I Lost My Wife Because Of My Video Gaming Addiction

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An extreme case of video game addiction is Hawaii’s Craig Smallwood, who recently leveled a lawsuit against the makers of Lineage II, saying that he became so addicted that he had problems “getting up, getting dressed, bathing or communicating with family and friends.” — Ryan G Van Cleave Ph.D.

It was an incredible five years of marriage that ended up in a divorce recently. My wife’s ground for our legal separation was irreconcilable differences and physical assault. I honestly don’t understand why everything turned out to be uncontrolled when in fact we were supposed to be a happily married couple. It just happened too fast.

The Complaint

I thought I was performing an excellent output as a husband all these years. Working 8 hours a day at the office and taking care of some small stuff in the house. I cooked meals whenever I had time. But then, my wife still had these complaints about me spending time playing video games. I thought it would be a stupid reason for an argument, so I always ended up ignoring her ridiculous sentiments. I didn’t want a small thing becoming that big of an issue when in fact, there’s nothing wrong with playing video games, or so I thought.

Technology enthusiasts take an entirely different view. They see nothing problematic or dangerous with our incessant digital connectivity. — Utpal Dholakia Ph.D.

The Conflict

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Since I assumed I was entirely doing the right thing in taking care of my wife and our home, I only wanted something enjoyable during my spare time. Though she allowed me to play computer games, she had set boundaries, and I didn’t know why. I felt it was unfair because I was supposed to have time for myself. Then she started to act weird and nagged about everything I do, mainly when I was in front of my computer. There was one time when she smashed my computer and destroyed my gaming CD tapes and broke it into pieces. I got frustrated, and everything went black, so I thought I should fight back and so I did. I knocked my wife so hard that she fell on the floor. I was in shock because I never knew I was capable of hurting her. I got totally out of control.

The Decision

My wife took the physical assault way too hard and used it as grounds for our divorce. I couldn’t do anything about it because, I admit, it was the truth. She managed to process the papers and asked me to sign it. I thought she was selfish because she didn’t try to consider my side. However, I was open-minded about her reasons and thought that maybe she deserved the separation.

The Realization

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After the process of voiding our marriage, I stared at my wife from afar. There I saw she wasn’t happy with her decision. I asked myself, “What have I done? What happened to us”? Then I realized that all this time she was trying to connect with me and I was too busy to give her the time she needed. I felt I was entitled to attention and care because I was working hard, but then I didn’t notice that I was the one who was being selfish. I realized that she wasn’t being mean but she just wanted to talk to me but I couldn’t because I was too busy playing video games. She needed me, but I thought I needed time for myself. She cared for me so much, but I wasn’t able to see that because I thought she was less of a priority. She was always there for me, but I wasn’t for her.

My failed marriage taught me that time is an essential thing that you shouldn’t waste because it will soon take away everything that matters to you. As for me, my gaming addiction made me realize that I may be physically present but I’m emotionally and mentally absent in my relationships.

So, if you know someone who seems to be addicted to video gaming, your attempt to help should probably not focus on taking the video screen away.  It should focus, instead, on trying to understand, and help that person understand, what is missing or wrong in other parts of his or her life and how that problem might be solved. — Peter Gray Ph.D.