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DP has been gambling

(35 Posts)
DrShellington Sun 01-Jan-17 09:03:44

I have no idea what to do. He's spent every spare penny and lied and lied and lied. I thought things were tough because pay rates haven't been great for him (which is true but not to the extent I thought) and some weeks have been short, he's self employed so this comes with the territory.

He's fallen behind on various loans and credit agreements and came clean about the money situation in October. Or so I thought. Insolvency practitioner advised bankruptcy in the new year. I was shocked but have worked in debt support and don't see bankruptcy as such a scary unusual thing so I just accepted what he told me and we made plans to change how we manage money and pay for everything from January onwards - I'd have the control as I'm more organised anyway etc.

fast forward to this weekend and some issue regarding money comes up and I didn't understand how he didn't have the money for a particular thing - in frustration I said have you been lying to me, are you gambling or taking drugs or something else?! I had no real cause for suspicion to be honest. It was almost off hand. It was rhetorical, I wasn't grilling him. Hours later I asked again how he didn't have the money for this minor thing and said hang on a minute, this is ridiculous - there must be something up. And so he told me.

DC are 6 and 8. He's spent thousands. We are not married and rent our home. What the hell do I do? Kick him out for good? Take away his bank cards and phone and control everything? That feels like a gamble of my own, and I'm not sure I can let myself be lied to. He has told so many lies. He is sorry, of course....desperately sorry and desperate for a chance.

But I don't know how to work this one out. I'm cynical and think liars are liars and the end. What do I tell the children? He won't go easily as he has no friends to stay with and won't contemplate the very idea of telling his parents. He's very quiet and private and everyone says how fucking lovely he is.

I don't know what to do, now today tomorrow...

luckylucky24 Sun 01-Jan-17 09:09:00

I would ask him to leave. He had the chance to come clean in October but didn't.

LIZS Sun 01-Jan-17 09:11:08

He's an addict, what help has he sought? Until then you can't move forwards. He has betrayed your trust and to put you or even your dc first. Which insolvency practitioner has he spoken to, bankruptcy may not be the only option and it could affect his business. Try stepchange perhaps.

LynetteScavo Sun 01-Jan-17 09:12:52

You need to take control of everything financially.

I don't think kicking him out immediately is necessary, but I'm not sure how you move forward with someone who is gambling. I think you need to find out if it's an addiction or if he saw it as his only way out.

Hellmouth Sun 01-Jan-17 09:23:48

i'm another one who is not sure that kicking him out is what you need to do right now. Couples have survived more than this, and you do have a family to think about. i know he has lied to you, but I think this is down to him feeling ashamed about what he was doing, and knowing it was wrong. Unless there are other things wrong with your relationship., i believe you can get through this.

You need to establish exactly how bad it is by getting a list of everything he owes. Then you need to work out what you can afford to pay. I also think you should speak to StepChange; I have had experience with them before, and they have been really helpful.

I have a lot of debt too, and it is embarrassing to me sometimes. I also have a CCJ (now satisfied), and it took me ages to tell DP about it, even though I had it before we met. But I felt so much better once I opened up about it, and now he knows exactly how much I owe. i think it's really important for you guys to talk about his money issues.

I also advocate you having complete financial control. He should not have access to debit or credit cards. I would say, go as far as giving him a weekly allowance. He should also consider some kind of counselling or support to deal with his addiction.

DrShellington Sun 01-Jan-17 09:24:11

Thank you for replying, it's New Year's Day and I'm sure there are better places to be on MN. Have spent the night tossing and turning and feeling very alone.

Yes luckylucky he did have the chance didn't he? I didn't quite clock that. I was surprised at how bad money had got but I was not judgmental or horrified - although I do take it seriously I don't believe money is ever worth the stress or upset it can cause. I witnessed a suicide many years ago, a man locally jumped from a multi story car park because of his debts and I saw it happen. I will never forget that. So in October I was about as supportive as possible really. But he lied.

LIZS I think he tried stepchange who advised IVA but it was when pursuing that he was advised bankruptcy. As an IVA would leave no room for negotiation and his industry is struggling. Touch wood he hasn't been out of work for a few years but it has happened before where he's had stretches of a few weeks to a couple of months without work.

An addiction or a last resort...we could've gone on holiday with the money he spent. We didn't have a holiday this year - and by holiday I mean a week in a U.K. coastal town not a fortnight in the sun or anything. He could've bought the kids new bikes, they need them. and of course he could have avoided financial ruin. If it was just us I'd leave and not look back. Our DS went downstairs (DP slept on the sofa) and told him he's the best dad ever. I know kids say that stuff to crap parents too...but still.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 01-Jan-17 09:32:05

The above link may be helpful to you as it has some dos and donts when it comes to dealing with problems associated with problem gambling.

Only he can be in charge of his recovery and he may not ever stop gambling.

I would walk away now because you and in turn your children are being dragged down by him. He can still be a dad to his children when you are apart.

fusspot66 Sun 01-Jan-17 09:39:27

Sorry Dr Shellington, he won't be the best Dad ever when he's gambled away their home. Protect yourself. Kick him out or leave.

DrShellington Sun 01-Jan-17 09:42:57

Thank you for your post Hellmouth. He is definitely very embarrassed and ashamed. He will agree to giving me access to his bank account and giving him a small allowance each week. I said he needs to give up his phone too but he thinks that's a step too far as has a long commute and listens to audiobooks/podcasts. He says what good are the websites with no money anyway and that he is determined to stop. He's found a GamCare meeting locally and says he will go this week. But I can't help think he will expect to find the other people different to him, worse, 'real' gamblers. Like he's not.

Our relationship otherwise hasn't been totally plain sailing but I believed we were a good team and pretty solid together. We get on very well day to day, he makes me laugh a lot, we work well together balancing family stuff. He's never been mean with money when I was a SAHM, always pulled his weight in the house, done his fair share with everything concerning the DC. We've had issues but nothing that has ever stopped me in my tracks like this.

DrShellington Sun 01-Jan-17 09:48:16

Thank you Attila and from that link - I absolutely don't want to aid him in this. He has to take control. But if part of that is me holding the purse strings? That's the confusion I feel. I have two children and don't want to be proxy to a third. But is that the only way?

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 01-Jan-17 09:50:57

His gambling problem has and will overshadow everything in your relationship. His primary relationship is with gambling and is not with you. He could have spoken to Gamcare before now, why now exactly. Or is he really telling you what you want to hear?. Intervention from family members or partners rarely if ever works out well. He has to want to seek help for his own self and for himself. He cannot do this for you or because of you.

Your relationship is not as solid as you thought it was because of his lying stemming from his gambling addiction. My guess too that you have still not discovered the full extent of his losses and perhaps never will either.

The 3cs are again prescient here:-
You did not cause this
You cannot cure this
You cannot control this

Seek support for your own self, you can only help you ultimately and your children should really not be exposed to this any longer.

I doubt very much he will even attend any Gamcare meetings, denial is often seen in addictions and your partner is well and truly in denial. He has no real incentive within him to change and you being there is not helping him either. You are his crutch and you have enabled him. He may well go onto lose you and everything and everyone around him and he may still gamble afterwards.

Hellmouth Sun 01-Jan-17 09:52:05

What kind of phone does he have? If it is an iphone and he has apple pay enabled, ask him to disable it! also, clear the history in the browser. Mine always remembers my card details :/

I wish you the best of luck, whatever you decide!

OrcinusOrca Sun 01-Jan-17 09:55:13

He's clearly got you all in a massive crock of shit.

I don't lie etc, but whenever I was younger and did I would never own up to it. I don't know what it is in me but I can't be that bigger person who puts their hands up. That's probably why I'm so moral, I can't cope with being caught out! What I'm trying to say, is in your DP's shoes, I wouldn't have owned up in Oct. I know I wouldn't.

What he has done is awful, but the crux as to why it happened is important. And how he acts now is important too. Is he happy to relinquish all financial responsibility to you? Does he blame you in any way or is it all of his own doing, what's he prepared to do to fix it?

My DH made a massive mistake which we are still working through. A lot would have cast him out for it, but I haven't on the basis I don't think he intended to do what he did, let alone cause hurt to all of his family and such. We are all learning a lot about him including himself, he is in counselling etc and has never tried to shift the blame.

Take your time and don't rush into anything. Drill into him the importance that he tells you everything now, any dribs and drabs to come out later will prove very damaging so this is his once chance now to tell you everything.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 01-Jan-17 09:56:27

I would certainly speak to Gamcare yourself re his gambing problem because they are in a better position to advise you. At the very least you need to completely separate yourself financially from him. His debts are his and not yours to own or to take any charge of.

You can only help you ultimately.

It is also not your fault that this has happened to him. Please consider the effects problem gambling has on your children also (not that you have not likely already thought of this); it can have lasting consequences.

DrShellington Sun 01-Jan-17 09:58:44

Attila, unfortunately for me I do agree with every word. I asked him why does he think he can just stop now? He said because of the kids. I said this isn't likely to be rock bottom, what makes him think he doesn't have further to go? He said without the money how can he?

I don't know, I said. Maybe you'll lie some more or steal - horrified at the idea of stealing. No chance of obtaining credit.

When I was young my mum worked for a loan company. Before they were as disposable as today I guess. So she often has large amounts of cash in the house before taking it to the office. My brother would steal from her. I remember her counting it and counting it again and again in tears, hoping she was wrong. So then she'd hide it, in the loft or the car. Is that what I've got to look forward to?

Nb brother was not gambling just compulsive.

Mix56 Sun 01-Jan-17 10:00:20

IMO If he can't admit he "has a real problem", it's like an alcoholic, he can't even start to try to sever seriously. He can still ask a friend for a fiver & go into the betting shop, or buy scratch cards.
Think of it as an illness. If you can get all the truth about his debts, including from friends, parents, banks etc, & he seriously goes to Gam Anon meetings/other there may be hope for your couple.

DrShellington Sun 01-Jan-17 10:01:18

Hellmouth he has a no-brand smartphone because he breaks them easily/puts them through the washing machine. No applypay or anything. He says he will empty his accounts into mine and then I can give him what he needs.

We are not otherwise financially entwined at all. I have no credit after a CCJ of my own many years ago. I opened a basic account in 2003 and have thankfully never upgraded it to anything else.

DrShellington Sun 01-Jan-17 10:05:25

The optimist in me says, there must be people who tiptoe on the edge of serious addiction and get out before it's too late.

When I was in my early twenties I drank a lot. A lot. To numb existential angst hmm mostly. I self harmed. I have a lot of scars. But now I'm 37 and consider myself well adjusted, haha? I drink occasionally with no desire to excess and haven't contemplated hurting myself for about 15 years.

My pessimistic side says, oh no no no, this is the beginning and there's a long way down from here. A long way down. No one gets off this easily.

DrShellington Sun 01-Jan-17 10:10:03

Attila what do you mean about the effects on children?

I'm worried about the logistics of separating. That will mean big changes, we'd have to move, i don't have the money for that. And there are no houses in the area either. I couldn't afford this without DP supplementing heavily. And if he's doing that I need to trust him to do it and if I trust him to do that he may as well live here?

The logistics really are complex. I don't want to out myself and our current situation is a bit different and unique.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 01-Jan-17 10:15:54

"The optimist in me says, there must be people who tiptoe on the edge of serious addiction and get out before it's too late".

You helped your own self ultimately and for that you deserve full credit. Unfortunately this man has clearly not done that but remained dishonest to both himself and to you. He is being untruthful even now. He is still very much in denial and I doubt very much he will attend more than a couple of Gamcare meetings even if he does attend. I hope I am wrong here but if he is only doing that for you then there is little to no chance of success.

I also doubt very much that you know the full extent of his losses; he probably does not know either.

You helped you back then and you can do it again. Its not just you either now, your children need to be considered in all this as well because gambling problems affect them too (not that you have not considered them already).

0nline Sun 01-Jan-17 10:17:45

I would run like the wind. But, I have bias.

My brother had his gambling addiction sorted (allegedly) for about 2 decades. And then didn't again.

IMO it is too much to have to live with the acute parts of dealing with the mess and sorting out help for the addict. As well as living with the chronic bits, where they aren't gambling (allegedly) but you never know when Damocles sword will fall. Again.

I will never ever let my life be tied to the emotional and economic roller coaster, ups and downs of an addict again. I can make emotional and economic stability when left to my own devices. But I can't make that stability if I am constantly on edge, cos somebody close to me is sitting there like an unexplored bomb, with my breath half held for when (maybe if, but more likely when) they will smash all my carefully constructed stability to smithereens.

I won't ever live like that again. I am just not built for it.

I can understand not walking away at the first discovery. We didn't either. But be ready for the second. There is a high probability of yet more to come. It might be soon, it might be decades later. That's the rub. If you relax, you are in no way ready for round 2 and get knocked for six. If you are ready for it, it means to some extent you live your life watching and waiting for the next hammer blow.

Some people can do that. I can't. Or more accurately, I won't. I will not dimish my life and by extension my son's life to flail about trying to save somebody who doesn't want, or can't want to be saved.

Whatever you decide, protect yourself and your children in the most watertight way possible. And maintain that watertight protection forever . Because even 20 years later massive, humungous, "been a well kept secret long enough to spiral out of all proportion" relapse is a possibility.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 01-Jan-17 10:19:14

The family environments of people with gambling problems are also characterised by high levels of anger and conflict as well as low levels of clear and effective communication, less independence, less engagement in intellectual and cultural activities, a lack of commitment and support, little direct expression of feelings, and less participation in social and recreational activities.

Common gambling problems reported by family members include:
the loss of household or personal money;
anger and violence;
lies and deception;
neglect of family;
negatively affected relationships;
poor communication;
confusion of family roles and responsibilities;
the development of gambling problems or other addictions within the family.

Its no legacy to leave them, it really is not.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 01-Jan-17 10:24:17

"The logistics really are complex. I don't want to out myself and our current situation is a bit different and unique".

How is it different and unique; from what you have written you are unmarried and rent a property. Is the tenancy agreement in joint names?

On a wider level any women in poor relationships write similarly and they actually go onto find that their own situation is not all that different from anyone else in a similar position. You and in turn your children are still being dragged down by him and his inherent gambling addiction.

He may well have nowhere else to go but he will find somewhere to go and where he goes ultimately is not your problem.

Penfold007 Sun 01-Jan-17 10:26:08

I work with people with addictions, gambling is the most difficult one to work with. He's sorry he's been caught out nothing more, you can't help him, he needs to want to help himself. If bankruptcy is being suggested the debt is huge and may well impact on his ability to remain. Self employed.
I'd ask him to leave and I would inform his parents of the reason you've told him to leave.

DrShellington Sun 01-Jan-17 10:27:08

He is being so fucking earnest. I want to believe him but I don't think I do. Or at least I believe that he wants to mean it all but really?

I don't know what he'll do or where he'll go. I know that's not my problem. But if it's an illness? Do I sound like I'm excusing him?

I am scared that you only get the kind of insight and perspective necessary to leave, by going through it all.

Almost like, it is inevitable right now that I'm going to support him because I don't have the perspective yet of a survivor. I'm naive and foolish. So I have to buy what he's telling me. I can only learn to say no, enough, the end, after witnessing more destruction. I hope that doesn't sound flippant. It's not meant to be.

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