Husbands Computer Gaming Dilemma

Danielle - posted on 12/18/2010 ( 16 moms have responded )




Hello Mommies,

I do now know how to approach my problem.

My husband is really into his computer games (particularly World of Warcraft). He use to play every night after our son had gone to bed which was from around 7:30-8pm till around 12ish.

That was a problem for me because it was so frequent and that never gave us any time to be together after our son had gone down for the night. We talked about it, and hashed out an agreement that he would only play certain days so that I knew what to expect, and when to expect him to have his time.

He plays his game on our computer and then he started to want his own computer specifically for his gaming. As a gift, I went out and bought him a monitor as a part of his christmas gift to show that I support him and his time needed alone. Playing his game was something he did before we met, and I think it helps him keep his identity as someone else other than a father/husband.

We have had problems in the past with his over excessive playing habits and he would get so defensive. When he is upset he completely shuts down and will give the silent treatment, that can (and has) lasted for days at a time. He thinks that I don't support him and treat him like a child when I try to restrict his playing time. He has, in the past completely stopped playing the game and is convinced that the reason we have these problems is because I am being unreasonable, but yet he takes no responsibility for his actions on his time management.

Since we've had the days scheduled things have been alright. Then, recently my husband switched jobs and he was doing training in another city 2 hours away so his employers set him up in a hotel for the two weeks he was training. Of course, he can not play his game during this time because our laptop does not have enough power or space.

He is now home and was really excited about the monitor. He has set it up, and was building the tower to have his own computer.

The other night he was still playing until I came to bed around 12:30 at night. Whenever I ask him to come to bed when he is playing he gets really angry because he feels like the only way he can play guilt free is when I'm asleep. This really annoys me because I have tried to show I support him and his hobby. I don't know how to explain to him that it is hurtful and annoying that for the last two months I have fallen asleep alone. I mentioned that maybe we should put a cap on the time; saying 11:30 is a good, general time that we can say its lights out, and of course he got defensive.

It is starting to frustrate the hell out of me!

I do not know how to talk to him about it because he completely shuts down and will not talk to me or make eye contact, basically anything. I have to stay persistent and keep asking him "whats wrong" which sometimes lasting up to a couple hours before he opens up about what's wrong. Even then he is very stubborn so little fights that should only take an hour and be more like a discussion end up escalating to heated arguments that last all night!

What's worst now is that he has packed up the monitor and is now returning it. I was able to pay for it because I had sold my drum set (which was a christmas gift 5 years ago from my father) in order to afford it. The drum set wasn't played very often so I didn't have a hard time parting with it, but it is still irritating that it feels so unappreciated. He says the reason he is returning it is because it is a waste of money if he can so frequently play it.

Does anyone have any suggestions? How do you approach a stubborn spouse? Am I the only person with gaming marital woes?

Any advice would help.


Jody-Maree - posted on 12/20/2010




Danielle, I have noted that some families, due to work commitments, socialising, large family size, etc - have a 'date night'. You don't need to leave the house, just have a night to spend time with each other - over a nice meal, or a movie, or some even in combined hobbies (I know one couple who play board games together). Some couples even do this weekly - every wednesday, etc. This might be a good 'experiment' to boast your relationship. Give it a go and you don't even have to have a reason (thus he doesn't it see it as an 'attack' to his personal time). Of course 'date' night might involve some intimate time too!

If he could stick to the compromise of how ever many nights (3?) a week for 'his' time, then things might go well.

Do you have a hobby that you do at home? Reading, crafts, etc? On the nights where he has his time - you make sure you have your time - don't do housework and neglect your own time. On the some of nights where he is on the computer as agreed, you might be able to 'entice' him to come to bed with you (stripping your clothes off in front of the computer should be a big enough hint) - a reward as such? Maybe he'll come to bed with you more often.

On the evenings were he didn't go on the computer - as per your agreement, comment on this and make a point of thanking him for spending the evening with you. Stroke his ego and he's likely to do it again. Maybe this might help.

Jody-Maree - posted on 12/20/2010




Hi Danielle,
I had a similiar problem to yours many years ago. It ended our marriage. The ex wasn't working, I was and he would spend up to 18hrs a day on the computer, gaming with mates. While the situation is different, the problem is quite similiar - addiction and neglect.

When a hobby turns to the extent that it excludes loved ones it has the potential for neglect of the relationship. Even small talks is close to impossible while gaming online. They might as well be at the pub, etc - in that they are not 'there' at home. I did not realise the effect on 'us' until it was too late. I too went to bed by myself nearly every night and while he was 'supposed' to do some housework, it often feel back to me. It got to the point where I would cook a hot meal, warn him it would be ready in 10 minutes, tell him when it was on the table, but he might eat it up to an hour later.

Maybe explaining it bluntly - how you feel, neglected? I learnt how to argue with the ex, he would side steep the issue and make out it was my problem. I had to say things like. I feel like i'm unappreciated when you don't eat the hot dinner, I feel you don't care about the effort I made cooking. (I feel x, y and z when you A B and C).

Danielle - posted on 12/20/2010




You're not the only person going through this. Stupid EVONY almost destroyed my family. I was very fortunate that my fiance quit the game on his own terms. I basically just put up with it until he realized without me bugging him about it that it was just completely ruining us. I found when I stopped getting on his case about it he just came to figure it out. Maybe it was because our son stopped getting excited to see daddy home from work briefly (because he knew daddy wouldn't play with him). When that happened, he quit his game soon after, it seemed to wake him up.

In all honesty, I wish I hadn't let it go on as long as it did. We're great now, I love him to pieces, but I spent a lot of time crying because he just. didn't. get. it. You may need to give him an ultimatum. It's harsh but it might be the reality check he needs.

Jody-Maree - posted on 12/20/2010




Just re-read my posts, please don't think that the solution is to have sex regularly. But my experience was that our sex life did suffer because he never came to bed at the same time as me. It's just another part of the relationship that needs to be nutured to continue to grow and when the computer is chosen over the relationship and intimacy then issues are bound to become problems.

Megan - posted on 12/20/2010




So I am going to be really unpopular but here is my take on what you are saying. He played before you guys got together. Now that you are married, you want him to stop, or at least cut back. Since he played before, you knew he did so, you chose to get into a relationship with him anyway. The kids make it so the only time he can play while being a responsible parent is after they are in bed. Generally one does not go into a relationship of any kind assuming the other person will change. That he is willing to says a lot about how much he cares. Not happy with with that, you are now pushing for ANOTHER change.

Having had similar fights with my husband I understand your frustration with giving up something so he could have something nice, but you are sending mixed messages. On one hand you are saying I support you but on the other hand, you are demanding more and more. We found a balance by putting a tv with a xbox in the bedroom so he could play while I read a book, but we are snuggled together doing it and can talk randomly. He also gives me an evening or two a week. On my side, I learned to play a game with him an evening or two a week. It wasn't fun at first but now I find it highly enjoyable and treasure the evenings at home playing computer games with him.

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Danielle - posted on 12/21/2010




I DO support my husbands wishes to play his game!
I realize that he is entitled to having his own time and if thats how he wants to spend it then thats fine!
I don't have an issue with him playing; I have an issue with him playing EVER night, and every conceivable spare time, till 2 in the morning.
How is that sending mixed messages? I am just trying to find a common ground so he is not on ALL the time.
I never said in my first post that I wanted him to stop. I said I wanted him to come to bed at a decent hour so we can spend maybe 30 mins together alone before we fall asleep.
It is frustrating that I can't discuss his hobby with him because he get on the defense immediately.
If he has it his way, and I didn't say anything about having a problem with his time management on the game, then he would play it all day.
He would realize that I was putting an unrealistic time restraint on his time. If I offered him time to play really late (realizing that means he couldn't play long) then he may not be to happy about it. It doesn't benefit him any going from 5 hours of playing to two or three.

I appreciate everyones time taken to post.
I am going to end this post at this point. I have a hard time believing some of the women who commented have come second to a computer game. I just don't have the energy to try and argue my point.
Thanks again for all who have commented.

Amanda - posted on 12/21/2010




You say you support your hubbys interests, Ie buying a monitor, and then you say on the other hand you dont like it. So which is it?? Stop being so wishy washy and maybe your husband will understand what you want. You sent a ton of mix messages in your first post, its a no wonder your hubby doesnt quit, I wouldnt to if I knew after a guilt trip you would go on and on about how you support it. LOL

Lissa - posted on 12/21/2010




Lissa: If he plays a minimum 5 hours a night and starts at 10 at night then he would never get any sleep

My point there (sorry if I wasn't clear) would be he is giving you two hours between your on going to bed and starting gaming. If he stayed up late in the night to play that would be his choice but would he not quickly realise that is just daft? I also feel it is a little bit of a rebellion on his part, he feels pushed to stop so he is pushing back. If you say nothing I think he would start realising he has better things to do with his time.
It is just an opinion, maybe I'm wrong, I was just trying to give an objective point of view. I do hope the two of you manage to reach a happy compromise.

Danielle - posted on 12/20/2010




Thank you all for your advice.

My husband and I have scheduled days where he can play his game from the time our son goes to bed till the time he decides to go to bed. He gets 4 nights a week to play his game.

I think 4 days is plenty of time for him to have his own space. He plays a minimum of 4 hours a night.

I have no desire to learn the game. I have other hobbies that I do when he plays, and thats fine with me.

Lissa: If he plays a minimum 5 hours a night and starts at 10 at night then he would never get any sleep. Also, If he plays 5 days a week then where is the compromise on his part? I am not asking him to change. It is just irritating that he is always on the computer when it should be time for bed. It never leaves us with any time for each other because as soon as he has any time apart from our son (even when he is napping) he goes on to play.

Megan: All I am asking of him is to come to bed at a decent hour, and not sneak into bed at 2 in the morning. I think it would be a no-brainer since we both have other obligations. He has to work, and I stay home with our son. It is just starting to wear on me because when he stays up till 2 in the morning then it is naturally assumed that I will be up with our son the next morning, and he gets to sleep in.

It would just be nice if, for once, I wouldn't have to ask him to spend time with me!

Its ridiculous! Does no one understand? I am, frankly, a little baffled at some of the responses.

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This is more than a hobby. It sounds like an addiction. Avoidance is the reason he shuts downs on you. He needs to admit to that and come to terms with the negative impact this is having on his relationships. If you strongly feel that this is destroying your marriage then I would suggest marital counseling. Putting limits on how long he can play is like trying to put limits on how much an alcoholic drinks.

Tara - posted on 12/20/2010




I have to say that I disagree with Jennifer's statement that a gamer is like an alcoholic in that an alcoholic cannot take only 1 drink and a gamer cannot game only 1 hour.

Both my husband and I are gamers (we were both into gaming prior to getting together, and have continued our enjoyment of gaming since being a couple), BUT we both have our priorities straight. Our kids and our marriage come first - if that means that our character in the game is sliced into goo so that we can deal with one of the kids, or we don't play for a few days so that we can have some "us" time, then that's what happens.

It does sound as though your husband is addicted to the game as you have told him repeatedly that his behaviour is hurting you, and for that I would definitely recommend counselling or help for him (and perhaps counselling for you together). I would let him know that this is seriously hurting you and your marriage, and that if some kind of resolution is not found then you are concerned for your marriage.

Lissa - posted on 12/18/2010




Ok this may make me very unpopular because I think maybe you are treating him a little like a child. He wants time on his own doing his own thing, he doesn't want to go to bed at the same time every night and from his point of view you are just nagging him so he's doing it more. That said he does need to compromise a little, have you suggested that he can stay up as late as he likes to play but that it doesn't go on until 10pm five nights a week so you can spend a couple of hours together a night. Ask him for one night where he doesn't do it at all and you give him one night where he can do it as much as he wants (this suggestion came from my husband). My husband and I rarely go to bed at the same time we have different body clocks and also we both savour that alone time. He's not trying to be hurtful, I think we all have secret guilt free alone time behaviour, I watch sex and the city reruns while drinking lots of tea and eating a whole packet of biscuits :) I don't do that with my husband.

Jen - posted on 12/18/2010




i have the same problem but with my bf i go to bed ta 9pm n he will play he ps3 til like 3am its not thts serious now cus his not working but wen his given a job i hope he cuts rite bk.

Alecia - posted on 12/18/2010




have u tried playing it with him? I love playing WoW! :p and maybe if u spent time playing with him and then suggest u go to bed together it would peak his interest to go to bed with u more ;) its got to be about compromise and i am definitely not talking only on ur part. u both need to agree to something that can work for u both. but i do suggest u try it. it is such a fun game

Louise - posted on 12/18/2010




My husband stays up every night and talks on MSN or searches the internet. I have had the same discussion with him time and time again. He waits for me to go to bed and then spends 2 and a half hours on the computer. No matter what time I go to bed. If I could get some perfume eau de computer monitor I would be a happy woman. This has been going on for nearly two years now and every couple of months or so we will have a row about it and he will come to bed at a normal time for about a week and then revert back to staying up until 1.30am sometimes later. With a two year old I can not stay awake that long. So I have given up the computer has won. If you find a solution to this problem let me know as i have tried every thing.

Jennifer - posted on 12/18/2010




WOW!!! He obviously has an addiction, and needs some help. It is one thing to enjoy an occasional game, when work is done, but not all the time. Even if it hurts him, he needs to be told to stop completely, and seek professional help. Just like an alcoholic can't have just one drink, a gamer can't play for just 1 hour. It is taking over his life, and ruining your marriage.

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