What Should You Do If Your Partner Is Addicted To Video Games
Some people have trouble regulating their use of video games. Here’s what to do if you think your partner might be one of them.
- New neuroscience suggests that video games can activate changes in your brain similar to addictive substances like drugs or alcohol. Problem gaming can be a form of self-medication.
- The American Psychiatric Association lists Internet Gaming Disorder in its most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual as a potential disorder requiring further research.
- If you’re concerned that your partner’s gaming habits are interfering with your relationship, sit down and talk about it, but understand that you can’t control your partner’s behavior.
- There are emerging programs for treating video game addiction that you and your partner can explore.
Your partner seems to be spending more and more time playing their favorite online video game. Theyre up late at night playing, long after you fall asleep. They no longer have much interest in sex. You ask them to cut down, but you dont get much response. What do you do?
Dont Destroy The Xbox
There can be compromise here. Its not all or nothing. Communication and negotiation are the solutions. Keep in mind that your husbands intent is not to ignore you or his family, hes using gaming to meet his own needs. Something we all should do from time to time.
Tell me in the comments, do you need to have a quality time negotiation conversation in your marriage?
Gaming Isnt A Real Addiction Right
Wrong. Just like any other addiction, gaming can begin to take over a persons life and affect everyone around them. Its all too common for the grownup boys in our lives to get swept up in the throes of adult gaming addiction.
What was once a hobby or an innocent adolescent pastime can escalate into a need to play in adult life.
While shutting out the rest of the world to feed their addiction, compulsive gamers often start to miss out on more and more of lifes most important moments anniversaries, family time, watching their children grow up, and more.
If you believe your husband is addicted to gaming, theres no doubt that it has already taken a toll on your relationship.
Just like any other form of addiction, it even has the potential to ruin your marriage if he doesnt get help. At that point, its much more than just fun and games.
The good news is before you find yourself uttering the words gaming addiction ruined my marriage there are steps you can take to get your partner back.
In this article, youll learn the signs that your husband is addicted to gaming, how you can foster an environment for him to get help, what to do if all else fails, and much more.
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Helping My Spouse With Gaming Addiction
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The kids that grew up playing video games are now adults who continue to enjoy this pastime. Sadly, some of these individuals now struggle with a gaming disorder. When your spouse is addicted to video games, it can feel like their console or computer is a third person in your relationship. Their compulsion to game becomes more than a way to relax it can feel like theyre absent from your marriage.
If youre frustrated by your husband or wifes video game addiction, there is hope. Your relationship can heal if your partner is willing to admit that they cant control their gaming and they get help.
Help For Your Husband Addicted To Video Games
Do these stories resonate with you? Is your relationship being destroyed by gaming? Concerned your husband is addicted to video games? Youre not alone and we can help.
Book a Gameplan call to see if our coaching program is a good fit for your husband to get gaming under control. Limited spots are available.
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My Husband Is A Game Addict
Here is a story of a non-gamer wife who happened to write a book about gaming. It would provide a question that makes you look back your days with husband, Do you ever look at your husband while hes gaming and think hes a little pathetic?
The World Health Organization recognized gaming disorder as a mental health condition in May of this year. There was a tendency to look down on people who engaged in excessive gaming and write them off as game addicts, but there is now an official medical term to describe their condition. Opinions as to whether this term will be adopted locally and the effects it will have differ by industry. The gaming industry is concerned about the self-esteem of gamers and the possibility of addiction tax, while the medical industry and parents seem to welcome the change. As a non-gamer, youd think Id just watch from the sidelines but somehow I ended up writing a book about the issue.
It all started with my husband. My husband of two years plays games for approximately 4 hours a day. He usually gets home at around 9pm and he sits in front of the computer from then until around 12am. He doesnt play games the whole time. Sometimes he watches gaming videos on Youtube and Twitch. Based on my relatively loose observation, besides the time hes working, meeting people, and sleeping, my husband spends most of his time gaming or watching others play games. He spends roughly 35 hours a week on games including the weekends.
What exactly is so fun?
How Do Video Games Affect The Brain Negatively
The 2015 study New Developments on The Neurobiological And PharmacoGenetic Mechanisms Underlying Internet And Videogame Addiction looked at brain imaging studies done on internet addiction and video game addiction.
This study showed that long-term internet gaming impactedthe areas of the brain responsible for reward, impulse control, andsensory-motor coordination.
It concluded that Videogame playing may be supported bysimilar neural mechanisms underlying drug abuse. Similar to drug and alcoholabuse, internet addiction results in subsensitivityof dopamine reward mechanisms.
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Fill Your Lives With Things Other Than Video Games
I truly think that people discount the value of this. It is awfully hard to be on video games all the time if youre also helping out with the junior high at church. Its hard to be on video games all the time if youre taking a walk every night after dinner. Its hard to be on video games all the time if you DO things.
One commenter on the earlier post said that they make it a habit to have her husband chauffeur the kids to lessons, because it gets him out of the house and away from the temptation. Great idea!
Heres something else that works: have people over for dinner. Really.
If you invite another family for dinner, your husband is not going to play video games all night. Hes going to talk. And bring a board game out so that the four of you can all play a game after youre finished eating.
Look, when someone is trying to quit alcohol, whats the one thing they cant do? They cant have nothing to do for long periods of time. They cant just sit at home. So they DO things. They go to meetings. They start volunteering. They get out of the house or away from the places and situations where they would normally game.
So DO stuff. I dont care what stuff, but start arranging the calendar. Ask him where he wants to be involved in church, and start doing it. Ask people over for dinner and start playing board games. Or buy a bunch of two-person games and play them together.
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There Was A Time When Video Games Were For Kids Just As Nerf Guns Comic Books And Lego Were
But those kids grew up. Now we have college students engaging in nerf wars, 30-year old comic enthusiasts still growing their collections, and savvy traders making more profit than gold-investors by buying and selling limited edition Lego sets. I myself got a small Lego set at a gift-exchange this Christmas, and within 20 minutes of getting home, it was assembled and proudly displayed on my work desk.
The video game industry in particular has done an excellent job of evolving over time to keep its audience engaged even as that audience aged and matured, becoming professionals, spouses, and parents.
I am a husband, and have loved playing good video games since I was 12, but life changed as I grew up. As a kid, playing video games for 6 hours straight every day was a big no-no because there were other things I COULD be doing. Now as an adult with more freedom and responsibility, its an ever bigger no-no because there are other things I SHOULD be doing. Nevertheless, I have seen plenty of cases of grown men neglecting important elements of their lives and marriages thanks to excessive video game use.
So how can you tell when your husband is gaming too much, and what can we do about it? Allow me to share some thoughts.
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How Caleb Improved His Marriage By Quitting Gaming
Tired of feeling like a slave to games and wanting to finally get control for good, Caleb joined our coaching program in December. 94 days later, hes free.
Instead of gaming, Caleb is now spending more time with his wife, engaging in new hobbies like board games, making extra money and learning to cook. My priorities have shifted he says.
His wife has noticed the positive differences too:
- Hes more present in their relationship
- Hes more relaxed and less stressed
- Hes no longer always in a rush to get home so he can game a bit longer
For Caleb, he had been gaming for 15 years. But hes 31 now and he wanted something different for his life. He had quit drinking and smoking weed but his bad gaming habit was still around.
That burden is no longer weighing him down. Hes free!
Gaming is not a substitute for the adventure of real life. Caleb
When I Married My 21 Year Old Husband Whom I Love Very Dearly He Was Addicted To Video Games It Didnt Bother Me Much It Seemed Like An Okay Hobby
Most guys have hobbies and most guys love playing in some way or another. Whether it be sport, games, watching youtube, shooting or fishing.
Before our first child was born we even played games together. We had video game parties with our friends that often lasted all night. I didnt love to play games but quality time is my love language and completing a game together was a fun way to spend loads of time together.
We even hired a new game on the Nintendo Wii to play when I was in labour with our first baby to pass the time before we had to leave for the hospital. I remember pressing pause on the game while I had a contraction. Its so funny to think back on that now!
But during the first year of our sweet little boys life something began to change in my husbands heart about playing games now that the was a father.
Luke wants to share his story of how he went from a full on video game addict to getting rid of them all including the TV!
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How Video Games Affect Relationships
Whether your husband is truly addicted to video games, or just plays excessively, the effect on your relationship will likely be the same.
How Video Games Ruin Relationships
Can Video Games Ruin A Marriage?
Obviously, video games can cause a lot of problems inrelationships, but can video games ruin a marriage?
The study Me, My Spouse, and My Avatar, states 70 to 75% of the independent-gamer couples in this study reported that their marriages had been negatively affected by gaming.
Sometimes these negative effects on the marriage ruin therelationship to the point of it becoming irreparable.
An article published on Divorce.co.uk in September 2018 claimed that 5% of the 4,665 divorce petitions they had received since January 2018 listed Fortnite and other online games as one of the reasons for the divorce.
Video games, whether it is just excessive gaming or a video game disorder, can and do ruin marriages.
Remember Though You Are Neither His Secretary Nor His Mother
It is not your responsibility to plan out his whole day every day for him. As part of the process of laying out expectations, there can be a conversation about things that he is expected to be responsible for. For example, you might agree that if one of you cooks dinner, the other one does the dishes and puts away the food once dinner is finished. Maybe he is responsible for reading the kids their bedtime story. Maybe he plans out at least half an hour of time spent together each day. Chances are, neither of you want you to have to micromanage your husbands life, so a little structure can go a long way.
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How To Tell If Gaming Is Unhealthy
If youre trying to determine if your gaming habits are healthy or unhealthy, Grammar suggests asking yourself three critical questions:
- How do you feel after playing? Do you feel relaxed and rejuvenated, or are you anxious to play more?
- Are you able to stop playing after a reasonable amount of time?
- Is gaming negatively affecting your life? Are you in danger of losing a job or a romantic relationship? Failing out of school?
If you find you cannot change your gaming habits in response to negative consequences that come from it, it might be time to seek professional help.
If a person cannot reduce how much they play and it is severely impacting their life, then professional help would definitely be in order, Grammar says.
Whats The Best Treatment For Video Game Addiction
There arent any authoritative guidelines yet, since video game addiction is a relatively new issue. But there are excellent reviews online that summarize whats known, and not known, about what to do when video gaming becomes a problem.
The APA has a web tool where you can type in your zip code, and the search term behavioral addiction, and get a list of well-credentialed care providers in your area.
In addition, there are 12-step programs specifically for online gamers websites where you or your partner can get access to a suite of practical resources and at the extreme, residential treatment programs that offer a serious detox from life online and a special community of other people trying to rebuild their lives.
One important disclaimer: These programs all have their enthusiasts and skeptics. I cant specifically recommend any of them, but if you want to increase your understanding of what help is available, theyre a good place to start.
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How To Make It A Non
Okay, now that our grievances have been more or less aired it should be abundantly clear that there is no magical cure-all solution. Sometimes your gaming habits are going to interfere with your relationship and probably in ways that you havent even really thought about before now. Thats the bad news. The good news is that its not a one or the other type of problem. You can keep your girlfriend and your PS3. It might take some work but, hey, compromising to solve a problem shouldnt be anything new to you at this point in your life. Below are six simple rules to keep both the girl and your gamerscore.
1. Set gaming time limits together and stick to them.
Take time to connect with your spouse every day for at least 30 minutes before ever taking any time to play video games, Dr. Burton said. The goal is to let your spouse know that she, not the video game, is your number one priority
Setting realistic limits and following through shows your partner that you hear her concerns, that she can trust your word, and that she matters to you, Ms. Hanks said. It will create more emotional security in the relationship. Be honest with yourself about whether time gaming is excessive and harming your relationship.
2. Listen to your partners complaints.
4. Spend more face-to-face time together.
5. Find games that you can play together.
6. Remember, youre an adult now.
But Video Games Dont Do It All
Not even close, really. Aside from providing fun, building visual-attentive skills, and making you a better laparoscopic surgeon, they dont actively contribute much to your life.
Making money, staying healthy, getting involved in your community, and nurturing important relationships are all things that require time out of your schedule. Its one thing to fit video games into gaps in that schedule. Its another to clear your calendar so you can dedicate more time to gaming.
Tune in to the To Love, Honor and Vacuum podcast tomorrow to hear Connor and Rebecca talk about their journey with video games! Listen to it wherever you find your podcasts!
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