Dear Sugar —
I'm at a complete loss as to what to do. My long term boyfriend has recently confessed to being a gambling addict. I had my suspicions and he's had problems in the past that I confronted him about, but this time seems much more serious. I've been working two jobs while putting myself through graduate school so I leave him alone a lot, and while I'm away at night, he gambles. He loses weeks worth of his salary in one night and he's even stolen my bank card to withdraw cash without telling me. He's been lying to me and his family for a few months now to cover himself, but broke down and told me everything last night. I'm sure that this all stems from underlying depression and I've have asked him to go to therapy. I want to support him and he's willing to get help and wants me to be involved, but how do I know things will change? I love him and I want to believe him, but how can he mend the broken trust? — Kept in the Dark Kimberly
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Dear Kept in the Dark Kimberly —
Having an addiction to gambling can be just as serious as having any other addiction and it shouldn't be treated lightly. Owning up to your mistakes and asking for help is the first step to recovery so from what you're telling me, it sounds as though your boyfriend really wants to change. You mentioned that while you're working at night, he gambles and I just want to make sure you're not feeling at fault that he's partaking in this behavior because he's lonely without you — that's simply not an excuse.
Now, with that said, the decision is completely up to you whether you want to stand by your man while he gets the help he needs. Yes, he broke your trust, and he even went as far as stealing from you, but if you love him and you believe that he's willing to change, I'd give him a change. In life, there are no guarantees, hence no way of knowing if he'll be able to change, so since you probably know him better than anyone else, I'd listen to your gut and follow your heart. If it doesn't work out in the long run, at least you'll know you tried. Good luck to you both.