Is a Gambling Addiction Impacting Your Marriage? 

Problems with gambling can cause serious financial problems as well as a serious strain on a marriage.  People with gambling addictions may exhibit a lot of extreme behaviors that can result in financial ruin. Many compulsive gamblers resort to illegal activity, such as stealing, to continue their habits. Gambling addiction bears much similarity to people addicted to drugs and alcohol. People often think that they have their gambling under control and insist they can stop at any time. They also tend to minimize the impact their addiction has on others. Gambling addiction is treatable for people who want help.

Signs of a gambling problem include a pre-occupation with gambling.  People with gambling problems think about gambling a lot. Their thoughts and their behaviors impact other areas of their life. It may disrupt social activities, cause occupational problems, or cause financial problems. People with gambling addictions continue to devote more time and money toward gambling, despite the problems it causes. It can even become a problem for people who don’t gamble very often.

For gamblers who want help with their addiction, a variety of treatment options are available. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help people learn new skills. It teaches people how to change their thoughts and behaviors that contribute to gambling.  Gamblers Anonymous provides group treatment for people in a way that is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous.

If you suspect your partner has a gambling addiction, talk to your partner and encourage him/her to seek help. Often, people become defensive about their gambling. Your partner may also grow increasingly secretive about money and spending habits.  It can be very difficult to be the partner of a problem gambler.

There are some ways to seek help, even if your partner refuses. Consider therapy to help you sort out your feelings and to develop strategies to help you set limits and boundaries.  Learning how to respond to your partner’s requests for money and how to handle the household finances effectively can be difficult. Also consider Gam-Anon. It is a group for spouses, family, and friends of gambling addicts and can provide support regarding the addiction.

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