I’m worried about my boyfriend’s gambling.
I know that he hides things from me. He has secret credit cards and other phones.
He’s become very sneaky in recent times. He tells me he’s seeing a mate, then I discover that he’s in a casino on his own.
I honestly think he feels more at home in our local betting shop than he does here, with me.
He’s often in there for hours –drinking coffee, chatting with the staff and, of course, betting.
I’m no prude, my late Dad liked a punt on the horses and I used to love going to the races with him.
Equally, my boyfriend’s father enjoys a flutter. He usually breaks even and can handle the highs and the lows.
But my guy concerns me because he’s so impulsive and extreme. In ordinary life he can’t go out and buy one pair of shoes, he has to buy three.
I can always tell when he’s on a losing streak because he becomes very withdrawn and we stop having sex. We haven’t made love since May – our longest sexual drought ever – and I’m frightened. How much has he lost? How bad is the damage.
The other day I decided to try to draw him out. I told him that the boiler, cooker and washing machine all needed replacing and he needed to chip in £2,000.
The look of horror that swept over his face was chilling. He looked like he was about to face a firing squad.
When I asked him how much he actually has in savings, he muttered: “I’ll have to check.”
I fear the sad reality is that he’s up to his eyeballs in debt, again.
I last bailed him out to the tune of £5,000 in 2017 and £3,000 in 2019 and I’m not prepared to do it again. Are we doomed?
Your boyfriend needs to hear that he is not alone. He may have debts and feel he can’t stop gambling but there are experts who can help him.
If you’re inclined to stand by him and support him, then I suggest you both check out begambleaware.org, 0808 8020 133 (the National Gambling Treatment service).
Free, confidential help is available to anyone who is worried about their, or someone else’s gambling.
Once you are armed with more information about the nature of gambling, then you can have a series of honest conversations with your boyfriend about your fears. You generously bailed him out the last two times but you shouldn’t be expected to put your hand in your pocket.
I suspect he needs to look at “self-exclusion” whereby he asks his gambling providers to exclude him for a length of time. All such outlets in Britain must provide consumers with this option.
He also needs to be honest about his triggers and his debts to collate the figure and work out a budget.
Don’t stay with him out of duty or pity.