Gaming isn’t a “real” addiction, right?
Wrong. Just like any other addiction, gaming can begin to take over a person’s life and affect everyone around them. It’s all too common for the grownup boys in our lives (aka our partners) 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 life’s most important moments – anniversaries, family time, watching their children grow up, and more.
If you believe your husband is addicted to gaming, there’s 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 doesn’t get help. At that point, it’s 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, you’ll 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.
Indicators That Your Husband is Developing a Gaming Addiction
Over time, behavioral addictions have become more widely recognized and accepted as a disease. Just like a reliance on alcohol or drugs, adult gaming addiction can spiral out of control, leaving the individual suffering from it feeling completely helpless.
These are some of the indicators to look out for in your partner:
- He ignores you when he’s gaming and his games take precedence
- He’s exhausted because he loses sleep to play phone, computer, or video games
- Makes excuses or lies to you about how much time he has spent playing
- Disinterested in other activities or hobbies he used to enjoy
- Isolates himself from you and other relationships to play video games
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Symptoms of Gaming Addiction to Look Out For
Excessive gaming can be used to mask other negative feelings and emotions that your partner is experiencing in other areas of his life.
Whether your husband is addicted to phone games or video games, the disorder is linked to other mental health issues as well. It’s naturally lonely and socially isolating for the person experiencing it, so depression and anxiety typically go hand-in-hand with adult gaming addiction.
If your spouse has developed a gaming addiction, you likely have already noticed that he’s stopped keeping up with his responsibilities at home or around the office. He may be doing as little as he can just to get by.
Keep in mind that if he calls in sick to stay home and play games or has even lost his job altogether because of compulsive gaming, this is a major red flag.
He might be neglecting housework, especially chores that he once had no problem taking care of.
Recognizing these symptoms of gaming addiction is the first step.
If you have asked your partner to cut down on gaming time and he’s unable to do so, it may be because it’s escalated into addiction.
His work and personal life will suffer as he neglects everything else. Not only that, his social life may be nonexistent. The only form of socialization that he’s interested in is through virtual gaming with friends.
Another sign that your husband or boyfriend is addicted to gaming is that he brushes you off when you try to talk about the problem. On the other hand, he may get defensive and angry when you approach the topic, as many addicts do.
If your husband’s first line of defense is denial and justification, he may even turn it around and blame you to get you off his back. This can make you feel like you’re the problem.
As your partner plays the victim, somehow everything seems to be your fault. Rest assured that these are common tactics of addicts who want to continue their lifestyle rather than admitting there is a problem and making a positive change.
It’s important to remember that this is not likely a problem that will go away on its own. Over time, the brain becomes so desensitized to the stimuli (aka the gaming), that your spouse will only continue to play more and more to produce the same effect.
The Struggle of Having a Spouse with a Gaming Addiction
If your husband is addicted to video games, it can be difficult to understand why he can’t just stop.
You can’t seem to wrap your mind around the fact that he neglects so many of his responsibilities. If you have children, you may find yourself taking care of them without his help or minimal effort on his part. Resentment can quickly start to build up as you feel the burden of carrying the household on your shoulders alone.
This is one of the major reasons why being married to a partner who is addicted to gaming can be so lonely. Romance has likely gone out the window and you can’t remember the last time you went on a date.
More than anything, you wish he’d just turn off the screen and come out of the dark room to spend some time with you for once. Where was the partner you fell in love with?
If your husband is addicted to gaming, the emotional toll that it can take on you can be devastating. If you feel like you’re constantly riding an emotional rollercoaster, walking on eggshells in your relationship, and even questioning yourself and your sanity, then something needs to change.
How you can Cultivate an Environment to Help Your Spouse Get Through it
Do you want to help your husband and save your marriage? Then the first step is setting aside any feelings of anger or resentment you may have towards him.
It’s important to recognize that this is a disease that can take over someone’s life. The best thing you can do is cultivate an environment that your partner feels safe in; one that helps him get through the addiction.
Here are some tips to help you do so:
- Communicate how his excessive gaming makes you feel
- Be honest about where your relationship is headed if it continues on this path
- Remind him that you love him and only want what’s best for him
- Get help yourself as the partner of someone with an adult gaming addiction
- Focus on creating and nurturing other positive relationships in your life
- Enable him by bringing him food when he’s playing, taking care of his chores for him, or covering for him if his boss calls
- Call him names or yell at him, which will cause him to act on the defensive
- Join him in playing games or encourage his habit in any way
What Can You Do if All Else Fails?
Do you feel as if you’ve exhausted all of your options trying to help your husband or boyfriend who’s addicted to gaming? When everything you’ve tried has failed at home, treatment may be the right step for your husband – and even for you as his partner.
The good news is that gaming addiction treatment for adults has become more readily available since problematic playing has been recognized as a behavioural addiction.
If your spouse is ready to make a positive change and get help, then it’s time to explore your options. Top-notch virtual or inpatient care is available at one of our renowned programs at Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres. Our Master’s level therapists are highly experienced in working with addictions of every kind, including adult gaming addiction.
Our virtual outpatient treatment may be best for your husband if he:
- Is a professional who can’t take time off work
- Requires a flexible program that can be completed from the comfort of home
- Has responsibilities at home, such as helping you take care of children
- Is restricted by lack of transportation or living in a remote area
- Is looking for a more affordable alternative to residential care
Our inpatient treatment may be the best choice if he:
- Needs to be in a gaming-free facility while receiving treatment
- Could benefit from a program with more supervision
- Wants to meet a community of like-minded people in-person
Whichever program your spouse chooses, he will receive ongoing support. Not only that but you can also receive partner support therapy through either treatment option. Since addiction affects the entire family, this is an important piece of the puzzle to consider, both for yourself and to help your husband throughout his ongoing recovery.
If your partner is addicted to gaming, get in touch with us at Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres today. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. You have nothing to lose – and a happy and healthy marriage to gain.
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