New user here. I hope I am in the right forum. As the title already suggests, I am looking for help for my gaming addicted boyfriend.
First, let me give you some information on us as a couple. Me and my boyfriend have been in a long distance relationship for five years now. We met each other when we were both still in college. He graduated earlier than me, but took little to no effort into looking for a job while I was studying still. I know this should've been a red flag, but I was young and totally in love with him. And I do admit, he's got a golden heart, he's a really sweet and smart person, there's nothing bad on his record, and he has a nice sense of humour. We just were completely on the same wavelength, so perhaps that was the reason I noticed his issues so late.
Now here's the issue: my boyfriend has always been an avid gamer. Gaming takes up most of his day. And if he isn't gaming, then he is watching other people gaming on this platform called "Twitch", a website where people can watch someone while he or she is gaming, and write down comments in a chat room while doing so. My boyfriend himself has been actively participating in this "Twitch" thing, he is also streaming games, and at first I didn't mind it. I perceived it as a hobby, nothing wrong with it. Afterall, I very much like to play games myself as well. Until I graduated myself at the beginning of this year in September. When I graduated I started focusing on how I would progress in life from now on. I would still play games, but I also felt the responsibility of looking for a job and becoming less dependent on my parents (who honestly already work hard enough for me and my siblings). I had some trouble looking for a job, mainly due to lack of experience, but at the end of January I got offered a temporary job, which I immediately happily accepted. It was tough, certainly, but I felt I had a purpose and I earned quite a nice sum of money too. Most of all, I was surrounded with friendly and helpful colleagues to whom I could always look for help if I needed it. By that time my boyfriend had been jobless for three years already. Our relationship started to grow stale. I asked him several times whether he really wanted to live with me, to build a future with me in my home country. He seemed reluctant, but he also understood that it was the best option to him, as there certainly were chances for him to look for work in my home country. His English was nearly perfect, and his diploma would certainly land him a job on the job market, so I was hopeful.
Just recently, though, he decided to break up with me. His reasons were his anxiety, low self-esteem, trouble in learning the language of my country, and trouble adapting to the new culture and mentality (in my country people are more focused on their jobs than in his country, which seems to have a more laid-back culture). Even though my heart broke and I felt angry and sidelined, I could also understand where he was coming from. He asked for a week of breathing space to think everything over, which I gave him, but to me it felt like the so-maniest attempt at trying to stall and win time instead of making a clear-cut decision (by that time he had postponed moving for the FOURTH time, that while my brother especially moved out of my parents' appartment they were offering me and my boyfriend to stay in). I felt confused as I still had so many unanswered questions. Was it my fault? Did I pressure him too much? He's a great guy with lots of good qualities, so what's holding him back? How can I help him?
As I said, my boyfriend has always had anxiety issues and low self-esteem, but I noticed these issues way too late as he's VERY good at hiding those issues behind happy appearances and funny humour. He claimed that his anxiety was taking control of him, that it's hard for him to talk to people or even get out of his room without feeling miserable (and if he has to, he hides it extremely well). Instead of talking about his issues, his fears and anxiety with me like a responsible adult, he decided to flee in his games. He is currently playing and streaming games on this "Twitch" platform between 5 and 8 hours a day, which I find to be becoming quite unhealthy. Besides, he isn't solving anything by playing games, he is avoiding his problems this way, and the worst of it all is that the people who are following and watching him are supporting and encouraging him to stream even more (these people are either students who don't have to worry about a job, jobless people, or people merely looking for some entertainment - point is, none of them are actually helping him realize he should stream less and try to improve himself and his life instead). He told me how he want to develop his video channel and make money out of it, which I can understand, but I know that this will take a long time, and he has no other financial means to support him in the meantime other than his parents (who I think should be way more involved with the future of their son, to be honest). He also told me that he is gaming to relax, to calm down. Again, I really understand, but in the meantime no solutions are found or at least being considered. He is too scared to leave his comfort zone for me, which makes me sad, as if I've fallen short in being a good partner to him, despite me loving him with all my heart still.
TL;DR: My boyfriend and I have been in a long distance relationship for five years. My boyfriend recently broke up with me as he feels too afraid to live together with me in a whole new country. Instead of talking these issues through with me, he's decided to keep me on the fence while fleeing into playing games for many hours every day. I don't know what to do to make him realize this isn't a solution to his problems, and I want to help him find a better purpose in life, but I don't know how.
I currently am desperate and sought out this forum in hopes of getting some advice on what I could do to help my boyfriend find a better purpose in his life. I don't want him to quit gaming or streaming completely - it's still his hobby - but his gaming is currently more of a means to avoid having to face real and ever-growing issues in his life. I don't want him to end up badly, I still love him with all my heart, and even though we broke up, I still want to help him recover and be there as a friend at his side.
Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!