helpwiththisFebruary 28, 2008

My friend was talking to me about an issue she is having with her husband today and I thought I would post it on here and get some feedback for her.

Her and her husband have 3 kids between the ages of 4-11. She is a stay at home mom and her husband works full time on a 3-11pm shift. Her issue is that her husband comes home at night and plays video games until all hours of the morning and then wants to sleep until noon. This gives her and the youngest barely any time with him. On the weekends he does the same thing when all the kids are home. This is an ongoing battle and he does not seem to get why she is upset. She says it turns into a screaming match.

Her issue is that instead of coming home and only spending an hour or so to unwind he choses to play video games all night instead of waking up at a decent hour and spending time with his family before work. Even when he does not stay up all night he wants to sleep all day. She says if he went to bed at 2 he could still get up by 9 or 10 and have a good amount of sleep and some family time. He says he works all the time so she can stay home and he should be able to relax. She said she feels like a single parent because she does everyting by herself.

Any advice on how she can deal with this situation (and no her husband can not switch jobs or shifts and no she does not want a divorce)

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For a spouse and father of three, this is pretty jerky behavior. OK, maybe "irresponsible" would be a better word. However, if they've already escalated to "screaming matches" over it there is clearly no confusion about it, only disagreement about whether or not it's appropriate. I don't know what to say about a husband and father and who sacrifices his family to video games. The man's priorities are whacked.

Sounds to me like she has "dealt with" the situation....and been met with a stone wall of resistance. Tough deal.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 12:06PM
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I think this problem is probably more common than many realize. I don't really think his work time shift or job has much to do with it. Some men are just addicted to video games (and/or the computer- games), and the problem needs to be addressed as an addiction problem. I would think some counseling may help.

I don't really know what the answer is when dealing with this type of addiction. I don't think common sense talking about having responsibilties with the kids and such will generally help. The problem itself (because it's not porn or gambling or drinking) seems sort of benign, but because it is an addiction it can and will cause many of the same problems of other addictions. Has the wife thought of getting rid of the game system?

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 12:48PM
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Oh, and although it probably is just a video game addiction, I would be slighty suspicious of possibly more going on than just "video games". A man being alone for that long late at night "may" be on the computer doing things that aren't so appropriate. Can your friend comfirm or deny computer usage at night time? Could the husband just be saying he's playing video games?

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 12:56PM
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This lady has a fourth kid - her husband. Maybe she should deal with him the way she deals with her kids. I hope that isn't by screaming. Let him see that actions have consequences. And limit the kids' time on video games or the epidemic will spread. Maybe his children can set role models for him.

And a further thought -it's esay to write this doofus off as a doofus. And maybe he is. But it could be something that needs more exploration and understanding. Does he feel trapped in a bad job and too many family responsibilities? Does he have any outlets such as hobbies or fun? When was the last time you had a weekend away alone together? Is he porn-addicted? Is he escaping via the computer? What was he like before he got into this? Sounds to me like a whole lot of avoidance is going on.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 1:17PM
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I know when I come home from work, it takes a bit before I am wound down enough to go to bed. It doesn't matter what time I get home, 11pm, 3am, whatever, I can't get to sleep right away. I'd usually watch TV but whatever other mindless activity makes him sleep is probably what he's doing. I worked emergency shift for a couple of weeks and that's what I would do when I got home, even though I knew I'd sleep until noon long after DH had gone to work. I couldn't unwind within 1 hour; it took at least 3-4 for me.

And let's face it, I'd rather sleep than be screamed at. Yes, that's avoidance, but if he is stuck on the 3-11 what is he supposed to do?

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 4:58PM
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I have to wind down before I go to bed. I have to watch TV. It's my routine. DH goes to bed at 730 (he gets up at 2-3am) and I normally go to bed at 9-10 and get up at 430am.

I wish I was a person who could just lay down and sleep but that isn't how my body is wired.

DH and I don't see each other that much either and likewise I feel like I do an lion's share of the housework. I work outside the home though. When I was a sahm I did all the housework and child care because that was MY job. It was not a shared responsibility my X dh could help if he wanted to, but there wasn't much to do. I guess I felt the same way. X dh worked so I could stay home.

On Tuesday nights when I have a college class and don't get home until 915 I either can't go to sleep until very late or don't get to sleep at all. I *have* to do my routine or there is no sleep. Sometimes even with my routine I still don't sleep.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 6:01PM
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There is resentment building, on both sides, here. The wife, as she feels neglected and unloved and concerned that her children are growing up without spending enough time with their dad. The husband, because he feels that he is working hard and not getting any thanks from anyone.

Its all about getting the balance right.

If both parties talked in a non-blaming way, just laying it on the line, and saying how they feel, then eventually they might come to some sort of compromise.

I have experience in this area, and that is what I did. We realized that life was rolling along like a fast flowing river, and the enjoyment angle was missing.

Getting back to basics, and thinking about what is important in your family, is a good place to start.

It could mean that changes need to be made, to improve the situation.

I think the dad may be more conducive to solving the problem if he felt appreciated for his efforts.

What sort of job does he do ? It might be really stressful, he might need help with dealing with the stress side of things.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 6:10PM
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night shifts are not good for anybody. DH is probably groggy the whole day after working nights and simply doesn't feel like doing anything. My dad worked night shifts for few years and it was really tough on him, he was always sleepy. as about helping around the house. I have a friend who stays home and her husband works but she always complains that he doesn't help around the house and doesn't spend time with her, but I guess he is just tired.
i think DH needs to get a different job with a more convenient schedule so he can be awake at a normal time. playing video games of hours doesn't sound normal for a grown man either.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 9:41PM
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