This blog originally appeared in Counsellor Sam and has been republished with permission.
When someone is struggling with a gambling problem, it is common for there to be a history of secrecy and hiding things- especially around money. A question for partners is “How can I trust that the gambling has stopped?” While there is no foolproof way to tell whether someone is gambling, there are strategies you can use to ease your mind about your partner’s current spending and your future financial position.
An important first step is to seek the help of a Financial Counsellor. They can ensure the assets of each person are protected and help manage debts. A financial counsellor can help you and your partner to work out a plan to get your finances back on track. Gambler’s Help services can help you get connected to a financial counsellor.
As with other areas of your life honesty is essential but when gambling has been an issue this may need to be demonstrated. For example:
- If you have a joint bank account, make sure both partners can see exactly what is going in and out. Joint bank accounts carry a certain amount of risk for both partners, so be sure to inform yourself about these risks, which you can do by visiting the MoneySmart website.
- Some people choose to have an agreement where their partner can look at their personal accounts at any time without notice, i.e. by sharing passwords, while others arrange regular times to sit down and review accounts together.
- Credit reports are one measure of a person’s financial situation. Credit scores are impacted by numerous factors relating to one’s history of applying for credit. It is possible to get a free yearly credit report by visiting veda.com.au. If you are worried about a partner’s gambling obtaining a credit report may be a sensible step to take.
Rebuilding trust takes time. It is important to be patient and gentle with yourself during what is often a stressful time for those impacted by someone’s gambling. Support is always available for both the gambler and their partner through Gambler’s Help services. If you would like to speak to a counsellor about this or any other issue related to your partner’s gambling, please call 1800 858 858.