Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Problems at Home/Work? When Facebook and Gaming Makes Things Worse

Dr. Naidich,

After 5 years of marriage, I have had it with my husband. He is always in the basement playing interactive video games on the Internet or surfing on facebook. BTW I hate facebook. He works once in a while as an electrician but work has been slow. We have difficulty paying our bills and creditors call regularly.

The other night after our kids went to bed, I went down into the basement in my lingerie to try to re-connect with my husband. He looked up from the computer and told me he'd meet me in the bedroom as soon as he finished the game. I told him he would have to wait a lot longer than that!!!! I am now thinking about getting any divorce. Do you blame me?

I understand how you must be feeling, but I think this may be more complicated than you think...and it is not a matter of blame...

I wonder about a few things. For example, how old are you and your husband, do you work outside of the home, was your husband the primary bread-earner, was he so focused on facebook, Internet surfing and gaming when you met him and when he was working full-time (did he ever work full-time)???

Anyway, without that information I will respond to your question with the information at hand. It sounds like both of you are under extreme pressure right now. While social networking can be very positive and gaming can be a stress reliever, your husband seems to be using both as a way to avoid the reality of coping with his family responsibilities, career difficulties, and financial hardship. 

He is most likely experiencing anxiety and feeling emasculated, as he is "losing" in life right now. So he is retreating to the basement and immersing himself in virtual reality where he can connect and feel like a "winner". He may also be experiencing depression which may account for his low sex drive. 

Your attempt to engage him with sexy lingerie was a good idea, but when a man is down on his luck and on himself, he just might not be interested in sex. It has nothing to do with YOU!

Having difficulties paying the bills and having creditors calling regularly is only adding to the stress on your marriage. Your husband does not seem to posses the coping skills that would propel him to take constructive steps toward changing his (and your family's) current situation. Or his depression and anxiety are interfering with him putting those skills into action. As a result, he is withdrawing instead of finding ways to find more work or make more money. Plus, we need to keep in mind that with the economy as it is, many people are either unemployed, underemployed, and/or suffering financially. You are not alone!

An additional problem is that facebook, Internet surfing and gaming can have an addictive quality to them, making it harder for him to pull himself away and act in his own best interest. Again, while they do have some beneficial effects, they can be a way to escape from reality. 

I do not think divorce is the answer here. At least not at this point.

Have you calmly spoken with him about how you feel in a loving way while seeing it from this perspective yet? If not, I suggest that you do.

Your husband might need some professional support to help him cope with his anxiety/depression and coping skills. While you might need some help with your stress, anxiety, and anger/resentment. Since finances are an issue, I recommend seeking a cognitive-behavioral therapist from your insurance plan (low co-pay), a local university or a mental health clinic where they have a sliding scale or do pro-bono therapy.  

The goals would be to address the issues I already mentioned, to work on your marriage, and to make sure you are sheltering your children from the negative emotional climate in the home. With the right help, the hope would be that your husband will be able to address his problems proactively instead of facebooking, Internet surfing and gaming, get back to work, regain his sex drive, and re-engage with the family.

In the meantime you also have to generate some practical solutions to your financial problems, and you may need an advisor to help you with that. Some possible options are debt consolidation, re-financing and filing for bankruptcy.

Let me know how it goes!

I wish you the best!

Dr. Naidich

No comments:

Post a Comment