February Blog




Gambling, Love, and Relationships

February is the season of Love, and in an ideal world it would be celebrated as a joyous occasion in every household, however, this is not always the case. When looking at relationships, specifically couples where a partner or a loved one experiences gambling harms, the weight of the consequences of gambling harm can feel heavy which can eventually lead to a relationship breakdown, separation, and divorce. Within this blog we will take a deeper dive into the effects of gambling harms in relationships, looking at the emotional impact, trust, and finances.

The Emotional Impact

The emotional toll of being in a relationship with someone who experiences gambling harms can be overwhelming, negatively impacting their mental and emotional wellbeing. Often when a partner finds out that there is a gambling addiction, the partner may be overwhelmed from the extent and the severity of the addiction. Individuals who have experienced gambling harm often keep their struggles hidden, perhaps due to feelings of shame, guilt and embarrassment. This silence can leave their partners to feel betrayed and deceived. They may even develop feelings of being inadequate as they question whether if they are ‘enough’ or if they have done enough in the relationship.

Trust in Relationship Impact

Trust is often associated with being the most important pillar in a relationship, and the lack of trust can lead to an unhealthy situation where negativity, conflict and insecurity can breed. When gambling harm is involved, the trust pillar which flows throughout the relationship can breakdown and the partner can start to believe that the whole relationship is a lie. Questions such as ‘What else are you hiding?’ can erupt and feelings of their loved one living a double life. If the trust is to be rebuilt, it may take a long time with a lot of hard work. It may also require a vulnerable level of intimacy and honesty which may not have already existed in the relationship.

Financial Impact

The most noticeable and immediate harms of gambling is the financial strain. Many individuals who experience gambling harm often seek additional funds to sustain their unhealthy addictions. They may at times delve into financial resources which are shared or belonging to a loved one. It is not unusual for the problem gambler to dive into savings or to take out multiple credit cards leaving their family unable to pay for their basic needs. You may find long-term financial goals are affected including family holidays or financial responsibilities involving the children.

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The three factors of emotional, trust and financial impact all contribute to a big strain in relationships. However, this is something that can be repaired in time and requires hard work. With any type of emotion, a loved one is experiencing when uncovering gambling harms, empathy is very important to show by understanding that their life too is being reshaped is the first step to recovery.

At the Primary Care Gambling Service, we extend our support to individuals who are affected by someone else's gambling behaviour. If you or someone you know is experiencing the impact of this issue, we are here to help. You can find more information on our website.

Published: Feb 1, 2024