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How can I help my spouse see his gaming is a problem?


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My husband games pretty much from the time he gets home from work to the time he either passes out on the couch or until I come out and pretty much beg him to go to bed(roughly 10-16hrs).  He doesn’t see the problem and gets angry with me when I ask him to come to bed and says, “I’m not tired I can function with no sleep.”  He can’t.  He’s mean.  He’s insulting.  And he’s driving my kids away from him.  He doesn’t see the problem but the man he is when he doesn’t sleep is not a nice person. When he submits to sleeping rather than gaming he’s fun to be around and is the guy I married.  I love him but I’m not sure how much more of this I can take.  I told him I need his help around the house and that I can’t do this alone and that I want him to spend time with me but that he says is my problem and often times will agree to help me with things only to either be sleeping when I want to do them during the day or intentionally tries to make me mad by insulting me and my kids until he can return to his gaming.  I really miss my funny goofy affectionate husband but I’m losing hope that I can bring him back.  Any suggestion would be great.  I’m frustrated and saddened by being told I’m the problem instead of him realizing he’s the one causing the stress by always gaming.  I have never been opposed to him playing them all I had asked is that we found some middle ground that made us both happy.  It’s a constant fight when I mention it to him…

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Welcome to GQ,

I want to share an experience of mine in my early teens. Gaming progressed from being a temporary escape to becoming my main agenda over the span of a couple years.

when my parents spoke of their concern, I did not perceive any threat to myself. Everything seemed in order, the grades were good, the friends were there. In one of those arguements I stated that “playing a videogame is the same as playing a sport or working. It requires the same kind of interaction” this provoked an already serious conflict.

 

when was I caught in my own lie? They reasoned that with the amount of hours being put into the game, it would seriously affect my prospects and health. This drove the fear in me to a high level, but there was yet a barrier.  

life presented me with stressful situations which I did not at the time know how to solve. I had this scarcity mentality that:

1. help just isn’t going to come, or

2. help is embarrassing to accept. Accepting help is signaling weakness.

Because stressful situations seemed unsolvable, it was better to forget them by playing video games. And video games are excellent at that.

I hope that this experience may help you in understanding the psychology side of things.

Edited by Amphibian220
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi there, looking at your post, I see some red flag potentially abusive behavior from your husband. If you think that is the case please visit www.loveisrespect.org as it's a great resource if you're concerned about those issues.

I'm new here but maybe I can give you some perspective on a similar situation in my life-

I can resonate with both sides of your issue here - I'm 33, grew up with gaming, and used to get frustrated with my wife when she would make comments about my gaming. As of last week, I had a PS Vita, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and each PC I have had games on it. In the past, when she would make comments it would feel like nagging, or that she was trying to take away something important to me, or even take away my happiness. I rationalized like crazy, stating that it's the same as watching TV/movies, it's different, etc., and I eventually got my way as I'm sure she just didn't want to rock the boat anymore.

Now, we have a 3 month old baby and my wife really started to notice that each waking moment that I was not at work and when the baby was asleep, I'd be playing on one of those devices. The turning point for me was when I put the baby down to sleep, she was still a little fussy, but instead of tending to the baby I had my laptop open screwing around with a game that I really didn't even care for. My wife made a comment saying, "Why are you playing video games when you're supposed to be bonding with your daughter?" At the time I was a little annoyed, but it really made me sit there and think, "damn, she's right..." In my case, I think that I was already starting to shift my priorities away from gaming due to the baby, and joining this community and doing the respawn program gave me a push in the right direction.

While it seems that your husband's gaming is an issue, it does seem like a red flag that he is getting to the point of insulting you and your kids. Perhaps there's a deeper reason for the aggressive behavior, and not just gaming. It seems like he's using gaming as an escape from the stressors at home. Marriage can feel like work, and raising kids is exhausting. Maybe he knows deep down that he should be prioritizing his family but he doesn't know how to let go of his games? I know that I used to feel that I'd be losing a part of myself if I were to quit. Maybe he's sucked in so far into his gaming habit (10-16 hours is huge) he doesn't even realize he has a problem? Either way, he shouldn't be aggressive toward you and your kids.

Maybe having him check out game quitters might help your case, but he might just get more aggressive especially if he feels you're being too pushy with his gaming habit. Couples therapy or marriage counseling might be the answer, however for things to work out he needs to accept on his own that he has a problem, forcing him to quit may just exacerbate the problem.

Best of luck to you and I hope this helps.

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