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    Im new here. I have a common law husband who is addicted to gambling. We have a toddler and 6 month old baby. We pay our bills and every other cent goes to gambling, and recently a phone game where you cant actually win money. I am on maternity leave and otherwise work part time so my husband is the “bread winner”. Any time any expenses come up he makes this VERY CLEAR. I am constantly belittled because I make less money. He works hard, makes a lot of money and we basically live poverty. I do not buy for myself, I usually buy second hand for the kids and we share 1 vehicle. Everything is in my name; mortgage, car, utilities, credit cards and bank accounts. His childhood was far from ideal so im sure there is unresolved issues from that. I rarely say anythig anymore in order to avoid conflict infront of the kids. Hes a good person, a good dad yet very distracted. I love him, the kids love him and theres no doubt he does love us. I could go on and on about specifics and how hurt, guilty, confused, angry ect that I feel…. But right now I’m wondering if anyone has kept a family together with an excessivly gambling parent/spouse/breadwinner.
    Any feedback on how I can help, how we can manage to be a normal family, how I can protect my kids and how I can try to stop this cycle from occuring in my childrens life later on. I do not want to break up my family. This is surreal right now. Thank you



    Hello Katie

    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!


    I can 100% relate to your post. My husband is a compulsive gambler and I have 4 children the youngest is 6 months. Like you all the finances are in my name and life is a struggle financially. I have a 6 month old and am on maternity leave. I have a law degree and a well paid job, but yet we can’t afford anything due to gambling. My husband works 2 jobs to pay his gambling debts. I resent him for it as I have to continually pick up the pieces at home while he earns pittance to pay debts (he’s blacklisted) and continues to gamble. I can understand all too well the anger and resentment you feel. My heart goes out to you I think in a lot of ways this is magnified when you have young children you want to protect. I cope, some days better than others, by focusing on the positive, on myself and my children, my friends etc etc. Like you I love my husband and know deep down he is a good person however I find the traits that come with his illness impossible to live with. He often doesn’t behave like nice person and his low emotional maturity level is very difficult to deal with. I am here if you ever want to talk xx


    Im new to this and struggling also with three children…At this point im wondering if its better we don’t stay together…were seperated right now and i find it somewhat easier and harder at the same time..the kids seem to actually spend more “quality time” with him now since when hes with them its time to be focused on them… the me and him part is just plain confusing and i need to step back and take care of me and stop worrying about the us , i know this but its hard to do, everyone has told me “let him see you happy and doing for yourself” so i have been trying and he has noticed..he will ask me if i had fun and i say i will continue to try that..may be this will help keep us together maybe it wont..but i’ve got to try something..this site is helping me a ton…i love the support..means alot right now…hope your day is a good one.


    Hi Katie
    Unresolved issues are often the root cause of a problem but what is not a cause of your husband’s addiction to gamble is ‘you’.
    Your common law husband is almost certainly belittling you to make himself feel better because his addiction makes him feel a worthless failure so he is deflecting the way he feels on to you. You are not to blame for him gambling and nor is he to blame for having an addiction to gamble – neither of you asked for or wanted this in your lives.
    You are doing the right thing when you avoid conflict. His addiction is the master of manipulation and arguments give him an excuse to gamble because ‘you don’t understand him etc.’
    You can manage a successful family and protect your children because you don’t own his addiction – you are stronger than his addiction even if you don’t feel like it. The best thing you can do for you, your children and your husband is look after yourself which I appreciate is very difficult while he is expecting you to manage on so little. Every day do something just for you, something that pleases you that has no connection to gambling; maybe a walk in the park making an effort to see the plants and birds that normally don’t get noticed because your mind is constantly worrying about his addiction, maybe a chat with a friend or a game with your toddler; quality time that gives you a reason to smile because hurt and anger wear you down.
    I know how difficult this is and I hope you will keep posting and maybe join me in the F&F group on Tuesdays between 20.00 and 21.00 hours UK time.
    In answer to your big question, couples do stay together but to survive healthily it is important that you take care of yourself. Sadly his addiction will get worse without treatment but there is a lot of support these days. There is no evidence that this addiction is hereditary but obviously if he encourages his chldren to follow suit then there could be a problem – you have time on your side with this however, your children are small and you are aware of the danger.
    I would never suggest you stay or leave, I believe it is important to gain knowledge of the addiction because this will help you cope. I wouldn’t be writing to you if i didn’t know the addiction can be controlled but while your husband is out of control the finest thing you can do is not let ‘his’ addiction control ‘your’ life.


    Hi Katie,

    What struck me about your post is when you said I don’t want to break the family. I thought the same way long ago when I was struggling with my father’s addiction. I kept on pushing the ugly of the addiction aside, and kept focused on the good man I always thought of him front and center. I would find happiness in knowing that he is a good person, underneath the ugly selfish addiction. I did this for many years. However, this pressure almost destroyed me, because his addiction was very much part of him. As the years slipped, he became so dedicated to it, that the high marks I had for him were gone. His gambling took any goodness he had left and I was left with a father that almost destroyed me financially.
    I am not saying to walk out the door and slam it on your husband but I am saying that you need to do for you and your children. Like Velvet has suggested take walks, notice nature and enjoy the time with your children. Its when you do this you build strength and start to see clearly and you let go of things you cannot control. Just know that things will not get better just having a blind eye, they will get worst and you will find yourself in the darkest times of your life. Unfortunately there will be lots of hurtles to jump and some will kick you to the core of your emotions. However the support here will guide you. Eventually you will have strategies to help you when dealing with a selfish addiction.
    There is absolutely nothing you can do to stop your husband from gambling. He has got to want this. Even if he says he wants to he has to commit himself to doing so, a gamble here and there is not acceptance regardless of how small. The only person you can change is yourself. You don’t need to make rash decisions now but you should start thinking about what is best for you and your children.

    Take care,

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