Wife’s Gambling Problems

Dear Sara,

I don’t know what to do. My wife gambles. She has access to bookies and casinos and whenever she has access to money she blows it on whatever game strikes her fancy. I learned that I can’t give her free access to the checking account as it will be down to nothing very soon. She says she needs money for groceries or clothes for the kids but at least some of will be spent gambling. I know that there are places to go for help but she refuses. The kids love her and I still care about her but if I’m not careful she will put us in debt over our heads. What can I do to make her stop gambling?

Dear Conrad,

I doubt that anything you can do can stop this addiction. Your wife has to be willing to get help and this is up to her. It sounds like this is taking over your life and the life of your family.

Sometimes when someone has an addiction you have to be really strong. You might give her an ultimatum. Let her know that you can’t live with the threat of going bankrupt all of the time and that if she won’t get help for her addiction you will leave and take the kids. You say that the kids love her and I’m sure she loves them. She will have a choice to make and you will know what is most important to her. Her family or her gambling.

Good luck.


  1. Conrad,

    An addiction is usually something that has
    transpired over a lengthy period of time.
    And feeding your wife “ultimatums” will
    certainly not help her need to spend
    the families money on her gambling
    habits. There are several ways to address
    this problem. However; an addiction problem
    cannot be reversed overnight. It is a process
    and she will need a support group to help
    her overcome this habit. Usually an addiction
    is masking other issues she is facing and it
    is being used as an outlet for them. In swapping
    out her excessive gambling habit she needs
    another outlet for her energies that makes
    her happy aside from being a Mom and a wife
    which are very important but are only a piece
    if who she really is. Maybe she needs help
    figuring out what makes her feel important
    and gives her self importance not to be confused with the importance of raising a family.

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