26 May 2020 at 3:20 pm #7106LizXmasParticipant
Hi there. I’m new here (I’ve read a few threads on the forum, will definitely continue reading them). I just found out about the extent of my husband’s gambling addiction about 24 hours ago and I’m a mess.
We’ve been married for 5 years and have two young children. His problems with handling money have become painfully obvious last October when creditors started knocking on our door, each one telling me about a new debt I knew nothing about. I was 9 months pregnant at the time and we agreed to wait until our daughter is born and then figure out what to do next (relationship wise). Even though he never said it himself, I’ve attributed the debts simply to the fact that he had switched jobs and hasn’t yet found his footing with the new, substantially lower income. We somehow got the debts under control and for a brief period, life went on smoothly.
He worked in tourism which got hit pretty hard by the Covid-19 epidemic and he basically lost his job in January and has only taken odd jobs since. I am on maternity leave, but I found a way to make extra money as a freelance translator while my husband took care of the children. As elsewhere across Europe, the country came to a standstill and we were all advised to stay home, which we pretty much did, all the time. I took on as many translation project as I possibly could and after a few months, the exhaustion took its toll. Moreover, the debts and news about shady transactions made by my husband (»In order to make things right,« as he put it) just kept on surfacing. After 5 years of listening to his threats about how he’s going to divorce me or at least leave our home due to my intolerable behavior, it was finally me who started openly talking about divorce. I still knew nothing about addiction at that point, just that he’s being insanely irresponsible, self-centred and unfair.
Talking about divorce shook him, but not enough to really change anything. After a few days, he made yet another empty threat about leaving, but this time I called his bluff and told him to leave. I told him I was no longer able/willing to support him (and his behavior) financially. He made a few calls and a few days later he was on his way to a town in north Germany (about 1000 km from us) where he now works as a cable layer. We maintain regular communication and yesterday, he wrote me an email in which he described in detail when/how his addiction started, how many times he’d left his entire paycheck at the casino, which of our friends and relatives he owes money … the whole story. He asked me numerous times throughout the email not to divorce him.
Yet, I filed for divorce just hours ago. For the first step, anyway (in our country, the spouses first have to attend a meeting at the social worker’s office before getting a divorce if they have underage children). I still care about him and will of course stay in touch with him in order to co-parent our children. On one hand, I know (or hope, at least) that the divorce makes him realize he’s hit rock bottom and he has to do something to help himself. On the other hand, my (annoyingly loud) enabling side is wondering if divorcing him simply means kicking him when he’s down.
Were there red flags, you ask? Oh. My. God. Don’t get me started. I just want to slap myself. First red flag (the size of a football field) was when after dating just a few days, I lent him my credit card for him to fill up the gas and a few days later, I noticed in the receipt that he also made a lottery bet using the card without telling me. I confronted him and he immediately went in total self-pittying mode, saying things like “I’m going to lose you after just a few days of pure happiness, how can I be such an idiot, how could I do that to an angel like you…”
Really, people, I feel like banging my head against the wall.
Other red flags would be, oh I don’t know, maybe people close to me LITERALLY SAYING TO ME “I think he has a gambling problem.” And the fact that he’s had gambling problems in his early youth, just in lesser extent.
I was the typical fool who thought I could save him, merely with my love, of course. I feel so dumb. How does one overcome feeling this stupid, people?!
That’s it for now. Will write more, I’m sure. For some reason, venting out to actual people online feels a lot better than journaling. Thank you for reading.26 May 2020 at 3:29 pm #7107velvetModerator
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
Read about the friends and Family Online Groups
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!
The Gambling Therapy Team28 May 2020 at 12:25 pm #7108velvetModerator
Well done writing your first post, I would imagine it was difficult to write but I agree with you that venting to actual people, especially ones who understand what you are saying, is often a relief.
You are not any sort of fool, typical or otherwise. You suddenly found the addiction to gamble in your life and you had no way of knowing what the hell had hit you, or what to do about it. You are far from dumb, you have sought support and I hope I can help you never to feel stupid again about the situation you have found yourself in through no fault of you own.
Don’t bang your head against a wall wondering whether or not he meant it when he said kind, loving words. A person can indeed say terrible and wonderful things when the addiction to gamble scrambles their thinking – I prefer to think that the terrible words are not meant and the wonderful words are meant because the truth is unknown and there is no point losing sleep over something that may or may not be true. I believed that the CG in my life could not possibly love me but when he turned his life around and took control of his crippling addiction, I discovered the opposite was true.
All the energy expended in trying to make sense of a senseless addiction does not make any difference to the outcome, so please just take of yourself and your children. I do not have a crystal ball, so I cannot say whether your actions will make him accountable any quicker or not; I do know that he can control his addiction or I wouldn’t be writing to you but it takes courage and determination to do so and at the moment, it appears, your husband has not shown himself to be ready to take that leap.
You say that you still care about your husband but I wonder if you think you have fallen out of love with him – I know it happens and I also know that it is understandable.
I hope you will keep posting, I know that the early days of such momentous decisions are painful and filled with conflicting emotions. I do admire you making a stand because whatever comes of it, you have determined ‘your’ life and your children will need you to be in control while their father is not. You made a brave decision and nobody should judge you on that.
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