As someone who has a partner that has a history of gambling addiction, I struggle with how to deal with abstinence. Once a gambling addict becomes self aware of the problem, and even gets treatment, and subsequently stops, we both know that there's no cure. This causes pain for both parties, as well as stress in the relationship. My experience is that my husband often plays the card of "I haven't gambled in years, so stop restricting my access to money. What else do you want me to do to prove myself?" When he was in the throws of gambling, we setup our finances such that he has only limited access to credit cards and cash. As a grown adult who makes a good living, while he understood this necessity when he was gambling constantly, now that he's not, he finds this belittling and even insulting.
We regularly struggle with how to handle this. I can completely understand his point of view. As an adult, not having access to the family money can be infuriating. He still has access to basically buy whatever he wants, however, he can run into issues when he runs low on his credit card limit, or on his low balance bank account. This can be embarrassing when a transaction is declined at a store. Though I usually argue with him that this really should never happen as he can so easily check his card or bank balance on his phone, and even setup daily or weekly alerts. So not knowing how much he has available is really a problem with him not checking, and really his own fault. He usually uses my credit cards, however, some stores that check
ID require that he use his own card. While this only happens occasionally, it really upsets him, and he usually ends up letting me know in a very upset and hostile manner.
My struggle is that there's no cure. So even if 5, 10, or even 20 or more years pass without him ever even gambling once, he can relapse at any point of time. Does this thought process create a self-fulfilling prophecy? I don't think so, as I don't believe lack of access to money is really a trigger for his gambling. In fact, that's unlikely the trigger for anyone, for it usually relates to something else as discussed on this website. Though, when you take a step back and think about it, can we maintain this financial setup forever? Does this create unneeded additional strain on him and us? I just know I would find it hard to sleep at night, or even get through each day, knowing that he could deplete our accounts at any moment should he relapse.
He doesn't understand that perspective, and will compare it to him having to live each day feeling as though he's being treated like a child (in terms of access to finances). It's my understanding that with each relapse the addiction is progressive, meaning that it gets worse each time. Thus, if/when he relapses at some point in the future, it could very realistically be devastating to our finances. The last round was bad enough, and took us many years to recover from. I really don't ever want to live through that again. All-in-all, this is an ongoing problem, and, unfortunately, I don't have any solution that would really meet both of our needs.