When to leave my gaming spouse?

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Andie
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When to leave my gaming spouse?

I've been battling with my husband's gaming addiction for years.  Now that we have a baby and I'm not working, I can't run or avoid this problem any more because my own distractions are gone.  The issue is now very present and I think that I am literally starting to be mentally affected by this situation.  I always said and felt that I'd fight for my marriage, but I don't even have the strength to think that way anymore.  I'm so drained emotionally, mentally, and now physically that I don't know if I can try to work this out with my gaming husband.  I'm strongly considering getting legally separated from him.  Honestly, I don't want a divorce.  I love my husband, there is no one else for me--he is a good man with good qualities but his addiction is so strong and present that the bad overshadows all the good in him.  

My husband won't get help.  I feel that he tries to manipulate me to make me feel like I'm the one who is overeacting.  I feel like I've taken the mental beating that has pushed me to my limits.  I'm praying for Jesus to make it clear to me what I should do.  But at the same time my husband won't give me the time to pray and reflect on what I should do--he wants an answer now.  I don't want to make a hasty decision, but I feel like giving up.  I'm exhausted in every way imaginable.  My husband barely sleeps, dips tobacco, doesn't go to work (and gets away with it), doesn't spend time with us, spends a lot of money (I'm talking tens of thousands of dollars over the past few years), has failed college classes, and of course, games day in and day out like it's a full time job--in summary, he's a functional addict, so no one really knows how bad this problem is.  On the outside he seems normal, but in our house I am breaking down living with him.  I wish I could write more to explain my situation more clearly, but I don't even have the energy to do that.

I can't fathom trying to go another day or week living like this.  The only thing that keeps me going at this point is my daughter.  When is it appropriate to leave?  Does anyone here have an experience where they had to leave their spouse for their own sanity?...and I'm not even kidding when I use the word sanity.  I just really want to know when is it the best decision to leave because I have no clue what to do at this point and if I do choose to leave, I want to affirm that my actions were justified.  

I appreciate everybody on here.  I'm glad we all have a safe place to talk about these issues as we cannot talk about it at home.  

Sad_Dad
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Andie,

Andie,

I am at the same point as you, feeling as though I have exhausted all other options and may have to leave for the sake of my own sanity.  Like you, separation or divorce is not something I take lightly and is something I have desperately sought to avoid.  In my case it is the neglect that is the most draining, the feeling of having been abandoned for a video game.  Even a member of my wife's own family, who has some idea of what I've been dealing with if not the full extent, calls it emotional abuse.  Perhaps that sounds over the top but really that's what it feels like.

In my case before I take such a drastic measure I want to know in my heart that I have done everything in my power and left no stone unturned in an effort to try to save my marriage.  I have suggested counseling, marriage retreats, separate vacations.  She won't go.  I have tried bargaining (about moderating gaming time - I know now this is probably not even possible).  I have tried watching and waiting, thinking she might snap out of it.  No sign she will.  I have tried talking about it and not talking about it.  In short, I have tried everything I can think of and have come to the point where if I leave I will do so with a clean conscience.  My own view is that if one party to a marriage thinks there is a problem then there is a problem.  As long as both parties are willing to make a good faith effort to work through their problems then I believe divorce should not be on the table (I would make an exception in cases where there is physical abuse taking place).  If, however, one party shows no willingness to engage or confront the problems in the marriage or even acknowledge there is a problem then I think the offended spouse is justified in taking steps to protect herself or himself.  You say your husband wants an answer now, but I would encourage you to take all the time you need for reflection and prayer.  If he wants to file then there is nothing you can do about that, but I doubt he will.

Just my two cents.  I hope it helps.  You say you don't have the strength to describe your situation in more detail, but that's OK because I think I know exactly what you're going through.  Believe me, I get it.

Good luck.

Andie
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Hi Sad_Dad,

Hi Sad_Dad,

Thank you for replying.  Honestly, it's somewhat comforting to know that someone is in my exact same situation, although I am very sorry that you are experiencing the same thing.  The neglect is terrible and now I'm to the point where it's starting to not hurt me anymore--I think is because I'm just so exhausted from the whole situation.  It really is emotional abuse...

I was told the same thing by a very close friend--that I should exhaust all resources before making a decision like this.  But that is difficult too--I fear that I would always look back and think that, "I could've tried more..."  It's crazy that you mentioned all of your proposals to your wife to address the situation because I have offered all those same ideas--time limitations, compromises, talking, not talking, and I even gotten to the point where I have forced myself to never check our bank account because I don't want to see what he's spending.  If that's not unhealthy, I don't know what is, and I do it just so I can keep some sanity and not argue with him every single day.  

You know, he says he's willing to make it work, but I honestly don't think he will follow through or take it seriously because he does not believe it's an addiction, only a MERE "problem."  I guess what I fear is staying with him and things never changing, but I also fear leaving him and breaking apart our marriage and family if it comes to divorce.  It really is having to pick which disastrous outcome I'd rather live with and I don't want to have to pick.  

I wish I could stay like some others have that I have read about on here.  They detach and learn to be happy for themselves.  But I'm a codependent person and I'm a super neat freak, so not enabling him and allowing my house to become a mess just does not feel like an option for me.  I wish I could just let all of his laundry sit, or even just let one empty can of soda sit on his desk until he throws it away, but I can't.  

I appreciate your two cents.  It's been very insightful to have some feedback from someone who can relate to my situation so well.  I definitely have some praying and reflecting to do. 

Polga
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When is enough, enough?

When is enough, enough?

Someone on this forum said to trust your gut; not your head or your heart.

I can relate that having a new baby takes it out of you. Your hormones are all over the place. The demands it places on you physically mean that you are vulnerable. You do not have the energy for anyone but yourself and your baby. I am sorry you are not getting the support you need. You have to look after you and the baby first. You cannot help or control anyone else but yourself and your child. Make plans to look after you and get your needs met.

 If you chose to leave, that does not necessarily mean the end of your relationship. You share a child. It could be a new chapter. If you stay; will you have a better ending? It's up to you to decide.

From what you describe, you are just about surviving, but its certainly no way to live in the fullest sense of the word. Protect yourself and do what's best for you. You do not need anyone's permission but your own to make a new life if that's what is required.

 

INFO

Parent's online meeting THURSDAY 9pmEST/EDT click here

Online meetings gaming addicts click here

Spouses/SO's of addicts click here

Parents of addicts click here for advice

Help for video game addicts click here

Please help! Donate here

Alonewith2
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It is impossible for anyone

It is impossible for anyone to tell another person when to leave. However based on what you have said, before leaving be sure that you are healthy - are you able to look after yourself and your baby without support - this is why detachment is important - not only in case you are thinking of divorce, but also to protect yourself while in such a relationship. The loneliness you feel now in a relationship like this may still come with some hope attached to it, that divorce does not give - then you are truely alone. For some this is a good thing - the pain and hurt have been too much.

The other reason to be healthy (emotionally) is that people married to an addict often land up marrying a second addict along the road and landing up in a similar situation. You need to know where your own boundaries begin and end, what you are responsible for and what not and why you might have enabled your spouse for this long (if in fact you have) - this has nothing to do with him and everything to do with you.

The hormones involved in giving birth do confuse issues and it is not wise to make huge life changing decisions right now - it might be better to separate or go and stay with someone who can help you with the baby or bring a friend or a family member in to help you while you adjust to having your baby around. Your husband is probably also feeling like his life has changed drastically even if he is still attached to a screen. He cannot make you make a decision now - just like you cannot make or stop him making such a decision. Give yourself all the time you need, protect yourself and look after your baby.

In a marriage relationship you cannot fully just detach and be happy - that is not truely a marriage and it will bother you. The hope I guess is that in detaching your spouse might change their mind or it might give you time to survive and teach you about yourself so you become more healthy while slowing things down enough so your spouse could change if they want to. My spouse is still addicted - I have detached since October last year. My own life is calmer, I manage better than I had been, I can let go more easily, get less bitter and angry, but the marriage is still a big disappointment and a huge hurt. We are in marriage counselling though my husband refuses certain things and refuses to see certain people. Some things have changed, but I know it cannot last if he remains addicted and in denial. I guess for me this has been about coming to terms with reality, setting aside some of my dreams that are unrealistic and learning to look after me and my children and follow God rather than people or my husband.

Sad_Dad
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"The neglect is terrible and

"The neglect is terrible and now I'm to the point where it's starting to not hurt me anymore"

Andie,

I have been to this place too.  At first it hurts so much but the days and months go by and then one day you realize you just don't seem to care as much anymore, and that's a scary place to be with your spouse.  I posted elsewhere that if my wife and I were to separate I don't even know if it would hurt that much because in many ways I feel like I'm alone already.  It is for the sake of our daughter that I want so badly to stay together, not for my own sake.  Having done much reflection it has occurred to me that really she has more to lose than I do, both pragmatically, because I earn nearly all our money, but also at a more human level, because she would be losing someone who loves her deeply and I would be losing someone who, when I asked if she had to choose me or the game which one she would pick, chose the game.

AloneWith2 gives very good advice.  Detach as best you can and make sure you could support yourself if you had to, and take as much time as you need to make such a big decision.  It sounds like your husband at least admits that he has a problem.  That is something.  I sincerely hope he wakes up and realizes how much he stands to lose.

There is an ancient three word prayer that dates back thousands of years:  Lord, how long?  I have prayed it many times and it helps to know that even though the world changes the human condition is really much the same as it has always been.

I am pulling for you and wish you the best in whatever decision you make.

iceandfire
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We stand with you

It is such an awful position to be in. It does affect you mentally as the non-addict. I got sucked into thinking I was worthless and unworthy of anyone else's time. 

I left. It has changed everything.

Now I see his walls crumble - every time I go back into that house. I see someone who is realising that they have made a very big mistake. It's not that I don't miss him. I have missed him for a very, very long time. We were soulmates once - I knew everything he was thinking. Most of the pain of the separation was just missing who he used to be. I'm still grieving - now I dream of how he used to be and every time i wake up, I am reminded of the person who isn't there any more.

 There's something else, too. It will get better for him now, too. For far too long I have been a safety net for him. Now he has to learn once again how to function in this world. I took away his laptop. It was mine; I'd bought it. I've hidden it at a friend's house. I took away his car; I'd bought that, too, it is mine and remains in my name. I hid that on the other side of town outside another friend's house - they're making sure it stays there. I didn't manage to get the spare key for it.

These aren't big changes, but they are big to him. I left, the laptop left, the car left. He still has the house and all of his stuff. But the foundations of his life are gone and he is finally snapping out of it.

I'll never go back to him, but I think perhaps in a few years he will understand what he's done and will admit to it. I'm so glad I found this forum - this was the first stage of leaving him. It wasn't may fault, my behaviour was enabling, I had to put myself first. These are the hard lessons I had to learn.

 

It's not your fault and it never was.

Your behaviour is probably enabling him.

Put yourself ahead of him for a change.

 

And, just for you,

You are worth all the happiness in the world. You are an amazing person and we believe in you.

-hugs-

Polga
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A members thread about

A members thread about leaving (or not)  the spouse who is a gaming addict

http://www.olganon.org/forum/discussion-spousessignificant-others-olg-anon-members-only/do-i-stay-or-leave-gamer

INFO

Parent's online meeting THURSDAY 9pmEST/EDT click here

Online meetings gaming addicts click here

Spouses/SO's of addicts click here

Parents of addicts click here for advice

Help for video game addicts click here

Please help! Donate here

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