Is your spouse gaming affecting your family life?

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

By Brooke Strickland

Your spouse is in front of the computer for hours on end.  All you can see is your loved one slouched over, intent on shooting the bad guys, and it seems to go on and on. Hour after hour, day after day, it’s the same old thing.

The gaming might go on until the wee hours of the night and when the morning rolls around, your spouse might be sleeping later than usual, all in order to fuel up to game more during the day.  You’re stuck cooking all the meals, cleaning the house, and getting the kids ready for bed or off to school. Every day.

Does this scenario sound familiar?

If your spouse is beginning to neglect family life, neglecting you, or neglecting regular day-to-day responsibilities like work or household duties, intervention is needed.  This isn’t just a little problem – it is a big problem that has the potential to seriously spiral downward, causing permanent damage to your loved one, as well as your family, marriage, and home life as well.  A recent article in The Seattle Times shows a glimpse of a spouse’s addiction to video games, how it can hurt an entire family, and what needs to happen if addiction to the game is apparent. (1)

The first thing to ask yourself is:
“How is my spouse’s game playing affecting the family?”
If the answer to this is that you are feeling like you are alone, stuck doing regular duties that should be shared, or that there are obvious signs of neglect (whether it be work, home, self, or life as a whole), intentional help and intervention is needed. This includes a one on one meeting with your spouse with no distractions – no kids, no games, no technology at all.  A heart to heart is necessary.  Explain how you’re feeling and how it’s affecting your quality of life. Don’t try to justify their game playing by saying that they’re entitled to play some games once in a while, because for a person that is clearly showing addictive tendencies with gaming, there is no middle ground.

Ask your spouse if they will give up the game.
The game needs to be out of the home. Take the game away, remove the gaming system, or shut of the Internet if that’s what it takes. The game needs to be completely gone, or else they won’t be able to get the help needed. If your spouse is not willing to get rid of the game, this is a big red flag. Then, suggest counseling, both as a couple or for your spouse individually. In addition, it’s important that you get the help you need as the spouse of a game addict – there are feelings and emotions that are valid and you need a professional to talk through those things with. If your spouse is not open to any of these things, then you may need to prepare to take drastic measures. Prepare to be a single parent for a while and if you need to move out of the home for a limited time, until your spouse gets the help needed, this might be a helpful solution.

Video game and Internet addiction is very real. For more information, visit


  1. 1. Hax, Carolyn.  “Spouse’s addiction to video games hurting whole family.” The Seattle Times. August 19, 2013. Accessed August 19, 2013.