Gambling & Marriage Problems: Tools for Partners With Problem Gambling Habits

Like many complex issues in life, problem gambling habits can emphasize communication issues, breakdowns in trust, and other complications that may have been unresolved or lurking beneath the surface of relationships. Your relationship with your partner is no different. If you or a loved one has been struggling with problem gambling and you have been feeling the strain on your relationship, there is hope. You and your partner can come together to tackle the problem head-on and address your issues without fear of shame or judgment.

What Are the Effects of Problem Gambling on Couples and Families?

Problem gambling can have a devastating effect on your family’s financial health. In many cases, people who struggle with problem gambling have failed to disclose the full extent of their losses. Coming to terms with the financial state of the family and setting a plan to rebuild a foundation of trust within the family is an important yet difficult first step for many people on their road to recovery. Unfortunately, problem gambling is enabled by secrecy. Many people may have tried to hide their behaviors or downplayed losses, but transparency is a crucial part of recovery. 

Many people with problem gambling issues also struggle with underlying mental health issues, such as trauma, depression, anxiety, and substance misuse. Mothers, daughters, teens, seniors, fathers, and sons can all fall into the temptation cycle of gambling. When teenagers and college-aged students find themselves in the throes of problem gambling, their issues can often be exacerbated by pressure to succeed, reaching family goals, and affording the high cost of living on college campuses. 

When trust within the family unit has been broken, it can be difficult to rebuild relationships. One of the biggest challenges for families and friends of people with problem gambling issues is learning how to move on from this difficult period in their lives and turn toward the relationship again.

What Resources Are Available to Families and Couples Struggling with Problem Gambling? 

One of the best ways to address recurring problem gambling issues in your relationship is to introduce a professional and impartial party to the problem. Family and couples therapy can help you identify the issues that have led to the present situation and create a plan for overcoming them. 

When families deal with problem gambling as a unit, it increases the likelihood that they will be able to weather the storm as a team. All parties must be willing and ready to do the work necessary to rebuild a healthy foundation of your relationship. Professional health for families and couples can come in many forms. Some couples will see infinite benefits to financial counseling, while others may need emotional support while they navigate these difficult conversations. 

What Are Some Tools for Recovering from Problem Gambling with My Partner?

It is important to note that no one can force another person to take steps to recovery. Say it again — you can’t force anyone into recovery who isn’t ready to take those steps on their own. However, you can support your partner through recovery by working on factors that may be affecting your relationship. Similarly, you can get support from other people going through similar situations with their partners and loved ones by going to meetings. 

800-GAMBLER can connect you to resources such as how to find a help meeting and other ways to find support for the friends and family of a problem gambler. For more information, call or text our 24/7 confidential helpline. 


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