A Wife Of A Compulsive Gambler - 4 Weeks Down After Discovery

by Hayley
(South Wales UK)

My husband is a compulsive gambler. I have known for about four weeks. I cannot be sure of the exact date; time for me has stood still. I am stuck in a vacuum, sucked of my entirety and dreams – who I was, who we were, what I would be, what we would be. I am frozen, unable to move forward or go back, unable to crawl out, consumed with newfound pressures of which I did not consent.


The hurt and pain is like nothing I have ever experienced before or wish to experience again. I am me, but I am not me; I have changed. I have been violated by the very person with whom I trusted the most in the world – my husband, my best friend, the father of my children. Outside I may look okay, but inside I am dead. I am barely functioning – a shell of the person I was a month ago. It is bitter sweet that the compulsive gambler also looks fine, there are none of the tell tale signs or permeated characteristics that so often belie ‘an addict’, yet he is an addict, an addict in the most depraved sense.

I am on an emotional roller-coaster, whizzing around and around, uncertain and scared of what lies ahead. How did I end up here? Why did this happen? What went wrong? How can I fix it? The how, why and what questions keep coming, yet they are in vain. There are no answers, no answers for me and no answers for the compulsive gambler. He does not know why he did what he did, he cannot change it, he cannot wave a magic wand and make it better, he must own it – own what he did and repent. His road ahead is long, an uphill struggle – he cannot be trusted, he is a liar, a thief, an abuser! Yet there is a glimmer of light ahead, he can see it! He must get better for himself, his word means nothing – the respect I once had for him dampened.

Only time will tell what will become of us. Presently I am in damage limitation mode, overwhelmed with the destruction he has caused but knowing that I will support him in his recovery. I hate him with every fiber of my being - he has had no respect for our marriage vows, our friendship, our family or our dreams. My anger bubbles under the surface, it rears its ugly head without warning. I am out of control, drowning, yet I must stay strong. Part of me begrudges him for owning his illness- he is free of the anxiety and stress that led to him hitting rock bottom, I am not – my journey and living hell has just began. I am also proud of him for seeking help, this for me is hard to acknowledge. I do not want to be proud of him right now; he has lied, deceived and caused us untold pain. I do not know if I will ever trust him again or be able to love him unconditionally. I have erected a shield around my heart, he will not hurt me again, I will not allow it. I think only about a future with my children, I do not know if he will be part of it, I will not be pressured into deciding. I am not ready, I may never be ready. I will retain this bit of control until I have navigated my own demons and feel ready to decide. This is my decision, he must make his own.

I am trapped inside my own head. I am bipolar, not in the literal sense, but emotionally. I can go from smiling to crying within a moments notice, numb one minute, crying uncontrollably the next. I am hurting and I do not know how to repair it. Today started off being a wonderful day, my husband and I spent quality time together without the children. We woke up late, we laughed, we smiled, we were carefree, that was ... until the volcano (that is me) erupted. I cannot forget, I will never forget. Angry, vindictive, venomous words slid succinctly off my tongue. I HATE WHAT HE HAS DONE, I HATE HIM!!!!!!. I honestly don’t know at this stage whether I will ever forgive him. I still question his motives to recovery; does he want to get better? Does he really think he has a problem or is he playing a game? – a game he intends to win. I mean how I can trust him, he’s a pathological liar, I no longer know my husband, the truth be known I never knew my husband, as he does not know himself.

Comments for A Wife Of A Compulsive Gambler - 4 Weeks Down After Discovery

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Jul 19, 2017
So Sorry To Hear... NEW
by: Mark

...About your story. While his behavior and your experience is painful, fortunately, it is very textbook. What this means is that there are known approaches to help address his destructive behavior.

Do any of the notes in my post below help you get some ideas? Also, if he's not willing to admit he has a problem, and be proactive about the recovery process, would you consider an intervention? You can find info on that in the menu.

Please let me know if you have any questions. All the best.

Jul 19, 2017
Thank you!
by: Anonymous

Thank you for sharing Hayley! You have put into words what I have been trying to for the past 3 years. I discovered my husband's gambling addiction after we'd been married about a year and before the birth of our second child. He was supposed to buy a stroller/car seat for our baby and blew the money gambling. Our baby came 5 weeks early & he scrambled to borrow the money to get what we needed.

Since then it has been a financial roller coaster with no end in sight. We've been together since we were 20 yrs old & were never good at saving, always lived paycheck to paycheck due to irresponsibility. After we had children I suggested we move in w/ his mother to save money to buy our own house. At the time our rent was double her mortgage so it seemed like the logical decision. This was the worst mistake, less bills to pay = more money to gamble instead of saving like we agreed.

Him not saving made it nearly impossible for me to save even after we separated bank accounts. He spent bill money, grocery money, vacation money. If he spent it, I replaced it. I'm angry, exhausted, resentful, & my heart is broken. I've lost my best friend and I don't know how to get him out of his denial so we can start to heal. I've given up. He gambled our marriage & the house always wins...

Apr 25, 2017
Thank You For Sharing
by: Mark

Thank you so much for sharing your experience and thoughts Hayley. I can truly appreciate the hardship you're going through. I think you're wise to "take care of the bleeding" first and foremost. Before you do that, it's almost impossible to really think clearly enough to figure out the rest.

I agree that it's very difficult to know whether a gambler's expressed remorse is authentic or part of the deception. The only real peace of mind one can derive is knowing that they truly are out of control. They're not doing anything "to you" per se; it's a consequence of the addiction. HOWEVER, that in no way makes it excusable, tolerable, or less painful. It's more of an explanation, as it's highly unlikely that he's deliberately trying to hurt you.

That said, that reality doesn't mean that you want to, or can live like that, and continue feeling like that. Is he willing to relinquish control of your household finances to you? If he will, that's a massive first step, and should stop the financial bleeding. You need to take care of your kids and overall household first. If he can recognize that, I would recommend that. That doesn't mean that he can't then go and get credit cards under his own name, and build up new debt without you knowing. Maybe get his permission to lock his credit reports with Experian, Exquifax, and TransUnion, with a password only you know. That will help slow him down.

That said, none of that will help to address the underlying emotional problem(s), which he likely has had for decades, likely prior to meeting you, and even more likely as a child. I highly recommend he go to a therapist who has experience with gambling addiction. You can also both go together to a therapist who also has experience with addiction. These would need to be two different therapists though. I'm not sure about your country, but you may get some free therapy; call your healthcare provider and/or therapist to inquire.

I also recommend that you check out the books I recommend in the Resource tab to the left.

Please let me know if you have any questions, or just check in when you can; all the best!






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