Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family New Member, Partner of a Compulsive Gambler

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    I am, as stated in the title of this post, a new member. I have joined as I am the partner of a compulsive gambler and really don’t know what to do or where to turn. I feel like there is a lot of support out there for gamblers if they want it, but that there is relatively little support for partners.
    I have been with my partner for just over 3 years, and engaged to him for 2. I have always known that he was not good with money and that he liked a gamble, but I never realised he actually had a gambling problem until February of this year. With the benefit of hindsight (oh, what a wonderful thing that is!!!!), I realise now that I should have recognised he had a problem, due to the amount of time he’d spend in the bookies, and how he could completely lose track of time whilst in there (I’ve lost many a Saturday afternoon sitting in grotty bookies’ waiting for him to finish having ‘just one more go’ on the stupid machines in there) but I genuinely thought at the time that this was just something men did – stupid and naive, I know!!
    His problem finally came to light when he had been given quite a large sum of money by a family member as a gift (£10k, although at the time he had told me it was only £5k) which, after using some of it paying off a debt I knew about, he told me he had invested in an ISA. Knowing the MOT on our very old car was coming up, and that it was more than likely going to fail epically, I asked him whether, in such an event, he would be prepared to withdraw some money from his ISA to go towards the purchase of a new car – I had already picked up some extra shifts at work in order to make my own contribution. My partner then confessed that the money was all gone and, further, he had actually been given £10k rather than the £5k he had told me about and the rest of it was gone too. This had all gone in paying off gambling debts with payday loan companies…and he still owed a further £600 to these companies! The gambling had been in the bookies during his breaks at work, and also online.
    I was completely sideswept by this revelation as, despite the warning signs as mentioned above, I really had absolutely no idea. After a LOT of rows and crying and shouting etc etc, I decided to ‘give him a chance’ on the condition that this was the end of the whole affair. He promised me it would be, and I used my credit card to pay off his remaining debts, with him agreeing to pay it back to me on a monthly basis. I made it very clear to him that this was a very big show of faith and that I needed him to prove me right to show such  faith.
    For the next few months, all seemed to be going well and, in another show of naivete on my part, I assumed he had managed to fight whatever demons were causing all of this.Then he came home one day in May and told me he’d had one slip-up that day, and lost £70. He swore that this was a one-off and, after much shouting, swearing, screaming and crying (all of it on both parts), I believed him…
    …until about a month ago when, one night, as I was getting ready for bed, he handed me a page-long letter. He had written this to tell me that he’d ‘fallen off the wagon’ again; he’d been trying for a while to tell me in person but couldn’t do it as he didn’t want to upset me. This time, he owes about £580, again to payday loan companies. I feel mean, but I’m making him pay this all back himself this time, as I feel he didn’t learn anything from last time and that I, in effect, gave him a ‘get out of jail free card’. It’s going to take months and months for him to get anywhere with this, which is why I feel so mean, but I cannot see that my bailing him out again will help.
    I just feel SO hurt and used. I have shown massive amounts of faith in him and I feel that this has been thrown right back in my face with the lies and deceit. I have once more told him that, if he gambles again, that’s it, we’re history. This makes me feel like I’m being really mean, and I don’t know if ultimatums such as this are wise, especially when it’s the third time he’s been given this ultimatum, but I really don’t know what else to do… I try so hard to be supportive, but I feel like it’s getting me nowhere.
    Things have changed a little this time around in that, at his request, I now have possession of his cash card, and withdraw money for him on a daily basis for his cigarettes. However, although it was him who requested this, I worry that he will grow to resent this.
    I do really love my partner, despite all of this, and in all other respects we have always had a brilliant relationship, but I just don’t know how much longer I can take this pain for. It’s awful. And since all of this came out, we’ve been bickering so much, about stupid little things – we never used to argue at all before.
    I feel so let down and, frankly, am fed up of feeling like I have to be the grown-up in our relationship because of what this vile illness does to him. I know that sounds really selfish, but he is 8 years older than me and, in an old-fashioned kind of way, I feel that I ought to be able to expect stability and security from an older man; as it is, I’m the only one providing anything of the sort.
    I know he is really trying, and he is a wonderful man, even if the picture I have painted here doesn’t fully reflect that. He tells me constantly how much he loves me and that he doesn’t want to lose me but, in a way, I almost feel like I have already lost him to the gambling. I just want everyhthing to be back to ‘normal’ and have my old life back!!
    I undersand that this has been a REALLY long post and, if you’re still reading at this point, you must have the patience of a saint!! Sorry about the extent to which I have waffled on, but I have been bottling all of this up for the past 6 months and it’s now all coming flooding out!! I don’t really know what exactly I’m hoping to get out of this; advice, support, or just somewhere to write it all down, but what I DO know is this writing this post has been a very cathartic experience for me and I am grateful for the opportunity to do this.Serenity – Courage – Wisdom

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