AUNT AGONY: HELP! MY BOYFRIEND HAS A GAMBLING PROBLEM!

I’ve been with my SO for 8 years, since i was a uni student, he was about to ORD when i graduated. Right after i grad i started work at an MNC but he remained jobless after he was done with NS. We lived together at my parents’ place very early on in our relationship. While i was working he would be aimless at home, and would arrange for mahjong sessions (this is usual, he played frequently even before we got together). I supported him financially for 5 years before he started working 2-3 years ago. During the five years, he moved from mj to poker under friends’ influence, about 5 years ago. All in all the downward slide towards an addiction happened over 2-3 years. He played 4-5 times a week, losses could go up to 1k per session, would leave home around late afternoon and would only be home at dawn. I was still working and supporting him at that time. I barely saw him as i started taking on tuition assignments after my daily work, and was doing 9-6pm work before rushing to the tutee’s house, ending around 9-10pm. I had tuition sessions every day except saturdays, which i would devote to spending time with him. He would be gone by the time i got home from tuition almost every evening.

What i was earning was not enough to cover both our expenses and his frequent losses, so i began to turn to credit cards. We would use the cards for expenditure, while reserving my salary (cash) for his frequent games. Over three years i raked up $30k of debts.

It went out of control around 3-4 years ago when he reached the bottom of the pit. He had gained 28kg in a few years and would always MIA after he goes for poker. It lasts anywhere from 1 night to 4 nights. By MIA i mean no contact, no matter how worried i got or how i beg him to pick up my calls etc. During his MIA period he would gamble away every cent he had, didnt take his meals, didnt shower. Slept at random friends’ places. Whenever he came home after losing everything he would be listless, wouldn’t do anything except watch poker videos or arrange for a game. He was like a ghost, a shell of a man. Later, I could no longer give him as much as i was setting aside large sums each month to clear the cards. I started powering through jobs to climb the ladder, and at my end managed to clear all the card debts.

About 2-3 years ago he finally admitted to having a gambling problem and with alot of help and determination, stopped poker and went back to mj sessions (2x a week). He found a good job he liked and is still working there now. Occasionally he relapses but he will climb back out of it by focusing on work and exercise (he shed that same 28kg during his recovery period of 1.5 years). He started saving and had around 5k savings up till a month ago. I know it’s not much, but it was progress and i was truly happy for him. I don’t know if anyone here has experience living with and being with a gambling addict, but they get withdrawal symptoms, just like drug addicts. He has caused me a lot of tears and heartache but i stayed because i knew him from when we were students, and knew he was a good man at heart (very polite, simple minded, decent). His personality only began changing after the addiction started.

Anyway, that’s the long background to the problem. After CNY this year (angbaos, bonus from his bosses, etc) he relapsed again. Last month he went missing for 4 days, whenever he replied my messages he would blame me for not giving him freedom. EventUally he came back after losing ard 2k of his savings. Things went back to normal, but yesterday, out of the blue (no arguments, no nothing) he left for work in the morning with the rest of his savings (and his salary which just came in) and disappeared until now.

I’ve been through endless rounds of this waiting, and i know what to expect. But this time it’s a little different because in the midst of the chaos i found out that he googled for suicide methods extensively before he decided to swipe all his savings and leave.

He has skipped work yesterday and today, and has replied a few of my messages only to tell me that it’s worse than ever this time because he may lose his job and they he just wants to spend the last few hours doing whatever he wants before ending his life. He wont pick up my calls.

He needs help but will not accept any professional or family intervention. I don’t know what to do. I’m tired and scared and it’s emotionally battering to message him (no angry words, no arguments) only to receive replies like ‘whatever’, or ‘i dont want to talk’.

I’ve called SOS and the gambling hotline but they just go through a set of q&a and excuse themselves after the 10mins is up.

I don’t know why I’m here. I just need to reach out for help. I don’t what to do anymore.

Check Also

Child Narrowly Escaped Before IKEA Shelf Cracked and Blasted All Over Living Room

What a close shave!