Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family Why I continue to tolerate my wife’s gambling habit?

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    I just wanted to say I can totally relate to your post. I have been woefully late and updating my own thread but had to say something to you.

    I have the same issue as well ….I found out about my husbands gambling through a text message from a fellow gambler. And everything fell apart from there. So sometimes when I see his phone and there text on it I’m tempted to read them. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. But either way it gives me a serious panic attack. I have to tell myself that either way and regardless of what is going on with him I need to take care of myself and my children. Not that I’m a big advocate of medication but I do take xanax on occasion and it really does seem to help calm the panic. Do everything you can for yourself and for your child. Your wife gambling is totally up to her. You can’t control it you can only take care of yourself and your family. With much blessings and love



    My wife finally joined a Toastmaster club. It is a positive step and hopefully it aids her recovery. I don’t know how long she will stick with it. She has trouble making friends after coming to this country when she was 26. She didn’t speak English and when she was in college had troubles connecting with younger kids with American culture. I think her loneliness is the underlying problem here. I hope she will gain more confidence and social skills with Toastmaster. I have gone thru too many F&F cycles. I want to leave but my daughter is so young. Half of my wife take home income has gone to finance her gambling. Financially we are not too hurting because we are able to max out 401k contributions in hers and my accounts. We are also able to make the payments for our 15 year mortgage. I am angry about her lies and the rainy day fund that we should have but don’t. The last year, I don’t have any evidence that she is gambling and her credit check came up nothing. I have became too suspicious of everything which I know is not healthy for me. There are many occasions when I was so sure that she was gambling only to found out that she wasn’t. I want to join a support group or see a psychiatrist but have had the courage to. I hope to be able to encourage her to pick up healthy activities. I also want to go back to playing golf, and fishing with friends to help me recover from this.


    Don’t be to hard on yourself. It is understandable that you suffer anxiety based on the experiences that you have previously had.
    It would almost be more worrying if you felt no anxiety at al.

    Its a good thing (in my opinion) to maintain an awareness of what could happen again, there are no guarantees that it won’t. Maintaining the awareness however doesn’t mean it should consume your life as we are also aware that that we cannot control the actions of others.

    The anxiety, distrust etc has been built up over time and does not go away as soon as a recovery appears on the horizon. I too would have had the exact same thought on reading such a message as much as I wouldn’t have wanted to ! even I think if several years had passed – it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you.



    Hi James
    As I have written before to you, unfounded suspicion is not good for you or your wife.
    Coming to America unable to speak the language must have been a very difficult and lonely experience for your wife but it seems she is now trying to improve her life. If she is a compulsive gambler who has taken control of her addiction then she is to be commended because that takes great courage and leaves me wondering why you want to leave now?
    Did you look at Gamblers Anonymous 20 questions as I suggested? Is your wife displaying other addictive behaviour that you find unacceptable?
    If it is your anger and anxiety holding your recovery back then maybe a support group or psychiatrist would help you to cope better. You are financially stable and if, as it seems from your post, your wife is doing all she can to lead a decent life, what is stopping you playing golf or fishing with your friends?
    Post again soon James and look after youself.


    I just found out that I haven’t been crazy at all. My suspicions, turned out to be all true. Previously my wife usually worked in the morning and then took half a day in the afternoon to gamble. Now, she works two hours in the morning, gambles, and then come back to work. She has been calling me from her work place in the morning, and then calling me again before going home. My phone has caller ID so I thought everything was fine as long as she is at work. I can’t believe she would go through the troubles of leaving work mid day to gamble and then come back because the drive to the casino is 40 minute long.
    After she can’t lie anymore, she admited to owning loansharks at the casino a lot of money. I asked how much, she refused to say. I asked if it is $50k, she said more. These loansharks don’t report debts in the credit system so credit checks turned up nothing.
    I have been warning her that this is the last chance so I took my daughter to my sister house which is more than an hour away. She agreed to let me take my 2 year daughter. I know now she will go on a binge with her borrowing from banks since she has zero debts through creditcard companies and banks right now.
    I am looking for a lawyer to hopefully and officially gain temporary custody of our daughter and financial separation from my wife so that her gambling debts are hers alone. I hope to have enough courage to go thru the divorce. I can’t imagine going back again. My 2-year old daughter appears to miss her mom last night. I am praying. For me and my daughter, I want to go through this. My mother in law has been taking good care of my daughter so it is hard to take my daughter away from her. My mother in law begged to allow her to watch my daughter but I don’t want to see my wife again and my sister’s house is more than an hour away. My wife is so good with taking care of my daughter. I need to learn real fast. I am not sure what to do now. I feel so empty after we have been togetther for 15 years.

    Before I took my daughter away yesterday. My wife went on a relentless personal attack against me and how she shouldn’t have married me. I have done nothing but being supportive and tried my best to keep the family appears normal. I know I am far from perfect but I don’t deserve much of her accusations.

    Velvet, my fishing and golfing hobbies take about 5-6 hours per outing. Two years ago, my wife went gambling whenever I was out so it gives me a lot of anxiety.

    Thank you Jenny, Velvet and all of you for understanding what I am going through and giving me advice. Reading your posts has been very good therapy for me.


    Hi James
    I am indeed very sorry to hear the turn of events in your life. Financial separation certainly seems to be the way forward for you.
    I realise how great the betrayal is that you feel but please bear in mind that your wife did not ask for, nor did she want her addiction – she will not have deliberately hurt you or her child however much her behaviour suggests otherwise. It is a terrible addiction that she owns.
    It is good that you appreciate how good your wife is with your daughter – I hope in time your daughter will learn about the addiction that hurts her mother and that she can be helped to understand. I appreciate your anger at the moment and the feeling that you do not want to see your wife again but your daughter is not old enough to make such a choice and in my opinion deserves the right to make up her own mind when she is old enough.
    I wish you, your daughter and your wife well James – I know you are making uncomfortable decisions and that the outcome of your relationship is not the one that you wanted. Unfortunately the addiction to gamble is very strong and proves too much for some. I know that however much you love someone, sometimes loving them is not enough.
    I hope we hear from you again and that you all pull through this terrible time. Your wife is to be pitied not blamed but I know this takes time.


    Hello James!
    I am a CG.
    If you were my husband, I would hope that you would have me banned from the casino and report those illegal moneylenders to the police!
    She is dealing with criminals! She must be desperate for money.
    Maybe she needs to go to rehab?
    I fully understand how distressing all this is for you especially when you have a young baby.
    Every time my husband discovered I was gambling behind his back, I would immediately “attack” him and throw up all his bad points . That’s a CG’s defence.
    I hope and pray things work out for you and your little family.
    Divorce is not the answer to gambling addiction!
    There is a lot of help available!


    Never ignore your gut instincts again. You may not always realise their true meaning – but they will always be right.
    Don’t go with the crap, go with what you feel, I guess you have learned that now ?

    Maintain your awareness




    Thank you again for your understanding and support. My wife, home alone and with nothing to hide anymore, is on a gambling binge. Her brother let me know about this. The last couple of days my daughter has been with me and I know I can’t give her the good care than my wife or my mother-in-law and her aunt can. I have arranged with my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law to pick my daughter up on Sunday and they will keep her for now. Going forward I don’t know what to do, here are my possible three options, keep in mind that my work place is near my sister’s house which is a little more than one hour from my current house which is very close to my mother-in-law house.
    1) Have my mother-in-law and aunt take care of my daughter. I will live at my sister place and pick my daughter up only for the weekend. My wife will visit there as needed. Not sure if my wife will agree with this or not since she will want to have full custody.
    2) My wife will have custody but of course, during the day my mother-in-law will take care of my daughter. My most immediate concern is what happens when my wife hits bottom. Will she be crazy enough to harm herself and my daughter? My family thinks a mother can’t harm her own daughter but I worry about this possibility.
    3) My daughter stays with me. Not sure if the court will be OK with this. But as I have mentioned before, I will have to use a baby sitter or Kindercare, none of which is better than my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law.

    Right now I am leaning toward number 1 in the short term and long term. Yes, you are right, I have no right to take my daughter away from my wife. I want what is best for my daughter. This morning she woke up and appeared to look for her mom. It is heart breaking to see her misses her mom. Right now she is young enough to not notice my wife’s gambling but what happens when she grows older? Can I get custody when she goes to school or at around 7 or 8 year old age?

    Which ever option going forward, my daughter will miss a lot of love either from me or my wife. This hurts me the most. The fact that I or my wife won’t be with her everyday is a big loss for her.

    Of course, the best option is for my wife to quit gambling and we are togetther to support my daughter. I have so little hope for this outcome. I can’t live in fear and full of anxiety anymore. The court will probably order us to go through marriage counseling and my wife through therapy or at least wait for a period of 6 months before the final divorce. I don’t know, my wife could tell me that she is all better and I go back. I have done this before after a month separation from my wife so it could happens again. Last time we didn’t have my daughter so this time there are even more reasons for me to go back. However, I am not full of optimism this time that I could “fix her”. I have learned that I can’t fix someone’s addiction. Deep down, I know my wife problem is too great and there is little hope that she will quit.

    I don’t know if my present in the past has prevented my wife from hitting bottom. I was always there to handle her debts, telling her that tomorrow will be better, to give her a sense of normalcy and stability. This time I hope I have the courage to let her hit bottom with or without the intention of going back to her.

    My father-in-law was a compulsive gambler so my wife probably inherited the addiction genes. My mother-in-law went through I am experiencing right now. He, however, quit and stayed clean after she took the kids and went away. I am not sure if he quit because of a desire for a better life or the lack of income?


    I’m not sure where you are in the world but when I got divorced, my youngest child’s welfare was the court’s primary concern. Everything revolved around him first, where he was going to live, how we would both support him financially, access was not an issue. It might be worth finding out the law of the land in relation to child custody?
    My cg is my son and letting him drop to rock bottom was heart wrenching possibly one of the most distressing experiences in my life.
    No one can tell you what to do, but reading this post I think you have possible made up your mind already. Keep strong for your daughter’s sake.
    I am a child minder as well and I think the little boy I look after (4 years old) is well adjusted so if you go down that route a good child minder can be a good option. Best wishes San


    Hi James
    Your mind must be bouncing all over the place at the moment but with your wife on a gambling binge it is important that you keep yourself safe and strong for the sake of your daughter.
    It seems to me, from reading you post, that your mother-in-law will have a capacity for understanding you and your situation better than most. For me the greatest support came from someone who had suffered from the addiction to gamble in her life but had moved on to live in peace and happiness. Do you and your mother-in-law have a good relationship?
    I cannot tell you what to do but I do recommend keeping a journal so that you have your thoughts and memories clear. The addiction to gamble is secretive and therefore emotional abuse is hard to prove but if you can keep your daughter’s welfare at the fore-front of your mind, I believe you will make the right decisions.
    You will never know if your presence prevented your wife hitting rock bottom – there are many things with this addiction for which a loved one will never receive any answers but given time such answers are not material. What matters is that you stay safe and deny the addiction any opportunity to bring you down.
    You are right, you cannot ‘fix’ your wife but there is always hope that she will control her addiction. Unfortunately loving a CG does not give them normality and stability – only the CG can do that. You can point her in the right direction though, perhaps to this site, GA, or a dedicated counsellor. Our helpline is here for her as it is for you; she would be welcome in our CG only groups and in ‘My Journal’ forum.
    I cannot advice you on which course of action is right for your daughter but I can see by your post that you are working hard at doing the right thing. Can you talk to your mother-in-law about support for you and your daughter; is she aware of the extent of her daughter’s addiction? In my opinion, physical support is so important for you James – I know in the UK the mother always seems to be favoured over the father so I believe that it is best to have understanding female assistance.
    It is not symptomatic of the gambling addiction that a CG deliberately hurts but they can neglect because their minds are full of addiction and as such I feel your child does need protecting while her mother’s mind is not working with logic and reason.
    Your write that your father-in-law ‘was’ a CG but there is no cure for this addiction. Your wife can learn to control her addiction and live a truly wonderful life but she needs the right treatment and understanding.
    Keep posting – you are doing well


    San, Velvet, Jenny,

    My wife picked up my daughter yesterday. When my daughter saw my wife, she was so happy that she jumped into my wife and kissed her non stop. I think it is best that my daughter stays with my wife with the help of my mother-in-law and her aunt because it is the option with the least disruption and changes to my daughter’s daily routine. Of course, I will be missing but it is better than my daughter missing three care takers. I will try to visit her as regularly as possible.

    There is one thing I can do, to again trying to help my wife. Hopefully, this won’t bring me back to the deep of codependency, please give me some advice on whether this is OK to do or not:
    Two years ago, one day on a hunch, I knew my wife was gambling so I went to the casino and she was there. I talked to the security people and they kicked her out. She didn’t know I did it. She has never gone back to that casino again. Keep in mind that she signed self-banned forms with all of these casinos but they still allow her to play unless a family member asks them to enforce it then they won’t be able to pretend that they didn’t recognize her. I know that they know exactly who are the problem gamblers but turn a blind eye. I have a friend whom I talked to yesterday and he can let me know when my wife leave early for gambling. I wonder if it would helps her if I go to the casinos while she is gambling and ask security to kicked her out until everyone of them has kicked her out once. I don’t know why she didn’t go back to the casino that kicked her out, whether if it was the embrassment or whatever it was, it helped for at least one of the casino that is closest to her. I want to do this for my daughter. Am I trying to do too much here? Please let me know.

    San, I live in Southern California. The court here will also tries to do what is best for my daughter.
    Velvet, yes, I have a good relationship with my mother-in-law who has been supportive. My father-in-law has been gambling free for over 20 years.
    Today I will go to the gym again and go out for a massage. I know I am still in the midst of this codependency problem because I still think about my wife’s problem too much.


    Ideally your wife should be self banning, James but maybe at this point, she is not able to do that.
    I think 99% of people here will advise you not to get involved, but, personally, I would have been VERY grateful if my husband had taken that step. It would have saved me lots of grief, stress, and thousands of euro! I would see it as intervention. CGs sometimes need others to move in and help in the same way you would take the victim of a car accident to a hospital.
    I know of a woman who’s husband had her banned. She never darkened the door of those casinos again and it made her realize she was becoming infamous! The security guy raised his voice and said “OUT!” the first time she entered and with all the customers turning their heads to look at her it sure made her leave fast!
    It only took one visit to get her to stop…..
    Getting your wife to join GT, as Velvet suggested would be a very positive move.


    Hi James
    I cannot say whether walking into a casino and getting security to throw your wife out would make a difference but if you asked me would I do it based on your past experience- the answer is yes.
    I was horribly criticised for driving my CG to the doorstep of the rehab and accused of treating him like a child but if I had not done so he would never have arrived. I knew I was going the extra mile and it could have backfired on me but sometimes we have to do what we feel is right.
    Your mother-in-law sounds as though she could be a brilliant sounding board for your thoughts especially as you both have the same goal. Work with her James and all the family members who are willing to support you – a united front is a terrific club with which to beat the dreadful addiction to gamble.
    You are going to the gym and having a massage which to me says you are giving your brain some free time and that is fine and possibly all you could ask of yourself at the moment. We cannot turn our feelings on and off like taps and I would be surprised if you were not thinking about your wife – this does not in itself make you co-dependent.
    Did you print off the GA 20 questions?
    Keep posting and asking anything you want to ask – we will do our best to support you.
    Well done on all you are doing


    Hi Velvet,
    Yes, I read the GA 20 questions. I sent my wife the link. I am not sure if she pays attention to it or not. If I were to answer them for my wife, the answer would be yes for all of them. But I am sure she will answer them differently. My wife attended GA Anonymous 5 years ago after I left her the first time. At that time she was also seeing a psychiatrist and I think was able to stayed gambling free for a year. My wife finds GA anonymous members to be too rough for her and their problems much worst than hers. She stopped attending after three months.

    During her last 10 years. She has one year and a three year periods of gambling free. She was free of gambling 2.5 years before we got married and then 0.5 year after after we got married, a miscarriage at 11 weeks drove her back to the casino. It was this 3-year gambling period that gave me hope. But now I am not so optimistic any more.

    Vera, Velvet,
    Yes, when I have the opportunity, I will ask security to throw my wife out of the casino. If not for me, at least for my daughter.

    I have an appointment to see a lawyer tomorrow and hope to go to court soon for financial separation and hopefully she will be responsible for her own gambling debts. I have to be financially strong so I can provide for my daughter.

    If I send her the link of this website, she may read this post and know it is me for sure eventhough my name is different. This will rat out the coworker that has been reporting to me about her absentism and she will know exactly what I think. Is there a similar site that I can send her?

    Many thanks,

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