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My realisation that my marriage can’t be saved because of gambling

Posted: Sun May 02, 2021 1:45 am
by Ana_80
I’m writing this and not sure exactly why as my head is so clouded, but I hope that at least one person can relate.

7 yrs ago I discovered my husband had a gambling problem. I found a doctors referral to a gambling counsellor and he downplayed it at the time (I believed him and didn’t know any better).

Long story short... I co-signed mortgage increases, new loans etc understanding it would be investment money because I really had no idea how bad his addiction was. Was I naive? Absolutely. Do I take accountability for not ensuring I understood and controlled the accounts I had signed? Most definitely. We are not wealthy people - he received approval as I had a high income job and worked hard to pay off our mortgage etc. I was born overseas and my parents moved over with their entire belongings in a suitcase. We come from humble beginnings and always appreciated the value of money.

So here we are... 20 years into a relationship, 10+ married and gambling has ruined us. It’s ruined me.

I have given so much to my husband. When he would sit me down and say “babe I Fd up again” I would console him. Tell him it would be ok. I was there for him even though it was killing me inside. My priority was his mental health and being a strong support.

When I have been anxious over the last 7 years worried about our future and our kids, he has never consoled me. I feel this addiction is so so selfish. I am not meaning to be disrespectful, but this is how I see it.

He had two counselling sessions 3 years ago and we agreed I would see the same counsellor, and then perhaps go together. He stopped at 3 as he didn’t like what he was being told and said he could do this himself. The counselling was amazing and he told me my husband would not get better if he didn’t return. That his addiction was very severe and he lacked accountability.

When I realised how bad his addiction was, I asked him to give me complete visibility of the accounts. To sit down every month and look at money in and money out, and I asked.... begged, for him to let me have his cards and pay bills, so he doesn’t have thousands to gamble. It’s been 7 years, over 100 months and not once has he done this. I cry and ask him, but he disregards my requests. I really thought this was reasonable. I said and keep saying that if he wants $200 to go out with his mates and have a big night out - I will give him cash from the account. I felt as did his counsellor that this was needed. Again, the person who had made all the mistakes continued to control the situation.

This is coming to breaking point as he tells me I don’t respect him, that’s his main issue. For 7 years I have watched him destroy our marriage, gamble hundreds of thousands of dollars, wipe out our daughters bank account, the account I transferred money to every month. I have worked so hard for years and deposited money, only for him to take it and gamble.

I am so resentful. I cry almost every night, as I think - what gives any human being the right to make someone else feel like this. I am a shell of my old self. My parents, brothers and sisters have asked me what’s wrong for years, and I haven’t told them as I want to protect him. The people who know about his problem are the people he confided in with an ulterior motive - to borrow money. He is the father of our three children and I want to protect him. I console him when he is disappointed in himself after gambling OUR money. Who consoles me? He has anxiety and I sit next to him and get him to take deep breaths. I have had a panic attack in front of him, hyperventilating and he didn’t so much as come to sit next to me to help me.

He takes accountability and is working very hard to earn money and pay debt, but I honestly feel he has not taken any accountability for what he has done to me. He has destroyed me. If he had gambled hundreds of thousands of dollars, but was apologetic and remorseful, made every attempt to help me deal with this, then I truly believe we could get through this. But for me, he has never done that. I can’t get over that.

I am so so sad at what this will do to our kids - if we separate. But I can’t live like this. I feel like I am living a double life. I have not told a single person in 7 years and this is my first public post, so I am very sorry for the novel.

I guess what I am asking is - when is enough, enough!? Hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt (above house mortgage), married to a man who has not once in 7 years carried out something that I have asked, someone who can’t understand why I have trust issues and resentment, who refuses to go to counselling, who still says - I am trying and I can kick this myself, who still lies and takes money to gamble when we aren’t making mortgage repayments... the list goes on.

My husband is a good man, I truly believe that. Gambling is his internal demon and that has caused so much nastiness and lack of concern for the impact this has had on me.

I am just lost and sad.

Re: My realisation that my marriage can’t be saved because of gambling

Posted: Sun May 02, 2021 8:35 am
by Jimap
Hi Ana,

I am so sorry to hear your story. When I was reading it it reminded me of my relationship with my now ex partner of 15 years. He has had a addiction to gambling for nearly 30 years. It’s heartbreaking. Like your situation my ex is still in denial. I know now we are separated he feels intense guilt and shame but this has only continued his gambling to continue. I thought leaving may stop him, it did for awhile but overall didn’t work. Like you I have seen thousands of dollars get lost with no remorse. I didn’t tell anyone what was going on. The trauma that causes is intense and I am in a lot of emotional pain. One thing I have noticed is that I am focusing on myself more and more. I have slowly accepted I can not do anything to stop him but I can only change myself. The only joint financial assets we have is our house which will soon be sold and then all his debt will be his to pay off. I would suggest you seek legal advice about how your future looks. The more information and support you get for yourself the more confident you will feel in whatever decision you make. If you have a close friend or family member that won’t judge you talk to them. Gambling is toxic. It ruins families. Although I am devastated about my family being split apart we are getting along well for our children and they are adjusting pretty good compared to what I thought it would be like. You can only change you...gambling will be his first choice always unless he takes recovery seriously...reach out and take care.

Re: My realisation that my marriage can’t be saved because of gambling

Posted: Sun May 02, 2021 11:33 am
by Ana_80
Thank you so much Jimap, for your reply. I would normally say, this means more to me than you would ever know - but I think you do know.

I am very sorry to hear that you have faced similar challenges. My biggest fear is the effect the seperation will have on our kids, but this is no life or future for them as well. I will take your advice and again I really appreciate it x

Re: My realisation that my marriage can’t be saved because of gambling

Posted: Sun May 02, 2021 1:38 pm
by Jimap
Thanks Ana. I hope all works out for you and your children. Sometimes kids cope better than we think they will in times of stress or grief. It was definitely one of the main reasons why I stayed so long. My kids don’t know about the gambling however I am sure they will in the future and will understand the decisions I had to make. I love my ex partner still, he is a beautiful man and we have a good friendship but I can’t live in denial anymore and in this cycle of addiction. Check out some good podcasts under ‘love over addiction’.. this has been very helpful for me to understand addiction and myself more. Take care and here if you need to inbox for support👍

Re: My realisation that my marriage can’t be saved because of gambling

Posted: Sun May 02, 2021 3:54 pm
by TheTiges
Hi @Ana_80,

Thank you for sharing your story. I'm really sorry to hear what you're going through, and that you're feeling the way you're feeling about the whole situation.

Please don't apologise for the long post. You have been carrying all of this weight on your shoulders by yourself without telling anyone and I can truly understand how hard that must be. I'm glad you reached out to vent in the forums, that's what we're here for.

You're in a very complicated position, but only you can say how much is enough for you. Where do you see yourself in another 10, 20 years? I agree with @Jimap, seeking legal advice sounds like a really good idea.

If you feel like you need to talk to someone, you can call our counsellors 24/7 for free on 1800 858 858.

We're here for you, so please don't hesitate to reach out.

Re: My realisation that my marriage can’t be saved because of gambling

Posted: Sun May 02, 2021 10:03 pm
by Ana_80
Thanks @Jimap and I have not intent on telling my kids. Their dad is their hero and their would never want to take that away from them. In due course when they are older and perhaps in a position to know more, I might consider it. You sound like you are in a good place and that gives me hope. I wish you all the best and will listen to the podcast.

Thank you also @TheTiges 😊

Re: My realisation that my marriage can’t be saved because of gambling

Posted: Sun May 16, 2021 11:30 am
by LOSER1973
Did you ever realise that your actions are fueling his gambling?
By hiding what he is doing he continues the same path.....
Expose him to your family and your kids and get the support you require, when someone isn't exposed they will continue but if they get feedback from their children he might wake up
Give him an ultimatum.
Your in a no win situation as even if you could save money without him knowing if he divorces you then he get's half.
Tell him you get financial control of everything and if he needs anything you will buy it for him
Take him camping where there are no pokies and no mobile devices for him to gamble
You can add blockers to his phone to stop gambling applications
Does he even need a mobile phone? Ask him to give it up
If he does not comply to any of these then ask him to move out and he can come back when he agree's
Tough love baby but make sure someone strong is with you when you make these demands as he might get violent if backed in a corner.,


Re: My realisation that my marriage can’t be saved because of gambling

Posted: Sun May 16, 2021 4:33 pm
by Jimap
Hi @LOSER1973

I think you have some valid points for @Ana_80 in taking over control of finances as much as she can however research shows that ‘outing’ someone to their family and friends may only contribute to further shame and hence more gambling. It is up to the gambler to open up themselves to family and friends as this will more likely lead to positive change in their recovery. Telling a child who emotionally doesn’t understand anything about addiction can cause significant psychological problems for a child.
I am currently going through a property settlement and my ex will not be getting half of our assets, in fact he will only get around 30% as the court take into account money lost on gambling etc.
Everyone’s situation is different and some gamblers will decide to seek help if they fear losing their family...some will not.
Yes, partners, family and friends can enable gamblers to continue, we can change those behaviours. Once we stop enabling it can sometimes force the gambler to confront their addiction. However even if you take a phone off someone they can go to a TAB and put bets on or they can sell something and buy a new phone. We can’t control what gamblers do, it’s their choices and all we can do as family/friends is look after ourselves emotionally, financially and physically and support the gambler if they choose recovery.
Ana I hope you are going okay and best of luck with your situation I hope everything works out for you and your family.

Re: My realisation that my marriage can’t be saved because of gambling

Posted: Sun May 16, 2021 10:22 pm
by Joan
Hi Ana,
I'm so sorry to about the difficult position your husband has put you in. Good on you for making your first public post, you gotta start somewhere otherwise you'll burst.

Im not married, nor do I have kids but I can relate to your situation in the sense where my partners gambling has caused me so much misery and heartache to the point where I'm left feeling lost, angry and hopeless.

Ive been dating him for 9 years now, we knew an engagement were to happen and I was under the impression that he was saving for a ring, a wedding, the future etc.
I found out last year that after all this time he hadnt been saving for a ring. He was gambling thousands of dollars away without batting an eye. Hes 34 years old and has been gambling since he was 16. It became a problem when he was in his mid 20s.

I am now in control of his bank accounts and each week I make the necessary repayments for him to help him get back on his feet. This has worked to an extent (he went behind my back and opened up a new account just last week and got his wages directed there) but he has now directed them back to the account that I have access to. He has made some improvements, such as installing gamban on his phone (he resorted to online pokies during COVID lockdown), he speaks to a gambling counsellor every fortnight and has told his oldest brother about the real reason he never has any money for rent.

However I'm getting tired of reminding him to do the most basic errands such as call this organisation back or start looking for another rental property so he can move on without having to live with his mother (she is his main gambling trigger). I fear for my safety and stability of our future because if it takes him months to make some simple phone call to someone that will help him move one step in the right direction, then how the hell is he gonna look after me and our kids in the future?

I would recommend listening to that podcast that @Jimap mentioned. It will give you a good insight into addiction and make you feel a lot less alone. I found myself crying to what the speaker was saying, because she was describing me to a T.

I wish you the best and feel free to continue using this forum for we are all in the same position and would love to offer you our love and support.

Take care of yourself.


Re: My realisation that my marriage can’t be saved because of gambling

Posted: Mon May 17, 2021 7:13 am
by Jimap
Hi @Joan
I remember when I first listened to those podcasts I cried so much as everything she was saying was about became a comfort in some ways knowing I wasn’t going crazy and there was a real problem going on for my ex partner and myself. Glad you found them useful. It sounds like your partner is making small steps to deal with his addiction. I have been able to move to a place of compassion more and step away from my anger and resentment that I had for my ex. I do wish I had sought more help for myself while in my relationship however I feel okay with the decisions I had to make for myself and my children. I hope your relationship gets through this and you become stronger for you.