Thursday 13 December 2018

Dear Mary: I lost her because of my gambling

Gambling is an increasingly common problem in Ireland
Gambling is an increasingly common problem in Ireland

Mary O'Conor

I'm 45 and I recently split from my partner of six years. Unfortunately I went back gambling after abstaining for two years. I hurt my partner badly emotionally and we had a huge physical row on our last night together. I checked her phone and found a message from a male colleague thanking her for a lovely evening.

She's not Irish and is 10 years my junior. She was a great partner to me and I loved her dearly but sadly gambling changed me as a person and I've lost everything.

I'm back off gambling again nearly three months and, thankfully, doing well.

I left my first marriage and three children for this relationship. Now I feel so alone and the loneliness is killing me.

I long for my partner back, but I know it's not realistic and we have no communication. I can honestly say now looking back she was the one I loved but I didn't show it.

Any advice or tips would be deeply appreciated.

Mary replies Well done on being clean for almost three months - that is a great achievement and shows that it is possible to get back on track having had a relapse.

Gambling is such a difficult addiction as you well know and one that can lead to huge hardship for both the addict and their loved ones.

I don't know whether your ex was with somebody else because of your gambling or not, but I am sure you are deeply ashamed of the physical fight that you had, because nothing can justify physical violence.

Hopefully you tried to make amends to her before communication ended.

She must have been hurt emotionally as well because six years is a long time to spend with somebody, especially as she knew that you had left your wife and children for her.

It is only natural that you are feeling lonely - we all experience loneliness at some point in our lives. I'm sure your wife and children were lonely when you left home but they probably got on with their lives.

Your ex will have also started to move on and so will you eventually. The concept of one day at a time is always a good one, not worrying too much about what tomorrow may bring and just remaining in the now.

I presume that you are a member of Gamblers Anonymous who have meetings all over the country ( If you are you will be familiar with their 'Just for Today' sayings, one of which would appear to me to be particularly apt: "Just for today I will be happy. This assumes to be true what Abraham Lincoln said that 'most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be'."

I hope that you remain clean and that you find the happiness that has been eluding you because of your addiction.

Hang on in there and make yourself proud and every day you will feel stronger.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting or email her at or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

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