Knowing if your partner has a video game addiction can be challenging. For many adults, playing video games is an outlet to blow off steam and destress. It’s a way to forget what’s going on in your real life and enter into another world. But, when playing video games becomes a problem, it can affect both romantic and familial relationships. Has the following scenario ever happened to you?
You walk through the house to see the dishes need to be cleaned, laundry needs to be washed, dinner needs to be made, the litter box is full, and the dog is begging to be walked. A loud laugh and shouting echoes through the halls of your home. You peek in the door frame to see your partner, headset on, gaming with their friends. This may not initially be a cause for concern, but this is the fourth time this week this exact scenario has happened. Not to mention, it has become a trend in the past couple of months. Needless to say, you’re a bit frustrated and concerned. So, what do you do when you realize your partner has a problem?
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Set Time Aside to Address Your Concerns
When you realize your partner has a problem, it’s important not to confront them when you are angry or overly emotional. Designating a time to discuss the issues you’re having in your new routine with your partner is usually the best way to start things off. Catching them off guard while they’re playing with friends or not expecting any sort of serious conversation will only breed a not-so-great discussion about a matter that is really important to you. So, talk to them about it in a private and calm setting, such as at the dinner table. Or you can ask them to have a chat at a particular time. This will help the conversation go along much more positively.
Know What You Want to Say and How You Want to Say It
It may be tempting, if you’ve experienced a similar situation as above, to just tell your significant other “I think you have a problem” or “I think you should stop playing as much as you do”. While this may be truly how you think, relationships are about compromise and understanding. Instead of pointing the finger at them, focus more on what the impact has been on your life and stress levels. Try to say, “When I come home and have to do all the chores by myself, I do not feel appreciated” or “I feel disconnected from you because of this.” Spending time beforehand to ensure what you want to say will be perceived how you want it to be is crucial when bringing up sensitive topics with your partner.
Take Action Together
Your partner will need your encouragement and support as they go through recovery. If you have access to a relationship counselor or a therapist who has a decent amount of expertise about addiction, they can help assemble a plan of action for the two of you. This might be the best tool to start taking control of the addiction together. If not, online knowledge has become so expansive that if you’re both able to keep an open mind and listen to each other respectfully, you can come to an action plan that satisfies both of you. This might look like establishing times of the week or days where you devote time to each other (with no screens or distractions). Or, it may be setting ground rules for sharing responsibilities around the house and only until those chores are done, can they then play video games. However, if their addiction is severe, it’s best they seek treatment for their addiction and enter recovery.
Support Them Through Partaking in Healthy Activities
Once a healthy and responsible amount of time is established for playing every day or week, ask your partner if participating with them would be something they would like. The answer will most likely be yes. The same goes for your personal hobbies. Valuing and taking part in each other’s interests is essential to find the balance you need together.
However, if your partner cannot recover without cutting off playing video games cold turkey, you will need to find healthy activities to do with them. This could be going on walks or painting. It could even be watching movies together. No matter what it is, support them in the activities that help them steer clear of their addiction.
Set Clear Boundaries
When deciding on how to change the addictive behavior, you must be honest with your partner and set very clear boundaries on what you need from your relationship. Somewhere along the way, your needs and wants became blurred to your partner. And instead of improving their vision, they decided to zoom in heavily on their own desires. It is your responsibility to express what you want out of your relationship and how you want to be loved. Then, it is their responsibility to take action to recover from their addiction. Do try to be understanding towards them as they recover, because addiction can make someone selfish at times.
Execute the Plan
So, you and your significant other are doing it. You’ve both set rules that don’t impose on their happiness and recovery. They have started to participate more in your hobbies and with daily responsibilities. At this point, it’s important to keep each other accountable. Stick to the boundaries that were established by having clear communication from now on. When it’s gaming time, or if they need to partake in other hobbies during recovery, that is their time. When plans are made together, stand your ground if they try to squeeze out of them to play instead. If a chore isn’t done that they promised to do, respectfully bring it to their attention.
Executing the recovery plan will take some learning and getting used to. So, be patient and try to communicate effectively. If your partner starts to fall out of their recovery, help them by getting them away from gaming and doing something else that makes them happy.
What If Your Partner Is Unwilling to Compromise?
In this unfortunate scenario, there isn’t much to be done by yourself. If you have expressed your feelings respectfully and encouraged them to find other activities to do with you to no avail, or if they promised to change their ways but keep falling short, you may need serious marriage, relationship, and addiction counseling. When someone is unwilling to do what is necessary to recover from any addiction, an intervention with a professional is essential. Although it can be difficult to realize you can’t do this on your own now, you will be helping your partner.
Helping Your Partner with a Video Game Addiction
When it comes to helping your partner battle video game addiction, it’s important you help them find the right resources. Here are some great resources for helping your loved one battle video game addiction:
- Mind Diagnostics: Mind Diagnostics is a blog with reliable and knowledgeable content to inform you and your partner about video game addiction.
- Addiction Center: Addiction Center is an organization that focuses exclusively on addiction recovery. This organization has great tips and tools for overcoming any kind of addiction. They even have a rehab finder in the case of severe addictions that need an extra level of care.
- Regain (Couples Counseling): Is your partner’s video game addiction negatively affecting your relationship with them? If so, consider attending couple’s counseling. Counseling can be a great tool to both heal your relationship, and help your partner recover from their addiction.
- BetterHelp (Addiction Counseling): If your partner is ready to battle addiction with the help of a counselor, BetterHelp is a great solution. They can find a counselor that specializes in addiction counseling all from the comfort of their home. Through talking on the phone, video chatting, or texting, they can get treatment from a licensed counselor wherever they choose.
As long as you are truly helping your partner get better and not enabling them, you are doing the right thing. It can be difficult to stop enabling them, but it is the best for their mental and physical health. When you partake in the helpful actions mentioned in this article, you will be tremendously helpful on their recovery journey.