You know your boyfriend better than most people – his likes and dislikes and his weird fetishes – but his habits have started to worry you. What started as a fun way to pass the time is now turning into something more ominous – and it’s starting to play on your mind. Is he being more secretive than usual, or making excuses as to why it “isn’t a problem” and he “has it under control”?
How do you really know if your boyfriend is an addict? We chatted to a few of our experts who have put this list together for us that show the four biggest tell-tale signs that your boyfriend could be an addict.
It is always on his mind
If you have noticed over the past where conversations have started to always shift to include some mention of his vice, then he may have a problem. It could be where the conversation somehow finds its way to end up speaking about his last gambling session where he won or lost a certain amount, or how much he enjoyed passing out on his friend’s couch. It could also be something far more serious where he is starting to make money plans around how he will pay for his next buy-in or crate of beer.
So if he is always speaking about his past games, speaking about the next game and fixated on channelling his money into those games, then he quite possibly has a gambling addiction, for example.
He keeps lying about the smallest things
In the beginning, you both trusted each other. After all, aren’t all relationships based on mutual trust? But lately, you are starting to sometimes doubt the truth of what he has been telling you.
There are several lies to look out for. The first is around how much time he has been spending online, or if he constantly makes excuses about working late where you suspect he may be visiting the casino/the dealer on the way home. Short of checking his internet history or tracking his movements by his mobile phone, the only thing you really have is his word.
If you have caught him in a lie once, there is a good chance that this is not a once-off lying occasion. It means that he has started to hide the fact that he has a problem.
The next lie to look out for is more troublesome, because it could also directly affect your financial wellbeing. Many addicts will start to use their credit cards, investments or even retirement savings to fund their addiction. If he is the person you see a future with, you need to ensure that he is not compromising your financial future at the same time.
He could also be asking you to lend him money because his money is “tied up”. For gambling addicts, learning to gamble responsibly is not an option for most gamblers, but getting to the root of the problem is the best way to get them the help and intervention they need so that it does not spiral out of control.
He is using his addiction to escape his emotions
You may have noticed that he is acting more and more distant around you. If he was spending his ‘alone time’ exploring a healthy hobby like exercise or gardening, that is perfectly healthy and is a way of working through emotional turmoil. However, if he is using his addiction as an outlet to dampen his emotions, then you unfortunately have a problem on your hands. This is an unhealthy habit that can quickly turn into a huge problem.
The relationship is no longer what it was
All couples go through their ups and downs. That’s a natural course of any budding romance – but if you have noticed a shift in the dynamic where your default setting as a couple is tension and fighting. Whether it is drinking, smoking, drugs or gambling, if this activity is always a source of contention, then an addiction could be the cause of your problems.
The signs of an addiction are that they consume the relationship, where he is constantly defending his activities, even when you know in your heart that they are causing damage to not only your relationship, but to his relationship with others close to him.
Worrying about your boyfriend is only natural if you are in a healthy relationship. If he is a responsible drinker/smoker/gambler, then he should be able to put his vice aside if it is causing you relationship trouble. However, if he chooses to ignore your pleas and keeps insisting he can stop whenever he wants, but never does, then he is putting his addiction ahead of your happiness.
If this sounds at all familiar to you then unfortunately you are probably dealing with an addict who does need help to break the habit.