Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Sunday March 11th 2018

Wife with two kids struggling with compulsive gambling husband

Hi Gilbert,

A very good day to you.

I came across your website  while looking for an online site where I can voice  out my doubts and concerns. Hopefully you will be able to be my listening ear.

I am married with 2 beautiful kids, my daughter is coming to 11 years old and my son soon turning  6 years old -  both  are celebrating their birthdays this April.

My  marriage, coming to  12 years this June,  is  turning into a tiring journey. for me.

My spouse, whom I thought I  knew well enough,  broke the trust I had in him right after a year after our marriage.

He is a compulsive gambler, a substance user (more of sleeping pills than drugs..thank God!) calculative and also a liar.

We both knew each other since 1995 and  we tied the knot in 2000.

His drinking and gambling of 4D and TOTO are well  known but I was still naive enough to think that they would disappear after  we got married.

I found out his gambling has been very active like 5 times a week and there’s a period when he is spending  almost $100 per week.

I was shocked but what is more hurtful is after promises that he would quit his gambling habit, he later went into horse-betting.

This led to a burden of financial issues whereby  he ended up tricking me into allowing him to take up a bank loan, defaulted in paying the loan and spent half the loan on his gambling debts.

Due to all this debts and unfullfilled payment of bills, I  ended up selling my precious home. 

I regretted selling the flat but thinking of my son who should be in nursery soon I relented.

Till today, he is still gambling and all the betting slips  were hidden in his locker at work as he knew I would search through his bags.

The day I found the horse-betting ticket, which he denied was his, was the day that my heart is totally crushed. 

My eldest child ¬†has seen enough ‚Äď ¬†the shouting, curses, vulgarities, pills, tickets and even those days that ¬†the father came back high.

My kids and I were shamed the day he laid  drunk under the block and a neighbour knocked  on our door to inform us of his miserable condition.

Our life is darkened by him.

There is ¬†a day ¬†that my girl blurted ¬†out: ‚ÄúMama,with or without papa it doesn‚Äôt make a difference as he had never been one and I‚Äôm ok with it.‚ÄĚ

Now I wonder if it’s best to walk away. I am emotionally tired, drained of love and empty of trust for him.

What worry me is I’m jobless now and I don’t want to lose my kids. They are my strength, soul and  life.

They are the voices that stop  me from jumping off 12th storey and their words are my motivation  to survive.

 I can’t do without either of them.

 I know my spouse has cooled off  on the pills abit but the gambling is still there …

Please help me Gilbert, I am totally depressed, confused and lost right now.

Please help me. Sorry if this e-mail is so  long but I don’t know what to do.




Hi Alice,

Thanks for your mail and sorry to hear about your marital predicament.

Having a gambler and substance abuser in the family can be difficult and I must admire your resolve to keep the family together despite severe stresses.

Your husband certainly needs help and please refer him to a counsellor at the nearest family service centre if he is open to counselling support.

We can also provide him a volunteer counsellor if he is keen to let us speak to both of you together.

It is also difficult to break away the chain of gambling as it is like a drug.

One needs the dosage of betting regularly to get his fix.

I am also  glad to know that his drug usage  is with sleeping bills and not other stronger stuff which means that it could be easier whetted out of his system.

Do have a good one-to-one chat with your husband if possible.

Sometimes, gambling and drug abuse are symptons of things not right at home.

I can see that you have focused quite alot of attention on your two kids which is good,  however, do spare a thought for your husband who may be yearning for your attention.

Have a simple date with him ‚Äď without the kids.

Rekindle some of the dating experiences you have with him while you are still courting each other.

Try all ways to stay  in the marriage if possible but do inform your husband that he needs to seek help else he will lose the family.

He has to  pick himself up  also.

I am providing you a volunteer counsellor Patsy.

Feel free to connect and  spend time talking  your issues with her  over a session.

Please email me  whenever you feel like РI will response asap.

We are here for you.



Editor’s Note: If you¬†face ¬†similar issues with a gambling family member, do write to us at, we want to hear from you. Thanks alot.

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4 Responses to “Wife with two kids struggling with compulsive gambling husband”

  1. Tim says:

    I don’t gamble, don’t even buy 4D/Toto but looking at the long queues at the outlets, must be quite a common activity here. How much does your husband gamble per month as a percentage of his salary? If he is still able to support the family financially then some wagers for leisure is still acceptable. If you push him too hard, he can only turn to his bad habits for comfort,resulting in more gambling, drinking and sleeping pills. Bad habits can’t be eliminated overnight. Give him some space and support and let him recover on his own. Nagging at him and being dismissive and judgmental will not help and will only push him further away. You have to use the power of family ties to bring him back to normal.

  2. Zelphon says:

    Leave him. Period.

    Tell u abit of my life..

    I am 31 yrs old.
    I am a single child brought up solehandedly by my mother.
    My dad is a useless compulsive gambler who failed badly as a role model. Not only does he gamble, he also don’t work hard and provide for the family. Ends up my mum has to be the one to work and pay for the family expenses.

    For over 30 yrs of their marriage, I have endured quarrels, mainly over money..

    Till date my mum is still married to my useless father and I often wondered WHY?? She defnitely does not love him at all… But I know she is doing it for me.. to give me a complete home.. Even though I wished that my dad will kick the bucket since the age of 12 so that my family will be free of burden..

    My dad is now 74 yrs old… I give him allowance of $400 a month for his livelihood… Even though he does not deserve any cents of it, I am still obliged to care for him under the laws of Singapore… And the best part is.. HE IS STILL GAMBLING !!!… He already gambled away all his savings and he rather scrimp and save to GAMBLE !!!

    I have often cursed at him and lamented that my mum should have divorced him earlier in our lives so that we will lead a better future…

    That is why I am telling u to LEAVE HIM.. Period.. Your husband may not quit his gambling habits .. and seeing that he does not even care about the family, why should u held on to this marriage? Divorce him now so that your child and you can lead a better future without him and also that when your child reaches working age, he/she will not have to bear the burden of providing for a USELESS UNDESERVING parent…

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