Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Author
  • #4695

    My husband and I have been married for 9 years and have two children 4 and 6. Before we were married, he had about 20,000 in credit card debt from prior gambling. He agreed not to gamble any more when we began our relationship, and I helped him pay off the debt so we could start our lives together with a clean slate. While I was pregnant with my younger son, husband was fired from his job and became depressed. Eventually, he got another job, but it does not pay very well. Meanwhile, I went back to school, worked very hard and now have a job that pays well, but I also have some debt from school. In January, I saw a notice that my husband received in the mail that said he had taken an early withdrawal from his retirement account for 20,000. We have always had separate bank accounts and I had not seen a dime of the money. In fact, I had bought all of the Christmas gifts for the kids and he contributed nothing to it. He told me that he had used the retirement money to pay off his credit cards but would not give a clear answer on how many cards he had or how much he still owed. I decided to check his credit report and found that he has 9 credit cards and two personal loans and owes 50,000 in addition to the retirement account withdrawal. The kids and I did not see a dime of any of that money and I was not aware of the debt. I have been supporting the family since he lost his job and we live modestly, but I was not aware of how bad our finances were with all of his debt. Since becoming aware, I’ve tried to create a budget, monitor spending and create a plan to pay everything down. I’ve asked him to give me all of his credit card and bank statements. It is exhausting. We are in therapy together and he has started therapy on his own and is looking for a part time job to help pay off the debt. He still watches sports non-stop and does not want to tell his family about his problem. He has been giving me his credit card statements so I can check that there hasn’t been any additional spending, but I have to check them and make sure I’m getting all of them. There was one that he did not give me, so I checked his credit report again and found out he charged over 2,000 last month, which he admitted was gambling, while sitting in therapy saying he was not gambling and while I supported him and our kids. I’m sick. I don’t know what to do. I know in my heart that he will not change and that if I stay with him he will destroy me financially and emotionally and I should get away while I’m still relatively young. I’m scared he will turn my sons into gambling addicts as well. I am so angry at him, but also it’s really hard to imagine how life will be without him and I don’t know if I can get through an ugly divorce. I’ve also grown really close with his family and losing them will be the worst part. I want them to know how bad his problem is so that they won’t blame me and so that they can help him if we break up. I’m just so sick and I don’t know what to do. Any advice from people who have been there is appreciated. I don’t understand how someone could jeopardize his family this way. It’s just a huge burden that I carry around every day.



    Hello Pamm

    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!


    Welcome to these forums. That’s a difficult situation to be in. I applaud you for your efforts in maintaining your finances/the family structure during this difficult time. I think you need to lay down an ultimatum. You’ve done everything in your power to help your husband overcome this addiction and you’ve shown a level of support and commitment that many other spouses may not have been able to give. It’s time for your partner to man up and actually commit to stopping forever. If he trult loves you and cares for your family he should know that this gamble (your marriage and the kids) is one he is NOT willing to take. If he really cannot get past his demons then you ultimately need to protect your own interests as well as those of your kids, which means making that tough decision.


    I’m so glad I stumbled upon this site. It really helps to get feedback from other people who understand and to read the other messages and know I’m not alone. My friends are supportive, but they do not know what I’m going through and I get the sense that they pity me, which makes me uncomfortable. Short of separating from my husband, I’m not sure how I can NOT enable him. Even if I do not directly pay his debts or give him money, I am paying for the roof over his head, the food he eats and the tv he watches and supporting his kids while he spends all money he earns on paying off his debts and/or more gambling. He is not feeling any consequence or making any sacrifice for his own actions other than having to endure me yelling at him, I guess. I’m sure he feels anxiety at trying to hide his gambling, maybe depression when he is losing etc. but I do not think he is really feeling the sacrifice and loss that I am feeling, no matter what I say to him. He will not really acknowledge that it’s a big deal. I try to put it into different ways so he will understand the impact, for example the money he lost could have paid for college educations for both of our kids. but he does not get it. He will say ridiculous things like he will “pay me back” in three years when his personal loans are paid off. There is no “paying back” this amount of money, and we are married so he would only be “paying me back” with my own money. I believe he imagines that he will eventually win at gambling and cover all of his debts. It is delusional. I know it is the nature of his addiction, but I do not see how he can overcome the addiction when he’s not acknowledging it, and only he can do that. So it is a catch 22 because I want to be there for him, but in the end I feel like “supporting him” in the traditional sense does not help because it is only enabling the behavior to continue. So really there is nothing I can do and I should just look out for myself and the kids. I feel like my dreams of living comfortably have been stolen from me. My optimism and motivation to succeed have been stolen from me. I feel like no matter how hard I work, he will just take whatever I have worked for and gamble it away. I am ashamed to show up to my job and have the oldest, worst car in the parking lot when I make a decent salary and I can’t explain to anyone why. I’m sick of my kids telling me their friends are going to Disney World and they want to go, but we can’t because Daddy gambled away all our money, but I cannot say that to them so I don’t know what to do. I know that these things are shallow and that we are lucky to have our health etc. I remind myself of this when I get really depressed. but I’m emotionally exhausted and it takes its toll on me mentally. I don’t want to be a mother to my husband and have to monitor all his spending. It is exhausting and futile and I only get resentment and no appreciation for it and I can’t even let anyone know that it is happening. I can’t catch everything he does, he is sneaky. I’ve used the GPS on his phone to track his location and “caught” him. I’ve also caught him multiple times with secret burner cell phones after I began monitoring his call history on his normal phone (which I pay for). At one point we had a physical altercation in front of our children because I accidentally walked in on him with the secret phone and he hid it behind his back and would not show it to me. I cornered him. He was like a caged animal who would do anything to get away and it scared me. He pushed me into a wall and literally ran down the street without shoes on to get away from me and not show me the phone. Completely irrational and crazy. I kicked him out of the house that day (it was on Easter) but then later felt bad and asked him to come back and work it out. Almost every holiday is ruined with some memory of an altercation with him, because holidays are when I “catch” him because I am not at work. He turns things around on me, reacts with anger and insults me where he knows it will hurt me the most for example, somehow things are my fault because I have gained weight since having children, he is not attracted to me anymore- I know this has nothing to do with his gambling and I know that he says it to distract me from his problem but it is still very upsetting to me and ruins my self esteem and confidence over time. Now I have reached the point where I am becoming numb to his insults, but I frequently have nightmares where there is some terrible “secret” being hidden from me. A lot of the nightmares I have are about people close to me dying suddenly including my children. In the dreams, no one will tell me what has happened and I beg and beg them to tell me and finally I find out that my child has died and I wake up screaming. I’m glad that I stumbled upon this page, because reading the other stories has helped me to feel like I’m not alone and to get some of my thoughts out.


    I am the mom of a CG but can absolutely feel your anger, frustration and sadness. Living with an active CG is a nightmare. Their addiction brings chaos, drama and dysfunction into a family and leaves you wondering “how did this happen to us”.
    You are in a very tough spot. Can you get to a Gam Anon meeting? I know at mine there are a lot of suggestions for the financial issues. I see what you mean about it being hard not to enable him as you are the main provider but you don’t want to be responsible for the debt he is creating. Try and get the financial side looked after first and then deal with the rest.
    An active CG can and will take you down to the bottom if you let them.
    I am so sorry you are going through this … please take care of yourself and your kids! Keep posting.:)


    The picture you paint Pam, is one of chaos and dysfunction. The very opposite to what family life should/could be.
    I am a compulsive gambler who created havoc in my home and left a trail of destruction behind me, The lies and the secrecy have a greater effect than the actual gambling, on both the CG and the family.
    I suppose I was “lucky” in that it was I who gambled and not my husband. Otherwise we would be in prison now for non payment of bills mortgages etc.
    When violence and abuse creep into a relationship, it’s time to take serious action. It seems you’ re carrying the full responsibility for the marriage, the children and the living expenses.
    As a mother of now grown up children I can relate to your reaction to you husband’s sneakiness and deceit. Ideally, you should not spy on him or try to track his movement because CGs are experts at twisting things around and portraying ourselves as the victims -“look what he/she made me do”. This sadly will cause confusion for your children and force them to have divided loyalties .
    Until the CG admits he/she is powerless over gambling, nothing will change in the gambling world.
    As you rightly said, gambling is both delusional and an illusion so when you try to apply rational thought and words to an irrational situation, all you will end up with is more chaos, more abuse and more grief.
    Take ten steps back Pam and look at the things you can do.
    You CAN go to gamanon, as Worried mama suggested.
    You CAN stop paying all the bills and insist your husband pays his share.
    You CAN arrange Family Counselling and go with the kids, even if hour husband refuses to attend.
    You CAN seek legal advice regarding your rights and his duty as a husband and father.
    You CAN tell the kids to “ask daddy” when they look for outings and treats.
    You CAN draw up a plan explaining your intentions i.e. from now on the grocery bill/TV /internet bills will be halved-make a list of the “terms and conditions” and stick to them.
    You CAN never “call his bluff” unless you intend carrying out your threats.
    I know your husband is trying to be the “big man” by throwing shapes right now That’s the CG’s defence. I can guarantee that underneath that façade there lies a very scared little boy. Feeling out of control drives a CG to act tough but the time will come for him to face his demons and with his hand on his heart say “My name is ********I am a compulsive gambler”.
    Until that time comes Pam take a fool’s advice and remain silent. Words mean nothing to a CG. Action is what matters and from what you describe, you need to take urgent action.
    I wish you all the best in YOUR recovery.
    Just for today admit to yourself that YOU are powerless over your husband’s gambling.
    Stay close to this site.


    Thank you Vera, Worriedmama and Theone. It really helpful to have your feedback and support and it’s good to get the different perspectives from a cg and mother of a cg as well. Still struggling. But it is a cycle. I want so badly to believe that everything is ok, and we go through cycles where I can pretend that it is ok for awhile, but then I’ll become aware that more gambling has been happening the whole time. The longer it goes on I become afraid that I will start to see it as normal when I know that it is dysfunctional chaos. My husband and I haven’t really spoken very much for the past few days since I confronted about the most recent credit card activity. He did not apologize, or readily admit anything and would not give any insight into what was going through his head. Now we are just kind of going through the motions, trying to act normal in front of the kids but not really speaking to each other. This is not a normal way to live. I never expected or wanted my life to be this way.
    I am an accountant, and I have made a budget of certain household expenses he is to be responsible for based on the pay he takes home, but when it comes time to pay his share of the mortgage he does not have the money because he gambled it. I am not going to not pay the mortgage because I do not want us to lose our home, so I pay the whole thing. Each incident pushes me closer and erodes whatever love I once had for him. I’ve just been thinking over in my head how to tell his family, if I should tell his family? When/how to say that I want him to leave? What to tell the kids? Where will he go? etc. but I don’t actually do anything.


    Hi Pam
    You have taken action and now people are listening; you are no longer alone with your thoughts and you can be assured that everything you said is understood.
    You write that your husband doesn’t want his family to know about his problem and later you write that you have become really close to his family and you think you will lose them but you want them to know how bad his problem is so that they don’t blame you. I obviously cannot ‘know’ Pam but I would hazard a guess that his family are not completely in the dark. Even if they don’t know it is a gambling addiction they probably have seen behaviours that don’t add up to them but which they may find hard to talk about because they don’t want to upset you. The addiction to gamble is divisive; it splits families down the middle so that it can obtain enablement. It may well be that you husband has ‘borrowed’ from family member who are unlikely to get their money back – unless somebody ‘talks’ and opens the taboo subject everybody is possibly/probably keeping the secret and the secret corrodes.
    My first thought is therefore to talk to them while at the same time telling them that you are seeking support. I understand that ‘what to do’ is difficult so I would suggest that the subject of leaving him or throwing him out is left until you know what it is that you want to do and more importantly what you know you can carry through. I think that it is too early to say anything to the children because you are unsure about what you are prepared to do at the moment.
    From what you have said your husband is just paying lip service to you. I agree with a lot said in previous posts but I have never heard that stopping paying the bills so that he pays his share and/or writing ultimatums on finances works at all – and I don’t think that involving the children is good idea. I also think it is tough but necessary to ignore the scared little boy because that is what will bring your resolve crashing down. He probably is scared but then so are you and you are trying to protect your children as well. However childlike he is, he is capable of wrecking your life and the lives of those you love.
    You will find your ways through this Pam however desperate it feels, if it wasn’t so I wouldn’t be here writing to you now.
    Keep posting – it would be good to ‘meet’ you in the F&F group on Tuesdays between 20.00-21.00 hours UK time.


    Pammm I can empathize with your situation. It’s a really tough one, especially as it involves kids. All I can say it, ultimately, you know deep inside yourself what actions you should take to better the lives of yourself and your kids. Of course you also want the best for your husband but he really needs to step up for that to happen. The relationship is so one sided right now in that you’re the only person trying hard to make things work and he’s just being a little boy who is still in denial about his gambling and defends/retaliates when you expose his lies and problems. I know there are many logical and emotional things that stop your from making a decision. But you need to set a limit. How much more of this can you take? Can you really see any positive change happening in the near future? Because if not, things will only get worse and the situation will only get harder and harder to get out of. Like some other users have mentioned try attending a meetinf and speaking with other people who have gone through something similar to you. Try speaking with some relatives. I’m sure you will find clarity as to what you should do.


    Omg, this is crazy….i had no idea so many people….so much confusion, hurt, greif…etc…
    I am glad to have read this thread. It’s helping me understand my situation better.
    I nearly left my common law 3 times. First time was when we were new relationship. I have him my debit card to go get me smokes at the store or something – he came back (on Valentines) I had a nice gift to give him and he didnt seam happy for it. He told me he just drained $200 from my bank account to gamble. To try and win money to help his family in Europe. He said it was just supposed to be $20 but he lost and kept trying to get my money back for me.
    I lost it as I had to leave my previous engagement due to going bankrupt from that guys gambling AND drinking problem. Time #2 – we had a newborn baby and I gave him money because I got a good disability tax credit from gov and I wanted him to have some to get ahead and pay his bills. Nope gambled it! Big fight. Blah blah, made up….
    Iv’e always had suspicions in between but he always had a good answer but if not, the second answer was good and believed by me. Now the third time after living in a new city for 1.5 years and no catching him, but I did have a few suspicions, which of course he covered up. I have found out from my nephew that works with him that he has been going to the casino for the last year….FRIG!!!!! We are supposed to be getting married this August! I have to leave with our now 4-year-old and take my losses to this relatioship too. I call myself ThreeTimer because once with a stealing, drug smoking, alcoholic, little gambler, then an alcoholic gambler. Now a smoking cigarettes, fat belly unhealthy gambler…..
    I have no choice but to leave. I hate it. I love him! We have a gorg boy together. He is going to beg me to stay when I break the news, he is going to threaten. omg!!!! Right now i am getting all my ducks in a row to plan the flea with our son. I will NOT deny access to my son of course. Daddy loves him dearly and dito. It’s so hard. I just want him to stop and be a good partner and dad to us. No additions. Just healthy lifestyle like me…..


    Hi Three Timer

    the individual support is here for you but please start your own thread.

    I cannot support you on someone else’s thread

    Hope to hear from you soon


Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.