Issues within relationships can impact us in many ways. Depending on the length and seriousness or a relationship, when there are problems with your partner you will likely experience stress and difficult emotions.
So how do relationships impact my gambling?
Just like with money, it can go both ways. People experiencing problems with their relationships can be vulnerable to developing gambling problems, as gambling can provide a temporary distraction to feelings of loss or grief. Tim’s girlfriend broke up with him when she went to study overseas. In the months following the breakup, Tim experienced emotions of loneliness, grief, sadness – all normal emotions following a relationship breakdown. He found himself spending more and more time gambling online, as a way to escape these feelings. He was particularly triggered to gamble whenever he felt lonely, or saw pictures that she had put up on Facebook:
I started gambling after Jaqui and I broke up, and it let me zone out for a while. I really missed her, especially on weekends when we used to spend most of the time together. That was when I was most likely to log in to my online gambling account and place bets.
Similarly, gambling can impact functioning relationships as well. In fact, a major issue for couples in which one person is gambling, is the lack of trust after one partner has lied or concealed their gambling. The partner can feel hurt, betrayed, and mistrustful, particularly if the damage done by the gambling involves joint finances or assets. Zac found out that his wife had been gambling using money from their jointly owned business and found himself overwhelmed with feelings of betrayal, anger, confusion and loss.
I couldn’t believe the extent of the gambling, and how I hadn’t been aware of it. I felt incredibly sad that she hadn’t felt comfortable telling me about it, even when it got to the stage that she was taking from the business. It took a long time for me to trust her again and believe what she told me. We both had support from a counsellor who helped me to understand a bit more about the behaviour.
Are you having relationship issues as a result of your gambling? A lot of gambling help services offer couples as well as individual counselling. It may help you and your partner to talk to a trained counsellor to get some support and help rebuild trust and improve communication. Click on the link below to find out more:
You may like to call Gambling Help on 1800 858 858 to speak confidentially about your gambling.