The effects of gambling on a marriage can be devastating. After countless lies and your spouse’s need to conceal the truth, an addiction to gambling can destroy the trust you had for your partner. Gambling can also ruin your finances and put your family in harm’s way.
Gambling addiction is a disease — and like any disease, treatment is the best way to get your spouse the help they need. Read on to learn how you can help a gambling addict spouse find freedom from a life of compulsive gambling.
How Gambling Impacts Marriage
A gambling addiction can affect your marriage on many levels:
- Trust: Compulsive gamblers often lie or distort facts to hide the fact that they have a problem. Trust is one of the first things destroyed by gambling addiction.
- Emotions: From betrayal and shame to guilt, hurt and outrage, your partner’s gambling problem can pay a huge toll on your emotional well-being.
- Time: Gambling takes your partner away from their family responsibilities, weakening their bond with you and your children.
- Finances: Gambling addictions often devastate joint finances. Your family may be left with no money for your most basic needs, such as groceries or mortgage payments.
Should I leave a Gambler Spouse?
Your marriage has undoubtedly come under great strain because of your spouse’s excessive gambling. After all your family has suffered, you shouldn’t feel guilty about your lack of trust. Whether or not you should leave your spouse because of their gambling addiction is a very personal question.
By all means, if violence has entered your relationship, you should have an escape plan that keeps you and your children out of harm’s way. However, if you want to make your marriage work, your partner must be willing to get help and do their part to rebuild a healthy, trusting relationship.
How to Help Someone with a Gambling Addiction
It’s not easy to know how to deal with a gambler husband or wife. Yet, there are some steps you can take to help them see the consequences of their actions:
- Seek help: Coping with a spouse’s gambling problem on your own is extremely difficult. Professional counseling can help you know what steps you should take.
- Don’t blame yourself: You may mistakenly believe that if you’d been a better partner, none of this would have happened. Your spouse’s gambling addiction is not your fault, so stop blaming yourself.
- Avoid enabling: Enabling actions make it easier for your spouse to pursue their gambling. Avoid behaviors such as covering up for them or giving them money every time they ask for it.
How to Confront a Gambler
When your spouse has a severe gambling problem, it’s best to confront the issue head-on. Let your partner know the limits and rules you’re enacting to protect yourself and your family. Here are some main points to keep in mind for this conversation:
- Urge your husband or wife to get professional help.
- Be assertive so that they know you’re serious.
- Do not make threats.
- Follow through on every point you make.
- Focus on the issue at hand, not past behavior.
- Tell them you will no longer bail them out of their gambling debts.
- Separate your finances.
Help for Families of Gamblers at Gateway Foundation
The only way your family can heal from your spouse’s gambling addiction is for your husband or wife to commit to treatment and recovery. Gateway Foundation wants to help. We offer gambling addiction treatment to help your spouse overcome this disease and find new hope. Contact our compassionate team today to learn more.