Addiction hurting our relationship

By |2018-01-15T16:25:02-05:00June 21st, 2007|Opinions|

I have a real problem with my boyfriend, “Richard.” Before I get into that, I want to say that I love Richard very much. He is the sweetest guy you could imagine. Or, at least, he used to be.
The problem is that he is really addicted to video games. I don’t mean that he plays them a lot; I mean he plays them almost all the time. He even got fired from his job because he got caught playing them when he should have been working. His boss had even given him two chances before finally firing him. Richard thinks he was targeted by his boss because other people at his work also play video games and haven’t been fired. That’s according to him and I’m not sure I believe him about this, but that’s what he says.
He lost his job three months ago! He says that he’s out trying to find another job, but I don’t think he really is. I’m gone all day long so I can’t verify it one way or another. All I know is that when I come home at the end of the day, he’s playing video games. He’s not dressed like he had been out job hunting, either. (He says that he has changed back into his “comfy clothes.”) So, my homecoming is seeing this guy in “comfy’ clothes attached to his video games. He doesn’t even think that maybe he ought to get dinner ready now that he’s not working. He also doesn’t do much as far as keeping the apartment up or taking care of things, generally. It seems to me, that he could easily do other daily life maintenance things, instead of me having to do them when I come home. But no, there he is with his video games. He hardly looks up when I come in the door. When he gets a break, he acknowledges me. Then, he pretty much spends the rest of the evening until he goes to bed playing videos.
Of course, he also has no money to help pay the bills. I’m not a rich man! I’ve been meeting the bills, pretty much, so far, but I can’t keep doing it! I’ve been having to use my savings to meet those bills, pretty soon I won’t have a savings. It’s all making me not sleep at night.
The other night, Richard and I had a big fight about it all. He says that I must not love him or I’d be supportive of his job search and understand how hard it is for him now. He said that I am wrong and that it is mean to call him addicted. “What else is it?,” I said to him. He yelled at me saying that I was trying to make him into a sicko! I told him that I’m not trying to do that, that he has done a good job of it himself! It just went on an on – an ugly shouting match. This was the first time I really confronted Richard and he didn’t do well with it, neither did I. (I have suggested before that he was addicted but it was more in a kidding like way.) I guess I had been bottling up my anger and it just came flying out.
Needless to say, things have been pretty cold between us since the blow up. I just don’t know where to go from here. I love Richard but I hate his video game addiction. He and I have no life together because he doesn’t want to do anything anymore, because playing his video games are what are is important to him. Where do I go from here?

Lost to Video Games

A: You need to find a place to open communication back up. I would stay away from the word “addiction” or “video games,” right now, and move to how you feel having to pull all the weight in the relationship – financially as well as all the other responsibilities that you take on because he doesn’t help. Let him know that you are not willing to go on with this arrangement, even though you love him. (This is called, tough love.) Then, set a time frame for him to get a job and have him commit to some of the work around the house. You will have to stay firm with this, or it won’t work; but otherwise, you will be enabling him to go on with his life as it is. And, you’ll be stuck with your anger…and more outbursts. If you don’t think you can do this on your own, I would suggest that you ask Richard to go into counseling together. Ultimately, if he refuses to help himself and change his life, you will need to make a decision about how long you are willing to stay in this situation.

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Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.