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After you get divorced, everyone tries to set you up. Then you have the already divorced friends who basically manage your dating profile and they love it and are your biggest fan.

After nearly three years as a forty year old woman who felt ready not to beat me up for my divorce and have a life with someone else, I didn’t think I would meet her online. But that’s exactly how I met my boyfriend a few years ago, after what seemed like an eternity of dating.

I went on the apps and dropped them after two weeks like I couldn’t stand the stupid back and forth for another minute.

A few days after another lukewarm date with a guy who was checked out by one of my best friends (who didn’t tell me he had moved out of his family home less than two months ago and I was his first date), I thought I was I would try again.

After not even looking for matches for a couple of days, I crawled into bed one night after a tough boot camp class while my kids were with their dad and told myself to stay positive. I saw a face I had never seen before which was refreshing. If you’ve been on the dating sites for over two years, you see a lot of repetitions.

After a few conversations and finding out that he was a Tinder virgin and had only stolen for a few weeks, I was intrigued. We had a lot in common. He was funny. He led an active lifestyle but loved fast food as much as I did.

We agreed to meet in a couple of days, and as soon as I saw him, I was completely comfortable and yet so attracted to him – which for me usually doesn’t go hand in hand.

After three hours of chatting and appetizers, we had everything covered. Our teens, our divorces, our dogs, and the fact that he lost a woman he truly loved almost seven years ago because he played a lot and lied to her. Those were his words, and the hair on the back of my neck warned me to be careful.

I brought it up again on our second date. He said he hadn’t played much and had it under control. I wanted to believe him – I thought he learned his lesson the hard way – but part of me told me to stop before it started.

Then my best friend reminded me that this was a 45 year old man who had a past and was supposed to be making mistakes. “What if you miss something that could be great because he played a lot almost a decade ago? Is that fair? “

On our third date when he picked me up, I saw an anonymous book by Gamblers in his car.

On our fifth date, we were eating outside on a warm summer night and a friend of his came over to speak to us. He introduced me and when he left I said, “Did you two work together?”

“No,” he said, “I met him at Gamblers Anonymous. He used to throw himself into deep shit, but now he’s gone. “

I didn’t see any signs of gambling or strange behavior in the first few months. I fell in love cautiously, but kept hearing my friend’s voice.

Is that fair

One thing I learned about him early on was that he wore his heart on his sleeve, and there were times when he revealed a little too much. You know, bathroom habits that mention to his friends (before me) how hot our sex life was.

He doesn’t have the best filter, but it’s one of the things I love about him. He doesn’t want to stay completely buttoned up.

I noticed that he was betting online for his sports teams and was wondering who I think would win. When he saw that I was surprised he was still playing, he said it was under control. Suspicious, I made friends very quickly with a friend of his friends who had known him for almost ten years. “Yes, he had a problem. But he worked really hard to correct that, ”she assured me.

Then he got more and more distracted and kept checking his cell phone. I watched out of the corner of my eye as he stared at various sports scores, then updated the page over and over.

He started to forget things and had trouble sleeping. He watched sports all the time and I told him I didn’t mind watching a game here or there, that eight hours of sports and he was so distracted with his damn phone it wouldn’t work for me.

He stopped.

He just stopped like that. That was last fall and things seemed to calm down. Until the last few months.

Recently the same things happened again: the forgetfulness, the distraction, staying up late to watch a game and not having sex until the game was over – which doesn’t work for me either.

I started denying him when he wanted to have sex at midnight and again telling him that a relationship doesn’t work that way. It felt like there was another woman I was competing with. While I love to win, I’m not going to try to distract a man’s attention from a gambling habit. I have other things to do.

He admitted to me last week that he was playing a lot again – something I already knew, of course, but I’m not going to throw it in his face with a smug “no shit”. I wanted to give him the space to talk to me.

“It takes me to a place I don’t want to go and I promise you you will see a change and it won’t happen again,” he said.

I want to believe him. I want to believe in the him. But I know how addiction and compulsive behavior work.

“It won’t go away if you don’t care what drives you to do it,” I told him. “Get the help you need because if you don’t, it can manifest itself in something else, even if you don’t start playing again. I love you but I don’t know if I can stay for it. I just do not know. “

You can love someone but love yourself more and want to go for your own sanity.

You can stay and want to see your partner through anything.

Both are the correct answers. Situations and how we deal with them are not one size fits all.

But i know myself. I need peace, quiet, and security in my relationship – for the most part anyway. I don’t want to feel like I’m chasing a bet or breaking off from a partnership when there are so many other life factors getting in the way on a good day.

I can only do so much for him. I have already felt a part of my soul flaking off and I am not ready to let it crack completely under the weight of it.

This is the only thing I know for sure: I don’t know how to fall in love with a compulsive gamer.

If you or a loved one are addicted to gambling, there are resources out there that can help. Call the National Council on Problem Gambling’s confidential 24/7 hotline at 1-800-522-4700. The National Council on Problem Gambling website has specific help for the state you live in and treatment facilities.