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Gambling with a sociopath

Over the last 30 years, the United States has seen an explosion of legalized gambling. Slot machines, blackjack tables and lotteries are a growth industry. Casinos are flourishing not far from me; I could be there every day if I wanted to. But I don’t go. I’m not a gambler.

Still, I know how gamblers feel because I was with a sociopath.

It didn’t take long for ex-husband, James Montgomery, to start taking money from me. He called his first suggestion that I give him $5,000 an “investment opportunity.” Subsequent requests were described as “building our future together.” Then I shouldn’t worry about putting expenses on my credit cards because he would “pay everything off when the projects were funded.” Before long, my bank accounts were empty and my credit cards were full.

Thinking like a gambler

That’s when I started thinking like a gambler. As their losses mount, gamblers keep playing, hoping to recoup their money. They keep doubling down, believing they just need one blackjack, one lucky seven, to turn the tide and end up a winner.

I had so much tied up in my ex-husband’s schemes that I felt like I had to keep playing. The only way out of the hole, I thought, was to keep pouring money into it until something worked, our payday arrived, I could get my money back and divorce him.

Losers

It doesn’t work that way. Steve Wynn, casino mogul, once told me the simple truth of the business: All gamblers are losers.

Gamblers need to understand that the odds are with the house.

People involved with sociopaths need to understand that the predators do not change.

Perhaps I’m actually lucky that nothing my ex-husband tried succeeded. If one of his projects did get going, and started to make money, the whole process just would have dragged on longer. Like hitting cherries on a slot machine, which pays a few coins, I would have had a little more money to stay in the game—a little more money for him to take.

The only way to be sure of winning when gambling, or when with a sociopath, is to get out.



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