Gambling is taking over my life – how do I tell my partner?

25 Aug 2023

Are you finding yourself overwhelmed by gambling’s influence on your life? If so, you’re not alone.

Research shows that among Australians who gamble, 46% are at risk of gambling harm.

It’s normal to have feelings of shame or embarrassment when you are gambling more than you would like to. Opening up to your partner about your gambling is never easy, but it is a brave step towards a better future for yourself and your relationship.

In this blog post, we’ll explore tips and strategies to effectively communicate with your partner about gambling-related issues.


What are the harms associated with gambling?

You may have noticed that gambling behaviours are beginning to take over your life. But how can this cause harm to your loved ones?

Gambling has the potential to become harmful when it begins negatively impacting various aspects of your life.

It can lead to issues in areas of your life such as:

  • Physical health
  • Financial stability
  • Family or parenting
  • Social commitments
  • Work or school performance
  • Your connection to community
  • Relationships, family, and parenting
  • Involvement in illegal activities, such as stealing.


How to tell my partner about gambling

Opening up to your partner about gambling can be difficult and scary. It requires a careful approach that may involve the support of a professional counsellor.

Here are some tips for effectively discussing the sensitive topic of gambling with your partner:

Choose the right time: By creating a supportive atmosphere, you pave the way for a constructive conversation. Choose a calm, private moment when you are both free from distractions. Allow enough time to have a meaningful conversation without feeling rushed.

Be honest: To work together with you, your partner needs to fully understand gambling’s psychological, emotional, and financial toll on your life. Expressing your struggles openly and honestly will encourage empathy and understanding from your partner.

Be prepared for a reaction: Consider organising your thoughts beforehand to ensure a clear conversation and calm your nerves. You may want to jot down key points you want to discuss. Prepare answers to any concerns, questions, or reactions your partner may have.

Admit you may have gone too far with your gambling: Reflect on how gambling has affected your well-being, your relationships, and any other impacts. By acknowledging the issues, you demonstrate your willingness to tackle gambling harm head-on.

Listen to your partner: Take the time to actively listen without interrupting, showing a willingness to understand their thoughts and feelings. Active listening encourages supportive communication that can strengthen the bond between you and your partner.

Share a plan of action: The road ahead from gambling harm requires ongoing commitment and effort. By involving your partner in the planning process, you can build a stronger support system and jointly develop a plan of action.

Consider professional support: A counsellor can help you to develop a safety plan and ensure the right time and place for such an important conversation.


Seeking professional help

Telling your partner about gambling’s impact on your life is a brave step towards healing and rebuilding your life.

The next step may be to seek professional help. Counsellors and support groups provide guidance, support, strategies, coping mechanisms, and personalised assistance. Your partner may also find these services helpful for both of you to navigate the future together.

A successful conversation is built with honesty, vulnerability, and a shared commitment to change. By fostering understanding and seeking professional help, you and your partner can work together to address the challenges, strengthen your bond, and build a brighter future.



Gambling Help Queensland offers free, confidential 24/7 support and advice. We assist people who gamble, and anyone affected by someone else’s gambling. 

Our counsellors can also provide advice if money is a source of tension or conflict in your relationship, or you don’t feel comfortable or safe raising the topic with your partner.

You can confidentially talk to a counsellor by calling the 24/7 helpline on 1800 858 858.

If you’re experiencing abuse in your relationship, there are several support options available 24/7. Call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 for free, confidential support.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 000.

Contact us

If gambling is impacting your life or a loved one's life, it's okay to reach out for help. It’s free and confidential.

Call the 24/7 Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858

Face-to-face counselling locations