Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family Please help. Husband is a gambling addict

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    Hi everyone,
    I am new to the forums and I desperately need advice…

    My husband (we’re married for a year now) is a gambling addict.
    It all started around 2 years ago when we moved and lived almost right next to a casino. I thought nothing of it since by my knowledge he was not a gambler nor ever was.

    Pretty soon after we moved he’d just disappear for an evening every once in a while. This was new behavior to me, he never did that before. Upon me asking where he was he replied he went to the casino next door. I was surprised but ok, he has the right to go, right..?

    Over the course of just a few months he started to go more and more often, which worried me. We would talk, fight, kiss and make up. Then he wouldn’t go for a few weeks, and then it would start all over again.
    Over the past 2 years it grew to become a huge problem. I became an extreme control freak, interrogating him where he was, is, will be etc. it drives him insane. He has enormous financial problems, debts rising up to €100.000+. One of the reason is because his company went bankrupt and he takes absolutely no responsibility whatsoever for anything in his life. Luckily our finances are legally completely separated. I have been urging him to stop which just infuriates him, telling me that he has no problem and I have to stop being so controlling. When I would catch him on going to casino again we would always fight. I tried everything. I tried to be nice, i became angry, I showed my sorrow, I cooperated, I enabled him (stupid mistake), i tried making “deals” with him (going to casino only once a week) but just nothing works.

    Which brings me to today.
    2 weeks ago I got a “bad feeling”. I had the idea he was in casino even though he told me he was with his daughter (from a previous marriage). I then went on to do something I never thought I would do: I have tracked him on his iPhone with an application. I can see where he is within a 30 meter accuracy. I saw that indeed he was in a casino in another town (so not the one next doors). When he came home I asked him where he was and he lied straight to my face. Of course unable (and unwilling, quite frankly) to tell him I knew he was lying because I followed his iPhone, I let it.
    I went on to trace him every single day of the week since then and he appears to go to casino on a daily basis, while continuing to lie to me in the most convincing way.

    He came back from casino last Thursday and he broke down, saying he regrets it and wants to stop doing such bad things, acknowledging he has a gambling addiction and so forth. I knew he lost a lot of money, because only losing makes him feeling this way. We talked it over and I told him I forgive him, and he has to stop, and has to stop lying to me as well. He apologized for it. I asked him to seek professional help but he refuses it and said he could manage to stop himself.

    Of course I tracked him further and I see he still goes to casino and of course, continues to lie about it.
    Whenever I want to talk about his behavior he gets extremely defensive and angry, telling me that I can also just leave him if I can’t deal with him because “this is just the way I am”.

    I am at the end of my patience. This is not the man I fell in love with and his lying destroys me. I cannot confront him with his lying because he will leave me when he finds out I tracked him, which is not what I want, I want him to become the man he was when we met.
    Please help, any advice would be most welcome.


    I’d like to add a few things;
    – he believes he can control the machine, he “knows” or “recognizes” when a machine is about to pay out…..
    – when he is down because he lost money, he says that if he just stops smoking/coffee drinking, and when he goes back to the gym (to distract him I guess) the problem will be solved.
    – he never stole money from me, luckily.



    Hello Daria

    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 Ddaria
    I don’t hear a control freak, I hear a person who is trying to make sense of the senseless behaviour that is going on in her home.
    Unfortunately you cannot save your husband – only he can do that and to do it he must want to be the man that he would wish to be, not the one that says ‘this is just the way I am’. The good news is that he can change and good support is invaluable to him.
    It is possible, although of course I have no way of knowing that he has lost previous relationships through his addiction – he may well be resigned to losing you in the same way and feel there is nothing he can do – he has no idea how to change his life.
    The best advice I can give you is to look after you first. This may seem negative but for most F&F it is the way they have coped and survived and ultimately it is the best way to help your husband. At the moment your relationship is probably soured by poor behaviour from your husband followed by pleas, anger, tears, ultimatums from you for him to change – but nothing has changed. On this site we use the expression ‘if everything you have done so far hasn’t worked, then maybe it is time to do something different’. If every day you do something for yourself that gives ‘you’ pleasure and takes you away from worrying about an addiction that doesn’t care whether you worry or not, you will begin to find yourself again. Maybe you could see friends and family, talk about things that are not gambling related, have a spa session, a manicure, shop for a new dress, walk in the park, anything that gives ‘you’ pleasure, feel the difference in you and allow your husband’s addiction to be confused by the brighter, happier you instead of you being confused by his addiction.
    If it was me Daria I would lose the tracking device because the chances are he will be in the casino and no amount of tracking will change that – the device is adding to your misery and you know anyway were he is.
    Perhaps you could print off the 20 Questions from the Gamblers Anonymous website and leave them for him to find. Your husband may not appreciate that he has a recognised addiction and that there is a lot of good support for him.
    I am going to leave this post to you here Daria and wait to hear from you again. I hope it helps to know that you are not alone and that in this forum all your words are understood. I wouldn’t be writing to you if I didn’t know the addiction to gamble can be controlled – your husband can do it but he will find it easier to do it if you are not part of the wreckage of his addiction.
    If you disagree with anything I say please just come back at me – there is no judgement on this site.

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