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MMO addiction.

  1. Jul 30, 2009 #1
    My wife is an MMO addict. I knew it before we were married, but I never saw how bad it was. Currently she spends between 6 and 12+ hours playing her game a day. We have 3 young kids and I have a full time job with plenty of overtime. While she does keep the kids fed and when prompted does keep the house from turning into a disaster area, I am not satisfied with how much time she spends playing online not including time just spent on the game forums and such.

    Now I need some help.

    Is spending 40-60 hours playing a game per week unreasonable even if you maintain most of your outside responsibilities?

    Is there any reasonable way for me to help this situation without being the bad guy?

    Does anyone have any personal examples that could be helpful?

    Are there any useful resources for this? (Yes I can google, but something that has helped someone else would be preferred to rolling the dice.)

    I know there are people out there who get fired from work or drop out of school because of their addiction, and although this is not one of those examples it is still frustrating. I would be much happier if my wife had goals and ambitions outside of her game which she actually strived for.

    Any input is appreciated! Thanks guys!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 30, 2009 #2
    It's certainly not very healthy but the fact that she functions well and it doesn't take over her normal duties and life makes it a sticky situation. MMO addiction is serious and if she really does spend 40+ hours on a game, it's a sad waste of time. Then again, if you replace 'plays MMOs' with 'reads books' or 'runs marathons', this probably wouldn't be an issue at all. Most people have hobbies and a few people take those hobbies to extremes.

    People say that an addiction is dangerous when it either threatens their health or takes over everything else. Since it does neither, and your main issue seems to be that it frustrates you or you want her to do something else, I'm a bit skeptical. If she is a stay-at-home mom (which I'm inferring, correct me if I'm wrong) it makes sense that she'd be addicted to MMOs. They're playable from home, pausable, and break up the mundaneness of the day. If her inactivity is making her gain weight, lose sleep, or any other health problem, I'd speak to her about it from that angle.

    Otherwise, what else would you like her to do? 'Goals and ambitions' is a rather vague statement.
  4. Jul 30, 2009 #3
    Move to South Korea and she could be the next Choi Yeon.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/12/18/GAMERS.TMP [Broken]

    Or, if spending more time with her is what you want then plan some getaways. Go to the beach or camping. Bring the kids along if they are old enough. They will need some fond memories of growing up. Go out on a date to a restaurant or something. Use some romance. Do things as a family or as a couple. She'll miss her game, but hopefully she will also enjoy spending time doing things with her family.

    If you approach this from the angle that she should do something else with her time because you don't like it then I think you're not gonna enjoy the results. It would be a mistake to start out playing the blame game.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Jul 30, 2009 #4


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    Yah it really depends on how it effects you. If you feel she isn't paying attention to you, that's certainly a problem. If she is putting off dreams and goals and ambitions, it is a problem. If neither of these are problems (because honestly, you can't force someone to have goals and ambitions), then maybe it isn't a problem. You should have a serious talk with her and see how she feels about it and everything. Maybe it isn't a problem. Maybe it is.

    If it goes beyond a game, however, that in of itself is a problem. I hear a lot about people forming emotional connections to people in these games and I'm sure I don't have to go over how bad that can be. I do mean emotional period, not "emotional" as in being attracted to people or anything; where they start thinking the people online are their real friends.
  6. Jul 30, 2009 #5
    Oh that is a good point.

    Don't be quick to disregard her as without goals or easily amused. I've had a few friends that went into serious video game addiction because they were depressed or unhappy with their 'real lives'. If she really is depressed, or if this addiction is a symptom of something deeper, then there's a good chance that, with proper care and support, she can redirect her energy to more fruitful pursuits.
  7. Jul 30, 2009 #6
    I might be interpreting this wrong, but are you saying that people who meet online can not really be friends? That's not true. It's as possible as it is in any chat room or forum such as this one.
  8. Jul 30, 2009 #7
    Wow, that's almost as much time as I spend on PF.
  9. Jul 30, 2009 #8


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    Yes, that's a bit of a stretch. I'll be more precise. The same qualities and characteristics of a real friendship are much harder to find in online friendships and have much greater risks then real friendships. It seems a lot of people who study such social issues talk about who people are online as "fronts" for who the people really are. Even people who aren't intentionally trying to be someone else are usually at the least, more "open" online then they would be in real life. To me, this means there is something quite different about online friendships and relationships.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2009
  10. Jul 30, 2009 #9
    You mean that guy from Zimbabwe that wanted me to open an account for him wasn't my friend?:bugeye:

    There is the added element of internet predation to consider. The internet provides an illusion of safety. I suppose that could be an obstacle to building trust in an online friendship, but I don't think it makes friendships any less real. I've known a few people that met online and later married. I've met a few online friends myself and they've all been great. I've also had 'friends' I met in real life steal from and lie to me. People can use 'fronts' anytime, anywhere.
  11. Jul 30, 2009 #10


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    Have you tried joining her in the game for a few hours at a time? Perhaps you can use that connection to get her to become more connected in the real world. It would also help you to understand her life in that world.

    I agree with Huckleberry on this. Don't attack something that she obviously enjoys. Find out what she enjoys about it.
  12. Jul 30, 2009 #11


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    What would bother me is that that is essentially her full time job and you are paying her to do it!

    Besides which, I don't agree that she's doing her job as a parent - there is more to being a parent than simply making sure your kids don't starve. 3 young kids require essentially constant attention.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2009
  13. Jul 30, 2009 #12
    The only guy I know that had a wife who played MMO games got his wife into the game in the first place. So I've never really heard much about trying to get ones wife to stop playing computer games.

    What type of game is it? Is it one of those ones like Second Life? Those are kinda creepy and I could imagine them causing all sorts of problems.

    School, homework, sleeping... it is possible that there is plenty of time in the day that she does not need to spend with the children. Of course we don't know how old they are so its hard to determine.
  14. Jul 30, 2009 #13


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    :rofl: one could only dream! Kids arent grad students, they don't spend every moment outside of sleep and school doing homework :P.
  15. Jul 30, 2009 #14
    Sure, but she could probably easily get 6 hours in over the course of the day if she plays while the kids are at school, while they do a couple hours of homework, and maybe for a couple hours after they go to bed.
  16. Jul 30, 2009 #15


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    Wait wait... does she have a job? If not, the whole argument is out the window since 40 hours a week gaming is just replacing 40 hours a week working which would make perfect sense.

    However, if she does have a job... then I can't imagine being able to put that amount of time in. Come to think of it, the OP mentioned he's working plenty of overtime which (by reading between the lines, hopefully correctly) means finances might be a problem and I'm guessing she doesn't work? I think we need some more details!
  17. Jul 30, 2009 #16

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    I have three young children (now 4, 6, and 8 years old). My wife runs ultramarathons and trains "all the time" for them, and then blogs about the whole thing. (http://runhomepam.blogspot.com ) I'd say it takes up a total of 15 to 20 hours per week. Then she home-schools the kids.

    40-60 hours of ANYthing that is entirely a personal pastime when there are 3 young ones in the home, sounds absolutely neglectful to me. But I'm coming from an unusual perspective of parenting; I'd be concerned if the hours were only half of what you are estimating.

    How old are your kids? Are there any signs of behavior issues?
  18. Jul 30, 2009 #17

    MMO's are a form of escapism from the real world. It shows that she is bored with her real life and lacks real goals. I think its getting pretty normal to go through a phase of video game addiction as kids, especially because kids often haven't figured out what their goals in life are yet...they simply want to have fun. But for a full grown adult, with kids, I think this is a very troubling sign.

    Personally, I would not want my life partner to be someone lacking in real world aspirations who was content to waste away their remaining years in a virtual game. You could offer her an ultimatum, me or the game, but I doubt that's likely to improve the situation -- she has already made her preference clear. You can't expect her to radically change her lifestyle now. Honestly, these are things you should have detected when you married your wife..right? Did she have any aspirations then, or did she just tell you that she wanted to be a housewife?

    If you're comfortable with her being a housewife -- a role that is already devoid of real aspirations -- then you might as well let her play her game. I mean, you can't expect her to stay sane just sitting around the house all day doing nothing. If you want her to be chasing her own dreams, maybe you ought to have a talk with her and see if she actually HAS any dreams to chase after...and if the answer is no, you have no hope of ever ending this.
  19. Jul 30, 2009 #18
    Take all the family to a place with no internet for like a week or more :devil:
  20. Jul 30, 2009 #19

    Chi Meson

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    I totally agree with this. And with RootX's comment.
  21. Jul 30, 2009 #20
    Well, she certainly used to have dreams and ambitions. Now all she wants to do is be a mom and play her game. Whenever I get attention I have to fight the game for it, and 'just a minute' often means an hour or more. She gets frustrated because I always interrupt her while she's playing, I get frustrated because she spends all of her free time playing.

    Could be true, but no way of treating it without her admitting to it. The only signs of depression I see happen when she can't play the game for a period of time.

    Yeah, been there done that. She would always say that she wanted to play with me, and when I would log on it would take her an hour to finish with her group and join me. I normally only have a couple hours of free time on my workdays, so an hour wasted it precious. During my days off I have tried, but when we both start playing nothing gets done around the house. I admit that I can be a game addict as well.

    Yeah, the worst part is we used to send the kids to daycare. I'm frustrated because I can only assume that what I see on my days off is what my wife does while I'm at work. She tells me how she doesn't get as involved in the game when I am not here, but I'm skeptical. When I have a long day at work it looks like I worked for 12 hours, when she has a long day at 'work' it looks like she worked for 4. Maybe I'm missing something else that eats up the other 8 hours, but I don't think so.

    She plays Vanguard Saga of Heroes, it's a WoW kind of MMO. None of our kids are school age yet. Oldest is going next year.

    The kids behave just fine our oldest is 5, they are better behaved than most. I would be happy if my wife spent 20 hours a week with a real hobby, but right now the only thing that interests her is the dang game. Now keep in mind that half or more of the time she spends online is after the kids go to bed, but that means that I never get any time with her without the kids.

    Yeah, MMOs are escapism but she has been playing for so long I don't think she knows what she is escaping from anymore. When we got married she had aspirations and goals, but now she's decided that she's happy just being a housewife that plays videogames all the time. It's like watching a brother who used to want to be a doctor but now wants to live on mom and dads couch playing halo. I don't know how to relate to her, but I do know someday she is going to wake up and realize just how much of her life she has wasted and what she could have acomplished with that time.
  22. Jul 30, 2009 #21


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    I have a friend that has been addicted to Everquest for the 9 years I have known him. He has failed classes, dropped out of college, and now works a close to minimum wage job to basically support his addiction.

    Due to the fact that he was a friend rather than my wife, I would use somewhat passive-agressive techniques to get him out of the game, like secretly blocking specific ports on the router to make it seem as though the Everquest internet server was "down" or the like. Then, I would invite him to come do something with me and others like off-roading or shooting guns or hanging out. Most of the time he would take the bait, but in the end there was only so much I could do. Now I have since graduated and he lives with his wife as a bit of a home-husband (no kids yet for them).

    It was very frustrating for me to watch him esentially ruin his academic career due to a computer game, but from the whole experience I learned that he had to be the one that wanted to change, I couldn't force him.
  23. Jul 30, 2009 #22
    I just had to look up what MMO is....Tell her to get a life and take those kids for a hike or something.

    Or just break the PC....just 'accidently' spill a gallon of water on it and if she gives you any lip.....knock her down son.
  24. Jul 30, 2009 #23
    The addiction in MMO's works by creating a virtual character that is a simulacrum of oneself, and then constantly improving on that virtual character. This requires constant investment of time and it creates an emotional attachment. I have a very addictive personality and have had some addiction problems myself, but fortunately I have enough goals in the real world that it has always been very short lived. In order to break this addiction you have to want to break the habit, and you have to kill the character. In the past I have done this by selling the CD-code on ebay, or generously giving away all the equipment I have worked so hard for to other players in the game.

    Periodically there will be brief moments where I feel the urge to go back and play, but since the character has been killed, this urge quickly fades because there is no fun in starting over from scratch and re-doing all the tedious work to get to the level where I quit the game at. Simply putting the game away and saying "I wont play it anymore" is NOT effective, because your character will be saved on their online servers just tempting you to come back and continue where you left off at any time.

    If you ever do get her to admit that she needs to stop, get her to permanently destroy her character in this fashion before she changes her mind.

    Going on a vacation away from the computer does not help. In fact I find that it can fuel the obsession even worse, because MMO's are not actually very much fun to play. The fun all comes from the mental imagination that is associated with improving the character and reaching new levels. When you are separated from the game, this leaves you only with that imaginary fantasy and it allows your imagination only sees the good side...making you feel like you could be having so much fun if you were back there playing..even though actually playing can be a bit dull. Throughout the duration of being on vacation, she would likely just be irritable and daydreaming about being in front of her computer..and then she will binge on it when she returns.
  25. Jul 30, 2009 #24
    I think you're being a bit too pessimistic about the situation by making such extreme comparison. A brother who ditches their goals to live at home and game is problematic because such a person is not bringing in income for the family while is being another mouth to feed. (I'm assuming you're financially stable) as a stay-at-home mother, your wife has a lot of time on her hands and "nothing to do" after finishing her responsibilities (cleaning the house, feeding the kids, etc).

    Being an MMO player myself, a huge contribution to all MMOs players that keep them hooked is not the game but the social interaction with others. And unlike real life social interactions, in-game EVERYONE has something in common to talk about and keep the conversation going. They can talk about anything in the game: the game's economy, the game's company, the gameplay itself, etc. You can't get that kind of interaction with a stranger on the streets. So perhaps to get her away from online gaming, you can try what some here already suggested: going places as a family such as camping, malls, amusement parks, maybe invite friends and relatives to come along.
  26. Jul 30, 2009 #25
    I would take the kids on a two or three day mini-vacation(not too far away), and see if she even notices that ya'll aren't there. When (or if) she calls your cell phone to find out where you're at, tell her you asked her if she wanted to come but she was too "busy". Maybe even tell her that ya'll aren't coming home until she gives up the game for good.
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