Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Just found out dp has had a gambling relapse

(49 Posts)
user1484477774 Thu 26-Jan-17 13:24:48

As it says really, found the receipt on the floor from last night.

Bit of background, been together a year, don't live together or have any finances together thankfully.

Dp has had an extremely tough few years....he suffers from bad depression because of it. I'm not going into too much detail, but one of his parents commited suicide, he then found out this parent was not his biological parent. Gambling became a result of dealing with this. I won't lie, he has got himself into an amount of debt because of it £4000. But he's paying it off bit by bit.

For the past 6 months or so, he seems to have got on top of it all. He seemed to be doing well until the last couple of weeks where the depression has really hit him. He's been to the gp a lot and he's on medication however at the moment there is no available counselling in our area.

Anyway just to make this clear, I do not want to leave my partner. I love him very much. He's an amazing person that's had a really shitty time. I want to know what I can do when he comes round tonight. He knows I've found the receipt, I rang him up crying my eyes out. He said we would talk about it tonight - he's at work and obvs not something that can really be discussed over the phone.

I don't feel angry at him, maybe I should I don't know. I feel awful for him as I know he hates himself, he doesn't want to do this. He uses it as a coping mechanism to take his mind off other things.

I also am very much aware that he is the only one who can deal with this. He is the only one that can get himself help. I know this

I just don't know what I can do to be there for him.....

I am expecting everyone to say leave the relationship btw......i dunno. I just want him to be ok

Hellmouth Thu 26-Jan-17 13:27:04

I personally don't think you should leave him, particularly if you don't want to. He clearly needs your love and support now. My only bit of advice would be to not tie your finances to him at any time in the near future!

CatyB Thu 26-Jan-17 13:36:47

Support him. That is the best advice right now. Why would expect us to tell you otherwise? You sound like a caring person who would want to see him get back on his feet and I do believe that you are trying your best. Hoping for a resolution to his problem soon.

user1484477774 Thu 26-Jan-17 13:38:04

Thanks Hellmouth - that's what I mean. Sorry I'm all over the place with what I'm saying. What I mean is, how do I be there for him? I could of rang him screaming and shouting but I didn't. I cried though because I need him to know what he does affects other people.

We are pretty much on the verge of living together properly - he is more eager for this than I am. I can safely say that this isn't an option now, I have 2 dcs which are obviously my priority and I will not let someone else's problems affect their lives.

But I was so looking forward to us living together properly :-( we were even supposed to be looking at cars this weekend.

I realise all this can wait. I just feel crap but even more crap for him. All he wants is a normal life but he struggles so much. He is the most loving person I've ever met in my life :-(

tribpot Thu 26-Jan-17 13:39:50

You are reasonably well protected from the problem by not living together or having any financial dependencies - I think you realise that's the way this will have to stay for quite some time.

Has he been seeking help from Gamblers Anonymous or similar? If no, I would suggest this is a condition of you continuing the relationship with him. If he thought he could manage it on his own/keep it a secret from everyone, it's now clear that he can't. If he hasn't been telling his friends about the problem, now is also the time.

What he needs to take from this is that he is always going to be triggered to gamble - under stress or because of depression. He has to learn how to anticipate his triggers, have strategies in place and most of all have outside support (not you, professional/peer support from people who understand the issue).

Ultimately I think you need to pull back and see how he responds to this crisis. If he says straight up he knows he has done the wrong thing and outlines a plan to get himself back on the wagon, including making public declarations of the problem if he hasn't before - fine. If he makes excuses or prevaricates, I do think you need to be ready to walk away from the relationship for now.

user1484477774 Thu 26-Jan-17 13:41:56

Catyb - I've just read similar stories where people have said to leave and they wouldn't put up with it etc etc..... a lot of people don't see gambling as an illness but in this case, it really is

But thank you, that's what I intend to do. Be there for him. I suppose I just feel abit like I've been cheated he hasn't been loyal to me. He did promise he would tell me if he ever had a relapse and if I hadn't of found the evidence then I would never of known. And I know he wouldn't of told me either

tribpot Thu 26-Jan-17 13:42:47

Cross-posted. The fact you have children is every reason to be extremely cautious. I think you realise that. He certainly needs to understand that his actions have consequences and that you absolutely will be protecting your own interests, and of course your children's, first.

BzyB Thu 26-Jan-17 13:45:04

My ex was a gambler and at first I tried to support him but ultimately he chose it over us and I could t deal with him putting our family at risk financially. But not saying leave the relationship, just to think clearly what you need.
This is good support

user1484477774 Thu 26-Jan-17 13:47:20

He has always been very honest with his gambling. All his family and closest friends know. He even told my mum lol. In fact on our first date, he told me pretty much straight away. I was a bit taken back by it but I also admired his honesty. I am someone who has been continually cheated on and lied too by exs so for him to tell me his past told me a lot about him as a person.

I agree I will say if he wants our relationship to continue then getting professional help is the only option. I did tell him this on the phone but like I say, he couldn't really speak.

The thing is, he deserves to be happy. He deserves a good life, he has been through so much more than most. I just want him to get through his and come out the other side

Thank you for everyone's advice x

TondelayaDellaVentamiglia Thu 26-Jan-17 13:47:26

he has made it perfectly clear that he prioritises the gambling over anything else.

he has made and broken promises to tell you

this is not your problem atm, but move in with him and it will be. this the life you want for you and your children?

user1484477774 Thu 26-Jan-17 13:48:58

No of course it isn't, I have already said I will not let someone else's problems affect my children. I can swear by that.

If he did choose gambling over me then I'd be gone like a shot.

Thanks, will read the link

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 26-Jan-17 14:05:01


The only person who can help him here ultimately is his own self. Only he can be in charge of his recovery. You must not enable him further now, that will not help him or you for that matter because that will only give you a false sense of control.

How long have you yourself known he has been affected by gambling?. His problem is already affecting your life. Please do not expose your children to life with a problem gambler. The fact that he was more keen to move in with you anyway is itself worrying; he may well have ended up using you as his emotional crutch.

Love is not enough in these situations. You cannot love him better. If you want to help him then help your own self first. Seek support for your own self. Call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133, they can give you further counsel.

Does he now properly admit he has a gambling problem; this is far bigger than you and you as his girlfriend are really in no position to help him. I am sorry to write that but it is true. The £4000 you write of may be the tip of the iceberg.

Some dos and don'ts for you:-
Remember it is a complicated problem and gamblers cannot ‘just give up’
Let them know you are prepared to support them
Read through the information on the GamCare website about the sources of support available to them and to you
Talk to them about how their gambling affects you. They need to understand the consequences of their gambling and how it makes you feel. Try to avoid doing this when either of you are angry or emotional.
Think about what you want to say. It might help to write your feelings and thoughts down so that you are clear in your own mind.
Encourage them to talk openly with you
Work with them to establish firm boundaries
Limit the financial impact that gambling has on you. For example, you could separate your bank account and protect your own money.
Suggest to them that they call the National Gambling Helpline (Freephone 0808 8020 133 or via web chat on the NetLine)
If you believe that they may be thinking about harming themselves, they should seek professional help as soon as possible. Their GP could be the first point of contact.

Do not:-
Try not to bail them out with loans or cover their gambling losses for them. This may only prolong the problem - they need to be responsible for the consequences for their gambling.
If the gambler isn’t ready to stop or has a lapse, don’t blame yourself – only they can be in charge of their recovery.
You can respond to requests for financial ‘bailouts’ with an answer that contains these messages: “I care about you and I don’t want you to suffer” or “I’m saying ‘no’ for your own good.”
Try not to issue ultimatums. These are rarely effective as they can often increase the sense of guilt and shame a gambler feels about their behaviour.
Do not trust them with money until the dependency is broken. If they agree, it may be helpful to manage their money for a short period.
Do not condemn them, as this is unhelpful and may drive them back to gambling. However, setting firm and fair boundaries to their behaviour is constructive.

I would say to you to not give any more of yourself than you are prepared to lose. You do not live with him fortunately, that will need to remain so as well. He could relapse at any point in the future as well.

You love him but do not confuse this with co-dependency; do not put his addiction and he above your own physical and mental wellbeing. I am wondering if you are co-dependent and I would read up on co-dependency within relationships.

Will he be willing to speak to Gamcare?. If he wants to really beat this addiction he will need the help of professional people to do it. You cannot do this for him, he has to want to seek the help for his own self.

Gamanon meetings for yourself are also worth attending:-

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 26-Jan-17 14:10:27

"I am someone who has been continually cheated on and lied too by exs so for him to tell me his past told me a lot about him as a person".

This tells me that your own boundaries in relationships are pretty much shot. Dating this man also tells me that your relationship bar is still far too low and you have accepted to date what to most people is a complete deal breaker. What did you yourself learn about relationships when growing up?. What do you want to teach your children about relationships and what are they learning here from you?.

I would seek counselling for your own self anyway particularly if you have any latent rescuer and or saviour tendencies.

Forget him for a moment, YOU also deserve to be happy.

Tenshidarkangel Thu 26-Jan-17 14:15:20

He will always be an addict. He may be clean from it for 10 years but he will always be addicted. He may never go back but he could. It's a crutch. You will always have to live with that. That means if he does there will be lies, suspicion and potently putting you in financial jeopardy.
It's a very difficult road.

Error404usernamenotfound Thu 26-Jan-17 14:31:35

I'm slightly torn here; on the one hand, he has lied to you, and the fact that you have children makes me doubly cautious due to the horrendous effects of living with an addict.

But, you also say that he has managed to curb the gambling for the last six months or so (or so you have been led to believe - he may have just got better at hiding it from you until this slip-up - sorry, but that is a possibility), and the fact that he has gone through a horrific time of it recently, which doesn't excuse his behaviour, but I believe any decent person can be driven to addiction or other destructive acts if the trigger is strong enough. Also, the vast majority of people, from what I know, have relapses during recovery from addiction - it does not mean game over, but coming back from a relapse is in some ways even more difficult than the initial attempt to quit.

I think that you first of all need to get the whole truth from him - how has he really been doing over the past six months? How much does he really owe? I admit I'm not sure how best to go about this beyond getting him to show you all his bank statements and credit record, but if he really wants to get better with your help, he will have to accept that your trust will have to be rebuilt over time, and until then you need to check up on what he says - he has proven that you cannot take his word for it.
Secondly, get professional help, for him via gamblers anonymous, and for you as well.
Thirdly, under no circumstances tie your finances with him through any joint purchases, sharing a home, or anything until you can be sure that he is well. And always be on the look out for further relapses. Forever.
Fourthly, and most importantly, you and your children must come first. Any hint of relapse or undue stress on your health or your children's wellbeing, and you will need to consider very carefully whether this relationship should continue. You are not responsible for his behaviour or his recovery; you can only support him while he does the work of making himself better. Please remember that.
The decision is yours, but it'll be a long, difficult road for a long time if you want to go ahead.

Silentplikebath Thu 26-Jan-17 15:00:42

Most people would run a mile if they were told about a gambling problem on a first date. You saw it as a good thing that he was so honest, I would have seen it as a red flag saying 'avoid this person unless you want a whole load of trouble in your life'. You've now found out that he is capable of lying to you and he is still gambling. I'm going to go against most people on this thread and say you should end the relationship and concentrate on being single for a good while.

user1484477774 Thu 26-Jan-17 15:03:43

Just to be clear - my children really really are 100% my priority. I would never do anything to jeopardise their future. If that means I cannot be with him anymore then so be it. I can swear on that one, they are my world.

Maybe I do need to spend sometime re thinking things. It's easy for me to write on here and for everyone to take what they want out of it with their replies and I totally get that. I appreciate everyone's comments.

I'm just gutted really. But I know I need to be strong on this one.

If he says 'I don't need help, I can handle this on my own' then I know that is the end for us. As it's clear he can't. He needs helps

If he says 'I'm ready to get help and I am going to do my best to get myself through this' then I will be there for him the best I can, no matter what happens to our relationship.

He has never had counselling over the loss of his parent, he's never had counselling to deal with what happened after the death either. This is why he gambles, he can't deal with his whole past being a lie. It gets too much for him and his gambles as it's the only thing to take his mind off it.

We actually talk about his previous gambling all the time. It's not something he hides. But now I realise it means nothing when the words don't match the actions

user1484477774 Thu 26-Jan-17 15:06:31

Slilentplikebath - i admired the honesty yes. The gambling shouldnof been a red flag but at he time he wasn't doing it. I've never been involved with anyone with this kind of problem before so it's all new to me.

Just because he has a gambling addict, it doesn't mean he is a bad person. This is the problem because he's far from a bad person.

OurBlanche Thu 26-Jan-17 15:33:21

Stop just for a moment. Take your DCs out of the equation, you sound as though you definitely have them covered. No that just leaves you and him... and your posts contain quite a few nasties that you have identified as positives.

Have a rethink - replace his gambling addiction with alcohol, to give you a new perspective.

So, he has told his family and friends he is an alcoholic, but isn't really getting any help, just stumbling along, being strong. He even pre-warns people, so they can't get upset with him for drinking... he told them!

He has lost his parents, in quite horrid ways, may well have needed counselling but didn't look for it and is just stumbling along being strong.

You say that his drinking started as a reaction to their deaths... is that right? Or did it just spiral out of control after that?

You have been with him for a year and already something in your relationship has persuaded you that you must and shall do all you can to make his life better/good. Where is your quality of life in that?

Basically, in 1 year this man has persuaded you that his addiction is normal and that you need to support it and him.

Had you been with him for 20 years and his addiction had grown during that time then yes, it would be more reasonable for him to expect your support. But he has arrived in your life with a tale of woes and, rather than deal with them and make efforts to make himself better/happier, he has found you, single mum with a big heart and made himself your problem!

Before you decide that you really don't want to step back do consider where you fit, where your happiness is in this relationship. No one will judge you for stepping away. But if you want to accept that much 'trouble' in your life then make that decision with your eyes wide open.

He is an addict.
He will lie, cheat, steal to feed his addiction, eventually if not immediately.

You did not cause it
You can not cure it
You can not control it!

user1484477774 Thu 26-Jan-17 15:53:25

Ourblanche - I know what you are saying. Thank you for posting. I don't really know how to deal with this when I see him later.

If I step away from this and look at it all then it's pretty obvious that I should just walk away from all of it. I know this, I really do. It's just obviously not as easy when you are the person involved.

I know none of this is my fault, I'm just thankful that I don't have any finances with him etc (we were also about to book a holiday which we haven't done and won't be doing now).

I don't know what to do but I'm sure I will be fine. I'll make sure to put me first (and the kids obvs) x

OurBlanche Thu 26-Jan-17 16:17:15

Good luck with it all.

I'm glad you took all of that the way I meant it smile

Keep talking here if you need to. You know you'll get a load of straight up LTB posts, but you'll also get a lot of sensible advice on how to work through your ever changing emotions.


ImperialBlether Thu 26-Jan-17 16:28:45

I'm another one who thinks you should walk away.

It's common for women to put the man first, as though he's more important. You are the important one here; you have children that you're caring for and that must continue. If you ever live with him, your finances will become entwined. There's no point thinking they won't. If you're living with him and bailiffs come round, you'll pay them off. If he can't pay the bills because he's gambled the money, you'll have to. You don't need a joint account to be involved in this financially.

Make life easy for yourself. Don't take the route that will harm you and the children.

And don't forget - you found the slip. He didn't tell you, did he? You actually don't know what's been going on - I think it's a coincidence that you'd find the proof of the first gamble he'd made, just like that.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 26-Jan-17 16:35:11

Do not forget that you and your children are your number 1 priority here. Not him. His priority anyway is his addiction, his primary relationship is with gambling. He's told people about his problems but has done nothing himself to help his own self; by telling others as well he can absolve himself of all responsibility for his actions and say, "well you knew what I was like from the beginning". Its very manipulative of him to do that. He is still running away from his own life.

I still think your relationship bar is way too low and as a result he is now in your life. He ultimately has to be gone from it before he drags you and your children down with him.

You have a choice re this man, they do not.

StripeyCover Thu 26-Jan-17 17:19:59

You gave him a chance. Now he's broken your trust. Always happens on these gambling threads.

You will never feel safe, or a priority. You will always be wondering whats really happening. You are already shouldering his problem, emotionally, crying and so forth. Already your energy is going away from your children. You can never go forward in terms of more commitment with this man. What is in it for you is hard to see.

StripeyCover Thu 26-Jan-17 17:21:02

I still think your relationship bar is way too low

^ This

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: