Video games have become immensely popular since they offer a way to compete and win without going through the hassles of playing a real-life game. Sometimes players play against actual opponents as in live internet games, but more often it involves playing against your own self so that the desire to know how much you can achieve, eventually becomes addictive. However when a family member or partner begins to spend more time on the console rather than on real-life pleasures and responsibilities, then you know you have a problem. So if your husband won’t stop playing World of Warcraft or other such video games here are a few things you can do.
Keep a log for the hours played
The first step to getting your husband to control his video gaming addiction is to convince him that there is a problem. This is especially difficult in case of internet-based video games since the web is also an important source of information and even a workplace for many. So how much is too much? Start by keeping an account of the time that your husband spends playing video games during a typical week and show him/her the results. If still in the early stages of the addiction, your partner may be able to recognize his obsession and successfully limit the time spent online in general and on games in particular.
Have a talk
Choose a suitable time and place and discuss with your husband the feelings of abandonment and loneliness that you feel as a result of his obsession with video games. The worst time to approach a gaming addict is when he is at the console just like it makes no sense to argue with an alcoholic when he is drunk. Like any other fair confrontation on a difficult subject, set a time and place that is agreeable to both sides.
Prepare what you want to say
Before you confront your husband over his addiction to video gaming, go over exactly what aspect of the obsession is troubling you most. Are you worried that your partner is having an online affair with a gaming contact or do you want him to limit the time spent at the site? Once you are clear about how you would like your husband to change his gaming behavior, express your concerns as precisely as possible. Instead of ranting or whining about him ignoring you or not paying you attention, it would be far better to come up with concrete and specific instances of why you feel abandoned. This could be the result of not being able to spend time together, an empty sex life or the psychological isolation that you are feeling.
Don’t sit in judgment
When you express your concerns over your husband’s addiction to video games, avoid being critical and accusing. This will only make him more defensive and not take the discussion anywhere. Instead keep the focus on your own feelings of loneliness and rejection. Use sentences beginning with “I” like “I wish we could go out more often” or “I feel hurt when you don’t want to make love anymore”. This way you can bring up the problem without directly blaming your partner.
Come up with specific solutions
Instead of merely going on and on about the problem, try to suggest ways your husband can kick his obsession with video games. Coming up with suggestions on how he may be able to combat his addiction will let your husband know that you are not merely looking to blame him but that you genuinely want your married life to be happy. Suggest concrete steps like limiting the time spent on video games to certain hours on weeknights and keeping the weekend free for the two of you. Or setting an alarm some distance away from the computer/gaming console so that your partner has to get up and switch it off once the stipulated time of gaming is over. Ask your husband to contribute specific steps and how he may best be able to cut down on the hours spent playing video and internet games.
If your husband responds to your concerns, make sure you listen fully and with respect. Try to suspend your own point of view for a few minutes and put yourself in his shoes. This does not mean that you are enabling your partner’s obsession or even giving in to it, but only that you are open to what he is saying and trying to accept their reality without judging it.
See if there is a trigger factor
Go back to the time when your husband first started spending too many hours on video games and see if was caused by any major changes in work or family schedules. Perhaps he got laid off at work and there was too much free time on his hands. Again a sudden illness or accident may have compelled your husband to stay indoors and he got hooked to the site for lack of things to do. If you think your partner’s gaming addiction was caused by such factors, try to get him more involved in real life situations. Hobbies, pets and enjoyable pursuits may be helpful in bringing your husband’s focus back to the real world and get more satisfaction here than from the virtual world.
Look into underlying factors
Therapists believe that virtual obsessions begin to replace real life relationships when the person is distressed or dissatisfied with his present emotional life. While this is not to excuse your husband’s addictive behavior, see if he has been overly involved in video games as a way of escaping from discord, unhappiness or even boredom in your relationship. If so, addressing the underlying issues in your relationship may be a useful starting point of combating his addiction to video and internet games. If necessary you can seek professional help both for combating your husband’s gaming obsessions as well as to find out and treat underlying factors, if any.
Finally be prepared for a negative response from your husband. Experts treating with obsessive computer-related behavior believe that such games especially the massive multiplayer online role-playing games or mmorpgs are designed to be addictive. Like any other form of addiction, excessive gaming may also result in denial and defensiveness on the part of the addict. Your husband may insist that he does not have a problem or worse make it seem your fault. Addicts are usually good at changing the focus of the real issue by shifting the blame on to another person. So establish and maintain healthy boundaries and remain true to your needs.