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he's just relapsed for the first time, I'm lost, confused and hurt

Posted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 2:10 am
by Em

Does anyone have any advice or personal experience they could share about how to cope with a partner's first relapse?

A bit of background:
I'm only 19. My boyfriend and I have been together since we were 15 and we had the most amazing relationship. We are so right for each other in every way and never fought or anything (I'm sure that will sound naiive but it's the honest truth, a few misunderstandings here and there but in general we were very, very solid). His addiction to online sports betting was exposed by his mother about 3 weeks ago. His addiction has been going on about a year behind all our backs. It's been an incredibly difficult and long few weeks, with other big problems emerging in other aspects of my life too which has created a very overwhelming situation. Tonight I realised he had taken his debit card from my wallet and after swearing on my life that he didn't and lying to me many, many times he finally admitted that he had and he'd spent $400 gambling (his savings from the past 3 weeks of work. Prior to that he had lost all the thousands in his savings, stolen money from family and sold 2 family heirlooms).

Everything seemed to be going so well prior to tonight. But he's been lying to my face convincingly when I ask everyday how he's feeling and if he's been craving.

He's had a counselling session but she apparently went away but didn't refer him to someone else in the meantime? And he used to call the hotline every day. But it seemed like things were going well, he was happier, and it was more like old times (I realised quickly that the addiction was responsible for many changes in his behaviour and personality over the last year).

I guess I always knew that a relapse was bound to happen, but it's shocked me tonight and I feel betrayed and hurt and lied to all over again. I want to run away from all of this but I can't and I don't want to lose him but at the same time, how am I ever going to be able to trust him again? Even just putting my thoughts together at the moment is difficult, and I am normally always the strong one and helping my mates with their problems (e.g. depression, anxiety, PTSD, the whole range). But this is different, and I'm having trouble living with it. I'm not depressed or anything, but I don't know what to do because right now I'm a mixture of hurt and angry and I want to yell at him for the first time ever but that could be detrimental to his recovery and the base line is it hurts to think about hurting him like that. But he's hurt me.

Could anyone offer some advice? I would really appreciate it.

Thank you so much in advance x

RE: he's just relapsed for the first time, I'm lost, confused and hurt

Posted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:56 pm
by Noah (facilitator)
Hi Em,

I am Noah a facilitator with the forum. It sounds like you and his parents must still be in a sort of shock state...feeling so close to someone and then finding out that they have been keeping a struggle with gambling a secret for such a long time and behaving dishonestly.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you that all the feelings you describe...hurt, anger...(I'm guessing maybe betrayal)? are all totally normal and you are entitled to those feelings but I can also hear that you still care for him and his well being and want to support him. It must feel that these two parts of you are at war with each other and I could imagine that this could leave you feeling totally stuck and confused.

It sounds like it's affecting you so much that it's not only his gambling problem but in a way it's become your gambling problem too. At the moment you are experiencing what feels like a crises and it's normal not to be able to think clearly at this stage. Do you have any ideas about what you need in order to help you cope with this at the moment? You mentioned that you are a support for friends when they are going through hard times.... is there anyone that you can rely on for support right now?

I also just wanted to let you know that there is free counselling available (if you live in Australia) for you to give you support and advice around to help your boyfriend as well as provide emotional support for you. You can find out your closest service by calling gamblers helpline on 1800 858 858.

Interested to hear what other forum members have to say too....?

RE: he's just relapsed for the first time, I'm lost, confused and hurt

Posted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:36 am
by Tam
I have been lucky in comparison with my husband - he has been fairly honest since he admitted he has a problem and we havent had any thefts or anything like that. But looking back, prior to him admitting he had a problem, he lied to my face many, many times.Its hard to fathom that someone who says they love you can lie so blatantly to your face and I am wondering if you felt like I did and wondered what else was a lie.
Im hoping that since you posted this, he has laid all his cards on the table and talked with you openly and honestly. I guess when it comes down to it, can you trust what he says in the future?
When my husband told me about his problem, the thing I said to him was "ok, you have done the hardest thing, which is admitting to me and yourself that there is a problem. I will help you as best as I can, but you need to help me help you", and its something I re-itterate frequently
Just so he remembers that I cant do this without him wanting to recover. Yeah, we had a relapse recently. It was the first and it most likely wont be the last relapse. But you do seem like you are in this for the long haul. I find that getting angry doesnt help and I havent lost it at him so far. Which benefits me when I can tell he has something on his mind and thats generally a precursor to him wanting to gamble. I ask him whats on his mind and that he knows he can tell me anything, and it doesmt matter what it is - have I ever gotten angry before?
And he then tells me whats on his mind. Which is helpful. I know I sound like a 50s housewife when I say this, but I then lay him down and give him a nice back and neck massage to relax him a little and it seems to do the trick for now. He knows he is loved and he has a lighter burden to carry, and doesnt feel the stress so badly that he wants to gamble.
But thats just how I am trying to handle things, obviously with the help of the counsellors here. Remember that its better for you to have counselling with them here too - its good to be able to speak to someone honestly about how you are feeling, and gives you some ideas on how to help your other half. And even suggest him doing an online session with a counsellor here... it gives them a bit of anonymity and also it seems to be easier to type than talk sometimes.
All the best chick xx