- 2 months ago
- Wedding: September 2014
Another regular going anon- sillysarah84, this one’s for you, lol! (http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/why-do-bees-always-post-anon-about-the-hard-stuff/)
Suuuuper long post, so here’s the summary:
Husband is addicted to gaming. I thought things were getting better since he got rid of his x-box and only plays at his friend’s house now (he is over there A LOT, but I convinced myself I could accept it as an alternative). Ever since getting rid of the x-box, it turns out that he was indulging by spending hundreds of dollars on games for his phone per month and charging it to a credit card. Moreover, he was actually stealing money to supplement this habit. I went from viewing this as an “us” issue to an “addiction” issue and decided to wait to address it until we could get into marriage counseling. However, sudden financial hardship and a high insurance deductible are putting that on hold, and I don’t know what to do in the meantime as I don’t feel that this issue should be handled without professional help. I’ve tried to address it myself for too long to no avail but I’m getting antsy.
Eight months ago I posted about my struggle as a wife who was married to a man that was addicted to videogames and neglecting our marriage.
Shortly after I made another post in which I was basically ramping up to leave. I described additional frustrations that I had been placing second to his gaming issues. One of those things included the fact that he had health and hygiene issues he was letting go unaddressed.
That last post sent me for a bit of a tail spin so I never responded. I had posters accusing me of having someone on the side, of having not fought for my marriage, of being immature, of looking for “excuses” to leave… I even had people telling me that I was cruel to leave him after he had come clean about his medical history since I “didn’t try to help” him. <u>I did not have someone on the side; my heart was breaking to consider leaving; I had fought for 2 years to gently gain and redirect his attention towards healthier past-times (and towards me); I tried multiple times to get appointments booked for my husband to help him get his medical issues addressed.</u> I also had people repeatedly asking me if I had voiced my feelings to my husband- yes, I had done that many times throughout the years in as supportive of a way as possible while still advocating for myself (although I admit I also had my bitchy moments about it).
I’m not delusional when I say that my husband truly loves me. I know he wants to support me and he absolutely wants the best for me, he’s just… blocked by addiction. That is what makes everything so hard, because I know the kind of love he holds for me despite the barriers between us. There are so many wonderful things about him aside from the wacky stuff I described.
A couple months after that second post I did reach a point where I was literally hitting my max. For a week straight my lips, toes, and fingers were tingly with the anxiety from hopelessness, frustration, and also fear of not being with him anymore. One night it all came crashing down and I let him know how I finally hit the “leaving” point that <u>I had warned him was approaching so many times before</u> (Underscoring because in both of my other posts people missed this several times and wondered if I ever even talked to him). I saw the heart break on his face and I can’t even describe the kind of pain I saw. He said he was just going to go stay at his friend’s house, then, and started to move towards the door with such a weight that again I can’t explain. It wasn’t an act. My heart was already breaking so to watch his heart also breaking as he walked away made me feel like I was crumbling. As much as I felt I needed to leave, going though that felt so much worse and suddenly not worth it anymore. We ended up talking through some heavy tears for much of the night and committing to trying to get through this.
I still don’t know if my reaction was simply codependence, but it felt like the right choice for quite a while (and I guess it still does?). Things were actually pretty good until the 4<sup>th</sup> of July. While he was/is still gaming for a major chunk of his free time he’s at least been doing the gaming over at his best friend’s house (the fact that he was not around much is obviously not optimal but so much better than having him blatantly prioritize the games visibly in front of me). He has always spent a pretty heavy amount of time on his phone playing silly little games and this didn’t change, but at least I could converse with him as he played and I felt less emotionally reactive to it.
However, on the 4<sup>th</sup> of July I was going through our budgets and logged onto a credit card account that I have access to yet never use. I saw all these strange iTunes charges, some for just a few bucks but others for $50-$70 or so. Sometimes the larger charges came consecutively. I somehow figured out that he was spending money on his iPhone games and that he was dumping hundreds of dollars a month into them. I had another visceral reaction with nausea and tingly sensations. We were supposed to be helping to host a barbeque and I knew I wouldn’t be able to go out if I didn’t at least say something about it. I placed my hand on his knee and my voice shook heavily as I simply said, “I was going through the budget and I found your gaming charges. I don’t want to get into it now, but I need you to know that I am aware and that I find it extremely upsetting and I don’t know what to do”. He had a look on his face like he felt as though he had betrayed me. I kissed him on the cheek to counter what I felt on this inside and went to try to go and get ready for the day. The whole time it felt like there was a haze over me.
This is where it gets weird. He came followed me after a few minutes. His voice now shook and he asked, “can I tell you something?” I said yes. He said, “this might make you think less of me, and I know it is bad and I wouldn’t blame you, but I always get the money back.” I was completely confused and asked what he meant. He told me that he’s been “filing tickets” with Apple (or whoever) saying that his “kid” made unauthorized charges, or that there was a fault on the company’s part, or similar excuses. Apparently they refund the money, which he was trying to use as an excuse to me. Since we are still having hundreds of dollars-worth of charges, I know that the refunds are simply getting recycled back into his addiction which means he is actually using more money for gaming than what I even see appear on the card. As bad as that is, though, THAT ISN’T EVEN THE POINT! He was literally stealing money from a company, hiding charges from me, and moreover he was hiding his addiction. He said that he was just trying to keep his life from falling apart and that “giving up the x-box” was what he needed to do to keep me, but that he wasn’t mentally ready so he was trying to buy his time with the iPhone games. This was all so much worse than I ever thought and I told him it scared the shit out of me.
Like I said in other posts, he stood by me through the hardest time in my life when other people would have bailed. I feel like I owe him the same. I knew this before, but now I’m 100% recognizing that this is a literal addiction, and maybe that will help other readers understand how I can say that he is this amazing person while he has all these other issues. I’m not trying to make excuses; it just is how it is. He is an amazing person who is also addicted to something that society finds socially acceptable. Therefore, I decided to treat him like someone with an addiction in that conversation (rather than just like a husband who F***ed up) since he was at least being honest.
I said I didn’t want to talk about it anymore without being in marriage therapy first. I told him there are two conditions for now: He HAS to stop stealing money through fraudulent refunds, even if he is afraid of how I’ll feel when I see the charges. Second, he CANNOT EVER open a secret credit card to hide charges from me. Violating either of those things would result in me walking, even prior to therapy. I said we could start addressing the other things on a deeper level once we got into therapy.
That leads me to my current dilemma- we just switched insurances to a plan with lower premiums but a higher deductible right around the time that he got into an accident that totaled his car. We had several unexpected expenses dog pile the same month, including hefty vet bills. I feel financially trapped right now since I don’t feel like we can move forward without therapy but I also cannot stay in this limbo for much longer without snapping. I’m trying to be rational, controlled, and level headed in the meantime and it is super rough since all I want to do is freak out. While some people in previous threads said I was stupid for staying and urged me to run, others said I was selfish for thinking of leaving. Right now I don’t feel like I can leave since it seems like he FINALLY took the first step in admitting that he had a problem. At the same time I don’t know how much time to invest or how to ever trust that he won’t go back to these ways whenever life gets stressful down the road.