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    • #181392
      melanie
      Participant

      Hi, i’ve been a lurker here for a couple of weeks and would like to get your thoughts. Sorry if my post is long. My ex-fiance is a gambling addict. We were together for 5 and a half years, engaged for 6 months. Our wedding was 5 months away when he admitted to being deep in debt because of online gambling. I had no idea that he had this problem; not once did he mention he was playing it out of curiosity until it eventually got out of hand. He hid it from me for a little over a year until the money we had put in our joint account for the wedding was gone. This hadn’t been an alarming instance for me since he put in most of the money since his income is significantly higher than mine, but i would notice that he sometimes gets from that account then he’d return it after a couple of weeks. It was only this last instance before he was caught that he wasnt able to return it and our account was about to be closed. He confessed after I took a screenshot of the balance and asked what happened, because I made it clear that the money I was putting in there was supposed to be for our wedding rings and was also a gift to us. Right off the bat, I was calm but very angry and immediately went into problem solving mode. I set aside what I felt about the revelation, and focused on helping him. He knew before we even started our relationship that trust was a non-negotiable for me, and i told him that he lost it by keeping this from me for over a year.

      He said I needed to take money away from him, so I said I’ll handle it. We don’t live together, so when we got to video call after my work, he was so depressed and said he thought about ending his life many times before admitting the problem to me, but backtracked because he found out his personal loans would get transferred on to his beneficiaries.

      I have a background in addiction because of my brother, who we thought was an alcoholic, and our family went to a couple of counseling sessions. Turns out he’s bipolar and is taking medication. A close uncle is also a recovered drug addict, sober for decades now, but I saw how it ruined families. I knew right off the bat that it’s a disease, and it’s scary and unpredictable, but i did not have enough knowledge in knowing how to effectively help now, being the partner of an addicted loved one.

      I told him that I was canceling the wedding (he just wanted to postpone, but the contracts didnt allow an indefinite date, and the window was short before bigger penalties could be imposed) that same week because we can’t put a deadline to his recovery, we don’t have the money anymore, and frankly, I need time to think about it because its a big problem, and it will be for the rest of our lives. I asked if he wanted to self-exclude and he said yes, so I facilitated that for him by giving him the forms and sending it out. He made the decision to self-exclude for 5 years and went into looking for a local GA and counselor.

      I ended up not handling his finances because he had self-excluded anyway, and he was scared to break that because he knew someone who tried to break it and was caught. We agreed on sending screenshots of his pay slip and payments for loans. Luckily (or not. At this point, I’m not sure), all of his loans were from the bank (mix of credit cards, housing, salary, personal, and insurance) and his brother. No loan sharks. The loans were huge compared to his earning capacity, and it was clear that it will take him years before he can dig himself out of this hole.

      After 3 months of contemplating whether I should stay or not, all while keeping contact like normal and trying to find solutions to our problems, I told him that decided that I would stay because if the tables were turned, he’d help me get through this. It was difficult for him to be with me because my family didn’t approve of him, but he stayed and worked it out anyway, and eventually got the family’s blessing before he proposed to me. I fought hard for him behind the scenes, too, because he’s the love of my life. We had an amazing relationship pre-gambling, and I know he was also fully invested emotionally for us. We knew from the start of the relationship that we’d end up getting married and both of us were almost there. Pre-gambling, he’s the most charismatic, trustworthy, loving, patient, understanding boyfriend ive ever had. I always felt lucky we found each other and we were very happy to work everything out to make us reach our goal to get married and finally live together like we always wanted.

      I was away for a family emergency when I told him that I’d stay and work it out. When I got back and saw him a week after, there was a strand of hair longer than mine (and his) that was in the toilet in his bedroom. That broke me. He said he didn’t know where it was from, probably from his brother or sister in law when they stayed over during the holidays. I told him, „that was 21 days ago. It’s right there in the toilet, are you trying to tell me you didn’t flush for 21 days because you obviously did. I don’t know is not an answer,” because at that point, the trust was gone. He lost the benefit of the doubt. I knew I could accept him for his addiction and be there for him in whatever capacity he needed, what I could never accept is cheating. Had he not lied about the gambling from me for over a year, and I saw the hair, I wouldve given the benefit of the doubt, of course. At that point, I forgave him still. But I could never shake off the feeling of him lying to me about other things. I struggle with overthinking and anxiety when triggered, and if this wasn’t the atomic bomb of all triggers, I don’t know what is. About 3 weeks after that incident with the hair, I left. I told him it wasn’t working out because I couldn’t trust him and he didn’t have the space to work it out with me. I told him to sell the ring to pay off the loans. I also told him I’ll get the dog (that I gave to him from my dog’s litter) because he might not be able to afford the vaccinations, food, emergency, etc. He didn’t want to give it back, so I said okay, but if you start to date other people, I’d get him back because he’ll be left alone a lot of the time. I treat my dogs like my children, so I also couldn’t stand some other girl holding my dog. He just laughed and said how can I think of dating someone else with my problems. So I left the dog for the meantime so he won’t feel so alone.

      Those 3 months (from when I found out until I left) were fights and stonewalling–rinse and repeat. That was more than we ever fought in the 5 and a half years that we were together. In one of our fights (pre-hair and pre-breakup), he said that he didn’t want to define our future because that would be too rash; that maybe we needed to heal as individuals and talk once we’ve reached that point. I got so scared I was gonna lose him, but he had a point. I explained to him that when my brother was in recovery, everyone else gave up on him except me. It put so much strain in our relationship that now, we barely even talk despite living in the same house. We used to be the best of friends, and now, we barely talk. I didn’t want that to happen to us because I knew the cycle, I didn’t want to lose myself and lose us having a future together once we’re both better. After a long talk, we agreed to still stay together because he was alone and we love each other so we’ll fight for it. It was the most vulnerable, open, and communicative I’ve seen him in our whole time together so I was happy and thought we could do this if he’s always this open. Before, I would have to drag it out of him. During that conversation, I just lay down on his lap, just listening to what he had to say and it was a lot. I was so happy and relieved. At this point, he was also going to virtual GA meetings almost everyday so I thought he was making good headstart.

      I now know through months and months (pre and post breakup) of watching youtube channels about recovery, this forum, and many podcasts that my way of helping wasn’t helping at all. He wasn’t ready to look at the financial impact of it, while I was focused on that because I thought I couldn’t help him with his steps. I suggested ways to get extra income by renting out his house and move back to his family, selling the house, selling the engagement ring, or get an online job. I was concerned because all his income would go to loan repayment and I don’t know where he’ll get money for food and transportation. All nothing to him. He said he’ll take action when he’s ready, but for right now, he’s just happy that he’s able to wake up everyday and live one day at a time. He didn’t want to sell the ring because it’ll take him further away from me, but I said it’s just a ring, we’re still together. If it means that much, we can buy another one when we have money, our priority now is getting your loans paid. I understood, but I felt so helpless and desperate. I became a nag, and I didn’t want to be that way to us.

      We didn’t communicate for 2 months after the breakup, until my feelings caught up with me. Right after the breakup, I had to keep myself together for my closest cousin’s wedding, who I consider my younger sister. I knew I had to keep myself from falling apart because our weddings were supposed to be a month apart, and we were supposed to honeymoon together. After the wedding, I, expectedly, came apart and regretted my decision to leave. It was the time I needed to gain clarity that my ex matters to me more than anything. I thought I wanted children so bad, but it turns out, a bigger priority for me is my ex and our relationship. He said he’s committed to his recovery, and i felt so guilty for leaving him alone. So I asked for him back and he didn’t want to at that time because he can’t be distracted from his recovery. He said he doesn’t know if he loves me, or if we even have a future together. I said I understood that he still doesnt have space for it, but please reach out to me when you’re ready to talk. I knew we’d still talk because it’s part of the steps. I also saw my ring being posted online by a girl I never heard of, after i asked for him back. It’s like someone punched me in the stomach. She works in the same company as my ex, but I never heard her name nor was she part of his group of friends from work who I’ve met. A couple of months after that, my best friend saw them together but my ex, very blatantly, avoided walking past them. They weren’t holding hands, but they seemed pretty close. I told him over the phone that I’d get the dog back, but he didn’t want to give it but I said I’ll get him anyway. I asked if he’s dating the girl who’s selling my ring, and he said, I don’t know. I took that as a yes, so on his suggested date, I was going to pick up the dog but he left. I was able to convince him to go back to his house because I was almost there anyway.

      He looked so dejected when I saw him, I wanted to hug him right away but I couldn’t because knowing him, he wouldnt want me to. So we talked, and I said I just want to cut ties with him since he clearly doesn’t want me in his life and I want the dog back so I don’t need to worry about anything happening to him–if he’s being fed, if hes being left alone far more often since he doesn’t work from home. And he said he’s committed to being single for at least 2 years, and that he doesnt want to bring anyone down with him and his addiction. He has the tendency to shut down his emotions to survive, and he did say that he is shut down most of the time. He’s not letting anyone in. I said he can’t do recovery alone, and if he lets himself, i can help him for whatever he needs. He said he has friends who send him groceries every month; he goes out but not so often because that would mean that other people are gonna pay for him and he feels small. He also said when i told him id stay, he appreciated it so much that he made a promise to himself that he’ll commit his whole life to me. At that point, i almost broke down because of the guilt. He said you shouldn’t have returned the ring, that was the most painful part. And again, I said it was for your loans so you can pay them off if you sell it. I can sell it if you want me to, but he didn’t want that. He also said that I could’ve asked for more time instead of breaking up, and he’d understand. I explained that I couldn’t even see where I was standing, much less what was in front of me, and I felt so alone because I couldn’t trust you. I asked if he’s moved on from us, and he said he doesnt want to, but he also doesnt know if he loves me. I said I’ll wait for him, and he said not to because its gonna pressure him. He said he has forgiven me for leaving, but he cant forget. He doesnt know if he can trust me not to leave when things get hard for us again in the future. And that just validated what i felt when i asked for him back the first time. Towards the end of the conversation, he said that he wants to move on (which confused me because he said at first that he didnt want to) and he proposed that i can get the dog on weekends. After a few days, I messaged him that I can’t see him every week, twice a week to get and return the dog and not also not want to be with him. So that’s a status quo for now. I just send him minimal support for dog food and grooming and told him everything I wanted to say via text message but didn’t get a reply, which was expected.

      Now, I’m confused about his state of mind. I have a feeling he is dating that girl, and after I left his house, I felt manipulated and gaslit. How did everything become my fault? I asked what step he’s in now, and he said „6?” in a confused tone. So I’m nervous that he’s also just abstaining and not working true recovery which requires deep introspection and vulnerability. I congratulated him on being 9 months sober and he was caught off guard, I don’t know if it’s because he didn’t expect that I’d remember, or if he relapsed, or he’s still holding on that his sobriety date is November 13, despite me correcting him that it was the 19th based on the bank timestamp. I used to say correct it for your GA, and he said no need as long as he isnt gambling. It’s just an overall, hard situation– both letting go and holding on to hope is hard. Especially when the person you love isn’t sure about what he feels. Is that normal? I read in some threads and watched in some videos that after a couple of months, your brain starts to „heal” itself from the addiction and gives you more clarity than when you were in active addiction. I just want to have hope that what we have is strong that he’d want to come back, but I’m not sure if that’s possible with addiction. It’s just so painful that I am willing to forgive him with far more mistakes than a technicality of asking for time vs. breaking up.

    • #181412
      Antonio
      Moderator

      Welcome here and thanks for starting a thread in the Gambling Therapy forums.

      You’re not alone in suffering distress as a consequence of a friend or family member who gambles. As well as exploring ideas for how to help the person you’re worried about – reaching out for some support yourself is also a really important step.

      Here at Gambling Therapy, we pride ourselves on being a caring and diverse online community who can help and support you with the difficulties you’re currently facing. We understand that this might be a tough time for you, so come here as often as you need to and participate in the forums, access online groups and connect to the live advice helpline if you need one to one support. We’re in this together!

      Here on the forum, you can share your experiences in a safe, supportive and accepting environment. The beauty of writing it all down is that you can take your time and you will be creating a record of your progress that you can look back on if it ever feels like you’re not moving forward. So, share as much or as little as you like but do try to stick to keeping just one thread in this forum, so people know where to find you if they want to be updated on your progress or share something with you.

      As well as the forums New Members are invited to join us in the Advice Groups for friends and families on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 19:00 (UK)

      And on that note….

      I’m going to hand you over to our community because I’m sure they will have some words of wisdom for 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!

    • #181454
      velvet
      Moderator

      Hi Melanie

      It took courage to write your first post, well done. I would imagine it was difficult but I hope it helped to get the words out and to realise now that someone is listening and understanding.

      I think you have done well putting a distance between you and his addiction. A gambling addiction tries to overwhelm and confuse as a means of getting enablement. You now have time to take back control of your own life and know what it is that ‘you’ want.

      You ask „How did everything become my fault?” A gambler has to face his poor behaviour and take responsibility for his actions when he determines to control his addiction – I suspect your ex-fiancé is not ready for that yet, blaming you and the world is much easier.

      I cannot offer any thoughts on whether or not he has turned to someone else but as long as you have so many doubts, in my opinion, you are safer apart.

      The fact that you had an amazing relationship pre-gambling is good although it is always hard to tell when a gambling problem has turned into an addiction. A compulsive gambler can be and often is, an amazing person but unfortunately the addiction to gamble is destructive and selfish.

      You say you love this man and want to support him which is great for him, he is very lucky to have you on his side even if he can’t appreciate it – yet.

      Your feelings are not abnormal but if you are going to offer your ex-fiancé on-going support then it is important that you keep your feet on the ground. Keep in touch with your friends and family, don’t give up on your interests and hobbies and keep posting. I see that you have dogs which are the most wonderful distraction, what breeds have you got? A journal is a great way to mark progress and you have made a good start with your first post.

      You are right that abstinence is not recovery and it might be that he would benefit from further support; maybe you could encourage him to join this site. We have an excellent group for gamblers facilitated by Charles where your ex-fiancé will be welcomed and understood. If you decide to do this and you don’t want your username to be recognised by him then it can be changed – just call our Helpline. Our Helpline is there for you and your ex.

      It would be great if you could join me in a Friends and Family group, either on Tuesday or Thursdays evenings 19.00-20.00 UK Time where we can communicate in real time. These groups are private and safe, nothing said in a group appears on the forum.

      Keep posting

      Velvet

      • This reply was modified 9 months, 1 weeks ago by velvet.
    • #181479
      melanie
      Participant

      Hi, Velvet. Thanks for taking the time to reply. I have 6 shih tzus and 1 mixed breed. I love them all like my own children and have been a huge comfort to me throughout this whole time.

      I have consulted with my uncle who’s more than a decade (nearing 2 decades, I think) sober with drugs and very actively involved in our local Celebrate Recovery. I explained everything to him and gave valuable insight as to what my ex might be going through.

      There’s still a lot of pride and isolation going on, which may point to not being in real recovery, only abstinence. He advised me the same thing you did, to take care of myself and if it helps me, to get the dog back despite possibly leaving my ex in a spiral because what he needs are people, and not use the dog as an excuse not to do the internal work. He could barely afford his own food, and is not in the position to take care of another life. I should also be ready to let go and let my ex come to me when he is okay and will consider to give him the dog back once I see that there are significant changes towards healing and true recovery. He told me not to worry about him reaching out– if he’s in real recovery, he will reach out because I am the one that was most affected by his gambling and it is part of the 12 steps. He has chosen not to tell his family, only 1 out of 2 brothers know. Right now, my uncle said, he’s showing me that he doesnt need me in his life and might be running to other people who barely know him or accept the facade he’s putting up which isn’t helpful to his recovery. He is turning to other people who will feel sorry for him and possibly enable him. He said its important to send a message that i know what im dealing with when it comes to recovery, and he will realize that one day. He also might be too focused on the financial problems involved and probably can’t work on real recovery which may come later when he sees that all of the financial solutions I brought up when we were together are the only options that he has. If he’s playing the victim, he hasn’t accepted that he is the problem. He hopefully will realize it one day, if he’s able to continuously and sincerely work out the 12 steps, that despite what it looks like now, it is the kind of help that he needs.

      It’s hard to apply the tough love approach, but my uncle said that’s what my ex needs right now and would also love to get your thoughts on this? I’m scared he might spiral and possibly take his own life if I don’t return the dog on our scheduled date. I’m too scared to be the reason for his possible spiral and rock bottom. I plan to remove our connections on all social media if I get the dog and just retain my cellphone number for him to be able to reach me when he is ready to. Hoping to get your thoughts on this because I feel like it’s about to get really messy, depending on how well he’s able to take it.

      Thank you for your offer of pointing him towards this group, but we live in a different country. It’s nice to have found this forum on my own since where we live, not a lot of support is readily available for F&F. It has been a huge help and I’m sure for countless other people too.

    • #181501
      velvet
      Moderator

      HI Melanie
      Your uncle sounds invaluable, I’m so pleased he is there for you.
      Tough love is exactly what it says but the word love is important.
      Whatever the outcome Melanie, you are not responsible for your ex’s actions.
      A compulsive gambler can never walk away from a gamble until all is lost and sometimes only the pain that comes with that loss is enough to cause the gambler to face his demons. Sadly those who love gamblers often have to allow their loved one to feel that pain. Many unwittingly enable hoping to mitigate the almost inevitable pain and in doing so help to keep the addiction alive. In doing so they are not responsible for the addiction or the pain, that responsibility lies only with the gambler. Only he can seek true recovery.
      If your ex is still attending GA and trying to work the 12 steps, I am sure there will be people in his group who are aware of his progress, so he is not alone.
      I don’t know what to say about the dog. The dog (as I am sure you agree) is the one creature he can be honest with, the one creature who will not and cannot enable him but can give him love however, if the dog is looking malnourished or neglected, then I think it is right to take him back.
      Cutting lose can and often does cause spirals of poor behaviour but hanging on, when the addict is not seriously seeking true recovery, will almost certainly be dangling the offer of future enablement. There is no point in making ultimatums to a gambler, who is a master of threats, unless you know 100% that you are willing to carry them through.
      I am still confused about the part the girl plays in all your concerns. Your ex has not made the right noises regarding her and although he might just be seeking enablement elsewhere, I think you must be aware that I can have no idea what is actually going on.
      I will leave this reply here for now, but please keep posting.
      I repeat what I said at the beginning, whatever the outcome, you are not responsible for your ex’s behaviour, nothing you could have done or said would have prevented his addiction, you cannot stop him gambling, you can only point him towards good support and you have done that.
      Velvet

    • #181507
      melanie
      Participant

      Hi, Velvet. Thanks again for taking the time to reply. I’ve been thinking about the best course of action and your insight is highly valuable in forming my decision, along with others.

      – If your ex is still attending GA and trying to work the 12 steps, I am sure there will be people in his group who are aware of his progress, so he is not alone: I think he still is, but I’m not entirely sure. I caught him possibly lying or just a simple mistake when he said he’s been attending in-person GA meetings on Saturdays but when I checked the schedule online, it was actually Sunday. I wouldn’t know for sure unless I show up where they meet and I don’t want to do that.

      – The dog (as I am sure you agree) is the one creature he can be honest with, the one creature who will not and cannot enable him but can give him love however, if the dog is looking malnourished or neglected, then I think it is right to take him back.: I certainly agree with this 100%, and he had said when we talked a month ago that he’s the only one my ex has, and my taking him back will definitely send him into a spiral thats why i left it with him for the meantime. I explained that i gave it to him under the premise that we would be living together anyway so it wouldn’t be really letting it go, until the gambling came out. 3 out of 5 of the litter remained with me because I couldn’t stand not seeing them. The other puppy, I gave to my brother’s family and is being treated extremely well and I get to visit whenever I want, or is brought to our house when they come over.

      The dog isn’t looking malnourished from last month, but I am not at ease leaving the dog with him because I am worried about the dog most of the time especially since I know he is being left for far longer and more often than he needs to be, since he goes to work on weekdays and goes out on weekends. It does seem selfish of me to take it back, but as my ex repeatedly said, he doesn’t know if he loves me or if we ever have a chance to get back together in the future. At this point, I feel like I have to move on as I’ve tried everything to get him back or even just try to be there for him in whatever capacity he needs. Taking the dog back will help me stop worrying and keeping tabs on him as i will be cutting off connections on social media where i get news from him and what hes up to. I wanted to deactivate all my accounts as an alternative, but since my work is dependent on it, it’s not a possibility for me. Although I know that if i ever decide to get the dog back, all doors for reconciliation will be closed because he bottles up resentment and grudges deeply. I don’t think I’ll ever be forgiven for it, even though my uncle thinks otherwise since everything is a consequence of his gambling and making amends is part of his 12 steps.

      – I am still confused about the part the girl plays in all your concerns. Your ex has not made the right noises regarding her and although he might just be seeking enablement elsewhere, I think you must be aware that I can have no idea what is actually going on.: I agree that no one but him and his circle can know for sure. He is very secretive and has history of cheating on multiple past partners, although all of these happened before me. He has insisted he didn’t cheat on me, but there were times that I would be triggered because of him deleting messages, the mystery hair in the toilet, and this new girl I haven’t heard of that he’s now suddenly close to who knows all of his problems, cropping up. His family and his co-parenting partner doesnt even know he has a gambling problem as of 3 weeks ago, but this new girl is the one selling my ring on the internet. So I have my suspicions. He has a secretive streak, and would admit that our communication 6 years ago started when he was still committed to someone else, so i wouldnt put it past him to hide things. I am stuck in a very desperate and unhealthy spiral of wanting to move on and wanting him back and I am just exhausted because through his indecision, he has made it clear that he does not want me in his life. I just can’t bear being in this limbo and then down the line, finding out that I am not the one he chooses to be with. I am in so much pain and anxiety that most days, at multiple times during the day, I find it difficult to breathe.

      Most of the relationships ive been in ended because of 3rd parties, and, before my ex, I was single for 7 years. I thought that I had healed and even with his history, he had shown me that he has learned from his past and is a better person when we got together. He was the best partner in the first 3 years of our relationship, but our fights were different since 2021. I could sense that he just lost the drive to continue and was just there possibly out of obligation. Looking back, I have my suspicions, but it can’t be proven. What I do know for sure is that legal online gambling here only started in 2021. I have started going to counseling with a psychologist (I chose someone who also specializes in addiction, among other areas) since I realized I haven’t healed my past trauma and attachment wounds, but I still have a long way to go since I only started 2 weeks ago.

      I was also introduced to detaching with love but I’m not entirely sure what that means. What I know for sure is that he still blames me for leaving him alone (which I am very guilty of), and that he is having a hard time facing me and anyone who is close to me, as proven when he ran into my best friend more than once and he, very blatantly, avoided them. Whether he hates me or is guilty for what he’s done, I’m not sure. But it’s still painful that he can so easily thank our common friends for being part of his recovery for offering him financial support one time while I get nothing but i-dont-knows, blame, confusion, and pain.

    • #181578
      velvet
      Moderator

      Hi Melanie

      Addicted gamblers are often very secretive, if they are open they may have to take responsibility and that is so difficult. They don’t want to be addicted, they would love to gamble responsibly like so many others do but it is not and never will be possible for them.

      However, your ex is also secretive about, what appears to be multiple, affairs he has had in the past and this is setting alarm bells ringing for me.

      In my opinion, trust is important in a relationship and I don’t hear trust for your ex in any of your posts and I also don’t hear any reason for him to deserve your trust.

      I suggest you ask yourself why ‘you’ feel guilty about leaving him alone?, by detaching and allowing him to face his demons and determine what he wants to do with his life is, in my opinion, the best thing for both of you. If he abuses his freedom then it is down to him, not you.

      Ask yourself why “I am stuck in a very desperate and unhealthy spiral of wanting to move on and wanting him back” when you are exhausted from ‘his’ indecision.

      What do ‘you’ want Melanie? I am not asking what your ex wants or anybody else, just you.

      I suggest that you are tired of the pain this relationship has brought you, not just the gambling but another woman and so many lies. Maybe you still feel you can save him but sadly you cannot save him and that is a fact. The only person you can save Melanie is ‘you’ and believe me you are worth it.

      Keep posting, you are doing well

      As Ever

      Velvet

    • #181581
      melanie
      Participant

      Hi Velvet,

      In my opinion, trust is important in a relationship and I don’t hear trust for your ex in any of your posts and I also don’t hear any reason for him to deserve your trust.
      – yes, I agree to this. This is the main reason I chose to leave in the first place, because I told him I could accept the gambling and help him through it because none of us wanted this. But I can never deal with another woman, and while i can give you the benefit of the doubt, hiding gambling from me for over a year makes it impossible for me to believe you. And when I talked to him a month ago, he turned it into my fault. Although he would never admit to cheating (because who would), he never told me to stay and even went as far as saying he doesn’t know if he loves me or not. That kills me because I love him so much and I’m willing to work through the relationship if he can meet me halfway.

      I suggest you ask yourself why ‘you’ feel guilty about leaving him alone?, by detaching and allowing him to face his demons and determine what he wants to do with his life is, in my opinion, the best thing for both of you. If he abuses his freedom then it is down to him, not you.
      – I feel guilty mostly because I know I could’ve done more. I decided out of emotions to leave to save myself and ended up regretting it. That when I asked for him back, he wouldnt take me because I left him alone, and he cant trust me not to leave again if we get back together and things get difficult again. It doesn’t make sense, really, this is why I’m so confused. I get where hes coming from, but i am devastated that i am willing to forgive him for far more mistakes than he is. What he is not forgiving me for is a technicality of breaking up vs asking for time to think about things (when I already did). I know I did the right thing logically, but my heart tells me otherwise. I’m just at this point of being stuck between 2 hard decisions–moving on or letting go. If I get the dog, there will definitely be no future for us. If I don’t, it will be harder for me to move on because I’m constantly worried, but the door for reconciliation will be open if he chooses to go that route. I just know that if i want to start the process of healing in a more efficient way, my brain has to be focused on me so I have to get the dog so I stop worrying about his well being, and finally take a big step towards healing. If the dog were a human child of ours, I wouldn’t have left him with my ex no matter what he said. Whether he chooses to forgive me for that or not, I hope I’ll be in a better place by then to not care.

      Ask yourself why “I am stuck in a very desperate and unhealthy spiral of wanting to move on and wanting him back” when you are exhausted from ‘his’ indecision.
      – maybe it’s hope that when he gets better, he will want to come back? I don’t know. I’m just so confused. Sorry for rambling and seemingly repetitive issues. It’s just an extremely difficult place to be in. My last breakup that was close to being this difficult was in 2008 and even that is nothing compared to the heartbreak I’m going through now. I honestly never thought I’d be here again, and it never even crossed my mind that he would be the one to bring me back here. It was an amazing 3 or so years, until 2021 where all of the problems came out. I want to piece it together but I know that its just going to be wasted energy since I won’t know for sure and nothing will change the outcome anyway.

      Thanks again for reading and taking the time to reply.

    • #181591
      velvet
      Moderator

      Hi Melanie

      I think you know all the answers to your concerns but wish that you didn’t.

      I cannot tell you what to do because it is important to your own well-being and future that you are in control of your own life and make your own decisions. If you do want to leave the door open, however, for reconciliation in the future, when he is committed to being gamble-free, maybe that is what you should be saying but I cannot believe that the dog should be a bargaining chip.

      If you feel that taking the dog back is the final straw in your relationship then I see little to give me confidence that this man is remotely ready to change his life.

      The dog’s health and well-being count too, as I am fully aware you understand. From what you have said this dog is yours, placed in trust but that trust has now been eroded.

      I suspect you will have to make decisions that are hard for you but you are doing the right thing by keeping talking. I think that gradually you will accept, that which you already know deep down, is the right course of action for you.

      I will leave this reply to you with my favourite quote from Mahatma Gandi 'You may never know what results come from your actions but if you do nothing there will be no results’.

      As Ever

      Velvet

      • This reply was modified 9 months ago by velvet.
    • #186381
      melanie
      Participant

      Hi, Velvet. It’s been a while since my last post so I thought I’d give an update.

      For starters, I got the dog back in September. It was a difficult decision and felt enormous guilt before doing it, but ultimately, I had to do it for myself and my well-being. I messaged him on his 1st year of sobriety in November and he didn’t even read the message.

      As for my ex, he recently launched his new girlfriend on social media. This is a different girl than the one he was previously seen with. I don’t completely understand why he had to remove most of my friends before he did it but still left a couple so it did get back to me. I guess my rusty gut can still be right throughout all this time.

      I just feel so much pain and feel disposable. All my friends say that he isn’t doing his internal work that’s why he’s doing this, but none of us really know that for sure. He has never been single for long and I half expected it to happen, but I was hoping that what he went through rocked him enough to start looking within and change his patterns. It just pains me so much that there’s really no more chance for us. We were supposed to be married only in April and the year hasn’t even ended and he’s on to a new one. Just completely devastated now.

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