Hi, new here. This is quite heavy, with a lot of issues stemming from the past. My goal: To understand if the issue lies (partly or wholly) with my own thoughts/attitude, if I'm overthinking everything or being too controlling, or if my feelings are fair.
So here we go...
I'm (just) 30, male and in a relationship with a guy who's (almost) 25. We've been together almost two years. From the beginning, one of the things that connected us was our love of gaming. We both work at the same place and used to chat prior to being in a relationship. He had a girlfriend when we first met so our conversations were strictly work and gaming related and they were rare occurrences. I had no interest in a relationship with him, nor he with me. When he determined that he preferred guys, he explained the situation to his then girlfriend and their relationship ended. A few months passed and we got chatting more outside of work (over Facebook) and he told me about what happened in his past: When he was a lot younger, he was a victim of rape.
Gaming was his escape, his way to block it out. Learning this didn't phase me, it's something he's had to live with and it wouldn't effect our friendship. In me he had found somebody he could open up to, trust and depend on for a kind heart and a caring ear. In him, I found somebody who I was growing more and more attached to. We both enjoyed gaming, we could talk about the darker parts of our lives with each other, we shared music tastes and a passion for listening to music in general, as well as the usual films and such.
Later that year, we became "official". I must admit, things moved quite quickly. I moved in with him during the weekdays, then back to mine on weekends (I do weekend shifts so most of our time together was during the week). One thing became apparent - whenever I moved out, his mood would dip. Due to what I have now determined as being PTSD from the event earlier in his life, he has a tendency to get extremely angry (many a controller has been broken, as well as other items in the house). The other side of this is the depression he suffers from. Again, gaming will help him block all of it out. He's called in sick from work a few times during these periods - I never demand anything other than that he talks to me when he feels he can and that he understands that I'm always there for him.
Now I feel I must stress something at this point: Never has his anger been directed towards me. We've only ever had one major argument, and whilst he did break something, the item was never launched - it was an indirect "slamming the door" that caused it, rather than him physically trying to break it. He has admitted to me in the past that he has been abusive in his relationships, but that he's done his best to improve and ensure it never happens again. I believe him and have yet to see any evidence in our two years together of this being false.
One question that may come to your minds as you read this: is he receiving counseling? Unfortunately, no. We've discussed it a bit in the past, but it's simply something he doesn't want to do. Partly through fear of his family finding out (even though they wouldn't), and partly because he doesn't trust that the people who would be helping him actually care. I've said my bit on this to him, that it is the right thing for him to do but that I won't force him to if he doesn't want to. It's his decision to make after all, but he knows I'd be right there with him if he wanted to do it. He's also not on any medication (I know what some anti-depressants and the like can potentially do so in a way, I'm glad).
Move forward to a couple of weeks ago. He had the biggest mood drop he's had since we entered a relationship. Until then, he'd been playing Destiny 2 regularly with some American clanmates. As I work early shifts, this meant that whilst I'm asleep, he's awake, and generally he'd head to bed as or after I've woken up. This has been an issue for most of our relationship, but unfortunately it's one of those that he struggles to control. Flashbacks and such mean that he can't always get to sleep and as such, his sleep pattern tends to be shifted a lot later than mine. He knows I don't like it, but I know he's not doing it on purpose. Sometimes we sleep at the same time, and I'm shortly due to change my job. This change would allow me to, if I wanted, move my own sleep pattern so I could match his as I'd then be working from home, so it may solve itself them.
With this mood drop, he became very enclosed, barely uttering a word to me, although he wasn't necessarily blocking me out. It was simply he wasn't too interested in talking - I'm sure many of us have had those days where we just want to be left alone with our thoughts. It was basically a week or so of that. He stopped playing Destiny 2 and hopped onto Second Life. I was aware he'd spent a lot of time on Second Life in the past, although I never knew what he did. I looked at the "game" once when I was younger, years before we had met, but it never grabbed me.
I noticed a few things on screen, and did my best to ignore them, although it placed a thought in my mind and I couldn't shake it (to the extent that last weekend I basically had an anxiety attack last most of two days at the start of this week. He was RPing with other people in his chosen community, their avatars holding each other, sending each other sexual messages and such. The night when my anxiety was at it's worst, I went back downstairs as I couldn't sleep. I sat and tried to watch YouTube to relax and distract my mind but I couldn't focus. At this stage, I said to him that I wasn't comfortable seeing him RP with other people online. He fully understood why I would think like that and he assured me that "what happens in SL, stays in SL". I trust him and know that he wouldn't do anything with anybody else in RL. He also explained that RPing helps him with what happens in his head, as a way of working through his trauma, and that he doesn't get any actual gratification from it himself. He did say that he doesn't initiate the RP, and that he's only done it with people who he's chatted to beforehand about normal stuff, rather than just RPing with random people on demand. When he asked me if I'd like him to stop, I said I didn't know: I didn't like it, but at the same time, I didn't want to deny of something that helps him out. I didn't ask him to stop.
Since then, his mood has improved and he's back to his happier-self. However, my own mood hasn't improved and I'm still trying to figure this stuff out in my head. I'm unable to place why I'm feeling like this. I'm not sure if I'm jealous of the idea that he's giving pleasure to some random guy online, or actually, that some other guy is getting pleasure from my boyfriend's actions, whilst he's unable to give me the same sort of pleasure, or if it's how much time he spends talking to these people in general. I do have "trust issues" stemming from a previous relationship of mine, but I trust him enough to know that he is just playing the role of a character and that it wouldn't lapse into reality. He's been open about it when I ask. Sometimes I'll say "what are you guys talking about?" and he'll explain what they were talking about before and that they're RPing now. I've noticed he does sometimes use the chat window to hide their avatars, but if he's prepared to tell me if he's RPing when I ask, I feel he's hiding the avatars for me, rather than from me (if that makes sense).
As I stated before, if he feels it's helping him deal with his thoughts, I don't really want to put a stop to it, but if it's making me feel like I do.....would I be the bad guy to ask him to stop? Am I being jealous or possessive, or even selfish? He's sat and spoken to some ex's on Facebook whilst sat next to me and I've never even flinched because I know it's just a mutual catch up, rather anything more. I don't have any issues with him socialising on SL and he's even offered to help me set up my own avatar if I so wanted. Although the idea of stepping into the world of SL doesn't appeal to me at all, it might be that it would help me understand what goes on there, perhaps meet these people there myself (not to RP - that aspect isn't anything that I'd wish to spend my energy on)?
Please let me know your take on this. We're happy with each other, this is more helping me understand my own mind at this stage and maybe what I need to do for myself.
Summary: Boyfriend living with trauma from childhood, uses games to help deal with it. Currently using Second Life to RP as it also helps with his mind. Has been honest when I've asked about it. Offered to stop if I wished as it made me feel uncomfortable. I'm uncertain whether I'm right in asking him to stop something that does seem to help him, despite my apprehension towards it.