Early in our six-year relationship, my boyfriend told me he had a gambling problem and had previously put himself in rehab. I said we’d work on it together.
He stopped playing poker for a while, and then played again, on and off... after his lies, I said we couldn't build anything that way and he had to change.
Now I’m wondering if I'm wasting my time. I love him to death, but cannot marry him if he has problems with money.
How can I trust him? We talk openly about it, but how can I avoid being manipulated and waste another year?
Played by Gambling
Walk away. Six years says it all. He lies, so you can’t trust him. He wastes money, so you can’t count on sharing finances, or assets.
Loving “to death” eventually dies from constant suspicion, monitoring, and feeling used. His “openness” is just a way of keeping you on the hook of promises, and failures to keep them.
Leave him. He needs a year of definitive rehab before you can consider trusting him.
I know why women have affairs. I’m mid-40s with two children, and the last person whom you’d suspect of having an affair.
But when my husband was working out-of-town for ten months, I reconnected with an old boyfriend.
It began innocent enough but progressed to a full affair. I had found what I was lacking in my marriage - passion, a man who repeatedly says, “I love you,” who put me on a pedestal and told me how lucky he felt to be with me.
It was wonderful and I even thought of leaving my husband for this man (I didn't). My advice to men (and women) who want to hold on to their partner is this:
1) If you go out of town for work, make sure you stay connected to the family and don't act like it's a chore to call. It shouldn't be.
2) Tell your wife or husband how much you love them.
3) If your partner doesn't like to initiate things (holding hands, sex, etc), you do it. You'll probably get a lot more back if you just start things. Don't keep score.
4) Talk to your partner every day. Have a real conversation - it doesn't have to be serious all the time, but really listen to them and show your interest.
It might sound simple but these were the very things that I needed. They were enough to drive a sensible person into the arms of another man. I can't justify my behaviour, but these were the reasons that I had for my affair.
Been There with Cause
Thanks for sharing some important points. To you and others who had affairs for these reasons, here’s my advice:
See the above points and be the one to do all that you’d like your partner to do.
1) If he/she must be out of town for work, show interest in how the work is going, and be encouraging…. don’t just talk about the kids and what’s happening with the house.
2) State your love often and show it, e.g. occasionally suggest meeting somewhere after his/her trip ends so you can re-connect as a couple, not only as householders/parents.
3) Initiate, plan intimate time together, show affection in some way every day. If he/she isn’t responding, probe why sooner than later.
4) Talk and LISTEN. Be aware when outside stress levels (work, sick parents, debt) are high and unavoidable, and be comforting, not critical.
FEEDBACK Regarding the mother who’s a gambler, constantly losing her rent money (April 24):
Reader – “The daughter can file a complaint with the casino and have her mother banned. I'm a former manager in a casino and there were plenty of people in this same situation.
“However, if the mother enters the casino after being banned, she can be arrested for trespassing.
“The adult children can also have their mother declared legally incompetent, so they can manage her money.”
“Thank you to Ellie and all the readers for wonderful responses to my overwhelming grief over the death of my dog, from an attack by an ill-treated pit bull.
“It’s been very encouraging. I've found that outside perspectives and sympathy have been helpful in this difficult process.
“I’ve learned that knowing you’re not alone is a very important comfort in the grieving process, so I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Tip of the day:
Addictions aren’t overcome by promises, but by doing the work for oneself.