Both my fiance and I are 28 years old, and we've been together for 7.5 years. He proposed to me a couple of weeks ago, which I've been begging him to do for almost 2 years, so I was elated and said yes. However, I'm not sure if it's the right choice. He's always been a gamer. As a child he did nothing but play nintendo games, and in high school he moved to WoW. I've talked about this with his mother, who says that she tried to limit his screen time as a child but it never worked. He always did well in school, but that was just because he's smart enough to get through high school without really working.
He's extremely smart, friendly and outgoing, and we love doing things like cooking, going to the movies, and playing DnD together. He's generous but thrifty, creative, and confident but not arrogant. He graduated from the best Computer Science program in our country about 6 years ago with an offer for his dream job as a video game developer. His career prospects seemed limitless.
He stayed at that job for 3 years before his team was laid off. This job was with a huge company, and he received a very generous severance package. Along with 2 of his colleagues who were laid off at the same time, he spent the next 2.5 years working on an indie game. I had a good job at that point, and the plan was that for 2 years I'd pay for 75% of our shared bills and he'd pay for 25% using the severance money. Money was tight, but I was totally supportive. This was something he had to check off his bucket list, that now was the time to do it (before mortgage, kids, etc), there was a chance of the game being successful, and that no matter what happened 2 years of running a company is a great learning experience and resume item.
I had a stressful job as a technical support person for a boutique engineering firm and I had a 1-1.5 hrs commute to work each way. Because of all that driving I was barely home, and when I was home all I had energy for was vegging in front to the TV. I knew he spent pretty much the whole evening every day gaming and that he was playing for at least 12 hours every day on the weekends. He did always stop to eat meals with me at the table, but any other time that I asked for his attention or wanted to leave the house together, he was irritated about spending time away from the xbox and rushed through it. However, I didn't see it as a huge problem because his self-employment venture seemed to be moving forward and he was reasonably happy with a good group of friends. He'd almost always do the grocery shopping and make dinner for us so I told myself that he was doing his share.
The worse was the couple of times when we went away on vacation. If we were travelling by car and going somewhere with internet. I'd tell him that I wouldn't fight it if he wanted to bring his xbox if that's what would make him happy. He rarely did bring it, but instead would follow me around like a lost puppy for the whole time asking "what are we doing now?" . It's like I had dragged him away from his games so was obligated to provide a similarly thrilling alternative. I did my best, but almost everything either bored him (hiking, museums, sightseeing, lounging on the beach) or gave him panic attacks (anything to do with non-pool water and/or a moving vehicle). He also spent a lot of time complaining about the hotel bed being uncomfortable, the shower not having enough pressure, and the wifi being slow. The best vacation we had was a cottage with fiber internet, where he spent the whole time gaming and I could do my reading and stuff.
During the last 6 months or so at my awful job, I managed to get one work-from-home day per week. On my WFH day, he would sleep until 10-11am, shower, do 30-60 mins of work, eat lunch, do another 2-3 hours of work, then get on the xbox by 4pm. I didn't say anything about his measly work hours because I assumed that his co-founders would say something if he wasn't pulling his weight.
Last summer (about 6-7 months ago), one of the co-founders left the company because she felt that progress was too slow and her career was stagnating. She's a programmer by trade, but was the only one on the team who put any energy into the business/ marketing component of the project. After she left, the remaining 2 lauched a beta version of their game and sold a few dozen copies. The plan was that they'd both get jobs to earn some money and finish off the game in their spare time. It would sell as much as it sold, but they didn't want to spend time marketing it. I think that the other person is still working on it, but my SO hasn't looked at it since.
He spent 8 straight weeks playing Destiny 2 for at least 80-100 hours per week, then started applying for work at the end of August ("no one hires in the summer"). He was offered a contract leading to full time job at a local startup that paid more than he could have imagined along with Silicon valley-esque perks. He worked there for about 5 weeks but was miserable the whole time. A lot of his complaints related to an inability to keep up with the Destiny content at the same rate that he had been, even though he was still playing from about 6pm until after midnight every day and 12-16 odd hours on weekends. He said that he couldn't bring himself to care about his job. After 5 weeks, his team leader talked to him to say that there have been complaints about his performance and offered coaching. He quit the next day.
This was in October, and he spend the rest of the year as a full time+ Destiny player (80-100 hours per week). His logic was that he needed a couple of weeks off to recover from the trauma that was working a regular job, and then that "no one hires during the holidays." In December, I left my stressful job to go back to school for an 8-month certificate. This wasn't an impulsive choice- my SO and I had discussed in for months and agreed that it was the right next step, and I'd been squirrelling away as much money as I could. Everyone thought that we were crazy for both being unemployed at the same time, but we believed that he'd get a job soon enough in January.
January came, and he did start applying for jobs. He was very selective, only applying at companies that were known for their good work/life balance. He blew off the first interview that he got, saying that it didn't interest him so he wouldn't accept an offer anyways. I think the truth is that they gave him a pre-interview assignment to test his technical skills and he didn't want to cut into his Destiny time to do it. He did get a different interview pretty quickly, and he received and accepted an offer.
It's now his 3rd week at this new job, and he's already called in sick twice to play Destiny all day. He tells me that he just needed a mental health day, which I understand but not at that frequency. This company is extremely reasonable with their working hours - he says that most people start between 9-9:30 and leave before 5, but he still struggles to motivate himself. I'm worried that he's going to get himself in trouble and quit again.
Money isn't an urgent issue yet, but it's something to keep an eye on. He still has about $130k in the bank from his severance package, which is plenty to support both of us until I finish my certificate in 6 months, but that money can be better used for retirement savings and a down payment when we buy a house. It certainly isn't meant to fund 3 years of full time+ Destiny. I don't see his credit card bills, but have no reason to believe that he's spending excessively on gaming. His controller is held together with duct tape and his TV is over 10 years old, so he's definitely not extravagant wrt hardware. The big cost is all this unemployment.
As far as enabling him, I'm not giving him any money (he's supporting me). However, I'm probably too polite to him. Sometimes I'll be making breakfast while he's gaming and he'll shout to the kitchen "how long is left?" so that he knows if he can play another round. It drives me crazy, but I haven't said anything to him about it. If I'm getting a snack or drink I'll offer to get something for him, but he rarely reciprocates. If I'm going out somewhere (e.g. errands), I ask if he wants to come but don't push it if he says he'd rather stay home and game. When he's playing with others and on his headset, we have a system where I wave at him, wait til he's free, then speak. He does have a DnD group that meets up weekly. On those nights, he usually goes to DnD straight after work and doesn't get home until bedtime so he doesn't get a chance to game all day, which makes him crabby the next day. To his credit, if there's a social or family event, he's usually happy to go to those. If I ask him to do a chore, he'll do it - sort of. He usually needs to be reminded, then will get to it at his convenience. When he does start on it, I'm always dragged in to help him find something or show him how to do something (e.g. "can you help me fold this fitted sheet?" "I'll sweep, but could you clean the rug? You're much better at it that I am.").
Can I do anything to mitigate this? He does have a loving family and some good friends, so I could work with them on an intervention. The thing is that I've never really pushed back on his gaming before, and I don't think he sees his gaming as a problem at all - just a hobby, so I feel like doing something like that would be overly dramatic. Can I start gently?
SO of Destiny addict