Thursday, October 2, 2014

Man Wonders If He Should Gamble On The Future Of His Marriage

Dear Tazi:

I am so angry I can't even speak! I am ready to kick my wife to the curb and file for divorce because I just discovered that she lost the mortgage payment to the local casino while feeding her addiction to video slots. I feel like a complete idiot for trusting her with our bookkeeping!

"Trixie" has had issues with gambling in the past, and our credit was all but ruined by her irresponsible behavior. About a year ago, she was able to get into a treatment program for problem gambling and has allegedly been attending Gambler's Anonymous meetings. I say "allegedly" because this is where she said she was going when she swung by the casino with the last of our savings and lost it all - before dipping into the mortgage money to try and recover her losses.

I love my wife, Tazi; but I cannot continue to allow myself to be dragged down the road of destruction that she is walking. Do you think that I should cut my losses? Or stick it out 'til death do us part?

Just Trying To Break Even

Dear Just Trying To Break Even:

I can understand your anger at the difficult financial situation you are in; however, your attitude towards your wife concerns me as well. You write that your wife is the one with a gambling problem and "her irresponsible behavior" is what has wreaked havoc on your credit rating. When you are married, the problems of one become the problems of the other - there is no "me", only "we". In truth, your wife may be the one pulling the lever on the slot machine, but the gambling problem is not hers to face alone - it is a problem that you must face together.

My question for you is this: How did Trixie manage to access your joint account(s) while at the casino? The most common way to get cash without leaving the casino is through an ATM, which requires an ATM/Debit card. Going forward, until Trixie can be trusted with access to large amounts of cash, her ATM privileges should be suspended. A pre-paid debit card will allow her money for expenses, and the amount she has to spend can be controlled. If Trixie is serious about overcoming her addiction - and regaining your trust - she should be agreeable to this idea, which would require you to handle the household finances for the foreseeable future - something that you realize you should have been handling all along.

You mention that Trixie has been ("allegedly") attending Gamblers' Anonymous meetings. Where are you during this time? Do you offer to accompany her to the meetings (if that's allowed), or at least give her a ride to and from them so as to assure that she will get there? What have you done to assist your wife in overcoming her addiction? I am certain that Trixie feels terrible as it is; threatening to kick her to the curb and divorce her is not going to help matters any.

I realize that right now, you are seeing through the eyes of anger, and not the eyes of love; and that the stress of the situation is the driving force behind your mood and reaction; but you must remember that your wife has been in recovery for less than one year, meaning that every day is probably a struggle for her to resist the temptation to gamble. If this incident is her first lapse, I do not condone her behavior; but still congratulate her for lasting so long without falling off the wagon; and offer my encouragement to get right back into treatment. However, immediate steps must still be taken to ensure temptation is not presented to her.

You ask my opinion on whether or not you should cut your losses or try to work on your marriage. The fact that you say that you still love your wife tells me that you already know the answer to that question. Rather than allow yourself to be "dragged down a road of destruction", try offering Trixie the support she needs to push herself up the hill of recovery. Knowing that you will be there to help her through may be what Trixie needs to move past the overwhelming sense of shame and failure that she must be feeling right now. If you work together, this struggle may actually make your marriage stronger.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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