Husband's gambling problem affecting marriage

I hope that I can get some help or if not I desperately need to be able to
talk about how after being married for over 20 years that
now there is a third "person"( gambling ) and it is tearing me apart.

Each time I have tried to talk to my husband about his gambling, he has
turned on me with such anger and resentment.

He said the reason he gambles is that it relaxes him.

And he adamantly said he does not want me to question him on this again.
Meanwhile, we owe money to the I.R.S and are facing our lease to end on
our current home, and really need to save money so that we can afford to
move in three months.

I just feel lost....

the-good-life's picture

Most compulsive gamblers

Most compulsive gamblers drag down those around them. Sometimes it's best to leave people alone to solve their own problems. The worst thing to do is to enable him.

I'm not a relationship expert so take my advice with lots of salt.

I feel your pain

Hi, I just joined this morning. I was married to a gambler for over 20 years and just recently divorced him in October. I came to the realization that nothing was going to change as long as I enabled him. My husband gambled in options and futures as well as at the casinos. I learned the first year we were married to keep my finances separate. Thru the years as my net worth grew and his did not, the anger, resentment of me became more than I was willing to live with.
He is a smart man, a CPA believe it or not!. In a nut shell I supported the things in life that mattered such as paying for the home, educations, saving for retirement, etc. Back in 2007 after another separation, I insisted on a property settlement agreement prior to yet another reconciliation. Felt I needed it to protect myself.

Long story short, I think my husband "wasted" more money than I had managed to save over 20 years. So we are not talking chump change. As he aged things got progressively worse. The anger, the resentment, the mood swings, the negativity, the depression, etc. In fact he became addicted to pain meds and in 2010 during yet another separation, his sister and I managed to get him into Detox. But he refused to walk the walk and refused counseling.

I was depressed and hopeless but finally woke up one morning (after the kids were grown) and decided I could not live the next 30 years the way I lived the last 20 and that I would no longer enable him or pull off the facade of a marriage.

I know you feel hopeless. But please try to do what you can to protect yourself. Bottom line if he won't participate "in change", you can not do it alone. Easy words. Took me years to get there so I understand.

Totally agree

I have just left my partner of 17 years due to the gambling and reprocusions of it. We have 2 children together that have suffered enough verbal, emotional abuse from all of this. I know I can handle myself, but my kids need taking care of first and foremost. My partner admited to his gambling 6 years ago, lied about wanting change, attempted counselling for more than just the addiction. Because of the lies, anger resentment on my part, this in turn made the relationship crumble. It was getting hard waking up happy for the both of us.

I have always known about our debt, so. I thought. I hated his family enabling him after numerous times of me telling them not to. When I thought he was being paid from work and then paying lifes bills, only to find out he was paying loan sharks first and then borrowing from family to pay our bills. Just recently I got a phone call from his irrate father telling me that he has stolen 10,000. from his Grandma to pay back loan shark. This disgusted me beyond any comprehension that I told him to get out and not come back. I wont lie, it has been difficult, but I know in the long run things will get better. Tired of living depressed, always wondering about the truth, hiding my wallet, making sure we dont set off his unstable mood due to his own unhappiness with himself.

Long story short, get out now while you can.....there is still plenty of damage ahead of you, if your partner still hasnt admitted his problem. It will get worse, just how much worse depends on you. I figure now finally finding out the truth, because there is nothing to hide anymore. He has hit rock bottom, has nothing....he spent 100,000. Mostly in borrowed debt. I have had to file bankruptcy because of living life on my credit so we can survive. He needs to work for cash now because the creditors will find him and take take take. My ex partner has a long road ahead of him, and I hope he doesnt give up for his kids sake. They need to see what it is like to overcome such obstacle and move forward to better things. I dont hate, only hope.

Good on you sheehs1 and good luck!

the-good-life's picture

I was just reading a couple

I was just reading a couple of your posts and they remind me of myself! My
husband and I are both retired and own our home. I learned quite a few
years ago to keep our finances separate!! My husband seems to borrow from
everyone! He's always broke! I am just so stressed out with our living
situation....our kids are grown, but he has even borrowed money from them!

(I learned this after the fact!) We've been having quite a few arguments.
He's very moody and resentful (even though I pay for most things and he
brings in double what I do sith SS and pensions)! I'm just not so aure what
to do since we're both in our late 60's. I brought up the idea of us
separating and he said he would if I give him $10,000 (he wants half of
what our house is worth but he knows I can't do that)! Our house is
probably only valued in the $40,000 range, but I'm sure glad it's in both
of our names or we wouldn't have it now! He knows I have money saved in my
401k plan so I could give him the $10,000.....I didn't touch my 401K when I
was working, he spent all his before he was even retired!

I'm just glad I found this group! Wondering if it's too late for me to do
anything at my age! Should have done something years ago!
I'm just as resentful since he just "blows" money. He pays utilities and
insurance and I pay groceries and anything that goes wrong in the house or
any extras!

He admits he has a problem but does nothing about it.....sorry to burn
your ear off! I feel better now that I've even talked about it!
Any advice you can give me would be appreciated!

the-good-life's picture

First of, I am glad you

First of, I am glad you reached out to talk about it. Sometimes just writing things down really helps. It has been some time now since I had written in the forum. I so understand how you feel with a pit in my stomach and a lump in my throat. Any advice I could give, sure......make yourself happy. You see since I have written my post, things got worse in a sense that all the repercussions from the stealing, borrowing, lying caught up with my partner and our Union broke. That was it, I couldn't take anymore. The verbal abuse, mood swings, temper tantrums never stopped, and now my children were being affected.

We had decided to move prior to me finding out the last hurtful, despicable thing he had done. Stole from his Grandma to pay loan sharks. We Move into my Dads house to help with rent, and me having the security of knowing my Dad wasn't far away. Even at 44, a girl still needs her Daddy, plus I shared lots with him. He always could make me laugh. Well he ended up having a heart attack and died a month later leaving me as executor to his Estate. Believe it or not this gave me a back bone. Knowing that there was financial stability for at least a little while to do what was important.

That was to show my partner the door. Of course he pleaded, threatened, pleaded some more, and was gone for 7 months. He never once really showed any responsibility just like always other than taking for himself first and foremost. Having him gone meant no arguments, which lowers your guard and we forget what it was like to have your heart ripped out by words so hateful from the man you love more than anything.

We made promises to work on us, and we did for a awhile. So I he moved back in, for 1 month before his old habits started rearing its ugly head. Well like I said, i have a little bit of stability, he has a job and is always broke, so i told him thats it. I am not in Love with you anymore. The bullshit part is he wont leave, because he has nothing saved to get himself set up. Seriously this is a grown man. He lives downstairs in a bathroom, with very little to no contact with me. Intimacy is a thing of the past. I am still dealing with his financial instability because now he is paying child support...when he can, what joke! He disgusts me, which makes me so so sad to brink of tears thinking that there was a time there was so much love and lust for this man, now nothing.

So long story short just getting that bit of peace of mind knowing now he knows how I feel about him and that things will become separated between us sooner than later, puts a smile on my face, because I love myself more and want happiness for me, so in return I can shine onto others and especially my children.

We are given chances in life to make changes, sometimes life changing. We need to decipher when this is it by the signs given. I have seen my signs, unfortunately lost the only man who loved me unconditionally to get it. But I know that my Dad would be so disappointed in me if I kept being miserable. It will be difficult, I have things to work on to move forward? A job, daycare for daughter, maybe some night schooling. I have had to cut back to make things work before, so I cant be afraid now. No going back. You are still young in todays day and age, many are just now living it up at 60. Just think of the new experiences, making all your own decisions with your own finances and not always having to worry about his, also not having to mother a grown man...blah. It shortens our lives you know, the stress and anxiety, sadness.

We know our verbally abusive men like to threaten, and we also know that thats all it is, is a threat. When they get scared and are backed into a corner, they fight their way out. Just walk away, because your resentment will never go away, mine never did.. We can bury it, but it is never forgotten. The arguments will always persist because of the resentment. He will always sense how you feel which will in turn make him lash out or be part of the pity parade, because he knows he screwed up and cant get back what once was. Poor them right, because we put all this crap on them. All you have wanted to do was understand his disease, be there time and time again, love the man who has many qualities you admire..... Only to be treated like crap time and time again. So eventually your heart just doesn't take it anymore, it breaks, you can almost feel it. You will lose faith and love for this man. He can never be trusted, because a compulsive gambler never knows when the gambling bug will hit. Mine thought he would never gamble again. So what did he do during this break up...he gambled the money he owes me. The very thing that put all this crap into our relationship, he goes and does. So what does that tell you. Trust is a big issue. Without that you got nothing.

Sorry to sound so neg. but I am so tired of seeing or hearing another beautiful mistreated wife, mom, and woman having to put up with this neglect.

The part where your husband says he is always broke reminds me of my partners(ex) saying for years and years. "I don't have any money". I told him this will be his legacy on his headstone.
So please make yourself happy, if that means leaving, finding extra curricular activities, group meeting, or even counselling for the two of you if this is what you want. Just make yourself happy...Because you deserve it.

It's killing me

We have married 33 years and I am fifteen years younger.
In the past 8 years, I lost count of how many times that I refused him coming home but the longest was 4 weeks I would gave him the benefit of the doubt that he would not gamble again, I allowed him back home.
Because deep down I love him, I thought he would love me enough to not to hurt me again. How wrong I had been.
This time he moved out for over one week now. Knowing that his temp. living condition is not good, it hurts me deeply, I keep crying. Previously when back he would made promise not gamble again, but the past year he wouldn't say it anymore.
Because of his gambling, my career with the company we built together has to stop. I am very exhausted apart from doing my duties, I have to keep checking the finance, also to check his movement every minute.
One moment I truly want him to come back to our home, him to relax in his own bed but the next I have so much fear about the size of his debts and his continue gambling - entertainment he said.
It's killing me.

Be strong.

Be strong!

When you come on this site looking for help it always feels good when you get a reply because you know that someone has listenened and really cares.

The compulsion to gamble is strong and can sometimes override love so it's a tough call to beat it,especially the longer it goes on.

It's hard for people like you who are on the receiving end because the gambling itself is beyond your control.Hoping is hard too when you get let down too many times and it sounds to me like you need to step back and look to what you can do to protect yourself from the fallout,emotional and financial.

Don't despair! Right now I hope you can focus your energy on making things more secure for yourself.

Best wishes.Corash.

prokopton's picture

The gambling industry has

The gambling industry has done a superb job of marketing gambling as a social activity or pastime. Poker is regularly on TV, fantasy sports is part of sports, a night out at the casino is normal, and so forth. They've made it as the "in thing" to do. This is how most people get hooked.

There is nothing glamorous or fun about gambling. It consumes time, energy, and money, leading to suffering for the gambler and those around them.

I hope everything turns out well for you both.

prokopton's picture

Remind your husband: --If

Remind your husband:

--If you could make money gambling, nobody would have to work.
--If you want to make money, work for it.
--There are dozens of ways to relax and have fun besides gambling. Ask him to make a list.

"A gambler with a system must be, to a greater or lesser extent, insane.” —George Augustus Sala

It's killing me

Thank you Corash and prokopton for listening and your kind messages.
He said he know very well that he will never can make money from gambling but it’s only for his entertainment. That hurts me very much to hear that he prefers to waste the money, time and energy on gambling rather than to us.

Time and energy on gambling!

When you see the strain that out of control gambling places on relationships and finances you can't help but ask wether this is really entertainment! And for who?

You have obviously done your best and given your husband chances,but beating addiction can be a long haul and the total commitment would have to come from your husband because he feels ready.His head has to be in the right place first!

You probably feel to be in a pressure pot right now.However emotionally painful this situation is for you,especially after such a long term relationship,try to stay focussed on finding practical solutions for yourself.You are important and so is your own health and financial security.

So take a deep breath and step back a little.

I'm no expert.These are just my thoughts that I'm sharing.

Stay strong! Corash..

RichardsMark's picture

I agree

This topic has always been one of my favorite subjects to read about. I have found your post to be very rousing and full of good information. I will check your other articles shortly.

I agree. The house always wins in the end.

Keep your marriage strong!

Keep your marriage strong by stop gambling!

Gambling adds enormous stress to your love life. You don't need it! Stop gambling and feel the difference!


Thank you Just peachy. I will post an update. It's been 4 years since the separation and divorce.

Four years since separation and divorce

Thought I would post an update. It has been 4 years since the separation and divorce. While I tried, I have found it difficult to totally "move on". Meaning enter into another relationship. this point I don't even think I ever want another relationship and all the responsibility that goes with one! Not only did I feel I had all the responsibility, at least the responsibility that mattered, with my ex but also the stress. I just can't find myself to go there again! I think this is because I wanted so much for my children to still feel they have us as a a sense. I do not provide my ex husband with any money. I periodically invite him to visit the second home bay front condo I purchased so he can see the grandchildren.(separate rooms!). They live in the same resort city. I invite him for holidays, etc. Things like that. I am starting to feel he remains in my life too much for me to move on. I will be working on that. However, it is difficult since the adult children don't really understand that he has a disease, an addiction that put our family in harms way. It has been hard to give up the 24 plus year history of a family. I know most of you can relate. But I am not at all sorry or regretful that I divorced him. In fact this week, he told me something that confirms I made the right decision. He continued to gamble, He borrowed money from his dying Mother that made his other siblings angry. He lost that money too. He continues to trade in highly speculative options and futures and has ridden his retirement account down to less than $50,000. He will ride it to zero. He is tired and depressed. But not enough to do much about it. He already lost his wife and his retirement to gambling. They can not help themselves. Not without help and support and admitting they have a problem.