The honeymoon stage was great, wasn’t it? When you first got married, you couldn’t keep your hands off each other.
Now, you have to beg for his attention or compete for time against his new love, Call of Duty.
So, your husband is addicted to video games? It’s ok to say it out loud.
While gaming is a harmless activity for many individuals, and some couples even enjoy gaming together, it’s a real problem when your husband prefers his Xbox to date night.
Is your husband staying up late at night to play video games? How about neglecting household chores or helping the kids with their homework?
Have you had to lie to his boss because he slept through the alarm, after staying up all night… again?
If so, you are not alone and you can use these 3 battle tested secrets to get him to set the controller down.
But First, Gaming Isn’t a Real Addiction, is it?
The World Health Organization seems to think so.
Maybe it started out as an innocent hobby – an escape from the real world and all the crazy ups and downs of life. Now, it’s increasingly taking over his time, energy and attention.
Ask yourself, does he like to play video games or does he NEED to play video games? There is a big difference between the two.
Here are the warning signs that your husband has a gaming problem:
- Feels sad, restless or irritable when he isn’t playing video games
- Unable to stop for a short period of time or cut down the amount of time
- Neglects other hobbies or activities that he once enjoyed
- Misses important family activities, such as birthday parties, doctor appointments, holidays or anniversaries
- Complains about headaches or lack of sleep – commonly from too much screen time
- Not prioritizing household chores, work or other family responsibilities
- Forgetting to bath, sleep or eat
- Gaming in secret or lying about when he went to bed
- Lashes out when you try to talk to him about his gaming
- Isolates himself in order to play more often
- Has abandoned and substituted his in person friendships for online aviators
My Husband is Over 30 – Aren’t Video Games For Children?
The short answer is no. Many men that play video games started as children and as they grow up, so do the games. Video games today are more interactive, imaginative and strategic.
Just like tv programming, you have story lines for little kids, youth, young adults, grown folks and even senior citizens.
In fact, a report from Entertainment Software Associate states the average age of a gamer is actually 33 years old.
That’s a lot of grown-up gaming!
Now What? How Do I Save My Marriage?
That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it?
A study by Divorce Online found that 15% of women stated video games as the reason for their split.
It’s easy to be annoyed and angry at your husband. Afterall, he has neglected your relationship, his family and sometimes, his job.
How exactly are you supposed to compete with fantasy?
Simply put, you don’t!
And beating your husband up over his addiction will only push him deeper into gaming. It’s his escape from reality, remember?
So, what exactly can you do?
Stop mentioning it
This sounds counter initiative but wouldn’t you agree that nagging has never gotten you what you wanted?
Can you remember a time he took out the trash because you told him to 7 times, in an hour?
Let’s be honest – the more you nag, the more likely he will do the opposite.
Think about it, do you jump on something when your spouse nags you?
Laura Doyle’s recommendation to get his attention is to nix the long speeches – “In every State of the Union talk I ever had, what came across was what my husband was doing wrong and what he needed to do to shape up.”
No one really likes to be criticized, do they? Repeated criticism can break a relationship.
Instead, Laura recommends you “express your desire in a way that inspires.”
Something as simple as saying ‘I would love to go out to dinner together’ is really powerful – much more welcoming than biting your husband’s head off for spending hours on his computer or console.
Spend Time Doing Things You Like
While he’s gaming, carve out time for things you enjoy. Don’t wait on him hand and foot. He’s grown and can fend for himself.
You are not his mother and he is not a child. Read a book, binge watch your favorite tv show or even go out to dinner with friends. Whatever brings a smile to your face.
Why is it important, you ask?
Self-care reduces stress and a more relaxed you might be exactly what makes him pop his head out to see what’s going on.
Nothing is more attractive than someone beaming with joy and happiness.
Have a conversation when he’s not gaming
You want his complete attention, which you will never get if he is immersed in his make-believe world.
Not to mention, if you confront him while he’s gaming, it will be perceived more like an attack and less like a friendly conversation.
And that is what we want, right? A conversation.
Don’t make him wrong or belittle him for playing, even if it’s interfering with everything else.
Instead, discuss future goals and other interests you would like to explore together. Giving additional options to escape the mundane world is a great compromise.
Consider even learning to play his favorite game with him.
If nothing else, you can bond over how bad you are – having fun together instead of fighting over it.
Be Honest, Are We Doomed For Divorce?
As frustrating as it is to be married to someone that hides in the dark and plays video games obsessively, that doesn’t mean your marriage needs to end.
Find out why he loves gaming so much and what the reasons are that he would rather hide out than join you in the real world.
Sometimes it’s as simple as needing to destress and this has been his go to since he was 9.
Or it can be something that he needs help with.
Be gentle in your approach and get outside help if it’s needed.
There is absolutely no shame in asking for help.
Sometimes an outside perspective will land harder than a whisper from your spouse.