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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    So far my wife’s gambling has not impacted my daughter emotionally or physically.

    However, my wife has done a few terrible things in the past:

    1. She pawned her wedding ring and bracelet
    2. She wrote $15k worth of bad checks
    3. She borrowed money from friends and told them that I am a stingy husband not giving her money to spend
    4. She took money out of her employee’s club at her company where she is a treasurer. She eventually put the money back without anyone noticing
    5. She borrowed from loansharks and high rate credit cards companies
    6. One time she gambled for 48 hours non-stop after I left the house the first time

    Her credit is at 800 right now, which is almost flawless. It is like this because I always helped to payoff the debts because her debts were also my debts. Now with the legal separation I don’t know how long before she ruins her credit. But at least it won’t be my problem anymore.

    I don’t know if these actions are extreme or not or they are just the typical actions for the average compulsive gamblers.

    Yes, Velvet, I will try to not comdemn my wife anymore. I am in the process of trying to forgive my wife and what she has done to me, to herself and to our daughter. Not because I want to come back but I just want to move on and get rid of my anger. I just want to be able to accept things as they are.

    In buddhist’s teachings, when you marry someone, you owed that person something or harmed that person in your past life. The idea is that marriage is extremly difficult and people are only living togetther to back debts owed in previous lives. My mother-in-law told me that perhaps I owed her daughter something in my previous life and now I have done paying off this debt the last 10 years so now I can go free. I almost smile when I heard this. May be it is true 🙂


    Hi James
    Sadly your wife’s behaviour is fairly typical of a CG.
    Although I am not a Buddhist I do like many of the teachings but believing that we have to pay debts from a previous life is not one to which I could subscribe. I believe we have enough to deal with in this life and we have the gift of self-will to cope, how we use that self-will is down to every individual. You are trying to cope with a situation that you could not have foreseen and I believe from all you write that you are trying to do the best for all of you.
    I admire the way you are putting forward so many options when you must be totally confused by recent events. Does your state offer you the ability to sit round a table with your wife and legal representatives to calmly discuss what is right for your daughter such as the church based pre-school which sounds great and to my mind shows your willingness to accommodate different ways forward for all of you?
    I believe that your desire to forgive does you credit but it is early days. The following was written a few years ago by another member and may help.
    • Forgiveness isn’t condoning the behaviour.

    • Forgiveness isn’t forgetting what happened.

    • Forgiveness isn’t restoring trust.

    • Forgiveness isn’t synonymous with reconciliation.

    • Forgiveness doesn’t mean doing the other person a favour.

    • Forgiveness isn’t easy.
    Keep going as you are James – I believe the thoughts of many are with you


    I thought we could mediate. My proposal that she has my daughter for Fri, Sat, and Sun is very reasonable. She told my sister-in-law that I am using my daughter to punish her and that she would fight this in court. I just want the best for my daughter and have no thought of using my daughter as a revenge tool. I hope her lawyer is smart enough to mediate. Of course, she probably tells her lawyer that she doesn’t have a gambling problem. My wife has a very selective memory and the terrifying thing is that she believes her delusional version of reality. My sister-in-law is trying to convince my wife that my offer is very fair. I also offered to evenly split our assets which will be around $250k for each of us between the 401K balances and home equity. I am responsible for most of this money but that is fine. I just want to move on. I hope it doesn’t come to where I and my lawyer have to dig up all the financial records, callup friends and relatives to testify that she has borrowed money from them. Digging up the pawnshop records and pulling out bank statements where she had wrote badchecks. She also has numerous creditcard debts from high interest loan companies. I hope it doesn’t get nasty and we remain amicable to support our daughter. I will let you know what happens next.

    I was very reluctant to go through this divorce and was even thinking there might be a very small chance that we could be togetther for the sake of our daughter. I am determined to divorce her now.


    I don’t feel that you are condeming your wife at all, more so just the behaviour that we know frequently goes hand in hand with this addiction.
    Whether we love a partner, a son, a friend or a daughter or uncle Jack up the road with this addiction unmanaged, we know that the illness is progressive. I would imagine this to mean – it gets worse not better.

    Many of us here talk about our need and terrible decision to have to become estranged from the person we love. Not truly meaning them as a person but the grips of their addiction which go hand in hand. We recognise that we go down with that ship if we stay.

    Perhaps some compulsive gamblers do have a line they will not cross, perhaps they don’t. Perhaps the illness hasn’t progressed enough yet.

    Perhaps someone has been standing in the way minimising harm to their child which would no longer be a barrier when they leave.

    Perhaps all sorts of things !

    The truth is, none of us actually know what the true capabilities of the addiction are in your wife’s case or indeed any other.

    If as adults we make the decision that we need to be estranged from the addiction because of the damage it does to us and the consequences of staying within a destructive relaitionship and all that goes with that. Then how can we do a complete turn around and say that it may be ok for a very young child, with no knowledge and no understanding or influence over their own welfare and safety to do the same thing that we feel the need to get away from. That to me is double standards and very risky.

    I think you need to go with what you feel is right. Nothing is set in stone, visits can be supervised, things can progress as recovery progresses.



    Hi Jenny,

    I understand your point, why should I leave my wife for my own peace of mind and left my daughter there to possibly suffer the addiction?

    My wife has turned very combative, she called my brother’s wife and in a very loud voice and angry tone declared that her lawyer told her that she will win custody. She probably didn’t tell her own lawyer that she has a gambling addiction because she is still in denial. I think she is very angry at me right now. I left her, I tried to take her child away from her, she blamed me for her family turning against her. If I ask for total custody and give her only visitation, she will be much more angry and may use my child against me. I feel that she will not endanger our child. She could, at anytime drop off our daughter at her mom’s house. Yes, you mentioned the possibility that my wife’s addiction will get worst. That is my worst fear. I will discuss this with my attorney.



    I hope this works out ok for . I just have a few things to say. I am a compulsive gambler. My parents go divorced when I was very young . My father had me and my sister every other weekend. He would take us to the horse track every time we went to visit him. Sometimes only once some times twice when he would win the first night.My sister turned into an alcoholic . Myself I turned into compulsive gambler. I didnt stop until I could get any more money anywhere . my friends wouldnt talk to me anymore. You should thank whoever you give thanks to that you still have any money left at all . I would suggest you try to give your wife supervised visits until she is able to get better. You are really a very good person for trying to do what is right for everyone.


    Hi Mred,
    I am sorry that your father did this to you. I hope to help my daughter avoid the same fate. I hope she didn’t pick up the addiction genes from her mom.
    I wonder if I can request the judge to allow my wife to be with my daughter only in the present of her family and she is not allowed to take my daughter to any gambling establishment and that she will have to go through professional therapy. I will discuss this with my attorney. However it will take a longtime. What is frustrating about this is that my family is not very supportive of my decision. They all think I should give my wife another chance. Some think that I should leave my daughter with her because she’s not that bad. There is such a attitude against single fathers. I had my daughter for this weekend and she came down with a fever yesterday 10 hours after I picked her up from her mom. My family is blaming me and telling that I can’t take care of my daughter. I didn’t want to argue but an infection incubation period is at least a day, much more than 10 hour period to develop. They think i should remarry and leave my daughter with my wife and her family but i dont think i can do this. Deep down I don’t have any hope that my wife will turn her life around. I lived in fear and anxiety for 10 years already. When she went gambling at 6 month pregnant it shocked me and I knew that I made a major mistake. Some of my family also reminded me that I chose to come back to her and they have warned me. I know I made that decision and there is no need to remind me of that. I was wrong and I can’t change that. The only thing I can do now is to move forward with my plan so that I could protect my daughter.

    I will try to set up a meeting with a psychologist tomorrow to help me to deal with the grief of divorce and codependency issue. My grandparents raised me from the age of 3 to 10 away from my parents and I always hated that. I don’t know if that is the root cause of my anxiety and codependency issue or not.


    Hi James
    Living in a state of anxiety for 10 years is quite long enough and I think it is good that you are seeking on the ground support for yourself especially as your family appears to be lacking in support for you. The addiction to gamble is divisive and I certainly don’t see why a discussion to remarry would help you at the moment.
    This site can only really support you with the addiction to gamble and cannot comment on your legal system and/or the possibilities of what you could request from a judge.
    I noticed that you posted on Thursday when I was facilitating a live group which you would have been welcome to join – we could have communicated in real time if you had wanted to do so and maybe this is something for you consider in the future.


    Velvet is right James!
    You won’t get answers to legal issues here. Every country has its own laws in relation to child custody and marital breakdown. However, I think it is very helpful for you to express all your feelings and concerns surrounding this disconcerting matter.
    The mother /child relationship is a very strong bond and in most cultures it is almost revered. Irish Law always gave the mother priority custody until recently. Now the father’s rights are taken into consideration more which is a good thing (sometimes). I worked with “disturbed” children for 5 years . Of course it was mainly the parents who had problems and it was manifested in the children’s behaviour. I saw children from very troubled backgrounds having decisions made for them by court judges which often shocked me. The only advice I would give you is to keep your business strictly between yourself and your lawyer until decisions are made. Involving extended family members will create emotional responses and arguments which may be picked up by your daughter. She is at a very sensitive age for change. Try to keep her routine as normal as possible to protect her from this trauma.
    As a mother I would say your wife should be the primary carer of her baby.
    As a CG, I would say “don’t gamble with your child’s safety”!!!
    With the best of intentions the CG aspect of your wife’s personality could over rule her intentions to be the best mother in the world!
    Ensure your lawyer knows ALL her CG history. You will need documented evidence!
    I feel very sad to see what gambling has done to your little family!


    All I know is I am very glad my daughter didnt get the disease so far …she is 25 years old now and she has a somewhat nice boyfriend that she lives with. I hope everything works out for you.


    Here is an update on my situation. I have moved again. I moved from my sister’s house to my brother’s house which is only 2 miles away. He is single and non judgemental and not telling me what to do. Initially I thought my sister would be able to help me with my daughter but now I find her and her husband’s suggestions tiresome. I want to divorce my wife. I also don’t want any discussion about finding a new partner right now because it is too early. Suddenly I like the feeling of living alone right now. I don’t have to be responsible for anyone but myself and my daughter. It is lonely sometimes but also very peaceful.

    I will meet with a Psychologist for the first time tomorrow. I hope she can help me to deal with the challenges that I am facing.

    I have the ability to check to see how much my wife has lost during the last few weeks with bank account and credit check but I find the urge not as strong as before and I will try not to check them out. I also stopped talking to a friend who is my wife’s coworker to see if my wife is still missing work. I think it is pointless and may delay my own recovery. I hope this is a good sign. My Attorney assured me that any loss will be my wife’s problem. Luckily, we have no joint account. We will try to sell the house in a couple of months and split up our 401K balances. I am naturally a long term planner and I find myself worry about what my wife will do with the money. I hope she will buy a small condo so my daughter will have a decent and stable place to stay during the weekends. My wife will get about $140K cash [from the home equity] and about $140K in 401K but I worry that she will squander that money. I have no control over it but I worry anyway. I hope I can get let go of these thoughts soon. My uncle told me that I am a frugal person who plans far ahead so I will never be able to make it work with my wife. I think he is correct.

    I put my daughter’s name into a preschool waitlist for one of the best church based preschool in the area. Luckily, they are expanding the school and my daughter is now scheduled to attend there starting on September 2. I spent an hour there to check the facilities, observe the students and teachers and their interactions and I think it is a wonderful preschool. I visited four preschools and this is by far the best.

    Hi Mred, it is good to know that your daughter is OK so far. I read somewhere that children of compulsive gamblers have a 25% chance of inheriting the addiction genes. I hope my daughter doesn’t have it.

    Velvet, so far I am unable to join your live help session. I hope to make it this week.

    Vera, I think I am OK with my wife and her family taking care of my daughter during the weekend. I need a break too. I will have full legal custody. I will ask my attorney whether I could request the judge to ensure that my wife doesn’t gamble when she has custody of my daughter and she will not take my daughter to any gambling establishment. I also want the judge to request my wife to go through gambling therapy in order to have the rights to see my daughter during the weekends. Any violation could result in the complete lost of physical custody. My wife has been a wonderful mom so far but like you said she may get worst.


    hello james
    i need to tell you that from all your posts you are a strong man and mature . You can not unerstand it know but i feel it from all your story the strenght . Keep going james im so proud for you .My hb is a cg and the only thing i know is that our ff recovery needs time .Smile to your daughter and take power from her smile .with all my love ell


    Today when I drove my daughter back to her she told me that I should be ready to take care my daughter full time because she is applying within her company to move to an out-of-state location. Her company has many locations throughout the country. The current arrangement is that I have my daughter on the weekends and she has my daughter on weekdays but the arrangement changes in September when my daughter will be with me weekdays and with my wife on weekends.

    I believe this is an empty threat. It worked before for her a long time ago. She was in a gambling binge, I confronted her, she threatened to move and I backed down.

    Today my replied to her was “OK, I can take care of my daughter full time if that is what you want”. I was calm and did not react to her threat. My wife has told my brother’s wife that she doesn’t think I could take care of my daughter alone. It is certainly hard but I can. However, I don’t believe my wife will move away. If she does, I hope she moves to some place that doesn’t have casinos.

    I met with a therapist for a second time last week. She suggested that my childhood may have something to do with my codependency issue. I grew up my grandparents until 12 while my other sibblings lived with my parents. My grandfather was a family patriarch and he simply liked me and told my mom that I would live with him. My mom didn’t have any say. Although my grandfather loved me, my grandmother was cold and mean to me.

    My therapist also asked about my wife’s background. My wife’s father was also a compulsive gambler and caused her family financial troubles. My wife had to work early to support her mom. She moved to the US, worked full time while going to college to send money back to helped her family. She didn’t hang out with her college classmates either because she was working fulltime or because she didn’t fit in culturally and she was much older than most of them. She didn’t start gambling until her whole family moved here. My therapist said that my wife’s life burden was hard on her and initially she may have thought a little gambling can be harmless entertainment because she deserves it. My therapist told me that this is not to excuse my wife’s gambling problem but something that I should have knowledge of.



    My wife turned combative today. Suddenly she wants me to keep my daughter full time. She told me her mom doesn’t want to watch my daughter anymore since I want to have main custody. “You want to have custody so bad, why don’t you start now? You think it is easy?”, she said. She wants me to pick up my daughter now. I told her to give me a few days to find a baby sitter. She was very angry. I don’t know where it came from. Perhaps her mom is angry that I am going through with the divorce, it is also possible that my wife makes everything up to put pressure on me. I think she might have been angry at my nonresponsiveness to her threat to move. Frankly, I am not suprise at any of her antics and manipulation now. She is probably very angry. Mentally I am done with her. I am also surprise that I am so calm. Hopefully she doesn’t escalate the situation.
    I enrolled my daughter into a preschool (M to F) but it won’t start until September 2. It is certainly hard to find some place for 6 weeks but I will manage.

    What do you think? Is she trying to manipulate me again?

    Many thanks,


    Hello james
    Difficult paths….but you are so strong ..i admire your power.
    Well James I think yes she tries to manipulate you ….
    She is angry James because she can not handle the situation with you anymore. You stand up and now you are stronger and she is using all her weapons but not her real mind (the addiction speaks)..She tries to make you feel that you cannot manage your daughters protection and you will give up .. And why not beg at the end( don’t forget the addiction speaks) … And her mom is her mom James she will protect her daughter …

    Keep going james , you have enough on your plate but one day at a time you will manage the situation .
    Im from Greece and I work a lot and I have a girl 2.5 years old . I enrolled my daughter into a preschool but starts on September but we have private playgrounds (pay per hour)and private primary schools and I make the arrangement for 30 days only to keep my baby now the summer .Maybe you have there too .,…I cannot afford private school for all the months but just for one month I can . Maybe that helps you I don’t know..just a suggestion . Here in Greece we pay for month to a private school 300€ euros.
    When I learn that my hb is a cg the only thing that I did it is just to protect my daughter like you. I said something cruel to myself … I said: “ well ell find all the solutions and pretend he is dead , protect your daughter like he is dead, and when he will be back again he will find his daughter with no pain inside her. I’m not say to do the same thing I just telling what I did.
    As difficult it is of course and you can protect your daughter.
    We all here are with you …
    With all my love

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