Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family Married to a CG, looking for advice

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    Well, I guess I will introduce myself: I have been married to a CG for over 20 years. We married very young and we now have two wonderful boys, aged 7 and 9, who hate it when we argue and get scared and start crying real loud begging us not to split. It breaks my heart.

    Gambling is something that is totally alien to me, I just don’t understand it. It feels morally wrong, it has no role in life, I really don’t see the enjoyment of it. I did go to Reno with my spouse a couple of times years ago, I like to make others happy, and I did try gambling: no enjoyment whatsoever and I even won. To me the money won gambling feels stolen, feels wrong.

    Well, I never really thought much of my spouse’s gambling, since I never really knew that gambling can become an obsession, plus we were very poor when we got married, and I guess that not having much money to begin with means not having much money to lose…

    It was gradual… The first time that it hit hard was in 2000… We had almost 100K in debt and we had to declare bankruptcy…

    Of course I was promised that it would never happen ever again and I believed it…

    It did happen again, though, but just a few thousand dollars a year, not much, we still did not have much money in the bank so the losses were not bad…

    But then in 2010 after the birth of our second child it hit real bad again: 50K vaporized from the bank account, 6 months behind with mortgage payments, 20 K in debt… I was floored… I did not know what to do… Anger and tears filled up my days… All I could think about was having to leave the house with two little boys who never stop moving, and moving into a small two bedroom apartment…

    I went to my in-laws and told them that either they paid at least the 20 K in debt and the 10K for the mortgage, right away, on the spot, or I would leave. My mother in law of course blamed me claiming I was a hard person to live with and that they “would not pay any more gambling bets”… I left… My Father in Law, who is a loving and lovable person came after me in the drive-way and coughed it up, of course with reassurance that I would help with therapy, keep an eye on the finances, blah, blah, blah…

    I found out right then that they had signed checks before for 5-10K because of the most varied reasons “the kids need a new playground”, “The preschool needs a new gym”, etc… I could go on, but I am sure everybody here knows these stories all too well: that money like all the rest was not for the claimed purposes but to feed an addiction.

    Well I drove home with my check and we gave it another try…

    My problem, and I know it is my fault, is that when I am in love with someone, I believe them with my life and even if they lie to me, if they tell me they won’t do it again, I will believe them over and over again, no matter how many times I get lied to. I will be suspicious, but I will want to believe… I know I am stupid… That is a known fact that has been tested by research.

    Another problem is that I hate having to give out just one card, load just enough money on it every week, I hate controlling others’ activities and I cannot stand it when others because of that are obviously miserable and always in a grouchy mood. I last a couple of months and then I give in with the promise of no more lies.

    Then again, I should know better, my spouse even forged my signature to get gambling money out of the bank…

    Another problem of mine, which makes me a bad candidate to be married to a CG, is that I worry a lot, I worry about my children getting hurt, I worry about money, I worry about ending up with nothing and having to move in with my in-law’s… I am a worrywart.

    I really worry about money the most, though: I was poor when I was young, like, really poor, at times homeless, and it is horrible, I don’t want to go there again… I am past 40 now, I am too old for that, especially with two young children.

    Anyway, I work too jobs, now, almost 70 hours a week, and we are above water, but I am always tired and the gambling has started again, the money in the bank is getting less and less and I have now sole control of the finances again… Let’s see how long I can hold it out…

    My questions to others here: is there a cure? Any success stories? My therapist has told me to stop forgiving and believing and just leave. I cannot do that, children need both parents, plus I am a Christian and stopping forgiving is not an option especially someone I love dearly and that I know does not gamble and lie on purpose, it is indeed disease. “For better or for worse, in sickness and in health…”

    Please, help,



    Hello Andi

    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!

    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 Andi,
    I too was married to a CG for over 20 years, I had a catholic upbringing and gambling was and is completely alien to me. I didn’t come from a wealthy family and security was important to me.
    I’m a worrier and fretted too. I would spend hours churning things over but not acting. Somewhere along the line I lost confidence in my own judgements. It may have been the lies or the false promises. It may have been having to face up to my own weaknesses and human failings. I don’t know but I became unable to make fairly simple decisions.
    I had 4 children with my CG and the situation was getting worse and worse as each child was born. Gambling addiction generally does escalate and that was certainly my experience.
    I wanted to believe the lies in order to make my marriage work and provide stability as I saw it then for my children….the alternative just seemed too awful to contemplate.
    I didn’t want the sort of relationship where I had to control my husbands every move although I did have a few unsuccessful attempts at financial control. He would circumvent them and I would lose respect for him by feeling I had to control him.
    What really caught my eye was the 20k you asked your in laws for. My husband asked his parents for the exact same amount and despite me telling them not to lend him it they did. They were afraid of the public shame or risk of their son going to prison for non payment of taxes. That loan in some ways marked the beginning of the end for us. It caused huge family tensions and even some violence.
    It probably delayed him hitting rock bottom which in retrospect was not a good thing. It enabled him to carry on with his addiction within weeks of getting that loan.
    I don’t want to be the voice of gloom here but I can only talk from my experience and hope that it will help you clarify your own thoughts and feelings. It does also help me to write as I am still working on my own recovery too.
    You asked about success stories. Well how do you measure success?
    There are CGs living in control of their addiction. If I had medals to give they would get the gold ones. They are outnumbered by those who still struggle with it. I have asked the question here and nobody knew anybody who had recovered from a significant addiction without some form of help e.g GA/residential help etc.
    There are success stories for friends and family members. Some have supported their partner through a recovery programme and some have partners who still gamble but they themselves have embarked on their own recovery and protection. I fall in the latter group.
    I rethought everything I previously believed. Yes, ideally children need 2 parents and ideally marriage is for better or worse and forgiveness is always an option. But really, where do all these doctrines come from?
    I don’t want to start a huge religious debate but if there is a God or higher being I hope she is looking down at me and understanding that no one glove fits all – for me and in my individual circumstances, my children (admittedly grown up ish )are happier that I have taken control of a bad situation and led them and myself to safety and taken steps to divorce their CG father. Once I took the lead there was a collective sigh of relief from them and pretty much everyone else who knew my situation.
    I feel able now to answer for my actions to anyone…including God!
    Forgiveness is an option I am working on. I forgive myself for compromising myself for far too long.
    I don’t know if anything I have said helps but it still helps me to write.



    Thanks for the long and insightful message. I must say that I was amazed by how close to mine your feelings seem to be, I could have written many of the passages myself, to tell you the truth.

    One of the parts that really hit home, well, aside from the obvious ones, like being a worrier and a fretter, and wanting to keep the children and the family together, and the believing/wanting to believe the lies, is the one about not wanting to control anyone’s moves and totally losing respect when little rules are circumvented the way they are by little children.

    It is just not my personality, I just can’t and won’t control others, I don’t have the strength, the determination in me to do that. Even at work where I put on my work mask, I am just not the manager type, I am a rather successful doer and I can even lead and mentor at times, but I lack the controlling part to allow me to be a good manager, that is why I would not want that in my work.

    It is a big problem because family and the few friends who know, do kind of blame me, I mean not directly, of course. I should be strong enough to completely take control and administer money, check receipts on a regular basis, keep tabs on everything. Sound easy enough? Who could not, would not want to do that? Well, I cannot, it is indeed a flaw in my character. I wonder if someone here has managed to successfully do that…

    We have tried everything, basically, including different types of therapy, after a couple of times, I hear the same old phrases “It is stupid, it is boring, it is a waste of money, I can do it now, I got this now, you know, it is up to me, I just have to do it”…

    Plus, somehow, I always seem to be the pain in the neck in the eyes of others, I am difficult, I am finicky, and guess what, I married an angel, a very nice, likable person, that everyone, and I mean everyone, likes. My own mother kind of blames me and wonders whether I am the cause of it all… Does anybody have a similar situation, meaning being married to that perfect man, or woman?

    Sorry to hear about the violence part, Jilly, and I am sure it was hard for you to even mention it, but if it is any consolation I kind of had a little bit of that, too, nothing extreme, but still some.

    Was your marriage long gone by the time you decided to file for divorce? Mine has been dead for years, and I mean dead, really dead, we have no contact we don’t even sleep in the same room, let alone the same bed.

    Gosh, I have written a lot as usual… Well, how are you doing now, how are things between you and your ex? How are the grownupish children? It must have been hard on them…

    Take care and thanks for sharing,


    Hi Andi,
    I just had to reply straight away to your response as I so recognised the not a manager type reference. That is so me. I can ‘do’ and certainly mentor and team build etc but I really balk at the nitty gritty micro management style. It just isn’t my way. If I had to treat someone that way I would think it was a mistake to have employed them!
    You married an angel…well I married God! I am not exaggerating, in our community my CG was very revered. Even his best friend said to me that whenever he tells anybody about him…and it is pretty bad stuff he always ends up saying ‘but if you met him you would really like him’.
    Until recently when I talked about him I would always end up saying ‘but he’s a really good person’. I don’t say that now but a bit of me still thinks it if I’m honest. It’s still a stumbling block for me.
    He did a lot of good for people in his field of work and he is modest and unassuming.
    My parents loved my CG and if he hadn’t had the very obvious gambling issue I think they probably would think the issues were mine. They are of the generation that was always impressed by ‘professionals’ and I guess know my faults better than most.
    My CG didn’t try any sort of therapy/treatment because he also would say ‘its up to me’ and ‘nobody can help me, I have to do it’. I don’t think he wanted to stop really.
    The violence was not to me initially it was by another family member on my ill father in law. It was the lowest point in the whole horrible saga and a major turning point as it was then that I looked for help. It is a terribly painful memory as I loved my f in l dearly. He has now died.
    I couldn’t describe my marriage as dead although I can say I stopped loving. The respect thing was a big issue for me. I need to respect the man I love. My husband does not want the divorce and still loves me or so he says.
    It has been very hard on the children who have known about the gambling problem for a long time. They got very mixed messages. I struggled to work things out so I can only imagine the confusion for them. I felt very strongly I should try to stay together and keep the show on the road. I did nearly leave round about the time of the 20k loan but it was my in laws who begged me to stay until the youngest had left school for the children’s sake.
    There were other factors that played a part. We ran a family business at that time too. I did stay but subconsciously I was planning an exit strategy.
    Then as I mentioned elsewhere, a few things all happened at the same time and I saw my chance and as Velvet said…I eventually kicked a creaking door wide open.
    None of this happened overnight. I was trying to find if my original story was on here but I don’t think it is. I did find some posts going back to 2010 though!
    The children’s reaction was total support. They are more eager for me to get things finalised and secure the roof over their heads than I am now. I can’t remember what it was exactly that somebody said but it was along the lines of better to be with one parent and happy than with two but with that undercurrent of tension. They still have 2 parents who love them.
    Yes my marriage was long…29 years.
    I don’t think anybody has questioned my decision except me.
    We are amicable. That’s the word the courts like to use I think. My CG is still on the descent down to rock bottom. He talks about suicide sometimes. I still want to help but only from a place of safety. He is still gambling.
    The final bit of the divorce is just going through now and I think that has made me more reflective again and I have needed to hold a few supporting hands again. It still is the hardest thing I have ever done. It’s sad, its scary, it’s emotional but I feel better than I have ever felt in terms of getting back in touch with how I want to live my life.
    The bit of distance that the process has created has enabled me to see things more clearly. I can be astounded at what I tolerated but any partner of a CG will understand how that happens even though many of my friends have trouble getting their heads round that.
    My relationship with my CG does not depend on me being married to him.
    I have written more than I intended. It was the identifying with the inability to check every receipt that triggered my thoughts. I’m glad in some ways I am not that sort of person and I guess he would have found a way round it anyway.
    Good luck with your struggle.


    Hi Jilly,

    Now I am the one who has to answer right away because something really struck a chord: “If I had to treat someone that way I would think it was a mistake to have employed them!” That is exactly the way I feel! And I apply the same concept to marriage: if I cannot trust my partner with business decisions, I should not be business partners with him, and if I cannot trust my partner with my life, I should not be married to him. Period.

    I am not the type who wants to, or can, check stories, and stuff, go through emails, etc. if I were to be cheated on I know for a fact that I would be the last one to know.

    I know I should blame myself for being so naïve, and I do, I really do, constantly, but then again, I also don’t because that is not how love and marriage should be, if you know what I mean. I know that what I just said may sound confusing, but it makes perfect sense to me.

    Well, I am glad I am not the only one who apparently married a saint, but you outclassed me by marrying the Lord and Savior himself!!! I can so totally relate, my therapist always pointed out how I would always end my ramblings with “well, I did marry a very decent human being, not a bad person, at all, very good parent, worker, etc. I mean, outside this one area, I am actually the difficult one, I am the one who likes to sit at a certain table in a restaurant, or will ask the waitress to clean the table if I see a little speck of dirt somewhere. I am the one who spends more than an hour in the bathroom between showering and stuff, I am the one who needs to clean the house and have it ‘just so’, etc…”

    See, I have my “things”, cleanliness being one of these, but a) that is how I cope with stress, b) as annoying as my “things” might be, they don’t cost us thousands and thousands of dollars and they won’t land us on a street!!!

    See, we discuss about all this almost daily, and I am reminded almost daily that I have my quirks, too, “therefore we are even”, but I beg to differ!!! One thing is an annoying habit and another is a horrible compulsion that gets people broke!

    Plus, I do not lie about finding dirty glasses at a restaurant gross and asking for a new glass and drink, I don’t lie about spending 40 minutes cleaning the kitchen where someone else could probably get the job done in 15 minutes, of course not with the same level of hygiene. I don’t lie about flushing the toilet with my foot! See what I mean?

    Well, I honestly think, and I am ashamed to admit it, that you were “lucky” to have been cheated on because, just like you, I don’t think I would ever have the strength and determination to leave, I know I wouldn’t, and therefore there is part of me that says, real softly in my other ear, if that could also happen to me, being cheated on, that is, adultery is indeed grounds for divorce even in the Book… I know, horrible thought…

    Well, I have more but I need to get back to work, I have a lot to do, then I still have to do the laundry for the whole week, I need to iron, get everything ready for tomorrow, and, and, and…

    Thanks for sharing and comforting me a bit, in a way,


    ‘Lord and saviour’ – that has made me laugh so much.
    Nothing wrong with a little OCD. I wish one of us had a touch more of that as then we would have a lovely shiny clean bathroom etc.
    Exterior order is even more important when there is all this inner chaos and I can imagine that you are driven to get things under more control when stressed by the uncontrollable.
    Everybody has faults but I divide them into acceptable normal ones and the deal breakers. The scales do not balance between the two.
    Gambling is an addiction from which only the gambler benefits in terms of a buzz and a thrill and yet everybody suffers the negative consequences.
    Yes, I was glad in some ways about the ‘floozy’ as that came out in the open in a rather disastrous way for my CG. He was suddenly exposed in a way that worked to my advantage. To be honest I may still have been stuck if that had not happened.
    It gave me the high moral ground which I shouldn’t have needed but I was brought up as a Catholic for gods sake (until I discovered pre-marital sex) and something of that lingers however much I try to shake it off.
    It’s ok to be honest here and admit our darker thoughts and yes I had almost hoped for this solution to set me free. That is when I was not hoping for other disasters to befall him. OK Ok I know It sounds bad but I also know I will not be the only person to have let my mind wonder over these potential solutions even though it’s somewhat shameful to admit to. I wanted it to be quick and painless!!!
    I nearly deleted the above. I am of course glad that he is alive but that just shows you how trapped and desperate we sometimes feel.
    I was a very trusting person when I got married. Sadly I am now Sherlock Holmes and would stop at nothing if I needed to get at the truth. I have searched pockets, phones, rummaged through card, opened post not addressed to me, followed him, spied etc etc. I do not like myself for it and wonder if I would ever be able to return to the trusting person I was. That is a sad thought that I may be changed forever for the worse.
    Everybody’s situation is so unique and I recognise that the floozy really helped me on my way.
    It didn’t work out if course but he remains addicted to her.
    I got the divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour which was gambling. I didn’t include the many other issues. That is between us. I just gave enough information to get technically past the threshold required. Although I am fairly open here, I didn’t want to go public with all my dirty linen and even went to a court out of this area.
    Glad to be of comfort. Yes comfort, that is what I find here too.
    Well like you I too have a load of domestic stuff to do (sadly not to your impeccable standards…..I have mental OCD but it never quite translates into the physical as I am quite lazy really). Have been on holiday so things have slid in my absence. Am away with work tonight so better get cracking.
    Speak again hopefully. You have made me smile.


    I knew you would like the word “floozy”, I like it, too. It sounds as bad as the person it describes, doesn’t it? It sounds cheap and mischievous, horrible to get it out of one’s mouth, even.

    Well, I am glad I made you smile, your posts make me smile, as well, I will take any comfort I can, at the moment, my bank account is close to zero again, and it feels horrible. I have been worrying sick and I was shivering just a few minutes ago. I guess writing will help me cope. Tears help, too, but leave me drained emotionally.

    There are other things that make my life pretty unbearable at the moment but I don’t trust myself to reveal it all here, I feel self conscious, in a way, I mean certain things I could tell via email, I guess, but on a public forum. I don’t know, maybe I am too cautious… It is indeed part of my personality.

    Well, do not feel bad about your darker thoughts, I think many have them at times, it is just human. Funny, though, how we can be thankful to a “floozy” at a certain point in our lives… 🙂

    I have got a lot of thing done today and even the laundry is done, I just need to iron after dinner. I feel good when I get stuff accomplished, no matter how trivial.

    ” I can imagine that you are driven to get things under more control when stressed by the uncontrollable.” That is very good insight into the world of OCD: what I cannot control, even worse if I cannot even predict it, will cause an amazing amount of stress with which I will try to cope by controlling what little I can control. How do you know so much about OCD? Most think it is just a fussy person being “anal” about cleanliness and order…

    See, I truly have the wrong personality to be married to a CG, I mean such behavior will bother just about anybody and everybody, but in my case it causes a pathological
    amount of stress.

    Truth to be told, I had OCD before this happened, I need to be honest and not blame everything on my beloved CG. OCD started many years ago triggered by one of the most vicious men I have ever met in my whole life. The scar he left behind will be latent for periods of time but when stressful, “uncontrollable” situations arise, OCD will come to the surface, although I have learned to control it, somewhat.

    I admire your Scotland Yard skills, although I have developed some of my own, I have to admit with a touch of shame and guilt.

    Well, off to dinner, now, I will check in later, before ironing (see I am pretty lazy myself: I procrastinate the weekly ironing to Sunday evening!!!)

    Have a nice dinner and speak soon,


    Believe it or not Andi, Love and Honesty were high on my Life List too. Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes CGs are very hurt. Some gamble to hurt others, but mainly we hurt ourselves .There is a self destruct button in my brain. When I press it I become Somebody Else. It’s impossible to explain. It’s like as if the rest of the world is switched off. Every time I gamble I enter a Bubble. A Lone Zone.I see it all around me in casinos. Lots of people staring at machines oblivious to the person sitting beside them.Mobile phones ringing and being ignored is a sure sign that there is a loved one out there calling him/her to please come home. The ringer is knocked off. How loving and honest is that?I even experienced the Fire Alarm going off. Not one person left their machine. All sitting staring, like robots. Waiting to be burned to death!
    Am I a robot? Am I Mrs Somebody Else?
    Not in real life, but in the casino I become that Other Person. I don’t want to be real. I don’t want to be seen. I cover my face so I won’t be caught on camera. I become the Invisible Woman. It suits me to be totally alone . I feel safe because I know that the gamblers on either side will have no interest in entering my zone because they are secure in their own buzz, safe in the knowledge nobody will invade their space. Except those damn phones that keep ringing out and the floor guy asking if you want a drink . Why doesn’t he stay behind the desk and stop torturing me? CGs don’t want food and drink . We are robots, remember. We feel nothing. We don’t even want money after a while. Only the buzz. The thrill. The high. The reels. The Spins. That’s all……..
    And by the way, those secret chuckles ALWAYS end in tears.
    Gambling is great when you’re on a roll and winning But being served chips tea and pizza that you know is going to cost you a grand that you don’t have ,soon takes the novelty away.
    There is a downside to this “High Life” that I doubt you will ever see in print. Writing it down would be too painful. It’s easier to speak “tongue in cheek” language. Easier to leave on the mask.
    I cannot generalize of course but inside those casinos there are lots of lost and lonely people who are dishonest with themselves and have long forgotten how to give or receive love. Sad and soul less.
    What a price to pay for a night’s fun.
    Gambling comes with a high price tag Andi and the money is the least expensive part.
    I hope my post on Jilly’s thread did not upset or offend you.
    That is never my intention when I post.


    Hi Andi
    The ‘real time’ group is on Tuesdays between 20.00 – 21.00 hours UK time.
    Look forward to ‘meeting’ you. Nothing in the group appears on the forum so it is private.


    So between 21:00 and 22:00 Central European Time, right, or am I getting confused?

    How can I participate, where do I go to join the meeting?


    Hi Tired
    To join the group click on ‘Support Groups’ and scroll down to Tuesday 20.00 -21.00 hours UK time. You will see ‘Friends and Family’. At 20.00 hours the word ‘join’ will light up. Click on that and you will part of the group – I will be there to welcome you. If you are still unsure please post again or contact our Helpline which is open today until 17.00 hours UK time.


    Sorry I missed y’all, I had to work late, but this coming tuesday I’ll be there, come heck or high water!!!



    Hi andi,
    I was away with work for a few days and my work laptop has security settings that won’t let me get on this site. I wish the technology would understand that the focus is on ‘therapy’ not ‘gambling’ 🙂
    You asked me how I knew about OCD. I had a very close school friend who had it although I didn’t pick up on it so much when we were young and it wasn’t as bad as it got after she had her son. It was linked to hygiene etc. she was also anorexic for a time. Her father was an alcoholic gambler which isn’t a good combination. She never told us that until much later in life, as is so often the way he was a respected member of the community and she felt she had to protect him. She has got better later in life and the OCD doesn’t have the same grip on her now. It really did restrict her life at times.
    I struggled writing some stuff here at first. I seem to be a lot more relaxed about it now but can still have my moments of feeling I have exposed too much. The support group session is a very good place for saying things more privately that may be too difficult to write here. There is a high level of understanding, support and trust there.
    I know the worried sick feeling. I still have the legacy of an anxiety thing…..which is why I am awake now writing this at 5am! I often wake with a feeling of dread/fear that it takes me a while to get under control. The anxiety almost feels like a physical pain in my chest. I long to feel at peace with the world and not fearful but maybe it is a bit of a habit now. I think about trying to get some help with it but am hoping that as circumstances change it may fade.
    Well even if we have OCD, anxiety, quirks of personality or any other human failing it still does not mean that we have to allow a gambling addiction to control our lives. It is that same distorted way of thinking that enables things like domestic violence. Women – and it generally is women feel on some level they don’t deserve better treatment. But that’s a whole other area I guess.
    I think I saw Velvet suggest on Eva’s site that she should do something nice for herself each day. I think that is great advice. It is treating ourselves well and also keeping something of ourselves separate from the CG. Maintaining our own identity is very important.
    When I get to work I often treat myself to a delicious warm scone and coffee from the canteen and when it seems a bit extravagant I tell myself I’m worth it. It sets my day up nicely.
    Ha I have just re read that….a scone extravagant!!! I’m sure you understand the thinking behind that…the compensating for their financial recklessness by restricting your own expenditure.

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