It’s no secret that my husband is quite the gamer. He has been gaming for as long as I’ve known him. I’ve often jokingly called myself a gamers widow because of it. He loves his PS4 and his online games. It is one of his only outlets for social connection outside of myself and work. The PS4 online community allows him to chat with other players around the world. But sometimes, the gaming can interfere with his closer relationships. The relationships that he has with myself and our children.
A few months ago, things came to a head for us over his gaming. My husband had been non-stop gaming for months. Only stopping to go to work and barely stopping for meal times. He would come home from work and head straight to the bedroom to play his game. The kids barely saw him and usually had to say “Daddy” half a dozen times and me his name nearly as many to get his attention for them. He got angry whenever anyone got between him and the screen. He was addicted. The kids weren’t happy and I wasn’t happy on their behalf. He would promise them outings in the weekend and then spend it playing his games instead. It had gotten to the point that Celine had given up on him and began ignoring any of his promises.
One Thursday night in May, it was his turn to cook dinner. He was too busy playing his games and the kids were getting hungry. Normally I would feed them around 5:30 -6 pm and it’s bedtime straight after. On this evening I went down to him at 4:30 pm to suggest he start dinner so the kids could get to bed on time. He ignored me. The kids went down to him several times from 5:30 pm onwards to ask when dinner was to no avail. I wasn’t impressed and showed it by complaining on my private facebook profile to my friends about it, with him tagged in the status. I’d already gone down to him a few times as well as tried to get his attention via private messaging. My only avenue after that was public shaming, I was that angry. He ignored all of it and didn’t even notice my facebook status until the next day.
It was 7 pm before he came to start dinner and after 8 pm when the kids finally got to bed. They still had school and kindy to attend to the following morning. He continued playing his games after dinner leaving me to get the very tired and grumpy kids to bed by myself. He played quite late into the night.
The next morning my husband angered me further by turning on the PS4 at 4 am. 4 am. It woke up both myself and Bella who then decided it was playtime. He continued playing until it was time to go to work and the kids had to get ready for school and kindy. They weren’t pleasant to be around that morning and I can’t really blame them for it. They were overtired.
I was so angry that Friday morning that as soon as my husband had left for work I unplugged the PS4 and hid it in one of my dressing table drawers. I had never gone to this extreme before and I was extremely nervous as to how he’d react. He phoned me during to day to see if I was still upset with him. Instead I told him I wasn’t upset, I was angry with him and why. He didn’t really get it and thought he’d get back into my good books by coming home for dinner and not going to play his PS4 until after the older kids were in bed. That’s when the real argument started.
My husband noticed the PS4 was missing the minute he went to turn it on. Immediately all hell broke loose. He went through all the drawers and cupboards looking for it. He yelled at me that he would call the police if he didn’t get it back. Over and over he stated it was his and to give it back. I said I’d give it back after we’d talked but he wouldn’t listen. I asked him if the PS4 was more important than me and his family. He continued yelling at me to give it back.
In the end I quietly took the PS4 out of the drawer it was hidden in, took Bella and our spare mink blanket and we went to the lounge. Bella and I stayed out there all night. We slept on the couch. He tried a few times to get us to come back to the bedroom. I ignored him. I was beyond angry that night. I was close to packing his bags and telling him to go. I cried myself to sleep after finally getting Bella to sleep. I had never felt more of a gamers widow than at that point.
I have no idea how long he played his games or if he even played his games that night. I do know that he had to deal with Blake and Dani when they woke up. That would have been a new thing to him. It’s usually me that does it.
The kids joined me in the lounge as they woke up the following morning. They figured out pretty quickly that I’d slept there. I’m not sure at what point my husband worked out how angry I really was and that he’d really crossed the line. He made me breakfast and apologised. He took us all out that day to a place he’d been promising for months and then afterwards to lunch. He did some work on Bella’s wardrobe. We watched some movies at home as a family. The kids went to bed after dinner and we had a talk about how much time he had been spending on his games and how it had been affecting the family. Sunday was more of the same. Family time, spent together.
The following week, my husband came home, had dinner with us, helped me put the kids to bed and then watched netflix with me before we went to sleep. We talked. We connected. It was nearly a month later before he turned on the PS4 again. And he only played it for a couple of hours before turning it off again. Since then he has only played his games a few times. He is more responsive to the kids and more helpful to me. We’ve gone out a few times as a family and on our own.
Sometimes, it takes a huge blow up to work out where your priorities lie and where they really should be.