave face for my kids.
    I go on the holiday, but have caught him gambling in May, then June, then more lies in July.As well as gambling he is drinking a lot. The holiday was him drunk 9 days out of 12 and me and my kids trying to have fun on our own.
    The last straw, 4 weeks ago, he drinks a litre of vodka and loses it in my house, frightening both me and my kids. He has reached a new level, aggression, anger, being a victim and he won’t ever have the chance to frighten or upset my kids again. He’s out.
    It’s been a nightmare. I have seen him change,make threats to me.accuse me of breaking up the family, become selfish with no care of me or the kids, yet still manage his work, move in with his parents , be cared for while im off work with stress, emotional a lot and picking up the pieces with the kids, as well as the financial mess.
    I won’t ever go back but Im really struggling. Where did my husband go? His kids dont want to see him and whilst he is acting the way he is, I wouldnt allow him contact on his own anyway.
    I dont know how to deal with his texts. Some say Im sorry and then please tell my kids I am a waste of space. Hes told my 13 year old to have a nice life omg, shes just a kid and he makes no real effort to make things right. I don’t know if he is sorry or not.I’m exhausted.
    He also emails a finance manager, whom he doesnt know, asking her to meet him to mix business with pleasure. she doesnt respond as she is only trying to give him a loan. I keep the email .He minimised his behaviour, I feel so betrayed and stupid. I am very low.




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    Hi Jenny
    Welcome from me to Gambling ^Therapy.
    I am on holiday at the moment so my post to you will be brief but as nobody I am on holiday with is about at the moment– I have a moment to reply to you.
    I know the overwhelming feelings you are experiencing. I hope that between us and the other members who will reply to you, you can lock some of your whirring thoughts away in a dark recess in your mind, to be let out later when you are feeling less stressed.
    You are not stupid Jenny, you have been overtaken by a monstrous addiction that you neither asked for nor wanted – given strength you will see the addiction for what it is and not as something you cannot control. It is your husband who has the addiction, not you, you are tougher than you think you are and you will survive. You will gain knowledge of his addiction on this site and that will give you power over it – it is a slow process but it works – I know because I have done it.
    I think from, what you have said, you have control of your husband’s wages. Do you have accounts in your own name that he has no access to so that you can protect yourself and your children?
    The finance manager and the offer of business and pleasure set bells ringing for me. She has money at her disposal and what does your husband want to get his hands on more than anything? I don’t minimise this behaviour but I recognise it. The girl is wise not to respond – he is not offering pleasure, he is seeking enablement. As I said above, seeing the addiction for what it is does help but this does also not mean that he didn’t marry you for the right reasons. Believe in yourself, look after yourself, you are stronger than his addiction.
    I have a group tomorrow evening, Tuesday between 20.00-2100 hours UK time. It would be great if you could join so that we could communicate in real time. Nothing said in the group appears on the forum.
    I have to sign off as my holiday companions are now about but I hope some of this helps.
    Speak soon


    Hi Jenny
    I understand you perfect…I was/am in quite the same situation. The only change is that my husband went into a therapy for gambling and alcohol, and at least he stopped drinking. Anyhow with all hes efforts (as he says) I couldn’t understand his reactions after his last relapse and I left him. from the beginning of summer we leave separately . It was the first time when i spoke with our kid (9y) about “some” problems between us . All I felt before was like I had 2 kids not one, and the felling that I cannot stop working and doing everything because this can change our “balance”. After our agressive discussion from summer I decided to focus on my self first and think that all the problems will have a solution…maybe the solution will not be easy to handle but I decided to take any risk and let the things go in their way without my control. I am now much better , I fell positive or at least I don’t panic about what might happen. my advice for you is this ..let the things go and focus on your self, try and force yourself to do the things you like and don’t imagine that all is ok..but think that will be….you cannot change him and his behavior or what he is thinking but you can change your self and what are you think …this is a big problem, but you can inform him that either he will go to ask for help or this is the end of the story. It’s up to you and is your decision .


    Hi Sara
    If you come back to this thread I hope you will see this post and start your own thread.
    I don’t think it matters how much we read information, there is nothing as good as a personal message that is just for you.
    You say that you are/were in the same position as Jenny and that is a place that is recognised on this forum.
    I don’t believe that anybody wakes up one morning and thinks – oh good that unpleasant experience is behind me – it takes time and certainly in my case it took an awful lot of time, to really leave the horror of the addiction in the past.
    You are as welcome on this forum as anybody still living in the midst of the addiction and I hope you will write again so that you can be supported as you deserve to be.

    jenny t

    Thank you to everyone who has been replying to me. Thank you Velvet for taking time out of your holiday to offer support. That was so kind of you.

    Since my last post a few weeks ago, my ex husband got worse. He had been using all tactics of being nice, then angry, saying one minute he will give me money for our daughter then saying no he won’t because he isn’t getting to see her (since he was aggressive in my home and scared her). I tried not to get into any arguments with him and instead involved the child support agency so the situation would be dealt with and I also tried to keep getting through the days as best as I could, with a lot of tears and an acceptance that my marriage is over. However, i then received 2 suicidal texts from him and then a final one saying he was in the psychiatric ward in the local hospital. He has been there for the last 2 weeks.
    Why ? maybe because he has continued to gamble and stole more money from his parents who then kicked him out. He had been staying with them and told them he got a flat, guess what, the flat didnt exist and 500 pound deposit gone. Then he tells them he is getting a new car and they give him a deposit for 100. guess what, there was no car. Even worse his work gave him a car loan for 6000 pounds and he blew that too. He gambled his work’s money, got put out his parents house and then texts me suicidal stuff that I don’t respond to – but which causes me so much anxiety as I wonder if he is really low or is just trying another tactic.

    I phone his parents to ask if they know where he is and they become abusive to me saying I should have supported him more as he is now in hospital. They cause me so much distress that I hang up the phone. My daughters grandparents now acting inappropriately and I understand their upset but I am not to blame for my ex’s behaviour.

    I go to the hospital to see him as I want to know if he is hit rock bottom yet or please don’t think I am being callous, but did he want sympathy and a bed for the next few weeks in the hospital as with no family, parents, friends left and no money, what were his options – crime?
    He spends the hour of visiting time talking about himself. How broken he feels, how he cant cope and when I reply and say Me and the kids are not coping well too, his response is “this is not about you, this is about me”. He’s the one apparently feeling low but I don’t actually see genuine remorse. Why not? Has he not had enough?

    I make a decision not to visit him again and now he is in a psychiatric ward saying he has broken down, there will definitely not be any contact with his daughter just now or my other 2 kids. When I tell him this he reacts angrily again and now mr nice guy has gone and I get mr nasty again. Is he still addicted?
    I have also just discovered that as well as the gambling, and increase of alcohol, he was also using cocaine in my house. I am devastated and I can only imagine where his head has been as the husband I had, when he wasn’t gambling, would never have put me and my kids at risk.

    I don’t know who he is anymore.drugs, gambling, alcohol, nasty and nice and I wonder if our 10 years was based on a lie. I am heart broken and my wee girl is struggling. Addiction destroys families and I try so hard to understand it but I don’t want to anymore. It hurts too much and whilst I know that I will get stronger, there are so many days when the tears don’t stop.

    My ex now has his parents feeling sorry for him again as they are visiting him in hospital and he has told me they are going to give him money for his car insurance and road tax when he gets out. He will gamble it. I am powerless over his actions and behaviour but as I say the serenity prayer I am seeking courage to change the things I can.
    I still feel stressed and upset. I dont deserve this and neither do my kids.


    Hi Jenny,
    I wanted to write in an attempt to offer some words of encouragement and strength, although they are only words, but they are heartfelt ones. My heart goes out to you. But it sounds as if you are also being strong, have learned, and now see through the manipulation and misguided blame (both from your husband and his parents – who still lack the understanding that you have and can benefit from). I hope you can build on this strength. Your ex is deep in his addiction and feeling a victim and you aren´t the one who can help him. He is clutching at what he can to continue without looking for the strength to truly change. This victimhood wants to suck others into its whirlpool. You are focusing on yourself and your children and that is what you need to do. It is not the time to try to understand. It is just the time to think what you need for you, and for your children, and to do things that support yourself and make your days brighter. Step by step, day by day. I know it is so easy to do, and we all do it at some stage, but I think that thinking in terms of deserving one thing or another, and not deserving addiction in our lives, will not serve you at the moment. No one in this world wants to suffer or see others suffering. Sometimes we just have to face very hard situations, that often seem unfair. And to hopefully grow from them. I am sure that the years of your marriage were not a lie, that when your husband was not gripped by his addictions that he was the person you fell in love with and wanted to be with. But it seems that in the present the addiction has taken an increasing hold and he can´t be the husband you want and need. If you can focus on the positive, the bright parts, the little things too in every day, then this will give you the strength to leave the pain behind. Do you have friends you can turn to for support? What can you do to make your days nicer, for you? Grieve, for you are in a tough situation and to heal we need to acknowledge our loss, but also use all the support available to you and do what takes care of you.

    That is what you and your kids deserve 🙂


    Hi Jenny
    In the hope that you are reading the forum this evening, it would be great to meet you in the group at 20.00 -21.00 hours UK time this evening.

    I will reply to your post soon anyway but ‘talking’ in real time is often beneficial.


    jenny t

    Thank you very much for your reply. Your words gave me some strength today and I really appreciate that. I cried though as I read your words but tears are better out than in.
    My ex contacted me, not to say how are you or how are the kids but instead to tell me what he needs. Looking for my help as he needs a letter from me for the housing department so he can stay in the lovely hotel the council have put him in .
    I am shocked as i am so upset by everything and all he is interested in is himself again. I agree to write a letter so he is no longer linked to my address and so I can keep trying to move on. It hurts but I know I am doing the right thing as there is never any way I will allow him to return to my home.

    He gets my letter and tells me his mum has bought him new trainers, paid 450 pounds for car insurance and he also tells me he has a plan for his work not to find out he blew the 6000 car loan so he won’t lose his job. He advises he is telling his colleagues he has an illness but has not told them he is a cg. I don’t believe he is ill. he has an addiction.he made choices. nobody made him go into the bookies. Chrones disease is an illness, epilepsy is an illness, you don’t choose to become unwell with this . CG – an addiction.

    Whilst he talks about him and his plans I attempt to tell him that I had to meet our 7 year old daughters head teacher today as our wee girl needs support. she is wetting her bed and pants and is very clingy to me. Also not sleeping as well since he was aggressive and I put him out my house. He hardly listens. He tells me he feels guilty yet can’t accept the reality of what is going on. He also now blames his gambling on a car crash he had in March last year and said if it wasn’t for the car crash he wouldn’t have gambled again. Oh he is justifying to himself what he believes to be the cause and it is makes me angry because the cause is himself, his behaviour, his choices, his actions. I have been in a car crash before and as horrific as it was ( I was lucky not to have died) I did not choose to deal with this negatively by drinking, gambling or taking drugs. Using the car crash is just an excuse.

    I think I need to have no contact with my ex now, I go from being hurt to angry to frustrated and to having horrible thoughts about him that I never knew I could have. And I am a caring and loving person but also one that is being hurt by him.

    Its just so hard all of this. And so unfair that he is going to keep his job, with no consequences for his actions, get a new car whilst I still have the debt and not one payment been made on my visa for the car we had to buy when he crashed my car. He is due compensation of 10,000 that his mum is going to manage and I have 7 and a half thousand debt because of him, 3 kids and just one wage. How is that right?
    I apologise if you think I am feeling sorry for myself. Im not. I am just trying to come to terms with how wrong this feels and how he can still continue to carry on without a tear and behave as though he is the victim in all of it…. he has no family, no kids, no house aaargh HE CAUSED IT.

    Strength to cope with this, I definitely need more of and a determination to feel stronger than his addiction (something velvet said which I found helpful).
    I hope you understand my feelings and I am lucky to have wonderful friends around me but they don’t always get it and I know they feel helpless as they dont know what to say to me. I dont know either but I do have to keep caring for me and my kids. I just want to be me again. Wish I could get there sooner , it really really hurts.


    Dear Jenny
    You are in the School of Hard Knocks where everything hurts and the only way to graduate with flying colours is to care for yourself and your children first.
    Your ex has a selfish addiction, it takes everything and gives nothing back to those who love the CG and ultimately to the CG as well. It might look as though he is doing alright and living well while you struggle but the reality is that your ex is living a lie and those who are enabling him will feel the terrible backlash of his addiction given time. They will have to deal with it one day but in the meantime they are not your problem and on this forum it is ‘you’ that matters.
    Don’t concern yourself that you have horrible thought about your ex – I don’t think it is possible they are worse than the thoughts that I had. You will heal and you will realise that this addiction makes us think things that we would never have believed possible – it doesn’t mean we turn into nasty minded people.
    I suspect your ex’s addiction has recognised that it has lost its grip on you and the anger you are witnessing is its final sabre-rattling to unnerve and blame you. Don’t worry that your 10 years together feel like they were based on a lie; with all the anger flying around it is impossible to think straight – I believe your answer will eventually lie in your own words ‘the husband I had, when he wasn’t gambling, would never have put me and my kids at risk.’
    I wouldn’t be surprised if you were feeling sorry for yourself – a little self pity doesn’t do any harm, it is only when we wallow too long that we endanger our recovery. However, you are not wallowing; you are doing well, even if you don’t feel it.
    I hope you will pop in to a group one Tuesday; I am really pleased that you have first-rate friends but I appreciate that only those who have lived with this addiction can fully appreciate how it feels.
    It does take time to get strong, after all a lot of damage has been done but I have every faith that you will make it. I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t say that there will be more ups and far too many downs before you heal – the road you are walking is one of the toughest but it does come to an end.
    Keeping a journal may help you – it is good to look back and see what you have achieved and what you have overcome.
    I can’t help but see the injustice of your ex receiving £1000 and you being in debt because of his actions. I admit I don’t know the legal answer but maybe the CSA would be interested, how about approaching the CAB – it seems the gloves have come off and you have nothing to lose by doing a bit of shouting. His parents possibly feel they have a right to it, to offset some of their son’s debts but his children must have priority I would have thought.
    Speak soon


    Velvet always says it so well! Life is a mix of fair and unfair and you are unfortunately in a run of unfair right now. But that will change. As Velvet says, it may look like your husband (and his parents) are doing well, better than you, right now, but they really are not at all, and in the future they will be less so unless your husband seriously changes. And no one can hold their breathe for that, least of all you ,-) It must be incredibly hard right now and you must feel so very sad and so angry too, but this will pass. It is all so understandable right now and you just need to try to lean into your feelings withouth analysing them (I wish I could take my own advice!) It is good to let out the anger, it comes from all the injustice you feel, and the pressure of being left to be responsible for so much, but it will pass as you take control of your life one day at a time. Love yourself, you really have to love yourself. You will see this through, with your kids. I am so sorry your daughter is struggling. I hope you can do some nice things together that she can have fun with. I was looking after my boyfriend´s 7 year-old daughter many years ago who started wetting the bed (and soiling her underwear) and it passed, but it felt difficult at the time. I guess the theme of this forum is self-care, it takes time. You can recover, you don´t have the addiction. Focus on you and your children. xx

    jenny t

    Thank you for your comments. Velvet , you do say it so well and all the responses I am receiving really do help.

    Unfortunately, I am not entitled to any of my ex husbands compensation money. He will receive £10,000 in the next few weeks and despite my £7,500 debt which was to buy a new car (after he crashed my one) because he will receive this as a personal injury claim, I am not entitled to it.
    I could take him to court but as I work full time I am not entitled to any legal help so my legal fees would be high. I sigh as it often feels like one step forward and ten steps back as I know what he will spend the compensation money on.
    I also contacted the child support agency again as I asked if I could use a collect and pay service which means the csa access funds from my ex and then pay them into my bank account. I have now been told today that they have spoken to my ex for 40 minutes and he does not want this to happen. The CSA then advised me to provide my ex with my bank account details and he will put money into my account on a monthly basis. Now I find my voice as I am just about losing the will as I inform the lady that my ex is a compulsive gambler and she wants me to give him my bank details, account number and sort code. Eh I don’t think so. All this energy and doing my best not to cry on the phone as the CSA advised that because my case is a new case, they have to allow my ex to pay first. I advise he is not likely to do this, He is a CG. I would like them to take money from his wages but nope, this is not happening and my ex has assured the CSA he will give me money for our daughter.
    I’m upset by this. I have spent the morning setting up a new bank account with no funds in it in the tiny bit of hope that he will pay but his first payment is not due until November. All responsibility left with me again. He continues to stay in his lovely hotel and still lies to people . Don’t know which emotion is best for me right now, anger or the tears?
    At least though I have made 2 difficult phone calls and have more information of what my rights are (not much right and lots of responsibility) but at least I know and I managed the phone calls without tears.
    I just do what I can to get through the day. I walk a lot with my kids and my wee dog. I try to smile, even if I am forcing it and I make sure my kids have a normal routine with lots of hugs, reassurance and love from me. Thats all I can manage right now and I guess I try to focus on the positives as I can go to my bed without worrying about where my purse is. Oh even as I write that, its awful. So many people would be shocked by that , that you can be married and have to sleep with your purse. I guess that was my last few months of living with an addict. Fear, worry, stress and tears. I don’t have the fear now but I do still worry and the stress and tears are there but that will get better as I keep talking and using the supports I have to make things easier. It will be a while before it is better but I find the support here of the most help. The understanding people have of my situation is helpful.
    So, a tough morning and more tears but I have to get stronger. My kids need me and I will try to focus on us, not my ex. It just gets so frustrating though and despite it all, I miss my ex, not the gambling one, the loving one and for that I will grieve. It still just really hurts.


    Hi jenny

    I too am the ex partner of a CG. I have read your posts and wanted to say I can relate to everything you say. You write so well and clearly and I too have felt such anger rage confusion desolation over the injustice of a gambling addiction. It’s absolutely exhausting!.

    The thing with a tough day is that it does come to an end. Days will come and go but as you have already been so strong and left the addiction days will become less dramatic with time. I too used to hide my purse in my house. If my ex visits our daughter in my house I always hide my bag. He is still gambling but behaving better.

    This site is so good because f&f completely understand. I have not told anyone else I hide my purse. I have not told anyone else that I spent time questioning my ex in case he left our 4 year old outside the bookies on her own. ! I found that on this site i was free to be honest about these things. The awful realities of addiction. As you say others would be shocked.!!

    As for rage I still could not write down the things I planned to do to my ex to make him suffer given the opportunity. I could not write them down because they are too awful to express. I don’t think these (in the main!) now but I realise but it has taken months to get there. This is nothing to do with my ex but I eventually stopped wanting to be dragged down by the addiction. I no longer wanted to cope. I wanted to live.

    You have had a very tough time. You are a good person who is trying to care for your children. My ex lives with his mother who supports and enables him all the time. My ex and his mom will continue to live with the same dramas and be stuck. Just as your ex and his parents will face one drama after another whilst he gamblers. Breathe a sigh of relief that you and your children are out of it.

    I am thinking of you and your family. Your 7 year old will be looking to you and she will see a woman with great strength of character. How lucky she is.

    All the best



    Hi Jenny,
    I would have also had a good cry after those phone calls, and then tried to pick myself up again and look for the strength to keep moving forward. It sounds as if they have no experience of cg ex-spouses and no processes set up for them. More work for the cg advocacy community to get involved in in the future! You can at least know that you tried and did your best on that one. Let´s hope other options, real ones, present themselves in the coming weeks and months.

    I also was hiding my purse and all my valuable items that could be be easily lifted and used as collateral/pawned and often it still didn´t work. And when I go back to Cuba, I will be trying to figure out how to safeguard things again. It is incredibly challenging and exhausting, and really such a relief when you are in a situation where you no longer have to do it. Blessings to count… 🙂

    It sounds like you are, despite it all being so hard right now, doing such a wonderful job of being there for your children and showing them that you are the person they can truly rely on and who bathes them in love and care. Although you are struggling so much, this must make you feel good. And the walks sound good (one of my therapies too).

    I can also relate to the anger, and the feelings of desolation (a good word to describe how I have felt quite often). It does all feel so unjust. While I try myself not to feel I am a victim, I do sometimes think…hey, wow, Life, I really didn´t see that one coming, you really did throw me a curveball there and you are definitely testing me now. I hope you are going to send me something nice after all this, and that I will appreciate it…well, sometimes I perhaps sneak in a thought like the last one.

    Although you are laden down by the debt now, perhaps in the future, Life will shower you with abundance. We never know. For now, you have your health, the love shared with your children, and you have started walking along the path to Freedom. The sweetest victories from the hardest thought battles, or something like that…
    A big cyber hug.


    I just read this in my inbox before heading to bed and it made me smile and I wondered if it would be useful to share, here on your thread, Jenny, but also for M too.

    It is all about the importance of self care. It might sound a little fluffy, but I like the words.

    “If you believe that you are a child of the universe, or a product of Love, and/or a global citizen, then it’s common sense that you care well for yourself. In fact, you’re honour bound to love yourself… Self care is taking the time to recover….It’s leaving. It’s investing. It’s asking for more. It’s being protective and tender and limitlessly compassionate with yourself.”


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