My Husband is Addicted to Gaming: You’re Not Alone
If you find yourself uttering the words, “My husband is addicted to gaming,” know that you’re not the only one. Gaming continues to grow in popularity, alluring new games are produced on a constant basis, and boys who grew up playing video games and online gaming are becoming men. Some of them are becoming husbands with a gaming disorder.
What women sometimes don’t realize is that gaming addiction is increasingly becoming a problem. Up to 3.5 percent of gamers become addicted (Conrad, n.d.; King, et al., 2010), a number that reaches into the millions given that over a billion people play videogames worldwide (Takahashi, 2013). So, ladies, if you’re upset that your husband is addicted to gaming, you’re not alone.
How do you know if your husband is truly addicted to gaming or is simply playing games too much? One of the keys lies in his behavior. How does he treat you? Does he:
- Ignore you when he’s playing
- Brush you off when you try to talk to him
- Act emotionally detached from you
- Abandon most, if not all, responsibilities both in the household and elsewhere, such as at work
- Become angry and accusatory when you try to talk to him about his gaming, telling you to quit nagging or that you don’t understand
If these fit your husband’s behavior and attitude, he likely has a gaming problem. While gaming addiction isn’t yet a formal diagnosis, it’s becoming increasingly accepted as a legitimate experience. When gaming takes over and disrupts lives, it has become an addiction (Gaming Addiction Symptoms: How You Know You’re Addicted).
Being married to a man who is addicted to gaming can wreak havoc on your own happiness and self-concept.
My Husband is Addicted to Gaming, and I Feel Miserable
Many women feel isolated, alone in the gaming problem that is happening behind closed doors. Some feel that they must remain quiet and hide the video game addiction problem from the world. Often, fear is involved: fear of what others will think, fear of being blamed by others; fear of upsetting their husbands.
Fear has a nasty habit of preventing people from taking action to improve their lives. Fear can keep you feeling miserable. Fear can keep you stuck in your feelings that arise from your husband’s addiction to gaming. You might feel some or all of these common emotions:
- Isolation from your husband as he lives with joy in his virtual game world while you live in the real world
- Hurt, confusion, and disappointment that your husband chooses games over you
- Decreased self-esteem
- Anger and resentment over shouldering all the responsibilities in your home
These feelings are natural responses to your husband’s gaming behavior and lifestyle. Feelings, though, don’t get you anywhere unless they’re motivating action. You can do something about your own feelings and how you handle your husband’s gaming.
One caveat: you can only control yourself. You can make choices and take action, but your husband’s desire to change must come from within him (How To Quit Video Games, Gaming. How Tough is It?). Seeing a therapist, either individually, as a couple, or both, can be useful. Plus, you can take charge of your own response to your husband’s gaming.
Tips for Taking Action and Talking to Your Husband About Gaming
When it comes to dealing with your husband’s gaming behavior and improving your relationship, there are some recommended dos and don’ts:
- Communicate firmly with the emphasis on how you feel about his excessive video game playing
- Be honest and frank in telling your husband how you feel about your relationship and gaming
- Create new connections and activities in your life, and hone them, so you have fun and form friendships; this is good for you, and it shows your husband that you’re living life without him
- Seek support; online groups like OLG-ANON for spouses of video game addicts provide valuable information and support from people in situations like yours
- Work with your husband to develop alternate activities that you can do together to replace video games
- Call him names or accuse him of things like liking his gaming friends more than he does you, as that puts him on the defensive and ready for a fight
- Settle for being second fiddle to his video games
- Offer to join him as he plays games, as that doesn’t involve quality, engaging time together
- Enable him by bringing him food and drink, making appointments, covering for him if his boss calls, etc.
As frustrating as it is to be married to someone who is addicted to video games, you’re not doomed to put up with it forever. If you find yourself saying in exasperation, “My husband is addicted to gaming,” use that frustration to care for yourself and act for positive change.
Last Updated: 26 July 2018
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD