My life was amazing. I was working as a chef where the income wasn’t that good, but l managed to make savings and afford almost everything I wanted. I am ambitious and have always wanted to achieve a lot in my personal and professional life. If I had opportunity to study or take extra courses, I took it.
I had a beautiful fiancé, very independent, highly educated, with a successful career. We were tougher for almost 4 years. Every possible moment we tried to spend together. I couldn’t be more thankful for such a supportive and loving partner, that I truly wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
We had so many dreams and great plans together. One of them was our own little family. After two years of trying to have a baby, we decided to go for an IVF treatment. Around that time I became a compulsive gambler. All my mood swings she understood as coping with negative pregnancy results that we were facing every month. She never pushed me and tried to understand why I was so down, because she assumed I needed space, as she needed it too. Coping with infertility and negative pregnancy results was extremely hard, especially for her. For me, it was just a continuation of my sorrows that no one knew anything about.
She didn’t know I owed to the banks more than 40 thousand euros and this pressure was killing me. Although she is such a loving and supportive person, I couldn’t tell her the truth. I was so ashamed and I didn’t want to break the image of a strong, supportive partner that she had of me. I was sure she would leave me, if she knew how weak I was. None of us wants to be seen as weak and we are all used to pretend and keeping our heads high in every difficult situation, even when all we really want is to shout or cry… How well suited are Queen’s lyrics here: “Oh yes, I’m the great pretender, pretending that I’m doing well…”
I knew the lie was going to destroy her, that all she thought she knew so well will be gone. Trust she had in me will be gone.
I was looking forward to having a family with my beautiful partner, secretly hoping that when we have a baby, I will stop gambling. I was afraid that we may find ourselves stretched financially, paying for the high cost of IVF treatment with a somewhat limited probability of success, so I started gambling even more, to earn back all I had lost.
Our IVF was getting closer and she was so exited. Hearing from the doctor that we have to be in a good place emotionally and have our relationship on solid ground before starting an IVF cycle, hit me badly. I wanted to kill myself. I was constantly telling to myself that I can’t I ruin my fiancé’s and unborn baby’s life like this, but at the same time, I was so afraid of her reaction and was sure that it will be end of our relationship. I didn’t want to loose her and all we had. The shame was unbearable. How should I tell her that I have a debt in 7 different banks, that I won’t be able to pay for any scheduled treatment nor anything for the baby next who-knows-how-many years? How should I even start the story? How do you open up and admit the addiction? When would be the best time to tell her?
Finally, two days before the treatment, I managed tell her. It was on Monday, while she was still at work. The previous day we had a fight, because she was asking me how come the second month in a row I cannot pay my share of the rent, when I have a full-time job. I texted her apologizing for the fight. She still couldn’t understand why I don’t have money out of the sudden and asked me out of the blue if I was gambling. I used the opportunity and told her the truth partially. I admitted that my credit card was maxed out. She just texted me back that we will talk more when she gets back home. I wasn’t man enough to tell her about 50 thousand euros what I owed to different banks.
I still remember the look on her face when she arrived home. She was crying, telling me that she was holding back the tears the whole day at work. She was completely broken, and to my surprise, she wasn’t screaming. Instead, she was very supportive and warm. She was hugging me constantly, asking why I didn’t tell her earlier, cause she could maybe help me and we would go trough any shit together. We both were crying a lot that and following few days.
The very same night she couldn’t sleep, and had woken me up, asking if my credit card was the only debt I had. I couldn’t lie to her anymore, and I told her everything. We spent the entire night talking about how my gambling addiction started and how I ended up taking loans. She remained extremely calm, even though her world collapsed. All her dreams were gone. Baby what we were wishing for such a long time was gone. A man who she thought she knew so well was gone.
Telling her everything was the best decision I had ever made. No more lies, no more hiding. All the “cards” were opened. Even now when I’m writing this, I feel so sorry for lying to her all these years. I was too afraid and ashamed to reveal the truth, to see her disappointment. I’m such a coward!
It was much easier to breathe, now that she knew. The pressure I felt and self-blaming were not as hard as before. Finally, the lie was off from my shoulders. Both of us were heart broken. I felt naked and as if I was starting my life anew.
I can’t imagine the pain she was going through. She didn’t know any gambler and this addiction was something she knew nothing about. Therefore, she started doing the research to learn as much as possible, before making any decision about our future. She was sharing her findings, trying to educate myself too, She found all support groups and made me see a therapist.
However, after a few days, she cancelled the IVF treatment and had asked to move out, so that she has more space to think. I was very thankful for her, for the love she gave me and all the support. At the same time, I am honestly very glad I didn’t ruin her life completely by having a baby with a gambler.
Advice for fellow gamblers
Speak up and admit you have the problem right now! Don’t wait until it’s too late! Go!
Your family needs to know, cause they don’t deserve to live in a lie. They are planning their lives based on a lie and they didn’t deserve it. Let them know, so that they can plan their lives based on a truth.
We can never know how someone will react and that is the scariest part. Maybe you will be surprised, as I was. Maybe your partner won’t be screaming, as mine didn’t, or maybe they will and that is ok too. It’s is because they are hurt greatly and you can stand it. Be there for your family and answer to all their questions. Help them understand what your addiction is.
No more lies! Communicate with your dear partner and tell them all about what you’re going through. That is the only way that will take us far.
We can do this!