Can’t Catch ’Em All; May Lose Wife
Dear Annie: Ever since “Pokemon Go” came out, my husband has been spending a lot of time playing it. Sometimes he’s out for eight to 10 hours per day, including during the night, walking around and attempting to find Pokemon for the game.
“M” is in his early 50s and has been a stay-at-home dad for the past seven years. Our lifestyle is frugal, and having one of us available for the kids’ activities has been useful. However, if a serious and expensive issue were to arise, we would most likely struggle financially.
M is an excellent father. But I struggle with the fact that for the past 1 1/2 years, he’s been spending eight-plus hours each day (including weekends) playing a game. It’s a colossal waste of time, and I’m sick of it.
We’ve had multiple conversations about this. In the beginning, he said that he’d play until he reached some top level and then scale it down. Well, I suspect the game got modified, because it’s been over 1 1/2 years. A couple of times, he has said that he knows he is addicted and that he won’t play that much anymore. But he still plays, and I don’t think he plans to stop. He knows I don’t like it when he spends so much time on this game but says that many smart people play, too, and that he wants to spend his time how he likes. And he thinks that I should be happy with our life and look elsewhere in my life to explain my unhappiness.
The thought that my husband is on his way to spending several years of his life playing “Pokemon Go” for eight or more hours each day gives me shivers. I’m considering separation or divorce. I would appreciate your advice. — Discouraged in CA
Dear Discouraged: Your husband is addicted to this game, and there’s no “next level” or “next achievement” that’s going to be enough for him. Limiting his gameplay to a set amount of time per day isn’t realistic. It would be akin to telling someone with alcoholism to try just having one beer. If he’s going to quit, it will have to be cold turkey — deleting the app and even deleting his account so he’s not able to restore his data. I don’t think he’s ready for that step yet. Though he has admitted he has a problem, he doesn’t seem ready for help. You can implore him to go to counseling or offer to go to couples counseling with him. You might also encourage him to take a self-screening test on the On-Line Gamers Anonymous website (http://www.olganon.org). I’d encourage you to also visit the site yourself, as there is an OLG-Anon component for family and friends.
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