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Unsure
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Need Advice

My 52 yr old husband has always had an addictive personality.. & that's what worries me.. We've been happily married for almost 33 yrs & have 2 grown children who have both graduated from college & live on their own. I've been a stay-at-home mom since 1991.. & don't get out much due to health issues. I joined Facebook in 2010 to keep in touch with my friends & to have adult conversation during the day when DH is at work. It's my only outlet; & he has complained that I spend too much time on there.. I have been known to continue a conversation with a friend or family member when he's home.. but really try not to ignore him when he's here. But I am not offered the same consideration..

In the past, I've found that he was watching porn online.. & I mentioned it.. He denied it.. tried to hide it.. said he would stop.. didn't.. then-- supposedly DID.. It's truly beyond me.. bc if he still IS.. he's gotten really good at hiding it.. But-- that's not the problem that brings me here.. It's just a little FYI about him that may help me get better advice from others on here.. I hope.

Anyway.. He uses his laptop basically only to play games.. He's played one for years that does involve being on a team.. & he'd play it all the time.. sitting at the dining room table behind me "watching tv." I complained about having to rewind or explain something he'd not seen due to inattention & averted eyes. He still does this on weekends.. but his constant play has moved to his phone since he's gotten a few upgrades over the years.. which means he can now sit in the living room with me.. "watching tv" while playing the games on his phone.

He plays a few different ones that are solitary.. but mentioned being in a group on one.. & has now also started a rpg, too.. It's mostly men.. mostly in high school, college or thereabout.. & a few girls.. again, same age, I think. He doesn't hide any of this from me.. but, I have noticed him typing messages while playing & smiling while we're "watching tv." He still misses stuff on tv & I stopped mentioning it. He also misses everything I ever say.. the first time.. sometimes, not even asking me to repeat it. I'm tired of repeating everything I say.. & I've told him.. but I guess he doesn't care, as he still continues to have his attention on his games all the time.. Yeah.. while we're eating.. when we're not watching tv or doing anything else.. all the time.. all the time. I've proven that he doesn't hear anything I say.. & thus, remembers nothing I say.. But the worst, is when he declares that I DIDN'T say "it." So, lately.. I've just stopped talking about anything.. & basically, at all..

He constantly has to have several things going at once.. like gaming & tv.. listening to books on tape at work or in the car or while mowing or doing yardwork. I think (& he agrees) the only time he's awake that he doesn't require multiple tasks is when he's showering. He seems to "like" the "stress" they cause, but doesn't enjoy his frequent headaches.. A friend suggested this may be due to him wanting to avoid thinking about "things" to stay "out of his head." We both agreed with her assessment. He doesn't wanna "think about things."

He says he isn't spending money on games.. but he did in the past.. Again.. I'm not sure.. He, like me, is very introverted.. & neither one of us really have any friends or family that we see often or do things with. He has no hobbies outside the house.. neither do I. Neither ever has.

I know he plays these games & chats with the people (not only game stuff, but mostly that) while he's at work.. & the 1st & last things he does upon waking & going to bed.. is check his messages & chat.. Sometimes, privately.. but I can still see it.. (unless he's doing the secret messages.. so.. again.. unsure.) He has friends at work & sees & talks to many people, daily. I have warned him that if he gets fired for gaming at work, I will make him wish he'd never had a phone. He doesn't seem to think this will be an issue.. but... ??? He chats right before he leaves work & again when he gets home. He has tried to hide how much & how long he "plays" & has tried to cover for it saying his phone was updating or there was a glitch he was trying to fix, but I know he was lying.  He works very weird hours.. so we "keep" very weird hours.. basically upside down..

The games that I know he plays are all for ages 10+.. so, I assume there is nothing even "adult" themed.. but I don't know for sure, as I've never once seen a screen.. Only once have I seen him switch from a chat screen (quickly) as I came up behind him, unexpectedly.. (Same thing he did on his laptop when I "caught" him watching porn, incidentally..)

We have about 3 hrs a day, together.. for the 6 days/wk he works.. more on Sunday.. but he pretty much spends all of that time diverted.. by the games & chatting.. So, we rarely have any conversations. He keeps his phone with him all the time.. even when he takes the dog out.. & stays out sometimes much longer than it takes her to finish her potty time.. I guess it just feels weird to me.. that we're sitting in the same room.. silent.. & he's chatting it up with people he doesn't even know.. while pretending to be someone/thing else in a make-believe land where he's rewarded for reaching a new level & gaining points.. & receives accolades from strangers, who, I guess, he (now) thinks of as "friends."

So.. why am I here? I don't know whether to mention to him more about my fears of what this may be doing to him & "us"..? I don't know if I'm the one being unreasonable/selfish/jealous? ..asking him to give up something he gets enjoyment from when he has nothing else/does nothing else & still does all his household stuff.. even more than I do.. even tho I'm home all the time? He still goes to work every day.. & keeps his same sleep schedule, except maybe on the weekend, when he will extend his normal waking hrs.. to be up later with me (tho still usually playing the games & chatting, too.) As I said, I've already mentioned him not listening to me, constantly playing & multitasking & concern that he plays so much at work.. (tho I really don't know how much he actually plays/chats in a 24 hr period.) Also, we have discussed his addictive personality many times.

I don't know if I'm overreacting.. or am jealous.. or crazy.. Jealousy is not an emotion I'm familiar with.. so, I don't actually know if that's what this weird/sick/nervous/upset feeling I'm having IS.. or if it's just my intuition.. maybe, working over time? I just really don't know what to do or think. I don't know where to turn or from whom to seek help, assistance, clarity, counsel? Or if that's even necessary?! I don't even know if I'm making a mountain out of a molehill or if my concern is misplaced? At this point..any help at all would be appreciated..

Ironically.. my husband's parents divorced after 32 yrs of marriage.. She said he didn't give her enough attention. He's not a gamer, at all.. So, I guess there really ARE "50 ways to leave your lover."

 

Polga
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Hi Unsure

Hi Unsure

Thanks for sharing your story

I feel that you are in a predicament that many couples may be in at this stage of life. You seem to be questioning  the quality of your relationship and if you even have one, at least one that is 'good enough' for what you want. It seems like it is 'good enough' for your husband.  But what about you?

You may also be wondering if his obsession is harmful to him, or going to be harmful if it starts to take up even more time. It is obviously not helping your relationship but you care for your husband on some level and want his life to be healthy so it must be concerning to you for that reason.

Also it sounds like the game and his friends could be some kind of competition for his affection. The question is was his affection there before you noticed how much he was into the game, or is it because you have your own questions that you are now noticing it.

I don't think there is anything wrong with you or your feelings. you may not be able to make him see things your way though, Just YOU trust YOURSELF when you feel something is not right.

I would suggest that you seek professional counselling to clarify what you want from this point forward with your relationship or any other spouse type arrangement. Whether this arrangement is good enough for you or not. 

If you want more out of life then start to change you. Take up a new class, get a new haircut, arrange a trip for you, find some real life friends for support who you can share common interests with, maybe even ask him if he wants to come along. But do it anyway. We only get one chance at life. You deserve to live yours how you want. I hope you find some answers.

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Thanks so much for your reply

Thanks so much for your reply & kind words.. I truly am just very confused about how I feel.. or maybe, more correctly, WHY I feel this way.. Each of us have no problem with spending time alone.. I spend most of every day that way.. which is one reason I joined Facebook.. so that HE wouldn't be my only daily contact.. thus, relieving him of having to hear everything & being the only source I had for any human interaction. However, feeling like I'm not being heard at all, lately.. does feel different.. I definitely sense more distance & feel more ignored than valued. He's been playing the role-play game on his phone with the chatting for only about 2 months.. the other "solitary games," for years.. which again, still took his attention-- & he played a lot.. (even at work) ..just not constantly, at either place.. He listened better before he started this new one.. except when he was on his laptop playing his 1st role-play game that he could just talk to his fellow players on & listen to them with a headset.. so, he never heard me, then, either.. but he really had cut back on playing that after I complained about how invasive it was. I honestly don't know whether my going out & having a life without him would affect him at this point.. either positively or negatively.. But I can always try & see..

I just didn't want this to get out of hand.. & for some reason, I really think it could.. & cost him & me ..BIG. The thought of even bringing it up in a negative light is scary, worrisome.. & even makes me a little queasy.. bc I have no idea how he will react. I just worry that I'd be doing it for no real reason bc maybe my fears are unwarranted-- which was the same reason I REALLY hesitate to bring it up with outside counsel-- especially with HIM.. Ugh.. I honestly just wish it would "fix itself"; but I know that's probably not gonna just magically happen, either.. I know that every marriage goes thru good & bad times.. ours has.. & that it takes work to make them last. I worry that if I mention it, he may play more at work & cause more of a problem, there.. or that he'll feel like I'm trying to take something he enjoys from him that he doesn't see as any kind of threat to me or "us," at all. I just feel like I KEEP having to have the same conversation over & over with him about basically the same thing.. It's like his obsession/addiction just keeps constantly changing or evolving from one thing to the next.. but it's ALWAYS something.. & I honestly don't think he can control it. It takes over; & he seems almost powerless to overcome its draw on his time & attention.. & I certainly can't compete with the adrenaline rush those games provide.. nor their escape from real life & issues & stressors.. or whatever it is he's trying to avoid by immersing himself so deeply into them.

We actually discussed seeing a marriage counselor within the last year for some of these same issues, but put it off.. bc things got better.. but, now, they're worse. He had agreed to go.. so, maybe, that's still the easiest answer if he feels hurt or violated by my request for him to cut WAY back on this? Bringing it up.. again... will surely be so hard for me.. but this nagging-- almost panic-ridden-- feeling I've been having just won't seem to go away.. for some reason.. So, I suppose I have no other real choice but to bite the bullet & spill my guts..

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Unsure

Unsure

I strongly advise you to read the information about enabling, boundaries, communication and interventions and most importantly, about 'detaching with love' all linked in the first aid for spouses thread. There is a link for spouses in my signature.

People do get morbidly addicted to these games and the interaction with others, online affairs etc  breaks up families and your life as you know it could be at risk. We do not know if it will get that bad for you. But if it does, there is not much you can do to stop his addiction, only to step back from it and protect yourself financially

The sooner you try and discuss this with him the better chance you have, but nagging will never work . Put some thought into it and use our experiences to help you make your plan.

If it becomes a problem addiction all you can do is to look after yourself

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Little by Little

I had already read many helpful things on this site even before I ever posted.. There's truly a wealth of information included here.. which is great.. & has been quite helpful. I'm acquiring more & more info from DH about his gaming-- & making my own comments & interjections about it as every day passes.. I hope I'm giving him things to contemplate on his own that may spur him toward recognition of how I perceive his playing & chatting.. I know it ultimately has to be HIS decision to cut back or quit entirely-- if that's not possible-- but I'd really like for that to happen without my having to issue ultimatums. In general, he's normally a practical person; sensible & pragmatic.. I just fear that this may infringe on his "sensibilities" to a level that HE feels threatened & attacked by ME.. that will result in his lashing out back towards me & not even remotely HEARING a word I say.. if I attempt to go "all in" "right off the bat," so to speak.. 

I also know that he wasn't able to play for an extended amount of time at work one day last week bc his supervisor was there shadowing him for most of the day. I plan to bring up more issues that I see & challenge him not to play for a given amount of time.. & see how he responds --& if he attempts.. how well that goes.. if he exhibits signs of withdrawal-- & then, if so.. use that evidence to prove there is something more afoot than merely playing games for fun & relaxation.. that it's crossing over to an actual addiction to the adrenaline rush the games provide that the "real world" doesn't have to hold his attention.

So far, nothing I've said seems to have struck a nerve or to have bothered him in the least.. But, tomorrow's another day.. & I'm prepared to ramp up my comments until we reach a point where he's fully aware of just how important this is to me. I guess I'm trying to be subtle & to avoid being shut out or shut down by starting out irate & doing nothing more than making him resent me & my opinions & concern.. that will surely only end up in an argument. Generally, I try to avoid conflict & shouting matches; but I realize I am going to have to keep pressing forward with this.. little by little.. until I make my feelings completely heard & understood. I'm expecting to be challenged.. & for him to offer up justification as well as generally "pish-poshing" my whole notion that this is actually causing a form of "alienation of affection." However, I plan to stand firm in my resolve that this isn't only my imagination, but a real threat.. to both of us.. if it gets any further out of hand.. If it already hasn't done so..

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Thanks for sharing that.

Thanks for sharing that.

Please let us know how it goes for you.

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Still Unsure

Ugh.. Well, I finally got really specific & told DH I thought he was addicted to playing online games. His reply, "So, what?" Hmm.. that could've gone better.. He was off work on Mon.. & we had talked Sun afternoon. So.. while I was on a roll, I asked for his phone & challenged him NOT to play from then until Tues. "No. I have to play, everyday.. or I lose rewards for not checking in & get behind in my group." So, then.. I said, "So, what? None of it is REAL, anyway. You're not gonna play, tomorrow." He countered, "Yes, I am." So, I told him he was missing the opportunity to prove me wrong in my assumption that he was addicted. He still didn't care.

I kept his phone from Sun afternoon until Monday morning.. & he didn't play anything all of that time. The Superbowl was on, but he chose to sleep from the end of half-time until 2am, EST. I knew he wouldn't be able to stay awake without the extra stimulus.. Again, he proved me right. When he came to bed, he couldn't sleep.. not usually a problem-- even having slept in his chair, all evening.. BUT, not so, THAT night. I heard him popping his knuckles.. something I haven't heard in years & years! He tossed & turned for a few hours, then got up about 5am to go & watch tv. Obviously, exhibiting several withdrawal symptoms.

I gave his phone back when he went out to get breakfast for us.. But I'd been reading everything I'd found online about gaming addiction to him, first. He claimed that his game "isn't *role play*," but that's how it's described on the app & in all of its info on every site. He said he couldn't "take the addiction to rpg test.. bc it *didn't apply* to him or his games."

I told him to pay attention to how he'd been feeling while I had his phone vs. getting to play, again.. which he did Mon afternoon while I was out. Later, when I asked him what he'd noticed, he replied, "Nothing different. I was fine the whole time & no better when I played." Ugh...

But, he did offer to cut back on play & to paying more attention to me & our conversations, going forward.. So, we will see how that goes.. I'm sure he will still play at work, which still really worries me, despite my cautions & anxious warnings that I'm afraid he's gonna get fired. He says he plays only 2 hrs a day at work & 1 hr, here.. which was laughable! He plays 2-3, here, weekdays.. & I bet 4-5, at work.. *Sigh... --Way more, here, on weekends, by his own admission. Basically, he plays at every opportunity that he has one hand free.. Seriously.. I've been watching & paying attention, for months..

But, now, I have some new worries.. sadly.. He's been chatting in the game chat site with one of the young, pretty girls.. not only about the game.. Some conversations, he started.. mentioning things like her profile pics & her animals in them.. She's probably not 26, yet.. which is half his age.. He's offering her "fatherly advice" kinda stuff, too.. & spoke of me & our kids.. our daughter IS 26..

Then, there's another young, pretty girl in his group that he hasn't chatted with on her own separate profile, that I can see.. (unlike, the above.) However, in the group chat, on Friday she mentioned being away for awhile & said, "You all better miss me." Everybody else kept talking game, except for my husband.. who replied, "Miss you already." ....... She didn't reply or acknowledge, on there.. But.. REALLY?! I don't know what I think or what I SHOULD think about all of this!!! But, suffice it to say.. "..Nothing good, happy or positive." ..So, yeah.. I'm still UNSURE!!! Any thoughts?!

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Sounds like he is an addict

Sounds like he is an addict but very much in the 'fun' phase of the addiction ... currently there is no reason for him to face responsibility and want to quit.

Addiction usually goes;

fun,

fun and trouble

and then just trouble. 

The bonds with people in game are very strong and just as addictive as the play itself. 

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It sounds like you do not

It sounds like you do not know what to think about this. You need to find out how you feel about it...not what you should feel. Try counselling. What you feel and what he thinks you should feel are separate and incompatable things.

You need your own ethics and principles and not what anybody thinks you should have. These are inside you. Sometime we try to numb these with rationalisations. 

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I agree

I'm unsure of whether or not the chat is something to be concerned about.. I know the slope can get very slippery.. especially, now, that I've confronted him about playing the games.. He may view me as "the enemy of his fun" & make other players even more desirable. I don't know whether to confront him about the chat, or not.. But I have no doubt he'd just deny it as being anything more or different from his game & idle chat with all of the guys. I just don't know if I can trust what he'd say in his denial. He's obviously either deluding himself & trying to do the same with me.. Or just trying to appear innocent when he actually knows full well better, himself.

Thanks so much for all your help. I agree.. We're heading toward counseling.

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Same thing, different day..

Well, THAT didn't take long!! Today.. brought a return to him playing & chatting for the 2 hrs we had, "together," again.. *Sigh.. all throughout dinner & for an hour as "we watched" a movie off Netflix. So much for "letting him know" if he reverts back to past behavior, eh? ..as if he's "forgotten" since.. umm.. YESTERDAY?! I don't suppose I'm really THAT surprised.. but I had held out hope that, PERHAPS, the "honeymoon" phase might last over a day.. But-- no such luck, I guess..

I called to check on a Marriage counselor, today.. & it appears he still has an office, nearby. We'd discussed seeing him, earlier.. Or maybe, someone thru DH's employer.. But-- now, with the added complication of him playing WHILE at work.. I'm not sure that avenue should still be a possibility.. That option would likely be a 2-hr roundtrip, away.. but cheaper.. whereas, the other is local without any discount.. Not sure which to choose.. or when.. But, in the meantime, I'm beginning to live life for myself & will start making plans to be out of the house, spending some time with my friends & family in the evenings --instead of spending them here, being ignored. Will he notice.. Or care.. Or just enjoy having more time & freedom to play & chat, uninterrupted? That remains to be seen.

I plan to check his chat (that I can see).. from today, shortly.. & see if there's anything there of concern. He didn't mention anything to them (that I could see).. yesterday, about our conversation.. No idea if he would've, anyway..

But I'm still unsure if I should even mention the conversations in his chat history to him or not??
Clearly, none of this is gonna be easy.. for either of us.

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I can't EVEN..

Seriously?! It's like being on a runaway train. Just when you think things can't get any worse.. they do. He'd played much of his time at work.. while at Wal-Mart on his way home, once he got home, after his shower, after his nap & throughout dinner & the movie. Withdrawal, anyone?

Further, the chat is still going full steam ahead, too.. He called the one girl a "witch" for knocking him down a spot or so.. But then, apologized explaining that he'd "said it with love."

I can't EVEN.. anymore..

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It sounds like you checking

It sounds like you checking up on him is taking a toll on you.  If so think about why you are doing it.

If it is not helping you, or helping his addiction ... which i doubt it can, then an alternative is to start to try to "detach with love" ... there is a thread about that.

A bi-product of detachment can be that the gamer notices a change in attitude that can be a wake up to them. but you can't rely that it will happen. 

 

 

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Google Play

Well.. my persistence finally paid off.. so to speak. I was able to access his Google Play account, today.. & he's spent over $500 between Nov. 20 & Feb 4.. which, incidentally, was the day I confronted him about all of this.. & he said that he hadn't spent any money on it. He hasn't spent more since then.. But he still has a balance of over $50 on his card.. So.. it's probably closer to $600 that he's spent on the cards to use to play with.. In 2 months!! I am actually nauseated by this.. The lying.. the secrecy.. the deception.. the AMOUNT of MONEY!!!! & of course, I, now, have to wonder what else he's lied to me about.. & does it end at only lying?

I can't even think of what to do, now. This has hit me pretty hard.

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Maybe he is also lying to

Maybe he is also lying to himself.

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Uninstalled

After a long talk, yesterday, DH decided he needed to Uninstall his game. We plan to call counselors tomorrow to try to find the right fit for us. He has kept busy since yesterday.. so, he hasn't had much opportunity to miss it. He has chatted with a couple of the other players as he has told them farewell & given his characters to a new player they recommended.

I am trying to remain optimistic that all of this will go well.. But I'm also realistic & know that there are pitfalls everywhere. He still has a few individual games on his phone, but none require daily play or group play & have no characters. He hasn't played those, either.. But did say he "checked in" on one.. Since I don't know everything about how this all works, I'm waiting for the counselor to advise, further..

DH says he feels relief & is ultimately glad I persisted & was finally able to make his actions clear to him. He feels annoyed by my "snooping," but acknowledges that his behavior warranted it.. & that by doing so, I gained enough info & facts to use in my confrontation.

Obviously, the circumstances around his gameplay still exist & must be worked out, further.. He was still refusing to go to counseling, at first, yesterday.. But ultimately understood that I was totally serious about my concerns & had conditions I'd already decided were non-negotiable. So, he relented.. uninstalled & agreed to counseling.

I am so thankful for all of the helpful advice I was able to find on this site.. It has made a world of difference to me & this situation. Your support has been invaluable to me as I've walked thru these troubled waters.

I hope my story can give encouragement to others.. & I'm happy to try to help anyone else as best I can as they find themselves in uncertain circumstances similar to mine..

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Thanks for sharing your

Thanks for sharing your update. This sounds very positive news. I'm glad this opportunity to face his game use has come to a head with him agreeing to make changes. Let us know how it goes. 

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1st Session

Our 1st session with our PhD marriage counselor went well.. No tears or arguments; no yelling or pouting.. We both basically gave our info/ideas/feelings/"side" for him to gain perspective. DH is still playing his 2 CC games even more than before to try to take the place of the rpg he uninstalled. He still has their Chat Group, tho.. & consults it several times a day. He has posted some msgs warning the other players of how he got drawn in & "hasn't missed it much" since stopping..

We go back for our 2nd session, next week. I don't know if we still have more opinions to share (There are a lot of little things over 33 yrs of marriage!) ..or if he plans to start addressing some of what we listed, yesterday.. At any rate, we are both going.. & are committed to see this thing thru.. painful, as it is.. as well as a little frightening & intimidating. I knew going in that there were things about myself that I'd need to address & work on, too.. which made me laugh when DH said, "We need to get YOU some help."

Both of us would like instant help & gratification from the process.. But we both know this is a marathon, not a sprint.. & that some of our personality traits & issues are deep-seated & are complicated.. So, we know it's just gonna take some time before we start to actually feel any real relief that things are improving bc it's a "slow-go" kinda thing (at 1st, anyway) where setting up the groundwork is like tilling a field, preparing it to scatter seeds.. Harvest is quite distant. Still, we have hope that this will produce beneficial results for each of us individually.. as well as for us as a couple.

Fortunately for us, Dr. K knows what he's doing & has YEARS of experience. He told us that he's gonna have us work on the things that are at the CORE of our issues.. bc it's easier & more beneficial to start there than trying to address each individual complaint that we each have.. bc many of them probably stem from the same few core problems..

Anyway.. it all remains to be seen, I suppose.. but we do have full confidence in his abilities to help us dig down deep & bring our issues into the light of day.. Expose & Dispose, kinda.. I guess.. He didn't give us any "homework" to do; but I'm sure he was able to see that we've already spent much time discussing all of this before we ever saw him & no doubt, would continue & add to our discussions over the coming week everything that happened during our 1st session.. He knows that a couple doesn't reach nearly 33 yrs of marriage by NOT communicating, at all.. So, I guess he may have a little bit of faith in us, too..

Polga
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This sounds really

This sounds really encouraging. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the process; and "lifting the lid " of what happens in therapy.

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Sessions 2 & 3

We have continued to bring to the surface other issues & resentments from our past & present & have begun reading a book that Dr. K says will teach us the tools we need to be able to resolve our problems. It's quite old.. from 1971.. & expounds on some of Freud's work & ideas. It's titled, "Born to Win," by Jongeward & James. It deals with Transactional Analysis, a concept based on recognizing the 3 Ego States: Parent, Adult & Child. It's all starting to "click" & make sense as he explained it a bit more after we'd each read 2 chapters.. As we read further, he will explain how we should use the 9 Tools to address each of our problems, discuss them & begin to find ways to solve each one (both individual & "couple" problems.) Communicating effectively is important, obviously.. as well as being open, honest, self-aware & authentic. Our 4th Session is scheduled for next week.. He believes it's his "job" to TEACH US how to solve our problems for OURSELVES using this book as a guideline. DH is not used to describing his emotions & feelings.. much less dissecting them to gain understanding.. So, I feel like there may be some backlash, eventually.. But hopefully, ultimately.. after that.. we will both be able to move forward, together, better & closer than we've ever been!

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Very interesting about using

Very interesting about using TA. That your husband is even willing to try in the first place seems to be very positive. Sounds like it could be hard work to keep it going. i hope you both feel some benefits as you go along, to inspire you to carry on with it. Thanks again for sharing.

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Parents of addicts click here for advice

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