Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family New girlfriend – and she’s a gambler

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    Hello Friends. I met a 52 year old lady “Nguyen” four months ago. She’s gorgeous, fit, sexy, a wonderful cook, we get along magnificently, and we just spent two months on vacation together (much of it in her native Vietnam, where she escaped by boat in 1987 then resettled in Canada). Nguyen married young and had kids. During her marriage a new casino opened up and she learned how to play blackjack. That would have been in the 1990s. She and her husband became gamblers and she played “heavy”, being the owner of a business that was making a lot of cash. Her marriage ended and she hooked up with “Frank” a casino friend and he made great money in aerospace but gambled every bit of it. Frank had a heart attack and recovered (though today he’s destitute and living in a car in Florida, a sad life to say the least). In the meantime Nguyen hooked up with “Darren”. Darren was a gambling addict in the purest form. I’ve heard stories about him that make my hair stand on end. He’d sell anything to get money to gamble. Every last penny he’d lose. He’d even sell construction services then gamble away down payments customers made for materials. I can’t think of a worse person to be around my kids than this Darren, but my girlfriend kept him around for a few years before they split. After Darren, along came “Robert” who didn’t gamble at all, and from what I can tell he was a nice guy. Robert took her in along with two teenage kids. Nguyen says she never loved him from the start, but stayed there for six years. He took her hiking, kayak, concerts, Vegas, etc. She says they’d fight all the time. During the last three years of being with Robert, she says they didn’t sleep together, never had a good sex life either. Nguyen spent the last three years with Robert gambling away $100,000 that she had from the sale of a home, and ALL the money she earned at a nail salon (actually makes good money there). I am guessing here, but from what I can surmise Nguyen needed to go to the casino so she’d manufacture arguments with Robert which allowed her to leave home and spend all evening at the blackjack table. I could be wrong. Nguyen moved out of Robert’s place and into a shared house with a roommate, about a year ago, and she’s still there. She dated awhile before meeting me but says she’s super picky and all the guys she’d met didn’t match. As soon as we met, Nguyen wanted to move quickly, and swore that I was the perfect match. We do have a very special relationship, as her physical beauty is incomparable and, after all, we traveled like a perfectly happy married couple 24 hours a day for 8 weeks. She’s adventurous and loves to travel just like me. We live about 5 hours apart by car. When we’re together she never turns down a chance to go to casino. I have to admit, at the start I was enamored to be with a professional card player. She’s very good but never walks away with much winning. I can see in her someone who can’t control her gambling. When she’s with me it’s always $200 and when that gets lost we leave. Otherwise she can win $300 or $400 and I tell her let’s get the heck out of there and call it a victory. I don’t like sitting around a card table staring & wondering what the next card will be. Total waste of time and not improving my life one bit. When we were on vacation, there were no casinos so we did not play at all. She seems fine to live a life without gambling, but where I live there is always a casino nearby and I’m afraid that this woman will ultimately cause financial ruin. I’ve worked hard all my life and got lucky here and there and now own a few properties and would be considered well-off financially. Based on your experience, will Nguyen lead me down a road I don’t want to go? Isn’t it interesting that she’s already seen gambling destroy lives, including her own financial devastation, but she still walks through casino doors beaming with excitement? Any feedback is highly appreciated.


    …Is what I would be saying , except this site doesn’t tell people what decisions to make. We do that ourselves…
    From your description of the lovely Nguyen, she is a raving CG (Compulsive gambler!) Just like me. Unfortunately I don’t have her physical attributes but I sure could match her manipulative skills any day and I would have a great eye for the guys who could enable me when I wanted to gamble.
    We are all grown adults here and as you know we are told “love is blind” . I disagree with that statement. I actually think “love is clear sighted” . Addiction is what blinds us. I do know that. Look at yourself man. You might be as addicted to Nguyen as she is to the card tables.
    That’s my tuppence worth. No judgement intended.
    It is NO surprise at all that your lovely lady will breeze through casino doors regardless of previous experiences. That’s what CGs do. The human mind has a mechanism that wipes bad memories swiftly away, to allow for the next fix.
    It’s up to you whether you want to be cleaned out or not . CGs are experts in that field and when we finish with one enabler, we move on to the next.
    My advice (even though you only asked for feedback) would be to keep your cash ‘n cards under lock ‘n key.
    Just sayin’!
    Look after YOU.
    Keep posting!


    Thanks, I really enjoyed reading your response. She is probably a raving CG. I often wondered why she could go BACK to the place with such enthusiasm after being wrecked financially in the same venue. You must be right about the mind being able to erase bad memories. She’s told me about the $1000 limit on her debit card, the times she left feeling stupid after losing it all, only to go back again and again. It’s the stories I’ve heard about her ex, Darren, that really cause worry because it proves there is zero limit to the lows one can go in order to support the habit. On par with a meth addict. And her ex Frank was apparently in charge of designing complicated engine parts, got paid well into six figures for years, but routinely lost $10,000 a night and now lives in a car, ailing health and zero funds after pawning his last few possessions.

    She’s told me many times that if we are together she wants all of the money under my name. I suppose that is one way for her to limit the damage, which apparently she knows is beyond her control.

    Nguyen is a very hard worker and has owned several very profitable enterprises, and today has zero to show for it. Her looks are on the level of being a movie star, one wonders how Mother Nature could bestow on one person perfect eyes, nose, lips, teeth, ears, arms, breasts, legs, the whole package. At 5’4″ and 110 lbs, and as I write this she’s in the gym exercising. She doesn’t like restaurants because a quick trip to the supermarket and 30 minutes in the kitchen she can whip together a meal that would stun the tastebuds of anyone. In bed, she lives up to every expectation.

    I plan to keep traveling with her. On the road she’s the most wonderful companion in every respect, and keeps an wise eye on finances.

    One thing I notice is that when she loses at the card table she’s always blaming it on someone. “the other guy at the table didn’t know how to play! he held at 13 when the dealer showed a queen, that was his 6 that gave the dealer a 20 to beat my 19”. It’s always someone else’s fault due to some convoluted conspiracy otherwise she’d have walked out a winner.




    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 Gvralls
    You posted for advice and you got a terrific reply from Vera who is a self-confessed CG and who gave you a more honest opinion about the pitfalls of Nguyen’s addiction than you will receive from anybody else.
    You now write that you are planning on keeping on travelling with her and I am at a loss to understand why having been so clearly advised of the dangers.
    It’s an old adage but ‘beauty is only skin deep’ and in my world that means that it has no relation to goodness being found underneath. As a person who does not have the addiction to gamble I would not be tempted to put my life at risk just because someone had the look of a god and could cook manna from heaven. The fact that Nguyen works hard is not uncommon with this addiction as she needs money to gamble and feed her first love.
    I hope you will keep posting but please look after yourself and ensure that your finances are well protected as your investments are almost certainly very attractive to a CG.
    I wish you well


    It’s a relatively new relationship but I don’t see it going long term given the gambling. I suppose I could end it right now, tell her that I can’t move forward with a gambler, but at this stage of my life I want to travel and enjoy some of the money I saved up. I can’t think of a better person to go with. She’s not tied down to work, a wonderful companion, and traveling alone is no fun at all. I’m planning to take her to Japan for a few weeks and hike Mt Fuji, a trip I’ve always dreamed of. Then if all goes as I hope it does, additional travel to other countries in SE Asia through summer and fall.

    She could be scheming to manipulate me in order to support her gambling addiction, but it doesn’t seem that way because on overseas travel we aren’t visiting casinos. She could be along with me to get a free ride and see the world, but “so what”. It doesn’t cost much extra for two, given we share the hotel etc.

    Perhaps I’m the one manipulating the entire relationship, but I think it works for both of us.

    One question: given her long history of losing money in casinos, and choosing two rampant gambling addicts to live with in former relationships, as well as the fact that she’s dragging me along into casinos now — is there any chance (no pun intended) that she can settle down with me and not lose thousands of dollars in a casino again? According to her, there was a two year period, not long ago, when she didn’t go to casino. She also says that casinos are simply fun entertainment and if I am with her she’ll swear to keep her losses at $200. Funny that because a few weeks ago she’d lost $100 and I said let’s go. She said just $100 more “I can win it back”. I said ok then watched her put $200 on the table (which she lost).

    She has a type of “honesty oath” with me, such that she won’t lie if I ask her a question or make a statement. Whenever I’ve mentioned that her gambling is a big concern to me, rather than refute it she just seems to agree. As if she knows she can’t control it.

    When I was married for 20 years, my wife always contributed to the finances. I appreciated that, though my wife gained weight, didn’t take care of herself or the house, and never wanted to leave the house. I get the impression that Nguyen, who takes really good care of herself and keeps a clean home, loves adventure, and would work and gamble away her own paycheck, never buying anything for our shared expenses. Perhaps I can find someone who fits every desire. In the meantime I’m content to be with Nguyen despite this raging compulsion to gamble.


    There is “give and take” in every relationship, Gvralls. However, CGs tend to take more than we give (in monetary terms). We will give all that is required on other levels to keep our habit fed.(That attitude also pertains to many, besides CGs, of course but I will limit my comments to CGs, for now)
    If I have read you posts correctly, you give. She takes!
    That can lead to all sorts of problems further along in the relationship as I’m sure you well know.
    One thing crossed my mind when you said your GF never visits casinos when you are travelling. That is not at all unusual for a CG. Personally, I only gambled in “comfort zones” and at times when I knew I would have unlimited time without being asked “can we leave now”.
    The question I would ask “Is she gambling on line during those trips?” Very possible these days with modern technology. “Dry” gambling is another way a CG gets a “fix”.
    Also, if she admits to having a gambling problem, has she ever considered looking for help? If not, why not?
    If I hadn’t had enablers in my life, I would have stopped gambling years ago. People who thought they were helping me were in fact preventing me from seeking the help I badly needed.
    Every gambler needs an enabler. Not just to finance our problem, but also to condone our actions . When you have somebody sitting beside you in a casino, it makes it look like fun, but the reality is, a CG will most likely resent the intrusion. It just serves as a cover. Most CGs want to gamble alone.
    One thing for sure, is when a CG crosses the line into compulsive gambling, there is no going back . We can never play “normally” again. Lots of CGs make the mistake that we can control our gambling. I did that for years.It is impossible.
    Another proven fact is that a CG never wins.
    That is the nature of Compulsive Gambling.
    It took me a few spins on a machine to make me realize I could get a few easy “wins”. I even knew I would most likely lose that money back, but it was only when I sat at a GA meeting , listening to hundreds of stories of lost lives and looked into the eyes of other gamblers, only to see my own reflection, that the proverbial penny dropped and the awareness hit me hard.
    Only then, did I realize that there is no point in sitting like a zombie, ever again, for up to 15 hours every day that I could arrange to have cash to fund my habit, like a dog chasing his tail …..WHY??
    because CGSs NEVER WIN!
    Is your GF in denial about the seriousness of her problem? She seems to have some control over her life still, as I did for years. I managed to work 12 hour shifts, giving it my all. Often worked 7 nights in a row and never thought of gambling but a CG gets super human energy knowing there is an incentive at the end of a long working stint. We become compulsive about other things besides gambling. At the back of my mind I knew that after a long stint of duty, my “lover” would be waiting for me with open arms. Ha! “He” was always ready to chew me up and spit me out-the story never changed.
    Compulsive gambling is a complex problem and very few CGs get to the bottom of it. I wasted years trying to find out WHY I gambled and the only answer I came up with was “Why not?”
    The facts that have been established in your case , Gvralls, is that you have been swept off your feet by this wonderful woman who has the ability to make life exciting in many ways (I hear you on the joy of having a travelling companion; it makes all the difference. Bring me. if this falls through LOL!!!)
    She also has the potential to ruin you. Never lose sight of that.
    This F and F Forum is for “victims” of gambling. Focusing on YOU is the main purpose of this thread. The only reason I’m writing here is to give some feedback and pointers . When I read your original post I felt as if I was looking at a person recklessly crossing a busy street, about to be hit by a speeding vehicle and my gut reaction was to grab him.
    You will get lots of support from F and F posters GV but from the CG aspect “it takes one to know one”!
    On a positive note , perhaps, in meeting you, your GF has found an opportunity to turn her life around.
    If you refuse to go to the casino with her, be honest and tell her about this site. Invite her to join the “other side”on GT. Go to GA or attend counselling. Read the GA Twenty Questions with her to let her know you are there to be of assistance to her recovery. That’s the best thing you can do for her. (Forget the sweet talk. CGs excel in that area!) What she needs now is tough love!
    Refuse to give her money. Ask her to share the expenses for outings and trips. In other words , refuse to enable her.
    With your support she may decide to take her gambling seriously and start a new life.
    You, cannot take one step for her. She needs to do that for herself.
    Your recovery revolves around the decisions you make , not what she does,
    Remember one thing though. When we take the “drug”, we always suffer the “hangover”!


    “On a positive note , perhaps, in meeting you, your GF has found an opportunity to turn her life around.”

    Thanks for that quote. I have a cousin with severe alcoholism and nothing could stop him. When I met Nguyen and figured out her addiction to gambling soon after, my attitude was that I couldn’t deal with it and we would be doomed for the long term because I couldn’t stop anybody else’s addiction.

    She does work really long hours to make money for gambling. The funny thing is if you’re married to a CG that just means you suffer on both ends. At one end the workaholic isn’t home spending special moments together. A the other end, all the earnings from the long hours are squandered sitting at a zombie table waiting for the next random card.

    Through our travels I never spoke to her in any type of demeaning terms. I wanted to be the one person in her life that didn’t beg her to stop gambling. I know her entire family has tried and tried and tried (so I’ve been told). That theme runs common here in this forum, as I’ve read several threads.

    There seems to be no way for CG to stop, no possible way for them to have any money saved, ever.

    She doesn’t use online gambling. Thankfully she’s someone that doesn’t look at her smart phone much at all.

    Nguyen does, however, take take take and she thinks of herself first. I noticed that early on, and I see other commenters mentioning the same thing. The CG ruins the lives of those around him/her, then hits rock bottom only to focus all conversation around their problems not what they’ve caused others to suffer. It’s a dastardly addiction.

    I’ll see her tonight and plan to mention all I’ve read here, and prepared to be a “tough love” person at this point.

    Thanks for your kind comments.


    Hi gvralls,

    Like you I am in love with a compulsive gambler and he was very honest about this from the start when I met him 17 years ago. He tried to protect me from his addiction he explained to me that he ruined people who came into contact with he was bad news. we had a brief holiday romance (10 months) during which he kept me safe although many of our activities did revolve around gambling (which I never took part in). We remained friends and some years later he turned up on my doorstep wanting to quit, I supported him with this and helped him get residential treatment. Unfortunately he couldn’t at the time fully shake the addiction so we went our separate ways once more. Roll on another 7 years and we are back together, he is in recovery and we live separately but have a great relationship.

    During all of these experiences it has only been the gambling that put a dampener on our relationship. Although it did affect his moods he has always tried to protect me from its fall out though, I believe that is because somewhere deep down he truly loved me even then (as much as a CG can). This has not been the case in all his relationships however and unfortunately the drive to gamble is number one 99% of the time and people do get taken advantage of.

    Given your partners history, the fact you have children and your obviously superior financial position coupled with the fact she shows no desire to stop I would be VERY wary of this especially as she has already ruined at least one man.

    Aside from all that you said:

    ‘Nguyen does, however, take take take and she thinks of herself first. I noticed that early on, and I see other commenters mentioning the same thing. The CG ruins the lives of those around him/her, then hits rock bottom only to focus all conversation around their problems not what they’ve caused others to suffer. It’s a dastardly addiction.’

    Ask yourself why you would want to have a relationship with a woman who thinks only of herself? Even if she agreed to quit today it would be a long road, mine was 17 years. Someone who is starting treatment will not be the fun person you describe, it is hard work, there are lots of ups and downs, there are triggers to be avoided, lies to deal with, the relationship needs to be rock solid to survive.

    I am lucky to have the man I feel in love with now ‘clean’ and emotionally in a good and giving place but there are a lot of restrictions that come with that too, protecting my money, being mindful and understanding and always keeping communication open. The relationship with a CG even in recovery has to be exceptional from both sides, they have to want to change for them, they have to be prepared to work on themselves and change and so do you.

    Personally, I would take the great holiday and the great memories you have of the experience and back away. If there is more there perhaps like with me things will change in the future but of course it is up to you.

    Lily x


    Thanks a lot Lily for your very thoughtful and kind response.

    I do need to back away. Not sure how far back, but this forum is a great resource to help me understand what im getting myself into.

    Ok I just spent two days with Nguyen. Here are some thoughts, if a bit controversial. I’ll share them anyway.

    I told Nguyen that I’d read stories online shared by loved ones of gamblers. The common thread of the CG putting gambling as their First Love. The fact that CG only care about themselves. They hurt all people around them, but don’t care. They only focus on themselves. I said Nguyen I see this behavior in you. I saw it during our travels, and I see it now. I think she agreed, it’s a good point.

    Nguyen already banned herself from all casinos n her area. They took her picture as part of a program to let people opt out.

    At her nail salon they gamble small money all the time, Among themselves at break.

    She disagrees that CG are always broke. In her community of Vietnamese, there are raging CG who own homes, and successful companies. I wonder if there is a cultural angle on this. Perhaps those of European ancestry, like myself, are particularly inclined to overstep all sensible reason when it comes to gambling, yet Asians lose control too but are better able to keep it in check.


    You said ‘She disagrees that CG are always broke. In her community of Vietnamese, there are raging CG who own homes, and successful companies. I wonder if there is a cultural angle on this’

    Have you done any research into this or is it, as I suspect, what she has told you? Gamblers are good at making themselves an exception when still being led by the addiction. Lily x


    Compulsive gambling is a cross cultural issue. Lots of people of all nationalities gamble, but if they are compulsive gamblers, regardless of nationality, I can bet a pound to a pinch of sugar that their wealthy homes and businesses won’t last too long because in the end, gambling takes EVERYTHING!
    CGs love to give the “Big Shot” impression so maybe your GF falls for their fake wealth. When I was losing my month’s salary and up to my neck in debt, I borrowed money from high interest lenders to pay debts, buy lavish Christmas/ Birthday presents, to put people off the G scent and give the impression that I was loaded. I loved flashing money around and the reality was, it was all borrowed. We tend to fool ourselves and others to make things appear normal. Pride prevents us from admitting we are broke. Underneath that facade there lies a lot of loneliness, pain and turmoil. CGs would win an Oscar for our prize performances.
    CGs also live in a Fool’s Paradise , Gvralls. Don’t allow yourself to be sucked in.
    As for putting ourselves first, I know lots of very selfish people who never gambled in their lives but they are “me, myself, I”people through and through . I have met many, many CGs, well established in recovery who are extremely unselfish and who now spend their lives making amends to the families and friends who were hurt by their gambling and helping other CGs.
    We need to make a clear distinction here between a CG in action and a CG in Recovery.
    If I were in your shoes, I would set up barriers as we discussed. Spell out the terms and conditions to your GF. Don’t expect her change over night. If you enjoy her company doing healthy/fun things together, that’s fine but you need to set clear limits e.g. going to a casino with her is like spooning sugar into a diabetic’s mouth. It’s a no go area for you. Giving her money is out. Colluding with her illusions won’t help either of you. Allowing her to talk too much about gambling is out too. She has other outlets for that. Why can’t she start a Thread here on GT?
    Look after your own assets. Keep your own friends and family close. Enjoy the friendship. Keep it simple and keep the communication open. Try not to see her as the “one and only” in your life. Sorry to say it, but she comes well flagged!
    PS. I know quite a few Asian people. Some wouldn’t dream of gambling. Ever. A few are, like me, full blown CGs. In my experience they do tend to put themselves first. I put that down to the fact that they often have 3 generations relying on them financially ” back home”. Money is their ticket to “happiness”.
    Gambling in the work place is not uncommon. Staff in most places club in to do the Lotto. I used to say “I don’t do Lotto because it’s waste of time and money” It is an easy cop out though if a CG wants to gamble; they can twist that around and pass it off as an innocent bit of fun that “everyone enjoys”.
    The bottom line , Gvralls, is that YOU need to decide what you want from this relationship and only you can set the boundaries to prevent it ending in tears.
    Keep posting!


    Hi. Appreciate your response. You’re probably right about the people who own stores and homes, and gamble at the same time (apparently daily) are living on borrowed time.

    Nguyen told me she doesn’t want to go into casinos, that is why she had herself banned. But she has spoken excitedly about going to Vegas or casinos near my home, which is out of the boundaries of where she banned herself.

    I think her addiction caused enormous problems for her financially, which is particularly painful because at one time she had loads of money. She had gold, diamonds, pocket loads of cash, helped her family with $50k loans here and there (those family members used the money and are prospering). At one point she left an infant daughter in the care of a friend and went on some sort of 3 month binge with one of the gamblers I mentioned above. I know she regrets many things but through it all her kids are actually doing very well and love her dearly. One of her kids has an incredible professional status that I won’t mention but it’s something that one has to study for 12 years to attain. Sometimes the worst parenting ironically is an impetus for kids to thrive.

    Nguyen is in a low spot but tries to keep good spirits. She and I share laughs, I know I’m really good for her and she cherishes me for more than just to take and get a chance to wiggle back into a gambling scenario. Who knows. I’m planning to take her along on two big trips overseas in May and again in July. I really feel like my life is a lot better with her, but as you said the boundaries need to be in place. She is well flagged as you said.

    I really really appreciate the comments here. Thank you.


    As a matter of interest, GV, has your GF got debt?
    Taking her away from her gambling routine will certainly serve to break her habit. I believe it is necessary to break the habit as well as overcoming the compulsion.
    Yes, it is amazing how “kids” thrive through adversity. I’m glad they love their mother still . I’m sure their dad had an input in their success too.
    If I can stop gambling there is no reason to believe your GF can’t do likewise.
    Please do all you can to avoid enabling her.
    The best way to do that is to safeguard your own possessions and not become addicted to her charms.


    Nguyen has debt on a car and I think about $10k to a tax authority, which is paid monthly. Not too severe. Initially I thought she could owe some sketchy gangster types due to gambling but I don’t think so.

    I care about her so very much. Maybe there’s a compulsion among those who fall in love with gamblers, to get fixated on helping them. Not sure why but I love her even though I probably should find someone else who isn’t 30 years into a casino addiction.

    The guarded side of me, my gut instinct in fact, is telling me that she’s manipulating me to get her hooks onto my assets. But she likely knows I wouldn’t fall for any scheme that drains me financially. Given her past, I would be extra vigilant to keep what I have in my name. She does desire to open her own business, with my backing, but she’s a hard worker and knows how to earn. Not a huge risk there in the big picture. She also suggests that I always hold the money not her.

    She tends to talk and act in ways that demonstrate her number one concern is herself. Not a giver when it comes to emotional support, but on other things like cooking and sensual affection she can’t be beat. I doubt I’ll ever have that with someone else. Perhaps that’s all part of her plan. Who knows.

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