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I am trying hard to post daily for the month of October. Today, there were so many comments to reply to that I've run out of day. Just a few minutes left.

So here is my post of the day: I love each and every one of you who comments on this blog. I love it when you tell me something I said hit home. I love it when you ask me questions about your situation. I even love Arnie for pointing out my typo this week.

I wish this blog were my day job. It makes me so happy to write it and to answer the comments.

Comments

I'm really struggling with my marriage right now. I appreciate your blog posts a lot ... please keep it up. Thanks for your encouraging posts!!

Amy, thank you for your encouraging words. I am so sorry that you are struggling, and I wish you the very best.

I'm so grateful that you enjoy doing this blog and haven't gotten burned out on it after 7+ years. My current relationship/soon-to-be-marriage is so important to me and your blog is a huge help for me in keeping it alive. Right now I'm focusing on expecting love and I don't think the idea would ever have occurred to me without your blog, and I would be pretty miserable!

Go, Teresa! May you have a wonderful marriage.

I am 36 and my wife is 33. Weve been married for 11 years. We have a 5 year old son. Me and my wife haven't been seeing eye to eye over the past 6 months. We've had sex twice since then. She drops a bomb on me today that she isn't attracted to me anymore. Don't want to touch or anything. About 9 years ago I got into gambling, owing a lot of money. She has given me chance after chance to give it up. 2.5 years ago she caught me red handed at the casino. I've never stepped foot inside of one since and nor will I ever again. About a year and a half ago I got into this game called slotomania. Over the last year or so, I bought $2000 worth of play coins. They are worthless it's just for a pass time. She told me 3 or 4 times her dislike to this buying coins and I told her I wouldn't do it again which I did once more in August. We are very distant and this evening she told me we can get counselling but don't think it's gonna do much. I love her with all my heart and I kept on pushing her buttons. I didn't realize the damage I was causing her emotionally until a month or so ago with slotomania. She has been to Vegas for a girls trip twice this year, may and oct. before she left in may, we were gonna go to Vegas and renew our vows in sept! The day she got back, she bugged the hell out of me that they were going again in oct until I said OK. I didn't want her to go at all. Since the may trip she's a whole different woman. Wants nothing to do with me and I've heard to many horror stories about Vegas. I know for a fact on one night out down there she wasn't wearing her wedding ring. Never happened before and they were down there in oct for 5 nights and on the go until 5am each night. Any suggestions?

Mark, I would recommend you start with Gamblers Anonymous' 20 Questions at http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/content/20-questions. Despite your conviction never to gamble in a casino again, you chose Gamblers City as a place to renew your vows to your wife and gambled more than $150 a month on bets where you theoretically cannot win any money, only lose it. (And I say theoretically because I know many people aim to build up and sell their slotomania accounts, which leads to the same self-defeating behaviors as casino gambling.)

Has slotomania taken time you could have spent with your wife? Is $150 a month for this hobby you don't share with her eating into your household budget or your ability to give your wife the things and experiences she desires? Do you still owe money on past bets that she is stuck with because you are not spending this $150 a month to pay them off? Are you missing out on opportunities to move ahead in your career because of the time and money this hobby requires? Do you take less care with your appearance because you don't need to leave the house to gamble?

If so, you have a problem that must be addressed first before your marriage. And you have very little time to address it if your wife is already exploring a singles lifestyle. Women who stand by their men through an addiction usually do so in a codependent role, creating a relationship that does not easily survive his breaking free of his addiction, or they burn out and eventually stop loving their man.

Once you are able to choose not to gamble, not to spend your time and money on something that frightens or disgusts your wife (which might be right away or might require some time with a therapist or an organization like Gamblers Anonymous), the next step is to become more enjoyable to be around than the strangers in Vegas.

Think back to when the two of you were falling in love. What did she admire about you? What activities did she enjoy? Did she like gifts or helpful favors? Did she thrive on your full attention? Did she light up when you told her how special she is? Which of these could you do more of right away?

Now think about the things she told you about her Vegas trips. Did she enjoy the entertainment most or the time with friends or getting dressed up and feeling special? Did she enjoy gambling but stop with no regrets after a fixed amount of time or money? Did she do a lot of shopping? Or spend time in a spa? Which of these could you do together closer to home and on a regular basis?

Right now, your wife doesn't believe there is much hope of regaining interest in your marriage, and you cannot start to resolve the problems in it until she does. So this must be your first step. And if stopping slotomania will send you in search of something else with the dopamine kick of gambling, you must deal with this immediately, even as you start to romance her again.

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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