6 months from wedding; Fiance is compulsive gambler

Approximately 10 days ago, my fiance (with whom I've had a very happy 7-1/2 year relationship) admits to me, out of the blue, that he has a compulsive gambling problem and needs help.

He said it started when he went to the slot machines--just once--and when he lost money and knew I'd be upset, spent the last 6 months (and approximately $5,000 that I know about) chasing the win to replenish the money he lost. He borrowed from his 401k, depleted a health savings account and small stock account, and was overdrawing a personal checking account. He was going to casinos before/during/after work, and participating in online gaming.

Although the financial damage is distressing, I'm struggling with the daily deception, and fact that he did not admit to a problem until he was on the brink of getting caught. We are in the process of buying our first home (he encouraged this), planning a nice wedding in 6 months, and had wonderful plans for our future together.
While the financial damage is reparable, I'm devastated by the dishonesty.

By the time I became aware of the problem (this was the 2nd time something like this happened, I didn't realize gambling was at the room the 1st time), fiance had already made arrangements for counseling and GA. He went to both once, and claims GA is the way he wants to go.

However, I believe firmly that he needs to participate in GA + counseling. And, that we need to attend couple's counseling together. He's refusing, claiming that counseling only digs up old issues, and GA stresses moving forward.

I'm so conflicted by all of this. Head says I need to rescind the offer on the house, remove him from all our banking accounts, and possibly move out. Heart says I need to support and love him, since he's sick, but not a bad person. He claims he's never lied about anything except gambling, and has no reason to. I have no idea what's right anymore.

Can't focus on work or school. Cry on a dime. Am overcome by guilt, sadness, shame, and confusion. Met with a counselor today and will be attending Gam-Anon this week.

Is there any way to repair the damage and move forward? Or, do I need to simply consider myself blessed to find this out BEFORE the wedding and move on?

prokopton's picture

I see no reason why you

I see no reason why you should feel guilty for the behavior of others. For now, I would restrict his access to money until he's sober for at least a year.

LaLa, Its not your fault


Its not your fault and I can relate to your stress. My husband has a bit of a compulsive poker thing going and that is very tricky in our situation.

First I would recommend taking a deep breath and giving yourself a break. You do not need to find all the solutions at once and it sounds like you are under way too much pressure to make decisions (even "head" decisions) correctly. This is a state of mind that I usually call "life tilt" so that I can relate it more easily to friends and family who play games for a living (or try to at least).

You cannot force your man into therapy but you can schedule couples counseling, invite him, then go regardless of his decision to attend or not.

Yes it is entirely possible to repair the damage and move forward... but possible and easy are not the same. Both of you are going to need to put some serious work in. If you both have faith in the whole twelve step thing then it might be a good idea to try out a Coda meeting as well. It is very easy to slip into enabling and co-dependent behavior when someone so close to you has a serious behavioral problem.

You do have the option of deciding to delay or cancel the wedding if that is what you want. Remember that your ability to move forward is not dependent on him unless you allow it to become dependent on him.

I would suggest slowing down and finding your center first. Once you feel OK about you and you are sure that you are calm and rational then start to make those either/or type decisions. Talk to your therapist, friends, family, fiance, and anybody else who's opinion you value. Then take all that advice and remember that the most important advice comes from within.

Best wishes,


There are some fascinating

There are some fascinating deadlines in this article however I don?t know if I see all of them heart to heart. There's some validity but I will take hold opinion till I look into it further.

RichardsMark's picture


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