How Can Gambling Impact Your Relationships?

Growing and maintaining relationships with our loved ones is an inherently difficult job. There are multiple factors that you need to take into account, feelings you have to consider, and how your decisions can affect that particular relationship. Navigating these potential pitfalls can become equally rewarding and frustrating, representing some of the best and most difficult work of your life. Problem gamblers have the additional consideration of their gambling problem that can quickly strain a relationship. 

For those wanting to find the answer to “how can gambling impact your relationships” the answer is rarely cut and dry — or particularly positive. 

When Things Are Going Smoothly

As people in committed relationships move forward, their lives become increasingly intertwined, and see the decisions they make have ripple effects on their partner. When their gambling luck stays good, the extra winnings can mean more lavish dinner dates, exotic vacations, or extravagant gifts that help keep the spontaneity alive. In this stage, your partner may have questions about how you’re able to afford these things, but they may not press you for answers. 

However, the second things start going sideways, your luck changes and your behavior begins to change, then the questions start coming fast. 

Increased Secrecy

One thing about problem gambling that can put a significant strain on any relationship is the amount of secrecy that can surround your habit. When the losses start piling up and you have to move things around to cover your debts, you may start hiding your finances, lying about what you need the money for, or falsifying where you’ve been when you go to the casino to try and win your money back. 

The secretive nature of your behavior can quickly cause a strain on your relationship. Your partner is left to draw conclusions about your behavior and its reasoning. As the suspicion grows, you’re more likely to get into intense arguments with emotions running high and feelings getting hurt. 

Drifting Away From Each Other

As the secrecy weighs on each of you, the chances are high that you aren’t as close as you used to be. The spouse without a gambling problem often experiences plenty of side effects from their partner’s behaviors. With the financial responsibility of keeping up with the bills starting to fall more squarely on their shoulders, they may begin feeling increased feelings of resentment towards their partner and can become increasingly emotionally distant from each other. 

Decreased Sex Drive

For many partners, their attraction to each can ebb and flow based on how much stress they feel on a given day. The stress gambling problems can put on both partners can quickly spill over into the bedroom. Frustration with each other, their financial instability, and more can see couples go for months on end without having sexual relations. 

How These Relationships Worsen in the Long Run

As their frustration rises, they can begin to take their feelings out on each other in increasingly petty ways. Both parties in the relationship experience hurt feelings and betrayal of trust that can quickly damage what they’ve built together beyond repair. Finding the help they need to mend their relationship and rebuild that trust represents a long and challenging road, but with the right resources, it’s not impossible. 

Finding the resources you need to help you figure out how to stop gambling needn’t be a drawn-out process. 800-GAMBLER’s 24/7 private and confidential helpline can help you find the services you need to get on your road to recovery. We work with gamblers in recovery to help them stay on their journey and learn which coping mechanisms work best for them. With access to support services like gamblers anonymous, family therapy, and help with seeking professional mental health services, you or your partner can hopefully begin to mend relationships with loved ones. 


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