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Daughter’s fiancé has been secretly gambling and in thousands of debt now

(54 Posts)
123gran Thu 09-Sep-21 07:55:03

Just weeks before their marriage this issue came out of the blue as a total shock to her. They were about to sell her house and get a joint home/mortgage together. Not now of course. They have a lovely child together and she’s putting her welfare first in everything as doesn’t want her to grow up in a broken home. I’m worried sick she’ll go ahead and marry him despite knowing she’ll be equally liable for his big debt. Anyone had any experience of this. Can gamblers ever break their addiction without heartbreak?

sodapop Thu 09-Sep-21 08:23:58

So sorry your daughter has to deal with this just before her marriage, what a shock.
People do recover from gambling addiction 123Gran but it takes time and patience. On a practical note I would advise your daughter to ensure her fiance does not have access to her money or share a mortgage with him. Be aware that addicts will lie and cheat to get what they want, sad but true. I hope he agrees to get help but in the meantime your daughter needs to safeguard herself and your granddaughter.

Charleygirl5 Thu 09-Sep-21 08:30:39

I agree with sodapop and I do not think your daughter should marry him at present.

Esspee Thu 09-Sep-21 08:34:03

Unfortunately the ones I have known about all eventually returned to gambling. It is an addiction. Only the extremely strong stand the very remote chance of staying away from it for ever.
I would be extremely worried OP. These addicts will lie convincingly to get what they want.
I would suggest you post a thread on Mumsnet and show the answers to your daughter. I know she would listen more to people her own age.

Grandmabatty Thu 09-Sep-21 08:38:33

My uncle had a gambling addiction which was dealt with by him and his wife. To my knowledge he is fine now. However he was ready to stop and knew the damage it was doing to him and his wife. Most gamblers in the throes of an addiction will lie, cheat or steal to keep going. Your daughter should definitely keep all finances separate. If they marry, debts accrued by him would be considered joint debts so she would have to be very sure he was clean. I would be discouraging the marriage

123gran Thu 09-Sep-21 08:38:40

Thanks Charleygirl5 and Sodapop. I totally agree with you both. At first she was adamant she wouldn’t tie herself to him but over the days she’s softening and saying things like ‘he’s seeking help now’. Only a very short time to the wedding now and I’m frantic with worry. She’s late thirties, an intelligent, mature woman who has handled her life well but emotions come into her picture of him to muddy her resolve. I’m aware that if I knackered mouth’ him too much she’ll likely to turn away from me and defend him, so I keep my feelings largely to myself.

123gran Thu 09-Sep-21 08:39:58

Good idea Esspee, thanks

123gran Thu 09-Sep-21 08:43:01

‘bad mouthed’ him! No idea where knackered came from though that’s how I feel!

DiamondLily Thu 09-Sep-21 08:43:35

Here’s an Equifax guide to debts incurred, by individuals, and who is responsible, after marriage:

Granniesunite Thu 09-Sep-21 08:54:57

Yes agree that you don't "bad mouth" him*123gran*thought hard that will be.
As parents all we can do is listen and pick up the pieces.
Very worrying for you and her family...

Shelflife Thu 09-Sep-21 08:55:48

123gran , you are correct ! Sadly nothing you say will influence your daughters decision to marry this
man. It is a very hard lesson when we learn that we can no longer influence the decisions our adult children make. All you can do is be there , I think if you say too much she will, as you say defend him because she wants so much for him to change. If you come on too strong you may loose her and that would be a dreadful situation. A very distressing situation for you as you worry for both DD and GC. Your DD will no doubt be aware of how you feel - even if you don't say much about it. I feel for you and recognize how distressing this is for you. Easy to say I know but please take care of yourself and remember if she makes a monumental mistake it is her mistake - not yours , you will not be responsible! I send you ' hugs' . Take care . Good luck to you all.

BlueBelle Thu 09-Sep-21 09:04:18

I m afraid my only experience has been negative with gambling and in one instance it not only killed the marriage but the gambler as well although a nicer person you could not meet and always going to seek help and always so compliant about going to stop but never ever did it was always the last time
Your daughters at an advantage as she knows all about it so it won’t be a shock if it all goes pear shaped but a huge huge concern for you as her mum and very hard not to advise

I can only agree with others a marriage is the last thing to do
And personally I d rather a child grew up with one parent than a gambler or an alcoholic or any addicted other parent…but love knows no bounds

grannysyb Thu 09-Sep-21 09:19:38

DH had a lovely young woman working for him who found out that her husband was addicted to gambling. He had forged her signature to remortgage their house, and they were thousands of pounds in debt. She divorced him. Luckily for her, their bank manager was very helpful. My father was an addict as well, it's very rare that people overcome this addiction.

Daisymae Thu 09-Sep-21 09:23:33

If he acknowledges that there's a problem and is getting help then there's a chance that he will recover. As the wedding is going ahead I don't think that you have much choice but to be supportive. They have a child together so he's going to be a part of the family for the foreseeable future. You can only hope for the best.

SpringyChicken Thu 09-Sep-21 09:31:49

My nephew is a gambling addict. The lies he told were utterly convincing. He fooled parents, his brother, workmates, girlfriends, grandparents and borrowed and stole from them all. He gambled away the life savings of one woman who believed he was a businessman and was sent to prison. Eventually, his parents had to throw him out, just the fact he lived at the same address was ruining their finances.

The worst thing your daughter could do is marry him at the moment. She could lose everything.

Sago Thu 09-Sep-21 09:34:04

123Gran I think that with the right love and support this can be sorted out.
Sadly online gambling is too easy and the advertisements make a sordid activity look like fun.

My neighbours son was one step away from prison as he was stealing to fund his habit, he now has a successful business a wife and two children.

There is also a harmless supplement called NAC that is readily available and cheap that reduces the urge to gamble
I take it for general health and well-being but in the USA it’s being trialled for gambling and drug addiction with success.

Smileless2012 Thu 09-Sep-21 09:42:25

What a difficult situation 123gran if I were in your position I'd be very worried too.

I hope your D will decide to at the very least to postpone the wedding until such time that her fiance can prove that his gambling days are behind him and he's able to control this addiction.

DiamondLily Thu 09-Sep-21 09:47:43

My adult (48 years old ) stepson, is a gambler and a heavy drinker. He’s currently refusing to talk to his Dad (my DH), despite him being poorly, because we wouldn’t send him amounts between £5-20 THOUSAND pounds, to clear his credit cards!

He doesn’t want to stop, he just wanted bailing out without his wife finding out.?. He said he’d pay it back as and when lol

This request came in the form of texts…one of them just saying “get your old woman (me) to send xxxxx amounts”.

His father went nuts. And that was nearly a year ago - no contact since.

eazybee Thu 09-Sep-21 10:19:27

I am so sorry .Your daughter is mature, sensible , in control of her life and doubtless imputes all these qualities to her fiance, although the chances of him overcoming his addiction are very slight, and will lead to a lifetime of worry.

You are absolutely right not to badmouth him because she will become defensive and protective, and she loves him. All you can stress is not to put anything financial in joint names, for the sake of their daughter, other wise she could lose their home through his debts.
A friend married her partner when he was in bad trouble to declare her support and foolishly put her house in joint names. Three years later she was divorcing him for abusive behaviour and he was claiming half the house and dragging out the divorce because he was hoping for a share of her inheritance from her gravely ill mother. As he was homeless the judge awarded him a small cash payment but my friend had to sell her house and downsize to release money to pay him.

M0nica Thu 09-Sep-21 10:22:00

The first thing that should happen is that your DD should delay the marriage. However much she loves him now, love rarely survives the years of cheating, denial, debts, stealing of precious belongings, cheating on friends and family that follow, if this is not dealt with and seen to be dealt with over a reasonable period (several years).

They are together in a house with a child, delaying a legal ceremony is neither here nor there

Devorgilla Thu 09-Sep-21 12:04:19

I think Monica gives good advice. She should delay until there is hard and fast evidence he is reforming. She should certainly not have joint money accounts with him, either Bank or credit cards. As they are living in her house, which presumably she is buying, she should continue to take responsibility for paying the mortgage, household bills etc as this safeguards both her and the child. What a nightmare. I thought you were not responsible for the gambling debts of others but perhaps the law has changed. I hope she makes the right decision to delay a formal union.

BlueBelle Thu 09-Sep-21 12:16:40

Unfortunately a gambler will tell you anything you want to hear so to believe that he is a reforming character and will seek help because he says he will is really being way too trusting
I do hope it turns out ok

Nannarose Thu 09-Sep-21 14:10:54

There is a middle road if she really wishes to marry him. I say this because if she does want to go ahead with the marriage, then you do not want to set yourself up against her.
Can you, or she, afford legal advice that will tie her assets up in her name alone? That way she will not be liable for his debts.
It may even be that in the process of setting this up, she realises that the marriage is not a good idea.
I have, over the years, known some semi-professional gamblers. They always do this.

I hope that he can get help, and wish you the strength you need to see your daughter and DGC through this.

avitorl Thu 09-Sep-21 14:30:50

I was married to a gambler and he didn't stop even when I threatened to leave him.He was devastated but still couldn't/wouldn't stop so we got divorced as I couldn't cope with it any longer.
He was actually a lovely man and I loved him but I was so relieved when the worry was out of my life.

welbeck Thu 09-Sep-21 14:35:06

the saying that an addict will sell his own grandmother, is unfortunately literally true, as so many have sadly discovered.
i knew a woman who had a nice professional middle-class lifestyle, large house on south coast. she worked hard.
unbeknownst to her, her husband gambled everything away, including the house. she had a stroke from all the strain, and had to learn how to speak and eat and walk again. aged 60.
and there i some permanent cognitive deficit, she could never work again.