My marriage is falling apart

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Sarahmiller
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My marriage is falling apart

I'm actually really relieved that there's a website like this that has so many stories similar to mine. It makes me feel less alone. I've been with my husband for 15 years. He didn't game much when we first met, but now it's nonstop. He spends every waking second that he's not at work playing his MMORPG. First it was WoW, now I think it's something else (I don't even care what they're called anymore; I used to play video games when I was younger, but after this experience I despise them and never want to play them again). He works 8 hours, immediately gets on the game and doesn't go to bed until 3 or 4 AM. Over the years he phased out eating meals with me, going to bed the same time as me, and now he barely even talks to me. We've gone for 3 or 4 days straight without saying a word to each other, and I hate it. We maybe have sex once a month, and he's the only one who's apparently allowed to initiate it, not me, which infuriates me. I feel like I'm losing my mind.

Things have lately gotten worse - last week I asked him if we could start taking turns doing dishes again (I've been doing the dishes myself the past couple of years; otherwise they'll just sit there for weeks), and he was furious and didn't talk to me for two days. I didn't yell at him; I just asked! Now that I'm reading all the other stories on here, I could kick myself for the way I've been enabling him. So I'm not doing his dishes anymore.

At first we joked about the fact that he games so much, but now I can see how out of control it's become. I've been justifying his behavior for too long; I always figured gaming was more innocent than drinking or drugs (my dad was a violent alcoholic and my mom was an enabler who was in complete denial), but now I can see it's just as bad in many ways. I feel like such an idiot.

I really, really don't want to get a divorce. I've watched so many of my friends go through painful divorces in the past few years that it breaks my heart (including my brother, who was absolutely destroyed when his wife left him for a married man). I want to make this work. I've tried doing activities on my own to ease my loneliness a little. Does anyone in a relationship like this have any advice on how to keep it going?

Andrew_Doan
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I am sorry you're going

I am sorry you're going through so much. I was addicted to video games for about 10 years playing 50-100 hours a week. I was sleep deprived, mean, angry, and not a good husband. I eventually found recovery and my marriage is being repaired. Notice that I say "being repaired". I am about 10 years out of gaming: gaming addict from 1995 to 2004 (relapse from 2007-2008) and recovery from 2004 to 2015. While in recovery, all the damage associated with my addictive behaviors is currently being repaired. I anticipate it will take many, many years to gain back trust, love, and joy where my wife and I desire it to be, but we're definitely better now than in 2004! :)

We share our experience here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJtJ--5SiAg

I encourage you to attend the online meetings for spouses (link in my signature).

Andrew Doan MD PhD

My Videos: Internet gaming disorder is real & my story 

*The views expressed are of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the U.S. Navy or Department of Defense.

Alonewith2
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I have posted a fair deal

I have posted a fair deal about what I have been doing the past few months since joining here. Really you have to know that nothing you do may "work" - that you cannot cure or control the gamer and that you did not cause it. He has to reach the point where it isn't working for him and sometimes that really is a very long way to fall.

However, you need a happier life - and that means detaching and taking resposnibility for what you can change while NOT taking resposnibility for things that should not be your responsibility and not enabling the addiction and then healing yourself - getting out, making friends. You didn't say if there are any children or not? Basically you have to drop all expectations of your husband.

Know that the journey may be very long - that even if things improve at some point (as they have gradually for me a few months in) that this is an addiction and it cannot be cured at all - only managed and only if the addict is willing to. However for me what made me most unhappy was being addicted to saving my own marriage and trying all sorts of things that did not work. I had to let that go while still living in the same house and work only on me, become happy with the decisions I made, realise and accept that I would make mistakes and mess up and possibly enable him at times, that I could not always control the anger I felt, but that I could work on it and that just like an addict even though I do not have an addiction to some specific thing, I too need to take it one day at a time.

As for the days of pure silence - I have endured sometimes more than a week at a time of this. The only way to handle it is to carry on with your life - do NOT beg or plead or show any anger (cry alone somewhere if you need to), just be content in your life. Sometimes this brings them back, but even if it doesn't you can still be happy in yourself.

The sex issues you cannot solve with him (sadly I know this from personal experience) - there are 3 options each with their own consequences and its up to you to decide - 1. just give up on sex 2. masturbate 3. have an affair You can also reject his advances or accept them if and when they come and that is also up to you.

Tommi
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Dear

Dear Sarahmiller,

Congratulations for reaching out and asking for help! That is the first step in dealing with your problems.

I support what Alonewith2 has written.

You mentioned your parents difficulties. Many of us cannot help but be affected by what our parents went through. Sadly patterns replicate themselves through generations. Whether that is nature or nurture is not a discussion to have here, but it does happen.

For many a group such as ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) is a good step in dealing with the effects of such childhood trauma.

Further please read some of Andrew Doan's posts. His research indicates that gaming addiction is at its core not much different from other addictions such as alcoholism or drugs. An addict is an addict, and so is the effect it can have on the family. Living with an addict has a similar impact whatever the substance or habit the person has chosen.

Olga/non member since Dec. 2008 Check out my latest video on Gaming Addiction and public awareness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-6JZLnQ29o

nadine_gr
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Dear Sarah,

Dear Sarah,

I really admire your courage to write about your husband's addiction and to seek help. I know that many people have hard times acknowledging and accepting that there is such a problem in the family. 

In my young years, I spent quite a lot of time in the internet. It was not that much gaming but rather chatting with people that I didn't really know. I remember that it made me feel like I'm in a world where I decide what is happening and where I have the control. My family was having a hard time dealing with that because, even though I was in the room, it was like I was not there. I can only imagine how you feel! In my case, and also from many of the stories I read on girlsaskguys.com , I know that there comes a point where gamers start to realize that there is an issue and that something is wrong. It might be a family issue or an accident which makes them "come back to reality". In my case it was a financial issue. We had a dept which we had to return and it was all getting worse and worse. I guess that was also the reason why I preferred to be in "my own world" and not in the reality. However, there comes a point where you realize that, whatever you are doing, is wrong and is not helping. I think that it might come a moment when you husband will also realize that. However, I think that if you try to talk to him about that, it will only make him angrier and he will want even more to go to "his own reality". That is why I think it might be a good idea to really attend a meeting and to discuss this with someone who is professionally treating such problems.

Wish you all the best! 

- Nadine

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