"I Gambled Away Our Life Savings"

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His Turn

"How Could She Gamble Away Everything We Had?"

"Let's get something straight: I have never for one minute thought about divorcing Janet," said Rob, 54. "I have a strong faith and I take my marriage vows seriously. Janet is beautiful and funny and great company. I have so many wonderful memories of our years together. I can't let this crisis break up our family.

"I thought Janet had come to her senses a year ago when I cashed in savings bonds to pay off her $35,000 gambling debt. No such luck. This time she got us in an even-deeper hole -- six figures' worth. She not only took money out of our account behind my back, but she cashed in our children's CDs without telling them. That's about as low as you can get.

"So yes, I'm angry. She betrayed my trust twice. I don't see how things can ever be the same between us. She dashed all our dreams for the future, dreams I'd worked toward all my life. We both loved Hawaii when I was stationed there and hoped to move there someday. She carries on about how she dislikes Nebraska and having my family around, but the plan was never to stay here forever. It was a stopover, a way to reconnect with my family after living all over for so long. I thought it would be nice for David and Becky to have a few Christmases and Easters with their grandparents. I'm not sure Janet understands that. Her parents are divorced and she keeps in touch with her family mostly by e-mail.

"Now, of course, it looks as if we're stuck here because she's burned through all the money that was supposed to get us to Hawaii. I guess I should be grateful we're not completely destitute. I have a good pension and make decent money at my part-time job. But we'll never get back to the financial comfort we enjoyed in her pre-casino days. What breaks my heart is that we started out with nothing and worked hard for every penny we put away. Both of us come from modest backgrounds and we did pretty well, considering. Now, except for the house, we have absolutely nothing to show for it.

"How could Janet, a smart lady, do something as stupid as gamble away just about everything we had? Maybe I could get rid of some of my resentment if that mystery could simply be explained to me. As it is, I get upset just looking at her. We live in the same house, but there's nothing between us anymore. The kids are upset, too. I mean, what kind of mother effectively steals from her own children? When I contemplate the woman I married, the woman I loved so much for so many years, I'm totally baffled."

Continued on page 4:  The Counselor's Turn


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