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Swede/43 y.o./ My introduction:

”It is two in the night here in Sweden and I cannot sleep. I am worried and feel sad and hurt. 

I have been the one causing these exact feelings to my past partner and now I am getting a taste of some of my own medicine, so to say... 

I used to be the one in the relationship that did not have a full university education and seemed unable to complete it, I was the one who worked odd jobs living from day to day. My anxiety for my future I handled by playing games. When my playing became too much my partner got anxiety because I played so much and did not seem to want to spend time with him, and he thought all that time and effort could have gone into solving my problems instead. He was right of course.

After the 15 years long relationship ended I got a secure job that I am very happy with. Just got a raise. Still not full time, but I get by. 

Met my current partner playing Pokemon GO. And two years in I realise he is where I used to be. Stuck, and digging deeper into the games. And I feel so alone, again, and helpless. As I know he must feel. Because I did. But does it help that I know how he feels, I wonder. Will this relationship also go to pieces? What should I do, how can I help? 

I was not a gamer as a child or teen. I did read so much that my parents saw it as a problem. So I have always been like this it is just what I turn to and get monomanical about, that changes. Reading. Gardening. Snowboarding. Running. Gaming. Working.

It was suggested to me by that I suffer from GAD. So these are all ways I try to cope with the constant anxiety. We get that about eachother. That was a relief in the beginning. I was hopeful and my partner seemed to be determined not to repeat the mistakes from his past. I thought I could help. But now I start to wonder if I am an enabler to my partners addiction. Or worse, I feel anxiety about it beeing my fault somehow.”

 I am past the point where I can pretend it will work itself out.

I have GAD. I refuse to medicate so I have to manage it by lifestyle. I do not know how to do that without being monomanic about something.

So yes I can refrain from video games but I will repeat the same behaviour with another activity, such as reading, gardening, fitness, my job or whatever. I have a hard time convincing myself any of that is better for me. Games are so many different things to me. It has resemblance to work, planning and accomplishments. It has stories, like reading. It has creativity like gardening and painting. And I get to save the world to boot. 

D has promised he will stop gaming (WoW) in a couple of weeks. And uninstall the other games too. Then we will only be allowed to play Pokemon GO for the rest of the summer. Or Wizards Unite, if that is out then. I will have a months vacation from work so I can hopefully deal with it. Like, with the anxiety we both will have.

Right now I have plans and dreams about the future. I want to get back into painting again. Find more friends who do.

But I am afraid that he will not have anything else to substitute gaming with. There are worse ways to manage anxiety by. For him, gaming is his identity. For me it is just a facet among many. 

It is 3 in the night. I remember I can collect from the arenas in Draconius GO soon. That is so messed up. Usually I go to sleep at midnight.

Edited by 4L1N4
Inserted my introduction
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So technically still day one of my journal. Woke up to D playing Wow. He quit an half hour later and even made me coffee. We had breakfast watching a marvel tv series as usual. I do not work mondays so then we went out playing Pokemon GO until 11. Then he made lunch and went to a substituting job he was booked for. I am going to have lunch with some other Enlightened Ingress players in 5 min from now. 

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Thank you for the welcomes and well wishes! 

So I went to the Ingress players lunch because even thought I hardly play Ingress any more since I reached lvl 16 a couple weeks ago, the team are full of awesome people I like to hang out with. This time we decided to create a summer mission for biking together along the coast. I have never designed a mission. I also promised to submit a portal suggestion along the same rout. This is one of the games I cannot bring myself to quit fully. I regret that I said I would come along gaming today thought. I do not really enjoy just taking down an enemy area anymore. Espescially not by car. But that is not why I voluntered... I just want to spend time with them. 

Before videogames I played ARGs obsessively. Not many, but the ones I played, I really dove into. Sure, Farmville got to me too. But _really_ I started video gaming after I had surgery on a tumour and had to stay at home and rehabilitate my leg. That was when I bought a Wii with a board and Wii fit game. Then I picked up Avatar out of a sales bin, it also used the board in gameplay. But by then I had a rule for myself: only play games where I move my body. A year into my relationship with D I had broken that rule. I play on his Steam account; Witcher, Skyrim. Zelda on his Wii U. He bought me a Switch this spring. I mostly play Minecraft on that, mainly world building in creative mode. 

But not in the summertime. Only games played moving outside in summertime. Might decide on months or maybe even half the year when I absolutely am forbidden to play indoors. YES. April-Sep. Oct-March I may play indoors, but only at saturdays for instance.

I should take breaks from Facebook at least a couple of months per year. November, december, June and July?

I should turn off the internet at home in the evening. At nine for instance. Have to talk it over with D. We did that before, but without ever talking about it we stopped doing it. 

//D agreed instantly with the plan to shut off internet at nine.

He played when he came home from work at three until I came home from my exercise two and a half hour later (I have rollerskated 10 hours in three days!) and he is playing WoW now too. But from six until eight he attended (a job related) lecture with me. It was great and I am very happy we went there. I also asked a question and was the only one to get spontanious applause which I was very surprised by. This is great against my social anxiety.

Edited by 4L1N4
Update on how the day progressed.
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Today I have worked, that is it. I bicykled to and from work. Had sandwiches for dinner. D got off work cirka three hours before me. He has been gaming and watching e-sport since then. I reckon he will have done so for five hours total by nine when we turn the internet off. 

When we first got together, when we hung out we did everything together. Or just nothing special, talking, cuddling. If then was 95% of the time spent together activly engaging in eachother and 5% doing things by ourselves, now it is the opposite. 95% of the time I might just as well not have been here because he is gaming instead. Even when we walk somewhere he will start walking really slow because his game doesnt allow for him to look up from the screen. Still he complain that I have changed. Well no. If he had ignored me this much in the beginning, instead of constantly showering me with affection, I would have been just as disinterested in the 15 minutes when he wanted me then, as I am now. You cannot put in 95% less effort and expect the same outcome and then have the nerve to blame the other person and nag them about it. He cheats on me with gaming. He prefers it to spending time with me. I am boring. 

And that really says something because he doesnt seem to enjoy the game either by the sound of it. He complains about his guild members and frets about something or other. 

If I want to spend time together with someone I need to go out and hang out with friends or something. Not much here in terms of eye contact and conversation. I am going to read Swamp Thing and wallow in self pity now for an hour. Until nine. 

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The rest of the week: he has enjoyed playing by the computer every free hour before nine in the evening, but has not declined any suggestion from me to do something else when I have done so. But he has signalled: ”do not ask me to go out with your friends” like by declaring before I even ask that he is not gonna.

 I have refrained from any indoors playing but have played on foot, or on rollerskates or bike, a lot. The weather has been fantastic and all trees and shrubs are in full bloom. It is a shame to sit indoors. I am running out of mobile data on my phone. I feel dread about that. Yesterday I went into the game store and saw a game I really want to try. I negotiate with myself about if it fits my goals. Maybe in the winter. One has to move around to play it. It is expensive. I will put it on my birthday wishlist. By then I am allowed to play indoors again.

Yesterday he was at home gaming while I was in the pub with the Science Fiction group, celebrating Towel day and trying beer and ale sorts. 

At monday all games on the computer should be uninstalled. His university course is starting. And he still has two jobs he works infrequently at when he is called for. That is when the struggle will be real. He is really into his game right now. He will miss is terribly. But hey, it could be fine too. He needs to score those university points. If he could get really into that... :)

I will never make him quit Pokemon GO. I cannot myself quit everything. Because of anxiety. And we first met through playing it. D will buy me consoles and games to get to play more himself, I think. But even he is amazed of how addicted I get with new games I love. Eat, sleep? I get inflammation in my eyes from staying up for like a week hardly sleeping or just a couple of hours. I usually plan for this so it does not interfer with work. We are addicted in a bit different ways and to different sorts of games. He needs it to get a sense of winning that he lacks in real life, but if he put that effort and time into real life he would be winning at that too. I want to escape altogether and live in Hyrule. Not because this is so bad (tho I have GAD) but because there is so good. Then the daily games like P. GO is for me to get rid of nervous energy and to enhance reality. This mix of game and life is going to be where games are going to grow I believe. 

I really need to clean the appartment now. The weather is wonderful but it will be for then days and I cannot put it off any longer. D is working out of town like he usally does weekends. I get restless by loneliness and will listen to podcasts as I am doing housework. If my friends do not ask for me then I will not contact them to do things today. I hung out at monday with the Ingress team, thursday going to see Han Solo, yesterday Towel Day at the pub. I must manage one day alone. Tomorrow I can contact people and go visit. Gahh. I so want to go out right now. But when D comes home sunday afternoon this mess must be gone. 

Must not go to an auction or flee market today.

Nope, there goes my self determination. I will go to one. I collect things you see. That is my other addiction. I love being on the hunt for something.

Edited by 4L1N4
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So yeah... There was half price off on two second hand stores yesterday. Even bought a piece of furniture, a foot stool with storage inside, from the 1930’ies. I found cute shoes that is hardly used and came up with the idea of motif painting them with acrylic colours and nail polish. Something Totoro I think. And fabric to sew something iron age to wear at the viking village. Plus a cute bag, a coffee mug and lots more. Today I am listening to podcasts and cleaning. Will not game at all. I hope. If nobody asks me. 

D was home unusually early today. I asked him to do a hosehold choir when he was about to game. He did it half through and then he was at the computer again. There was something missing to do the job. Thing is we live literally next doors to a market. He will do this thing, get a rag doll quality about him. Just quit and sneak back or just do nothing and be all miserable with angst both over doing nothing and not playing. And the only way he is content again is to get to play, but not really because he knows I am worried and have angst about it, so he tries to get me to play too

// The rest of the day went really well. The appartment is clean and I made us dinner. D uninstalled the game ahead of time and we watched several episodes of season 3 of Trollhunters and had a super nice time. 

Edited by 4L1N4
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  • 1 month later...

So about uninstalling all games on the phone and computer, that did not hold. I only play Pokemon Go but D, he cheats with the plan, several times a day. He playes on his phone, on a computer, on the Switch. 

I talked to him and we even had a falling out. The next morning he said he would take his studying seriously and not game. And that I can tell him to not do it. As soon as something gets hard he escapes into gaming and spends his energy there. And sleep at daytime. 

I think you are really right, on here. Stop gaming all together for 90 days. 

Because this way does not work

Edited by 4L1N4
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I don't know you or the complete story but from my experiences I think I can say a few words.

I too have thought many times about just semi-quitting games and allowing myself to just play a little bit now and then. The problem with this approach is that whatever your brain and mind gets from gaming, whether it's for pleasure, escape or something else, you probably get it from all types of games. I sure did. This means that you can never really distance yourself from the games. There will always be a cliffhanger, something to pull you right back into the games. When you have good days, it may seem easy to stay off the games. But when the shitty days hits you need barriers to stay away from the games, make it  harder to get back.

At least for me there is only one way to go. No games at all or all the games in the world. A motto from Gamblers Anonymous that i like which describes this situation: "One game is too much and a 1000 is never enough". If you are a category 4 (see this link https://www.reddit.com/r/StopGaming/comments/31jj81/addicted_or_just_misunderstanding_addiction/cq25wa4/) like me, every time you game you put some more tinder on the fire and the cravings will continue that much longer. The only way for me to completely distinguish the flame is by not adding more tinder at all. No small branches (just a few hours), no little sticks (I'll just play this app), no huge logs (I'll just play this for a few weeks, then stop). Every time the flame has more to burn.

I would suggest that you and your boyfriend experiences with the 90-day detox with complete cold turkey. This means no apps, pokemon-go is a game too, no wii, no steam. Maybe install the K9 Web-Protection and give someone else the password. Try it, experience the days without gaming, don't escape from the problems and actually work on them. And then after the 90 days have passed, you have a great knowledge on whether or not gaming is actually a good thing in your life, Pokemon-Go included. I know for a fact that Pokemon-Go would be no different for me, than playing WoW. It's just another medium wrapped around the same brain-stimulating package.

Whatever you and your boyfriend chooses, I wish you good luck :)

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