How compulsive gambling destroyed our family.

I have finally had enough of my husband's gambling. I have been reflecting back on our life, and am stunned how I hid the gambling from everyone who loves me, including my 9 year old child. What is really sad is how my now ex refuses to acknowledge that he even has a problem. He got angry when I said enough and I refused to give him any more access to my credit. He managed to spend $30,000.00 in a matter of a few months. I agreed to sell the family home so I could get away from him as fast as possible.

He was desperate for money because he lost it all gambling. He has been living off his family for the couple of months that it took for our home to sell. He is in his late 30s.

What I noticed about my compulsive gambling ex was that he was always bored, it was never enough and he liked to blame everyone else for his gambling. He likes to talk like a big shot and boasts when he wins but he will never tell anyone about the nights he looses $10,000.00 in a matter of hours. He used to call me from the casino and say "I put $2,000.00 in the machine, it has to pay, can I take money off the credit card." If I said no and told him to walk away he would get mad and say "I don't have to ask you for money, I make my own money". If I would say yes out of frustration "he would call me back and say "why didn't you tell me no." That is part of what keeps you in the enabling cycle.

You want to keep the peace and not argue but no matter what happens you are to blame for the compulsive gamblers actions. It got so bad some nights that he would tell me that he wanted to kill himself. Payday would come and the cycle would start all over again. He started going to local pub if he had a bad day at work
(in the afternoon when he was supposed to be working) and would forget to pick up our child from school. He would then call a family member to pick our son up and when I got home from work, he would tell me what happened and tell me not to tell his family. He would also tell me to take his debit and credit cards and then the next day he would say that he needed his cards back for gas, etc.
When I hesitated in giving his cards back, he would get mad at me like I was trying to control him.

He makes $100,000.00 a year and has no money in the bank. He is angry that he has to pay me child support, that he has a big truck payment and claims that he is unable to afford his own place to live because of the child support he now has to pay. He is residing with his family and sees his child every other weekend, if he can make the time.

I am mostly sad for our son. I am left with the aftermath of his illness and refusal to acknowledge that he needs help. My son has no idea why we separated and I know that one day he will find out the real truth. Looking back, we moved every two years and every time we moved it was due to the gambling (he would spend all the money and then say that we had no choice but to move in with his family.) I can't believe that I enabled him for so long. I really wanted to keep our family together.

I have finally accepted the reality that you cannot help someone who doesn't want help and the only way to protect myself and my child (financially and emotionally) was to leave him. I am very sad that it has come to this and I hope one day he realizes everything that he lost, but I seriously doubt that this will happen anytime soon. I seriously doubt he will ever seek help or admit he has a problem.

Comments for How compulsive gambling destroyed our family.

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Apr 08, 2018
Eye opener NEW
by: Anonymous


I just read your story which has been a huge eye opener for me. My boyfriend has a gambling problem and kept it from me for a year until his mum told me and showed me the dept because she was worried he couldn’t afford his half of the rent and that I’d end up having to pay for everything. I stood by him and asked for honesty in return even if that honesty was somthing I didn’t want to hear I said I’d be there if he told the truth from now on. Another year later and I found out he had been online gambling again for a whole year, every single day. Even on our holiday! Which he had to of been doing whilst I was asleep half the time too. I was so upset that he didn’t say anything and yet I thought he was genuinely sorry so I stayed again and had to build back trust ... again. 6 months later and he’s hidden money in crypto currency when we are supposed to be saving for a house. I caught him watching it go up and down. He’s not gambling right now but doesn’t seek proper help and now just plays his game all the time instead. Reading your story has made me think that he probably won’t ever change as this cycle will go on forever until I eventually leave. I think he’s bored which is sad in itself as I thought I could give him everything but clearly not. I’m so low at the moment trying to deal with it as I do love him but I just can’t see this being the last time.

May 11, 2017
Thank you... NEW
by: Mark

...for sharing your story. I'm very sorry to hear that it ended that way for you. Unfortunately, what you describe is very textbook. Also unfortunately, is that gambling addiction tends to be a progressive disease, meaning that even though there may be years of abstinence, relapses get worse and worse.

I heard a stat that there are more deaths (from suicide) among gambling addicts than any other type of addiction. I would think overdoses would cause more deaths, but apparently that's not the case. Though I still have to validate this stat.

Hopefully he gets the help/therapy he needs to dig into the root cause(s) so he can enter recovery. Otherwise things will only get worse. The only sense of peace you likely now have is that the separation will shield much of the madness from you and your son's daily lives. That said, I'm sure you likely still care for him, so even seeing him go through this from afar will be painful.

Hopefully he has come clean with his family, and they can encourage him to get the help he needs, or even plan a formal intervention.

I hope you stay well, and please feel free to report back regarding how you're doing.

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