Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family New here but in the dark with gambling…

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    Hi all and greetings from London UK!

    After the 3rd big episode of feeling enough-is-enough, I have arrived here to seek advice and support on my current situation with my 4 1/2 year-long relationship with my boyfriend…

    I will do my best to keep it short + sweet so you have the lowdown on my life right now –

    > Been with S 4 ½ years – know each other inside out
    > Great human being – would do anything for me and in fact anyone
    > He is so fun he is always making me laugh and finding ways to make me laugh… we have a brother and sister way about us but a really fresh feel about one another still after all these years
    > Had our fare share of bumps in the road: mainly due to jealously stemming from friends and his family; either way we made it through every rough patch and adore (d) each other more for it
    > Lost his Dad and 2 best friends 1 year before he met me
    > Has never sought any kind of help but isn’t the emotional type – dealt with it inside himself (I guess like most men!)
    > We don’t argue about anything – now I begin to worry whether we don’t argue at all because quite clearly, he isn’t formally committed to me in anyway shape or form: by that I mean, marriage/rent/mortgage/bills/join account etc.
    > Have always reassured him that I am here if ever he feels the need to unload/cry/rant etc. – he has only cried with me twice
    > Owns (with another chap) his own Plumbing & Heating firm – so does earn a good pay packet + the cash-in-hand jobs – in a nutshell, he can gamble (a lot), run a company, have no debts/credit cards/overdrafts, pay for most weekends, help me and still live comfortably (well – whilst he still lives with Mummy)
    > Me – I currently do well for myself as a Manager in a Hospital / pay my own rent and flat share with my best friend and have done since my parents divorced 2 years ago / not yet lived with S (another point / story below)
    > High-street Bookies are the only place he is interested in using (no apps/laptop – he is very Jurassic when it comes to technology… maybe a blessing here) and will only gamble on one type – the roulette
    > Intuition took over me (it was always ‘babe I’ll be home in 30 minutes’ which always meant 1 hour 30 minutes… I was sick of waiting about for him) and 2 years ago I came across hard evidence which showed it wasn’t just a tame hobby that he could fund – it was an addiction…
    > I was staying at his for 3 weeks (well his Mum’s) whilst his Mum was on holiday… I opened his bank statement as he left for work before the postman came
    > It didn’t say the bookies name but I put 2+2 together and made 4. He had withdrawn all in 2 evenings (£200 chunks out in different intervals) and I think over 24 hours he had spent £4,000 – either way I circled these figures on the statement
    > To keep it short for you all – I confronted him (yes of course he went off the rails at me… standard pushing the blame – threw my clothes out the window, told me to leave, said I was a sneaky bitch who HE couldn’t trust etc.), I was heartbroken – I felt as if he had cheated on me: he was constantly on my case asking me to save my money for a house (always pied me off about renting and said what’s the point in us both renting and throwing money down the drain) and to be careful with my £ (hard when I have more outgoings than him + responsibilities)… plus if you live in the UK you will be well aware how near impossible it is to RENT and SAVE!!!! He isn’t one of the many who are aware and as he always states ‘I have a company to run, I do more than most of my mates…’
    > To summarise on the above: I disappeared for 48 hours and turned my phone off. Came back that evening to 4 bunches of red roses and a humungous puppy face, which I couldn’t say no to
    > I had written him a heart-felt letter which didn’t push any blame on his addiction – just the fact I felt he had a problem, that I was here for him, felt for him because of all the deaths he had gone through, would like him to seek help but if he cant I’d still stay… blaaaa blaaaa blaaa
    > And another 2 years on – here I am. My life with him has hit a brick wall. I’m not getting younger – he is 30 next year, I am 27. I want to know I have stability with the man I love. And still I am hearing the same thing – ‘You don’t save enough or hard enough, how can I know you’re committed?’ ‘All these meals out we have all add up. £50 here…£50 there…’ It’s always what I haven’t got and what we could have. He makes me feel like I have failed him for the last 4 years – ‘Jess we could have had a house now and you wouldn’t have to put up sharing sh!t with your best mate…’ Luckily I am quite headstrong and I wouldn’t be here venting and reflecting if I didn’t know what manipulation looked like.
    > So – another 2 years on and I decided to do a recap and check up on him
    > I would just like to say: I never follow him by car to see where he is, I am not possessive or overly engrossed in his whereabouts, but something in me twitched just like it did 2 years ago
    > I don’t agree with this iPhone app (unless you have an intuition about this or cheating) but basically, I activated Find My Friends on his iPhone, sent myself a request… (I knew he wouldn’t even notice he doesn’t even know how to accept a friend req on FB let alone clock a new app)… so for those who don’t know, you can basically see satellite information on a persons whereabouts in Google Maps format… some streets are so intricate you can basically confirm the shop or house number they are at…
    > So you can see where this is going… we got back from a weekend away on Monday at 5PM
    > He tells me he has to do quote a plumbing job a few miles away and may be back over mine to stay depending on what time he gets away
    > He rings me at 7PM to tell me he has just got to the job house
    > I check my app and he’s actually at home… I recheck the app at 8:50PM and he is in the Bookies… I give it until 09:30PM (he’s still in there)… I call and he doesn’t pick up but calls back in 30 secs… I asked him where he was and what he was up to and he tells me he has just finished at the job and is on his way to get dinner in the high st (where the Bookies is so I guess he thought he was half telling the truth)
    > Tuesday – he calls me after work around 6PM and tells me what a busy week he has and wont be back round until Thursday…
    > 6:15PM he is in the bookies until 6:50PM then back home… real busy day huh
    > Wednesday felt like Monday again – he rang me after work 6PM told me he had one more job to do then he was going to drop some cheques off to his office manager’s house
    > 6:15PM I looked, he was in there until 7PM – again I called him, same as Monday, then he phoned back and this time I calmly challenged him asking him where he was ‘Why do you keep asking?? I have just finished the job’ I said ‘OK I am going to ask you again… where are you?’ And with that he just went from zero to 100 accusing me of fiddling with his phone or following him… I told him to chill out and he is jumping the gun and that I hadn’t said anything… just that now I wanted the truth… and with that he effed and blinded at me and hung up
    > I had print-screened all 3 of his visits… sent them via WhatsApp with the words Disheartened girlfriend – but this time I have found out you even lie to me about your whereabouts
    > He rang me about 10 times I just couldn’t face an abusive call
    > He ended up just writing me a short text to say I was a freak for tracking his whereabouts and was in total shock… blaaaa blaaaa
    > Stood my ground told him I am not to blame and that he has abused my kindness after everything how I wanted to support him and that he promised me and that he has made me feel useless with MY management over MY money – he just said I cant believe you I cant even talk to you now and I said good the feeling it mutual here
    > Since Wednesday I haven’t heard a peep from him. I cant see the point in myself making contact – what am I going to achieve?? He will just still be more angry at the fact I have tracked him and cannot see the main reason in all of this and that is HIMSELF… he has done this…
    > My Mum said you know he will come around and cool down he adores you… just is so stubborn and hot-headed… but now I feel even if he does cool down… what converstion do we have? Where does it go? Either he admits, agrees to get help and let me be by his side through thick and thin or if he cannot do that… does that leave me no choice but to call it a day and throw 4 years away with my soulmate… I understand this you cant help someone who doesn’t want to be helped… but its sometimes not that simple… but then I think it can be as I may be saving myself from something serious i.e when the day came we had a house… then a baby… then… oh… I cant give you money this month towards this and that because… well… i… yeah you got it… when you are married everything is shared and if he ends up for example… as he is self employed… having a work injury… he would be screwed.. his company would fold and… well… I don’t know but I am one to think and sit on both sides of a situation – positive and negative.

    Sorry for rambling guys… advice (honest as possible) welcome…x


    Hi Carmen,
    You are one smart cookie, Reading your post reminds me very much of someone working out their husband is having an affair. While some may disagree with your tactics you trusted your instincts and got to the bottom of what is going on. No doubt at all your partner is a compulsive gambler.

    All of the things you say about him not opening up, not wanting to talk about these major traumatic events in his life are fairly typical of many CG’s. They escape in to gambling because they can not deal with emotions, it becomes their go to place in times of trouble or high emotion. It often starts young and gets worse without treatment. My partner ended up in some very dark places after doing it for many years and lost enough to buy several houses. However recovery is possible, it can’t be ‘cured’ but it is possible for a CG to go on for decades, indeed the rest of their lives without another bet if they are willing and able to keep working on their recovery, my partner is testament to this now in recovery after 30+ years. It has been a long hard road however and neither of us will ever be able to be complacent about the fact he is in recovery still and always will be.

    What really shines out of your post is your love for one another, it must be so hard for you right now and you must feel like you are teetering on the edge, not knowing which way you will fall. I am sure you have a lot of conflicting emotions, fears and uncertainties and I know from my experiences I felt betrayed because of the lies, especially when you have a very close relationship as you obviously do.

    So where do you go from here? That is very much up to you but it is really important you get help and support for yourself, you are going to be the best and strongest you you have ever been which ever way it goes. Do you have anyone you can talk to about this honestly? A trusted friend or family member?

    As far as your partner goes he is going to need professional help and in London he is well placed for support from Gordon Moody or the drop in in Soho, there is also the forum here and the helpline as a starting point. But and this is a big but (which you have already alluded to) he needs to want to stop, as you say you can’t make him.

    If you are going to stick around (and there is no judgement here either way I can assure you, I have left myself and come back once a true recovery was under way) then the best thing you can do is to create a feeling of safety so he feels able to talk when he is ready. Knowing there is no judgement, seeing you remain calm and in a state where you can listen will encourage this. He will be used to lying, it will be the norm, he will be ashamed and his self esteem will be low, his debts may well be totally out of control and beyond what you know, it is obvious this has been going on a while, they will seem unsurmountable, he will believe the only way he will get out of them will be the next big win. In short he will feel afraid, unworthy and vulnerable, he will need to know he can trust you. Accusations and threats do not work (been there done that) neither do ultimatums, do not give them unless you are prepared 100% to see them through.

    Things you can do to help: be a listening ear, let him know help is out there if he wants it, let him know he is not alone, that he is loved but do not enable. By this I mean don’t bail him out financially, lie for him, cover for him with friends and family.

    Above all protect yourself. Your partner is an active CG, the addiction completely controls him, it will whisper in his ear and make him do and say things that he wouldn’t if it wasn’t there. It will try and distance people he loves especially those who can see it for what it is, it can make otherwise honest people to do deceitful and even criminal things to feed it. So make sure you keep your finances separate, get plenty of support for yourself, keep your own life your work, friends and hobbies active and don’t let it control you like it is him.

    I hope some of this makes sense and that I haven’t been to brutal? I have been very direct with you because I can see you are a straight talker and that you do have some idea what its all about already. Please come back to me if you don’t understand or need more answers and keep posting. There is great support on here and although the guidelines are always the same, we all have a slightly different approach depending on our own experiences and personality.
    Lily x


    I have just brought up a post on basic tip for dealing with a compulsive gambler which might help as a base point. It should be at the top or near the top of the list of posts now. Its called ‘some useful tips for friends and family’ Lily x


    Hi Lilly,

    Thanks for last night’s prompt reply – full of great advice and support for me to mull over this morning.

    Yes – but in such a circumstance, one has to obtain factual evidence. I couldn’t just keep going on the fact he may be down the betting shop – it’s near enough impossible to just drive 4 miles down the road and arrive the exact time he is betting. But on the other hand it’s a great app for someone who feels their partner is doing the dirty on them!

    Wow – you hung in there then; 30 years together is something. You must love each other a lot too. Do you have kids?

    Thankfully my emotions, fears and uncertainties aren’t as heightened as the last time I dealt with this situation. I was a lot younger then and the first speed bump is the biggest as you are in shock that your partner would do such a thing – over time I have grown up (my job has helped wizen me up I think, managing staff). But maybe my attitude shows I didn’t expect anything less than this; maybe deep down I knew it was coming again, it was just me being able to sweep it under the rug because I am to an extent (and in a health way I guess) blinded by our love. He’s not abusive – S would hate to hurt anyone’s feelings. S hasn’t got an opinion even on the darkest of humans. So I know there is a lot of good in him, more than most but we/he need to see a professional to help enable that good to be channeled effectively. However, I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel betrayed.

    Luckily my Mum’s bought me up to be quite an open individual and I am not ashamed to discuss my fella’s problem and the problem we/I am in. On the other hand, he doesn’t discuss it with his friends. Our friends are totally separate and we haven’t grown up in the same area so it doesn’t matter be venting to mine. I only have about 3 I can rely on but I have a lot at work (work in the NHS which helps) that are there to lend an ear. My Boss has been accommodating and told me if I need to just go home then I am to go – but I said, it’s not like I need to go home and lick any wounds. I am much better mentally, placed here during my weekdays!

    No, judgment doesn’t matter to me. My mum stayed with my Dad for another 6 years (out of 20) following her finding out he had a weed addiction. My Mum says me telling this all to her brings back memories of how Dad was and destroyed their marriage (it was both sides though) (I don’t know where he is now he did a runner after the divorce with another woman) and says she doesn’t want me to be having a happily-ever-after to someone with Dad’s addiction traits

    I am not one to give a cr@p about how the rest of the world sees me… whether I was lying in a gutter or walking into a betting shop and confronting him.

    Well – I “caved” this morning and dropped him a phone call. I hadn’t heard and to be honest, this was another reason to feel let down. I thought he would’ve contacted me after 48 hours. A tad immature. Probably licking his wounds trying to make me feel as if I am to one needing to be punished for putting the app on his phone! Not having it. When he answered oh boy he felt sorry for himself but I remained stern – ‘are you calm enough to have a productive conversation with me tonight – we both need to decide where our paths are heading now,’ ‘yes I will be over for 7PM’ so with that I switched it up ‘make it 8PM, I have a gym class I’d like to attend. See you later.’
    I think tonight instead of tackling it head on regardless of how calm i remain – I think I want to head down the more ‘let’s explore the route of relationship counseling…’ I feel that would be more compromising and a solution for the both of us (less blame pushed on him) as if I say ‘you need therapy, you need some help for your addiction etc.’ I’ll probably get the same body language as the first time round and it’ll end up going nowhere. And then if he can’t even compromise with me (7 weeks, once a week, we are to pay half the session each) then I will ask him gently to leave my apartment to go and allow us both to think whether this is relationship is really for the both of us as I can’t wait around forever.

    So if we were to “get better” together and ride off into the sunset, I would like to do it knowing this addiction 110% squished before I commit to marriage, babies, bills and a mortgage. It seems for a lot of people on this site it’s just been a bit too late.
    I think my reasons are firm enough grounds to say, fine ciao you can’t commit then neither can I – I don’t want to jeopardize my credit rating, the chance of having a bailiff here, your company folding and forever wondering why you aren’t home the time you promised me you would be.

    No – not brutal just constructive. I am an honest and frank person and I enjoy when I receive the same from others.

    Thanks again for reading and replying – lets see what tonight brings. I could do with treating myself to a nice glass of red though beforehand…! x


    Hi Carmen
    Great to see you replying. I have to take my son off to the docs this afternoon (I have one child not my CG’s) so got to post and run but just wanted to clarify my partner and I have not been together 30 years that’s how long he has been a compulsive gambler, we have been friends for 17 and in a relationship for part of that time on and off, long complicated story as they often are in these situations, read my post if you want the full story (shades of grey).

    I will reply more fully later and I am sure you will have other responses by then too. Glad you have your Mum to talk it out with, Lily x


    Hi again Carmen sorry for not getting back to you yesterday. I spent the day with my son in A and E with suspected broken ribs after another child tried doing a slam down wrestling move on him! Thankfully just deep tissue damage.

    Anyway, I hope things went ok yesterday and you perhaps got some answers although I also know getting a straight answer or having a constructive conversation with an active gambler can be a bit like herding cats!

    You seem to have a really good head on your shoulders and a lot of common sense and ability to have an element of detachment which will stand you in good stead. The fact you were able to attend your class last night before your meeting with your bf was really good to see, one of the things that is so important is holding on to your own life, this addiction has the ability to consume those around it as much as those suffering from it. I read once than an average of 16 people are adversely affected indirectly by a compulsive gamblers addiction, much higher than any other addiction.

    I have been thinking a lot about your relationship counseling idea, it might be a good place to start but I am doubtful it will go very far even if he agrees. The reason I feel this is because of the level of shame associated with CGing, it is very hard for them to open up often particularly to those closest to them. The addiction leads them to a place where they feel if anyone really knew them and what they got up to know one would love them, they tend to try and hang in there and believe the next big win will bail them out and make up for it all rather than seeing the problem for what it is and realising that even a big win would end up in the same place as they would gamble it all away all over again.

    Having a counselor experienced in this type of addiction who they have nothing to protect or gain from makes it much easier to open up for them but again only if they are willing. The gambling is their comfort blanket, their happy place (they view it like this long after it has ceased being either happy or safe) and they protect it fearsomely. The alternative is having to unlearn all there ‘coping mechanisms’ (compulsive gambling to you or me), deal with the issues that causes it and all the problems it has caused both emotionally and practical and this can seem like an impossible task which is why they need specialist help. I suppose it is possible that relationship counseling could prove a catalyst for you bf to seek further help but I’s say its a long shot. The other thing of course is that it is his problem and not a relationship issue and so relationship counseling could give him an ‘out’ ie I only gamble because things in the relationship aren’t right, this is a common thing amongst cg’s, truth is it is impossible to have a healthy relationship with a CG as healthy relationships are based on honesty and trust and these things are not compatible with this addiction.

    It is very common for a Cg to separate out his friends from his relationship, often ‘friends’ are people with the same or another addiction or those that enable also by compartmentalizing their lives it is easier to be able to keep up lies in order to support the gambling.

    Most gambler are not abusers, most will manipulate in some way whether through charm or keeping their partner down or a mixer of both but this is general a product of the addiction rather than their inherent personality. Most Cg’s I have met are actually very sensitive, caring people underneath it all and I personally believe it is these very traits that make them hide in the addiction when emotions run high.

    I am glad you have got a fulfilling life of your own and people around you can talk to and are supportive and that you yourself are not ashamed or afraid to talk this is the perfect situation to be in for a good outcome for you.

    Please let us know how it went and keep reading and learning, knowledge is the best weapon against this addiction. Most of all keep taking care of you, Lily x



    Sorry to hear about your son – I hope he is okay and you didn’t have to sit in A&E for too long…

    Lol @ herding cats – good metaphor. 40% of the chat I was herding cats, but the rest I was herding sheep so to an extent I feel we got somewhere and needless to say, it went a lot better than I thought.

    I would like to think I have a good head – but you know what it is like. Putting your words into actions and sticking to them can be quite the challenge. It’s hard to stick to your guns especially when you love someone and you are so use to the contentment.

    I googled counsellors in my area and you can filter by what they specialise in; I am finding it hard to find one that does relationship (couples) counselling with a background knowledge in addictions. I won’t give up – I have found one chap who I have dropped an email this morning so lets wait to hear if he gets back to me. I think it would work better being councelled by a male as it may make him feel subconsciously like me and another female are just taking sides during discussions and finding levels of understandings he thinks he’ll never reach.

    So you probably want to know what happened and how the chat went? He rocked up with fish n chips for us both accompanied with a chipper attitude – I told him I appreciate the thought but dinner comes last tonight, so I made him put the food in the oven. Thankfully I was in a good frame of mind and I was glad I was had a stern head on me. I actually also managed not to cry and it helped! It helped him take me seriously – more than he ever has before. I also was able to take myself seriously… I have realised now – with such a situation you cannot let emotions run away with you and you have to approach the matter really regimented. Almost like a Mother-figure.
    So – I gave him the benefit of the doubt and asked him to just pour it all out to me, talk the truth and say what he feels to me. I stopped him as soon as the words ‘I can’t believe you tracked me’ came out of his mouth. Said this wasn’t going to be a blame game – no one is in the wrong here and I most certainly won’t be judging him / hoping he wasn’t going to be that way towards me and if the discussion is to continue this way, then he may as well make himself scarce. So, these (from what I can remember) are some of the bits n pieces we said
    (S) ‘We have been through a lot as a couple, lots of fall-outs with my family, your family, friends, jealously… work gets on top of me… I don’t gamble excessively… I gamble to my means and I am not in there everyday… I need something to do and escape at times… the boys go down the pub when they’ve had enough… some people do drugs… some cheat on their girlfriends, we all have our vices’
    (J) ‘Well sad to say, I have standards – maybe more than most of your “boys” girlfriends/wives. What you are doing is not acceptable and you know I have never condoned it otherwise you wouldn’t be keeping it from me. I am more let down this time by the sheer fact you have been lying about your whereabouts.’
    (S) ‘I’m not lying’
    (J) ‘Now you’re lying that your lying? Please stop. You couldn’t TELL me where you were when I called you and I have black and white evidence that you have lied. You wouldn’t win this case in a court of Law S. Now you’re lying not just with gambling S but you do it with a lot of things… you exaggerate – I heard you the other day when you were bigging me up (yes thanks) to your mates wife saying I worked in a Hospital and when she asked if I was a Nurse, you told her yes. Why do you do that?
    (S) ‘I didn’t say that to her and I forget what your job title is’
    (J) ‘Its flattening to be made out to someone that I have a clinical background but I don’t. I don’t want my life to be glamorised thanks. So leave me out of your habits – see I am scared knowing that your compulsive habit to LIE is falling through in other ways. Listen, I am worried for us but mostly myself. I don’t want to be another 2 years down the line facing the same sh*t with you again, feeling nearly 30, missing my chance with a wedding and babies, all thanks to the fact I have just trusted in you.
    (S) ‘You can trust me. I don’t want you not to. So what am I suppose to do now, call you up everytime I want to go for a bet?’
    I literally LOLd
    (J) ‘Are you kidding? That’s like me calling you up on a night out, checking in to say I’M JUST ABOUT TO DO A LINE OF COKE, OK?… its not OKAY? Don’t be so childish. If you originally thought it was okay you would have originally called TOLD ME THE TRUTH or originally when I confronted you… and you didn’t. I’m not going to pick the phone up and say okay honey see you in 1 hour when really you could be with me right now… and that leads me onto my proposal…
    – he totally was looking at me with fear in his eyes, he knew I meant what I was saying
    ‘You don’t have a hobby… you don’t have anything nice to show for how hard you work… when you buy nice clothes you tell me how amazing it is and how good about yourself you feel… and we need to curb your compulsiveness trips to go somewhere more productive… like buying clothes… a new Mercedes… a lavish holiday with me?’
    (S) ‘Right so what are you proposing?’
    (J) ‘Well, I have thought about it and we either head down a relationship counselling route – 6 weeks I want out of it and we ½ £ the sessions each… OR… I can’t continue this journey with you.’
    (S) ‘We don’t need relationship counselling all because I spent some money in the bookies… I am good to you… I am so good to you… we don’t even argue… we haven’t got issues…’
    (J) ‘We both haven’t I agree… combine us as a couple and we do have issues. You, like earlier, bring up the past. You are bitter of how many people we’ve lost along the way just because you love me. You are bitter I don’t care and think it’s their loss. You are bitter people don’t want to do all the nights out and clubs that you want to anymore – you are bitter people have other priorities other than maintaining a friendship with us… people are getting older S and so are you. You are fighting a war in your head.’
    (S) ‘What are we suppose to do if we hear things we don’t want to hear’
    (J) ‘I want to hear the good the bad the ugly… we are going together. They are not there to judge you or take sides, simply to mediate and give clarification. You moan there is nothing to do week in week out, well look at this as something contrastive and healing to do. It’ll help you as a person S – you have even said you get frustrated you can’t find the words and sometimes think I out-wit you. They’ll help you with stuff like that
    (S) ‘Well… I’m not loosing you over the fact I wont go and see a shrink. So we’ll do it I guess.’
    (J) ‘No, we do it only if you want it. If you let me down throughout it S, it’ll just push me away and you’ll be face with this mini ultimatum again. It’s about compromising too.’

    So you can kind of see where the convo went here. Other things were said but it wasn’t a shouting match nor was there really any disagreements. Yes, I know he didn’t out rightly admit he had a problem; he beat around the bush to say the least. I have told him now – counselling commences the end of the month. He’s got enough time now to think if he can do it and enough notice for him to work his jobs at work around the session(s). so yes – it is a long-shot but it’s a start. If it doesn’t work or I catch him out again (I have told him I have other means… I will drive and just wait at the betting shop!), we’ll have to really call it a day and at least I could look back and say I tried EVERYTHING.

    S has an angry streek and I have only seen it once. All I can relate it to is when Hulk goes greener than green… or when King Kong has simply had enough. I do know though when he is angry and overwhelmed or feeling claustrophobic (I don’t help being a pesty girlfriend either, maybe something I need to work on… when are you here… how long… what do you want for dinner… when’s your last job… what are you doing…’) he just glazes over and you cant get through to him. He could probably walk through a wall.

    We went to a Christening Saturday and he randomly came out with how he wants us to have children in another 2 years… I just looked at him and just said we haven’t even started counselling yet… I’d love kids with you… baby steps for us first though.

    Where abouts in the world are you anywho?

    Thanks again for listening Lilly,

    Jess x




    I can only apologise for not officially welcoming you sooner.
    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!


    Firstly sorry for the delayed reply, I read it straight away and was mulling it over until I had time to do a proper post and had a lot to catch up on at home yesterday.

    Well done for taking the bull by the horns I am pleased you had the conversation and you did well keeping him on track and saying calmish, actually having such a long conversation together is a testament to your relationship as most active CG will be out of there at the first mention of the gambling or so defensive it will be impossible to get anywhere.

    It is obvious however he does not see the problem, he only sees you have one with him gambling, this is usual at the stage. For recovery an active CG must 1. admit HE has a problem 2,Want to stop 3. Restrict his access to money 4. Get specific professional help. Skipping to step 4 will not work, some do 3 and 4 in reverse order and in fact often that is the very last thing they are willing to do but it is essential to recovery not doing so to use your earlier analogy is like expecting a coke addict to give up with a bag of coke sat next to them.

    Many CG’s are self employed I have found, this is so they have both the opportunity and the ready cash to gamble without being held accountable. The majority of CG’s start in their teens although it doesn’t always become an obvious problem until later on. Compulsive gambling is progressive and so as things get worse it gets more difficult to hide and they eventually get found out or come unstuck. It usually isn’t until they really hit rock bottom that they start to seek help and until then may see it as a hobby or something they enjoy even while it is getting them into trouble.

    While I can see your logic with the relationship counseling I am very doubtful it will work even if he goes. He needs to recognise it is his problem before he can move forward and he needs somewhere he can open up and that won’t be in front of you, he has too much to lose. Chances are he is in far deeper than he has admitted even to himself. I hope you don’t mind but I ran the idea of relationship counseling by my partner and he said no way would it work, his feeling is that it would just put the problem back with you and the relationship rather than your bf looking at his own issues.

    I am afraid your bf is where he is. I would suggest you let him look through one of the questionnaires you get online about signs you are a compulsive gambler as a starting point.

    Perhaps also go and get counseling yourself to help you through this time and to show him counseling is a normal sensible thing to do for self improvement and to help deal with problems that crop up in life. It is not healthy or productive to obsess about what he is doing, from experience and 200 miles away I can tell you now the likelihood at this stage is he will be gambling, he has access to money, a raging addiction and no desire to stop so why wouldn’t he?

    I am not saying give up on him but he will need time to come around to getting help. Love for you is not enough to stop him, it never is, they have to want to do it for themselves. My partner had already been admitting his problem for at least 10 years before he went into treatment, he went into treatment because I gave him an ultimatum and as he reminded me the other day I told him not to come home until be had started it. Wasn’t I clever, didn’t I get him in there? No because in residential treatment he was just going through the motions because that was what I demanded and it wasn’t until I recognsed this and left him that he began to engage. Fair play to him he didn’t have to he could of walked out but he did because he wanted to stop, he realised the affect it was having on his life and even then it was really hard and not completely gamble free for many years. Not everyone’s paths to recoveries are so long, my partner gambled a long time, he got to some low places, it was the only life he had know since he was 15 or so.

    So the key points to my ramble are:

    You can not save him

    He has to recognise he has a problem and want to do it for himself

    You need to take care of yourself and your needs which will be the best thing you can do for both of you ultimately.

    Once again I have been extremely frank with you, I sense you can take it and you have said you don’t like pussy footing around. You are no ones fool and that is a really good thing, your CG is very lucky to have you around fighting his corner even if he doesn’t see yet that there is actually a fight on!

    Sorry there are no quick fixes, take each day as it comes and take care of you, Lily x


    Just a few words from a CG who led everyone in a merry dance for years…
    From what you have written, your boyfriend (if he is a CG ) is not ready to stop gambling. It seems he is not ready to commit to a full time relationship either, but he knows all the right things to say ( as I did) His hung dog look appeals to you (remember that is one of his trump cards to keep you in tow) He agrees to your suggestions in a non committal way to keep you “sweet”.
    Sorry, m’dahling! but what I’m seeing here is a gambler who doesn’t even recognize he has a problem and who is living a double life i.e his buddies are not mutual friends with you as a couple. (Do other people see you as a couple?) The picture I’m seeing is a man running his own show , with a woman/cheer leader on the side line , hoping and wishing he was somebody else.
    Personally, Carmen, I wouldn’t waste time or money on “couple counselling” at this stage. My opinion only, but I would take a total break from this guy for a year to give yourself time to reflect on where your life is going. It is not within your remit to change him one iota. He sounds like a charming man, but charmers have broken many hearts.
    When I was in the throes of gambling the thing I needed most was somebody who would play my game and be part of the facade I needed to display to the outside world. I also expected that person (or people) to switch roles to become my enabler/punchbag/scapegoat/moneylender/slave/second fiddler, depending on how, where and what my First Love (gambling) dictated.
    CGs learn fast, who to keep in the loop to serve our needs.

    Compulsive Gambling is a progressive disease that affects not only the CG but all who choose to allow it to influence their lives.
    YOU have that choice now, Carmen. It would be far more difficult in a few years time with children, a mortgage and other trappings. Think long and hard before you put pressure on a CG to commit because when things go belly up he will blame you in the same way he tells you “you should have saved more….!!”.
    By asking him to commit now, you are asking the impossible.
    Couple counselling smacks of commitment.

    If you are prepared to play a waiting game, indefinitely , by all means keep trying to manage and control this man.
    If you want to live YOUR life, give the relationship a long break and see if he changes.
    Over and out!


    Hi Vera – and thanks for your very frank words ☺ I’m thinking I should change my username to Mrs Frank aye?!

    I am aware that currently he is not ready to stop but I am ready to start with what I can to possibly enable his ball rolling. It’s hard when you love someone – just like it was hard for you to stop; no doubt there were people you loved but you didn’t stop the gambling for them?

    Maybe I’ve portrayed him to be a bit of looser or a drip – it’s hard to be accurate when you are writing a life experience on the Internet.

    His hung-dog look doesn’t “appeal” to me – don’t worry I can see beyond the the bulls*t here. If he wants to agree to my suggestions in a non-committal way, that’ll only end up being his loss; one he won’t recognise unless I walk away, I know that. If I gain more from it than he does, sobeit – i.e., if it awakens my senses and all that bo*locks, I may just get a sooner rather than later light bulb moment that says ‘girl, what the F are you doing?’ OR it may help open the part his brain I have never seemed to delve into myself – either way personally I have nothing to loose (other than a 4 year relationship lol)… but you know what I mean.

    So back to my other statement of perhaps portraying him out to be a looser – everyone is well aware we are a longlasting couple and its very much official don’t worry about that. It’s the gambling that’s non-existant to everyone else. Everyone things we just lead a lavish lifestyle, drinking and eating out a lot, weekends away etc… The only doublelife he has is his gambling. S doesn’t lead much of a thrill-seeking life other than that. He is as spontenious as a slug and that applies with me and his social life with the boys. I think its quite normal in 2017 to not have mutual friends with your partner (espesically be it that we are in our late 20s) – think about all the dating apps and how probably 60% go on to form holymatramony relationships only to live a life where neither of them know any ounce of their social circle. I don’t think it’s the end of the world and I think its quite healthy (I am not giving excuses here) to have separate hobbies and do things seperatly with your friends etc. but like I said it is hard when we all want to join together as one – his friends are at mortgage / baby stage; I have never had a huge group of friends, mine are dotted about all over the place so…

    I do agree to an extent your statement about wishing he was someone else. I don’t think he wishes he was someone else but I think he wishes he were in a more appealing life situation. He has come across bitter in the past by saying things like ‘We live an honest life and all we get is grief… all our mates get house deposits off their parents… can’t your Mum just give you something towards a deposit; it’s so unfair, she’s gone through a divorce and made £ off the house, bought a new car and new house and didn’t give you anything.’ Yes it was a tad unfair but my Mum isn’t obliged to give me anything. I could have said to him ‘Because of your Dad dying, your Mum has 3 ISA’s jam-packed full of money – she’s sold the house profited £100,000, downsized, charges you £100 a month, has no mortgage, she’s retired and chooses to go on 3 holidays a year and give you/us nothing towards a house… and my Mum’s tight? My Mum’s on the breadline each month because she doesn’t have anything saved or handed down to her.’

    So – back to couples counselling. I have trawled through mountains of Clinical Colins and Drippy Daves and managed to find a lovely lady well-suited to the both of us who has a strong background with addiction. She too was frank with me and even said she was going to be honest with me – the addiction side cannot be delved into and tackled in CC; he would need to fix that alone with me. I said the same as I have said to you – baby steps where I am quite happy to hold his hand for the first 3-4 goes and hopefully this may push him in some sort of right direction. He may warm to her and feel he enjoys it and thus want to attend a few sessions on his own. I’m one for don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

    When my head is ready to take a total break (or finish), I will. Believe me I will. But when you have the fight left in you, naturally you cant do it. What about all these women who don’t give up after affairs etc? you could say to them, once a cheat, always a cheat – the same applies, why do they stick around? Probably because they have less respect for themselves than me and trust me I’d be running for the hills if he was shagging about but it’s the same kind of calibre. And I disagree with your charmer / broken many hearts statement. S has had 1 long-term girlfriend before he met me between 16-20 years old.

    Maybe you’ve had a different experience gambling-wise and relationship-wise. I don’t agree that he uses me as a moneylender (if anything I borrow from him), 2nd fiddler (I quite happily tell his mates and their girlfriends he gambles so its up to them if they talk to him about it), or a punchbag! He is never emotionally charged or fuelled up enough to let rip on me about anything; he’s sometimes so placid he looks like he may nod off. But you are quite right – it could change if I ended up with him longterm / with a ring on my fingers vs financially committed and bound… this is why I am exploring this route.

    Listen I don’t doubt your advice or comments here – and its good to hear it from an experienced CG. But everyone has their own stories to tell as to why they choose sometimes, the darker paths.

    Speak soon and thanks x


    Hi Carmen,

    I wish I had been able to write sooner and i hope that you are still reading.

    I am in a relationship with a very very active CG and i relate a lot to what you have posted.

    My CG is a dream 90% of the time. I’m currently sat with him where he has cooked me a delicious meal. He isn’t drinking and he isn’t betting and when he is like this i love him with all my heart. But it doesnt last. Weve just been through a week of absolute hell which is basically as a result of him being pissed off with the amount he has been betting.

    I understand what you mean when you say he is placid and calm. But is that because no one has really tested his addiction so far? You’re smart, you’ve figured him out. Youvs made it hard for him to hide. But its yours and his dirty little secret. And that sounds harsh to say as you aren’t gambling and it is all him and you are trying to help him, but I know your instinct will also to be to try and protect him. So the gambling will become buried and that’s what the addiction loves…secrecy.

    Access to money is very easy for your partner i assume. With my CG he knows his weekly salary to the penny and when the cash runs out and he realises how long he has got until payday, its a long hard slog and he is a different person. Sometimes super angry for no reason at all.

    Velvet gave me some excellent advice when i first started posting. Gambling addiction is like a slavering beast in the corner. As long as you don’t provoke it, it won’t provoke you. But as soon as you start poking and trying to draw it out and get rid of it, mark my words it is ready to bite.

    I do see the beast in some of what you posted. As soon as you talked about him being down the betting shop, he tried to turn it on you, you were the one snooping, you were the one checking up on him, you were the one in the wrong.

    And this is the hardest part of hanging on to someone with addiction. The addiction will try to pull you down too so be wary.

    I love my CG and would love a future with him but i am not his priority. Handing his money to bookmakers is. So for now, he can’t be mine. And i have to make smart choices for me. I have been posting her for 5 months and hearing words from The forum who all gave the same advice as I can see they are giving you.

    I haven’t given up on my CG so I’m in no place to tell you to walk away from your partner. But if he is an addict as i suspect he is. He can’t do it for you, you can’t do it for him. Even though that’s all you want is to get rid of something so illogical. It can only be a change he wants to make.

    All of the lables Vera spoke about, when i first started posting, i would never have thought i fell into any of the catagories. I read it today and could tick off every one on the list as being me at some point in our relationship.

    Don’t give up. You are smart and switched on and a hell of a lot stronger than I am. Keep learning because the more you know about gambling addiction, the more you be a step ahead of it.

    I probably wouldn’t recommend reading my posts as they are normally an outpouring of emotion when I’m angry or sad. But maybe the messages at the beginning when i was much more naive may be useful.

    I hope you keep posting.
    Logic x


    Hi Carmen,
    I am so glad you have had a reply from Logic, I was thinking earlier about how you were in similar positions as regards having a long term partner who you obvious love and care for a great deal although you don’t live together and the gambling being a relatively newly discovered thing but of course as you say everyones story is different and everyone’s approach and journey is different.

    In no way did your post come across as critical of your partner or as if your partner was exploiting or using you or that he was in anyway a ‘bad’ person. Most CG’s i have come across my own partner included are very caring and often very sensitive and empathetic people, the addiction simply start to cloak these qualities and lead them down paths that they otherwise would not follow, such lying to a much loved spouse.

    Vera has likely met far more compulsive gamblers than me and is in recovery herself so she has seen where it can lead, she also knows where it has lead her that does not mean she is a bad person or indeed any other compulsive gambler is, it is just an addiction that feeds on money and therefore the likelihood of issues in that area are great, therefore the measures needed to get more ‘fuel’ are often also great, and usually involve some form of lying and or manipulation. Vera is just wishing to warn you of these dangers.

    As friends and family we will never tell you to end a relationship or indeed to stay in one, we know it is at the end of the day your relationship. My partner is the love of my life, my soulmate, him being a CG could never change that. We have both been together and apart and just good friends at different times. Through everything I have always remained true to myself and my feelings. I have taken advice from this forum and I have ignored advice from this forum sometimes I have regretted not taking it, some times not.

    I see my relationship as a three way, me, him and the addiction. At times when the addiction is strong there has been no room for me, as his recovery progresses there is plenty of room for me and in turn less room for the addiction. I love my partner, I hate the addiction, my partner is a good man, the addiction is an evil thing which has controlled him at times.

    I am sorry you felt comments were derogatory to your partner and your strength of feeling shows that here is a man worth loving and a relationship worth working at for you. I really hope that the couples counseling does work for you and is the start of your both moving away from the gambling which is blighting your lives.

    I hope I haven’t offended you in anyway and if I ever do or you disagree you will tell me (I am sure you will) Lily x

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