My wife is addicted, to the social aspect

5 posts / 0 new
Last post
Garacaius
Offline
Last seen: 3 days 8 hours ago
OLG-Anon member
Joined: 11/19/2021 - 6:51am
My wife is addicted, to the social aspect

Hey guys, happy to have found this forum. I have a strong need to talk, so I will. I hope doing so will just make me little less frustrated and a little more at ease with things. Sorry for the enormous wall of text.

I'm married and we have 3 kids together. Been together for nearly 20 years. We always gamed together, it was something that connected us and we were generally pretty good, although we sometimes can get on each other's nerves as well from being together too much. However, for the past year, we've been in serious trouble. Covid put us together 24/7 and it did us no good, and I had been struggling with motivation and basically been living on autopilot for some years already (poorly motivated to do anything beyond day-to-day activities). She has always had self esteem issues and I did nothing to validate her. You could say the ingredients for trouble were all in place I guess. Then we got into a group of players that was pretty active on discord, so we joined discord voice chat too. I always had some reservations about discord due to a past experience with her. Quickly she got drawn into talking daily on discord, and superficially it all seemed a lot of fun. However, I was noticing that she was pulling away from all things real life and prioritizing online life above all else (including feeding our children!).

I tried to reach out but could not get a response. I noticed she started locking her computer when she walked away. I confronted her and she admitted a guy had been trying to escalate, but said she blocked him. I like to think I took this well and tried to move forward in a positive way, but asked her to refrain from spending so much time online. However, in the days after, it became clear that this was unacceptable to her. Hurt and suspicious, I checked discord on her phone when she was in the shower and found out that she had been courting a relationship with another guy. This had gotten really intense. If the guy had allowed it, she would have jumped on a plane to see him, no doubt. I flipped out and confronted both, caused a scene. The guy immediately backed out (or maybe he had already backed out around the same time, I cannot know for sure). She was still so hung up on him though. I did not take it well. I forced her to choose, me or talking to him. She chose me but it killed her spirit, I've never seen her look sadder in my life. She did not last one day before it became clear she would be attempting to be with him behind my back anyway. She said things to him like that he would forever secretly be her hero, which I read through violating her trust and checking her phone once more. She has lied a lot about the extent of the relationship (that it's only an online thing, that she would never send a picture, that it was completely non-sexual).

I caved and we sort of agreed that this relationship would have to run its course and then we'd see if there was still an "us". Problem is, the guy was avoiding her and she could get no closure. As I distanced myself from it all (left that group of players and tried to form a new social circle in the game), she abused the freedom to increase her voice chat time by a huge amount, and crossed new boundaries (spending hours at a time in 1-on-1 calls rather than in a group context, which we never did because of the associated risks). I was trying to give her space (honest) but I am terrible at it, frustration, pain and anger always got the best of me and I made a scene every few days, trying to emotionally manipulate her into feeling remorse even.

This circus has now gone on for nearly 6 months and in that time, she has built up her online life into something that dominates every free minute. She wakes up and checks discord to read the chat she missed while sleeping. She checks discord between finishing work and coming home. She has made numerous new friends and invited them to discord servers I left, and if no one is online, she will go look for new friends to play with. I hear her laugh and sing upstairs (I moved into a different room to avoid being confronted with it non-stop), on some weekend days she will spend more than 16h behind the computer (cutting into her sleep to do it) and it drives me crazy. She is an extreme attention seeker online, but it only works with guys. Any woman showing up in the circle, she will push away immediately.

She is not completely cold to me, on some days she will throw me a bone. Sometimes we hug, sometimes we have sex, which is confusing but such a release for me as it allows me to be intimate without any reservation. But anytime I try to have a serious talk about her behavior and how it is making my idea of a long-term future with her impossible, she shuts it down and goes back to the computer. She will be mad and she does not hear what I say. She is still talking daily with the guy she cheated on me with, sometimes 1-on-1 (though she will deny it I'm sure). She refuses to give up that social circle. She has painstakingly minimized the fallout in her online life by not letting anyone know that I (who was also friends with some of these guys) am hurting and that the home situation is a mess. She will attack me anytime I talk to one of them, which admittedly I have done to get some validation for myself and maybe also out of spite, to try and burst the balloon.

I am quite a mess. I manage to get the kids clothed and the fridge mostly stocked everyday but I am way behind on work and just sent my employer a mail that my marriage is failing and I can't concentrate right now, which will surely reduce my career chances in the future. I cry behind the wheel of my car almost every day. I wake up looking forward only to the moment when she will be asleep again so I don't have to worry about what she is doing. I still make a scene every few days and threathen to walk out, which I genuinely feel I am close to (went to look at an appartment today) but it's complicated because of the kids. I sometimes go immediately back to bed after dropping off the kids and just lay there tearing up for hours. I eat maybe 4 or 5 real meals a week.

I am relieved to find this website, even if it does not hold much good news on the outcome. It explains to me why the beautiful person that I still love so much, can be so mean and careless and contintue to do things that destroy me and will eventually destroy her. I also seem to be codependent, showing some of the behaviors listed.

I don't know how I will proceed. I will try and stop enabling her, but I have a lot of internal resistance. I WANT to be the guy who gets the kids ready for school. It's the only thing I manage to do right now. I really don't feel I have the discipline in me to make that journey to "detach with love". I lose myself in self-pity. I think of extreme things. Like deleting my account in that game, destroying my only hobby and a decade of work I put into it. I often drive recklessly and think about what it would be like to wrap my car around a tree at 100mph. I think about my funeral and cry. I picture myself grabbing my clothes from the shelf as I move out and wonder if my wife will allow herself to be sad about it. Sometimes I will hug my youngest daughter and randomly start crying. I'm crying right now.

Thanks for listening.

Garacaius
Offline
Last seen: 3 days 8 hours ago
OLG-Anon member
Joined: 11/19/2021 - 6:51am
A small update after having

A small update after having an attempt of a conversation with her, yet again.

My wife is smart. Even though I'm sure she's addicted, she's not entirely unreachable. However, she is defending hard and I have no real answer for it. She told me that the problem between her and me is larger than the problem with her and discord (the voice chat she uses when gaming). I think she is downplaying the addiction (she ALWAYS has discord open), but I cannot deny that we have had problems for a long time and if she says there is no reason for her to give up discord for me since her and me do not work anyway, there is little I can do.

So here I am trying to convince her that I am worth a shot after all. This runs counter to the advice I read on here (detach), but I want to believe that it's not so clear cut in my case. It seems that she is acknowledging to herself up to a point that her addict behavior is destructive. But she does not see the things she is destroying as worth saving at the cost of her addiction. I want her back. I want to address the traumas that are causing her to elope. I want her to see a future with me again so she can muster up the courage she needs to give up the intense online relationships. Please let me know if I am being dumb holding on to hope.

May I remind you that hardcore gaming was always a part of us. It's gone reasonably well for 17 out of the 20 years together. Voice chat always seems to be the thing that makes it escalate. My proposal to her would be to dump voice chat forever.

Polga
Polga's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 2 hours ago
AdministratorOLG-Anon memberOLGA member
Joined: 02/17/2014 - 11:33am
Welcome Garacaius

Welcome Garacaius

Thanks for sharing your story.

Every one's journey is different. You are doing the right thing by coming here to find out what other points of view there are around how you deal with this. It is your choice to deal with it how you think best. Its when we try the same things over and over and get the same results again and again that we know things aren't working and we have no control and have to accept it. That is when detaching with love is essential

It sounds like a really emotional time for you. Iam validating your feelings as completely normal in these circumstances. This is really hard to have to live through. You really need very good support for yourself. See the getting support thread linked on the first aid kit for spouses

Did you read the threads about online affairs, whether to stay or leave the gamer and about boundaries linked on the first aid kit ? Its your choice to chose how you view her online relationships. If they were meeting face to face would this change your responses ? These are all questions to ask yourself and do not need to be answered here. 

You let her have her own way on some things. What do you need to happen for you to be able to operate at some level of normality around her ? Thatis what boundaries can help with.  If she is forced to give up of course she is going to act sad; that is part of withdrawal and if you want the real her back withdrawal is going to have to happen as part of the process. You need to accept that she will be feeling discomfort . You do not need to have to rescue her from discomfort. Just a thought.

Keep coming back ! 

 

INFO

Help for gamers here

Help for parents of gamers here

Help for spouses/SO's of gamers here

Parent's online meeting THURSDAY 9pmEST/EDT click here

Online meetings gaming addicts click here

Please help! Donate here

Garacaius
Offline
Last seen: 3 days 8 hours ago
OLG-Anon member
Joined: 11/19/2021 - 6:51am
Thank you Polga. I am a

Thank you Polga. I am a scientist and I have a very strong urge to understand what is happening, before I can accept it. I over-analyze, it's how I process things. I re-read the part about online flings. She does not downplay it as meaningless or not real cheating, but she also said in the past that if I had not found out, it may have passed without destroying us and she regrets not hiding it better. She will admit it is unfair to me but does not regret it. After reading some of the links on here about brain development (notably the video by Gabor Mate) and the brain of an addict, this makes sense. She wants relief from her pain and will do anything to get it. She needs more love than I do, because of her traumatic youth and the biochemical effect this had on her brain. In a way I am lucky, because she will at times be brutally honest about what she can and cannot stop doing. She said once that she will always run away, it is what she does. I wanted to say I will always take her back. But I did not say it and I'm not sure if it is true. I will always love her but I need to protect myself, more than I have done for the past 6 months because I am paying a hefty price. I do not want to be close to her when I am so clearly not her #1.

I think I have a chance of saving our relationship, I really do. I will continue to update my story in this thread. It makes me feel better just typing it, and it is helpful to read what I wrote just a few days ago now that those feelings a just a little bit less raw, and I welcome any comments or perspective.

Like I said, my wife is really smart. I told her that she may be right that the problem between her and me right now is bigger than the problem of her online gaming, but that I cannot see the two as separate. That her addiction may be preventing her from feeling what I mean to her and from finding a way forward with me. I think this resonated with her at least a little bit. Over the past weeks/months I have judged her and called her out for being cold and mean and for throwing away 20 years of partnership like it meant nothing. This was wrong of me, I know she does not want to be that person and probably feels insecure or embarrassed about what this says about her. I am destroying my own chances when I do that, because I am telling her that she is not the person I want. This behavior of hers is involuntary.

For the past two days, she has not been online as much. It may be coincidence, I know some things are frustrating her online. But I do know that for the first time in a week, she came down and sat on the couch watching television to pass the time, rather than spending it on discord. She did still check discord on her phone. But I think, and I have more hope riding on this than I probably should, that she is trying to take some distance from the online life so she is better able to take stock of the situation with her and me.

You mention boundaries. I have tried. At one point I told her not to go on discord voice anymore so I could regain my composure. She complied and one of her online interests took it personal and gave her a really hard time. I told her not to talk to her lover anymore and she did. For three weeks, she did not play the game she shared with him. This was a very tough period for her. She was pining for the game, life with me without it was not worth it to her. She was doing it for me but it was hurting her. I relinquished my boundary, tried to ease her back into it in a healthier way but she ran into him and immediately put herself back into his service, completely focused on what he though about her. I flipped out and destroyed the progress she may have made in those 3 weeks. The whole 3 weeks I was afraid, I was walking on eggshells to not burst the illusion that we were doing ok, when in reality it was clearly forced and we were just avoiding to talk about the feelings she was going through.

Now I am powerless to set boundaries. If I leave, she will be mad. But she will not change her ways to stop it. It's the last card I hold and it's not exactly an ace. I can only think about what I can live with, and what would force me to leave, without using it to hold any power over her. I ask myself that question often. Can I live with the occasional internet fling? Can I live with her talking to other men online every day, without my supervision, as long as she is also a loving partner to me? Can she combine the two? I am not sure I even want that. If I was certain that she would come back after a few months, would I be okay with not being her lover for that period? If I am not there to check her behavior, will she be able to come back from it by herself? Is me "guilt tripping" her essential to deflate the illusion she lives in online?

Sometimes I think I should strive to just have her as my roommate, with whom I share a lot of things but not my heart. We sort of had that for a while, and our sex life actually blossomed in an incredible way in that period. But it was very asymmetrical, for her it was just company & sex and for me it was hope and a way to kiss her without being blocked. I will try to accomplish this if all else has failed. But right now, I have too much hope. I'm not there yet.

Polga
Polga's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 2 hours ago
AdministratorOLG-Anon memberOLGA member
Joined: 02/17/2014 - 11:33am
Thanks for sharing your

Thanks for sharing your update. I'm glad writing it down is helpful for you. 

I sounds like you have thought about this very hard. You are chosing just to see how this all unfolds over time,and not burn any bridges while there is still hope. I hope that has given you some peace knowing that you have a plan for now and the reasons that underly it. I hope things do eventually work themselves out for you both.

 

 

INFO

Help for gamers here

Help for parents of gamers here

Help for spouses/SO's of gamers here

Parent's online meeting THURSDAY 9pmEST/EDT click here

Online meetings gaming addicts click here

Please help! Donate here

Log in or register to post comments