Be His Warden?

Q: My boyfriend and I broke up due to his gambling. I visited his two kids, who adore me. Finally he asked for forgiveness and said he was going to work on the gambling. While we were broken up, he signed up for internet dating and dated someone for three weeks, which he told me about. Recently, we took a nice day trip and when we got back he "had" to go gambling. He says he needs help and asked me to take over all his finances and just give him a weekly allowance. He doesn't want to go to therapy. Will it work if I put myself in the position of being his accountant? Or am I being just a believer? We don't live together but he wants to. I have a decent job and no addictions. -- Marley, 45

Dr. Susan: Being his accountant will turn into being his jailer. He will resist that feeling, and he will resist you, with every fiber of his being. You will become what's standing in the way of satisfying his craving. I don't get why he won't try therapy. It makes sense to get some help from a knowledgeable third person, even if the two of try to go it alone after that. You're right to doubt whether your taking over his finances will help him. He's not a child, and you've broken up over this before. What would you do if he demanded money from you? Addictions are seriously challenging to overcome totally on one's own, even with the help of a partner acting as a warden. I'd insist on getting additional help with his addiction before going further with this relationship.

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