Trou­ble with gam­bling hus­band and his par­ents

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - el­liead­ DEAR EL­LIE


. Just be­fore get­ting mar­ried two years ago, I learned that my hus­band had a se­ri­ous gam­bling debt and couldn’t pay his share of the wed­ding.

I was fi­nan­cially se­cure then and cov­ered it. His par­ents promised they’d pay me back. They’re re­tired and very rich, with mul­ti­ple prop­er­ties around the world. But their re­pay­ment came with a list of ex­pec­ta­tions and want­ing us to feel guilty, caus­ing stress and fight­ing be­tween my hus­band and me.

I de­cided to write off the amount I was owed, so we could start our life to­gether.

Re­cently, my hus­band de­cided to pay me back and started gam­bling again.

He went through much of my life sav­ings and ac­cu­mu­lated more debt (dou­ble what his par­ents owed me!).

I wrote off my life sav­ings but don’t want to help him fur­ther — the debt is his prob­lem. I’ve pro­tected my­self fi­nan­cially. He’s fi­nally get­ting pro­fes­sional help for his gam­bling ad­dic­tion.

I’m learn­ing to trust that his ef­forts and ther­apy are pay­ing off.

How­ever, he’s still con­vinced that his par­ents will bail him out.

I feel ex­treme resentment (even ha­tred) to­ward my in-laws. They’re self­ish, self-cen­tred peo­ple. I be­lieve it’s why all their chil­dren have vary­ing de­grees of ad­dic­tions and trou­bling be­hav­iours.

My hus­band sees some of this. But he doesn’t be­lieve they’re bad peo­ple.

Even if we can move on from his fi­nan­cial cheat­ing, we’ll never be good un­til I can find a way to han­dle his fam­ily (whom we can’t avoid as we’re part of the same com­mu­nity).

How do I get over this?


You’re a very re­source­ful, for­giv­ing woman at heart. Your hus­band’s lucky for your un­der­stand­ing and sup­port.

How­ever, you’ve turned your deep anger at the whole gam­bling story into blam­ing his par­ents.

In­stead, let your hus­band take full re­spon­si­bil­ity. He’s an adult who had choices; his par­ents didn’t do the gam­bling.

You’ll likely never trust or like them much, but your fo­cus has to be on han­dling life with your hus­band. Set firm bound­aries … e.g. see them in the com­mu­nity but in­vite them only when you have lots of rel­a­tives around.

Avoid all ex­pec­ta­tions of fi­nan­cial help and don’t de­pend on a fu­ture in­her­i­tance, which may never come.


Feed­back re­gard­ing the woman whose fam­ily de­nied her see­ing her mother:

Reader: “My mother and I ar­gued of­ten. When she was di­ag­nosed with a ter­mi­nal disease, I wanted to spare her the stress of ar­gu­ing.

“Un­for­tu­nately, that meant I barely talked to her.

“I wanted to apol­o­gize to her and say I loved her, but I didn’t, which I now re­gret.

“My mother also didn’t ini­ti­ate any con­ver­sa­tions with me. And I didn’t want to cause any ar­gu­ments.

“Your writer ob­vi­ously had great con­flict with her mother.

“Had she been there and ar­gued with her mother, it would’ve been very sad and try­ing for the dy­ing woman.

“It’d be bet­ter for the mother to not have this stress at the end of her life … pro­vided she chose this op­tion and it wasn’t that the sib­lings made this choice for her.

“That’s one pos­si­bil­ity — that the sib­lings were try­ing to pro­tect the mother.

“The sis­ter should now have a heartto-heart talk with the sib­lings and ask why they left her out of the mother’s dy­ing process.

“If they were pro­tect­ing the mother, then it’s noth­ing per­sonal against her.

“If they were just be­ing cruel or heart­less, then she should dis­so­ci­ate her­self from such toxic peo­ple, and find friends who can take the place of rel­a­tives.”

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