Just before getting married two years ago, I learned that my husband had a serious gambling debt and couldn't pay his share of the wedding.
I was financially secure then and covered it. His parents promised they'd pay me back.
They’re retired and very rich, with multiple properties around the world.
But their repayment came with a list of expectations and wanting us to feel guilty, causing stress and fighting between my husband and me.
I decided to write off the amount I was owed, so we could start our life together.
Recently, my husband decided to pay me back and started gambling again.
He went through much of my life savings and accumulated more debt (double what his parents owed me!).
I wrote off my life savings but don't want to help him further - the debt is his problem.
I’ve protected myself financially. He’s finally getting professional help for his gambling addiction.
I’m learning to trust that his efforts and therapy are paying off.
However, he’s still convinced that his parents will bail him out.
I feel extreme resentment (even hatred) towards my in-laws. They’re selfish, self-centered people.
I believe it’s why all their children have varying degrees of addictions and troubling behaviors.
My husband sees some of this. But he doesn't believe they’re bad people.
Even if we can move on from his financial cheating, we’ll never be good until I can find a way to handle his family (whom we can’t avoid as we’re part of the same community).
How do I get over this?
You’re a very resourceful, forgiving woman at heart. Your husband’s lucky for your understanding and support.
However, you’ve turned your deep anger at the whole gambling story into blaming his parents.
Instead, let your husband take full responsibility. He’s an adult who had choices; His parents didn’t do the gambling.
You’ll likely never trust or like them much, but your focus has to be on handling life with your husband.
Set firm boundaries…e.g. see them in the community but invite them only when you have lots of relatives around.
Avoid all expectations of financial help and don’t depend on a future inheritance, which may never come.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman whose family denied her seeing her mother (June 21):
Reader – “My mother and I argued often. When she was diagnosed with a terminal disease, I wanted to spare her the stress of arguing.
“Unfortunately, that meant I barely talked to her.
“I wanted to apologize to her and say I loved her, but I didn't, which I now regret.
“My mother also didn't initiate any conversations with me. And I didn't want to cause any arguments.
“Your writer obviously had great conflict with her mother.
“Had she been there and argued with her mother, it would’ve been very sad and trying for the dying woman.
“It’d be better for the mother to not have this stress at the end of her life… provided she chose this option and it wasn't that the siblings made this choice for her.
“That’s one possibility - that the siblings were trying to protect the mother.
“The sister should now have a heart-to-heart talk with the siblings and ask why they left her out of the mother's dying process.
“If they were protecting the mother, then it's nothing personal against her.
“If they were just being cruel or heartless, then she should dissociate herself from such toxic people, and find friends who can take the place of relatives.”
FEEDBACK Regarding women who say their husbands have “anger issues:”
Reader – “I say to those women that their husband is abusive.
“Tell them to RUN and Fast, but Safely (as leaving an abuser is the most dangerous time).
“He won’t stop. He will get worse. Know that you are in danger!
“After tolerating abuse for 40 years, my friend was murdered by her husband last year.
“She had no one but him in the end because her family and even their kids could not stand seeing the abuse and her deterioration any longer.
“Women should not consider having kids with these “angry” men. A lot of women are physically abused for the first time while pregnant.”
These Women Deserve Better
Ellie – Everyone deserves better than abuse.
You’re correct that “anger issues,” have to be watched closely, including professional treatment, plus certainty that the person wants and is trying to change.
Tip of the day:
Addiction recovery requires taking full responsibility for the behaviour, not blaming others.