Husband is a compulsive gambler


I am so so lost. My husband is gambling online (sports betting only). He's spent over $2000 of our money, via a credit card I do not have access to. He had a gambling problem many years ago, before we met. He was very honest about sharing this with me when we first started dating.

He began acting sketchy about a month ago, but anytime I asked him what was going on he denied anything was wrong. I then came across some scraps of paper in his drawer when putting laundry away - the scraps would have a football team name, and then a line, and a "ticket number". I started to get suspicious, but didn't want to assume this was happening. We ended up getting a malicious virus sent from some random website - Norton AntiVirus caught it - and when I was trying to clear this virus out, the website name popped up as one that he frequents. Turns out it is a betting site. I installed a key logger onto our computer, so I could figure out what he was doing, because I just really couldn't believe that he could be doing this again. Sure enough, he is - and it was way way way worse than I thought. Over $10000 in bets over the past 30 days.

I feel so much shame that I have been sneaking around trying to figure out how much money, how bad the compulsive gambling is, etc. I have read so much about compulsive gambling, and find myself constantly wondering how I contributed to this compulsive gambling. I am trying to put aside my feelings of anger and betrayal because I know that's not conducive but it's so hard to do.

If anyone could share with me their story of how their spouse confronted them about their gambling problem - the good, the bad, the ugly, what works and what doesn't - it would greatly assist me in ensuring I approach this in the most helpful way possible.

We don't have any Gam-Anon close by, and I've left voice mail messages for the nearest office but have had no response.

I would greatly appreciate any insight. Thank you.

SadWife
I can only tell you my experience being the gambler in the household. First, I installed a program called gamblock that will not allow you access to gaming sites - if you persist it shuts down the computer. If you try to uninstall its supposed to do damage to your computer. I think I paid $30 for the download and it's good for a year. It's really helped me with the online gambling problem. Still have to work on the other forms of gambling that still haunt but hope that this would help. The best thing that you can do for him and yourself is to be honest about how you are feeling and how it affects you - no blame or shame, keep it focused on how you feel. I'd love to hear (even though I know it's going to hurt) just how my partner feels and how it affects him. Good luck. It's not easy on either side of the fence.

cotexmcs
I can feel for you. My husband was the one who came to me about the compulsive gambling. You shouldn't feel ashamed about checking up on him, especially if you knew he had a compulsive gambling problem before hand. We put gamblock on our computer and it is terrific. It at least gives me a peace of mind when he's on the computer. I wold definitely talk with him about it soon, before it gets out of hand and he gamblers more. Good Luck! Prayers have really helped us!
Thank you for your kind replies. I talked to my husband about it last night... and he freely admitted it, and was kind and loving and "sorry for the hurt it has caused because he kept it from me". However, he lied to me about how much money has spent, and how much he has won/lost. He told me he doesn't think his gambling is a problem, but it was really apparent that he has had those thoughts... he mentioned that he could see there was a fine line between entertainment gambling and problem gambling. I couldn't help but say "if you are lying to me about any of this right now, then that might be an indicator that this is a larger problem than you think". I feel like such a jerk, because obviously I know that he's lying, but I really want HIM to come to the conclusion that it's a compulsive gambling problem and not seek help simply to appease me.

I looked into GamBlock, but am reluctant to do this as it seems like a band-aid solution - it may make it harder for him to gamble online (it's all sports betting, by the way) but if he wants to continue to do it, he'll find a way. BTW, someone from Gam-Anon called me back last night and spent almost an hour talking to me. They were absolutely, positively fantastic. They do have meetings in my area, and I'm going to start going. Thank you again for your thoughtful reply to my post.
He's bet over $10,000 in the last 30 days and admits he doesn't have a compulsive gambling problem. This could be a case of denial. You might want to have a talk with him again. Best wishes.
I agree. It sounds like he is in denial. My husband gambled thousands of dollars in the last 3 years and $15,000 in the last three months. He was an online gambler and he primarily did the sports betting. It wasn't until recently he started doing some of the other online stuff. I am still very upset about our financial situation. I don't know how you can get him to see that he needs help, but you should keep trying.
It's amazing how fast the money goes.....its hard to put it into perspective.
So, he's lied to me about the amount of money he's gambled, and he's lied to me about WHAT he's gambled on, and he's lied to me about how much he's won. Trust is such a big issue, and I'm fearful for our marriage on that basis alone - it's not just a financial thing for me, it's the trust. But - in order to determine the extent of what he has done, I installed this keylogger on the computer, basically tracking his every online move. I did not tell him this, nor did I tell him that I was aware he was lying. I have since deleted the keylogger, because it felt so damn sneaky and such an invasion of privacy that it made me feel guilty.

I'm scared that if I confront him with my knowledge, two things will evolve - first, he will then lose trust in me because of this invasion of privacy (does losing trust on both ends make the marriage even harder to salvage?) and secondly, if he knows how I got the information, I will no longer have any way to find out if I suspect this happening again.

I'm going to a Gam-Anon meeting on Saturday. I haven't even told my husband this yet.

How brutally honest did you have to be with your spouses before they understood the extent of the gambling problem? Or - how brutally honest did someone have to be with you, for you to realize how serious your gambling problem was?
Wow! My heart goes out to you. My husband was very scared to be honest with me because he thought I might leave him. He really is a good man, but the gambling just took over. You cannot deal with the compulsive gambling problem if he is in denial, or maybe he's just scared to admit it to you. It has been about a week since I've found out and yes I do not trust him when it comes to gambling. I am in charge now of our finances. He is going to have to earn that trust back and I think it will take a real long time before that happens. Good luck.
I've stopped blaming events and people for what happened in my life. Everything, good or bad, that has happened to me was the result of my doing. Mistakes I've made in the past were the result of my own decisions. I was led by people who didn't have my best interest at heart. However, the final decisions were mine to make. I've made wrong decisions and have learned from my mistakes.

It has been one of the biggest steps in my life: To stop blaming people and events for my failures. I chose to gamble and have suffered for my decision. I only have myself to blame for my losses. I have accepted responsibility as part of my life.

I forgive myself.